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Bridgerton Showrunner Explains the Double Meaning of That Polin Mirror Scene

Jess Brownell discusses how Penelope and Colin's first time pays homage to Romancing Mister Bridgerton

Kat Moon
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, Bridgerton

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, Bridgerton


[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2. Read at your own risk!]

If there's one complaint we had about Bridgerton Season 3, Part 1, it's that there simply wasn't enough of Polin. For a season that promised to be about Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), it featured surprisingly few scenes of the friends-turned-lovers together. Thankfully, Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2 treats us to far more delicious moments between the pair. And it starts with their first time making love — by a mirror — in Episode 5, "Tick Tock." 

The scene begins with Penelope thanking Colin for standing up for her during a heated exchange with her mother, where, once again, Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) was berating Penelope. "Everything I said to your mother is true, and you should see it as well," Colin says as he turns Penelope around to face the mirror. "You are the cleverest, bravest woman I have ever known." What starts off as a warm interaction quickly turns steamy when Colin begins to undress her. 

"The intimacy scene in Episode 5, it's drawn from a reference in the book," showrunner Jess Brownell told TV Guide, referring to Romancing Mister Bridgerton, the Julia Quinn novel that Bridgerton Season 3 adapts. "Colin alludes to the fact that he'd like to do something very naughty with Penelope in front of a mirror." It doesn't play out in the novel, but Brownell said she knew it was a scene that fans were attached to. "I wanted to honor that moment," she explained. "Having Penelope turn to look at herself in the mirror and have Colin help her see herself not only physically, but internally, is very representative of her journey." 

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"But also, the image of a mirror became a really central motif to this season," Brownell continued. "A mirror can represent the idea that there's the self you show to the world, or the person you see in the mirror. And then there's the self you are deep inside, which is the person who's standing in front of the mirror." 

The imagery is especially significant in Bridgerton Season 3, since Penelope is the character hiding the biggest secret of them all: She is the elusive Lady Whistledown. And it's clear from the first moments of Season 3, Part 2 that she can't keep this part of her identity hidden from Colin for long.

After they have sex, the mood shifts when Penelope looks up and sees her reflection. "Having the mirror at the center of the scene metaphorically, it just made everything come together," Brownell said. 

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Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix.