Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Bridgerton Showrunner Explains Change From Book in Carriage Scene and Why 'Give Me Everything' Was the Perfect Song for It

Jess Brownell also shared her original vision for the scene and how it changed during filming

Kat Moon
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, Bridgerton

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, Bridgerton 

Liam Daniel/Netflix

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the first four episodes of Bridgerton Season 3. Read at your own risk!]

When Netflix announced that Bridgerton Season 3 would be released in two parts, little did we know that Part 1 would end with one of the show's most romantic — and steamiest — scenes in its history. (This gentle reader has watched it upwards of 200 times.) Given that, we of course had to ask showrunner Jess Brownell to break down all of the scene's elements, from how it was shot — "I had initially imagined the scene with the two leads sitting side-by-side," Brownell told TV Guide — to Archer Marsh's cover of Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" as its song choice.

In the final minutes of Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 4, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) are sitting in a carriage. Colin had followed Pen out the ball after she abruptly left in distress, and chased after her carriage. He was the last person she wanted to speak with, since his interruption minutes before had prompted her most promising suitor Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) to decide against proposing. But as the two stare face-to-face in the carriage, Colin confesses his feelings for Pen. "It is everything I have wanted to say to you... for weeks," he admits. And Colin is relieved when he realizes Pen feels similarly. "Colin, we are friends," she begins. "But I'd very much like to be more than friends. So much more." Then, our two leads kiss.

More on Bridgerton:

Brownell spoke to us about the decision to end Part 1 with this scene, how it was changed from Julia Quinn's book Romancing Mister Bridgerton that Season 3 is based on, and why the cover of "Give Me Everything" was the "perfect" song for this Polin moment.

TV Guide: How did the decision to release Season 3 in two parts come about? 
Jess Brownell:
We had actually written and produced all the episodes when Netflix approached us about splitting it into two parts. But it was frankly pretty easy to split it because naturally, we break the season with a big midpoint in the middle in which the action flips into a new dimension. So we had the perfect cliffhanger ready to go.

So the carriage scene was already written and shot by the time Netflix approached you?
Yeah, everything had been written and shot. They gave us an option about where to do the break.

What was the other option?
It was up to us. I think we talked through a version where we would stop after Episode 6. But besides the fact that the Episode 4 cliffhanger felt like the right place story-wise to break things, it also felt like, if people had to wait a whole month and then only got two more episodes, that might be frustrating. So we were like, [we'll] give you four and then you'll have four juicy ones to come back to.

Spring Guide 2024

Click through for our guide to spring TV

That makes sense. And I definitely want to ask about the carriage scene. Tell me about the process of writing it — what did you hope to show about Pen and Colin's characters?
The carriage scene is something from the books, although it's under different circumstances. And in the books, it's actually a moment where Pen reveals a bigger secret about herself to Colin. For us though, we wanted to honor the spirit of the scene by having it be a moment where Colin does start to see Pen in an entirely new light — or at least it's the moment where he finally admits to seeing her in a new light.

Andrew Ahn was our director for that episode. And I had initially imagined the scene with the two leads sitting side-by-side. But on the day, Andrew had this fantastic pitch to have Colin be sitting opposite Penelope, I think partly because it was easier to shoot. But also the visual of Colin getting down on his knees as he delivers this great monologue to Penelope ended up being so fantastic because it just represents him having to beg for her after years of not seeing her properly. So I gotta give kudos to Andrew for that one.

Wow, I love it. And I did want to ask more about the difference from the book — since that scene in the book is where Colin finds out Pen is Lady Whistledown. Why did you want to hold that reveal for later?
It felt a little early for us, for Colin to find out. I think we wanted the first half of the season to really be about Penelope's goal of finding a husband and about developing the relationship between Colin and Penelope. And we felt like in splitting the season in two parts, that the back half would be more about these bigger conflicts in terms of Pen having the Whistledown secret, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) knowing it, Colin not knowing it, and Eloise finding out that her brother and her ex-best friend are potentially now together. So organically, it felt like putting those conflicts in the back half made more sense. 

Something else I wanted to ask about — I read that you worked on a lot of the Daphne and Simon scenes in Season 1, including intimacy ones. What lessons did you learn there that you wanted to bring to the intimacy scenes in this season, and particularly for the carriage scene? 
The intimacy scenes are definitely, in Season 1, a collaboration. I think as a writers room, we were finding the voice of the show together. And one of the things we landed on was that we were going to be a show that would really go there in terms of seeing more from the intimacy scenes than you might be used to seeing on television. For us, I think having the show set in the Regency period in which women had such little agency, the intimacy scenes are an important moment to see a woman taking control. Taking control of consent, taking control of her agency and her power. And so even more so than in a modern piece, we really find it important to highlight those moments of consent, understanding that a woman's only source of freedom was through her husband.

More on Netflix:

In the carriage scene, you can see Colin pausing to wait for Pen's reaction before he goes further. 
Yeah, it's very important to send a message to modern audiences about the importance of consent and also to show that consent can be incredibly sexy. I think the ways in which Colin asks if he is okay to do more, it just increases the communication between the couple and creates more desire between them.

I also wanted to ask you about the music in that scene, which was a cover of "Give Me Everything." How did that song choice come about?
I picked that song. I'm, for better or worse, responsible for the Pitbull song. Justin Kamps, who's our Music Supervisor, at the beginning of the season gave me a playlist with a bunch of new string versions of pop songs. And I heard that song not knowing what the song was at first, and I just thought it was so perfect for the scene because the carriage scene is the climax — pun intended, I suppose — of multiple years of longing and friendship and unrequited love. And so that moment needed to feel like it had this giant crescendo to it. And we had tried out a couple other softer romantic songs, but none of them felt like they played that build in the right way. And that Pitbull song, I don't remember being a huge fan of it when it was out. But now I'm obsessed with it.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix.