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[This story contains major spoilers for the second season of Netflix’s Bridgerton.]
“Will they-won’t they” takes on a whole new meaning in Bridgerton’s season two finale — this time, not for a romantic love, but one of a beloved friendship.
Aside from the longing stares and burning tension of the show’s typical romances (of which there are plenty this season), it’s the fallout between on-screen BFFs Eloise Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington that has viewers hanging on the edge of their seats for more.
And the actresses have been anticipating this moment.
“Julia Quinn, who wrote the book said, ‘This is one of the most important love stories in the whole Bridgerton series and it just happens that it’s a friendship love,’” Nicola Coughlan recalls when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about a conversation she had on set with the Bridgerton novel series author about how the reveal will impact Penelope and Eloise’s close friendship.
At the end of the season, Eloise (played Claudia Jessie) discovers Lady Whistledown’s true identity to be none other than her very best friend and closest confidante Penelope (played by Coughlan). And while the audience has been in on the big secret since the end of season one, Eloise feels the greatest betrayal at the news.
“When I first read it. I was like: Yes!” Jessie says, perhaps, surprising the audience. “Because that’s who you want to find out the most, obviously. That’s the highest stakes — you want to want it to be [Eloise].”
Leading up to the big moment, the audience sees Penelope struggle throughout the season to keep her secret persona under wraps, with the likes of the Queen, and even Eloise herself, still searching to uncover Lady Whistledown’s identity.
“Every time we shot the [final] scene, we’d cut, then me and Nicola would have a little hug, and then we’d go back to start again,” Jessie says of filming the intense argument between the two friends.
“[It] was really heart-wrenching to do,” Coughlan adds. “But it was something that we always sort of knew was coming because, you know, you can’t deceive a friend for that long and not expect it to have consequences.”
Consequences, indeed. The scene’s ending sees Eloise telling Penelope that she never wishes to see or speak to her again.
As for whether or not the on-screen besties will reunite in the future, Jessie says she’s confident the pair can get through this rough patch. “I think they will,” Jessie says of what may come in seasons three and four. “It’s going to be good to see their fallout for a little while. That’s always good viewing, isn’t it?”
She adds, “I think it’s important, actually, that they reunite and that their friendship matures through that breakdown. I love that they did it in the script. I loved shooting that scene. When I watched it, I was just so pleased because it’s a very intense, very contained, very serious, heated discussion that was written really well.”
Bridgerton season two is now streaming on Netflix.
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