The redemption arc of Cressida Cowper

Bridgerton 3 sees the spotlight beam on Cressida Cowper. The persistent bullying from her that was seen across the previous two seasons is now met with a backstory. An ill-mannered mean girl would be an appropriate description of her up until earlier this month but the villain of the season may merely be desperate for her parent’s approval.

For some Bridgerton lovers, Cressida is not deserving of redemption but for me the added depth of her character fills in the missing pieces. For three seasons now we see her desperately try to make moves on various suitors, competing with Daphne and now Penelope. Unsuccessfully sabotaging on all attempts. 

Her desperation to find a husband portrays itself in the form of jealousy and gossiping with a side of bitching. But as viewers we never thought to ask ourselves what is causing this obsessive chase for an eligible suitor. Our questions are answered as we get a meet and greet with Lord Cowper in their mausoleum themed house. Cold, rude and controlling. Cressida may want to find herself a husband but her father wants her to have one even more. 

This pressure for love has seeped into Cressida’s friendships. This season we see her open up to Eloise, removing the hard faced exterior and finally dropping the mask. Before being rudely interrupted by Lord Cowper, Cressida has received her first call at the house from a friend thanks to Eloise.

With Eloise now on a pedestal, viewers can see how much making a friend means to Cressida and how her lack of them began simultaneously with when her season started. I am not discounting that Cressida didn’t play dirty. If you want a man, win him fair and square, not by blackmailing Daphne and Simon when she saw them in the garden or trying to psych out Penelope by her expansive knowledge on Lord Debling’s favourite bird. But it is pretty clear that with Lord Cowper at home, finishing another season single is simply not an option so yes maybe she has had to get her hands dirty.

Despite Cressida’s normal game playing we finally see her prioritise someone else over her own success this season. Falsely accused by Eloise, we see Cressida stay quiet when hearing the news that Colin was trying to wingman Penelope, which would have been and in turn was damaging to both their societal statuses. Even though it definitely crossed her mind, she remained loyal and if that doesn’t encapsulate her redemption arc then I am never going to shift your mindset on Bridgerton’s very own Regina George.

I am not saying we forgive and forget but our judgement towards her was fuelled from our misunderstanding. Behind her flamboyant hairstyles and grand dresses Cressida conceals the little girl who hopelessly wants to please her family. With no one ever getting close enough to bring her walls down, Eloise is slowly chipping away which is more valuable than any bachelor ever would be.