That Whirlwind 'Bridgerton' Ending, Explained

Lady Whistledown is WHO?!

The closing scene of 'Bridgerton.'
(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Spoilers ahead for season one of BridgertonThere's something to be said for shows and movies that make the bold choice not to torture their audiences by ending on a frustrating, game-changing cliffhanger, and instead tie up just about every loose end in a neat—if occasionally heartbreaking—bow. Netflix's Bridgerton is the latest addition to this illustrious genre: After seven episodes of society-shaking scandals and far more than its fair share of will-they, won't-they, who-even-is-she moments, the period drama's first season wraps up in an extended final episode that acts as a near-perfect epilogue to almost every single character's storyline.

While many other shows might merely extend the Regency-era drama into the last seconds of the finale, sending viewers to angrily tweet about needing a second season right this instant, Bridgerton is the rare series that gives us answers to pretty much every unresolved question (though that won't stop us from angrily tweeting about needing a second season right this second). Will Simon get over the grudge against his father and agree to start a family of his own? Answered. Does Anthony buck his high status and begin formally courting his illicit lover? Answered. Do Eloise and Queen Charlotte ever figure out who Lady Whistledown is? Very much answered!

Even with these (mostly) satisfying conclusions, though, there's still plenty to discuss. Let's dive into every major reveal of the finale, and what they mean for the Ton moving forward.

Warning: Major spoilers ahead for the season one finale of Bridgerton.

The Duke and Duchess of Hastings welcome a son.

FYI, everyone: If your partner has spent decades holding a grudge against their father and vowing never to sire any children so that the Hastings dukedom dies with them, all it takes to reverse that lifelong promise is donning a dreamy pastel-colored dress and proclaiming your doe-eyed love for them despite their childhood traumas. The more you know!

In the finale, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) is shown giving birth to the future Duke of Hastings (that is, unless Simon, played by Regé-Jean Page, finds a way to renounce the title completely before his death) with her husband by her side. It's a blissful moment for the couple, who spent the entire season veering wildly between moments of intense passion and seemingly deal-breaking arguments, and seem to have finally found peace in a relationship that, like any good one, began as a farce and blossomed into a betrothal only to avoid a deathly duel.

Plus, in a sweet nod to Daphne's own alphabetically arranged family, Simon announces that their son's name must start with an A. Judging by the way Simon and Daphne seem physically incapable of keeping their hands off one another, it won't be surprising if they get way deeper into the alphabet than the Bridgertons' A-to-H.

Marina Thompson accepts Sir Phillip Crane's proposal.

Marina (played by Ruby Barker) had a rough go of it this season. First, she was sent to live with her distant and mostly terrible cousins, the Featheringtons, to arrange a shotgun wedding that would cover up her disastrous "condition," a.k.a. premarital pregnancy. She set her sights on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), only to have those plans crumble when said "condition" was exposed by Lady Whistledown (much more on her later). As if that wasn't enough for one young lady to deal with, shortly after a failed attempt to induce an abortion by ingesting a truly gnarly concoction of herbs and spices, Marina found out that the father of her child had died in battle.

That final piece of news came via Phillip, her former flame's brother, who offered his own hand in consolation. Though Marina initially rejected his proposal, she eventually realized that marrying Phillip was likely her best option in a world that has a tendency to ostracize women who don't behave the way society believes they should, and was shown leaving London in a carriage with her husband-to-be.

A scene from 'Bridgerton.'

(Image credit: Nick Briggs/Netflix)

Anthony Bridgerton decides to get serious about finding a wife.

Speaking of people who like to control women's lives with no regard for the women's own desires...! Anthony, played by Jonathan Bailey, was by far the most frustrating character of the series, most prominently in the hypocrisy he showed while almost ruining his sister Daphne's chances of finding a suitable husband due to his own prejudices and bad judgment, but, in the meantime, carrying on an illicit affair of his own with a lover deemed "unsuitable" by society.

Though Anthony finally made the brave choice to start treating the aforementioned lover, opera singer Siena Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett), as an actual human being with needs and feelings toward the end of the series, it was too little, too late, and Siena (rightfully) kicked him to the curb, preferring to stay in her fancy house with a man who "does not wish for [her] to change."

In return, Anthony vows in the final moments of season one to find himself a viscountess as soon as possible, and preferably one who is the most sensible choice, rather than a romantic match. Sounds like a recipe for a great marriage!

Lord Featherington is killed.

Earlier in the series, the patriarch of the Featherington family is shown to have a gambling addiction so intense that he can't afford his daughters' dowries. Things briefly start looking up for Lord Featherington (Ben Miller) after he makes an under-the-table deal with boxer Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe), who agrees to throw his next match in return for a cut of Featherington's profits from betting against him. Unfortunately for all involved, Featherington's bookies somehow uncover the plan and, to teach him a very extreme lesson, ambush him with a bottle of laudanum, a form of opium with potentially fatal effects.

Because of the disturbingly patriarchal rules of the Georgian era, Featherington's death and lack of a male heir means that the family estate will pass not to his wife or daughters, but to some man whose identity is discovered by Lady Featherington (Polly Walker) and her trusty maid Mrs. Varley (Lorraine Ashbourne). They don't reveal the man's name to the audience, so we'll have to wait until season two to see whether the estate goes to a distant family member, a local nobleman we've already met, or one of the bookies to whom Featherington bet the deed to his house.

Lord Featherington reads a news paper.

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Penelope Featherington is revealed to be Lady Whistledown.

Most importantly, shockingly, and excitingly of all, the final minutes of the season one finale also reveal the true identity of local gossip-monger Lady Whistledown. Her Julie Andrews-narrated voiceovers are proven to be a red herring of near-Gossip Girl proportions when Whistledown lifts her hood to reveal none other than Penelope Featherington (!!), played by Nicola Coughlan, who wasn't anywhere near her best friend Eloise Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte's respective lists of suspects.

In avoiding a cliffhanger, however, this particular reveal does invite a whole host of questions that we'll now have to wait until future installments of Bridgerton are released to be answered. Namely: How did she get into the gossip-writing business? Why is Lady Whistledown cruelest of all to her own family? How has she kept her secret under wraps for so long? Who else knows her identity? And, of course, will she ever tell Eloise? Only time will tell, dear readers.

Andrea Park

Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.