Francesca and Kilmartin are the underrated romance of Bridgerton season 3 part 1

Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Bridgerton season 3 is Penelope and Colin's love story but the latest installment doesn't solely focus on their romance. No, the season has multiple tips of the hat toward love being in the air. But the most captivating side pairing features a Bridgerton. I'm speaking of the talented, and often preoccupied with the piano forte, Francesca who makes her debut into society in this season.

Unlike her siblings, Francesca is quiet and prefers to keep to herself. The business of finding a husband is something she's aware must happen, but she's not really concerned with finding a love match. She simply wants a man who is kind. The more she talks with the men of the ton, the more Francesca is able to really discern what she's looking for in a partner. Quiet in nature and in desperate need of a household that isn't filled to the brim with people, she wants someone who has similar sensibilities as herself. Enter Lord Kilmartin.

The two come upon each other during a ball as they're taking some air and escaping from the revelry. At this point in the season, Francesca is being wooed by Lord Samadani, the queen's pick for her suitor. Samadani also comes from a large family and he intends on having one just as big with a house that's never quiet. This is a deterrent to Francesca and her open mind about the match begins to close once she meets Kilmartin.

The Earl, like Francesca, is comfortable in silence. Jokingly, but in some ways sincerely, it becomes their preferred mode of communication. While the Bridgertons find it odd, the pair's ability to rest in each other's company is thrilling to them. Francesca, who'd previously not put much energy into finding a partner, comes to life around Kilmartin and makes a point of seeking him out.

Her mother, Violet, had been concerned that her daughter would passively accept any man put before her as long as he was a decent choice. Having only known a love match, Violet has no understanding of what it's like for love to blossom over time or for someone to accept that marriage does not have to go hand-in-hand with passion and an undying, world shaking devotion. As such, she's at a loss of what to do with Francesca or how to help her.

Kilmartin's quiet affection and the way Francesca blooms before him, takes her by surprise. He is not a showy man. As he confesses to Francesca, he's a man of few words and even those he finds lacking, but he believes in a gesture. Though he had dashed off after speaking to her on the street, he'd only done so in order to procure (or perhaps write, this isn't answered in part 1) sheet music for her of the song playing as they spoke, rearranged to her specifications.

Francesca had commented that the musician had been playing too fast for the song to be enjoyable. Kilmartin had found her critique helpful but hadn't elaborated on why before he abruptly left, so she'd been under the impression that she'd misstepped. But she was mistaken. She, too, had been on his mind and he wanted to give her something of use that she could enjoy but also find beautiful.

Once he passed the sheet music to her at yet another ball they had to attend, Francesca immediately wanted to go home to learn the piece. Her pleasure and sheer happiness over Kilmartin's gesture floored Violet. The love springing up between her daughter and the earl is in no way flashy. There's no grand passion. The two aren't being swept away on a current of lust. They're as gentle as the breeze and it not only sets them apart but also makes them refreshing.

The Bridgerton franchise screams love and romance in all caps. It leans hard into being a bodice ripper and revels in the ecstasy and euphoria of intimacy. But shows like this also need quieter forms of affection and adoration. Not all couples burn for one another but they nonetheless have the same tenderness and care that their fiery counterparts have for each other. It's important that's shown and given the same amount of weight because love takes many forms but when it's between people who respect, honor, and cherish one another, it's valid in every one of them.

I'm looking forward where season 3 might take Francesca and Kilmartin on part 2. They are one of the sweetest pairs to grace this franchise, and I hope they get every happiness they deserve.

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