Nicola Coughlan on friends-to-lovers romance in 'Bridgerton' season 3

Dearest reader, Bridgerton season 3 is finally here.

The new season of the popular Shonda Rhimes show arrived Thursday, May 16, on Netflix. It centers on the romance between Nicola Coughlan's Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton's Colin Bridgerton.

In an interview with Good Morning America ahead of the new season, Coughlan said she was excited to explore Penelope and Colin's friends-to-lovers arc.

"They really have built a foundation of friendship, which sets them up for better or for worse in the future," Newton said. "Ultimately, it's something that really connects them -- the history of the two characters."

The new season picks up after season 2 dramatically culminated with Penelope overhearing Colin tell friends he'd never "dream of courting" her.

Coughlan said she was interested in delving into the shifting power dynamic between the two in the upcoming season.

"I was excited to explore her and Colin's relationship when they were finally on an even playing field, because they never have been before," she said. "That's a lot to do with Pen just idolizing Colin and putting him on way too much of a pedestal."

Following last season, Coughlan said she was "excited for [Penelope] to then not think of him in that way and to give him hell for what he said about her."

While Coughlan said Penelope's and Colin's relationship "never goes back to what it was," she shared how it serves as a catalyst for change for Penelope, who embarks on her own path this season and is determined to find a husband.

"That's a wonderful thing," she said. "Sometimes, if you can break out of patterns you have with people and go, 'This is who I am now, and I'm not gonna be treated like that' -- that's really empowering."

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