With season 2 now streaming on Netflix, Bridgerton is back on our TV screens. And that means so is the duo of Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. Played by Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton, they are one of the most popular ships in the fandom. They are certainly my personal favorite.
Now Polin, as the ship is dubbed, seems to have entered what we all wish is the most hopeless time in their story at the end of season 2. That sounds like it’s the perfect time to remember all the wonderful things this ship is about. Let’s celebrate the source material and the talented actors who play this pair.
Polin is amazing, both as a couple and as individual characters, and the alphabet can lead us to just some of the reasons why.
A is for Always
For Penelope, this is how long she feels like she’s loved Colin, and for the pair of them, this is how long their happiness will last once they finally achieve it. Their bond is permanent, and that’s what this word means for them.
B is for Brave
It takes courage to let love into your life. But Penelope was also brave to risk being Lady Whistledown and to do it for so long. It is also brave to take part in society when you know a bully like Cressida Cowper is waiting for you. Plus, it takes bravery to defend someone from a bully, as Colin does in the show.
C is for Comfortable
This is what interacting with each other is like for Colin and Penelope: comfortable. It is easy. It is effortless. They can talk to each other so well, the way we never really see them do with anyone else. And they LIKE talking to each other, that’s clear in every moment they spend together.
D is for Dancing
In period dramas like Bridgerton, when two people dance, it usually takes on a special significance. That is certainly the case for these two. Penelope cherishes the times’ Colin dances with her, even just as friends. Dancing is their thing, and I love that.
E is for Engaging
This is a good descriptive word for the type of conversations Colin and Penelope have with each other. They are fully interested in and focused on the other person. It’s a good foundation for romance, isn’t it? Engaging also applies to the performances of Nicola and Luke in the series.
F is for Friendship
What other word would be so fitting for this letter? This couple is friends long before they are anything else, and that’s important. Friendship is a fundamental element of an exceptional love story. That’s what Colin and Penelope are to each other: friends to lovers. Especially in the television series.
G is for Growth
Maturing and evolving is what both of these characters, particularly Colin, need before they can get together. They need to grow to become a couple, and they also help each other grow into the people they are supposed to be. It’s a remarkable thing, and it’s a feature of more than one great love story.
H is for Home
Because home is what Colin and Penelope are for each other. In Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Colin even thinks, “Home was with Penelope.” This is a man who loves to travel and see new places, so this statement means a lot. Home is where people feel they belong and that is what Pen is for Colin The best ships describe each other like this.
I is for Inspiration
In the final episode of Bridgerton‘s first season, Colin said that Penelope inspired him to take his first tour of Europe. In the books, she is the one who encourages him to publish his travel journals. For Penelope, Colin’s interest is a source of confidence that couldn’t come from any other source because it’s HIM. They inspire each other, and that’s special.
J is for Jokes
When these two share a laugh, it is a moment to savor. And it happens often, both in the book and in the show. In fact, in episode 1×04, Penelope’s quip about the resemblance between their infant host and his mother’s footman leaves Colin visibly stunned for a second. Laughter is an important element of a lasting romance and Polin has it.
K is for Kindness
Both of these characters, but Penelope in particular, are kind to others. Especially each other. The television show has given them more chances to demonstrate this quality and I hope it continues to do so. Being kind is such an underrated quality in a romance that this aspect of Polin is refreshing to see.
L is for Love
Love, because that’s what Polin’s journey is all about, right? It is what they will build between them and what they feel for each other. Or at least, what they will feel and show each other when they are ready. It is remarkable that they will shift from platonic to romantic love over the course of their story as well.
M is for Mirror
This is a Bridgerton book reference. (Which I hope will become a show reference too.) If you know, you know. *wink, wink*
N is for Near
When Colin and Penelope are in proximity to each other, they are clearly happy and engaged. The performances in the show convey this to the audience immediately in many scenes. These two like being near each other, and that fact is undeniable. The way two people behave when they’re around each other means a lot, after all.
O is for Observant
Since Penelope has to be observant to be Lady Whistledown, you may think this entry only applies to her. But that’s not so. Even long before Colin realizes his feelings for her, Penelope is someone he notices, and so he is also observant when it comes to her. Of course, we all wish that his attention became romantic far earlier but he still sees her.
P is for Pull
An outstanding detail of the staging of this series is the way Colin frequently crosses spaces to talk to Penelope. The viewer can tell he feels drawn toward her, to talk to her. It’s strong evidence that he will eventually realize he feels the same way about her as she does about him. It’s a subconscious thing, and that’s part of why it says so much.
Q is for Quiet
Penelope is often described as quiet, and there are characters who say she never speaks. More importantly, their romance doesn’t begin with the bang of love at first sight, like Benedict’s, or with the friction of bickering like Anthony’s. It’s much less overt but just as valid.
R is for Relaxed
I’ve already said that Colin and Penelope are at ease and comfortable with each other, and it bears repeating. They are more themselves when they are around each other. They are relaxed. Both book readers and television viewers know what this means about the couple in question– they are a good romantic match. And that’s just the way it is.
S is for Smiles
These two smile at each other so much that it is almost obscene! Of course, this is an indication of how positive their interactions are, and how good they feel being around each other. How can you not cheer for a couple when they light up when they’re next to each other, the way Colin and Penelope do? It’s all in the way they look at one another.
T is for Time
A lot of years had to go by before Penelope got the happily ever after she deserved. Viewers of the show will have to do their best to enjoy three whole seasons before Polin’s love story gets the onscreen treatment. Waiting is simply a part of being a fan of this ship. What’s that saying, though? The best things are worth waiting for? Let’s hope it’s true.
U is for Unrequited
For a painfully long time, Penelope’s feelings for Colin were not returned. And, heartbreakingly, she thought they never would be. Is there anything more relatable than unrequited love? This trope immediately creates empathy for the characters. You invest even more in their happy ending. Especially if the change from unrequited to requited is convincing, as it is for Polin.
V is for Valuable
Both Colin and Penelope struggle at different times with seeing their own value. Colin feels like he must find a purpose as his brothers seem to have done, and Penelope must endure many years of being ignored romantically and socially. The most touching part of their romance to me is the way they help each other see their own worth. They are valuable to each other, and that makes all the difference.
W is for Wit
As the pen behind the famous and successful gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, Penelope’s wit is published for public consumption but it is anonymous. No one knows that part of her personality in real life, except Colin. Or at least she displays it around Colin the most because he brings out the real her like no one else does. And vice versa.
X is for eXpress
The way Colin and Penelope communicate so well with each other is a defining part of their dynamic. When they are at the same place with their feeling at last and then express that through actions and words, well, that will be historical, won’t it? (Yes, I know this word starts with e but give me a break, x is a hard one, okay?)
Y is for Yellow
It’s the color Penelope is notorious for wearing because her mother forces her to even though it doesn’t suit her. So, what better choice for this letter? This bright shade has become the signature color for this couple despite Penelope’s distaste for it. Plus, Nicola Coughlan still photographs well in the color, anyway.
Z is for Zero
Because that’s the number of things that would make me NOT want Colin and Penelope to get together at this point. And I think it’s a safe bet that most Polin fans feel the same way. Even if we didn’t have the source material, the fact that these two are endgame would be obvious. And I have zero complaints about that.
Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix.