Well hi! Welcome back. Have you watched Fleabag Series 2 Episode 2? Because if you have and you feel like reading around what went on in another delightful installment of everyone's favourite television comedy-drama this is the recap you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t then get thee to a console capable of accessing iPlayer. Stat!
Last week’s episode took place over the course of a family dinner with some pretty heinous outcomes and the seeds were laid for some potential storylines and what I thought would be conceptual episodes. This week’s entry surprised me by beginning to utilise the concepts I imagined would take up an entire episode, for shorter scenes in a more conventionally structured screenplay. I’m guessing locations such as the therapist’s office will become recurring ones but hey, I’ve been wrong before. Last week in fact!
Shall we start from the beginning? I heard it was a decent place to… you know…
The first place we find Fleabag is in a church. Ahuh… It’s the start of mass and Father. Andrew Scott is front is centre. Fleabag starts looking around the church, her eye wandering over the body of Jesus on the cross, and she turns to camera and says: ‘Amen.’ A sign of irreverence to come!
Of course she’s come to seek out Father. Andrew Scott and is delightfully out of place giving the wrong responses at the wrong time. And of course she’s being inappropriate, frankly, wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s maybe more controversial is that Father. Andrew Scott starts fluffing the parish notices he’s reading out when he spies Fleabag in the congregation. He’s pretty happy he’s there.
They meet up after mass and the chemistry continues to fizz with awkward flirtatiousness. Too much? We meet pam a particularly enthusiastic member of the community who snatches Fleabag’s tenner (an attempt to pay Father. Andrew Scott back for the dinner he spotted her last week) for the collection. Pam is going to recur and she’s going to be good value. ‘Cupcake emergency!’
Fleabag is invited back to Father. Andrew Scott’s office for tea.
The office is full of tat and a painting of Jesus, with a woman holding the bottom his robe.
Perfect false modesty. She’s into it.
Father. Andrew Scott brings in the tea and is so nervous he spills it. He into her.
The tat is apparently for a fundraiser and he jokingly asks if she wants to help out before offering her a G and T in a can from M & S. I got a bit distracted because they came from a closet not a fridge and would have been gross but anyhoo. But take note of the fundraiser she’s been invited to. Obviously she shouldn’t go, right? Obviously, she’s going to.
Fleabag points out that she is an atheist and immediately the picture of Jesus falls off the wall. Is it a sign? Probs not.
At least I hope this isn’t story about Fleabag finding God, Waller-Bridge is too smart for it to be so simple so I think we’re safe. Fun, funny end to the scene is Father. Andrew Scott’s restaurant review title, a pun so lame that Fleabag is suddenly aware she does in fact fancy the priest. We all do, honey, we all do.
A quick Google search in bed later re: sleeping with a priest doesn’t look like it does much to help.
Claire turns up at the coffee shop the next day and is surprised that it is in fact busy.
‘Why are all these people here?’
It’s also chatty Wednesday where you have to chat to someone you don’t know if you buy something. Sounds awful TBH. But worth it for Claire’s interaction with an older gent.
‘......Tooting.’ Context is probably needed for that one but you’ll get it if you’ve watched.
She’s continuing to avoid dealing with the miscarriage she had in the restaurant bathroom but is wearing some pretty funky trainers so there’s that. She’s determined that Fleabag is going to carry the burden of having the family think she lost a baby.
This is drilled into us in the next scene, stolen (of course) by Oscar winner Olivia Coleman who can’t stop talking about it. Hilariously, she positions the sisters for their portrait by turning Fleabag all the way around until she’s facing the wall. This scene is comedy genius, as is Oscar winner Olivia Coleman in it.
‘I love that colour.’ ‘That’s actually three colours.’ In reference to a red painting which Oscar winner Olivia Coleman is conveniently getting rid of. ‘I had an orgasm when I finished it.’
Claire is stressed and needs canapes, which Fleabag sort of offers to make, for an event, and the scene wraps up with this corker of a line…
‘Haven’t you got a wonderfully thick neck.’ Genius!
Sorry If all I do is say Oscar winner Olivia Coleman is genius but well… you know… I can’t not tell the truth.
Outside we find out that Martin is planning to press charges for the punch Fleabag landed on his sleazy face in the last ep, although Claire, has an attorney she’ll pay for to help Fleabag get out of it. Apparently, he’s a defense attorney for rapists…
‘He’s a high success rate then?’
At the attorney’s office Claire tells Fleabag not to sleep with him and it turns out he’s super inappropriate and there’s some tension going on between Claire and him. Fleabag kind of goes back and forth about whether they have or haven’t already had sex. Claire just wants a letter to scare Martin off. But there’s so much flirting or whatever that was, along with so much mayonnaise on this guy’s face, that Fleabag has to get out.
Looking at some trees while she waits for Claire, Fleabag is seemingly overcome with the beauty of the tree, or maybe she’s just thinking of Father. Andrew Scott as the voices of a choir singing a hymn rise in the background. I feel like this might be a convention we see more and more of.
Claire says that the attorney will only walk Fleabag through proceedings if she has a drink with him. Super not ok, but she’s kind of into it. When Claire tells her not to sleep with him, Fleabag tells her she doesn't do that anymore, although Claire manages to niggle out that it’s because she’s sort of seeing someone, sort of because… they’re in a relationship… sort of…
Fleabag offers Claire the therapy voucher she got as a gift from her father but she declines.
Cut to: the therapist's office and Fiona Shaw facing Fleabag in the counselors chair, rubbing lotion into her dry forearms.
Turns out Fleabag is quite good at therapy as she rattles off the reasons her father might have given her the voucher, ending with how she’s spent most of her adult life using sex as a tool to deflect from the screaming void inside her empty heart. Also, it doesn’t appear that Fleabag has any friends. Not since Boo that is. Really sad. And abstinence is just making her horny. Once again she brings up Father. Andrew Scott, saying that she can’t sleep with him because he’s in a relationship ‘a bad one. The kind where one partner tells the other how to dress.’ But when she laughs at the idea of being in love, Therapist Fiona Shaw kind of reads her for filth only in her own words: ‘You’re just a girl with no friends and an empty heart.’
Fleabag reacts defensively, protesting that she does have friends and gives us, yes us, the audience a wink. This is the kind of irreverent, meta-humour, wall breaking that really gets me going and the next line ‘oh yeah, they’re always there,’ is kind of heartbreaking. The way Waller-Bridge delivers this line. Like she knows we’re not real, or like like she feels watched, judged continuously. Like we’re an intrusion. It really is something. She’s playing with the idea of why this convention exists at all. Why does Fleabag have asides to an invisible audience? Why is she telling us this? Confessing all of this? Get it? Confession? It’s relevant.
A theatrical storytelling convention held over from the play but even then it’s a convention with a purpose. This character is telling this story for a reason and this moment really brings to light the application of this convention and its reason for being held onto in the transition to TV. Even more so, if this season is going to deal with morality, with a sense of ‘am I an ok human?’ playing with the idea that Fleabag needs to confess to someone, to get her sins off her chest is really interesting. Does she want us to know? Does she feel judged? Are we intruding? It makes the whole deal more transactional. How do we feel about this character? What sins or similarities could we confess back? Why are we watching? Jesus, I hope they continue to explore this. But if not. That one moment was enough.
Finally, when Fleabag can’t get her voucher redeemed for cash she admits to wanting to fuck a priest. Therapist Fiona Shaw is very understanding and tells Fleabag she already knows what she’s going to do. Like all people they already know what they’re going to do… This kind of cut me to the quick. We already know what we’re going to do. We already know what we’re going to do. How am I not myself? Scary but could make those tough decisions easier... or not… Maybe not…
So, it’s not surprising to find Fleabag helping out at the church fundraiser. As if she wasn’t always going to show up there. She’s brought her stepmoms tri-colour/red painting.
While there she runs into her sensitive ex, Young Colin Farrell from Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, who is carrying a baby and suffering postnatal depression. Hilarious exchange.
Father. Andrew Scott interrupts and apologises as he doesn’t know how to speak to babies, fair duce. And like, they’re doing a lot to make him kind of perfect for Fleabag, which makes me wonder, how is he in fact not perfect for her? By being a priest, is probably the most accurate answer so far.
Pam lets us know the the band is about to play an ode to something and then as they’re kind of flirty bantering about Oscar winner Olivia Coleman’s orgasm, a cupcake emergency ensues and Father. Andrew Scott has to leave. We all felt that arm touch, Fleabag, we all felt it.
The band is terrible and Sleazy Martin slinks up to Fleabag, his son, inexplicably quite a lot more grown up than last season, is in the band. He’s trying to apologise but it seems as if he’s simply fishing for an apology from Fleabag, she won’t give it to him. I love that even though she kind of hates herself, she won’t let him win. She’s not a pushover.
Creepy Jake finds them in the crowd, he is satisfyingly creepy and apparently wears a harness so his sleazy Dad can pull him away from giving unwanted hugs. Martin leaves Fleabag while telling her that Claire has been happy, really happy, until she started talking to Fleabag again. Which smarts and maybe so, but in a total fantasy world.
Creepy Jake returns and sneakily (Sneaky Jake?) tells Fleabag to ‘tell her to leave him.’ Assumably, he’s talking about Claire. So, there’s more going on there and I’m going to assume Martin is even worse than he seems. Probably a lot worse. We can only hope really.
The last scene of this episode sees Fleabag trying to leave with a souvenir coconut which Father. Andrew Scott really needs back, they’re rented. He kind of exchanges it for a bible with some highlighted passages, ‘they’re only words,’ for Fleabag to read and then again offers to speak with her. That he’d like her to come.
Once again, I’m sure this isn’t going to go the route of Fleabag finds Jesus and redemption. I’m sure it’s more complicated. Maybe Father. Andrew Scott using the bible to see her again is an inappropriate use of a sacred tome? Maybe she calls him out on this when she finds out that he’s morally dubious as well? Who can say? Keep watching, I guess.
I always find it quite comforting when a show returns to a conventional episode format after a stylised entry such as last weeks bottle episode. There’s a comfort in returning to normalcy, which only heightens the ability of convention breaking episodes to be affecting later on. So, it was nice to have more going on in terms of scenes and characters. I’m think we’re going to see Therapist Fiona Shaw again and that portrait can’t be finished just yet. It’s fun to see the seeds which were planted in the first ep starting to grow.
That’s all this week.
Shoot off in the comments what you’re think Fleabag and the gang are going to get up to next week and any Father. Andrew Scott fan fic is extremely welcome.