SPOILERS ahead! This is a recap so watch the episode first if you don’t want to literally be told what happened, ok Cheryl?
Well, it happened. And it was… depressing. Let’s starts from the top, shall we?
The before for this episode was pretty long and wandering, visiting moments from all over the last two seasons, which gives one the impression we’re going to be dealing with A LOT this episode, which is… not wrong.
‘I don’t know…’ Father. Andrew Scott is trying on ceremonial robes… priest outfits? Dresses? And Fleabag is helping. They’re really going for it with the trying to be friends thing. Although, as we see in the next scene, as the pair walk through a very familiar looks St. Martin's Lane (I hae dinner in that hotel once! I used to work in a pizza place around the corner from there!), Fleabag is still very much thinking with her loins.
‘His beautiful neck.’
He heard her. The line is blurring between Fleabag asides and her connection with a real life. Does this mean she’s opening up? Is that what’s happening? If we’re her confidant, like Boo was, is he filling that space? From the talk of funerals and weddings there’s some foreshadowing that this episode is going to touch on well, both of those things.
Father. Andrew Scott takes Fleabag to a quaker meeting where you’re not allowed to speak unless the spirit compels you too. She can still talk to us, just to let us know how erotica she’s finding the whole thing, thank god. One guy think he’s going to go home in November, he thinks. She’s concerned with Father. Andrew Scott is thinking and then, the spirit compelled her to stand and this happens:
‘I sometimes worry that I wouldn't be such a feminist if I had bigger tits.’
Classic, pointed throwaway line. Amazing. It got Father. Andrew Scott thinking about her tits, still. From there they go to the cafe and ‘THE FUCK!” Father. Andrew Scott is obsessed with the guinea pig, which starts the memories of Boo coming back into Fleabag’s periphery. When talk turns to the wedding we learn that Oscar Winner Olivia Coleman met Fleabag’s Dad through her deceased mum. Wow.
Casual talk leads Father. Andrew Scott into a line of questioning ‘who does she run the cafe with,’ ‘where are they,’ and Fleabag shuts down. She won’t tell him.
‘I’m trying to get to know you.’
‘Well, I don’t want that.’
Whoa. So despite wanting to be his friend, wanting to be more than his friend. She’s not willing to open up, not to him at least. It gets worse when he goes a bit, um, priesty, and says he’s trying to help her and she essentially kicks him out.
‘I have to get back to work, a customer is sure to turn u soon. And you should be getting back to God, don’t you think?’
He leaves, looking pretty unhappy about how things went down.
What I actually love about this scene is that even though Fleabag is into this guy, and even though she probably wants to open up to him, she’s firm when she doesn’t want to, she’s firm telling him he’s played with her guinea pig long enough.
She’s not happy though. As evidenced by the cigarette on her walk home, the way she starts to look at us like we’re intruding, or following her uninvitedly, and finally, by the flashbacks to her mother’s funeral which start to interrupt her train of thought.
Boo is there. At the funeral, where Fleabag is wiping her face because she… looks incredible. As if funerals really agree with her. Literally, she looks so good everyone comments on it.
‘You look glorious.’
‘No matter what I do with my hair it just keeps falling in this really chic way!’
Oscar Winner Olivia Coleman is hanging about Dad and Claire chides Fleabag for suspecting the worst in people. Boo offers Fleabag a cigarette. In a minute she’ll promise how she’s always, always, always going to be there for them… always. As if her sights are already firmly planted on the father.
Outside Young Colin Firth in Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again turns up, having just drunk a large glass of water, and he’s distraught. He asks if Fleabag has cried and she obviously lies that she has. She hasn’t. His presence only goes to highlight the difference between them.
At the wake Fleabag is managing to eat, much to Claire’s disbelief and Fleabag finally gets around to speaking with her father.
Dad is more eloquently spoken in this scene than he has been in just about any since and he says that today he was jealous of his now deceased wife.
‘That’s a lovely thing to say, really.’
Mostly, because she was so fun, carefree and loving. Traits he is missing and that sound like a familiar dichotomy. As Dad says, Claire loves her sister, she just didn’t get the fun gene, like Fleabag. Oscar Winner Olivia Coleman pokes here head in and Dad , DAD!, is the one who says she’s a bit annoying. I suppose he’s with her now because he needs something. He tells Fleabag to smile and buck up, which seems like advice she lives on. Being closed off, making a joke. That’s her survival method and he’s where she learnt it from.
Later on, Fleabag tells Boo that she doesn't know what to do, where to put all the love she had for her mother and Boo says:
‘It sounds lovely, I’ll have it. You’ve got to give it to me. It’s got to go somewhere.’
Maybe it’s supposed to be surprising that Fleabag is actually full of love, but I think it’s obvious in the way she protects her sister, lying that she’s had miscarriage, and sticks with her family even when they seem to discount her entirely. I think perhaps it’s not so obvious to her now, the capability to be filled with love, after what happened with Boo.
All this thinking, remember her mother, takes her to the church where she’s a attempting a little prayer. Only there’s music coming from another room.
Investigating the noise, Fleabag finds Father. Andrew Scott drunk, listening the JLo and trying to get a bottle of whiskey off a high shelf.
‘Fuck you calling me Father like it doesn’t turn you on just to say it.’
Things are starting off in a pretty charged up place.
When she tells him she was on the verge of a little prayer he responds firstly:
‘That’s my thing.’
‘Please say you were praying for me, I could use the extra pair of hands. Mine don’t seem to have the reach.’
Father. Andrew Scott gets the whiskey down, eventually, and then starts talking about a man who castrated himself in order to become a saint. Then toasts to peace and ‘those who get in the way of it.’ Someone is struggling with his earthly desires.
Fleabag apologises for today and Father. Andrew Scott (we need to take a minute just to focus on how good he is here, like, I’m not sure anyone else could pull this and be so likable but dangerous) starts showing off the first priest robe… dress? He ever bought in Rome. Again reinforcing that he’s looking back, ruminating on his decision to join the church.
Fleabag is still being closed off and he has an idea. The confessional booth.
After some reticence Fleabag agrees to try it. I have to say the tension was already getting palpable, these two who definitely should not be tempting each other popping themselves into a dark booth next to each other.
They get the pleasantries ‘forgive me father…’ out of the way, Fleabag dismissing them, before she comes clean about lying re having a miscarriage. She confesses her infidelity, a spot of sodomy, a touch a violence ands the endless fucking blasphemy. And?
She struggles to go. The says she’s frightened of forgetting people and is ashamed of… of what? Not what she wants:
‘I know exactly what I want.’ So do we.
He pushes her, clearly baiting. But Fleabag starts to say she wants someone to tell her what to wear every morning, what to eat, what to hate what to rage about… the list goes on. She wants someone to tell her how to do everything, how to live because she thinks she’s been getting it wrong. She believes she’s been messing it up. And even though she doesn’t believe in religion she’s still scared. Of judgment, we can assume. That’s she’s wrong or bad or going to hell. Then she asks him to tell her what to do.
And he says kneel. At this point we can all see where this is heading. She’s weak, confused, his drunk and unsure and suddenly he’;s standing in front of her, the curtain drawn back.
He kneels too and they start making out. Like, going for it. She tries to get his robey thing off…
‘Is this a skirt and trousers?’
And then, before thing get too out of hand, a painting falls of the wall, crashing on the floor and interrupting them. Perhaps, an act of god or just a weak nail, this is a call back to the time a picture fell in Father. Andrew Scott’s office earlier in the season. He stops, looks disappointed or maybe a bit angry at her, then leaves. She watches him go grumpily and then… looks back at us.
The thing here is, I truly believe she went there looking for her friend, to talk about the memories she was having about her mother, about Boo, looking for solace and potentially wanting to let him see that side of her. And he took advantage of that. Certainly, she was an active part in it, but he was the man of the cloth. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the next couple of episodes.
Will she find a friend to open up to? Will she keep speaking to us? Will she reconcile with what she’s done in the past and realise she’s not going to hell?
Also, will Father. Andrew Scott turn on her completely now, blaming her for tempting him, or will he stay a sympathetic character? Could they remain friends, their weakness and constant struggle for goodness, something which brings them closer together? It could go either way, although I’m hoping for the latter.
We shall see!
It was a heavy week for Fleabag and quite a few of the story arcs we predicted are coming to fruition. I have no idea how the fall out is going to be handled so the next couple of weeks will be really fun to watch. See you then!