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Steve Schofield/Amazon

Phoebe Waller-Bridge didn’t need to make a second season of Fleabag. The 33-year-old Brit was in a very comfortable place career-wise with the success of Killing Eve, the intoxicating spy series she helped develop, and plum acting gigs like her role as Lando Calrissian’s droid girlfriend in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Her star is rising so high that Daniel Craig reportedly asked her to take a pass at the script for the forthcoming James Bond flick.

There also didn’t need to be a second season of Fleabag. The first run of episodes from 2016 was a perfectly contained story of a young woman in London (played to perfection by Waller-Bridge) avoiding dealing with the successive deaths of her mother and her best friend—and the guilt she feels about both—by drinking a lot, sleeping around, and keeping everyone at an arm’s length. It was heartfelt and crass, but most importantly, it was very, very funny.

But with a little nudge from the BBC, Waller-Bridge went back to the well and found a way to continue the story of this character (known only in the credits as “Fleabag”) and her dysfunctional family that was true to their already rich first season form, while giving them more room to develop and evolve. And she did it, as she told the New York Times back in February, by making the second season all about the main character “finding faith.”


Just who Fleabag’s speaking to (her mom? her dead friend? herself? God?) is never really made clear, but it doesn’t need to be explained. All that matters is that she's still got her arms up, keeping the world at bay.


Opening the door for that search is the Priest, a foul-mouthed, well-intentioned, and devilishly handsome Catholic vicar (played by Andrew Scott, aka Moriarty from the recent Sherlock reboot). He’s on hand to help preside over the marriage of Fleabag’s put-upon father (Bill Paterson) and truly awful godmother (Olivia Colman, as petulant and snotty as she was in The Favourite). But it isn’t long before he’s drawn into Fleabag’s orbit and vice versa. They’ve both been dealt some terrible hands in life but taken completely opposite paths to come to terms with their ill fates. Their chemistry is undeniable and they are soon questioning their respective beliefs.

As the series opens, Fleabag has already arrived at some kind of conviction, mostly in herself. The café she runs is doing well and she’s been celibate for over a year. And throughout these six episodes, she acts selflessly, backing up her successful but miserable sister Claire (Sian Clifford) and trying to reach some kind of detente with her godmother. Sure, she also socks her dirtbag of a brother-in-law (Brett Gelman at his slimiest) in the face, but it’s truly for the greater good.

What she has yet to outrun, though, are the ghosts of the past and her fears for her future. She’s kept the latter at bay, it would seem, since season one ended, but the former live on in fractured memories and continued fourth-wall breaking asides to the camera. In season one, it was a narrative device, allowing Fleabag to snark about whatever is happening in any given scene. Here, it is revealed to be a crutch, as the Priest starts to pick up on her inner monologue and challenges her for always “disappearing” in the middle of a conversation.

Just who she’s speaking to (her mom? her dead friend? herself? God?) is never really made clear, but it doesn’t need to be explained. All that matters is that she's still got her arms up, keeping the world at bay. Watching her slowly let down that guard and welcome people in finds Fleabag at its most heartwarming and inspiring—two adjectives I never thought I would use to describe this show.


Fleabag is now streaming on Amazon.