Hi there and welcome back to Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag on BBC Three. Lots has happened since the first series, but la plus ça change...let's roll the second episode of the second series without further ado!
We open with Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in church, and yeah, if there's anything that could drag my irreligious arse into the holiest of holy, it's smoking hot Sweary Priest (Andrew Scott). I'd like to think I'd be more subtle than Flea drooling from the back pew, but let's be honest.
I will say the black eye she gave him the other night is an interesting touch. Flea's distracted by various depictions of Jesus Christ, including a larger than life plaster effigy hanging in the back. She snaps out of it in time to draw attention to herself, making Sweary smile that impossible Thorn-Birds-baity smirk and adorably lose his place in his own sermon.
An awkward conversation as everyone leaves (I feel as though I've had a dozen of these same chats, but picture a bar and a wobbly ginge), Flea tries to pay Sweary back for the meal to have it swiped by helpful Pam (Jo Martin) for the collection plate.
*More awkward silence*
YEAH I LIKE TEA!
Flea *smells his bible* while he prepares the cuppas, which he immediately spills all over the table screaming "BASTARD".
*I've just had a The Girl on the Train flashback*
*Really the problem is that I want to gif every single second Andrew Scott is onscreen*
Flea is a super atheist (like me!) but also seems to enjoy the ritual of being in church (also like me!), Sweary will have his work cut out. He is lovely enough to offer her condolences for the miscarriage she totally didn't have (her sister did but she's kind of a) but nails her on the bible-smelling.
It seems our Sweary writes corny restaurant reviews, woo!
We're off to Flea's bustling cafe, her sister Claire (Sian Clifford) and I are amazed. It's full! And everyone's talking to someone, Flea says it's Chatty Wednesday where everyone has to talk to someone they don't know.
*I know it's probably a joke, but I wish that was a real thing. I love talking to strangers!
I do not like Claire or watching Claire refuse to talk to a stranger or listening to her insist over and over that she's fine. She hasn't told her wanker husband Martin (Brett Gelman) about it and that's not really on, is it? It was going to be his baby, he'd probably appreciate the chance to support her hahahaha sorry I couldn't keep a straight face any longer. He's a complete arsehole.
Flea and Claire are off to see Godmother (Olivia Colman whom I adore, especially in this role) for lots of lingering hugs and probing questions. "Did you know who the father was?" is always a good opener. That rolls into their sitting for a portrait for their dad as a wedding present from Godmother, Flea is literally turned around and facing the wall.
See, the macabre part is that everyone hates Flea and takes joy in having something to judge and chide her about like: a miscarriage and presumably unwanted pregnancy as nobody knew of a possible father. They would treat nobody else like this, the condescension laced with sharp points is specific to Flea, so the fact that they're openly mistreating her in this matter is a bit of an eye-opener for the person who actually suffered the miscarriage: Claire. The family would show respect and kindness to Claire, but since it's Flea we get to hear all about Godmother's 6 friends with miscarriages who never had children after except one who really regretted it.
And "gosh. You've got a lovely thick neck" which is kind of magic on its own.
Oh Martin is charging Flea for assault, but Claire is providing a lawyer for her defense. How could you not be conflicted about someone who successfully defends rapists?
For one thing, he's extremely attractive, right until he opens his mouth. He's called Hot Misogynist (Ray Fearon) in IMDb, I can't improve on that. Maybe David, his actual name.
Flea thinks Claire and David are flirting, but he says he'll only help Flea if she goes for a drink with him. Total breach of ethics, Flea is thrilled. But then Sweary...
Time for the birthday therapy session! Oh and the counselor is Fiona Shaw from Harry Potter!
*Has there been a mass release of Harry Potter actors? I've seen absolutely loads of them in things lately! It's very exciting.
The Counselor lotions her forearms then jumps into the session after asking Flea to not make any jokes.
*Like. Any jokes? I don't think I can talk for more than a minute without some random segue making me laugh.
Right, onward, why is Flea there?
Well. Upshot is: Flea (by her own description) is a girl with no friends and an empty heart, which she used to fill by jumping on anything that moved. But she doesn't do that any more. Really: she's there because she wants it to be okay to hump Sweary.
She's moved on from bouncing on everyone to only wanting to snog those she can't have as some kind of abstinence drill. The Counselor knows what Flea wants to do, everyone always knows what they're going to do, they just want it to be approved.
Sometimes Fleabag scares me.
Off to the church bazaar where Flea is handing out raffle tickets, but to who? To her ex-boyfriend Harry (Hugh Skinner) who has a newborn strapped to his chest.
She gets what she's after, mostly.
Martin corners Flea to repeatedly apologize, trying to bait her into saying sorry back as an admission of guilt which leads to a great speech by Flea...until the end. "You're a weakie" isn't probably anyone's go-to as far as insults go.
Creepy stepson Jake (Angus Imrie) comes in for a hug and surprisingly cogent advice: "tell her to leave him." I don't understand at all why Claire is with a reprehensible oaf like Martin, but then I can't stand Claire either, so maybe it's like with like? Fleabag series one was a great reminder of the fact that once a family member is part of a couple, you don't really know them. They have separate allegiances, secret chats even, and those outside of it are very much outside, however closely related.
Flea checks out Sweary surrounded by attractive young women and leaves, to be followed by the bible-carrying priest himself. He's marked it up for her, he's available to talk about it whenever she likes, he'd like that.
MMmh. I am of two minds. I quite like it when Flea breaks that fourth wall and addresses us directly, but it was too much this episode, I think. I like the wink to the camera but it wrecks the flow when the other characters have to ignore it 10 times in one scene.
*That's not like when I break in with my sidenotes, right? IZZIT?
How does Andrew Scott walk around all day without some kind of a plexiglass enclosure? His charisma and charm just leap off the screen, it's not even his looks, it's just HIM. Intoxicating, which means he's perfectly cast as forbidden and boozy fruit. I spent most of the last series of Sherlock trying to figure out if he and Holmes were going to shag, but seems I'd got the wrong end of the stick there. Booo.