Fleabag takes a small field trip in episode three, as the order of the day is a work function for her sister Claire – and she’s in charge of the canapés. Naturally, with the mounting tension between the siblings as well as the ever strengthening acidity of their respective characters, mistakes are made and mild, slapstick chaos ensues. The jokes are fast and frequent, letting a change of scenery lighten the mood.
The get-together introduces one of the highly awaited guest performances in the new series, as Kristin Scott Thomas makes a suitably commendable appearance as award-winning Woman in Business, Belinda. Her narrative arc bends, as the Alpha Female image skilfully turns into a more enlightening character, one that seems to answer questions Fleabag hadn’t known how to ask.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag
Waller-Bridge’s stage background then seeps through, as much of Scott Thomas’ work relies on sparkly, but slightly dense monologues. The words ring true and still show a knack for understanding alienated womanhood and broader social anxieties under a new light, but the structure allows for a more detached viewing experience than we’ve been used to. Fleabag comes to terms with what she wants by listening, here, making for a considerably more earnest chapter in this new story.
Naturally, Andrew Scott’s Priest cinches the episode, but his relationship with Fleabag also takes a more sincere turn. For viewers in search of a juicy conclusion, there’s still clearly more road to travel. There's a painfully confessional conversation, as both sexual attraction and emotional longing are prodded, questioned, cleared up but also further clouded still. If anything, the narrative asides Fleabag usually relies on can almost feel intrusive.
But episode three of eight is what Wednesday is to a treacherous week, what the 18th is to a month of 31 days. This is still arresting, innovative television, merely setting up the deepest satisfactions still to come.
|What||Fleabag series 2, BBC review, episode 3|
18 Mar 19 – 18 Mar 20, AVAILABLE ON BBC iPLAYER NOW
|Website||Watch on BBC iPlayer now|