It’s hardly a revelation that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character enjoys sex. For most of the first series, her appetites opened the door to her psyche and still define the broad outline of her personality. But seldom is a person’s libido given the breadth and depth to exist as both a need and an affliction, simultaneously a self-aware quest and a heavy burden. In episode four, this longing grows in Fleabag, and in her audience too.
The miracle of the show lies in the intricately woven narrative that always builds, adding strands to vivid backstories and shading plot lines that could so easily be dismissed. In layman’s terms – Fleabag and the Priest are now friends (really), there’s a detailed flashback to her mother’s funeral, and undoable confrontations colour a late night encounter that blows the roof off all well-kept confessions.
There's crying, confessing and chemically thrilling moments in episode four of Fleabag
Waller-Bridge is opening up in a major way. The charm of her disaffected, cynical and all-knowing protagonist used to limit itself to the distrust of earnestness, the backwards satisfaction of shrugging off insecurities with a slicing laugh. But now, the Fleabag of the past and the woman in the present just feel so much more – without needing a punchline. At her mother’s funeral three years prior, she looks tremendous (everyone keeps telling her so), but she also cries. She admits she has love to give, and doesn’t know where to put it.
Now, after the frustrating friend-zone confrontation with the Priest, she’s starting to crumble. He’s unravelling too – asking her the questions we all want answers to, spying and quizzing her asides that have always been just for us.
It becomes clear that Fleabag has met her match. He’s not a person who will, or even can, fill her empty parts and end her story. He’s just on the other side of the booth, sliding open the door to let her sins, fears, wants and words flow more freely.
The Priest flicks a switch. He’s set something alight in Fleabag, something that’s burning fast. Even when warning signs from above try to hamper it, the damage is already done. He’s sweating, shaking his head. She's looking at us in an entirely new way. It’s rage – her eyes are furious. And somehow, this particular piece of forbidden fruit has been tasted and taken away with still two more episodes to go.
|What||Fleabag series 2, BBC review, episode 4|
25 Mar 19 – 25 Mar 20, AVAILABLE ON BBC iPLAYER NOW
|Website||Watch on BBC iPlayer now|