Fleabag and Julia Flyte

The final episode of Fleabag’s second TV series was broadcast yesterday on BBC. The series has occasioned more than the usual amount of comment in the press. See earlier post. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Serena Davies has high praise for the series, written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge who also played the lead role.  She credits the BBC with taking a decision to make a series that foregoes the usual noirish thriller with “no-strings sex” or its “opposite, the tightly-corseted period drama.” Instead they have delivered an “investigation into how faith and human attachment at their best are synonymous versions of love.”

Davies describes the story as a “clash of religion and romance” not seen since

“the adulterous heroine of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair gave up her lover because she believed God had preserved his life during the Blitz.[…] Or Evelyn Waugh made Julia Flyte choose God and self denial over Charles Ryder and ‘living in sin’ during their pitiful parting on the stairs at the end of Brideshead Revisited.”

As earlier reported in the Times, Waller-Bridge like Greene and Waugh is a Roman Catholic. But who in this story is Julia Flyte–Fleabag or the priest?

Davies seems to think that there can be no third series. I’m not so sure. We may have seen the last of the priest, but Fleabag’s ultimate gaze at the camera as she walks away from the bus stop did not suggest a final farewell.  If there is a sequel, however, Davies is probably correct in predicting that it won’t match the levels of comedy and tragedy in this one. All episodes of both series are available with a UK internet connection on BBC iPlayer. In the US, viewers will be able to watch series two beginning May 17 on Amazon Prime.

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