'Fleabag' Returns For Season 2 The second season of the acclaimed Amazon series Fleabag brings back creator/writer/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge in her role as an angry, funny, mixed-up young woman living in London.
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'Fleabag' Returns For Season 2

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'Fleabag' Returns For Season 2

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'Fleabag' Returns For Season 2

'Fleabag' Returns For Season 2

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The second season of the acclaimed Amazon series Fleabag brings back creator/writer/star Phoebe Waller-Bridge in her role as an angry, funny, mixed-up young woman living in London.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The first season of the British comedy "Fleabag" starred Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a brilliant but self-sabotaging young woman. It was dark, filthy and very, very funny. And now it's back for a second season on Amazon. NPR's Glen Weldon says the new episodes double down on what made the show unique but still have some big surprises.

GLEN WELDON, BYLINE: Look; "Fleabag" didn't need a Season 2. "Fleabag" Season 1 was the best thing on television back in 2016. A fiercely funny, scathingly smart series about a young woman who keeps giving into her impulses in order to distract herself from the recent death of her best friend.

In just about every scene, Waller-Bridge would turn to the camera to confess her innermost thoughts to us as if we were that best friend.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) You know that feeling when a guy you like sends you a text at 2 o'clock on a Tuesday night asking if he can come and find you, and you've accidentally made it out like you've just got in yourself, so you have to get out of bed, drink half a bottle of wine, get in the shower, shave everything, dig out some Agent Provocateur business, suspender belt - the whole bit - and wait by the door until the buzzer goes?

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

WELDON: But it took until the sixth and final episode to learn that all along, she'd been keeping a secret from us - a big one. And no spoilers, but trust me, it was pretty shattering. That revelation, to say nothing of the jokes, the characters, the performances, made for a complete self-contained story that stuck the landing in a hugely satisfying way.

But here we are, Season 2. It takes place about a year later. Things have changed for Waller-Bridge's character. She sums it up nicely at a therapist's office.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

FIONA SHAW: (As Counselor) So why do you think your father suggested you come for counseling?

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) I think because my mother died, and he can't talk about it. And my sister and I didn't speak for a year because she thinks I tried to sleep with her husband. And because I spent most of my adult life using sex to deflect from the screaming void inside my empty heart. I'm good at this.

WELDON: That last bit was directed at us. And she's not wrong; she is good. So is all of "Fleabag" Season 2, but for different reasons than Season 1. There's no central mystery this time around, no big secret at its core because Season 2 is about a person trying to get better. She's dealt with the loss of her friend, and she's much less likely to lunge into every bad choice that comes her way. She's even hanging out with her very disapproving sister again.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

SIAN CLIFFORD: (As Claire) Just don't talk too much or try to pretend you know anything about the company.

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) OK.

WELDON: Very, very disapproving sister.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

CLIFFORD: (As Claire) And don't be funny or clever, or just don't be the center of attention. These people are very important to me, so just don't.

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) OK.

CLIFFORD: (As Claire) Don't be yourself.

WELDON: She finds a kind of kinship in a mentor played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who is great here.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS: (As Belinda) Women are born with pain built in. It's our physical destiny - period pain, sore boobs, childbirth, you know? We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives. Men don't. They have to seek it out. They invent these gods and demons and things so they can feel guilty about things, which is something we do very well on our own.

WELDON: She even starts hanging out at a church and reading the Bible, though that probably has a lot more to do with the fact that the local priest, played by the charming Andrew Scott, is pretty hot.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) So you're a cool priest, are you?

ANDREW SCOTT: (As The Priest) A cool priest?

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) Yeah.

SCOTT: (As The Priest) No. I'm a big reader with no friends. Are you a cool person?

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) I'm a pretty normal person.

SCOTT: (As The Priest) A normal person?

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) Yeah, a normal person.

SCOTT: (As The Priest) What makes you a normal person?

WALLER-BRIDGE: (As Fleabag) Well, I don't believe in God.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRASH)

WELDON: A portrait of Jesus falls off the wall. She's surprised, but he's - well, he's a cool priest.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "FLEABAG")

SCOTT: (As The Priest) I love it when he does that.

WELDON: He can see past her defenses in a way nobody else has before, something the series has a lot of fun with. And their nuanced relationship provides "Fleabag" Season 2 with its humor and its heartbreak. This will be it for the series. Waller-Bridge is moving on to other projects. She created the BBC America hit "Killing Eve," among other things.

If, like me, you were happy with "Fleabag" Season 1 and weren't particularly looking for a Season 2, rest assured these new episodes are just as blistering, just as funny, just as smart. But because they're about a person struggling to become more honest with herself and with others, they feel more expansive, more generous and even more satisfying.

Glen Weldon, NPR News.

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