TCA 19: Fleabag season 2 tackles faith and family

Fleabag Panel TCA

The second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s tragic comedy, Fleabag, will see our heroine learning to deal with the struggles of sisterhood and finding a way to make sense of a crazy world. The series was adapted from Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe and though she previously declared that there would be no second season, inspiration struck and she was able to find a compelling enough reason to bring the show back.

Waller-Bridge and two of her Fleabag cast mates, Sian Clifford and Brett Gelman, discussed the upcoming season at this year’s TCA’s.

Phoebe Waller Bridge FleabagWaller-Bridge and Clifford play sisters who have a fraught relationship which is central to the whole series. Waller-Bridge expounded on this:

“Well, I felt like that’s always kind of been the love story at the heart of this — the whole thing from the last series as well, these two, and that they are inextricably linked by their sisterhood and, yet, really struggle with actually getting along and communicating. And because they ended — we ended the last series with them being so separate and so heartbroken by each other, something had to bring them back together in a dramatic and personal, and intimate way, and I think that’s — that coupled with the idea that I really wanted to discuss the event that happens … was something I’ve always wanted to write about and talk about, and it just all came together really perfectly that the sisters needed something like that to happen, and that that seemed like the right and painful, and difficult thing to talk about at the time.”

Clifford added:

“Yeah. No, we — I mean, I remember when Season 1 ended and Phoebe was toying with the idea of whether we came back for Season 2 at all, and needing to find that — a reason for them to reconnect. And I think it’s incredibly powerful what happens. I don’t think it’s — I don’t know if it’s ever been talked about on TV. It’s certainly not been presented in a way that it is, and yeah, I know that when we presented in London it really, really impacted the audience, and that was amazing for us to witness.”

Fleabag season two will also be tackling the complex topic of faith which will be tricky considering the main character is an atheist. A new character, a priest played by Andrew Scott, will play a pivotal role. Waller-Bridge discussed more about the themes the show will be exploring:

“It was kind of a process of osmosis, really, I think. I didn’t even really realize it was happening, but I have a notebook that I would write jokes and ideas down while I was making Killing Eve and stuff, and I just had a little, like, feedback notebook, and at the end of — like, just before we started creating Fleabag, I open the notebook and most of the jokes and most of the ideas I had were about religion. And so it was a kind of, like, subconscious thing, and I just felt like it really resonated with me, the idea of an atheist trying to find meaning in a world where everything seems so confusing, and finding some kind of connection with hope, and the more I started thinking about religion and what it means now, the more relevant it seemed, and the more we sort of need to have faith in something, and then to create this character, the priest, who really believes in something and has hope and faith and practices the good Christian principles seemed like something worth exploring in a time where so few good principles seem to be explored.”

FleabagShe goes on to say that the show is really more character-driven than something that can be easily classified as either a drama or a comedy. The characters make the show and in addition to returning cast members like Olivia Colman, the second season will also welcome Fiona Shaw and Kristin Scott Thomas, in a surprise role. Not much was revealed about her role other than the fact that she will make a big impact on the protagonist.

For the moment, Fleabag season two will be the end, and Waller-Bridge talked about going on a journey with these characters:

“Well, I feel like it means you can really grow up with them. I think I needed to take space from Fleabag actually again that first series and the play. And I’ve grown up and grown and changed so much in that time and it’s because of the character’s so close to me, I feel like the people who watched it said the same thing that they felt like they needed some space after that kind of trauma of the last series. And she’s a different person now. She’s at a different stage of her life. It’s not the kind of immediate next sentence of her life. It’s the next chapter. And I think that means that you can just delve into whole other aspects of psychology and you can also let go of a lot of things from the last series that you need to. I mean it gives you such an emotional psychological freedom as well. And it gives you time to take space away from whatever the show was. Like going back and watching the first series after that much time taught me so much about writing and about making it as well. I think it’s really good to take stock and take time away.”

Fleabag season two premieres on May 17 on Amazon Prime.

Check out the first look below: