A second season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s tragicomic series “Fleabag” almost didn’t happen. “I decided not to do a second season,” she said at the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday. Waller-Bridge was happy to maintain her “artistic integrity” until inspiration struck for Season 2. But now it’s done. Really. “I decided there absolutely should not be a third [season],” she said.
When “Fleabag” returns, it’s been more than a year since viewers left the the titular single London woman, who had a falling-out with her sister and was forced to deal with the reality of a horrifying tragedy. As early teases for the season suggested, the show will be concerned with “Fleabag vs. God.” Waller-Bridge hadn’t planned on a faith-themed season, but while working on “Killing Eve,” which she adapted for BBC America, she kept a notebook of “Fleabag” ideas.
“Most of the jokes and ideas I had were about religion. It was a subconscious thing,” she said. “It really resonated… that an atheist trying to find meaning in the world… and finding a connection with hope.”
Fleabag’s relationship with faith will be embodied in Andrew Scott, who joins this season as a cool priest who swears, drinks, and smokes. Fleabag feels an instant attraction to the so-called hot priest.
“I should have called the character Hot Priest, I just realized that,” said Waller-Bridge. “He’s a central new character and the central relationship of the new [season]… and a match for her. They challenge each other and change each other in different ways. This is about the power that humans can have on each other.”
Fleabag will also have to contend with Claire (Sian Clifford), who decided not to believe that her husband Martin (Brett Gelman) had tried to kiss her sister.
“I feel like that’s always been the love story,” said Waller-Bridge. “They’re inexplicably linked by sisterhood. We ended the last [season] with them separate and so heartbroken by each other.”
Reflecting on the nearly three years between seasons, she said, “I needed space. I grew up in that time… It’s the next chapter. That means you can delve into whole aspects of that psychology… it gives you psychological freedom. Going back watching the first series after that much time taught me so much about writing.”
“Fleabag” Season 2 will be released on May 17 on Amazon Prime.