Thursday, October 20, 2016

What I’m Watching: Fleabag

Fleabag: Season 1, Episode 5 (B+)

Leave it to Fleabag to be incredibly awkward while having her breasts checked by a doctor. That wasn’t the most uncomfortable part of the episode, however. That honor goes not to Fleabag, the expected choice, but instead to Olivia Colman’s Godmother. I don’t think I wrote much about how great an actress Colman is, one of the best parts of the disappointing “Hyde Park on Hudson” a few years back and a standout performer in the cast of “The Lobster” earlier this year. This role comes somewhere in between those two, with infinitely more selfishness in there, using a day designed to memorialize a woman who was her husband’s wife and her stepdaughter’s mother to think about her own ex and make it all about her. Just as we’ve learned something new about how Fleabag isn’t quite as bad in some ways as other people in her life, in this episode we see that the Godmother is pretty awful to Fleabag, starting things with her on a regular basis and baiting her just for the hell of it. Suggesting that she close down her little restaurant was particularly crass, and the subsequent flashback to Fleabag promising Boo she’d never close the café only made the impoliteness sting more. Her sex-hibiton is pretty horrifying, and I’m glad that, after everything, it was Claire who, after Fleabag revealed her secret big news and without any other prompting, announced that she was leaving Martin, giving Fleabag the money for the café, going to Finland, and had even stolen the sculpture back in a wonderful show of support for her sister over their tyrannical stepmother.

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