[silently] I'VE BEEN STUNG BY A WASP
The quietest episode of the season is the loudest. Truly great.
She got me with the phone, not gonna lie.
[8.3/10] Another very good episode. I like the irony in this one, where Fleabag and Claire are basically bullshitting their way through this retreat that’s supposed to give them peace of mind and epiphanies, while inadvertently managing to have their own breakthroughs along the way. It’s a nice setup.
But again, I just like the comedy of it too! Fleabag and Claire have a great comedy rapport in terms of the one kind of needling the other, and their sibling relationship feels very lived in. The spoofs of various wellness retreats is well-observed and manages to find good laughs in both the “silence” and “better man” portions of it. Plus, just the periodic breaking of silence through hearing one of the men at the neighboring retreat yell out “slut” is quite funny.
Apart from the comedy though, the show does a nice job with the drama. It picks good moments to have Fleabag confess not only what happened with the stepmom’s statuette now in Claire’s possession -- simultaneously allowing her to evade suspicion while exposing Martin’s laziness -- but also that Martin tried to kiss her. It comes at inopportune moments, but ones that tell Claire what she needs to know, especially with the opportunity for a Scandanavian promotion that she’s apt to turn down for her family. It’s another brick in the fall for the show in addressing the conflicting expectations on women with respect to career and family.
Despite mining that for laughs and for pathos, it’s also kind to the men in this one, or at least a man. The guy who denied Fleabag’s loan and was a prat about it is attending the men’s retreat, and his little monologue about wanting to go home and genuinely do better is touching in its way. Fleabag admission is the equal and opposite -- that she feels ready to cry all the time, particularly in not having a spouse or kids or any sort of confidante to go home to.
There’s something revealing about the fact that she still calls Boo’s phone number to hear her voice, showing how despite her sarcasm and constant “taking the piss”, she’s still yearning for connection in some way. The way she gets a measure of what when cuddling with Claire makes for the sweetest scene in a show that doesn't offer that sort of warmth very often.
Overall, this was my favorite episode of the series so far. There’s a lot of good sitcom setup comedy by putting our two misbehaving sisters at a silent retreat, but the show also goes for depth, insight, and drama too. Very well done.
I loved the balcony at the end.