Storyclock Research Log
Fleabag (Season 2)
This week our episode-by-episode breakdown of Fleabag Season 2 comes to an end! We’ve taken a step back and used the Storyclock Notebook to visualize the entire season in the form of a clock.
Before we break it down, let's break our breakdowns down.
- Episode 1: We look at the genius decision to place the entire episode in one location, with all the main characters in play.
- Episode 2: We examine some beautiful narrative symmetry and study the character’s opposite personalities.
- Episode 3: We geek out on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s revolutionary reinvention of the 4th wall break.
- Episode 4: We do a little dive into why flashbacks can be great tools for building strong characters.
- Episode 5: We talk about the “dark night of the soul” and break into act 3.
- Episode 5: We wrap up the episode breakdowns with the perfect finale.
Let's Break The Whole Thing Down
Opening Image: Fleabag is bloodied and bruised in a public bathroom. She looks straight at the camera and delivers the theme of the season: “This is a love story.” (Episode 1)
Normalcy: Fleabag, her family, and a Hot Priest have a nice dinner to celebrate Dad and Godmother’s engagement. Fleabag is oddly content and problem-free with her café finding success since we last saw her at the end of season 1. (Episode 1)
Normalcy Disrupted: Claire tells Fleabag that she had a miscarriage. Fleabag lies to her family and says she miscarried to protect Claire. Godmother resents Fleabag for making it about her and Martin insults her, hurting Claire’s feelings and pissing Fleabag off. She punches him and all hell breaks loose. (Episode 1)
Herald: Hot Priest gives Fleabag his number, inviting her to call him. (Episode 1)
Acceptance and Break Into Act 2: Fleabag goes to Hot Priest’s church, starting what will be a very complicated friendship. (Episode 2)
B Story Begins: Claire goes to Fleabag’s café and is astounded at how well it is doing. She is still shaken up from the miscarriage. The B Story is Claire’s emotional journey in this season.
Trailer Moments: Fleabag and Hot Priest enjoy a couple cans of G&T in the back of the church as they discuss their faith and relationships. Fleabag goes to a counseling session and realizes that she fancies the Priest. Godmother starts to paint a portrait of Claire and Fleabag, and makes it abundantly clear who she likes more. Fleabag goes to the church carnival, has her arm touched by Hot Priest and once again argues with Douchebag Martin. Fleabag caters the work event for Claire, gives away the gold naked lady statue to a lady, gets it back, and has deep conversations about life and sex with her. Claire is in love with her co-worker Klare. Fleabag goes over to Hot Priest’s to hang out and talk. She wants more than that, but she will settle. Hot Priest is terrified of foxes. (Episode 2 & 3)
Midpoint: Fleabag looks at the camera and Hot Priest notices! (Episode 3)
Things Get Worse: Hot Priest and Fleabag continue to grow closer to one another. He visits the café and starts to ask questions, and Fleabag has flashbacks of Boo. She freaks on Hot Priest and asks him to leave. Fleabag has flashbacks to the day of her mom’s death. She is depressed and confused. (Episode 4)
Hero's Last Resort: Fleabag goes to the church to pray, but before she can she notices Hot Priest getting drunk in the back. She goes into the confession booth to ask for forgiveness for her sins when Hot Priest opens the curtain and tells her to “kneel”. They start to makeout. (Episode 4)
Game Over: A painting of Jesus falls and Hot Priest is snapped out of it. He feels shame and leaves Fleabag. Fleabag is now at her lowest point, trying to fill that void by having sex with her misogynistic lawyer. Hot Priest tells her to not come to the church anymore and Douchebag Martin once again threatens her. (Episode 4 & 5)
Mini-Breakthrough and Break Into Act 3: Hot Priest shows up to Fleabag’s house to apologize and tell her that he will still officiate the wedding. Fleabag and Hot Priest make love. (Episode 5)
Hero Gains Upper Hand: Fleabag is on top of the world. She finally accomplished her goal of bedding the man she loves. She goes to the wedding and helps Claire with her problems, talks Dad through his, and kisses Hot Priest in secret. (Episode 6)
B Story Conclusion: Claire confesses to miscarriage, breaks up with Martin, shows Fleabag she loves her, and runs to the airport to catch Klare before he leaves. (Episode 6)
Shadow's Final Push: Fleabag leaves the wedding by herself and heads to the bus station. Hot Priest arrives to deliver a somber decision. He chooses God. (Episode 6)
Ultimate Breakthrough: Fleabag tells him that she loves him. He responds “it’ll pass” and they go their separate ways. (Episode 6)
New Normalcy/Final Image: Fleabag leaves the camera behind, clinging tightly to the statue of her mom as she walks off to live the rest of her life. (Episode 6)
Looking at the entire season in the form of a clock, it’s amazing to see how well the story of Fleabag fits into the “hero’s journey”. Now don’t get me wrong– some of those beats were a bit of a stretch to fit into that box. But that’s the great thing about writing! You don’t need to fit your story into a predefined box. In a traditional love story for instance, Fleabag might have ended with her getting the man of her dreams. Instead, Fleabag’s love story was about loving herself and learning to love others, no matter what pain that may bring.
You know what brings me pain?
This shameless plug Not having the right tools to get story ideas out of my head and onto the page. That’s why I like the Storyclock Workbook, etc. You get it.