The best series are packed with in-jokes and running gags, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hilarious, heartbreaking Fleabag is no exception.
*WARNING: spoilers ahead for the end of Fleabag series two*
The series two finale, which saw Godmother and Dad tie the knot, was filled with nods and winks to the show’s history.
If this is to be the final ever episode, at least Waller-Bridge has given us an excuse to watch the whole thing over again (both series are available to watch in full on iPlayer now).
Check out the best references in the Fleabag series two finale below…
If there’s one thing that Andrew Scott’s Priest is truly frightened of, it’s foxes. Earlier in the series, when he thinks he hears a fox in the rectory garden, he begins yelping in fear (much to Fleabag’s delight).
Of course, he’s also frightened of romantic love (specifically with Fleabag), as he hints at during his wedding speech, so it makes sense that the action seems to conflate the two fears. When Fleabag sneaks up on him before the ceremony, he starts, explaining, “I thought you were a fox.”
Is it a coincidence that Fleabag wears a red dress throughout the episode, or that the term ‘Fleabag’ — with all its grubby, unwanted, two-fingers-up connotations — could also be used to refer to a fox?
At the end of the episode, a fox appears at the bus stop after the Priest rejects Fleabag. “He went that way,” Fleabag tells the fox, and it trots off in the direction of the Priest, enacting Fleabag’s own desire to follow after him.
Claire + Klare
There’s something gloriously, childishly hilarious about the fact that the businessman whom Fleabag’s sister Claire (Sian Clifford) falls for is called Klare.
It’s a coincidence that Fleabag can’t help but identify and exploit whenever she discusses him with Claire. However, if the series two finale is anything to go by, love has the power to conquer all — even the unfortunate twist of fate of falling for someone with your own name — as Claire sneaks out of Godmother and Dad’s wedding to go intercept Klare at the airport.
The naked statue
The golden, headless statue of a naked woman which Fleabag first stole from Godmother back in series one has come to represent everything from rebellion and power to betrayal and Fleabag’s fractious relationship with her family.
So it came as no surprise when the symbolic artwork made a reappearance earlier in series two (when Claire was forced to present it as a stand-in Women in Business trophy after Fleabag smashed the original) and then again in the finale.
As a wedding present, Fleabag gifts the statue back to Godmother-turned-Stepmother (played by Olivia Colman) in an apparent peace offering. At first, we think Godmother may slap Fleabag (again), but instead she thanks Fleabag — before dropping a bombshell.
“Do you know, I often thought it strange that of all my pieces you chose to take her,” Godmother says. “She was based on your mother. So nice to have her back in the house.”
Following such barely concealed malice, we can hardly blame Fleabag for stealing the statue back, while the theft (revealed in the final moments of the episode) brings the show and character back round to how it all started.
“One full sentence”
If you take Hugh Grant’s rambling, bumbling, incoherent Four Weddings And a Funeral character, and then add 30 years or so, then you’ve pretty much got Fleabag’s awkward Dad (Bill Paterson). His two-series-long inability to ever finish a sentence finally has Fleabag begging him, “One full sentence”.
Like Grant’s character Charles, Dad even has similar last-minute wedding jitters in the finale, heading to the attic immediately before the ceremony because he’s worried about a “trapped” mouse (c’mon, Dad, who’s really trapped here). But, unlike Charles, he goes through with the wedding.
“I always call you ‘darling'”
We never learn our anti-heroine’s real name — ‘Fleabag’ is never explained — and nor do we ever learn the names of various major characters, including Hugh Dennis’ Bank Manager, Andrew Scott’s Priest, and of course Godmother and Dad.
In an on-the-nose moment just before the wedding, Godmother is introducing her (deaf, lesbian, bisexual Syrian refugee) guests to Dad, before she tries to introduce him in turn — and can’t remember her husband-to-be’s name.
“God how extraordinary. I always call you ‘darling’,” she tells him.
“F*** you, then”
When Fleabag first meets the sinfully attractive Priest at the beginning of series two, she rudely rebuffs him outside a restaurant, and he responds, “F*** you, then”.
In the finale, Fleabag says it back to him following their make-out session at the wedding. “I don’t know what this feeling is,” he says.
“Is it God or me?,” she asks, to which he responds he doesn’t know.
“F*** you, then,” she tells him, smiling.