This British tragicomedy was created and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who also stars as the titular character Fleabag. She is an angry, confused, sex-addicted woman living in London who must come to terms with the tragedies she’s experienced and move on. Olivia Colman, Sian Clifford, and Andrew Scott all star as equally complex characters that are trying to survive the decisions they’ve made.
The show is particularly known for how it breaks the fourth wall and the loving but honest way it depicts a family trying to keep itself together. The twelve extant episodes are all amazing, but we’ve taken a stab at ranking them from only great to truly excellent.
Let’s get one thing out of the way—there’s no such thing as a bad episode of Fleabag. So even though this ranks at 12 out of 12, it’s still great. In this episode, Fleabag’s sister Claire plans her own surprise birthday party and turns it into a work event. Meanwhile, Fleabag reconnects with a toothy love interest who ends up loving her family.
Fleabag also reluctantly helps her wildly drunk and inappropriate brother-in-law Martin buy a present for Claire. Martin betrays Fleabag with the gift he gives Claire, and then he tries to kiss Fleabag in the backyard.
After stealing the gold nude statue from Godmother, Fleabag tries to fence it through Martin. She spends a lot of time with Arsehole Guy and also reconnects with Harry, her emotionally unstable on-again, off-again boyfriend. He temporarily moves back in and the whole thing is fraught from the beginning. They try to make their relationship better but they simply are never on the same page.
Throughout all of this, Fleabag can’t stop thinking about Boo. She spends a lot of time with the guinea pig she once gifted Boo, Hilary.
Dad sends Fleabag and an emotionally fragile Claire are sent to a female-only silent weekend retreat in the countryside for Mother’s Day. They bond over hating the rules and a sex toy. Claire confesses that she’s turning down a huge promotion that she has always wanted because her stepson Jakes needs her. Fleabag is disappointed and doesn’t approve. Claire then abandons Fleabag there alone.
Meanwhile, Fleabag manages to sneak out to have a cigarette with someone on the men’s retreat next door. She and the Bank Manager have a heart-to-heart about what they want to do with their lives.
This first episode of the series starts with a bang—literally. We meet Fleabag as she waits at the door for Arsehole Guy to stumble over at 2 am. The next day on the bus she meets Bus Rodent, a person she will continue to see occasionally throughout season 1.
But the day goes downhill—after being refused a bank loan due to a misunderstanding, Fleabag hurries to a feminist lecture with Claire. There they bicker and embarrass themselves. Instead of bonding over it they argue, and Fleabag goes out with Bus Rodent. She ends the night at the house of her estranged father, where she steals a valuable piece of art.
On the anniversary of their mother’s death, Fleabag and Claire go to Dad’s house for a memorial lunch. Godmother interrupts, making snide asides and making sure the attention is on herself.
When Arsehole Guy shows up, things only take a turn for the worse. Godmother can’t stop flirting with him, even in front of Dad and Fleabag. And when she’s not flirting with him, she’s telling them about the plans for her new ‘sexhibition,’ an art show based on her love for sexuality, nude photos of herself, and her sex life with Dad.
The day of the sexhibition dawns with Fleabag sure that attractive Arsehole Guy has fallen in love with her. But everything is falling apart: the sexhibition is a nightmare, Fleabag gets treated as staff instead of a guest, Arsehole Guy dumps her, and Harry shows up with a new girlfriend he’s very happy with. Worst of all, it looks like Claire and Martin have managed to make up and strengthen their relationship. Claire is turning down her promotion after all, and she thinks that Fleabag tried to kiss Martin.
In the end, Fleabag turns to Dad for comfort, only to find that even he has turned against her. It’s a great episode and a brutal place to leave Fleabag at the end of season 1.
The episode begins with Fleabag appearing at Priest’s church and throwing him off his preaching game. She volunteers at the church soon after, circling closer to him as their relationship gets more intense. While there, she gets a weird request from Claire’s stepson. In the end, Priest gives her a Bible to read, even though she jokes that she knows how it ends.
Fleabag also redeems a gift certificate good for one session with a therapist. She doesn’t really get much out of it. She and Claire sit for a painting by Godmother, then Claire gives Fleabag some terrible news. Fleabag and Martin face off over the way she punched him at Dad’s engagement dinner.
After a very boozy first date, an incredibly hungover Fleabag goes to Dad’s to try to sit for the painting again. But then Priest gives the family some bad news and the wedding falls into crisis mode. After, Claire gets a bad haircut that makes her “look like a pencil.” Fleabag goes to the hair salon to defend Claire’s honor and they finally bond in a park. Fleabag says goodbye to the Bank Manager.
Martin shows up at the cafe to yell at Fleabag, even though they should be avoiding each other due to their legal issues. Priest’s relationship with Fleabag gets more intense.
Fleabag and Priest spend a day together doing fun religious things like try on ceremonial robes and attend Quaker meetings. She finally shows him her cafe and introduces him to Hilary. But after he notices her talking to the audience, things come to a nasty head.
Fleabag spends the rest of the day reflecting on sad memories, like Boo in the cafe and her mother’s funeral. That night she goes to the church seeking solace but only finds more challenge and trouble.
After a year of estrangement due to the way everyone behaved at the sexhibition at the end of season one, the family is reunited. When they have dinner together to celebrate Dad’s engagement with Godmother, tensions can’t help but rise exponentially as the night drags on. Fleabag first meets Priest, who she has an immediate connection with.
Fleabag tries to be on her best behavior but is thrown into a tailspin when Claire has a miscarriage in the restaurant bathroom and tries to pretend like everything is completely normal. In the end, a fistfight breaks out that leaves three of the six people injured.
Fleabag agrees to make canapés for a big award ceremony at Claire’s office. At the party, she meets another Klare whose relationship with Claire is a source of intrigue. On top of her nerves, Claire spends the entire party angry with Fleabag for being too charming. Meanwhile, after breaking the original award, Fleabag has to give away the gold nude statue to the winner.
Luckily, it leads to a chance encounter with the award winner Belinda. Over drinks, Belinda opens Fleabag’s eyes. After, Fleabag meets up with Priest for another drink and some deeper conversation about their lives and feelings.
After sleeping together, Fleabag and Priest have to deal with their awkwardness while at Dad’s and Godmother’s wedding. Emotions run high at the ceremony, and almost everyone falls into a crisis.
Priest has to make a huge decision. Claire and Martin finally have it out about their marriage, then Fleabag and Claire bond. After, Claire leaves the wedding to chase down Klare at the airport. Meanwhile, Dad hides from his bride in the attic. When Fleabag finds him, they talk cryptically about their feelings, including their own father-daughter relationship. In the end, Fleabag and Priest have to decide what they’re going to do next.