The Fleabag Fan Theory That Changes Everything

When we were graced with the brief, brilliant second season of Fleabag back in 2019 after a three-year hiatus, it felt like a gift from on high. Fans couldn't look away from Phoebe Waller-Bridge's religious romance with her Hot Priest (Andrew Scott), and the complex relationship that formed between them over the course of the season. This is part of why it was so bittersweet when things ended with such a sense of unambiguous finality — was it really possible that Fleabag and the Hot Priest didn't end up together? After an insane build up of sexual and emotional tension between the two, topped off with an extremely cathartic consummation of their love, how could it be that he could choose God over her?

Of course, there are always fan theories that seek to reconcile these ideas and entertain the belief that maybe, just maybe, things may have ended differently. One theory that's gained popularity in particular concerns the season's ubiquitous foxes. You know, the ones who've been "after" the Priest "for years?" Here's why some fans are saying that maybe there's a chance for the future of the show, and for Fleabag and the Priest's relationship.

Follow the foxes

What do the appearances of these sly little creatures mean? Are they really following the Priest? It's possible they are, and if you read into the motif of the fox as an objective correlative of the Priest's emotional state, they mean a lot more than you think. Given that the Priest is, by nature, forced to hide many of his emotions and forbidden (sexual) desires, it makes sense that the foxes would emerge as a symbol of prurient vices he can't escape. 

At New York Magazine, Ellen O'Connell Whittet suggests that "The fox is a stand-in for the Priest's conflicted feelings about his celibacy and his budding love for Fleabag." If you trace the instances that the foxes appear, Whittet says, they all relate to moments when the Priest is at risk of disclosing moments related to the Priest's sexuality — like when the two are spending time in the church garden drinking gin and tonics, and Fleabag mentions how she could never be celibate. Or when, after sleeping together, Fleabag accidentally surprises the Priest before her father's wedding ceremony and he tells her that he thought she was a fox.

If this theory holds, then perhaps the fox's appearance in the final scene of the series may hold even more meaning. As the Priest and Fleabag part ways, a fox appears. "He went that way," she says. Could the fox be following the Priest in order to bring him back to her? We may never know, but it's nice to think that maybe, just maybe, the two end up together.