This story does not contain spoilers.
The finale of hugely popular comedy series Fleabag has been met with enthusiastic praise by fans and critics, after airing on Monday night.
The last episode of series two had been highly anticipated by viewers – especially after one of the show’s stars said it will not be returning.
The Daily Telegraph said the finale was “a near perfect work of art”, while the Metro called it a “masterpiece”.
And on Twitter, viewers said they were left “heartbroken” that it had ended.
The first series of BBC Three’s Fleabag – broadcast in 2016 – was adapted from Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s award winning play. Waller-Bridge went on to win a Bafta and two Royal Television Society Awards for the show.
It returned this year for series two, airing on BBC One as well, and has captivated viewers with the title character’s tantalising relationship with a charismatic priest, played by Irish actor Andrew Scott.
Serena Davies, head of culture at the Telegraph, said “it would be hard to overstate what Waller-Bridge has done with Fleabag series two”.
“Her faultlessly paced tragic comedy, or rather her comic tragedy, is a near perfect work of art. It also rips up the rule book.”
She added: “It is hard to think of anything so profound being so lightly told.”
Meanwhile, Metro reviewer Cydney Yeates called the ending “emotionally satisfying”.
“Fleabag will be heralded triumphant for decades to come, not just for its dark comedy and novelty guinea pig cafe, but for its frank discussions surrounding sex and raw narratives surrounding grief and miscarriage,” she added.
In its review, the Guardian said the second series “raised the bar so utterly that at times Waller-Bridge’s risks and progression were so impressive all one could do was shake one’s head in appreciation”.
It said two things stood out in the second series – the instances when Fleabag’s trademark breaking of the fourth wall was itself broken, and the “staggering” performances of the new cast members.
“Judging by social media chatter and IRL [in real life] conversation, it seems as though many who either did not watch the first series, or who didn’t think it lived up to the hype, have been converted by the second,” the Guardian added.
“The writing; the performances; the verisimilitude. Fleabag will be a tough act for Waller-Bridge to follow.”
The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir dubbed it “absolutely the perfect ending”, adding that Waller-Bridge “gave us a finale that was redemptive, unsentimental and beautiful”.
She added: “Not even a Christmas special? I don’t think we are ready to say goodbye for ever to this wonderful character just yet.”
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‘Watched it twice’
Meanwhile, on social media, viewers were also left bowled over by the ending.
One fan said they were so impressed with one of the character’s speeches in the final scenes, that they “typed it out” and “might even print it out and put it in a frame”.
Others tweeted that they had watched the final episode twice consecutively, and many said the finale had left them in tears.
English actor Samuel Barnett tweeted that Waller-Bridge was his “hero”.
Ian Hyland, the Daily Mirror’s TV critic, expressed a feeling shared by many when he said he would “obviously love a third series”.
Meanwhile, TV writer and producer Jack Thorne posted a tweet with a line from the finale, adding: “Sometimes television is elevated, sometimes in elevates.”
And Bafta – which awarded Waller-Bridge the gong for best female performance in a comedy programme in 2017 – called it “short-lived but perfectly formed”.
Earlier this week actress Sian Clifford, who plays Fleabag’s sister Claire in the comedy, told BBC Breakfast: “There will not be a third series. This is it.”
Her comments come after Waller-Bridge told the BBC earlier this year that she had thought about a third series but decided “there isn’t going to be one”.
Fleabag series two is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer for four months.