Monday, September 24, 2012


Melodramatic Mondays

Belle uses an all-nighter as an opportunity for some moonlighting when she's approached by a man that wishes to book her services immediately.

The review for "Invitation Only" can be read here.

As we continue our tour of the various aspects of Belle's (Billie Piper) occupation, we are introduced to the concept of the 'Girlfriend Experience,' wherein the client pays for a full night's service with Belle acting as his longtime girlfriend. It is here that we're given a taste of Hannah's full acting abilities, as she not only has to act interested in client Ash (Ace Bhatti) but must also play the role of partner, including the remembering of dates and facts as well as maintaining a healthy level of conversation throughout the night.

It's interesting that Belle's able to make allies wherever she goes, such as in the previous episode when she befriended the waiter in order to get out of her duties to her client, and here when she makes nice with the receptionist. It's nice to see her playing games with someone, but it speaks volumes about her character when she gives him a cut of her night's earnings for his in helping her.

Everything about the scenes with second client Punter (Jay Simpson) is repulsive, from the framing of the shots to the dialogue he spews, and it really lends itself to how awful Belle feels about the entire situation. While it's difficult to watch, it's done gloriously.

As dawn finally breaks, and Ash wakes from his sleep, Belle has had not a moments rest; while she should, by all rights, be haggard and stumble-drunk, she appears to feel no fatigue at all, and continues on to meet Ben (Iddo Goldberg) for breakfast without missing a beat. Perhaps it was due to the adrenaline of the night, but considering she speaks asides to the audience about everything else, I would have liked her to mention something about where she's getting this energy from and how she's able to function after having been awake for over a day.

There is not much substance to this episode, and very little of Hannah; this is a series that should have a fairly even divide between Hannah and Belle, but Hannah all but disappears and the line is sometimes so blurred that it's uncertain if the two are separate at all.

The acting in this episode is very good from absolutely everyone; Piper has very emotive expressions that tell the audience more than the dialogue ever could, but this episode is made by both of her clients. Bhatti as Belle's repeat customer is a clean and respectful person, while Simpson portrays the polar opposite, and both actors convey their roles incredibly well.

Yann Demange directs this episode with a solid divide in stylistic choices; during the scenes with Ash, when Belle is meant to portray the doting girlfriend, the camera blurs during their intimate sex, as if to give them privacy. When Belle is with lothario Punter it is depicted as uncomfortable and almost gratuitous, as unlike the previous scenes as possible. Every musical choice in this episode adds to the mood, from the more serious scenes where Hannah is working as Belle, to the lighter moments featuring the montage of things Hannah does as Ashok sleeps.

Lucy Prebble and Julie Geary write this episode with a mild desperation to have the audience forgive Hannah/Belle for the things she's doing. Belle states that, while Ashok's married, his hiring of an escort is excusable since his wife hasn't had sex with him for five years which in itself is a breach of the marriage contract; this reasoning seems like a way for Hannah to absolve herself of any guilt she might feel, but playing it as a means to justify the character to the audience seems a little much to ask. The notion of Hannah's inability to open up to anyone outside of her Belle persona is interesting but left somewhat unexplored.

Ashok is the of Belle's clients that promises a return and it's interesting to see her interaction with this intimate stranger in contrast to her interaction with family and friends; with Ashok she is open and free-spirited, but with people she has known for a good portion of her life she is guarded and closed-off.

The review for "Control and Relief" can be read here.


Post a Comment