Monday, January 28, 2013

Taking Chances

Melodramatic Mondays

Belle is well aware that women in her line of work simply can't make romantic relationships work, but seeing Bambi so happy with Byron makes her think that she might have written off her chances with Duncan far sooner than she should have.

Previous: Potential Hazards

Hannah/Belle's (Billie Piper) reaction to Bambi's (Ashley Madekwe) engagement is negative, largely as a response to her own inability to make a relationship work, though it does inspire her to hope that, in the end, she and Duncan (James D'Arcy) can make something of their attraction to one another.

At the top of the episode Hannah/Belle calls Duncan out on the fact that he's avoiding talking to her about what happened between them, and he quickly states that they should keep their relationship strictly based on their work together. After a heated argument, and a few days to think about how things went down, Hannah/Belle barges into his office once more and demands that they speak about what happened, at which point Duncan admits that he really likes her, and would like to make a go of things, but states that "[he's] a complete and utter nightmare," worried that he will be the one to screw things up between them. Realizing the potential at a real relationship, and knowing that there can be no secrets between them, Hannah tells Duncan her actual name, and the two of them agree to try to make things work between them, despite her status as a call girl.

Bambi and Byron (David Dawson) get engaged, which greatly worries Belle, and she goes to Stephanie (Cherie Lunghi) in an effort to get her to talk to Bambi about things. Belle's concerns that Bambi may have gotten in over her head, that her romance with Byron will be nothing but short-lived, are completely valid, but it's her refusal to believe that things could work out that really bothers Bambi. Understanding that her friend is merely worried about her well-being, Bambi and Byron spend the day asking each other questions about their favorite things and getting to know one another better, and theirs is a great example of young love written right.

Hannah/Belle's refusal to acknowledge the fact that Bambi and Byron might make it work is a little disheartening. It never seems to cross her mind that it may be she who simply can't navigate this kind of situation, and though she does have some previous experience with her job sabotaging her romance, she has never dated someone who knew, right off the bat, that she was a call girl. Byron's awareness of who and what Bambi is is much different than what Hannah had had with Alex (Callum Blue), but here she never makes that distinction.

Jackie (Joanna Bobin) seems to have been unceremoniously written out of the series, and her storyline didn't amount to very much at all. There have been no repercussions for her shown so far, and as far as the viewer knows she's simply returned to her life with her husband and child and forgotten all about her time with Ben (Iddo Goldberg). Hopefully she reappears at some point to add a sense of closure to her story, or to expand on the changes she's made since living with Hannah.

Piper and D'Arcy are great in this episode, and it's always a pleasure to have Lunghi appear on the screen, but the story is absolutely carried by the great chemistry between Madekwe and Dawson who convey young love in a very realistic manner. Equally great is the short appearance by Kieran O'Brien as Belle's client Al, who really livens up the story with his portrayal of a brutally honest character.

There's a lot to enjoy about China Moo-Young's direction in this episode, most especially the machinations of Hannah/Belle's mind, as she imagines Al criticizing her as she has sex with Duncan, and later picturing Stephanie in a bathtub full of money. Belle's struggle is highlighted as she's made to rush around her apartment to clear up the evidence of Al's visit when Duncan arrives, but more interesting is when she worries that Duncan is disconnected from reality when he states that her being a prostitute isn't a problem for him. There are also a few moments that display the hidden side of escorting, most notably Belle's use of safety deposit boxes of cash rather than the proper use of the bank, and Stephanie's practice of the same.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz focuses her script largely on Belle's understanding that she shouldn't pursue a relationship outside of her work, and her later struggle to get Duncan to see her as Hannah. At the top of the episode Belle notes that the "number one unwritten rule of being an escort [is] you're only allowed one lover: money." Resigned to the fact that Duncan is unlikely to see her as anything other than a prostitute, she muses that she "[doesn't] need a boyfriend when [she's] got regulars like Al," with whom there's no lying and he sometimes pays extra. Al questions Belle about whether she's ever considered settling down with a man, and though both state that it would be ridiculous for her to try, there's a spark in her eye indicating that she's still not ready to stop her pursuit of Duncan. Eventually, as she and Duncan are preparing to have sex, Belle grows more and more bothered that her just doesn't bother him, wondering if he'd like a relationship with Belle rather than Hannah, and she kicks him out based on the fact that him loving Belle is much different than him loving Hannah.

Hannah's relationship with Duncan should be interesting, and how it effects her work on her next book should be interesting. Also interesting will be his reaction should she write a chapter about him or if she should include her failed relationship with Alex in any form.

Next: Episode 3.6


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