Belle’s got a special date tonight, but it’s more of a “where” than a “who.” A client, Alexander, is taking her to a chic private sex party – the sort of thing you need an invitation to get into, and something she’s always dreamed of attending. She’s vamped out in a little back dress, an elaborate choker, and a neat black wig – ready to enjoy a night of decadence. But such nights often don’t go as planned, and she ends up in the most unexpected of places as the dawn crowns a new London day.
Alexander (Aleksandar Mikic), like any of Belle’s clients, has expectations and demands. He is paying for a service that she is there to provide. He needed date for the party, but he also appears slightly geeky and inadequate. Belle isn’t just his ticket in; he also plans to own her and her every move for the night. At first things go as planned as they take in the ambience of the situation and visit one room after another. It is an elaborate setup, in a safe “Eyes Wide Shut” sort of way, although without nearly as much naked flesh on display. (The lighting, in fact, echoes the strands of lights that decorated Sydney Pollack’s party at the beginning of that movie.) Alexander tells her he doesn’t plan to have sex with her at the party. He’d prefer to wait, and have one man after another lust over her, and then after they leave when she just can’t take it anymore, he’ll ravage her at home. On cue, Belle looks at the camera in disbelief.
The pair is momentarily separated when Belle clumsily bumps into another man (Jamie Sives), spilling wine all over them both. They apologize and flirt and he goes on his way. She tells us she recognizes him, and that could be awkward. She must go through her mental Rolodex of all the men she’s slept with. “This could take a while,” she deadpans. She realizes that she doesn’t know him personally, but rather he happens to be one of her favorite authors, Jay Lorre, and she recognizes him from the backs of his books’ dust jackets. She tracks him down again, only this time he’s with someone – maybe his wife, maybe his girlfriend, maybe his date. In any case, the woman exhibits no jealousy as he and Belle talk each other up. Just as things begin to heat up, Alexander shows up to stake his claim. He drags Belle away from a far more interesting situation.
But Belle isn’t about to give up that easily. She hooks up Alexander with another woman by engaging them in some geekspeak and she once again heads off to find the writer. This time things get considerably more heated and they end up in one the back rooms where anything goes. There’s a fairly tasteful shot of a guy banging a woman in the background. You can’t see anything and yet you can see plenty. Belle and Jay get into the mood and fall back on a bed. Before she knows it, his partner is right alongside them, and Belle engages in a lengthy kiss with her. (Stop me when I begin sounding like a Harlequin romance novelist.) Things are definitely going in the right direction and it’s no doubt a very hot scene. Suddenly Belle realizes her professional duties. She tears herself away from them with the promise of more to come. She enlists the aid of a waiter and then finds Alexander. The waiter shows up and tells he she’s got an important call on the emergency line. There is no call, but Belle and the waiter exchange pleasantries as she buys some time. When she returns to her client, she tells him she must go “for personal reasons.” He’ll of course get a refund. The poor guy’s evening is a bust, but we don’t really feel sorry for him. After all, Belle’s got a far more exciting journey to go on – finishing the night off with the couple. Just as she’s ready to head off with them, she checks her phone only to find several messages from her family. “For personal reasons” she must now leave the couple as well.
Enter Hannah, as Belle removes the wig and choker, and she goes to the local hospital where her sister has just given birth to a son. Her family, as well as best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg), are all there, and somewhat surprised by her dress, which she explains away as part of a work function. The sister in particular is snotty and seems annoyed that Belle is never around for anything important. Ben drives Hannah home in the morning and finds the black wig in her purse. He’s not sure what to think, but knows that she wasn’t doing anything that had to do with work. Hannah climbs into bed (but not before showing us a fantastic shot of Billie’s butt) with a Jay Lorre novel and rationalizes that at least she can be in bed with her favorite novelist, even if it isn’t quite the way she expected.
This was a nice episode, slickly shot and full of humor, that eventually further underscored the dual Belle/Hannah lifestyle. Belle was much easier to like here, especially in her attempts to ditch Alexander, a guy that’s very difficult to care about. Likewise, her dealings with the writer are an interesting setup that we wish would pay off. There’s a voyeuristic quality to the episode, more so than last time. I think this show is corrupting me and making me into a much dirtier person than I really am. (Yeah, right!) As far as the recent news items claiming Piper thinks her career may be over since she’s showing some skin, I don’t think she’s got much to worry about. (Further, I believe her comments have been somewhat taken out of context – I think she was half joking.) The first episode of this series scored Showtime its highest ratings ever for the premiere of a new series.