Previously on The Girlfriend Experience, “Insurance”
The Girlfriend Experience | S1E6: Boundaries | Starring: Riley Keough, Paul Sparks, Mary Lynn Rajskub, James Gilbert
This week, after showing us the many reasons why people might enter into the escort profession: the money, sex, and lifestyle, The Girlfriend experience leads the viewer down a darker path as we see the beginning of mental manipulations from a new client have a snowball effect on all aspects of Christine’s life. Christine’s loss of control, growing fear, and less pliable client reminds me of when we saw Kevin’s (the client who took out loans to see her) excessive adoration and we chuckled. When we see Jack’s, we cringed.
We open to Christine in a scene that sets the tone for the rest of the episode. She’s in a pool, a background of crisp blue water, and a look of relaxation on her face followed by her being aggressively pulled underneath the water. This leads to a jarring reaction from Christine, having watched five episodes of her being unflappable, it immediately pulled me into finding out what exactly has brought her to this moment in time.
What we find is the introduction of a new client, Jack, After a night of sex followed by a too personal line of questioning, we see the shift in emotions come across Christine’s face. She’s able to evade him, showing the evolution in character from when Ryan (the client whose wife paid her off) caught her telling a lie about her background. The difference is there is no easy back and forth with her and Jack – just an intensity that we see building in their subsequent scenes together.
These scenes range from Jack being clingy, romantic, nosy, and sometimes just plain creepy. But the complexity of TGE comes with the idea of what these men are paying for with such an experience, and the type of access they assume that gives them. For some, reality remains attached (Ryan), and others their reality is love (Kevin).
But Jack is the first client she’s having a problem leading in their dance, and every time they are alone everything in me yells for her to run. When we see him eyeing her interaction with another man at the penthouse pool, it becomes apparent there is something off with him. Especially when you take in the actual scene, she’s lying back on a beach chair, covered up. This is in contrast to the women in bikinis around them, and the end result of what he sees leads us back to the opening scene. But this time we watch as he stalks towards her like a predator, pulling her underwater, and the reaction she has is completely appropriate.
Boundaries, something we know Christine excels at when it comes to living a double life, are slowly breaking down. Jack cracks that carefully constructed facade and gets under her skin in a way that honestly makes me scared for her. This is what makes the mental games Jack plays so terrifying to watch. He plays the gentleman when needed, but then has no problem demeaning her in private for doing exactly what he is paying her for. It was difficult watching her navigate through this episode; every scene with her alone with Jack filled me with the fear he might hurt her. If this is even a small fraction of fear that escorts face, the show does a good job conveying it.
The final straw for Christine is after the near loss of her phone in his apartment, when Jack calls her personal phone. What little control she had is now lost. He knows her real name as well. When he tries to say she gave him the number, an easy lie to spot if ever, she is extremely forceful in trying to not only call him out, but re-establish some sort of boundary when she hangs up. But when he resumes his calls the next day it’s the confirmation we need that this is going to get worse before it gets better.
Things seemed to have gotten more uncomfortable between David and Christine as we see them stare at each other across the room at a work function. When she finds out her access to the XHP files have been revoked by him, she decides to bypass his approval via Erin and asks to be part of seeing the case through. This is a tactic we saw David use in episode 5 when he learns of his impending promotion to partner and the double cross.
The children of the client who left her $500,000 are contesting the will even though their father was worth $22 million.
The Girlfriend Experience S1E6
This was a great episode from beginning to end; with great attention paid to detail, as usual. The plot is picking up and I feel we are approaching the fall of the house of cards Christine’s life has been built on.
Jack, Jack, Jack. I am looking forward to seeing how he messes everything up. He is definitely a grenade ready to launch himself into the walls Chelsea has in place. We didn’t get a lot of XHP talk this episode, but that doesn’t mean David Tellis and Ben aren’t continuing their plan of sinking the case.
One of the things that The Girlfriend Experience does so well this episode is show how Christine is losing power in all aspects of her life. There is no actual physical abuse in this episode, but abuse is capable of manifesting itself in a multitude of ways. The mental aspect of it was touched upon this episode as the show continues to explore themes of corruption, sexuality, and morality through Christine/Chelsea.