The Girlfriend Experience is back with its second season, continuing its exploration of the transactional nature of sex. But instead of one singular story, the co-creators of the show have decided to split up the season into two shows. Lodge Kerrigan writing and directing for Erica and Anna, and Amy Seimetz for Bria. I’m guessing the overhead on this show is low enough that splitting the show wasn’t an issue in the financial sense, but the fact that the two stories will have nothing to do with each other asks the viewer to become emotionally invested in two shows simply because of the title.
Lodge Kerrigan tells the story of Erica Myles, a finance director working for a super-PAC looking to take down a rival politician with the aide of an escort named Anna, who records her client, a misogynist asshole so unlikable and disgusting that it’s pretty easy to root for Anna recording him during their sessions. It highlights the easily broken trust expected in this type of relationship.
The scenes with Erica and Anna felt pulled right out of the many House of Cards scenes involving Doug Stamper whenever he had to go out into the underbelly of society to get shit done. And because this is a trope in a lot of political dramas, the impact of it in Erica and Anna’s storyline fell flat for me, much like their entire episode.
On the other hand, Amy Semeitz’s story of Bria Jones is visually striking from the first scene to the last. Carmen Ejogo plays Bria, mistress to a crime lord and a former escort, who has now entered the witness protection program with the daughter of said crime lord. Bria tries to adjust to her new life as a menial factory worker, far removed from the glitz and glamour to which she was accustomed.
Her storyline is more effective in showing the aftereffects of living the life of an escort to powerful men and the decline once the money and the power are gone. But the money and power prove to be an unforgettable draw to Bria and she finds herself slowly being drawn back into the world she left behind.
Why Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Semeitz chose to separate the two main characters into two episodes / shows weekly remains to be seen. I’m not a fan; the season opener was filled with many tropes that I’ve seen in way too many shows. I wasn’t super fond of Christine from season one, but she at least felt like a part of the larger story being told.
Editor’s Note: Moji will be checking in with reviews of season two of The Girlfriend Experience with a mid-season write-up and a finale review.
The Girlfriend Experience S2E1/S2E2 Review Score
The Girlfriend Experience – S2E1/S2E2 – “Leverage/Admitting” | Director: Lodge Kerrigan & Amy Seimetz | Writer: Lodge Kerrigan & Amy Seimetz | Starring: Anna Friel, Louisa Krause, Carmen Ejogo