THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE Review: “Donors” / “Moral Inventory”

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As far as episode titles go, “Donors” certainly has double meaning when it comes to this week’s installment of Erica and Anna’s story. While Anna is calling Erica to tell her that she can’t wait to see her, Erica is meeting with Darya (in her empty, clinical and cold apartment of course). Our first indication of the vastly different paths Erica and Anna are starting to walk down comes in this scene. Not only does Erica tell Darya that she isn’t seeing anyone special, she also openly admits to still being in love her – saying that it’s humiliating for Darya to say that she showed up at her office in the last episode because she misses her. 

At the office, Erica gets a call from Greg Chiesurin, on behalf of Eric Koscielny – who works for a private equity firm and whose personal wealth tops $1 billion. Koscielny wants to make a donation, but Erica becomes suspicious when a Google search on Chiesurin doesn’t return any hits. Her suspicion isn’t helped when she then calls the mutual contact Cheisurin claimed they had in common – only to discover that the contact has never heard of him. 

Back at home, Erica watches the blow video that Anna gave her as a gift. During a later video-chat Anna opens up to Erica, telling her that she is becoming attached to her – something that she has never experienced before. After hearing this, Erica asks Anna if she would be willing to do anything for her – and her request is our second indication that these two are clearly after very different things in this relationship. Erica wants to watch Anna having sex; but she just doesn’t want to watch, she wants to be controlling exactly what is going on – it’s not about sexual pleasure for Erica, it’s all about power. 

Meanwhile, Novak’s guy steps up his blackmailing of Sandra – who hands over Erica’s meeting and call logs. After seeing Koscielny’s name on the logs he instructs a reluctant Sandra to find out more information about his dealings with Erica. 

Despite her suspicions, Erica meets with Chiesurin and Koscielny. Koscielny is willing to make a donation of at least $15 million, but then he mentions a prominent Canadian industrialist and it quickly becomes clear that this is going to be an illegal deal. Koscielny promises Erica that he’ll make the whole thing look completely legitimate and tells her that he will be expecting a return on his investment. 

Later, Erica and Anna are in bed. Caught in the throws of passion Anna tells Erica that she wants to have her baby – and that she loves her. Which leads us to the episode’s curveball ending. Anna is with a client, she feeds him a line about feeling a real connection between them and convinces him not to use a condom when they have sex; guess she was really being serious with that baby comment…

Over in New Mexico, it turns out that Bria isn’t the only one keeping secrets. We learn at the start of “Moral Inventory” that Ian bugged the safe house before the previous episode – so everything we saw last week, he saw too. It’s a great twist, one that I definitely didn’t see coming. Completely unaware that she’s being watched, Bria invites Paul over for dinner. They argue afterwards, when Paul accuses Bria of saying that he doesn’t know what it’s like to struggle because he is a white man. (Keep in mind that he’s making this argument to a black woman – whatever you say Paul, whatever you say…) Then he asks Bria if she’s seeing other men, she lies and says that she hasn’t seen anyone else she met him.

Then Bria is back at her pre-trial examination, where she is asked what she knew about Donald Fairchild’s drug business. She admits that she helped with the trafficking, but never really knew what he was doing. She also reveals that Donald was more than open about his escort agency, often holding parties where the girls and his friends were the guests – it was at one of these parties in Atlanta that Bria and Donald first met. Then Bria is shown a picture of a bloodied body and asked if she knew the man. She looks upset, asks for the picture to be taken away – then we move to flashback. Bria watches as Donald forces the man in the picture to drink, before he is driven out to middle of nowhere and beaten to death. Bria watched the whole thing – showing little to no emotion – and then called the cops to say that there had been an accident. 

Then the bombshell is dropped – Donald has made bail. Bria is distraught, but Ian promises to keep her safe; and they finally both give into the sexual tension that has been at practically boiling point between them since their near miss back in the second episode. But it turns out that bugging the house wasn’t the only secret Ian has been keeping – he also has a live-in girlfriend. While Ian’s girlfriend has no idea what happened with Bria, Kayla is well aware. She confronts Bria about it, asks her if Ian made her do it – but Bria says that she has no idea what Kayla is talking about. The Bria we leave at the end of the episode is drowning in paranoia, managing to convince herself – and us – that it’s only a matter of time until Donald tracks her down.

TB-TV-Grade-B+Season 2, Episode 7-8 (S02E07-08)
The Girlfriend Experience airs Sundays at 9PM on Starz

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1 Comment

  1. I did not see Bria as giving in to sexual tension at all. She looks absolutely miserable while they’re having sex and then distraught when Kayla confronts her, which I don’t think has to do entirely with Donald. I thought given the power dynamics at play between her and Ian, it was a particularly relevant and disturbing episode.

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