Hannah takes lessons in domination so she can please her accountant; meanwhile, after learning that Ben is engaged, she decides to tell him the truth
Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl

‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ recap: S&M lessons

Boy, do I feel like rubbish. I’ve been ripping on Hannah for weeks because she couldn’t fess up to Ben about being a prostitute. I guess I just assumed she’d never do it. And then she goes and proves me wrong by texting him the link to her escort ad. In episode 4, no less. Now what will I have to be critical about? Billie’s acting? No way. Her clothes? Too shallow. That this episode actually gave me a genuine belly laugh? Nope. Sadomasochism always makes good comedy. ”Japanese rope bondage,” ”dog training,” ”dildo training,” ”feet and medical.” Those terms alone make me giggle. Well, unless they refer to something being practiced by Rosie O’Donnell or Dan Aykroyd. (See Exit to Eden.) Her taste in literature? In this episode she’s reading actor/French teacher/puppeteer/WW II spy/acupuncture enthusiast Frédéric O’Brady’s autobiography, All Told. Très obscure.

I do have a question, though: How safe is it, really, to lick a toilet seat, as Hannah makes her accountant john do during one of their S&M games? If he catches a disease, does she have to pay damages? He is in her place of business after all, if not in her business place. Hardy har har. Oh, and the idea of wiping another adult just grosses me out. I don’t care how liberating senior dominatrix Sirona promises it to be.

I must also say that I’m a little irked by how similar Call Girl‘s plot lines are getting to Sex and the City‘s. We’ve had the double-booking episode. We’ve had the getting-paid for-sex episode (obviously). We’ve had the threesome episode. We’ll have the sort-of-lesbian episode next week. What’s next? The ”up the butt” girl? Funky spunk? The ”pee on me” john? In Call Girl‘s defense, they are both shows about sex, so there must be some common ground. And in my mind, Hannah is always preferable to Carrie. (I pick stiff upper lip over whinging bore any day.) I just hope the overlap is due more to coincidence than to lack of creativity on the show’s part.

But back to Hannah and Ben. Last night’s episode got me excited (not in that way) about finally getting to the nuts and bolts of their relationship. We’ve already established that each episode has two halves — the punter part, involving Hannah’s work life, and the Ben part, about Hannah’s personal life. In her mind, never the twain shall meet, but we’ve come to realize that in actuality, they usually mirror each other. In this case, one of Hannah’s regulars requested the S&M experience, so she learned how to give it him. At the same time, she began to realize that her friendship with Ben has a pleasure/pain dynamic that she no longer controls: She’s accustomed to being the one hurting him by keeping secrets; now he’s holding back on her. (I’d say not telling Hannah he was getting married is a pretty big deal.) And she can’t handle it. Then, when he told her what’s what — ”You’re the one who never answers the phone or speaks about anything real these days, I can’t even come round your flat….Stop being a hypocrite, because you’re doing my head in” — she took it out on her john by beating him rather brutally during their session. Sure, I felt bad that she was crying and trying to tear off her rubber dominatrix suit, but I couldn’t help thinking that the skin on that guy’s bum is going to be ripe for days and there is a major possibility that his wife is going to notice. Bad prostitute, bad.

NEXT: Facing the music

Nevertheless, I thought the two final scenes — first with the john and then at the bar with Ben — were brilliant. Yes, I would have preferred that Hannah tell Ben to his face, but even a text is a big step for her. Now I just wonder: Is this going to make her feel free, as Sirona said? Or is it going to make her feel vulnerable, as if she had her head in a toilet?

What also struck me about yesterday’s show was the music, so I did some searching; an awesome IMDB user has put together a playlist on IMEEM.com (registration required) for most of the season. I myself have fallen in love with the Brit band the Noisettes, whose song ””Cannot Even (Break Free)” was featured on the pilot.

So what did you guys think? Was Hannah brave to come clean, or will she drive Ben away? Are you into the drama, or do you prefer the sex?

Episode Recaps

Secret Diary of a Call Girl
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