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The Girlfriend Experience - Black Box - Review

7 Jun 2021

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  Spoilers Ahead! Please don't read until you've watched The Girlfriend Experience 3x07. 

As everyone who is still following this season of Starz's The Girlfriend Experience already learned a long time ago, a good call girl cannot be kept down for long (which might have been a poor choice of words). So, it should not be a surprise that Iris discovers she doesn't need The V to resurrect her Cassie persona successfully. We even start with seeing her in the act with a client wearing a surprisingly fetishing auburn wig accompanied by some moody electronic score. She proceeds to choke him a bit, which excites whoever this is. 

 Cut to Cassie speaking in her fake British accent and real bleached blond hair to Brett about how she cannot see him for a while due to her family predicament. Brett seems OK with it and is thankful he gave her his phone number for later. She alludes to him that this occurred before she was dropped by The V and she wants him to think that their relationship is secretly outside the agency. He asks if she's seeing any other men. Funny he should ask. 

 We cut back to Cassie in bed with her choking client. He talks about his daughters, Eliza and Abby. She thinks he might be a good father, which he denies. Turns out, his wife as stage 4 cancer and wanted him to be with Cassie. We then notice that he is actually wearing one of Iris' devices on his chest. The recording has malfunctioned, so an electronics team enters to reset the device, which prompts Iris to put on her robe and leave the room (seriously, who could blame her?) 

 So, what is going on? Well, it seems that Iris is using the NGM to take matters into her own hands to get the data she seeks. She has created a controlled environment where every participant is medical screened and knows what they are getting themselves into. She even specifies to Lindsay no blanket data scraping, no vague permissions in the terms of service agreements, certainly no cameras, and permission to veto any data she wants removed. She also wants voices scrambled and no evidence of her likeness ( a little late for that, don't you think?). The company wants rise in body heat represented in numeric value and agrees to NDAs for everyone involved. Everyone seems to be in agreement. 

 We cut to Iris as Cassie disguising herself with darker hair and colored contacts in what appears to be a soundstage. She is also wearing a sexy harness. She meets with a new client named Mike. Then Alfie, then Donnie, then Ken, then Dory, then Killian, then JJ. We see that Cassie has specified that she has samples from all genders with highly individual wants that they are going to have to aggressively pursue since everyone knows they're being watched. We watch her plan in action. Some just want to watch or be watched. This is all in the name of science, Iris' VR personality experiment, that is. And, get her father in a clinical trail while she's at it. However, there seems to be issues with the experiment and Iris demands changes to the program. 

 Back at the NGM, Iris talks to Hiram. He shows her a prototype male digitally rendered face with the Emcee's voice. Of course, it's just a mock-up. Then, Hiram suggests that Iris just tells him what she thinks he wants to hear. This alters Iris' mood. 

 We cut back to Brett. We see Iris exit, then return in a tightly fitting suit. She drops the British accent routine and accuses Brett of ratting her out to The V. This understandably upsets Brett, but he basically admits to not being able to trust Cassie and doing what he had to do to protect himself. She wonders if he had his ex followed also as she gets into the elevator and essentially drops Brett against his pleas. Apparently, he was paying her more than her other clients, so he probably wanted her all to himself. Typical hetero male. 

 We then see Iris with her sister in the hotel room. She admits to have gotten tested, which scared her. She admits they came to London abruptly since now knows either she or her baby carry the genetic make-up responsible of developing Alzheimer's (it's not exactly clear to me which she meant). She wonders what to do and reassures Iris that she may not have it. This makes one go, "hmmmmm."

 Cut to Cassie with Killian in the bedroom. She can tell they both are not into this set-up. Weirdly enough, she claims to be good at reading people, then contradicts herself by saying she misreads people often. She gets him to admit that he is a neuroscience expert and works for NPL. Then, she tells him the truth about herself and why she is in London. She wants to call it a day, but he hugs her since he suddenly feels connected. Of course, this was all a ruse to get him to open up to her to give her the data that she and the company needed. It worked. 

But, Iris tells Lindsay backstage that they still need to streamline the interactions to get an easier baseline to read. But, of course, she requests the "false" fact she told him about her father be taken out of the record (the "black box" of the title. Lindsay agrees to this. We then see that Iris is actually standing on a large actual theatrical stage all by herself in an empty hall distantly, both physically and emotionally. 

 Fascinating transitional episode. I am starting to finally see where all of this might be headed. I enjoyed all of the technical dialogue exchanges here. Iris' dissolving relationships feel authentic and tragic. It seems that Iris might be setting herself up for a rather elaborate demise. Hope it doesn't involve getting Alzheimer's before her time.