MASTERS OF SEX, S2E7 + S2E8: ‘We’re not telling stories’

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By David Oliver

All right, this post is about to blow your mind. Not because of how awesome this show is, or the quality of the writing (hey, a kid can dream), but because it’s going to condense two major episodes into one.

Let’s dive in…

S2E7 begins with a five-month time jump (!), automatically elevating this series to next level mayhem. A show in its second season has to be brave to make a move like this. And it’s just the beginning. Masters and Johnson are in a new space with Lester back, fresh off a break-up with Jane. “I didn’t know they had postcards in bitchtown,” he says. Betty is starting as their secretary, now divorced from Gene. The study is still not generating much money, and Bill must take out a loan to keep the study afloat – putting all his assets on the line to do so. So, of course, he doesn’t tell anyone about it.

Meanwhile, Libby wants a second child, Langham and Virginia go on a double date (Langham with a hopeful lingerie model, Holly, and Virginia with a photographer named Shelley) and Bill sets the record straight, again, with Virginia. “We’re work colleagues, nothing else.” And then Bill goes to a hooker for oral sex, but it appears he’s suffering impotence.

Cue time jump number two as Libby goes to check out Bill’s space – it’s now September 1959. Bill and Libby now also have a daughter and Betty has her accounting degree. Libby finds out about Bill’s loan, and Bill finds out Libby has been communicating with his mother, allowing her to spend time with her grandchildren. “My place is to love you. Just that…I’m asking for another chance,” she says, and offers to help with the loan.

Libby and Bill fight about it, and Libby reminds Bill he isn’t the only one in the world upset about the past. “Point to someone in this entire world who isn’t suffering,” she says.

Libby later has a heart to heart with Virginia and reveals she and Bill haven’t had sex in over a year – I guess that baby was a test tube one?

bill virginia

Bill (Michael Sheen) and Virginia (Lizzy Caplan), “Masters of Sex,’ GIF courtesy http://www.ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com

And, another (!) year. AGAIN. It looks like Bill and Virginia have patched up their relationship. “Just because someone goes home to someone doesn’t mean they’re not alone,” BIll tells Virginia. He tells her they can’t stay in hotels anymore because they can’t afford it, but later figures out medicine may be on his side in securing a room without payment.

Langham sees his girlfriend while watching porn at a bachelor party and goes to his wife to apologize for his transgressions.

Barbara, Bill’s short-lived assistant under Dr. Greathouse, wants to join the sex study – but she can’t have traditional sex because she’s “closed up” (more on this in the next recap).

The episode ends with a party at the Masters,’ where Bill allows his mother. She says she is proud of him.

Whew. As much as this episode felt a little clunky, it brought our characters into a new world fast. It can’t help but feel, though, that writers aren’t sure how long this show was going to last while they wrote this. It is already guaranteed a third season – so why are they pulling out all the stops now? Unless more are coming? 

S2E8 proves there are many more bombshells out there – no signs of slowing down.

An old college friend (or so we think), Frank (Christian Borle) shows up to see Bill seeking fertility treatment. Bill finds out Virginia has kept all the files on rejected study applicants due to sexual dysfunction, something she sees should be explored further (and Bill should be interested in, considering his own difficulties).

The study is going to be audited unless Virginia and Bill get a board of trustees, so they agree to woo a potential board member with Libby in tow. “We’ll go as a triumvirate,” she says, to be as awkward as possible.

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Virginia (Lizzy Caplan), “Masters of Sex,” photo courtesy http://www.digitalspy.co.uk

Bill tells Virginia “We’re not telling stories,” in response to her suggestions of working to solve both the physical and mental sides of impotence. Yet Lester and Barbara reveal their own sexual struggles to Bill and Virginia respectively in a montage, negating this line and opening up the purpose of the study after all.

Later, Libby sees a black man hurt on the street and Robert nearby, but keeps driving, despite his pleas for her to help. 

Bill admits he and Frank had a falling out, and Barbara reveals to Virginia her brother sexually abused her.

In a bit of irony, the spokesman for Caolmetric ate himself to death, making room for Langham to takeover as the new voice.

Virginia, Bill and Libby attend a party to woo their pick as the first board member, and they succeed. The black waiters wear white masks, a blatant metaphor for how we are all equal, and a solid reminder of how far our country still has yet to come in terms of equality, both then and now. This arguably prompts Libby’s guilt (finally) and she tells Bill she wants to go to the police about what she saw.

Virginia decides she wants to go back to school to be a therapist – and decides to go to therapy herself, but tells Barbara’s story instead. Presumably this is ot help Barbara, since she refuses to go to a therapist herself.

Frank and Bill meet again. Frank discusses his choice of plastic surgery as a profession. “They think it’s enough to fix the outside. That’s the easy part,” he says. But that’s not the biggest bombshell of all – Frank and Bill are BROTHERS. Low sperm count runs in the fam, and apparently so does emotional scarring.

Aaaaand, scene. Where do we go from here? I’m not quite sure, but with only four episodes left and how much has already happened, there’s no telling where – or when. And that’s perfectly all right.

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