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Television / Recaps PopWrapped | Television

Masters Finally Shows Signs Of Humanity In This Week's Masters Of Sex

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


10/28/2013 10:25 pm
PopWrapped | Television
Masters Finally Shows Signs Of Humanity In This Week's Masters Of Sex

Jamie Harsip

Content Editor

It was another killer episode of Masters of Sex this week. This show just keeps getting better and better, and if you haven’t hopped on this bandwagon yet, you really should. We started with Virginia taking a nice relaxing bath before work – until her kids barge in on her, back from a weekend with their father. It’s immediately clear that Henry wishes he could have stayed longer. In fact, he says one weekend with his father is better than a million weeks with his mom. Um, ouch? Libby is in for her 24-week appointment with Dr. Haas, and everything seems to be going swimmingly. Her baby is the size of a grapefruit and she gets to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It’s very sweet, and as much as I hate to say it, Ethan may be a crappy human being in some aspects, but he really clicks as a doctor with his patients. He’s starting to grow on me, but I remain wary. Then we have the obligatory scene where someone we’ll never see again explains how little he or she truly knows about reproduction. In this instance, it’s a nice newlywed couple that has been trying to get pregnant for the entire six months they’ve been married. But guess what? They haven’t been having sex. Yeah, the super-religious pair took the Bible very literally with the whole “lie together” thing. They apparently assumed that sharing a bed – for sleeping purposes only – would result in a baby. Yeah, just let that one sink in. It seems Vivienne went and told her daddy she had seen Ethan. Uh oh. It seems everything she said was positive, as Scully says his daughter thinks Ethan is “the pussy’s whiskers,” whatever that means. Something good, I assume, since he then all but tells Ethan to ask Vivienne out on a real date. Meanwhile, the study is on its 200th observation of masturbation! Hooray! Bill tells Gini that he wants to move on to the next phase: pairs. Gini says she worries about the integrity of that study, since it can’t be a controlled one. Masters insists that it can, despite Gini’s citation of the uncontrollable element of attraction. As she says, just because it can’t be reduced to a number doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Case in point: Langham and Jane both agree to sign on again for the study, but the former doesn't take into account that it doesn't necessarily mean they’ll be paired up. He instead gets the gorgeous brunette, F-102, but it doesn't go as planned. They try and try, but it seems Langham can’t quite rise to the occasion. Voila – no chemistry, no sexy time. Ethan did, in fact, invite Vivienne out for an egg cream. She somehow convinces him to have a casual and easy “friends with benefits” sort of relationship with him. That, however, does not last very long, once they’ve had sex and, surprise, she was a virgin. And holy hell, Dr. Haas just deflowered the provost’s daughter without realizing it. In a moment of stunning thoughtlessness, while talking with Jane about his predicament, Ethan compares taking a girl’s virginity to those signs in stores that say, “You break it, you buy it,” because it makes a girl fall in love with you forever. And to think, I was starting to like the guy. Apparently there’s a bigger issue at hand than the “attraction” element for Langham. The next night he is paired with Jane, but there’s still no luck on his end, the poor guy. It’s not a vital scene, to be honest, but I have to mention it because it ends with Langham yelling, “Why won’t my dick work?! Fuck!” at no one and nothing in particular. Later we have the 30th anniversary party for Provost Scully and his wife, Margaret (the eternally wondrous Allison Janney). Vivienne is there, of course, and she’s rather put out that Ethan won’t even say hello. Her mother’s advice is that a woman has to make a man fall in love with her – she can’t wait for it to happen on its own. As a result, Vivienne drags Ethan outside to talk, and all of his worst fears come true. She tells him that she won’t be telling her father about their night together, which sounds like a good thing…until she goes on, saying that the physical part of their relationship will get better, that they’re meant to be together. This is so not what Ethan signed up for, what with their “decision” to pursue something casual and easy. Inside the party, Bill and Libby are seated at their table together, Libby in an absolutely stunning maternity gown. She asks him to dance, but in his usual form, he replies that he’d rather they go home, as he has a splitting headache. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand this relationship, to be honest. Libby is so friendly and bubbly and bright; I can’t begin to understand how she ended up with this cold, distant, damaged man. But anyway, Libby stands up to go to the restroom, saying she’ll give Bill time to think about that dance, and he notices with horror that there’s a large blood stain on the back of her dress. Libby is then rushed to the hospital. Libby gets into a bed after having some tests done, and Bill can’t hear the baby’s heartbeat. He says they’ll try again later; maybe the baby is in an odd position. Instead of staying by his wife’s side, Bill opts to go look at her chart, anything to get out of that room. Poor Libby is frantic and upset, worried for their child, but Bill says he’ll have Gini come down to sit with her. I know Bill Masters has his share of demons and horrors in his life, but I don’t think I’ll be able to forgive him for this. Gini, who was supposed to be taking her children out for cherry pie and a ride on a ferris wheel, has no choice but to come to her friend’s aid. She sits with Libby, who is utterly heartbroken, but not surprised that Bill isn’t there with her. She says she’s only seen him like this once before, when his father died. Evidently even with Libby, Bill is desperate for no one to really know him. This delay is the final straw for Gini’s son, Henry, whom she finds to be missing when she goes to check on the children. It’s Ethan who finds Henry, and Ethan who comforts Gini when she finally breaks down crying over the state of her relationship with her son. In Libby’s hospital room, Bill’s mother has come to stay with her, I assume in lieu of Gini. Estabrook Masters, a constant source of frustration for her son, is a godsend for Libby. When Bill asks his mother to leave, that maybe Libby wants some alone time, Libby snaps back saying that if she had wanted to be alone, she wouldn't have called her mother in law. Estabrook decides to go get the hospital chaplain to pray with her and Libby. When she leaves the room, Libby finally breaks down and begs Bill to treat her not like a patient, with barriers of protocol between her and her answers, but as his wife. When he finally tells his wife the fate of their child, he is as distant as ever. All Bill says to his wife is, “I’m so sorry.” You can tell he wishes he were the kind of man who can express himself, at least when his wife needs him to, but he just isn’t. Libby insists they perform the evacuation procedure immediately, refusing to wait until morning. She also says she needs Bill to be the one to do it. The next morning, when Gini asks Bill when he would like to resume their study, he says that night would be fine. Gini won’t let him close in on himself, though; she knows he’s not himself and that he needs to let it out. Even when he insists she leave his office, she doesn't. Instead she tells him it wasn't his fault. He blames himself, saying he was unsure of the idea of becoming a father, that he had reservations, and then his wife lost their child. Gini tells him that he may be a powerful man, but he’s not that powerful; no one is. Finally, he just can’t keep it in anymore. He has to break down, but before he can, he makes Gini shut her eyes. He can’t let her, or anyone, see him so vulnerable. When her eyes are closed, he just loses it, letting out wailing sobs that absolutely chill to the bone. This man, who we’ve hardly seen exhibit any sort of emotion other than frustration, is just falling apart right in front of our eyes. Michael Sheen is a brilliant, brilliant actor. William Masters is not the kind of character audiences can readily related to or sympathize with, but the acting in this final scene is so raw and so pure; it’s impossible not to be cut to your very core by the agony you’re witnessing. Tune in to Showtime next Sunday at 10 p.m. for “Brave New World,” which will feature even more Allison Janney, among other things. Take a look at the preview clip below:


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