Masters Of Sex Season 1 Episode 8 recap
Okay, I know. We’re above the break on the site, but come on. Vaginas, on this show, are not spoilers.
I’ll tell you what though, I am pretty surprised at how liberal everyone is about sex. Maybe I thought 1957 was more taboo than it obviously was, but Jane sasses about greeting each new person in the study with a wink and a smile, and Margaret Scully was the only one who didn’t have sex until her wedding day, and it turns out the Provost’s hang-ups about sex are, um, his alone. When is there going to be some scandal about the fact that sex is only supposed to be between a man and a woman in the sanctity of marriage? Where’s the moralizing?
I’m not exactly joking. I know it might seem cheap or easy to have those straw people make straw arguments but it’s also important for Bill and Virginia to have some common opponents, especially since their old ones - trying to scare up people to be in their study and getting money in the first place – are kind of old hat. What exactly is the conflict for them, beyond the fact that Bill is shortening his refractory period before Virginia has a chance to stop chafing?
Okay, crass, fine. Maybe I should give that joke to Dr. DePaul, who never met a woman named Johnson she didn’t want to keep down (Sorry. The hits, they keep on coming.) The angry old woman with a reason for her bitterness – you know, the one who might not actually be so old or so bitter, if only - is a trope immortalized in my mind by the great Katherine Brooke from “Anne of Windy Poplars” but here she’s not so interesting. So she has a secret that gives her greater depth. So she’s jealous of Virginia’s sex appeal and ease with people. It still doesn’t exactly mesh with her moves to squash her, particularly when she’s trying to drum up interest in women’s health and doesn’t have any champions.
In fact, the show is always interested in layered women and it has them – Allison Janney breaks my heart again this week as Margaret puts the pieces of her husband’s lies together, if not all the way, then at least enough to understand that she sees through them. Also, she participates in possibly the least exploitative nude shot I can remember. There’s something fascinating about an older woman coming of age, especially as her own daughter is about to jump headlong into something just as ill-advised, if not for the same reasons.
But sometimes I worry there’s not enough opposing our lead characters. Libby now has an unexplained pregnancy to explain (though I was glad the show didn’t go full Far From Heaven on us). Vivian, well, she’s her own biggest issue, though her face on “marquise?!?” was perfect…and the Scullys have more than their fair share right now. Hell, even Ethan marches forward on the Make Duana Forget He Slapped A Woman track by looking lovably bewildered at how his engagement was taken from him.
But Virginia has two adorable children and the respect of her boss Bill, not to mention his attention with sixteen-minute gaps, and when she sees some resistance from her teacher she just winsomes right past it. Her ex-husband, who we rarely see, is pesky at worst. What’s her actual problem? Bill, meanwhile, is successful in his study, is most definitely having his cake and eating it too, and conducts his study with complete impunity. It’s hard to see where the conflict is coming from, or whether it’s going to be believable when it does. I mean, obviously there will be the romantic complication but Bill and Virginia seem poised to clinical themselves right out of it, even though I do love that they took a moment to relish the scientific implications of their work tonight. Still, I’m not sure if that will get us to the end of the season. I need something incendiary – and I don’t mean just a pregnancy…