How Many Ways Can I Call You A Whore?
Masters of Sex Season 1 Episode 9 recap
Do you remember the most exciting conversations of the first couple of months away at school? It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go, you still know the ones I’m talking about. After too many Mike’s Hard Lemonades (Ugh, I don’t miss you, 1997), someone starts getting daring while talking about, you know, sex, and someone else one-ups them, and the whole thing feels very naughty and titillating even though nothing is actually happening and half the people are lying?
Yeah. That. It’s the feeling I got from the dinner the filming-orgasms gang had with Bill’s mother. At the risk of sounding like the fuddy-duddy they think she is, they all act like they invented sex. I mean, Jane may have, but the others, you know…they are doing cool stuff, but the idea that nobody else ever thought it was interesting or fascinating or worth contemplating is a little silly.
So it was a bit bittersweet that the outside world came in to interrupt their happy little circle and remind them – really, Bill and Virginia – of this. First there was the need for editors, tape dubbers, cameramen. They’re not doing something that’s easily able to adapt to the world of basic commerce. Then there’s the mother factor, as previously discussed. Then there’s Jane pulling out of the study, all of a sudden having cold feet.
It’s kind of as if the world wants it to be a little less sexy than it has been, no? The thrall and romance of Bill and Virginia’s work together is getting more and more encroached upon. When his mother, who has this weird Vulcan mind-meld with him, points out that he might be turning into his father, Bill has to correct the situation by…calling Virginia a whore. Of course he does.
He’s not the only one who uses her though. The medical students, for her knowledge. Dr. DePaul, as an erstwhile example of how it’s fine to be rejected by women and men alike. Ethan, as the reason he’s not going to get married. [A sidebar: they’ve done it. They’ve officially redeemed Ethan in my eyes, and I’ve all but forgotten about the slap. This is character rehabilitation at its best, and it took nine episodes.] By being an outlier, Virginia isn’t making her life particularly better, she’s making everyone else’s better because they see that she can be different and survive. It’s hilarious that it’s the kind of lesson that needs to be represented by a person to be registerable – but that’s who she is. For everyone, including Dr. Masters, Virginia is the permission to be different.
Not that everyone is so by-the-book, of course. For every Vivian, who wants Ethan to convert, there is a Libby, who is quietly defiant and happy about it. She got what she wanted and still continues to amaze me with the amount of steel she has. Bill is, of course, both lucky and ungrateful where she’s concerned.
I assume they will fast forward the show enough that there’s a baby named Baby Bill by the end of the season. I further assume that Libby is going to get more badass. She might even take Jane’s crown. I could do without more of Mama Masters, though. A little goes a long way.