Masters Of Sex Season 2 Episode 11 recap

Here lies the Cal-o-metric plotline. Not only is it clumsy and completely beside the point, but in this episode (as well as the last) we completely abandon the pretense that any of these Cal-O-Metric characters exist in the same world as Bill and Virginia. It’s one thing to delve into taboo or non-consent fantasies – that’s territory for the show to cover.  

But we’ve all tried, all of us fans of this show, to like whatever Dr. Langham was up to – and it hasn’t come together, has it? If you’re one of the only ones, tell me. Tell me if you’re feeling anything but referred embarrassment and awkwardness for either of these two. No matter how many reflective post-coital cigarettes they have,  no matter how self-aware she is, does it make you feel like they’re anything other than a “light” plotline? Do you feel like you’ve long forgotten how they were connected to the others in the first place? 

Maybe it feels like Cal-o-Metric is so far outside of things because the ping-ponging between Bill and Virginia and Libby and Betty and everyone in that tiny godforsaken office is so incredibly intense. I’ve always liked what happens on cameras to people – it’s  awfully revelatory. You can see things about yourself – about other people – that you’d never notice if you didn’t get to remove yourself and watch them.  Twitches and moments and seconds of discomfort right before you’re able to smooth them over. I know they say in vino veritas – I’ve always thought being on camera does the same thing.

So the fact that Bill is utterly terrible on camera is kind of genius because he has always known all these things about himself. He has always believed he is awkward and perverted and unlovable and incapable of wearing a proper tie. But now the world knows it too. There’s always that hope, when you do something like that, that people will come out of the woodwork cheering “You are an undiscovered genius!”   …but instead, everyone confirms his every fear. He’s the worst. “I can’t twinkle. I can’t f*ck!”

And Virginia loves him anyway, and tonight we figured out it’s because she’s been putting this part of her life so far in front. She’s not a neglectful mother, per se, nor is she a cruel one, but she’s not in her children’s lives. She’s not actually there for them day to day, because she’s spent so much time being there for Bill. She’s taken his side in so many things that she has almost forgotten how to do anything else. So when she stands in front of her children and has  absolutely no recourse but to let them go to Europe with her ex-husband…

…then it all becomes clear. Bill is now all she has. She has a vested interest in making it work.

I was surprised, though, at the implication that this is the episode in which Libby figures it out. It feels like a cheat, because she more or less acknowledged it a few weeks ago. But, I suppose, the argument could be made that she was under the impression that she was still the “official” wife. Now she’s been replaced even in those instances that call for the civilizing influence of a woman.

And so she goes home with Robert and they figure out that the mutual attraction they’ve been feeling is indeed mutual. But I have to say that, while I bought this more than I wanted to, I was a little exhausted by the endless speechifying about what it is to be a pretty girl. Everyone on this show talks in an earnest manner – there’s not a lot of guile. But to be so self aware about everything – to never say the words “I guess”, or “maybe” – it seems a little surprising that someone as valued for her beauty as Libby would be that effortlessly articulate. If it were the case, you’d think she’d have given Bill a piece of her mind years ago.

So she plays with more and more fire, trying to incite something to happen, and finally there’s passion on the kitchen floor, and Libby doesn’t even remotely have to worry about being caught, and that has to sting.

But maybe she will, because there is a season finale coming and we have to feel worried about her somehow. We have to feel worried about whether Bill can be a man and whether Virginia is anything more than his woman. I’m interested in those things.  

I never want to hear about Dr. Langham or that product ever again.