Masters Of Sex Season  Episode 2 recap

I really hate the expression “I am X show’s/celebrity’s/concept’s bitch”. I hate it a lot. In addition to being reductive and simplistic, it is, like all other bad expressions, really overused.

So I’m going to have to figure out another way to describe how I feel about Masters Of Sex. Because it’s only two episodes in, and I am absolutely fascinated and compelled already, and want to gobble the extra episode that somehow is floating around.

Mostly, I think, it’s because after many men on cable TV who are troubled, yet strong and sexy as a result, Masters is floundering. Don’t you love how utterly turned around he is by all the women in his life? Like, if there was ever someone who you’d think would understand them – would seek to understand them – it would be the man who is, unlike so many others, interested in their pleasure and sexual response, as opposed to just seeing them as birth receptacles.

But Masters is utterly and completely out of touch with women as humans, which is to say he’s out of touch with almost anyone as humans. His antiseptic relationship with his wife is only bearable because it’s balanced by how thoroughly Virginia and Betty boss him around, and because his wife, while still a shy retiring flower, seems to understand that he’s serving her a line of bullsh*t and that she’s not going to take it.

This is mostly all about Lizzy Caplan though. I hope I’m not the only one falling in love with her – I feel like maybe I’ve ignored those who have tried to talk me into her in the past. The woman is so strong and quiet, but not meek, in her conviction that she is who she is, that she’s going to deal with the sh-t she’s been served, and that her job is to boss Masters around just enough that he knows she’s sort of the boss – and I totally buy every frame of it. She looks so self-assured even when things aren’t going her way, and it’s refreshing.

That’s not to say the show’s perfect. It’s uneven. They’re trying to sell me on a class-difference situation – that the prostitutes can’t afford medical care; that Dr Masters is the only one caring for the fertility needs of the black community – but it feels false so far, not least because Betty has easily talked herself into a job (what?) and because it’s unclear where Virginia falls on the scale.

Similarly, I am not at all compelled by the adventures of Dr. Horny Asshole – that he can find a woman to give him a blowjob but not the right kind of woman or the right kind of blowjob is kind of trivial in the grand scheme of things, as is the issue of Dr. Married wanting to continue anonymous sex even though now he’s not anonymous.

The falsest thing, of course, is the ongoing shall they/shan’t they with Masters & Johnson, more because I think they’re talking about it as though it’s whether or not they should go to dinner and also because I don’t see any underlying chemistry that’s making them both hope the other says yes. Not exactly. I know the situation is supposed to look like he’s manipulating her – and he is, via holding her job over her head – but she can buy and sell him and so the idea that she might have to sleep with him is preposterous, since anyone with eyes can see it’s her call. The question is why she’d want to, which hasn’t been answered for me just yet.