Masters of Sex Season 3 Episode 2 recap

Let’s get the obvious strangeness out of the way first – was there something up with Michael Sheen’s voice this episode? Like, it sounded not very much like Michael Sheen’s voice? I couldn’t decide whether he was trying to corral the Britishisms more or overcompensating for a cold, but it seemed like 80% of the episode was re-recorded in ADR, and possibly not by him. Is it just me?

Also, am I just avoiding the more pressing topic, which is that this was the most boring episode of the show that I can remember? It shouldn’t have been – the world’s fastest TV pregnancy had lots of really bratty teens and sham marriages to recommend it – but didn’t you feel like it was the sound nobody could hear?

So OK, she’s married to George again, for legitimacy, and there’s a baby and she’s going to do right by her, bold emphasis mine since the show took such pains to show us that it was supposed to be a boy but is a girl, i.e. her chance to do it over again with a girl who won’t turn out as bratty as Tessa (don’t hold your breath). 

Why do we CARE? Put aside for a second that every variance on a woman in labour has been played, and it’s kind of unfair to Lizzy Caplan to have to make that compelling; put aside that Michael Sheen belting “Danny Boy” in desperation is, out of context, a hilarious one. 

Why were we denied the scene of Virginia not going through with the abortion she thought she wanted? Why not hear the rationale, nuts though it may have seemed?  Why did we jump straight to scenes of her with an apron stretched over her belly? What’s the point?

Remember in Season 1, and even to a lesser extent in Season 2, when this show was about fighting the expectations of what it might be to be in a ‘sex study’ and the hijinks and real problems that ensued when people misunderstood what that meant? When there was a whole network of secondary characters who could complicate and irritate and assist in bringing the vision of Masters and Johnson to the world? Remember Dr. Haas and Dr. Langham and Provost Scully and Margaret Scully and when the show occasionally cut away to b-plots? Now Lester and Betty get about a line apiece, and we’re getting our emotionally-resonant ‘here’s how the case of the week affects Masters & Johnson’ from the Shah of Iran. That’s not hyperbole. These days the show feels like a weird plural marriage, and I’ve watched that show (Big Love, FYI) and it had dozens more people whose actions affected the couple. Bill and Virginia and even Libby are in the weirdest vacuum of human interaction, and it makes nothing about them feel real.  

I know I know, it’s only episode 2, and they’re fast-forwarding time, and you heard that Josh Charles was on the show and that Sarah Silverman was coming back and all that but honestly, why not just cut directly to the ‘Masters and Johnson become famous and/or crackpots’ plot that’s coming? Get them out of the house so Libby can have some adventure again? Get them interacting in the world so that we can see all the reasons why they were important? 

Right now it’s just one work-couple playing mind games with each other over decades. While I know that’s real life, I don’t know why we’re watching this couple in particular. I need to be reminded very soon. Very soon.