Masters of Sex: Family Only – Tear Jerker (Review)

Masters of Sex poster

Masters of Sex “Family Only” was, point blank, a tear jerker.  Before the end credits rolled Betty lost everything; Helen dies and the baby is snatched by Helen’s parents. Bill fights against his attraction/love for Virginia and Libby has definitely moved on.

There is an interesting dynamic going on between  Nancy, Art and Virginia. Bill is oblivious to the whole thing till Nancy barges into the office to complain that Virginia is competing with her since sleeping with Art.

Nancy clearly means to replace Virginia, and possibly Bill, in the office. Taking over the intake procedure without checking with either Bill or Virginia was not, apparently, the first time that Nancy has hijacked clients from the business’s owners.

Now that Virginia and Bill know about the interception of their client, Nancy orders Art to steal the taped consult. It is a good move as Art can be heard promoting himself and Nancy as being better specialists.

He tells the couple that as they are married they can empathize more with their problems. Something Virginia and Bill cannot do as, obviously, they are not married.

Virginia forces Art to tell the truth about what happened at the coat party. Nancy is furious and later confronts her husband after having sex with a ex boyfriend.  Art lies and says that he and Virginia did have sex. As he describes what happened, Nancy becomes aroused.

Helen’s water breaks and there is bleeding. Sully arrives in time to speak with Nancy and then deliver the baby.

There are problems.

The infant is in the breech position and Sully opts for a caesarian.  The child is delivered but Sully is having problems “closing up.” Bill scrubs up and helps but after 16 transfusions, Helen bleeds out. She dies from a condition that prevents her blood from clotting properly.

Bill is distraught and Sully cries while washing Helen’s blood from his arms. Virginia holds Bill’s hand.

This was an interesting episode.  Libby proves, yet again, that she has embraced the legal world and is busy moving on. The full-frontal nudist camp was amusing and her date with Perlman was revealing. (Pun intended.)

Lester has been taking photographs of his wife cheating for 18 months. Art  is almost caught stealing the audio tape and he accuses Lester of taking pictures for that amount of time because he wants to.

The two main storylines however deal with Betty’s other half finally giving birth and then dying as well as Virginia’s revelation that Bill is the guy for her full stop.

Bill, who seems to be harboring the idea that he and Libby will get back together, does not react well when Virginia gives him the hotel key later in the episode.  She lays it all out and he tells Virginia that he does not trust her.

There is a double standard here.  He was perfectly free to mess about with Virginia while married to Libby, but is he is holding Dan against his former lover.  Considering  that Masters and Johnson did marry in real life and this is a bio-drama/romance clearly they will sort this all out.

Helen dying was not too unexpected. Something was bound to go wrong with this whole storyline. The Betty and Helen relationship was fraught with problems and clearly, Sarah Silverman was not going to be a long term regular on the show.

Somewhat annoyingly, this “Family Only” episode felt a tad contrived. Libby’s first date with Abe taking place at a nudist’s camp felt like a forced attempt at humor. It also seems to be rushing Bill’s soon-to-be ex into finding “herself.”

The death of Helen, which is what the title “Family Only” is alluding to, seemed to be there solely to tug at heartstrings.  While Virginia’s attempt to make Bill realize that their being together was another “win” for Lizzy Caplan in the performance stakes, the episode, over all, was somewhat lacking in the believability department.

Bob Drag showing up for a consult to cure his impotence was an interesting twist.  It will be interesting to see if he really is gay or is he has something else going on there.

Kudos to the brilliant Beau Bridges for that split second scene in the scrub room, manfully choking back tears while cleaning up. Nailed it.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays on Showtime.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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