Masters of Sex: Topeka – Behind the Glass (Recap/Review)

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This week’s episode could quite possibly be the highlight of season four.  Masters of Sex “Topeka” follows Bill and Gini as they go undercover to stop pseudo specialists using their techniques.  On top of them protecting their legacy, a number of other things come to light.

Bill and Gini try to attend sessions seperately and learn that all the imposters will only see couples. They change their plans and got to Topeka as a “married couple.”

They leave the clinic in Nancy and Art’s hands.  After Bill and Gini leave Austin comes in and pushes to have his penis pump “patent pending” advertised in the reception area.

Art and Nancy treat the Clavermore’s.  His case history is used by Bill and Virginia in their undercover counseling. Back at their clinic, Nancy moves to have Mr. Clavermore partner with her and Art to open their own clinic in New York.

Art is outraged.

Guy is thinking of being a volunteer for the homosexual study to be run by Art.  Nancy uses what Gini told her about her husband to manipulate him into leaving the practice.

She tells him that she hates swinging, copying how Art really feels about Nancy being with other men, and later goes to have sex with her partner from the coat party.

Lester punches Austin Langham after he talks about Lester’s wife, who he had sex with as part of the Masters and Johnson study. Linden tells Guy not to volunteer. “It changes you,” he says, “having sex behind the glass.”

He knows from bitter experience that this is true.

Meanwhile, Libby and Abe continue to see each other. During lunch, Abe’s crown is cracked by a walnut shell in his food. Libby wants to sue.

Libby learns that Abe is still married to his third wife as he refuses to negotiate with her. She wants his suit of armor and his grandmother’s jade earrings.

She talks to his wife and manages persuade her to let him have the armor in exchange for the cadillac.  Abe is overjoyed and impressed.

In Topeka, Bill and Gini put on disguises and meet the local specialists.  After the first session they are allowed to return to their hotel room to “practice.”  Virginia tries to get Bill to join her for dinner but he has other plans.

Dody arrives. She and Bill talk about what happened 30 years ago and it appears that they both assumed too much.  Bill learns that she never got the roses or his proposal letter. Dody is distraught as she really thought Bill just left with no explanation.

After they talk, she wants to have sex and Bill explains that is not why he wanted to meet with her. Dody is crushed.

Outside the Topeka hotel room, Virginia has trouble with the ice machine and Dody’s husband helps her.  She is outraged that he has allowed Dody to meet with Bill in his hotel room.

Gini is upset with Bill, jealous that he is with Dody and in the morning she confronts him.  Suddenly Gina realizes what she put Bill through.

“I’m so sorry,” she says softly.

The second day of the undercover session ends with a reluctant Bill agreeing to have sex with Virginia behind the glass. As they go through the “treatment” Gini whispers to Bill that she loves him.

Lizzy Caplan was magnificent in this episode.  Her anger when she spoke to Dody’s husband and her reaction when talking to Bill later were spot on.  Later, when they have sex for the faux specialists, we believe that she really does love Bill.

Kevin Christy also knocked it out of the park in this one. His impassioned plea and the story of his wife’s change after participating in the study was heartbreaking.

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Nancy and Art

“Topeka” was also about the reality of Art and Nancy’s marriage.  The way she manipulated him, using what she knew from her talk with Virginia was so coldblooded.  It was a sad moment and one that showed Nancy’s true colors.

It will be interesting to how Virginia’s declaration of love changes Bill’s actions.  He is, after all, a little slow on the uptake.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays on Showtime.

CAST:

Guest starring  Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham, Charles Shaughnessy as Mr. Clavermore and  Lisa Banes as Mrs. Clavermore. 

Narcos: Nuestra Finca – “Our Farm” (Recap/Review)

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In episode nine of Narcos “Nuestra Finca” (Our Farm) Pablo has finally lost it all.  Narcos continues with the slow downfall of Escobar as he runs out of places to hide. He finally takes temporary refuge at his father’s farm.

Tata is panicking as Gustavo de Greiff tells her that the protective custody is ending.  She insists that Los Pepes will kill them all and he suggests hiring private protection. Tata cannot get in touch with Pablo either so her troubles are twofold.

Later, one of the guards tries to help by turning over the radio frequencies and times from Tata’s radio. Javi thinks the man wants money or a visa to the states but he does not.

Los Pepes disband as Escobar has lost all his power, troops and money and is literally on his last legs. The group also have all of Escobar’s  product.  As they stand in a room full of cocaine, they call Rodriguez and ask what they should do with the weapon used by Flaggstudl stuff.

The head of the Cali cartel tells Carlos to keep it. He tells the Castaño brothers that it can be used for their cause; fighting the communist threat.  He also tells them to do what they wish with Judy Moncada.

Initially they try to kill her, via a bomb in her Mercedes. They fail and eventually Bill Stechner from the CIA, who are already partnered up with the brothers, arranges for Judy to become a CIA informant. She is flown to America to give an interview on the Today show.

Pablo and Limon head out to Abel Escobar’s farm to hideout.  While they are there the two men help build fence and do other odd jobs around the place.

Escobar sends Limon out to dig up $500 thousand dollars he buried on his father’s farm. Limon does this and discovers that the money has rotted in the case.

He then goes to see Maritza. He wants the money back that they gave her earlier. She resists and ends up being shot. Limon throws some loose bills on her bed and leaves with the money.

Pablo and his father get into an argument and he decides to leave the farm.  Limon comes back with the ruined money and what he got from Maritza. He tells Escobar they only have around $6 thousand dollars.

Colonel Martinez okays the use of the radio codes to track Pablo. Escobar and his father have a falling out. Pablo leaves a large amount of the money with his father. He finally gets a decent signal for his radio and he calls Tata.

Javi learns from super spook Bill Stechner that Messina has been removed rom from her post. Bill also hint that potato chips cannot eat.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix. Tune in and see what happens  best.

The  series has one more episode before Narcos is defeated, permanently. Tune in and see how it all ended for the man who was one the richest criminal in the world.

Cast: 

Masters of Sex: In to Me You See – Conversion (Review)

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The follow up to last week’s heart-breaking episode, where Helen bled to death on a hospital gurney, was going to be tricky to pull off. Whichever storyline moved forward, the death was going to be a hard act to follow. “In to Me You See” takes Masters of Sex back into the professional side of the Masters and Johnson relationship.

Not that Gini has given up on her pursuit of Bill, but that plan has been circumvented by his stubborn refusal to partner with Virginia on cases. This episode also follows Bob Drag’s attempt to convert himself from being a reluctant homosexual to a practicing heterosexual.

Virginia attempts to convince Bill that Art and Nancy need to partner up for cases. He shoots her down preferring to work with Art and to pair Nancy with Gini.  For the two women it is an awkward situation made worse by the coat swinger’s party and Art’s lying.

Betty is working to get custody of the baby that she and Helen were to raise together. She asks the sperm donor to intervene. The plan is for the two of them to marry and take custody of the baby. They would then divorce and Betty would get full custody of the child.

Helen’s mother approaches Betty and makes her feelings clear. She calls Betty abhorrent and asks her  to think of the baby and not herself.

Louise comes to speak with Bill about her husband James.

Her husband is paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident. Louise was driving and both of them were drunk.  Bill agrees to help them use a neural mapping technique which will enable James to have an erection.

The therapy works and the couple have sex. Louise is ecstatic but James is disappointed. He may have an erection but he can feel nothing. The experiment worked but not successfully for both partners. Louise buys a bottle of red wine and it looks like she may fall off the wagon.

Bob manages to get sexually aroused by the sound of Art’s voice. Guy complains to Dr. Sully that Art is doing conversion therapy. Sully then stops Art and reveals that this is not practiced in the clinic.

Art and Sully then talk to Bill who confirms that conversion therapy is not done at Masters and Johnson. He does, however, realize that just as they measured heterosexual responses the same should be done for homosexuals. He tasks a delighted Art to begin the groundwork for the study.

Nancy and Virginia do their first intake together. The couple turn out to be potential sex therapists who lied to learn more information. Virginia realizes this right away and Nancy disagrees. Gini pulls rank and exposes the couple as charlatans.

The man and woman, posing as husband and wife, are just the beginning of a growing problem. Virginia and Nancy discover a slew of pseudo sex therapists claiming  to have been trained by Bill and Gini.

Clinic’s are being held that advocate swinging and other “treatments” never practiced or condoned by Masters and Johnson.

Virginia and Nancy attend a local seminar and Gini is horrified to see her father there. It is Harry who tells her about the swinging classes.

Bill calls Dody, the old flame that left him.  She was the girl that drove him to choose Libby.

They arrange to meet but her husband shows up instead, it appears that  Bill somehow broke Dody’s heart back in the day, aka 30 years ago, and he angrily tells Bill to leave his wife alone.

This episode of Masters of Sex was all about conversion of one type or another. Bob clearly wants to be converted because of his ingrained disgust at his real sexual preferences. Gini tries to convert the business partnerships back to Bill taking sessions with her.  Betty tries a conversion of sorts to get Helen’s baby where she belongs.

While not as intense as the previous episode “In to Me You  See” was a good follow-on to the storyline. The uncomfortable pairing of two women who now so clearly dislike one another is interesting.  Virginia is not going to give up on Bill, although he obviously has on her, and it will only be a matter of time before she wears him down.

The episode ends with Gini deciding that she and bill should attend the fake seminars “undercover.” This would allow them to shut the phonies down after exposing them. Bill decides they should do some regulatory work and he agrees to split up and check out these therapy sessions.

Out of a short list, Bill choses a seminar in Topeka; where Dody lives.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays on Showtime.

CAST:

Guest starring  Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham and Michael O’Keefe as Harry Eshelman.

Narcos: Season 2, Episode 8 Exit El Patrón – Alone (Review)

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In “Exit El Patrón” Pablo Escobar’s bombing of the shopping center erases any residual popularity he may have had left. Narcos this week sees Tata in protective custody via the Colombian Police. Blackie is picked up and he rolls on Pablo.

Valeria Valez (Stephanie Sigman) acts as go-between at Tata’s urging and delivers a radio telephone from Pablo. The news reporter is murdered, along with her camera crew, immediately after delivering the  item. Spray painted on the news van is a note from Los Pepes “the whore of Pablo Escobar.”

Everyone deserts Escobar like rats fleeing a sinking ship. The “Little Lion” (Jon-Michael Ecker from Queen of the South) is garroted by Pacho’s right hand man after the Cali cartel take everything Escobar related from Pablo’s money man.

Shortly after Blackie is caught outside the hotel where Tata and the rest of Pablo’s family are being held in protective custody. Quica goes rogue. After threatening Limon that he had better stick with Pablo to the end, Quica shoots the two sicario’s on the money run. He then grabs a bag full of cash does a tries to flee the area.

Quica is caught after a car chase through the middle of Medellin and Murphy smacks the sicario in the face with a pistol. (The two have history, says the DEA agent via voice over.)

The only man who sticks by Pablo’s side is Limon the taxi driver. He is the last of  Escobar’s men to stand resolutely by his patrón.

In rapid succession Pablo has lost his family, money, men and power. Even allies like his mistress news anchor Valez have been taken out of the picture.

Colonel Martinez reveals that he knows someone within the ranks is passing on information to Los Pepes. He says he will not try to stop the leaks but the colonel stresses that the man standing over Pablo’s dead body must be a Colombian police officer.

Javi speaks to Trujillo, the other person feeding information to the Castaño brothers and, he agrees that a police officer should be the one who takes Escobar down.

President Gaviria shocks the state prosecutor by denying his request to send Escobar’s family to another country. Gustavo de Greiff has worked a deal wth Pablo to negotiate a surrender is his family were moved out of Colombia.

Gaviria rejects the offer and tells de Greiff that it is his fault that Escobar was able to kill so many people with his bombs.

With the entire country against him and only Limon by his side, Pablo is isolated and on the run. His days of being the richest criminal in the world are already over and as the police, the DEA and Los Pepes hunt him down, the end for Escobar is nigh.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix at the moment. There are two episodes left of the bio-drama. Tune in and see how Pablo meets his end.

(It should be pointed out the real life version of Velez, the news reporter, was not murdered by Los Pepes.)

Cast: 

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

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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.

CAST:

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