Masters of Sex: Night and Day – Paying the Price (Review)

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This week in Masters of Sex quite a number of things come full circle. “Night and Day” sees Bill and Gini finally deciding where they stand with one another. Art learns a devastating truth about his relationship with Nancy and Libby makes what may be a life altering decision.

The bottom line with every situation on this episode is that someone must pay a price for their actions.  Whether it be indiscretions, in the case of Gini’s father, or having an open marriage, like Art and Nancy.  In this episode Bill and Gini may well have discovered that they can be a couple, while their two business colleague’s marriage may well be over.

Masters of Sex was a heartbreaker this week. Focusing on Art and Nancy the episode revealed that the love of Art’s life never wanted to marry him.  Among the many lies that Nancy told her husband, including her callous mirroring of his unhappiness at their marital arrangement, the worst was her lie about the pregnancy.

She tells Art that the baby’s father could be anyone of a number of sexual partners.  Later, when he sees her talking to Sully about aborting the pregnancy Art listens to the tape recording and learns the heartbreaking truth.

The baby is his.

Nancy wants to get rid of it to keep her options open. She wants to be able to leave the relationship whenever she wants. Art listens to this and learns the sad truth. This too is another price to pay, not for the open marriage, but for knowing about the tapes and listening in on a private conversation.

This revelation may well affect their defection to New York to open a rival business.  Art has already spoken to Bob Drag but that was before he learned the truth about the baby.

Gini’s father wants to receive counseling from Bill and brings her mother along for Gini to talk into participating.  At lunch with mom, she learns about a long term affair her father was having and it upsets her.

Later she and her father do the intake questionnaire. This sequence had to be, hands down, the oddest and most uncomfortable to date in the show.  There cannot be many people who could face helping their parents solve sexual issues and even less who could handle one of their parents being unfaithful.

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Libby gets an epiphany.

Libby and Abe get caught up in Woodstock.  As the lawyer and lawyer to be try to get out of the world’s biggest traffic jam, Libby has an epiphany. She decides to take a detour and attend the concert.  Abe may, or may not, join her but it does not matter. Libby has realized that she needs to dream big.

Louise’s fall off the wagon is interrupted by Bill. He tries to help his friend and mentor (at A.A.) but she is accepting of her fate. She may eventually climb out of her misery but right now she needs the punishment. The two drink and dance together and it is another heartbreaking scene.

This too is someone paying the price. Louise is still paying for her decision to drive while intoxicated the night her husband became partially paralyzed. As Bill says in another meeting, Louise, like so many others who attend, needs the bad feeling.

By the end of the episode Gini has come to the church where Bill’s A.A meeting takes place. (Guy tells her where Bill is.) They talk and Bill finally reveals that he is scared of entering into a relationship with Gini.

Gini  explains that she is also frightened and as they sit there, they begin to alternatively recite classic marriage vows in one of the most touching scenes ever. These two obviously belong together and at long last they have accepted the fact. (Masters and Johnson were married in real life, although it ended in divorce.)

Masters of Sex was all about paying the price this week. It was also about heartbreak and learning truths that maim and destroy the seeker. Art was the one we felt most for in this episode.

While sighing at Gini and Bill finally getting it right, we simultaneously grieved for Art and Nancy. Never have a couple been so wrong for each other for all the worst reasons. We cannot judge Nancy too harshly for wanting her freedom but we can hate her a little for lying to Art.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays on Showtime. This episode “Night and Day” is the penultimate one of the season. The season finale will air next Sunday. Tune in to see if Betty returns to work and what Art will do with the truth he learned this week.

CAST:

Guest starring Michael O’Keefe as Harry Eshelman, Frances Fisher as Ethel Eshelman, Danny Jacobs as Bob Drag and Niecy Nash as Louise.

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. 

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.

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:

Masters of Sex: Outliers – Moving On (Review)

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The theme this week in Masters of Sex is moving on. Although last week’s episode could also be a build up to “Outliers” with Bill recognizing his infatuation with Virginia.  All evidence points to the two business partners also being the perfect match for one another in terms of relationships.

Virginia learned this last week with her bedroom  tête-à-tête with Art at the swingers party.  Bill is clued in by Libby, after a night of what he believes to be reconciliation.  It is, after a fashion, but Libby wants a fresh start and to clear any bad emotions between them.

She does not want to stay with Bill. Libby tells him that Virginia is his perfect match.  It is, she says, perfectly obvious that they make each other happy.

The court case continues and Perlman pushes for Bill to fight the charge of sexual deviancy.  Meanwhile Virginia, after her revelation that Bill is really the perfect match for her, makes her move on him.

She schedules a trip to New York to meet with Bob Drag as he dropped their second book option.  All big eyes and smiles, Virginia pours on the charm to convince Bill to attend the meeting.

He declines to go and focusses on his lawyer’s opening statement. He also, after Virginia leaves, zeroes on on Libby and sorting things out between them.

In the office, Nancy asks Art about how Virginia was in bed and he waffles.  Virginia then storms into Art’s office and tells him to reveal nothing happened.  Art still hesitates to tell Nancy the truth and instead implies that the offices are bugged.

Later, the couple find the recording equipment and Nancy is furious. She wants to leave immediately and Art talks her into staying.  In New York, Virginia corners Drag in his office and after a little pressure he takes her to the publisher’s mixer party.

He reveals that the new head of the company is demoting him.  It turns out that the big boss feels Bob is “a little light in the loafers.”  Virginia sorts Bob’s problem out by saying he is far from “light.”

She leaves New York with the book deal re-instated. Virginia also told the company head that the court case will yield enormous amounts of free publicity for the upcoming book.

Betty and Helen continue to have issues with Helen’s parents.  The couple have been staying with their daughter and helping her out during the last bit of her pregnancy.

Helen has been refusing to tell her parents about Betty.  After a long talk, she does reveal the truth about her partner. Her folks silently pack their bags and leave.  Helen is heartbroken, they will not answer her calls, and Betty explains that she is now Helen’s new family.

Bill decides to settle the court case rather than continue to fight it. The prosecution have found a bell hop who can testify to he and Virginia committing adultery. Rather than tarnish Virginia’s reputation, Bill agrees to the sexual deviancy charge and pays the $500 fine.

Virginia is touched and tells Bill that they are back where they belong; together.

Things are not quite that simple, however,  as Bill returns to the AA meeting and asks for help for his addition; Virginia.

This was a brilliant followup to last week’s episode.  It shows everyone, moving on from the dilemmas faced by the main characters.   (One nice touch was Bill firing and then rehiring Guy aka, Ghee.)

The episode highlight had to be Libby’s recitation of Missouri legal codes and their meaning while puffing on pot. An excellent chance to show just how intelligent the character is.

Masters of Sex also set up what will obviously be a minefield later on. The discovery of the recording equipment will cause huge eructions with the staff and the clients. Apparently no one thought to make either faction away that they are being taped.

Nancy’s doing the intake of Virginia’s well known clients also looks like it will cause problems later on.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays on Showtime.  Tune in and see where the sexy bio-drama goes next.

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