Let’s jump a step forward as long as Masters of Sex is doing it on this week’s episode.
Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 7: Asterion: GRADE: A
Expectation and reality is our theme here this week. Betty wanted Gene and Helen, but gets divorced. Bill wants Virginia and to remain the “happily married man” that he is and Libby to have more of a family, but she moves to a new man and thus reminds Bill what they did can’t be undone as he and Libby start drifting apart, and Austin wants his family back, but will never have it again. You know these events where to play in real life, this is how I’d see them going. Expectations can vary from how big or small they are depending on the situation, and sometimes they get met, but more often than not, reality will set in. Circumstance can dictate how happy we are with the result but in the case of our characters, reality is a harsh slap across the face.
Though the theme is there, it feels secondary to the fact this is a time forward episode and you can tell something was going to be very different this week when the excellent main title sequence doesn’t show up. The episode takes place over the course of three years.
Five months since last week with Bill and Virginia opening their own clinic for their work, with Betty on to help with paperwork but struggling to keep balanced as the bank takes all of Bill’s assets as collateral for a loan and Libby wanting to expand the family. Then to Austin celebrating his new girlfriend’s upgrade to burlesque from hand modeling and going to remarry, the various businesses joining the first floor, and Libby and Shelley going separate ways, but our transitions come from the return of Lester (Kevin Christy) documenting the rise of the clinic. Even Barbara makes a return coming to them about a problem she has. That problem being her lack of a vaginal opening, a study that could give the clinic just the noticeable boost it needs.
That promised confrontation about Virginia seeing Shelley (Barry Watson), but turns out it was the fact that Virginia is a mother and just ends things there. He can’t be another face passing through their mother’s bedroom and there is shows how much more he cares about her and doesn’t want this to be a fling, but a true love. Yes we know of their marriage in reality, but the show is taking a nice slow burn to it, but some might be put off, as I know some are by the progression of the season, but this episode kicks it up into high gear thanks to the flash-forwards.
Also, he begins to become impotent after cutting the sexual relationship with Virginia off well if that wasn’t enough of a blow to him, Essie, Ann Dowd being good again, shows up and wants a second chance after she’s been seeing Libby and her grandchild for a year and offer money for the clinic and again Bill feels just dragged down, that he has a hole in him, a Virginia sized hole and out of this comes the one time lately Libby makes a good point that Bill isn’t the only one suffering, that many out there are, while I say brining up one’s suffering compared to one’s own doesn’t make things automatically better, its warranted here given how self-destructive Bill is that he can’t truly be with Virginia. Caitlin Fitzgerald plays the scene well and holds her own in the shouting match against Michael Sheen. But its just not Virginia but still trying to get away from his own family when he really can’t.
Things seem to come full circle as Bill and Virginia do resume their sexual relationship it helps proves something Austin’s ex-wife mentions, a bell can’t be un-rung once you ring it. They simply can’t stop. As for Austin, well he does want his old life back, thinking his instant reconnection with her can heal old wounds. Also after he sees his soon-to-be new wife is doing smut. That scene stand out for its truth and honesty in such an difficult situation as wanting to go back from where you once came. You can’t always go back.
Of this golden age of TV we’re had many broken characters, but they seemed more like anti-heroes, but here with Bill he’s broken cause his family, his father truly, and he’s so self-destructive in wanting what can heal him, but yet can’t go that far to get it. When Bill does accept his mom’s money, its a start for a new way for him to heal himself cause one other thing that keeps him going is his study, something he is just as passionate about as he is for Virginia.
We end up in 1960, so we’re still 50s-ish right now but the time lapse has helped things get moving along swimmingly. I’m curious as to what will come of it next, and if we get more Helen cause I’d like more Sarah Silverman, but things can only get better from here.