Here we are yet again at the end of Master of Sex’s time on TV for now but let’s go out with a bang. The review below!
Masters of Sex: Season 2: Episode 12: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: GRADE: A-
“What if you let go of everything you thought your life would be?”
This is the question posed to Virginia by Libby in the finale I think incapsulates season two as a whole, but the finale is all about trust and faith. Trust and faith as Bill and Virginia discover are key to their study of sexual dysfunction which will help many people. After seven nights of nonsexual touching, then seven of sexual touching, and finally, seven nights of successful, and successive, sex they finally feel as if their on to something. They might be able to present. I mean why else would Bill feel inclined to dream as if he and Virginia were JFK and Jackie on a parade motorcade, until a Libby shaped roadblock appears. Yeah nothing symbolic there. Well we’re not to Libby yet.
After they see a rough cut of the CBS piece, Bill is well not happy. He had faith CBS would help accurately portray his study but its far from what he trusted them to do, so naturally he’s gonna set out to destroy it because he’s Bill Masters. From some point I can understand, this is his life’s work, his brain child, and as someone who wants to make movies for a living, I’d want my work to represent what I put into it and not what someone thinks it was or focus grouped to all damn hell. Bill has trusts himself this is what the right thing to do is and that his faith is put into soon enough the study being represented accurately.
What Bill doesn’t take into account is how Virginia will be fucked over by this. She’s still very much in a custody battle with George, who is apparently back from the six month sting in Europe, in which he does bring up an offensive point, well too Virginia its offensive, that she cares more about the work and study than she does about their children which prompts her to throw booze right back in his face. Though, he does bring up a good point. Yes the reasoning of staying late and being with Bill was for the study, then it wasn’t, then it was again, but George is right. She isn’t the model mother.
She tries to seek the advice of Libby but she can’t keep her composure in the scene. Virginia thinks of quitting but Libby wisely points out the judge will see that as just a move to get them back. The acting from that scene is really good not just for Caplan but Caitlin Fitzgerald who does bring up the theme of the whole season. Libby always saw herself as the housewife she should be, as many woman where taught to be seen as but she’s discovered more about her this year, more about what life has to give and offer, she’s also discovered Robert. I must saw the Libby subplot here was really good as it has been all season. The scenes with Robert hit home about the theme of living the life you have, not the one you think you have. Robert is Libby’s way of truly living her life. He wants to end it, but Libby doesn’t seeing as he husband didn’t, yeah she more or less knows now, and Libby can’t let it end because she wants this life to continue.
Though we’re gonna get back to the custody thing cause its also this scene where Virginia decides that as long as the children are safe and loved, that’s all that matters. So she reverses the custody agreement, trusting Bill and having faith their work in the documentary will prove her hard work paid off and that she’s been there for her children no matter what. Her custody hinges of the documentary’s success. You know they say when it rains it pours.
That’s true here. After seeing the rough cut, Bill and crew gets word that a Dr. Kaufman in California is publishing a book similar to Bill’s study so he calls in a couple favors to one get a manuscript of the book which Bill reads and finds it much like the CBS documentary, written for the average joe, not full so much of science and leaks the info of the documentary to Kaufman so another network scoops it up and goes to film it. That’s bad enough, Virginia slowly realizing she just lost her kids, their shot at getting the study realized in the public, and how fucked the day is, Kaufman’s partner is ex-fiancé, Ethan. Will be honest, didn’t see that coming.
Michael Sheen has exemplified all the qualities of Bill masterfully, puns, over these two seasons. I don’t know how accurate he is to the actual Bill Masters but for the show, Sheen has created an intriguingly flawed character. He’s all about the work, holding himself to the highest esteem and standards yet when opprotunity comes he can’t seem to want up in the spotlight, more so this season than last where he wanted the study out there, but the reception wasn’t welcomed. Yet he still wants the people to know but I believe that experience from last season has emotionally gotten to him. He’s afraid of what might happen, but as we know from history, that’s gonna change, though also I see why he doesn’t want it out right now because they are still working to find a way of curing dysfunction.
This is all shown well when we meet Bill’s partner in the sabotage, Barton! Yay Beau Bridges is back and calls Bill out on his bullshit, that working the way Bill works is hell on everyone around him, even Bill himself. Say, just like when he blackmailed Barton to continue the study last season. Bill admits he never wanted to hurt Virginia, but Barton shows Bill he never does, but when he isn’t considering the actions he does will be for those around him, they do end up hurt.
This was such a great scene, not just for the wonderful character work and Bill realizing what an asshole he is, but also tying us back into trust and faith. Things are still bad for Barton with Margaret, their still dealing with Barton’s homosexuality but still loving Margaret. How did he do it? He took a leap of faith because he decided to trust.
One person that Bill has hurt is Lester, remember miss Kitty? Who while not slightly berating Barb for liking Pillow Talk, look dude as a fellow film lover that might have done the same with an ex, SHUT UP! Just like what you like, alright I got off track there, they are progressing well by sleeping together. Not that, like sleep sleep where you close your eyes and dream and stuff. Bill tells Lester of the breakthrough he and Virginia had, well minus the sex part, but he’s fine not doing it, but Bill can’t by it since as he says, sex is as basic as breathing. Lester is eventually going to want Barb.
Slowly but surely Lester realizes that after seeing L’Avventura, that what he loves, it what makes him passionately take Barb against the car to kiss her. Its obvious as hell Lester and Barb are what the study is about now, but they trust each other so well. Barb’s loosened hair by the end of the finale shows she’s willing to open up for Lester cause of what they’re going through and how much they been there for each other. They trust Bill and Virginia with their new method at the end.
So what of Austen and Flo? Austen realizes Flo is connected to the Kennedy’s tries to get in on that, is shot down and realizes he’s a dumb blonde who’s always gotten when he wanted but doesn’t now, and that really didn’t do much for the finale as a whole. Also Betty was here. See what I mean with out her ex or Helen there, what use is she to the story?
The season has been up and down, but its never lost focus on being great. This is still one the better shows on TV right now, well when it focuses on the study and characters involved in that part, and show that Showtime is still capable of top programming. I think looking at them both, season one feels a lot stronger in terms of narrative and character work but season two has Fight, the series finest hour yet and that’s a good arguement for itself, though not much. Season two hit all the buttons it needed to and I’m so happy about that.
SEASON TWO: A-