MASTERS OF SEX, Episode Eight
Denial was the name of the game in this week’s episode. Whether it was denying family, guilt, or their past, everyone worked hard to forget.
We open with Masters meeting with an old college friend, Francis. Frank and his wife are having fertility problems and would like to consult with Masters. The entire conversation makes Masters uneasy. In fact, Bill tries to pass Frank off on another specialist but Frank refuses. Masters reaction to his friend’s appearance in his life is odd. Later, when Frank and his wife come in for testing, Masters once again seems uncomfortable with his friend’s presence. When the results come back Frank is found to have an extremely low sperm count. Bill makes an appointment for Frank and his wife to see a different specialist that can help them conceive. Frank argues with Masters but ultimately concedes to seeing another doctor.
At the office, Virginia tells Masters she wants to start studying sexual dysfunction. I would bet this has something to do with Barbara (Masters’ old secretary) visiting Virginia in the last episode. Masters reluctantly agrees.
The always delightful Betty barrels into Bills office with news that they are being audited. Seems that Masters could have avoided the situation if he would have appointed a board of trustees like Betty suggested. Bill tells Betty he’s working on it. He and the chief of police will be having supper later in hopes he can convince the chief to become the first to accept a position on the board. At dinner that night Virginia and Bill try to schmooze the police chief. The chief’s wife (played by Peri Gilpin, better known as Roz from Frasier) and Libby discuss the upcoming Veiled Profit Ball (an event I don’t totally understand even after looking it up on Wikipedia but basically boils down to rich white people in St. Louis needing a reason to dress up). Libby sees prim rib on the menu for five dollars dollars and declares it “highway robbery.” An observation I found hilarious.
Back at the study, Masters and Virginia argue whether to include patient history in their assessment of sexual dysfunction. Virginia believes only looking at the physical side of sexuality gives you only part of the picture. But Bill thinks all they need is data. The pair asks Betty how she dealt with impotence when she was a prostitute. Man, I love Betty. She described all kinds of techniques. Masters becomes increasingly uncomfortable as the conversation goes on. Remember, Bill has been having a problem getting it up himself lately. When Betty lists reasons for men’s impotence, one of them being guilt, Masters looks ready to bolt. Hmmm, too close to home Bill?
Virginia seeks out Barbara now that she and Bill have decided to tackle sexual dysfunction. Barbara has Vaginismus, which doesn’t allow her to have vaginal sex. She and Virginia talk over lunch about her sexual history including why her last boyfriend left her and her previous partners. When Virginia asks her about her first sexual experience Barbara tells her she performed oral sex on one of her brother’s friends but she can’t remember his name. Later that evening Barbara barges into Virginia’s home. It’s late and Barbara is an emotional wreck. She tells Virginia she began going through old pictures because it bothered her she couldn’t remember whom her first sexual experience was with. Only when she did remember it was a revelation that rocked her. Barbara and her brother were very close. They would play games by the creek behind their home. As they grew older the games became more adult, first just hugging, then kissing. It wasn’t a forced affair, but a relationship both siblings entered freely. Barbara reveals her brother was the first boy she had oral sex with. Their mother finally caught them and was disgusted. Barbara believes God closed her vagina because she was bad. The story and emotion behind it is the most poignant revelation of this season.
When Virginia tells Bill about Barbara’s story he’s upset. He tells Virginia that Barbara crossed a line by coming to her home. He wants Virginia to cut Barbara from the study. Virginia agrees that it shouldn’t happen again but refuses to let Barbara go. The psychological needs of their subjects are becoming more than Virginia and Bill can handle. Virginia announces she wants to go to school to become a psychologist so she can help those with sexual deviance. Even though Bill doesn’t agree with the idea Virginia seems to have made her mind up.
Libby is leaving Masters’ office building. As she crosses the street to her car a truck almost runs her over. It fishtails down the street at high speeds. Libby gets in her car to drive off and sees a black man beaten by the side of the street surrounded by onlookers. Later that evening, Masters finds an article about the beaten man in the paper. The news reported that the man beaten had marijuana in his pocket and the police suspect a drug deal. Libby is confused and we can tell she thinks something about the news article is fishy. The next day, Robert, Coral’s brother shows up at Masters’ home. He tells Libby that the man who was beaten name was Leonard. He was a history teacher and well respected in the community. Leonard has a broken nose, a broken arm, and two cracked ribs. Robert asks Libby if she saw the truck that dumped Leonard by the side of the road. Libby doesn’t understand why it’s important. Robert explains all the witnesses they have are black, the few white bystanders they’ve spoken to refuse to give statements. Without a white witness to step up the police won’t go forward with an investigation. Libby lies and tells Robert she didn’t see anything.
At the Veiled Profit Ball, Libby watches as black waiters in masks serve the guests. The royal procession makes its way through the crowd. The king wears a hood and crown eerily similar to the KKK. You can see the wheels turning in Libby’s head as she looks back and forth between the black waiters and VP royalty. The next day Libby goes to Roberts’s apartment. She wants to tell him about the truck. It seems Libby has changed since Coral worked as her nanny. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Especially since Masters essentially told Libby, Leonard’s beating wasn’t her problem.
The entire episode, every time Masters has met with Frank, he’s been uncomfortable. Even Betty and Virginia have taken notice. They gossip in Betty’s office but are unable to come up with any real reason Bill is secretive and uneasy with his newest patient. Each time Masters tries to pawn Frank off on another doctor he refuses. Finally Masters thinks he has convinced Frank to see another specialist only to have him show up once again. Frank has Betty give Masters a message to meet him for coffee. Bill is again visibly uncomfortable. As Frank begins to talk to becomes more apparent why Masters is so apprehensive. The history between the two men, the unease, their low sperm count . . . Frank is Bill’s younger brother. Wow. I’m interested to see if we will see more of Frank in the future or if the show will give us a big reveal and then sweep it under the rug, which unfortunately they seem to be doing more often.
Since Virginia and Bill agree they don’t have the psychological background to help Barbara, Virginia tries to talk her into seeing a psychiatrist. She even goes so far as to set up an appointment for Barbara with Dr. Madden, the finest doctor in the area. Barbara is vehement in her decision to only speak to Virginia. She’s ashamed of her recent influx of memories and refuses to share them with anyone else, especially a man. I can’t say I blame her. In a bold move Virginia takes Barbara’s place at the appointment and tells Barbara’s story as her own. It looks as if Virginia will take the knowledge from her visits with Dr. Madden and apply it to Barbara. While Virginia’s heart is in the right place I’m afraid her idea may be a disaster just waiting to happen.
While last weeks episode was a little bit of a mishmash, this week’s episode seems to have set the ground work for some exciting new storylines. I’m excited to see what direction the story goes.
A native of North Dakota, Meagan Burgad currently resides in North Carolina with her husband. When not traveling the world she is reading a book or blogging for Love Between the Sheets.