Masters of Sex Season 3, Episode 6
Posted by Kim
“We’re all just stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” — Doctor Who
Everyone is guilty of rewriting their own history to serve their own needs. We remember certain people and relationships fondly while we assign the role of villain of the story to others. (Side Note: if I don’t put pictures of my ex in my scrapbook, he never existed, right?) This week’s Masters of Sex involved a lot of storytelling and examination of individual perspective. Virginia, reeling from her mother’s blatant endorsement of her affair with Bill, starts rewriting their history, telling herself that feelings had nothing to do with it. Libby Masters, so desperately alone in her marriage and her life, created a new identity for herself as she took over Joy’s bachelorette pad. The women on this show, y’all.
There’s been some criticism that Virginia has been acting out of character this season and her writing has been erratic. I wholeheartedly disagree. Virginia is an EXPERT at self sabotage. We’ve seen this from the very beginning of the show. She threw away her relationship with Ethan and so many other “nice guys”. I think why the relationship with Bill has worked for so long is the fact that he was unattainable in that she could never actually BE with him publicly. Now that she is fully aware she’s on the precipice of that being able to happen (THANKS MOM), she’s running in the opposite direction. My precious blueberry, this is what she DOES. Going back to last week’s episode, you can’t TELL me that Virginia wasn’t ready to jump Bill’s bones right then and there after his speech. That desire was palpable. But one word from her mother pushed her over the precipice of doubt that had ALREADY been building (I’m still questioning Gini’s reaction to the fur coat, after all) and now she’s running the other way. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps she is afraid of her sexual relationship with Bill discrediting her work (as naturally, being a woman, it would). Perhaps she doesn’t TRULY want to be the kind of woman who ruins a marriage and a family. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to be the person her mother believes her to be. Whatever it is, poor sweet earnest (desperate) Bill doesn’t know what hit him.
To make matters worse, Edna is behaving like Bill and Virginia are already married, proudly proclaiming over dinner how great it is to have a famous author in the family, much to Virginia’s chagrin. (Bill’s “If by family, you mean your daughter.” = everything.) Shipper Grandma (copyright Tumblr, not me. I wish I was that clever) even goes as far as manufacturing a way to get the kids out of the house so Bill and Virginia can have alone time. SUBTLE. It is, as Virginia says, grotesque. There’s no faster way to get rid of a boner than to have sexytimes manufactured by your pseudo mother-in-law.
Bill and Virginia have always connected and communicated through sex, so Bill’s immediate solution to feeling her slipping away is to try and get her into bed as soon as possible. He proudly announces that Dr. and Mrs. Holden will be returning as he booked them a room at the hotel where they spent so much time in season 2. What Bill doesn’t count on, however, is the fact that their notoriety follows them everywhere now. The check-in boy recognizes them and proceeds to flail about how Human Sexual Response has revitalized his marriage by the sheer fact that the book is in the house. Well…at least someone is getting laid around here. Left with no options, Bill takes them back to where it all began: the lab. For some, this might be a romantic notion, going back to the place where they had sex for the first time. For Virginia, it only serves to remind her that she and Bill wired themselves up and had sex under the guise of contributing to the study. Dan Logan’s comments (don’t worry, I’m getting to him) about deserving a “proper courtship” echo in her head and she forgets about the banter and the blatant desire that led up to her consummating her relationship with Bill and chooses to only remember clinical detachment. “We had a negotiation and then we hooked ourselves up to wires,” she remembers coldly. Thus there was no sex in Mastersville that night. Mighty Bill has struck out.
Virginia’s words about their “courtship” clearly weigh heavily on Bill and while his initial intention in stopping the elevator was sex (HIS “LET’S GET IT ON” FACE THOUGH) it becomes about pouring his heart out to Virginia. He desperately wants her to know that no matter what the circumstances they would have found each other. Bill’s proved that he understands the mystery of love as much as the science of sex and he refuses to allow Virginia to boil their relationship down to its barest elements. They are too complex for that and dismissing their love as “only work” is as much of a romanticism as Gini’s dinner party scenario. There is no right or wrong way to fall in love there is only the story that two people create for themselves. And wiring each other up and talking their way through all the sexual stages can be just as meaningful and passionate as seeing someone across the room. It’s all how you frame it. Honestly, I don’t know how Gini didn’t throw herself into Bill’s arms after he shared how HE viewed their story. She’s so far gone right now she can’t see it. She dismisses Bill with a “I guess we’ll never know, will we?” BREAKING MY HEART, GINI.
FINE. IT WORKS ON ME. That is beside the point. I can’t even TALK about the whole slow dancing in the lab thing. “Maybe people need to be inches away from each other, which is why God invented dancing.” Stop. Stop right now.
I think what attracts Virginia to Dan is that he is the polar opposite of Bill. Bill speaks in facts while Dan speaks in concepts. Bill is socially awkward while Dan is smooth and graceful. It makes perfect sense that Gini would end up in the arms of a man like Dan as she runs away from Bill as fast as she can. He’s as unavailable as Bill is (in name) and he’s not spouting any of that yucky love stuff. He’s not offering anything more than the here and now. She doesn’t even look that INTO it for God’s sake. She’s really just doing it with Dan so she DOESN’T do it with Bill. It’s devastating really.
The final push for Libby is sitting in the bleachers at Johnny’s football game and being told by another football mom that “essentially your job is to be invisible while cheering them on.” That’s been Libby’s entire existence and she’s tired of being invisible and doing nothing for herself. So she leaves the game and takes a bubble bath in Joy’s apartment because god dammit she deserves it. It’s incredibly easy for her to lie to the super and say that she’s Joy. Who is going to know? Thus, Libby starts spending more and more of her time at the apartment, learning to brew coffee for one and constructing a story about the end of her marriage to tell her new super. It’s liberating and helps her find her voice. She deserves MORE than what she’s been given and it’s time for her to start getting it. The biggest payoff of the whole “mollycoddling” thing (sorry, Johnny, IDGAF about you playing football) was Libby FINALLY telling Paul that Joy had one foot out the door. Of course, this leads to Paul coming to the apartment and finding Libby there and really it’s only a matter of time before they sleep together right?
Odds and Ends:
- When Dan started talking about how they were going to need to customize a scent for every person, my immediate response was “Of course you do, didn’t you read Harry Potter? A love potion smells different to every person based on what attracts them. Duh doy.”
- The patient of the week was movie star Isabella Ricci and her football star husband Al. Apparently Isabella is frigid (“Frigid is pejorative and suggests that it is the woman’s fault.” = most pro-lady show on TV y’all) so they are seeking the aid of Masters and Johnson, paying 3K upfront. Red flags are everywhere, from Al’s smartass answers on the intake form (“What form of contraception do you use?” “Television”) to Isabella revealing her rage regarding Al’s numerous affairs by ripping off her clothes shouting “Who wouldn’t want to fuck this??” (Isabella was bananas, but I loved her. And I felt her RAGE down to my very bones.) In the end, Al admits that he loved the woman he saw on the big screen and NOT the person sitting next to him. Remember the scene in Notting Hill where Anna Scott tells Will the story of Rita Hayworth being afraid that men would go to bed with Gilda and then wake up with her? It was basically that except Al didn’t say that Isabella was more beautiful in that moment than she had ever been. Douche.
- I feel like this is the first week that Tessa was used effectively. Gone was the sexualized way too early little bitch (is that too harsh?) and in her place was a girl who just wanted her mom to be proud of her essay being published. The way Edna reacted to this was heartbreaking as she immediately turned it around into Tessa needing to play up her looks instead of her brain. “A girl can always do things to make herself more attractive to the boys” because GOD FORBID Tessa have a brain and follow in her mother’s footsteps of academia. I love how Tessa stood up for her mother in this moment (“Maybe she has a good reason to fight.”) but Edna just shoots back with “I’m sure your essay is important but think of your mother as a cautionary tale.” Never forget ladies. Your academic accomplishments mean nothing if you don’t have a man.
- “I’m sure no one wanted to hear the British were coming at three in the morning, but God bless that messenger.”
- Gini and Edna’s fight was terrible and also helps color in the lines of WHY Gini is constantly sabotaging herself. “You don’t take care of me, you belittle me.” All daughters have this fight with their mothers at some point and it just shows how Gini and Edna are constantly on different pages. I want to believe that Edna has good intentions, she just has no idea how to communicate with a daughter who is SO DIFFERENT from her.
- “I can love you Mary Virginia and I can still tell you the truth. Why is it that you can’t hear it?” OUCH.
- Of course all the good will Tessa has built up towards her mother (I loved them bonding over their disdain for Edna’s makeover) vanished the instant Tessa say that Gini’s blouse was buttoned-up incorrectly post her romp with Dan. Sigh.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, get out your rulers. It’s time for some dick measuring.
- “Her mouth is saying no but her vagina says yes.” Um, who else thought that line was icky?
- I am always here for Lester the Lab Rat. I hope he gets paid extra.
- Fashion Envy Moments of the Week: Betty’s yellow minidress with the bold red lip. Gini’s navy dress with the green and white trim. Libby’s fabulous football sunglasses.
- Also after all that build-up, we DON’T see Dan and Gini do the deed? Why so prudish all of a sudden, show?
And that’s all she wrote for this week! Sage will be your guide through Sarah Silverman’s long-awaited return this week. Until then, leave your thoughts in the comments.