“Doing it behind the glass” – Masters of Sex Recap – Topeka

source: itsthe60sbaby.tumblr.com

source: itsthe60sbaby.tumblr.com

Masters of Sex Season 4, Episode 8
“Topeka”
Posted by Kim

Okay, I have a serious question for the Bill and Virginia shippers. Are you satisfied with how Bill and Virginia ended up back in bed together? If you are, PLEASE, I beg you, tell me why you are because I feel like I’m watching a completely different show and the show I am watching makes me feel gross.

I realize I’m jumping to the end of the episode at the top of this recap but I can’t NOT talk about this. I know Masters of Sex isn’t a show where grand romantic gestures happen and Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson are certainly not the type of couple to have a fairy tale ending. Lest we forget, in actuality, their marriage ended in divorce. (Let me go back to the grand gesture thing for a moment because I surely can’t be the only one who remembers a rain-soaked Bill showing up on Virginia’s doorstep declaring that he can’t be without her, can I?) Because this show is based on real people, we have always known that Bill and Virginia would fall back together eventually. We just didn’t know HOW. I am not sure what I expected in regards to how the first post-Dan, post-Libby, Jesus they are both single now and it’s not illicit sexual encounter between Bill and Virginia to play out but it certainly wasn’t a “roleplaying in a rival clinic” scenario that tiptoed RIGHT up to the line of being a consent issue. Yep. I said it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the end of the last episode, Bill and Gini picked out a few clinics that were stealing their methods that they would investigate separately. Road block/easy plot device alert: Guy discovers that these clinics will only admit married couples, forcing Bill and Gini to either send Art and Nancy to do it or they have to pretend they are a married couple and do it themselves. (Ordinarily, this would be the beginning of my FAVORITE fan fic trope but alas this just caused me to roll my eyes.) Bill, knowing that Dody is there, oh so casually says they should just go to Topeka together and leave Art and Nancy in charge while they are gone. Bill and Gini tell their partners to take care of the Clavermore case (and Gini makes a way too late apology to Nancy regarding spilling the beans about Art’s unhappiness) and it’s off to Topeka they go. As soon as they are out the door, Nancy turns to Art and Guy with a look of triumph on her face. “Put on some music. Let’s dance.” While the cat’s away…

In the car, Gini and Bill banter about their assumed identities (“I’ve always liked the name Earl. Earls are good guys.”) and what their fake sexual crisis should be (“I think you should be frigid.” BILL.) Eventually, they decide to just follow the Clavermore case file because who cares about Doctor/Patient confidentiality when there are phony clinics to catch?

The Topeka clinic is just as I expected it to be: a real pseudo-homey joint run by Harvey and Marcia, who come off as your cool hippie aunt and uncle who teach you about sex when you are too afraid to ask your parents about it. They have Bill and Virginia Earl and Ingrid sit low to the ground on cushiony stools and they all do the intake session around a coffee table. To the surprise of no one, the intake session is a near word-perfect replica of the Masters and Johnson technique. Also to the surprise of no one, the intake session starts to hit a little too close to home as Harvey and Marcia prove they are not exactly the quacks they appeared to be and the lines between Earl and Ingrid and Bill and Virginia begin to blur. Harvey links Earl’s sexual issues with shame, saying “Shame’s a powerful inhibitor not just to sexual health, but to true intimacy.” At first, Earl/Bill scoffs at ever having felt shame in the marriage before but Marcia pushes, asking if he’s ever felt shame in being unable to please Ingrid, if he’s ever come too fast or had trouble getting hard. WELP. Suddenly season 2’s struggle with impotence comes roaring back and things get VERY awkward because the shame and anger Bill felt back then was very real.



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Gini/Ingrid breaks into say that their sex life has always been satisfying and that they’ve always been open with each other, which surprises Harvey and Marcia, especially when they rattle off various kinks that they’ve suggested couples try. “How lucky you are to have found each other,” they marvel. Me, I’m like “LOOK HOW PREDICTABLE THEIR OWN INTAKE METHOD IS WORKING ON THEM.” I mean, let’s be real, Bill and Virginia were due for couples counseling about 5 years ago. But I’m annoyed because it’s them but it’s NOT them at the same time. This is not Bill and Virginia asking for help and because it’s not, it feels so cheap to me. Then Harvey and Marcia drop the hammer, saying that a sexual connection of this kind often springs out of something like an affair. BLAMMO. At least Bill and Virginia know their method works? “Maybe on some subconscious level, you’ve decided that you’re undeserving of pleasure, of a satisfactory resolution, of a happily ever after. Literally undeserving of finishing what you started.” OH REALLY IS THIS WHERE WE ARE GOING? That Bill’s been afraid of being happy with Virginia because he’s punishing himself? Gross. It’s gross because it’s such an over simplification of the relationship. It’s gross because it completely negates the work Bill has done as a person this season and HONESTLY it takes any of the onus off Virginia and her choices WHICH IS WRONG. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS.



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Back at the clinic, Nancy’s true colors are finally showing. After doing the intake, Nancy gives Mr. Clavermore a tour or the clinic, answering his very specific questions about the space.  It’s clear that he’s interested in more than fixing his sex life and Nancy is picking up EXACTLY what he’s laying down. Clavermore says that if they are doing this kind of business in St. Louis, then IMAGINE what they could do in a city like New York. Nancy’s eyes LITERALLY gleam as she tells him that Bill and Virginia are investigating clinics stealing their methods. “I just I keep saying to Art, “Shouldn’t it be us opening one?” After all, we’ve been properly trained and endorsed by Masters and Johnson themselves.” Yep. Nancy is a snake and Art looks like he wants to vomit. They make dinner plans with the Clavermores where Nancy continues to sell the idea of her and Art opening a clinic in New York, much to Art’s consternation. “You have to admit that we have been treated terribly at this clinic. Our talents have been overlooked and undermined by a lounge singer with a degree in typing.” I mean…she’s not lying. Bill has made best efforts to make Art and Nancy feel welcome but Gini has been fighting and undermining Nancy from the get go. It’s no surprise that Art wants to stay…he hasn’t had the same experience as her at the clinic. He’s been included and taken seriously. Nancy has EVERY RIGHT to be unhappy professionally, so why are the writers making the undercurrent of this whole thing be reflective of Art and Nancy being at odds over their sexual relationship? Because you can’t tell me that Art’s “We’re not liars or thieves. I’m not anyway” comment didn’t have any sort of pointed meaning. It VERY much did.

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“Is that really enough? A stand-in?” – Masters of Sex Recap

Masters of Sex, Season 3 Episode 8
“Surrogates”
Posted by Kim

We are deep into season three and Masters of Sex has a lot of balls in the air (hey-o).  I feel like episode eight served to lay a lot of groundwork as we barrel towards the finale as it featured four very separate stories with very little crossover between them.  Luckily all the stories focused on the grown-ups (send Tessa to boarding school 2K15), so the episode was thoroughly engaging, despite its separateness.  Let’s break them down, shall we?

Virginia and Dan

 

In a performance worthy of Ferris Bueller, Virginia calls in sick to work and manages to have Bill convince HER to take the rest of the week off.  “It’s important for Bill to think that it was his idea,” Virginia coos to Dan, wrapped up in a fluffy bathrobe in their Vegas hotel room.  That’s right, ladies and gents.  Virginia Johnson is taking the day off and I fucking love it.  I love it because she is doing this for herself and being selfish for once (“I’ve never done anything like this before.”).  She so often does things for Bill or for Tessa or in the name of the study…it’s incredibly rare that she does something just for her.  I think that’s the allure of Dan, honestly.  Sage pointed out in her last recap that Dan desires her but he doesn’t NEED her and therein is the appeal for Virginia.  It’s something that’s entirely hers and it’s done on her terms.

I’ve seem grumblings on Tumblr about how Dan lined up all of those appointments for her while he was off in meetings, grumblings that Dan is trying to force her into a box or that he only wants her as arm candy.  I didn’t see it that way.  I saw it as him trying to do something nice for her and him being a clueless dude thinking that’s what most women would want (“You’re on vacation. Try and have some fun.”).  Virginia Johnson, we all know, is not all women.  We especially see this in her conversation with the businessman’s wife over playing some slot machines.  “Whenever he starts talking about work, I just nod my head,” she says.  This is the type of woman who would have LOVED for her husband to fill her day with appointments and I loved Virginia’s barely concealed revulsion as she pondered that life and I love how quickly she extricated herself from that conversation.

Naturally, Gini spends the rest of the day observing people in the casino and making the connections to how exhilaration for winning is essentially equal to sexual response. Dan laughs that she spent her day off doing field work, telling her that she just needed to be her charming self at dinner (which yes, I did bristle towards).  If you want eye candy at a business dinner, Virginia Johnson is not your girl.  Gini can’t help but get involved when she sees that Dan is struggling to get his point across to the casino owner.  She’s not wired to be quiet and honestly, I don’t think she would have held Dan’s interest if she was.  The whole dinner becomes an extended act of foreplay as they build on each other ideas in the casino pitch.  (Me texting Sage during the episode: THEY ARE SO HOT FOR EACH OTHER RIGHT NOW.)

 
 

After SLAYING with her comparison of gambling to sexual excitement, Gini smoothly transitions to “But how often does the wheel land on your number? Customers can smell loss, it kills the mood.  And once the mood is killed, it’s all over.” BOOM.  What I loved about this scene was not only Gini’s fervent delivery of her point, but the way that Dan watched her over the course of it.  It was almost like he knew exactly what he was doing when he told her she just needed to be charming.  He KNEW it would goad her…and it worked.  “Your secretary makes some interesting points,” the owner says and Dan immediately corrects him (and Virginia) by saying she is his partner.  The look of pride on his face is everything.  I know we’re supposed to hate Dan for coming between Bill and Virginia, but I couldn’t help but love him in that moment.

Gini’s words about the mood being killed ironically come into play as they hit their hotel room, ready to have some super hot sex, and stumble upon an employee robbing their hotel room.  Dan speaks to him calmly and then knocks him out (hot).  Gini is about to call the police when they realize that this kid is a former soldier.  That makes Gini switch automatically into mother mode, as she no longer sees a stranger, but sees Henry.  They feed the kid (Dan smoldering in the corner, ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice) and listen to his (horrible) story and Gini just oozes compassion (and a bit of fear that this is what she’ll be facing when Henry returns).  “Any mother would want to want to hear from her son, no matter what he’s done,” she assures him.  She’s so kind it physically hurts me.  Dan offers to pay for him to get into a rehab…but not until he calls his mother. “You would have been a good father,” Gini tells Dan over a cup of coffee in the wee hours of the morning.  “It wasn’t my decision to make,” he replies cagily.  And it’s in this moment that I remember Dan is STILL married and whaaaaaaaaaaaat is Virginia doing?  To that matter, what is HE doing?  While Dan is showering, Gini learns that it wasn’t the casino that turned down Dan’s offer, but the other way around.  The casino wanted him to relocate to Vegas and he said no.  Clearly because of Virginia.  Normally, this would be something to make her go running for the hills.  As they share a cab home, you see that Virginia is still processing this information.  But then she leans into him and he kisses her head…and maybe. Maybe she’s fine with it.  None of this is going to end well.

 

And THEN Bill shows up at her doorstep bearing chicken soup, looking like a freaking puppy dog.  You know, since she’s supposed to be sick and all.  Gini is noticeably surprised by this touching gesture and you can tell that Bill expects to be asked in (he DID almost use his own key, after all) but Gini plays up the sick angle once again.  Seconds after she closes the door, Dan’s voice echoes from the kitchen.  “Who was that?” “Betty,” she lies smoothly, resting her head on the door.  As Sage tweeted at the end of the episode: Oh no. Two men are in love with her.  Her wallet is too small for her fifties and her diamond shoes are too tight.

Basically.

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