“Masters of Sex” recap (2.5): Love Lines

 
 

OK,I have a confession to make and you can judge me or notwhatever. Lately, because I’ve had a whole lot of non-internet stressors in my life, I haven’t been thoroughly recapping plotlines that I found pointless or boring. Like, I don’t care if the two random teenagers have sex on True Blood, I don’t care about Joan’s possibly imaginary fencing lessons on Wentworth, and I find it difficult to care about Under The Dome whatsoever. But this episode of Masters of Sex didn’t have a single moment that felt superfluous or skippable, which was a welcome change. They gathered up a bunch of weighty themes (race, sex, power, gayness) and carried them beautifully. To be honest, I’ve felt like this season lost a lot of the depth MoS had built in the last few episodes of season one, but they seem to have found it again this week. And that’s not just because this episode marks the beginning of a thrilling lesbian love story, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

So, when last we left our anti-heroes, Bill had just taken a job at Buell Green, a black hospital, Lillian found out about Bill and Ginny’s “research” and got all kinds of jealous, Libby was cruel and unusual to Coral, and the Pretzel King finally learned the truth about Betty’s infertility.

This week, several issues various characters have been running from finally catch up to them. The first one being the question of how Ginny balances on her moral tightrope, while screwing Bill behind Libby’s back. You get the sense that it’s something she tries not to think about unless forced to lie to Libby’s face, which is precisely what happens when Libby shows up unannounced. Luckily for her, Libby only wants to be racist and upset about how Bill has taken a job among the melanin-enriched. Libby is like, “What’s next? Prison doctor?” And I’m like, “I don’t know Libby, what’s next: you get hit by a bus?” No one is more shocked by the news of Bill’s new employment than Ginny, because Bill neglected to tell her. (It’s funny, Bill’s lack of communication being an issue for his wife and mistress; I’m sure men of the era must have chortled about that sort of thing incessantly.)

Ginny confronts Bill about their new job during one of their hotel liaisons, and he doesn’t get why she’s not thrilled that he made major career decisions on her behalf. Ginny insists on getting a contract with the hospital, since being attached to Bill has already cost her her job once this year. She also says that she might just leave him for Lillian, who maybe cheated at calculus, but at least isn’t cheating on Libby. Bill retaliates by saying that Lillian probably won’t even want Ginny now that she knows they’ve been continuing the sex study on each other. With another person to answer to about her activities, Ginny finds it that much harder to run from her ambivalence and guilt.

Speaking of guilt, it has never looked so charming as it does on Betty. His Majesty King Pretzel has been sleeping on the royal sofa since Betty confessed she knew she was barren and he confessed he knew she was a prostitute. But Betty is determined to fight for their marriage. She sings him an adorably off-key rendition of “You’re The Top” and tries to coax him into talking about his feelings. She even suggests they adopt some children to make him happy, at which he finally does perk up a little. There’s so much warmth and fondness in the way she interacts with him; it’s heartbreaking. They’re both trying way too hard to make themselves fit into societal norms, but he is an endearing bastard, you can’t deny it. It reminds me of a scene in Moonstruck in which Olympia Dukakis counsels Cher never to marry someone she loves since “they drive you crazy, because they know they can.” It’s much sounder logic to marry someone you merely like. And Betty really does like her husband. It’s why she’s calm and patient and gentle with him. But her honesty and passion and true self she saves for the woman she loves, who we are finally about to meet.

But first: Bill’s dickishness! When he arrives at his new office, he is peeved that it is neither as large nor as lavish as he is accustomed. He also succeeds in thoroughly pissing off his new boss and colleague by insulting their education. They assume it’s because he’s a racist white dude, but that’s only because they don’t know him well enough to know that chilly condescension is his manner with everyone.

Oh, and you know that now the cards are on the table, Lillan and Ginny have to have it out.

Ginny: Why does it matter that Bill and I are conducting the study in my free time?
Libby: CONDUCTING THE STUDY? Do you have any idea how many nerds will use that line on women, thanks to you? You have ruined feminism.
Ginny: Not true; I did it for my career so I SAVED FEMINISM.
Libby: But you could have done it with me. Together we could have saved lives, and I NEVER would have forced you to have sex with me. You would have done it of your own free will. But it doesn’t matter, because in the end you were always going to leave me for Bill.

With that accusation still ringing in the air, Ginny storms angrily from the room, which is a very good thing to do when you have been beaten in an argument. (So many Ron/Hermione/Krum feelings floating around here, guys.) Don’t worry, though — they patch thing up and HOLD HANDS by the end of the episode. My question, though, is why it does feel so inevitable that Ginny will choose Bill when she has a white knight of medicine who is facing down her own mortality? I’m just gonna keep yelling “KISS. KISS HER.” Every time they’re onscreen together in hopes that they’ll get the picture.

MoS5.1
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