Masters of Sex: Race to Space, Review
For a man obsessed with sex, Bill Masters certainly can be the sexist. Luckily in the more darkly comical episode, he may still find his perfect partner in Virginia.
It’s apparent that the foreplay is over. In tonight’s Masters of Sex, series creator Michelle Ashford has dispensed with the niceties now that the series knows it’s in for the long haul (of at least a season) after the year’s best pilot. Thus its first order of business is to separate Michael Sheen’s Bill Masters and Lizzy Caplan’s Virginia Johnson to their separate corners where they must remain for the time being. This dueling pair of sex-savvy doctors had to have some conflict, right? It comes in the most believable and sexist form when Virginia, preparing to tell Dr. Masters that she will not have sex with him “for their science,” instead gets to the office to discover that she is being kicked out of bed before the covers are even unturned. It appears that someone has told the Provost (Beau Bridges) about their little experimenting with a human couple, and he is livid. The perpetually flabbergasted skeptic has shut down the program that he greenlit just last week, and in good turn Masters is now equally peeved. Granted, he probably already was angry, as any man could guess what “can I take the weekend,” may mean after propositioning sex. Still, this adds fuel to his righteous fire and before Virginia can protest, she is fired…at least until Bill can find a replacement. This immediate new status quo sets up several important issues. First, Bill is a pig. We like him because Michael Sheen, even at his most repressed here, is naturally charismatic. Also, he has done apparently a great deal of good in helping women conceive babies, not to mention he intends to help them with the mysteries of the most taboo conversation imaginable. However, he still lies to his wife about why she cannot have kids of her own (his sperm are simply not meant to swim upstream), and he has the insufferable need to be called “daddy” by his bride, who he now is performing all OB/GYN duties with too. So, I doubt that he is not doing himself any favors with female viewers when he’ll fire his awesome assistant, because she doesn’t want to put out for the second doctor to blindside her this week. Speaking of sucker punching Lizzy Caplan, Dr. Ethan Haas (Nicholas D’Agosto) is still making googly eyes at Virginia, despite literally slugging her lights out the other day. As much as we hate this smug slice of snobbery, we have to concede that when he admits to being dumb as to how the Provost found out, we believe him. He’s just too good at being dumb. So, who betrayed them? I’m unsure as of yet, but I have a theory that it is Dr. Austin Langham’s yet unseen wife. After all, Dr. Langham seems a little too eager to serve “science” when he looks forward to bedding another co-ed for his work. This leaves them without much of a plot this week, but I’m sure they’ll be coming again. The two main points of contention this episode are what will become of Virginia if she has lost her job (her annoying son is also getting in fights with his TEACHER) and how will Bill continue his experiments. These issues are resolved, as so many are, in a brothel. Undaunted by the Provost’s anger, Bill goes back to his favorite workingwoman, Betty (Annaleigh Ashford). By paying top dollar, he would convince most of the harem to try his electric dildo, yet none seem too pleased with the experimentation, least of all the cops who show up to arrest him like any other John. “It’s for science,” he protests. I’m sure many a client has made that argument before him. As luck would have it, Bill has delivered the babies of the police chief’s wife several times, giving him and the cathouse carte blanche. Who he has no such luck with would probably be his wife, who was just called down to the station to pick up daddy! As she discovers just how into sex he is—though never hers—Virginia ends up embroiled in saving the doc’s reputation with the women of the night, ensnaring her the chance to stay on for the foreseeable future as the doc’s assistant. This was a darkly comical episode. If the first one dealt more with the drama involved in questioning sex during the 1950s, and the…curious minds that went there, this episode was more about opening the show up to the subversive humor expected with many Showtime programs. The dark comedy is also a necessity, as Bill is letting his chauvinist colors fly in an episode that piles onto poor Virginia, a woman that must tolerate a nanny who condescends for her late hours. But it is in the way that Virginia can circumvent the doc’s request for a new assistant (telling all the willing co-eds that the position has been filled) that compliments Bill’s own stubbornness so well. Even the shame of his wife discovering that he was arrested at a whorehouse is not enough to thwart his love for…science! Obviously, these two are perfect for each other. Professionally, of course. Indeed, as the subject of “couple’s testing” amongst themselves is never broached again, it is safe to say that their working relationship is completely platonic. And acceptance for Virginia’s gender is right around the corner too, right? Den of Geek Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars