[This is a review of Masters of Sex season 2, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
Masters of Sex finally gives Bill his chance to admit he’s a broken individual in this week’s emotionally gripping episode, entitled ‘Below the Belt’. There has never been a moment in this series where we haven’t questioned if Dr. Masters was carrying around a heavy burden, but until now, we never knew how much the load weighed. Frank and Bill’s confrontation towards the end of the episode was the pivotal moment when you realize that the good doctor had finally hit rock bottom. Surprisingly, that moment of clarity – in the form of several punches to the face – also allowed Bill to open up more to Virginia, which then gives Bill his sexual prowess back.
Sadly, as Bill becomes more human and less of a monster like his father, Libby Masters is slowly slipping away. Her arc throughout this season has been troublesome. She’s slowly transformed from the nagging racist wife, to a civil rights activist in a matter of a few episodes. Granted these episodes have moved us forward two-years, so change is to be expected. Hopefully Libby’s recent endeavors will lead to something more substantial than a mere affair with Robert that surely many of you see coming. The talented Michelle Ashford and her team of writers keep hinting at this budding romance, but leading Libby down this path will just make her seem more like her misguided husband. What do you think?
The rising-star award from these last few episodes would have to go to Christian Borle’s (The Good Wife) portrayal of Bill’s brother, Frank. His shocking revelation a few weeks back was an unexpected and welcomed twist to an already densely layered plot. Frank has been the only character able to stand toe-to-toe with Bill and live to tell the tale. Perhaps this is an overly bleak thing to say, but it was nice watching Frank punch his brother repeatedly. Bill may not be as vicious as let’s say, Walter White from AMC’s acclaimed series Breaking Bad, but he has quickly turned from sexual pioneering hero, to a compulsive liar and a cheat. If this episode revealed anything more about Bill’s character, he is the one who’s a coward, not Frank.
The other plots this week were enduring and had some nice comedic moments, like Dr. Austin Langham’s affair with his boss. The scene felt thrown in for comic relief, but in an episode that concluded in such a dark place, these moments with Austin are a nice treat. Ashford could easily give Austin his own 10-minute special before each episode detailing the doctor’s weekly adventures. Another nice moment presented itself in the form of a conversation between Lester and Barbara at the coffee shop. In a series filled with so much dishonesty, it’s a relief when two characters actually admit their shortcomings to each other. It will be interesting to see if the pair end up in a relationship by season’s end.
Speaking of the finale, there are only two episodes left in this stellar second season. It’s still unclear what Ashford is doing with her main cast. Bill has finally admitted that he abandoned his little brother, so does that mean he’s a new man? Also, what’s the deal with Virginia? She is starting to become more blind than Bill, as she tells the psychiatrist that she can actually help Bill with his marriage by fixing his sexual dilemma.
However this season decides to wrap itself up, it’s sure to be a messy affair, as our favorite characters are running about with their eyes closed. How do you see this season concluding? Will anyone make it out unscathed?
Masters of Sex continues with ‘One for the Money, Two for the Show’ next Sunday @10pm ET on Showtime.
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