[This review of Masters of Sex season 2, episode 4 contains SPOILERS.]
Masters of Sex is distinctively marching to the beat of its own sensational drum, with another beautifully realized episode, entitled ‘Dirty Jobs’. There’s no more hiding, as many of our characters secret lives are revealed. It begs the question: how many times can a series break your heart without you wanting to turn off your television? While ‘Dirty Jobs’ does offer some nice comedic beats, the harsh realities of the 1950s begin to creep unsteadily into view, almost making one wish this reality didn’t exist.
Let’s start at the Masters’ residence with Libby and Coral. Next to the horrific scene with the newly born baby in the test tube last week, watching Libby force Coral to wash her hair came as a close second. Sure, Coral is a young woman who was not being “physically” harmed, but the manner in Libby’s tone and demeanor made the scene all the more tragic. It was as if Mrs. Masters thought of her as less than human, like this lovely person had no idea how to take care of herself. Not wishing to go too dark, but the slave/master dynamic was all over this sequence.
On the surface, this is nothing more than a woman washing another woman’s hair, but the layers of subtle context concerning white and black relations that writer Steven Levenson (Vegas) masterfully (no pun intended) uses to craft the scene, is something you rarely find on television, or in film. This was quite possibly the most uncomfortable and wonderful set-piece from the entire series, so far. How did this sequence stack up for you?
Dr. Masters is facing his own problems at work, as his beloved study resumes its testing. Some of the darkness in this episode what lightened by witnessing Bill use his boxing skills on the arrogant Dr. Greathouse. The punch may have gotten him fired, but this is probably not the last time we’ll see Danny Huston’s skillful portrayal of the perverted doctor. Will Masters be able to continue his work at his new, primarily African-American hospital? Either way, his new appointment should make for some entertaining viewing.
In the last scene, it appears that Bill’s new job will allow Virginia back in the study, who is currently learning to fight a different kind of battle. Another sad moment from this week arouse from her and Dr. Lilian DePaul’s talk about “secrets.” Julianne Nicholson (Boardwalk Empire) deserves an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of the sickly hard-nosed doctor, as she tries to give Virginia a way out. The pain behind her eyes was all too telling, as she realized that her partnership with Virginia is over. Everyone is telling lies and keeping secrets, so who can you count on in a room full of dishonest people?
Well, it’s Dr. Austin Langham of course! The overly confident, overly handsome doctor might be the most honest person on the show. A few weeks back, he came to aid of Virginia, and told her that the answer to her problems could simply be solved by dancing. In this week’s outing, Langham takes his counseling talents to Bill Master’s home, where the two men have a heart-to-heart. Austin’s advice to Bill was sound, by informing him that while affairs can seem enjoyable at times, it’s not worth throwing away your family for it. Since Bill is so difficult to read when it comes to his emotions, it will be interesting to see if he tries to change for the better. It seems that he’s already in too deep with Virginia, but what do you think?
Creator Michelle Ashford continues to provide us with one of the best dramas on television. Masters of Sex has stupendously avoided its sophomore-slump, and thankfully, there are no signs of it slowing down. Keep watching to see what happens next.
Masters of Sex continues with ‘Giants’ next Sunday @10pm on Showtime.