'Masters of Sex' Learns to Let Go

[This is a review of Masters of Sex season 2, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]


The second season of Showtime's critically acclaimed series Masters of Sex has been no less than extraordinary. Creator Michelle Ashford keeps finding new ways to tug at heartstrings you didn't even know were there. This week's outing, entitled 'Blackbird', is another shining example of why this series deserves to be considered as one of the best dramas on television. It's a marvel how Ashford and her staff continue to juggle so many complex and intricate plots without falling flat on their faces. How do they do it?

The title Blackbird itself is ambiguous in nature. This is quite possibly the best description for our characters, whose motivations constantly change with each passing episode. If one were to take the title in a symbolic sense, then a Blackbird can simply stand for transformation, or something that keeps secrets. The other approach, perhaps the  more tangible explanation can be derived from the famous Beatles record known as The White Album released in 1968. Paul McCartney was influenced by the civil rights movement in the United States when he wrote the words. So, which interpretation was Ashford going for? Perhaps a little of both?

If we start with the legendary Beatles song, then we find ourselves on the precipice of a great movement that will change racial tensions in America forever. Will Bill Masters be that voice? Well, it's still too early to tell, but if his conversation with Dr. Hendricks at the end of the episode is any indication, Bill may be willing to "cut the cord." Vance and Sheen play off of each other nicely in this scene, as he asks Bill if "he has the guts to be reborn?" Like the Blackbird, can Bill transform outside of the hospital walls?

Speaking of transformation, Virginia's relationship with Dr. DePaul soared to new heights this week, with the two colleagues becoming friends. There's no easy way to say goodbye to the talented Julianne Nicholson, as Virginia chose to let her go. Their moments together throughout this episode were beautiful and if the scene where Virginia was tracing the constellations on Lillian's face didn't bring a tear to your eyes, then I don't know what will. Without sounding too hyperbolic, there aren't many scenes as well-crafted as that one anywhere on television. Love is no easy thing to recreate, yet Masters of Sex gave us a brilliant example of it last night with Lillian and Virginia.  

While Virginia and Lillian soared this week, Libby Masters sunk to a new low as she followed Coral and her brother Robert to their home. Libby's exploits have become tiresome and ridiculously awkward, but calling her racist is too simple a charge to make. When Robert caught her looking at the mail, you could see her interest being sparked as he tended to the wound on her leg. It's like she's searching for adventure in all the wrong places. There is no doubt that she's attracted to Robert, but instead of acting on it like Bill does with Virginia, she lashes out in hatred and anger. She is a grown woman, so there is no excusing her actions, but is anyone else feeling sympathy for her?

Masters of Sex is only getting better with each new episode. Now that Bill is out of work (again), where will he go from here? Also, can Betty save her marriage before Gene calls it quits? Keep watching to find out.

Masters of Sex continues with 'Asterion' next Sunday @10pm on Showtime.

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