Masters of Sex: Season 1, Episode 2; Race to Space

The first episode of the show I really liked. This one…not so much. It was a bit of a drag. For one major reason: William Masters. Wow, is he an extremely unappealing character or what? It’s hard to make a show work when the protagonist is so incredibly unlikeable. It’s really hard to see what Libby or Virginia sees in him. The way that he is so quick to fire Virginia at the beginning of the episode…what an asshole! I guess he was upset about the study and jealous of her relationship with Haas, but still. Masters gets no sympathy from me. The first episode I hated Libby and found her annoying, but this episode I really feel sorry for the girl. Masters has no compassion and treats her as if she is a volunteer in his study. Not even that, he’s kind to his patients, but he treats his wife like shit. She tries to reach out to him sexually by masturbating, but he rejects her. Scully tells Masters that he wears a “suit of armor” and it’s true. The problem is it alienates viewers as well as the people around him. I hated the way Masters refuses to untie Betty’s tubes at first. They try to show him as progressive in terms of body issues, sexuality, and racism, yet he won’t allow a woman to take control of her own body? I hate how he thinks he’s always right and some kind of god.

Episode 102
The best thing about this show, the redeeming feature is Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson. Without her the show simply would not work, just like Masters’s study would not work without Virginia. Virginia easily persuades the prostitutes to join their study even though they find Masters weird (and who can blame them). She is fun to watch and extremely likeable. In this episode Virginia is faced with similar problems once again, issues to do with her place in society as a woman. Again she is told to stay at home instead of working. She is even called an “unfit mother.” But Virginia persists in doing what she wants. Due to Lizzy’s acting Virginia never comes off as bitchy or conniving, even when she calmly dismisses all the applicants applying for her job. She makes it so Masters is dependent on her as the show is on Lizzy Caplan.

Episode 102
I found quite interesting the conversation Virginia has with Betty about having children. It goes back to what the show started to explore in the first episode, what makes a woman successful? Virginia tells Betty she had children “because otherwise she would have felt like a failure.” I understand that this is society’s viewpoint in the 50s. But is the show supporting that? Or is it challenging that idea? I don’t know yet, but so far it seems to be supporting it. Libby also calls herself a failure as a wife because she hasn’t had a child yet. And because Betty is a prostitute it seems like she is already a failure, so she shouldn’t be able to have kids, she would be unfit. I’m hoping the show challenges all this, but it hasn’t so far. I’m not too excited about watching another episode, but I’ll give it a go.
Tidbits:
• The “coochie flashlight” hahaha.
• Masters: “I’m not a john, I’m a doctor.” I love the way the cop is like, yeah, right, I’ve heard that before.
• “My mother told me don’t put something in your mouth if you don’t know where it’s been.” That’s a pretty good excuse for not giving a BJ 😛
• William’s fantasy about Virginia was pretty funny. At least it showed that he does have some feelings hidden away.
• The prostitute that offers William a BJ on the house was pretty funny.

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