Bill Masters is a pretty frustrating guy.
On Masters of Sex Season 3 Episode 6, Bill effectively pushed away his son and Virginia with his inability to understand human emotions. He gets human physiology, but misses all the other marks.
Although there aren't a whole lot of people on Masters of Sex who appear to do much better than Bill, are there? For a series that circles around people who are in search of what makes others sexually satisfied, they really have few clues overall to what makes them happy.
I guess that's what is supposed to drive the drama. Sometimes it's just frustrating.
The longer I watch Masters of Sex, the less I like both protagonists. Bill Masters has very few redeeming qualities, if any at all. He's a philanderer who engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman with whom he worked. He's a terrible father. In "Two Scents," he hardly came out smelling like a rose for either.
After her discussions with Dan Logan, Virginia realized it was a pretty slim possibility that she and Bill would be together in any way if they met under different circumstances. She made an attempt to talk with him about it, but he brushed it off as if it was silly.
Later, Bill made his own attempt to tell Virginia he was certain they would have found their way to each other eventually, but this time, she was the one who wasn't so sure. And who could blame her? He's still with his wife. They haven't found their way to one another, not wholly, not completely. Where is her courtship?
It's unlikely she will ever get one even though (spoiler alert) they will eventually marry (and then divorce).
Further proving Bill has no idea how to connect with Johnny, he pushed to have him on the football team so he could coach with Paul. Surely that would be enough to appease Libby with her constant nagging about spending more time with the boy. Except Johnny wasn't a great player. Bully Dennis was.
Instead of lovingly teaching his son how to find his own strength within the game (and judging by his willingness to play after injury, Johnny was willing), Bill latched onto Dennis as his own ticket to football fame. He saw greatness in Dennis. Granted, Dennis had nobody, and discovering a man like Bill was interested in him was wonderful for the boy, but at the expense of Johnny it's rather inconceivable.
What affect watching Bill share his beloved football card collection with Dennis will have on Johnny is hard to imagine. He'll likely either lash out and hate the game going forward, or he'll do what he can to power on and be the best, giving his father the cold shoulder in the process. I hope it's the latter.
Johnny will be on his own to figure it all out, it seems, as Libby discovered a life, however short-lived, of her own when she found Joy's apartment. Bubble baths and personal time gave way to an affair with Paul Edley, which was inevitable.
The thing is, it's impossible to begrudge her the affair. Libby stood by as Bill shut the emotional door and sat inside a loveless marriage. Although she played stupid, she had to know Bill and Virginia were involved.
Which circles back around to Bill and Virginia. Why did Virginia stick around for Bill when he refused to leave his wife for her? He was leading the sexual revolution but unable to do one of the easiest things to ensure happiness in his own life – leave a loveless marriage. What kind of a man did that make him? He certainly wasn't staying in the marriage for the sake of his children.
Not that Virginia was doing any better for her children. While her mother was pushing her to snag Dr. Bill Masters (which was just so many shades of wrong), Tessa just wanted to share something with Virginia. Oh the irony that Tessa pushed her grandma into the affair assault against Virginia, and therefore kind of got the ball rolling for Virginia to look twice at Dan Logan.
For although Virginia was at first looking past Dan's advances, once she realized how clueless Bill really was to all they didn't have going for them, she ended up using the lab again, after all. After seeing how excited Tessa was to chat with Virginia, I was kind of heartbroken for her to see her mother's undone button. Sex once again trumped family, but she thought it was Bill.
Would Bill and Virginia be able to use their own services if they were ever in need of them? Could they fill out the questionnaire and answer suitably? I don't think so. None of the characters we've seen could at this point in their lives.
Other bits of interest:
- Some people are just made for the '60s, and Kristen Hager is one of them. She is who guest starred as Isabella Ricci. Much like Annaleigh Ashford (Betty) she just fit so effortlessly into the hair, makeup and wardrobe that you'd never imagine she didn't belong.
- The whole scene with Lester sweating on the bike in the hope of finding pheromones kind of grossed me out. People are still looking for the appropriate love potion all these years later. Do you think Bill would have been so down on the idea if it was initially his own?
- I've often wondered how women wore blouses such as the one Virginia was wearing with the buttons up the back if they were single. Certainly if you had a blouse like that you needed someone to help you dress, right? Or could you put it on backwards and spin it around (with small breasts?)? Inquiring minds...
- Was it just me, or was Bill a little over engaged in coaching? I was expecting Paul to tell him he was relieved of his duties when he kept calling plays and tossing boys onto the field.
- I tried to determine if Masters and Johnson ever really helped an ape at the zoo, but found no reference. If you have better luck Googling, let me know.
OK! You're up. Hit the comments and share your feelings on Masters of Sex!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.