So I have been watching Showtime’s latest series, Masters of Sex, which I have yet to do a First Impressions review of yet. Definitely sex does sell so the first two episodes were titillating and intriguing. However, it was this past Sunday where we got to know some of our main characters on a deeper level, more specifically Bill Masters (Michael Sheen).
The show takes us back to before Barton Scully (Beau Bridges) becomes Provost of Washington University and before Masters becomes the university’s leading doctor in Obstetrics. His passion for researching sex came early but Scully advised Masters that he needed to build up a solid reputation before he could attempt starting this research. Even after he achieved all that, it was still a big risk but Masters is determined not to give up.
Betty (Annaleigh Ashford) insists that Dr. Masters reverse her tubal ligation so that she and her Pretzel King (Greg Grunberg) can get married and have children. Unfortunately due to a pelvic virus, he was unable to grant Betty’s wish. It’s so heartbreaking to watch the scene in which she accepts the news. One, because she’s actually in love with a woman named Helen but desires to have a normal life and two, the Pretzel King seems like a really nice guy who is really looking forward to having kids. I can’t imagine that this is going to work out well.
Meanwhile, Masters and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) continue their research at the brothel with the prostitutes. There are several interesting stories came about. The girl who Dr. Masters prescribed glasses to had not had an orgasm in a very long time. Maureen (Nicholle Tom) is great at faking it. Then finally, there was the girl who admitted that it was just her uncle and her growing up and that he had taken advantage of her while she was young.
As much as Masters and Johnson were learning about the prostitutes, Masters felt that he needed men to participate in the study as well and Johnson was on her way finding new participants. What she finds are a couple of homosexual men. While the men enlightened Dr. Masters in that subject, he felt that he should focus his study on “normal” sex instead of “deviant” behaviors, as he called it.
However, it’s this guy who provides Masters with the ammo he needs in order to keep the study going. He immediately goes to Scully’s office and in his own way deviates from his longtime friend by betraying. Namely alluding to Scully’s own deviant behavior.
Masters gets his own surprise at home when his wife Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald) informs him that she’s had a really good day indicating that Dr. Ethan Haas (Nicholas D’Agosto) has been able to do what Masters’ himself couldn’t do for his own wife, which is to help her get pregnant. And by the looks of it, Masters isn’t too pleased about that news. Mind you, this is after Johnson informs the distraught Libby that Masters is shooting blanks.
This episode is called Standard Deviation and for various reasons many of our characters went outside their norms to achieve what they want, whether they are societal norms or moving outside of their own morals. Masters pretends he’s in love with his wife when he’s secretly interested in sleeping with Johnson. The two researchers are surprised to learn that many of the prostitutes treat their job like a job and don’t really get off too often on sleeping with them. Betty gets her Pretzel King despite being in love with someone else. However, the biggest twist is when Masters discovers Scully’s secret life and uses that against him despite Scully supporting Masters for all these years.