Masters of Sex: “All Together Now” Season 1 Episode 7 Review

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Masters and Virginia blur the lines of their working relationship in the show’s steamiest episode yet.

There’s something unnervingly voyeuristic about the opening scene in this week’s Masters of Sex.  We witness Masters and Virginia participating in the study themselves for the first time.  With wires taped to their bodies, the two grunt and pant as they hump on the operating table.  It’s more than a little irksome because of how emotionless it is.

Yet, we can see the beginnings of something forming in Masters mind. He tries to look past Virginia as he calculates the stages of sexual intercourse, but at the same time he finds it hard to look away.  The next time the two copulate, it’s better.  The episodes’s final sex scene is, well, pretty sexy.  Masters and Virginia are able to achieve simultaneous orgasm.  It’s not just about skillfulness–although there is talk of changing positions and whatnot–it’s about a growing sense of intimacy between the show’s two leads that’s finally beginning to flourish.

This marks a significant development that will likely be carried out over the rest of the season.  There has always been some romantic tension with Masters and Virginia, but it’s more or less been one-sided. Masters clearly pines for her, but she’s never really reciprocated any feelings until now.  Again, this is why each of the sex scenes were so great.  They were about more than just the sex.  One that occurs during the middle of the episode is expertly intercut with a scene in which Masters and Virginia give each other the subject questionnaire.  We find out that Virginia “isn’t like other women,” in that she’s able to separate love from sex.  Masters, on the other hand, didn’t sleep with his wife until after they were married.

Ah yes, Libby plays an all-too-important role in this as well.  She coerces Ethan into using Masters’ frozen sperm to try impregnating her again.  Still, she needs to have sex with her husband so that it doesn’t seem out of the blue.  Meanwhile, Masters is told point-blank by Virginia that she won’t continue with her personal participation in the study if he doesn’t give ample time to his wife as well.  It makes for an interesting change in Masters and Libby’s relationship.  Essentially, the two are manipulating each other. They’re now spending more time together, and having more sex, but neither is for a particularly romantic reason.

In the end, Virginia finally pushes back against Masters’ longing.  As she suggests they go grab a bite to eat, he tells her he already has dinner plans with Libby.  We’re left to watch as Virginia glumly stares at the operating table where she and Masters just finished their most vigorous study session yet.  Perhaps she’s not as able to separate love from sex as she thought she was.  Going forward, this could be an incredibly captivating plotpoint for the study.  The two are studying the bodily reactions to sex, but how will they cope with natural human emotions that arise?  Everything they’ve been working toward is in the name of science, but they’ve reached a gray area that could complicate things.

Aside from secretly helping Libby get pregnant again, Ethan has an extremely forgettable plotline involving his relationship with the Provost’s daughter and getting over Virginia as a romantic option. (Quick aside: did anyone else audibly gasp when he takes Virginia car shopping, and the camera pans along the sticker prices of the cars?  $399 for a mid-range sedan?! Can’t beat that deal! End of Aside.)

This doesn’t matter, however, because it gave room for another marvelous subplot involving Margaret and her affair with Austin.  I could write an entire post about just how freakin’ amazing Allison Janney is in this role, but I’ll spare everyone by just saying she’s doing some genius work.  I also love how her story has given us a deeper look at the show’s ancillary characters.  Austin has an enlightening meeting with his therapist (played by none other than Alan Ruck aka Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) that show’s just how skewed his view of love really is.

More striking is the portrait of Beau Bridge’s Provost Scully, who I’ve always found to be a little bit of a slimeball.  This week we get to witness his inner turmoil as he becomes victim to a gay bashing, only to be rescued by the prostitute he’s carrying on with.  He’s still a very deceitful character, but getting a glimpse at his humanity was really quite touching.

Masters of Sex continues it’s great turnaround with “All Together Now.”  It may have been racy, but it also had a lot of heart.  Like Virginia said, it’s possible to have one without the other.  When the two are combined, though, everything is so much better.  Grade: A

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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