Masters of Sex
All Together Now

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 43 USERS: A
The High Striker
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!


Ethan's attempts to become a human being -- by normalizing his friendship with Virginia and romance with Vivian Scully -- are proving much more successful than expected. Meanwhile, after a failure to launch and a bit of the Talking Cure, Austin rediscovered his passion in the arms of the formerly anhedonic Margaret Scully, whose husband Barton's arrangement with the charming hustler Dale gave Bill the blackmail material to pursue his goal, which is science. Specifically the science of fucking Virginia, who -- after a promotion bandaged the wounds left on her pride by Dr. DePaul -- decided to go through with it.


So right away three things are happening: "Love Me Tender" is playing on the soundtrack, we're typing up Masters & Johnson's official subject cards for the vault, and we're also getting to watch them do science to each other for the first time. It's uncomfortable but not like virgins fucking is uncomfortable: More like if your dad got you a hooker for your sixteenth birthday and you were both just doing your best. Neither one of them is the hooker, you understand; they are both just out of their league.

But too, they're both wishing this weren't what it is, which is a transaction. This whole episode is full of people giving other people things to get things in return, but the things they think they're giving -- and the things they think they want to get -- are never really very close to what they are actually giving, or getting. (Ethan in particular goes into a whirlwind -- not to say downward spiral -- of giving, to the point that he pretty much loses sight of what he stands to gain in doing it, which probably makes him the winner of the episode.)

So is Virginia acceding to the study because she feels respected as a scientist? Yes, but also no: He did not buy this fuck from her, even if he kind of did. Is she doing this because she has a mysterious vibe connection with her married boss? Yeah, but still also no: Their relationship has been sex without touching the entire time, which they both like. Is she doing this to prove a point? Yes, but it's the opposite of the point the first two questions imply: She's putting her money where her mouth is, which is to say the thing Bill likes best about her is her ability to remove all outside concerns -- emotion, need, shame, further communication -- from the physical act of sex, the thing he both wants to do and can't stop himself doing.

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Masters of Sex




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