Masters of Sex 1.07 “All Together Now” Recapon November 10, 2013
Masters and Virginia officially enter into the study by having their first sexual encounter together, which they follow by typing up their individual patient files and going over the readings from the machines. While Masters stayed in the plateau state for nearly nine minutes before climaxing, Virginia didn’t get to finish; she says it was due to being in the missionary position, a position that doesn’t allow for much clitoral stimulation. That same evening, Langham runs into Margaret at the bar of a local club, as Barton is in a back room playing poker and smoking cigars. With Elyse home with one of their sick children, Langham tries to make sure that everything is okay between him and Margaret and she responds by asking him for New York restaurant recommendations. Barton will be leaving for an upcoming conference soon and she wanted to see if Langham knew much about the city.
Over at Ethan’s, he’s quietly trying to get ready for a surgery, only he accidentally wakes up Vivian. He tells her that she can stay if she wants to and she mentions something about coming back later that evening for dinner with his brother David, which Ethan seems open to. He doesn’t even bat an eyelash when she jokes about snooping around his house while he’s gone. However, he lied to Vivian when he said that he was leaving to go to the hospital. Instead, he meets with Virginia at a car dealership where she’s looking for a cheap family vehicle. The two end up sitting in the back of a blue car and talking about when they lost their virginity – both happened in the back of a car, with Ethan’s to his girlfriend Judith and Virginia’s to her first boyfriend Gordon. She was ready and he was there, but the two parted ways when it was clear that their paths in life were different, as Gordon became a farmer and Virginia knew she wanted bigger things for her life. When a couple appears interested in buying the car Virginia wants, she seems ready to make an offer and gets talked into letting Ethan cosign, in lieu of having to pester Bill.
While Virginia was gone, Masters talked to a the Prescotts, a married couple who have been trying for the past year to conceive. Mrs. Prescott comes from a fertile family, her sister having five babies in four years, and the two think that the key to conception is frequent intercourse with varied positions, including the reclining lotus, which Mrs. Prescott’s sister used to conceive at least one of her children. But potential study participants aren’t the only thing that Masters is dealing with, as he’s gone through yet another secretary, sending this one running due to his disdain for her alphabetical filing system and the fact that she can’t spell anesthesia. Rather than let herself be demoted, Virginia pledges to find a secretary better than she ever was, just as Libby is outside the hospital begging Ethan to continue the cervical cap trials in secret. Claiming that her husband doesn’t know what’s best, she thinks that the two of them having something to love together and something to connect them will help their marriage. Ethan reluctantly agrees to continue the trials, against his better judgment, but he makes Libby promise to have regular sex with Bill so that any pregnancy that may result doesn’t look like an immaculate conception.
As Ethan’s brother mistakes Vivian for Virginia and Langham brings Margaret cashews after she mentioned them at the bar, Barton finds himself in an alleyway waiting on the prostitute he’s been seeing. Another man, though, knocks on the door and asks to sit in the vehicle until Scully’s friend arrives. He says no and soon, a couple of other men emerge, pulling him from the car and beating him up due to him being in a part of town known for gay hookups. Fortunately, Barton’s friend arrives and sends the other men running, but the provost refuses to go to the hospital despite bleeding from the stomach. Meanwhile, underwear-clad Langham sits in Scully’s chair in the living room and puts on his boss’ glasses before Margaret makes him a meatloaf sandwich. She extends her kindness to pouring him some milk, the first time anyone’s done that since he was 10, and telling him that he’s going to need his strength.
Masters and Virginia begin the process of interviewing one another and filling out the study questionnaires, with it being revealed that Masters lost his virginity at 20 year old in a cabin and Virginia lost hers at 15. Masters didn’t have sex with Libby before they got married; Virginia bedded both of her husbands before they were wed. Masters and Libby aren’t having sex right now due to the miscarriage; Virginia isn’t having sex with anybody right now. Masters feels strong emotional attachment from sex; Virginia has the ability to separate love from sex, something she says is rare for women. After their encounter, Bill is extra proud of himself for making her orgasm twice, although the two argue about what position it was that made her climax and Libby calls looking for him, since they were to have the evening to themselves. But before Masters can get home, he hears a clatter from one of the operating rooms – it’s Scully, trying to dress the wounds he received from the gay bashers. Scully tries to conjure up a story about being robbed, but Masters knows what really happened and why his mentor wouldn’t go to the emergency room. He then takes the opportunity to ask Scully if meeting some boy is an alley is worth risking his career, his reputation, and his family, as Masters argues that neither Margaret nor Vivian would stand by him once all this comes out.
Back at the Scully home, Langham tells Margaret that he’s ready to go again until headlights fill their bedroom. It’s Barton, home earlier than she anticipated – Margaret meets him at the door and calmly tells him that she needs him to go to his bedroom and not come out for a while. The following morning, Barton doesn’t seem to care about what he may have interrupted the previous night, but instead of being relieved, Margaret is furious. She wants him to care, to be jealous, to want her the way that he used to. She claims to know about the other women and when he denies it, she claims that it must be her, since it had been six years since they last made love. But when she asks what’s wrong with him, he doesn’t have anything to say. When Masters arrives home from patching Scully up, he finds Libby drunk and frisky; he doesn’t take advantage of it, though, opting to make her some coffee in hopes of sobering her up.
Virginia hires Jane as Masters’ new secretary and while he may be skeptical, she already has a firm grasp on his schedule and the spelling of anesthesia. Langham meets Scully in the elevator and doesn’t get found out as being the other man, while Libby arrives for her follow-up with Ethan in sunglasses and nursing a hangover. She confides in Virginia that Bill’s been coming home late and working himself into the ground, getting his former secretary to promise to shuffle things around and get Bill home earlier so that he can spend time with her. But Bill isn’t wanting things to change – he thinks he’s following the likes of Jonas Salk in involving himself in his own research. Virginia throws down her trump card in that she refuses to be a participant in the study to the detriment of his marriage. If he and Libby can get things back to normal, she’ll rejoin the festivities. Until then, no dice. The two run into Ethan as they’re leaving and Dr. Haas notices that the two were in the exam room without any couples, making him suspicious that they might have joined the study themselves.
Bill heads home early and gathers some firewood for a dinner by the fire with Libby, passionately grabbing her and kissing her when the two get near each other. Meanwhile, Langham and Scully are on the road to dinner before a planned hotel romp and the latter thanks him for saving her life with this affair, something that sticks with him enough to where he brings it up in therapy. His therapist points out that not only does he classify the women he’s been with by type (e.g. Diane – ice queen, Tracy – sex kitten), he pulls back when they become a person to him rather than an object. He did that with Jane and now that Margaret has taken something fun and turned it into something serious, he’s doing it with her, too.
Libby gets snuck to the pediatric ward for her trial with Ethan, who she helps pick out new bedding. He tells Vivian of the decision to change his bedroom as he has someone in his life who wants to stay the night and who he wants to spoil with fine bedding. He then comes clean that while David mistook her for a past girlfriend, she’s his future, the one he wants to be with. While Masters wants to resume his work with Virginia that evening after working things out with Libby, Barton takes his friend to a hotel where he establishes that they can’t do the alley thing anymore. He thanks his friend for sticking by him through the attack, something that he says the boy didn’t have an obligation to do, and the two seem closer for having gone through something like that together. Virginia and Masters have another encounter in the exam room, this time using the rocking horse position, and she orgasms at the same time that he does. She wants to grab a bite with him before they look over the data, but he already has plans with Libby.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-So, now the Masters and Johnson relationship has gotten even more complicated with Virginia getting her feelings hurt over Masters wanting to spend time with Libby over her, which in turn will impact Virginia’s friendship with Libby and both of their working relationships with Ethan. The show has a lot of time to play with regarding the evolution of the Masters/Johnson pairing, but I’m moderately surprised that they’re dipping into the mutual attraction pool about halfway through the season. I do like how they have Virginia questioning herself, though, because she was so sure that she could separate sex and love before she found out that Masters could give her multiple orgasms.
-Allison Janney continues to be amazing, as Margaret’s joy at finding someone that made her feel whole was made all the more tragic by how her gratitude toward him was a turnoff. Her monologue in the car with Langham was something beautiful to behold, while her fight with her husband the morning after he catches her cheating was all the more interesting for what wasn’t said and the layers that existed in what was said.
-I love the way they’re handling Provost Scully’s sexuality and the fact that while he loves his wife, he wants to be true to himself, as well. One of the themes that’s been running through Masters of Sex is the examination of identity through a sexual lens, none more apparent than in Scully’s storyline, and it’s arguably the most intriguing aspect of the show thus far.
-Another thing I like: that they’re careful not to immediately label someone sexually dysfunctional as being a bad person. Langham’s point-of-view when it comes to sexuality obviously isn’t healthy, but the show doesn’t condemn him for it, as he’s shown in therapy and wanting to understand why he is the way he is.
-All positions of the Kama Sutra. Now you can do the rising lotus, the rocking horse, or any other sexual position that tickles your fancy or the fancy of your partner. Or you can giggle while looking at each of them like everybody else does.
-Although I think that Masters of Sex does quite well when leaning on its more comedic side, I appreciated how sad this episode was, with the focus being on how the characters dealt with a lack of communication and personal clarity. You had everything with the Scullys, both of whom wracked with guilt over the secrets that they’re keeping and whose marriage is on the rocks as a result of the secrecy; Langham trying to figure out the root of his dysfunction without wanting to admit to himself that he is sexually dysfunctional; Virginia harboring feelings for Masters, unable to tell him due to her friendship with Libby; Libby drinking herself silly rather than trying to have a conversation with Bill about how she feels regarding his work habits; and Ethan telling Vivian that he’s her future and buying a new bed set after lying to her about where he was. Good stuff.
-Virginia and Ethan as friends was a fun dynamic change, but I’m fairly sure that it’ll all be blown to hell once his suspicions about her and Masters get confirmed.
-Masters was especially prickly while patching Scully up, no? Perhaps his rant about guilt and how it’s all going to come out one day was as much about his own feelings for Virginia vs. Scully’s sexual orientation.
-Next week on Masters of Sex: Masters and Johnson decide to film their study findings, while Haas and Langham convince each other of the benefits of being a married man and Scully takes drastic steps to control his sexual impulses.