Monday, August 25, 2014

Masters of Sex #207 "Asterion"

Masters of Sex Bill and Virginia
Can Bill and Virginia move on?

Moving On

by Catherine Giordano

Everyone is moving on—literally moving on since the plot makes a few time jumps in episode 207 of Showtime’s Masters of Sex which aired on Sunday August 24, 2014.  The show has advanced about two years. 

Episode 207 is titled “Asterion.” The showrunners love to tease us with obscure titles.  "Asterion" is a name of a king of ancient Crete and is also the name of the mythical Minotaur—a monster that was half man and half bull. It is probably a reference to Bill Masters who has at times reminds us of a king, a monster, and a bull as he strives to live up to his own definition of what it means to be a man.  

The episode begins about a year after the previous episode left off. Bill has his own clinic in a building in a not-so-nice-part of town because it is all he can afford. The other tenants of the building are a bit low-life, but Bill’s offices are spacious and even, gracious.  

Virginia is still working with him as his assistant/partner and their bad break-up is evident as they strain to maintain a cordial working relationship. Virginia has had a string of relationships with men all ending in a break-up when the men realize that Virginia welcomes them into her bed, but will not welcome them into her heart. 

There are a few old faces on Bill’s staff. Lester, the videographer, is back from L.A. without Jane who currently resides in “Bitchtown” according to Lester. (It sounds like a bad-breakup.)  Betty, apparently divorced from Gene, is Bill’s secretary. (No word about Helen—I guess that was a bad breakup also.) 

Caitlin Fitzgerald
Caitlin Fitzgerald plays Libby
Libby and Bill continue with their sexless marriage. Libby coolly tells Bill that she wants a family and that means children. Plural.. By the end of the episode and a two year time jump, Libby has had two more children. Bill has a low sperm count so all three of Libby’s children were conceived through artificial insemination. This is fortunate for Libby because she and her husband no longer have sexual relations.  

Bill is so obsessed with his emotional agony that he visits the bar at the hotel where he and Virginia had their trysts. He has a drink there and runs into Eliot, the hotel employee that he and Virginia used to chat with. Still pretending to be Dr. Holden, he tells Eliot about his separation from Mrs. Holden.
We see how torn-up Bill is about Virginia’s betrayal of him, or I should say, what he perceives to be Virginia’s betrayal of him. Virginia tries to explain to Bill how unfair it was for him to demand sexual exclusivity from her. He went home to a wife, but she was expect to remain alone? Her reasoning  gets nowhere with Bill--he can’t get passed his anger and jealousy.  We feel his emotional anguish as he talks to Eliot at the bar. Bill tells Eliot  “…the betrayal of that kind of wife who just comes in and opens you up and just leaves. That is a wife who cannot be forgiven.” 

Bill has become impotent. There’s no sex with his wife and no sex with Virginia. Bill can’t even climax when he has prostitutes perform oral sex upon him. Finally, Virginia has a talk with Bill. She feels that their work is suffering and they should resume their “work“ at the hotel. At their reunion, Bill describes to Virginia the various ways he will bring her to climax. Virginia may not know it but Bill needs to reclaim his manhood by dominating Virginia sexually. The question remains: Can he penetrate her sexually or will he continue to be impotent.

Virginia is concerned that since the medical practice is struggling financially, the hotel may be too expensive. Bill goes to the front desk of the hotel and speaks to Eliot who is now the night manager. He offers to be the hotel’s on-call doctor in exchange for the room. Eliot says the hotel needs a general practitioner for that job, or maybe an obstetrician like the one who delivered his sister’s baby, Dr. Masters. A radiologist like Dr. Holden (the assumed identity Bill uses at the hotel) would not be appropriate. It seems Eliot has been on to them all along.  
Essie, Bill’s mother, is back also. Bill had banned her from his home, and his life, forever. He’s still hurting over events from his childhood.  In this episode, he learns that his wife has been secretly meeting with his mother on a regular basis. .Another blow to Bill’s manhood—his wife and mother disobeying him.

Bill is financially struggling and Libby is very worried that she and Bill could lose their house. Essie offers to help financially. Libby is concerned about Bill’s ability to “keep a roof over their heads” without this help. Bill is livid. “I provide the roof,” he yells over and over when Libby demands that he accept the money from his mother. Bill refuses. A man provides for his family. A man does not take money from his mother.

Bill may insist on being “the man,” but the women in his life conspire against him for his own good. Betty tells him that revenue is up 20% due to new patients and an increase in fees, but it is his mother’s money that has saved his business.  

Betsy Brandt
Betsy Brandt plays Barbara
Barbara, played by Betsy Brandt, who was Bill’s secretary when he was at Memorial Hospital, is back also. She wants to volunteer to be a subject, but she is deemed ineligible once she reveals that she has a congenital deformity—no vaginal opening.  She cannot have vaginal intercourse. Virginia is surprised because Barbara was known to be having an affair with Dr Greathouse, Bill’s boss at Memorial Hospital. Remember when Greathouse was urging Bill to explore “other areas”--Greathouse was undoubtedly a rear-door man.

Dr. Austin Landsman was back on the show too. His wife divorced him because of his cheating. He’s been a swinging bachelor for a while, but he wants to return to the comforts of marriage. He implores his wife to take him back. Being as kind as she can be under the circumstances, she tells Austin that she has “moved on.”  

Everyone has moved on. The years have moved on—close to three years elapsed between the end of episode 206 and the end of episode 207. Betty has become an independent businesswoman. Libby is resigned to her loveless marriage. Bill has agreed to forgive Essie, just a little, enough to allow her to be part of his family. And Bill and Virginia are going to kiss and makeup. I predict that it will not be easy for them to get their relationship on an even keel again. Sometimes it is not so easy to move on.
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