Monday, September 8, 2014

Masters of Sex #209 “Story of My Life”

Masters of Sex case file
It''s all about the research, or is it?
by Catherine Giordano
"The Truth"
Truth--what is true and what is not true--is the theme of Showtime’s Masters of Sex, episode 209,” Story of My Life.” Here is the review and recap for the show that aired 9/7/14.

The truth about Bill and Frank

We learn more about Bill Master’s brother in this episode. It seems they remember their childhoods differently. Bill shouts at Frank, “Is it the truth or is it your truth?” There is a lot of sibling rivalry between the two brothers. Frank is an alcoholic, one year sober. He tricks Bill into attending an AA meeting with him. Franks knows that the only way he can talk to his brother is from the podium at the meeting when he is invited to “share” in celebration of his one year chip.

Frank thinks that Bill abandoned him. Bill thinks that Frank was their father’s favorite because he bore his father’s name, Frank. “What kind of father passes over his first-born son and gives his name to the second-born son?” The anger in his voice is terrible; you just know that this is a resentment that has been eating at him for years. Bill is also angry that Frank told stories about his childhood relating events that happened to Bill as if they had happened to him. Frank insists that they happened to him also.   

The truth about Barbara and Paul

We also have the story of two other siblings who remember their childhoods differently.  Dr. Masters is treating Barbara for her vagisimus by inserting speculums into her vagina and trying to gradually stretch her. Virginia and Bill argue over this because Virginia thinks they have to approach the problem with psychotherapy.

Barbara had sex with her brother, Paul, when she was 12 years old, multiple times.  Barbara sees her brother regularly, and she tells Virginia that the last time she met her brother for dinner she talked to him about it. She says that her brother remembered things differently. He did not force himself on her; she initiated the sexual games. This conversation leads Barbara to remember the truth—she devised the game so that Paul would stay with her and not go off to play with others.  “It worked,” she said. I fear, the more Barbara remembers, the worse the outcome for her.

The truth about Virginia and Bill

Masters of Sex Sheen and Caplan
Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan
Virginia continues to visit the psychotherapist pretending to be Barbara trying to get therapy for Barbara by proxy. The therapist sees right through her lies because her emotional affect does not match what she is saying, but he plays along. He asks Virginia a question that forces her to face the truth about her relationship with Bill--They are not doing sex research; they are having an affair.

Virginia always thought that the sex with Bill was not taking anything from Libby because she did not want to marry Bill. She confronts Bill on the issue, but he continues to insist that their sex is all about the research and nothing else.

The truth about Lester

Bill is still hiding the truth about his impotence.  He tires therapy by proxy also. He hires a prostitute for Lester who is known for her ability to “cure” men with impotence.  Her attempt with Lester is disastrous. The prostitute is not successful, and the whole ordeal shames Lester even further. Only a true relationship can cure Lester.

The truth about LIbby

Libby is dealing with truth also.  She witnessed some of the events leading up to a black man from CORE being tossed, tied up, from a truck in front of the building where Bill works and which also has the offices of CORE. In the previous episode Robert, who works at CORE, had asked her to come forward as a witness. She refused and now wants to help.

She meets with Robert and a black CORE lawyer. The lawyer tries to lead her to report the events in a way that is less than true, but more helpful in getting the white men who did this convicted. Robert takes Libby aside and talks to her about this. Libby indicates that she is ready to lie. Robert questions her as a D.A. would to prove to her that her lies would fall apart. He says that she can be of no help to them.

Distressed that she cannot help with the case, Libby finds another way to help--she volunteers to type, answer phones, etc.  Robert disdains her help, but she insists. Finally, he says, "There is one thing you can do. You can make a sandwich run.”  He expects Libby to reject this demeaning task. Instead she proves that she was speaking the truth about wanting to help by picking up a pad and pencil and says, “What can I get you.”

The truth about Impotence

In the last scene, Bill and Virginia are in the hotel room. They are fighting about the nature of their relationship. Virginia now sees it as an affair and Bill insists it is research. He hints at the new focus of their after-hours research—Virginia and he will experiment with curing male impotence.

The truth about Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex is all about truth. Week after week it shows viewers the truth about sex, about relationships, and about life.
(The TV series embroiders upon the truth, the book tells the true story.)
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