Monday, September 15, 2014

Masters of Sex #210 “Below the Belt”

"Fix Me"

Masters of Sex bill and Virginia
Bill and Virginia at the hotel for sex-therapy.
by Catherine Giordano

“Fix Me” is the theme of this review and recap of Masters of Sex, episode 210, named “Below the Belt” which aired on Showtime on September 14, 2014. Sometimes when we are broken all we can do is beg, “Fix me.” 

Virginia is continuing to see the psychiatrist. She has told the doctor that she has ben lying, trying to get therapy for Barbara by Proxy. She admits that it was a totally disaster. She couldn’t fix Barbara this way. The psychiatrist says that maybe she has continued to see him because she feels a little in the need of fixing herself. Virginia is slowly coming to the realization that the doctor is right. 

Barbara and Lester
In the meantime Barbara is continuing her treatment with Dr. Masters who doesn’t appear to be fixing her with his approach. Barbara needs emotional healing, and it looks like she and Lester may be able to fix each other.   

Lester meets Barbara when she nearly faints in the lobby after a treatment. Lester invites her into his office to sit down for a while. They get into a conversation. She brings up how God is punishing her and Lester tells her there is no old man in the sky.  She is offended and leaves. 

Later, Lester finds Barbara at the lunch counter.  He sits down and tells her he wants to apologize. They talk and they agree that the only sin is despair-giving up hope. They find although they may not have religion in common they have something else in common—sexual dysfunction and ineffective treatment from Dr, Masters. I have to object here. Call me a prude, but I think discussions of sexual dysfunction should not take place until the third date. Nonetheless, I think they may fix each other. 
Flo and Dr. Austin Langham
Masters of Sex Flo Cal-O-Metric
Flo, the Cal-O-Metric Lady
Flo, the Cal-O-Metric lady, is looking for a fix of her own, and she has decided Dr. Austin Langham is the man to give it to her. He rebuffed her advance several episodes ago. She seemed to accept the rejection, but she was only biding her time. She hired Austin to be the Cal-O-Metric spokesperson. Austin is liking the money, the TV appearances, and the adulation of the lady sales force. Flo demands that he meet her at his apartment and she is brutally honest about what she wants. If she doesn't get it, Austin is fired. Austin tries to tell her that he won’t be able to “perform” because he is not attracted to her; the body can’t lie. Flo knows how to fix that. Flo may be fat, but she also appears to be as expert as Betty in the sexual arts. It’s ironic—half of the characters have sexual impotence and the one person who wants to be impotent, can’t seem to manage it. Afterwards Austin says that now that “they have gotten this out of the way”, they can go back to being colleagues. Flo is hurt, but steely.  She has Austin where she wants him and he won’t escape her clutches.    
Betty continues to work at CORE.
Libby needs a fix too. Everyone at CORE considers her a bored housewife. She wants to make a difference. Robert is trying to organize a rent strike. He tells Libby she can’t be involved—the Negro tenants will not listen to a white lady. She goes anyway and is effective in persuading some of the residents to join the strike, maybe even more effective than Robert. 
The PR Consultant
Meanwhile Dr. Masters’ finances are still in need of a fix. Betty is robbing Peter to pay Paul as she tries to pay the bills. The electricity even gets turned off because the payment was late. Betty insists that they must rent half of the floor where bill has his office.   

Dr. Masters also feels his rise to fame and fortune as a sexual researcher needs a fix.  Another doctor has published an article in a journal about sexuality and masters and Johnson are cited in a footnote.  He discusses this with Virginia and she says , “do you want him to be a footnote in your study or do you want to be a footnote in his.?  Bill wants to win a Nobel prize, and you only win the Nobel prize by being FIRST. 

A public relations consultant is called in and he suggests that bill and Virginia be interviewed on 60 Minutes. They bicker like a husband and wife and the audience will relate to this. Virginia wants to do it, but Bill is very hesitant. He is still smarting from the negative reaction he got when he presented to the doctors at the hospital. It cost him his job.

Bill and Frank
Frank, Bill's brother, still wants to fix his relationship with Bill. The two have a big fight.  There is no one more sanctimonious than a reformed ... fill in the blank.  Bill is angry because Frank, a one-year-sober member of AA, is trying to convince both Bill and Essie, their mother, that having one drink a day means that they are alcoholics too. 

Bill begins to scream at Frank, You’re weak! You’re weak. You are a coward.  He provokes Frank until Frank punches him. Bill doesn’t punch back. He has already won the fight by getting Frank to punch him. 

Bill is so proud that he never begged his father to stop beating him.  He despises his brother for finding another way to deal with their monster of a father. Frank used charm, and yes, he would beg his father to stop hitting him. Frank is now dealing with it by forgiving his father and by forgiving bill for leaving him. Bill feels guilty about not trying to protect his younger brother and that enrages him all the more. Bill needs his anger to hold his psyche together; Frank needs forgiveness and love to hold his psyche together. Symbolically each is asking the other, “Fix me.” 

Bill and Virginia
After Bill’s fight with his brother, Bill goes to the hotel to meet Virginia.  They have been meeting to try to cure Bill. Virginia is methodically going through a list of “treatments” and each has proven ineffective. Bill arrives at the hotel room  bloody and emotionally devastated. He lies down on the bed. Virginia lies down next to him to comfort him.  They begin to kiss first gently, then passionately.  It looks like Bill ‘s sexual dysfunction is about to get fixed. 
Human Sexual Response book
to look inside
Fix Me
Only two more episodes of this outstanding drama before the season ends. Where will I get  my fix of beautifully-told, emotionally-complex, socially-relevant stories.

The critically acclaimed show has been picked up for a third season.
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Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
to buy DVD