Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Masters of Sex #302 07 19 15 “Three’s a Crowd”

Master's of Sex Book Launch party
Virginia and Bill at the book launch party.
Bad Things Come in Threes
by Catherine Giordano

A friend of mine said that she stops watching a series after the second season because the writers usually only have enough good stories for two seasons. I think she is on to something. The first two episodes of season three of “Masters of Sex” have been disappointing. With episode 302, “Three’s a Crowd,” I’m beginning to see a trend.  

The problem may be that there has been too much focus on just our triad-Bill, Virginia, and Libby. The writers need to bring the stories of the other characters back to the foreground. Bill is cold, Virginia is defiant, and Libby is mopey. Ho-hum.
The Pregnancy
The plot has pretty much jumped the shark. Virginia is pregnant. It turns out that Bill is not the father. The father is Virginia’s ex-husband, George. At first I thought that George being the father was the cover story. No, George really is the father. It seems George and Virginia were so distraught over their son’s getting hit by a car and his decision to join the military that they had sex with each other. They had sex in that over-crowded house at the lake.  

Nothing in the plot line prior to this set us up for Virginia and George to have sex. There was no thawing in their relationship. Bill and Virginia were not fighting any more than usual. The writers just threw us a plot twist. I imagine them sitting around the room saying:  
“Hey,.How about if we make Virginia get pregnant?”
“Good one. And let’s make it be by her ex-husband.” 
“Well, we got nothing else, so why not?”

 Virginia tells Bill she has an abortion all arranged. She had been putting it off until after the press conference for the book. Is that believable?  Maybe, a little. But now we get to the totally unbelievable part. 

Virginia shows up for her appointment. She gets on the operating table. The doctor gives her the local anesthetic and asks her if she can feel anything.  She says, “I feel nothing.” End of scene. 

Next thing we know, we see Virginia still pregnant. She apparently on the spur of the moment, decided to just hop off that table and have the baby. Nothing before this showed us that she had the least bit of doubt about the abortion. She’s not married, she has a book tour to do, her 16 year old daughter, Tessa, is proving to be more than she can handle—it’s just a great time to have a baby.  
The Solution
The solution?  Virginia will marry her ex-husband. Virginia doesn’t like the idea very much. George wants to marry Virginia because he thinks they can have what they had when they were first married again, but he doesn’t want a sham marriage. Bill offers to write him a very big check.  

A short time later. the happy couple meet with a lawyer one morning to sign the pre-nup. There will be no co-habitation, no sexual relations, and no sharing of assets. The same afternoon, they go to the justice of the peace, and with Bill and Libby as witnesses, they get married. Libby is all smiles—she thinks this marriage may put an end to the affair that Bill is having with Virginia.  

The Speech
So far the plot twists are pretty bizarre, but things get worse. Virginia goes into labor and she can’t handle it. She falls apart emotionally—very out of character for her. Bill is at her side trying to talk her through it. He tells her, at great length, how she is part of a new chapter for women. Women can have both careers and children. Virginia will lead the way. Just as the two of them have broken down the barriers to sexual equality for men and women, they will now break down the barriers to equality in the home and the workplace.  

It is true that Bill and Virginia (along with the birth control pill) are ushering in a new era of equality for men and women. It is also true that the conversation between Bill and Virginia is totally unrealistic. One of the great things about Masters of Sex is that show reflects societal issues of the time. Usually, this is done indirectly-- the plot shows us these things, no one speechifies about it.  In this episode, Bill gave a 20 minute speech about it as Virginia dealt with her labor pains. This is more than unrealistic; it is boring and painful.  I was feeling desperate for the scene to be over, but it went on and on.
The Triads

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside
The rest of the episode showed both Bill and Virginia being difficult. Bill has hired, Dr. West, a female doctor to fill in for Virginia until after Virginia gives birth. He needed to have a female partner so he “won’t look like a pervert.” Dr. West talks directly to a patient, and this angers Bill. Despite the speech he will later give to Virginia about gender equality, he will not have a  woman being equal to him in his practice. She is there to assist and to be seen but not heard. 

This scene reminded me of the developments the previous episode. Virginia wants some time off to complete her studies and obtain her degree. Bill is angry because he needs Virginia to assist him as the book is edited and prepared for publication. Virginia is strong–willed and gets her way much to the good doctor’s chagrin. 

So third time is a charm? I hope so. I hope the show gets back on track for episode 3. While we wait we can contemplate the triads. Bill, Libby, and Virginia. Virginia, George, and the new baby. Bill, George, and Virginia. Maybe even Virginia, Tessa, and the new baby. Will there be sibling rivalry?

Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

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