Saturday, August 8, 2015

Masters of Sex #304 “Undue Influence”

Masters of Sex Margaret and Graham
Margaret has a new friend.
“Making Friends” 

by Catherine Giordano

This recap and review must begin with a spoiler alert. Season 3 of Showtime’s Masters of Sex seems to feel regular doses of shockers will make up for the heart the series has seemingly lost. Episode 304, which aired on August 2, 2015, will provide the requisite shock.

Bill Masters wants to boost the sales of his book in order to justify a second printing. He lurks in a book store (remember those) trying to figure out why his book is not getting sales. He complains to the book store owner because his book has been placed in the back of the store. The owner explains that people who want the book call ahead so the book is wrapped and waiting for them when they come in to pick it up. It seems no one wants to be buying a book called Human Sexual Response.

How to Win Friends and Influence People book

Bill gets a great idea. He returns to the store with a roll of brown wrapping paper. He asks the bookstore owner to wrap his remaining copies of Human Sexual Response in the paper and put them in the window. The bookstore owner thinks Bill is nuts, but agrees to do it after Bill promised to buy all the copies that don’t sell. However, the sales go wild. It seems a little mystery in matters of sex can do wonders.

While in the book store Bill buys a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. The ideas in the book hit Bill like a thunderbolt. “Make people feel important” the book says. Bill decides to do this by buying a fur capelet for Virginia. The store places it in a box and the box is placed into a shopping bag. Bill keeps the bag in his office waiting for a suitable time to give it to Virginia.  

Awkward! Virginia seems embarrassed by this extravagant gift. Perhaps it seems like an attempt to manipulate her into going on the book tour that she does not want to go on. She has a new baby, remember. Later in the episode, Bill shows up at Virginias' home. Now that the brown paper wrapper thing is working, the book tour is not so important so he is no longer pressuring Virginia to go on the book tour. Virginia is still reluctant to accept the inappropriate gift. Only wives and mistresses get furs from men—Virginia is not his wife and she doesn’t want to think of herself as his mistresses. 
Bill still on his charm offensive, offers to take Virginia out to dinner. Then he mentions that it is a bit chilly outside. “If only you had something to keep you warm,” he says as he drapes the capelet over her shoulders.This is not the way to make friends and influence people; this is the way to dominate people.

The fur gambit will have another awkward consequence. Bill's wife Libby, showed up at Bill's office. He was busy with a patient so she goes into his office and sees the shopping bag with the store name on it. She opens the box, sees the fur and then replaces everything as she found it. Does she think that this is a surprise gift for her? What will happen when she realizes it is not for her?

Margaret, Barton’s ex-wife, seems interested in maintaining a friendly relationship with her ex-husband. She shows up at his apartment with a casserole. She finds out about Barton’s lady friend. She may be feeling a little jealous. She makes a bit of a scene because Barton is not telling this woman the truth about himself. Barton insists he and the woman are just friends. 

It turns out Margaret is right. The lady wants more than friendship from Barton. After a dinner at his apartment, she says that she could spend the night with him. Barton blanches and makes up a story. He has high blood pressure and his medication makes him unable to perform. Will the lady accept this? Will she want to attempt intimacy anyway or will she just go away. 

Margaret has another reason to be angry. She has been keeping Barton’s secret. She has taken the blame for the divorce, telling everyone that Barton divorced her because she was unfaithful. Her daughter is not talking to her because of this. She can’t even tell her new boyfriend, Graham the truth. 

I don’t think that her new boyfriend Graham is overly concerned about Margaret having cheated on her ex-husband. It seems he has another girlfriend in addition to Margaret. Shocker! But it gets worse. Margaret knows about it. In fact, the three of them are all great friends in a poly-amorous relationship. After years of a sexless marriage, Margaret apparently has some self-esteem issues. 

People are trying to be friends, but I doubt these friendships are healthy relationships. 

Masters of Sex Book
to look inside

Human Sexual Response book
to look inside
Showtime's Masters of Sex Season One dvd
to buy DVD