Thursday, September 24, 2015

What I’m Watching: Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex: Season 3, Episode 11 “Party of Four” (B+)

Whatever else you or I can say about this episode, I think this was the most honest hour of television I’ve ever seen. With every single plotline, we saw characters coming clean with each other, first trying to put up fronts but then taking them down and telling the complete truth. Bill and Virginia fighting before they even sat down at their ambush dinner was bad enough, and it only got worse when Dan and his wife showed up. I was delighted to see Judy Greer as Dan’s wife Alice, and it was especially great after a lackluster season of “Married” to see her playing a malcontent married woman with considerably more depth. Bill telling Virginia that she’s entitled to a life outside work but just doesn’t want one after she defended her hiding of her affair so that he wouldn’t cut her out was cruel, and he was the only one in this entire episode who didn’t get angry or upset, gloating the whole time about the way that he manipulated events to his advantage. Dan telling Alice that he loves Virginia and her responding by saying that he used to be better was a moving moment, and both guest actors were truly superb (“Is there a good way to meet your husband’s mistress?”). The fact that Libby and Paul were playing house while all this was happening was fascinating, and Libby confessing that she was most afraid that Bill wouldn’t care when she asked for a divorce was an intense but well-founded fear. The detective coming by to interview Johnny about Bill’s alleged sexual abuse got Johnny to speak his mind about his relationship with his father, and I do hope that doesn’t lead down a bad road for Bill, despicable as he is. Showing Dan and Bill sitting at the table verbally sparring showed their true colors, and Bill trying to share his feelings for Virginia before running home to his family was the example both of bad timing and of the enduring bond between them. And to cap it all off, somehow Virginia ended up with a fancy dinner all by herself after all was said and done. As if there weren’t enough bombshells, Dan decided it was finally time to leave his wife and now Virginia will have to decide in the season finale what she really wants.

No comments: