Talk about uneven! In its third season, the ordinarily extraordinary Masters of Sex careened between the sublime (“Party of Four”) and the ridiculous (the less said about “Monkey Business,” the better). But at least in its season finale, the Showtime drama wasn’t, er, messing around. Not only did the hour deliver the Bill/Libby showdown we’ve long craved, it also marked a major turning point in Bill and Virginia’s on-again/off-again relationship. How major? Read on…
DECISIONS, DECISIONS | As “Full Ten Count” began, Virginia was dodging Dan’s phone calls and leaving Tessa and Lisa in her father’s care so that she could take a trip. But “I’m not fleeing,” she insisted, “I’m just clearing my head for a few days.” Alas, she didn’t make it as far as the front door before Libby showed up to tell her about Bill’s situation with the Daughtry family. “It always comes down to the two of us,” Mrs. Masters sighed, “doesn’t it, Gin, the two that can right the ship?” Hey, when she’s right, she’s right.
Abandoning her plan to run away and think, Virginia headed for the office, where she informed Bill that no, in spite of his intentions to defend himself against the Daughtrys’ accusations of impropriety with a minor, he would do no such thing, he would settle, and fast — and using his own funds, not the clinic’s. For the sake of their work and his family, “Libby and I are aligned on this,” she added.
In response, Bill — as determined as ever to win back Virginia — revealed that he was dropping the M.D. from his name on their new book so that they could be seen as absolute equals. Which was about as nice as it was manipulative. And right about then, who should arrive but Dan, freshly divorced and harboring no desire for Virginia to give up the work that so fulfilled her. However, “I would ask — insist, in fact — that I mean as much” as the research, he said. In spite of this irresistible pitch, Virginia allowed him to “take [his] broken heart and go.”
OH, GOD! | Almost immediately, Virginia regretted her decision, because Nora conned Bill into making things “right” between them by helping out with her rent — so that she and Ronald could get Masters and Johnson arrested for pandering and promoting prostitution! By the time Dan bailed out Virginia, she had well and truly reconsidered her options, and was more than ready to divorce George and dump Bill to marry him. As for Bill…
When at last Libby made it to the police station, she was a combo platter of pissed over his “recklessness” and crushed since Paul had hastily left town. In other words, she was in no mood to indulge her spouse as he unburdened himself by confessing that he’d been having an affair with Virginia for ages. “I know this,” Mrs. Masters said, incredulous. “I have known this for years.” She even admitted that she and her husband’s mistress had made a pact to keep the Masters family intact.
When finally Libby – having sacrificed all that she had — couldn’t listen to another word about how she deserved a “real marriage,” she informed Bill that neither would she be posting his bail, nor would he be welcome at home. So there!
EXIT STAGE RIGHT | Meanwhile, Virginia was doing her damnedest to get the hell outta Dodge. First, she cleared out her office — and socked Nora with a box along the way — then Dan obtained her father’s blessing and slipped an engagement ring on her finger… just as the phone rang. Guess who. At the police station, Bill was in the middle of confessing that he loved Virginia and always had when he noticed that she was wearing Dan’s ring. She didn’t want the work, the success, the accomplishments more than she wanted to be happy, she argued. And if Bill loved her as much as he swore he did, he’d let her go.
At the same time, the publicist from Little Brown had gotten wind of Masters and Johnson’s arrest — mere hours before the press conference to announce their new release. If Betty didn’t get them both back to the clinic in 30 minutes, he threatened, he’d tell all those reporters that Bill enjoyed the company of young boys when he and Virginia weren’t running a brothel. Knowing that Virginia would never let that happen — it would sink everything! — Bill jumped in a cab to stop her from catching her flight with Dan. At last, he had a way to get her back!
IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY… | A funny thing happened on Bill’s way to the airport: He gave up. He had the cabbie pull over and let him out. He was gonna make it in time to prevent Virginia from leaving with Dan, and… he didn’t. Even as she was about to board the plane, she kept looking back, prompting Dan to wonder aloud if she was afraid Bill was coming or afraid he wasn’t. But for once, he wasn’t.
IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS… | Now sleeping with Jonathan, Barton planned to cook his lover dinner at home for his birthday — until Betty said no, no, a thousand times, no, you have to take him out, and made the boys a reservation at a fancy restaurant. And bless his heart, Barton did make progress. Though he didn’t inform the maître d’ that it was his companion’s birthday, he did hold Jonathan’s hand in public. Baby steps.
OK, opinion time! What did you think of the finale — and the season as a whole? Hit the comments!