That was almost good enough to make us forget about the gorilla. Almost. Not only did Sunday’s Season 4 premiere of Masters of Sex reunite Bill and Virginia, at least professionally, it also strongly suggested that the Showtime drama was, following that wobbly third season, once again on solid footing. Was it good for you, too? Let’s review the hour’s salient points, then you can grade the episode and hit the comments with your critique.
WELL-HUNGOVER | Picking up shortly after Season 3 left off, “Freefall” began with Betty hilariously making excuse after excuse for her AWOL bosses, while Bill drank himself silly, and Virginia spent her honeymoon with Dan… well, without him. After a regrettable, booze-soaked hookup with a bartender, Virginia distracted herself by busting a “sexpert” who was ripping off her and Bill’s research, and got from a fan the bright idea to write an advice column. While she was busy reconnecting with Hugh Hefner in hopes of becoming a risqué Ann Landers, Bill was being charged with DUI, stripped of his driver’s license for three months and attending the first of 90 mandatory AA meetings. When he made it clear to moderator Louise (Niecy Nash, sublime as always) that his participation wouldn’t go beyond his sitting in a chair, she challenged him big-time and even volunteered to drive him to all of his future meetings. “It’ll remind me,” she said, “just how far I’ve come.”
BACK IN THE SADDLE | While Virginia surprised Hef by showing up without Bill, her former partner broke into his Libby’s house, only to discover that all of his clothes were gone. When he later ran into his estranged wife in the elevator of the clinic’s building, she curtly informed him that she wasn’t there to see him, she was there to see her attorney, who, sensing her hostility toward her soon-to-be ex-husband, recommended that she try out a women’s group. As soon as Betty caught a glimpse of the doc at the office, she read him the riot act for sticking her with his and Virginia’s jobs while he was off on his “Rumspringa or whatever.” But he could make it up to her starting right that second, by joining her consultation with the Connellys. Though Betty acknowledged that yes, Bill sucks at the warm-and-fuzzy stuff, she still thought that he didn’t need Virginia’s help to get impotent hubby Dale (Mad Men alum Rich Sommer) to reveal what he was hiding. Lo and behold, she was right. (Isn’t Betty always?) Bill got Dale to cop to a shoe fetish that was going unsatisfied since his wife quit her job selling stilettos. (Now, she wore mostly slippers, he groaned. “On a good day, espadrilles.”)
THE OMG SPOT | Props to Libby for not bolting from her first consciousness-raising group meeting when she was offered a joint and ringleader Anita (Orange Is the New Black’s Alysia Reiner) announced, “This isn’t your mother’s kaffeeklatsch.” Mrs. Masters was uncomfortable as hell but still brave enough to stick it out — and she even appeared to feel somewhat liberated after taking Anita’s dare and removing her bra. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Virginia, Hef phoned Bill and summoned him to the Playboy Mansion to discuss investing in the clinic. (In other words — Betty’s — “Jesus has come! Hallelujah!”) Natch, Virginia was as unhappy as shocked to find Bill in Bunnyland, and she soon became even more displeased: Hef explained that Masters and Johnson were a brand, so he’d only publish Virginia’s column and invest in the clinic if they remained a team. If they had a problem, he said, they could use their therapy on themselves.
HARD TIMES | Mortified but stuck, Virgina elected to return to the clinic and start her own separate practice. Won’t Dan object? Bill asked. “My husband,” she replied, “is remarkably understanding.” (Wonder if he’d understand about the bartender… ) Since Bill and Virginia would henceforth be sharing office space, nothing more, they’d both need new partners, they agreed. And things would have to remain strictly business between them. When she asked why she should believe that he could stick to that, he answered, heartbreakingly: “For 12 years, I’ve tried every wrong and misguided way to win your heart, only to realize in these last very dark weeks, you wanted something else… That part of us is over for good.” But was it really? Since the hurt in her voice was plain to hear when she said she was glad that that was clear, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, in terms they might appreciate, no f—ing way.
So, what did you think of the Season 4 premiere? Grade it in the poll below, then hit the comments with your review.