Masters of Sex, like Bill and Ginny’s study, is moving from the physical to the more psychological. Though there is still plenty of the physical, it led to some important emotional moments this week. That’s exactly what the show needs moving forward. Ginny says she can separate love from sex, but that connection is something that this particular narrative needs to make us invested in it. And as Ginny finds out in “All Together Now,” things are not so clearly delineated as she once believed. Hit the jump for more.
The Masters of Sex universe is expanding now, and in addition to Bill and Ginny, the side characters have started having their own compelling stories. It started off slowly, with Ethan and Libby and Jane, and now the Bartons and Langham are getting time devoted to them individually as well (goodbye Betty though, I suppose). It’s for the best, especially in an episode like “All Together Now,” where these many vignettes all reinforce a central theme: that of people going outside of the box you’ve put them in, and what your reactions to that reveal.
This was framed by the newly sexual relationship between Bill and Ginny, which Ginny found easy to make non-personal as she did with Ethan and even her latest ex-husband. She had no emotions towards them anyway, so she could use them to suit her needs and then kick them to the curb. She purposefully repelled Bill’s attractions and made their study just about the sex … until that moment when they orgasmed together staring into each other’s eyes. When Bill left suddenly to go wine and dine Libby — per the agreements he had made with Ginny — she looked like Ethan did when he saw the bed he knew Bill and Ginny had just used. Not so easy, after all.
Ethan has repositioned his feelings for Ginny several times, and the friendship thing worked for near an entire episode. But his realization of his jealousy and feelings towards her meant he had to remove her from that sphere and slot Vivian in her place. His (seeming) awareness of this was a rarity in the episode — everyone else seemed to be in denial.
Though Margaret confronted Barton over his lack of rage about her having a lover, he didn’t come clean about what was really up. That felt real and natural — for him to say he preferred men in that moment would have felt forced. This is a marriage founded on lies, and given their relationship (I believe, fully, that he loves her, even if he’s willing to use her so he won’t be “outed” at such a time in history) it made sense for him to stay mum. And speaking of mum, how creepy was Margaret’s mothering of Langham? His moment in therapy though when it became clear he loses interest in sex once the “object” becomes a person was telling, and spoke to the entire episode.
There were a lot of shifting emotions and relationships in “All Together Now,” but to Masters of Sex‘s credit, it never felt soapy. The bed hopping is something that is tricky to navigate narratively if the show wants to make it mean something more than just who-slept-with-whom-this week. And in “All Together Now,” it did really matter.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— This episode gave us all so many things to Google … turn on your incognito browser!
— So now we know what Lizzy Caplan‘s O-face looks like, I guess.
— Margaret is fast becoming a favorite character (all the awards for Allison Janney, too, mark your ballots now). Her monologue to Langham was so beautiful and so sad, because it marked the moment he wanted nothing more to do with her. He really did open up her whole world … that fallout will be ugly.
— Poor, poor Libby. But she still looks so stunning in her clothes it’s hard to feel too bad for her. Still, her husband’s kindness and exuberance towards her is so oddly awful, since we know it is in the service of him having sex with a woman she considers a friend. Complications!
— Barton’s lover: “You need a doctor.” Barton: “I am a doctor!”
— Nice moments between Ethan and Ginny in this episode, despite his ultimately inability to cope. I like them as friends.
— Both Bill and Ginny were so awkward in this episode.
— Long live Jane, and her spelling of anesthesia!