MASTERS OF SEX Season 2 Finale Recap: “Untitled”

by     Posted 55 days ago

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Intriguingly, Showtime withheld the advance screener of Masters of Sex‘s finale, “Untitled,” until after it aired.  Ray Donovan, on the other hand, was posted almost a week early.  What was it about “Untitled” that was perceived as so Earth-shattering that the network was afraid of spoilers?  Even the twists at the end, which were genuinely interesting (especially as they incorporated, briefly, old characters), all played into a theme that has been running through the show since the beginning: Bill is in control, and anyone who gets in his way should prepared to be mowed down by his hubris.  There’s no surprise there.  Hit the jump, but only “if we put touching genitals back on the agenda.”

Annaleigh Ashford Talks MASTERS OF SEX Season 2, How Her Character Grew from the Pilot, Working with Sarah Silverman, and More

by     Posted 57 days ago

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On the hit Showtime series Masters of Sex, actress Annaleigh Ashford gives a pitch perfect performance as Betty Dimello, a brash prostitute with a frank understanding of her own sexuality, who married a rich man (Greg Grunberg) to get her out of the life she was leading.  From the beginning of Dr. Masters’ (Michael Sheen) sex study, Betty allowed him to observe her and the other girls in her brothel, becoming both a friend to Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and one of the few women who keeps Masters in line.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Annaleigh Ashford talked about how she came to be a part of this show, learning about Betty as she got each script, her reaction to learning the real history between Betty and her husband, working with such a talented cast, getting into the headspace of a woman like this, in this time period, what a treat it is to play someone who unabashedly tells it like it is, that she would ultimately love to see Betty happy, working with such high caliber directors, and how socially relevant many of the show’s plot points still are today.  Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “One For The Money, Two For The Show”

by     Posted 63 days ago

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For so many reasons, it’s difficult to believe that “One for the Money and Two for the Show” is Masters of Sex‘s penultimate episode this season.  It was a season that started out with such excellent potential regarding a shifting paradigm in Ginny and Bill’s relationship, even introducing a race-related storyline that was primed for something so different on television (one that could have even made Masters fully step out of Mad Men‘s shadow by meaningfully incorporating minority characters and perspectives).  Instead, the show dropped that Buell Green narrative quickly and unceremoniously, jumped forward in time, and ended back at a place emotionally before “Fight” or even the season opener.  Hit the jump for why maybe the show needs someone to tell them they look weird in this tie.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Below the Belt”

by     Posted 70 days ago

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At the end of “Story of My Life,” Masters of Sex’s study turned personal in a new way for Bill and Ginny.  Bill, finally admitting his impotence problem (and not just trying to deal with it using Lester as a substitute), found a way to incorporate Ginny’s desire to have them study sexual dysfunction, while also treating his own.  Though their methods differ (Ginny initially wanted to consider psychology, while Bill is adamant about the physiology of a “cure”), they are united on a personal level.  But Bill’s pride, as always, creates problems.  Hit the jump for why despair is the greatest sin.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Story of My Life”

by     Posted 76 days ago

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In “Story of My Life,” Bill and Ginny both used surrogates to gain unexpected, deeper understandings of themselves.  This season of Masters of Sex has not been as even as most of us had hoped, having both some great episodes (“Fight”) and some clunkers (last week’s “Mirror, Mirror” to name but one).  Many of Masters‘ best stories come from characters who aren’t Masters or Johnson, but what made “Story of My Life” one of the better episodes this season was that it took that idea and applied it to Masters and Johnson, making them better in the process.  Hit the jump if you like French New Wave.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Mirror, Mirror”

by     Posted 84 days ago

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The hope for Masters of Sex was that it would have a second season renaissance that would collate the best parts of its first season, and leave the rest in the dust.  Masters had a good first season, but none of it came together as beautifully as it did in just its second season premiere.  Since then, only “Fight” has really been exceptional, and instead of taking flight, Masters‘ second season has gotten stalled out in some tedium (like the fact that an episode that spanned three years only covered, essentially, one conversation, then ended up back where things started).  “Mirror, Mirror” had some great moments (mostly thanks to Flo), but still felt like more of the same.  Hit the jump if you’ve been a very naughty orthopedist.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Asterion”

by     Posted 91 days ago

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In my recap of “Blackbird,” I mentioned that despite an emotionally compelling episode (in part), Masters of Sex seemed to really just be treading water.  That fact was also a disappointment primarily because of the Buell Green storyline, which flatlined before it had an opportunity to really be anything interesting.  “Asterion” had two major time jumps, but ultimately, they showed that the more things change, the more things stay the same.  Hit the jump for why “some things cannot be undone.”

Showtime Renews MASTERS OF SEX and RAY DONOVAN for Season 3

by     Posted 95 days ago

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Fresh off AMC’s decision to bring Halt and Catch Fire back for another season, Showtime has ordered Masters of Sex Season 3 and Ray Donovan Season 3.  Both shows received 12-episode orders for a third season, set to debut in early 2015.  I haven’t seen either, but Masters of Sex is high on my list of shows I need to catch up on.  Lizzy Caplan has earned rave reviews for her lead performance, garnering an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series along with a bevy of Emmy nods for the show in general.  The series averages four million weekly viewers across all platforms while Ray Donovan averages five million, so bringing both shows back was a no-brainer for Showtime.  Read the full press release after the jump.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Blackbird”

by     Posted 98 days ago

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Things have been moving very fast on Masters of Sex, but there’s very little sense of where they are headed (in the short term).  Halfway through the season, there have already been many truths revealed, and their consequences already made clear.  “Blackbird” was an intimate and emotionally difficult hour that mostly showed everything going wrong.  The positive progress the show has been making in fits and starts has once again stalled out.  “It feels like dying.  Let’s see if you have the strength to be reborn.”  Hit the jump to find out.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Giants”

by     Posted 105 days ago

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In “Giants,” Masters of Sex continued to explore the terms of relationships, first through the lens of Ginny and Bill’s working (and extracurricular) arrangement, and then among others.  There’s a central thread about choosing the easy way, or the path of least resistance.  But as Betty succinctly observes, nothing is free.  What each of these characters give up in order to create a sense of normalcy, however much a delusion, was the main part of the episode’s exploration.  Hit the jump for why it’s ok, as long as you’re taking notes.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Dirty Jobs”

by     Posted 112 days ago

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Masters of Sex‘s “Dirty Jobs” had a lot to live up to after “Fight,” one of the best episodes of the series (and possibly of the year).  It was an episode that focused on trust, a theme very relevant to all that is Masters of Sex.  The hospitals have to trust Bill with his study, the patients have to trust that they are not being exploited, and of course there is the trust present in the personal relationship between Libby and Bill, Bill and Ginny, and even characters like Betty and her husband Gene.  But in “Dirty Jobs,” many of these connections were broken, with only some hope of repair.  Hit the jump if you know that you sleep with your mouth open, just like a tiny baby bird.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Fight”

by     Posted 119 days ago

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Prior to “Fight,” the most promising moment of this season of Masters of Sex – the moment when many of us sat up, adjusted our glasses and thought, “here we go!” — was when Ginny and Bill had the heart-breaking conversation in the hotel where they tried (and failed) to define the intricacies of their relationship.  In “Fight,” the topic was brought up again, and explored with the depth it deserves, and with a strangeness and emotional honesty that made Masters of Sex feel, for the first time truly, like Mad Men.  Hit the jump for why “a hole is easier than a pole.”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Kyrie Eleison”

by     Posted 126 days ago

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After an emotional premiere, Masters of Sex slowed things way down in “Kyrie Eleison” (meaning “Lord Have Mercy”).  But, it maintained its focus on place (as in, position).  Each of its characters is adrift, longing for something they have lost or cannot achieve.  “Kyrie Eleison” also separated Bill and Ginny again, but as with all things Masters, the study must go on, and their connection to it drives them back together.  It also is the only place the two feel at home.  Hit the jump for more.

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Parallax”

by     Posted 133 days ago

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Masters of Sex returned for its second season without missing a beat from its first.  There was no lull to get viewers reoriented slowly — things picked up essentially where they left off, except “Parallax” made the decision to exam some of the events that took place after last season’s finale from different viewpoints.  Per usual for the show, how things played out circumvented the expected, and allowed an intimate look into both Ginny (Lizzy Caplan) and Bill’s (Michael Sheen) obsessions and dedications.  Hit the jump for why “that study was worse than the Mummy’s Curse.”

New to Blu-ray: 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, ENEMY, A HARD DAY’S NIGHT Criterion, and More

by     Posted 152 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include the bloody 300 sequel, one of the weirdest and underseen movies of the year (with double the Jake Gyllenhaal), a Beatles entry to the Criterion Collection, and more.  Briefly:

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