This finale episode of the first season of Masters of Sex sure packed a punch. It used a couple of framing devices, one of which was the first man in space; another heavy-handed yet ultimately effective analogy for being a pioneer. The topic is brought up multiple times; the cutting-edge nature of the study is compared both to Darwin's theory of natural selection and Elvis' incendiary dance moves.
Let's check in with the Scullys; we haven't seen them since a bomb went off in their marriage a couple of weeks ago. After quite the confrontation (Allison Janney and Beau Bridges are both wonderful), Barton reveals that he soon will be starting electroshock. As much Margaret wants a husband who can love her in all ways, she cares for his well-being too much to let him go through with it. They seem to come to a sort of peace: sexuality aside, they both love each other; the two of them touch foreheads in a manner that is more romantic than all the sex scenes in the show put together. Trying to make a point, are we?
Back at the hospital, it's time for the big presentation and Bill has his audience in the palm of his hand. (Well, except for Dr. DePaul, who wanted credit for Virginia.) Masters just has to take it a step too far, though: he rolls footage, first of Jane's "vaginal walls" (now imagine it in a dramatic whisper; that's how she said it), then of nude Virginia, and he promptly loses the room. The chancellor ends the presentation on the spot.
It turns out the chancellor isn't the only one who is angry: Virginia strides out, barely managing to blink back tears, and all of twenty doctors cancel on the celebratory after party. Everything's a mess, and everyone wants to know who that mysterious woman in the explicit footage was. Even Libby wants to know: apparently, two doctors sitting next to her speculated that it was Virginia. When she repeats this information to Bill, he gets artfully cagey, making some roundabout argument that out of over a hundred volunteers, why would it make sense to film Virginia? Libby agrees, but she's far from appeased by his squirelly answer.
He returns to the hospital and finds that he and Scully are to be fired. In a bit of a coup de grace, he manages to save Scully's gig as provost by acting like he defied Scully's orders, but Masters himself is still very, very fired. He loses everything: all of his prestige, his standing in the community, and most importantly the ability to continue researching. Oh, and by the way, it also means he doesn't receive Libby's phone call, and she delivers their child without him, and looks blissful with her new baby in her arms.
Virginia, on the other hand, is quite quiet this episode. After Masters showed her incredibly private footage to a forum of dozens upon dozens of people, I was expecting a huge blow up; we don't get one. What we do get is Virginia's incredible sense of hurt at not being credited in his study. We see this most in something she mentions to her adorable bespectacled child: "Sometimes it takes helpers to do great things."
Oh, and let's not forget about Ethan. He's gone for most of the episode, but that doesn't stop him from popping the question. Using her characteristic charm, she jokes her way out of answering right away. He acquiesces, but not before declaring, "Whatever kind of life you want for yourself ... for your kids .. is yours." Is woman-punching Ethan still in there? Or can we chalk it up to character development? Either way, we never get her answer.
As the episode draws to a close, Jane hands Virginia a copy of the study and plot twist! Masters did credit her. She's at home reading it, when double plot twist: a bereft Masters shows up at her door. (In the rain. Just like in The Notebook!). After telling her that the study is over for good (well, we'll see), he tells her she earned her co-authorship, and that – oh boy – "There's one thing I can't live without. It's you." Fade to black.
Now, there's nothing to do but wait until it comes back nearly a year from now.
When you take into account the name of the series along with the network it airs on (Showtime), it's pretty clear that Masters of Sex spends a good chunk of its run time on sex scenes – but as a die-hard Homeland/former Dexter fan/Mad Men-obsessee, I had to give it a try. Now, obviously, if you like your TV to equal sex scenes with a side order of drama, this is your show. But what if you're more interested in the drama? Don't worry, this show has plenty of that too.
5. The CLOTHES! The clothes are amazingly beautiful, and they look very authentic (at least to a layman like me). Caplan’s burgundy strapless gown in episode 2? Ugh, still swooning over it. The attention to period detail is pretty astounding – apparently, a lot of thought went into making Ulysses, the giant lightsaber-esque dildo, as period-appropriate as possible.
4. I'll hazard a guess that Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan not having sex is hotter then them actually having sex. That's just by the old Moonlighting theory, though: I'm happy to be disproven.
3. The acting! Michael Sheen is understatedly tortured, Caitlin FitzGerald is heartbreaking, and we are more than happy to see Lizzy Caplan on award watch. The ensemble on this show is pretty darn phenomenal, and the guest stars are great, too: Allison Janney blew our socks off as the tragically inexperienced wife of the closeted gay provost (Beau Bridges).
2. Bad sex puns: If you like suggestive wordplay, this is the show for you. Everything it touches turns into sex jokes – it has the Midas touch in that respect. Suddenly, an innocent comment about the direction of the elevator turns into a raunchy one-liner (especially as it's directed at someone experiencing a little...ah...impotency). You get the picture.
1. And finally: It’s officially more interesting to watch ultra-repressed William Masters watch people having sex than the actual sex scenes themselves. His near-expressionless face watching two male prostitutes get it on was pure perfection. And perhaps even better than watching Masters watch sex? Watching Virginia Johnson watch Masters watch sex (phew). If you're not sold on him alone, her side eyes and quirked eyebrows will definitely seal the deal. Lizzy "Your Mom's Chest Hair" Caplan is master of sardonic snark.
The Mamma Mia! actress split from the Pearl Harbor hunk in April (12) following a brief romance and now the blonde beauty is dating Harrington, who plays Detective Joseph Quinn in the hit U.S. show.
The pair was spotted hand-in-hand during a day out in New York on Monday (27Aug12).
Harrington is Seyfried's latest actor beau - she has also dated her Mamma Mia! co-star Dominic Cooper and Ryan Phillippe.
Anytime a show gets picked up for Season 2 after only six episodes, it’s obvious they’re doing something right. ABC’s Scandal has been a short, yet wild ride: A lyin’, cheatin’ President, murder at the White House, and prostitution add up to a hit show for the graceful, yet strong Kerry Washington, who plays big-shot fixer Olivia Pope. Hollywood.com caught up with Washington to chat about the upcoming Season 1 finale "Grant: For the People." The 35-year-old New Yorker said the cast has been chomping at the bit every week for the next shocking script, and the finale was no different. With the President’s infidelity on the brink of exposure and the unsolved murder of a White House intern, Scandal's finale is poised to knock our sensible shoes off. Washington dished on the outrageous episode – one she claims will have everyone begging for more.
The finale rumors include the highly-anticipated face-to-face confrontation between First Lady Mellie Grant and Olivia – something every Scandal fan has been begging for since the show premiered. Washington says she is floored by her adversary calling out Bellamy Young (who plays the First Lady) and Matt Letscher (who plays Billy Chambers) claiming they’ll both “blow you away” in the finale. Then again, we knew Young’s turn will be fantastic – who doesn’t love an old-fashioned cat fight over clandestine romance?
Quinn’s Other Identity
The teaser clip (below) not only shows Quinn (Katie Lowes) covered in blood after her reporter beau Gideon who Billy Chambers stabbed with a pair of scissors (vicious). At the very end of the trailer, Olivia tells Quinn not to call the cops because they’ll “find out who you really are.” Okay, we’re listening… Washington is kind of enough to add to the suspense. “It’s not really that simple. Like most things on Scandal, it’s a little more complicated,” she says. “But obviously this has been a relationship from the beginning that has been a little bit problematic. So, her ties to him continue to be a source of complication for the office.” Who could she be? Someone in witness protection program? The President’s illegitimate love child? Optimus Prime?
That Silly Billy
Billy Chambers, you’ve just stabbed a man with scissors. What are you going to do next? Well, he’s certainly not going to Disneyland. “He’s suddenly standing in front of the press, sort of stating his own version of the story, so it’s very exciting,” says Washington.
Billy resigns as the VP’s Chief of Staff and claims he’s telling the world the truth about his ‘love’ affair with Amanda Tanner – who he just had killed, no biggie. He proactively admits Amanda was pregnant with his baby, but that the president was taking advantage of her and using his power to sexually abuse her. But that’s not even the best part. He says the audio sex tape is of Amanda and President Fitz. Busted! Sort of. (Fans of the show know that voice is actually Olivia.) Might Olivia have to tell all in order to save the President?
A Major Reveal, and a Painful Scandal-less Summer
“At the end of this week’s episode, they’ll be a major reveal that will be really exciting,” adds Washington. “There will be an answer that people have really been looking for. It’s very fulfilling. When I read it, I was like, ‘Oh, wow ... good ... great!’ It’s a nice closure. But then there’s another cliffhanger that will make everyone scream at their TVs.” Of course there is. With shows like this, there’s always a catch!
Now, Olivia and the President have had a rocky road to travel, but it’s not devoid of love. Washington says she hasn’t fully decided where she wants that forbidden relationship to go. “I don’t know,” she laughs. “I don’t really have a dream scenario for them.” And to that we offer the wise words of Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber: “So, you’re saying there’s a chance!”
From Washington to Tarantino Territory
Washington not only has a hit show on ABC, but she is currently playing the female lead in surefire blockbuster Django Unchained, the long-awaited film from Quentin Tarantino and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. She added that because of the movie, she was the last to know that Scandal was renewed for Season 2.
“Tarantino doesn’t allow phones on set,” says Washington. “I was working, so literally it was all over the media. The whole cast and crew knew, and the producers of the movie were [hinting] like you should go back to your trailer and check your phone.”
But it seems she’ll recover. “Today I go to work with Sam Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jamie Foxx! All of us being guided by Quentin Tarantino. It’s a really profound experience,” she says. Yeah, she’ll be alright.
The season finale of Scandal airs 10 PM (ET/PT) MAY 17 on ABC.
Follow Mike Rothman on Twitter @TheRealRothman
[Image Credit: ABC]
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Maybe the most ridiculous part of the ridiculousness is Turistas' lack of subtlety with which everything kicks off. Immediately after the opening scene in which we meet the clear-cut tourists--Alex (Josh Duhamel) Bea (Olivia Wilde) Amy (Beau Garrett) Finn (Desmond Askew) and Liam (Max Brown)--their bus crashes and falls off a cliff in Brazil. They meet fellow foreigner Pru (Melissa George) who is fluent in Portuguese. The survivors stumble upon a hedonistically idyllic beach where they’re free to skinny dip drink and flirt (and more) with each other and the locals. Paradise ends when they wake up the next morning broke and barefoot. With the aid of a local Kiko (Agles Steib) they wander around trying to find help and transportation. But all they find is trouble at every turn before Kiko finally takes them to the house of someone he knows. It’s okay he’s a doctor! Oh the prettiness of this cast! Prettiest of them all is Duhamel aka Tad Hamilton/Fergie’s boyfriend. For female viewers it’s simply not going to matter that Turistas isn’t a shining moment for the TV's Las Vegas star--his on-off shirt ratio is all they’ll see. But it should be noted that if Duhamel didn’t look as though he just sprinted over from a special exotic edition of an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot his performance unexpressive and lacking urgency in the right spots would be a failure to everyone. There’s plenty to make the guys happy too as Wilde (The O.C.) Garrett and the uncredited local Brazilian women are happy to ditch their clothes. George (The Amityville Horror) is the prude of the group only stripping down to her g-string! She’s also the movie’s only real talent but it’ll be wasted on the sex-and-gore thirsty who willingly go see Turistas. No guts no glory--which is to say it seems that if no guts (read: organs) are shown a horror movie by today’s standards just can’t measure up. By that criterion Turistas succeeds; everywhere else it fails which as we’ve seen doesn’t mean audiences won’t eat it up. In fact director John Stockwell(crazy/beautiful Into the Blue...must we go on?) makes the audience think just seldom enough that people might just fall victim for this crassness. Stockwell seems to mimic Eli Roth’s Hostel template in every way possible down to the story that’s merely set in a different locale--but he winds up elevating Roth’s hugely successful gore-fest even more than when it was released and revered. Where Roth’s movie unapologetically basks in its (bloody) glow and appeals to true horror fans Stockwell’s seems confused as though it wants to do the same and win over say those who made I Know What You Did Last Summer a hit. The cinematography clearly trying to set up screams with near pitch-blackness is actually too dark often rendering the movie literally unwatchable--aside from being qualitatively unwatchable. And the script from first-timer Michael Ross is also shaky though not as much so as the hands it was placed into.