Maybe it’s the constant Mad Men comparisons, but did anyone else think that Libby Masters was going to be the second coming of Betty Draper? I’ll admit it; I did (a little). After all, she’s the midcentury trophy wife of a man who is very well-respected in his field (and also happens to have a bit of a wandering eye). The similarities end there, however: Libby is all warmth, while Betty is probably most known for her ice queen status. Comparisons aside, Caitlin FitzGerald strikes a wonderful balance with Libby – she’s sweet (without being saccharine), slightly tragic, and ultra-earnest, all rolled into one.
FitzGerald was really given a chance to shine in the episode “Catherine,” when her character Libby suffers a miscarriage – a miscarriage of a late-term pregnancy that has taken years of trying and hours upon hours of fertility treatments. As her heart breaks on screen, our hearts break with her: cliché as it may sound, there was something so powerful about her performance. And in the subsequent episode, “Brave New World,” she wowed us yet again – her character meets up with some older swingers in Florida (though she’s not exactly aware that they’re interested in swinging, much less interested in swinging with her) and creates a whole fantasy life for herself. As the empty strawberry daquiri cocktail glasses pile up beside her, she blithely lies through her teeth about two adorable children (Timmy…or was it Jimmy?), and it becomes clear that she’s more shaken by her miscarriage than she would have us (and her husband) think. FitzGerald performs these fantastical (yet brittle) lies to a T.
On a show lauded by the critics as yet another Showtime drama with top-notch acting, FitzGerald certainly stands out. We like her so much we hope that Masters never divorces her and leaves her for his research assistant. (SPOILER ALERT: he will.)