‘Masters of Sex’ Recap: Size Doesn’t Matter

‘Masters of Sex’ Recap: Size Doesn’t Matter

Masters of Sex
Nicholas D\'Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas and Mather Zickel as George in Masters of Sex (season 1, episode 11) - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: MastersofSex_111_0908

Masters of SexMichael Desmond/Showtime 

We’re well on our way to the end of a great freshman season: where did Masters of Sex take us this week? Let’s see.

We find Ethan on his last day at the hospital, but he still seems disarmingly upbeat about the whole thing. (Hey, character development!) Anyway, Ginny’s kids absolutely adore him, and when she has to jet off with Dr. DePaul, he gallantly volunteers to babysit. Things are going well, until Ginny’s douche-y ex-husband shows up. What proceeds is quite the junk-measuring fiesta: they bicker so much about manly activities like riding bareback and growing a real beard that her adorable bespectacled son is forced to reprimand them. Eventually, they come to an understanding: all Ethan really wants is to be there for the kids and make Virginia his family. (Is this really the same man who brattily punched her in the face?) He seems pretty sure of himself, but Virginia doesn’t exactly seem excited when he tells her he wants to take care of her. Hmm…

While Ethan’s at home with the kids, we get more of the very-excellent Johnson/DePaul duo. They’re kind of great together: Virginia has wangled DePaul a spot at a gynecological conference, but their bus (a train ride is too expensive for their pittance of a budget) breaks down, and they end up missing the conference. DePaul’s more than a little upset at the futility of their trek (especially as she’s just found out Masters is paid buckets of money more than her, making his funding much easier), but Virginia’s as resourceful as ever. With some deft small talk, she manages to get DePaul an entirely different audience: the wives of the doctors. Now more than ever, DePaul realizes just how determined Virginia is, and it inspires her to ask Virginia to continue the work that she won’t be around to complete. Remember those stage IV cancer slides we saw a few weeks back? Well, DePaul confides in Virginia, and it’s quite a lovely moment: though Virginia is appropriately upset by the news, DePaul just smiles and feigns sleep as she looks out into the unknown. The symbolism hits us like a sledgehammer, but it doesn’t lessen the beauty of the scene.

While DePaul makes strides in her pap smear campaign under Virginia’s care, Masters is going a little crazy without her. With the presentation looming, he begins to panic: he wants something that will hook everyone in, so he decides to pull out the big guns (ahem). He decides to add “size doesn’t matter” research in so the everyman will be personally invested in the study. Imaginary Virginia cautions him against it, and she questions his true motives in the process. She tough talks him him, saying, “It’s not whether you’re big enough, it’s whether you’re good enough.” And we know Masters has some pretty giant inadequacy problems: when Libby asks him if when he’ll stop acting like he has something to prove, he replies with a curt “There’s always something to prove.” And that may just be Masters in a nutshell.

Speaking of Libby, she’s taken it upon herself to become, in her words, Bill’s “new Virginia.” The only problem is, she and Jane unearth the file of a divorced woman with two kids who has completed a whopping 23 sessions, all with the same man. (Sound familiar?) Back at home, in their twin beds, she asks Masters about that mysterious couple: coming back to each other again and again, surely they must have fallen in love? Masters barely manages to stutter out an “I don’t know.” Oh, Bill.

The episode draws to a close, split between happy Virginia/Ethan Family Time at the carnival and icy cold Virginia/Bill ignoring each other in the elevator, all set to Virginia crooning, “You Don’t Know Me.” A nice love triangle tableau to set up next week’s finale, eh?

Stray observations

* Ginny gives a long rant about why Masters is so successful. DePaul’s response? “Well, having a dick doesn’t hurt.”

* We love you Jane: out of all the euphemisms for “vagina,” “down the mineshaft” might just be the best.

* If that’s really Lizzy Caplan singing – well, she’s got a gorgeous voice!