Can a show focusing on sexuality continue its merit with less soapy turns in its second season?
Most viewers first tune in to Master of Sex to see some skin but they got more than that. I was taken aback by the show’s profound narrative and thought-provoking issues. The show challenge viewers to reflect on their sexual freedom in the modern age, as well as giving them an inside look to the factual sex study. Many issues were cover in the first season: can sexual awareness changed one’s perception towards other? Do women’s sexual need look insignificant to men’s? Why is sex a taboo thing, when in fact it’s the basic of human nature?
Masters of Sex second season opens with Bill in front of Virginia’s door step professing his “feeling” for her. Next thing we know, we are looking at tons of flashbacks of the night from each point of view: what exactly happened? how do they react to the abrupt one night stand?
The first episode focuses more on Bill Masters than Virginia Johnson, which is quite dull in my opinion but nevertheless justified as this is a show about him too. Since Bill is fired from the hospital after his scandalous sex research project, his wife Libby tells him about Dr Greathouse and the possibility of Bill working with him. Obviously Bill refused at first, but attended the charity gala to meet the doctor.
On the other hand, Virginia Johnson is still a captivating character to watch. Since working for Dr DePaul doesn’t cover her family’s cost of living, Virginia got herself into selling diet pills at the hospital. This would be successful if the female workers aren’t repulsed by her sex study presentation with Bill before.
The highlight of the episode once again arrives from Barton Scully (played by Beau Bridges) and his wife Margaret (played by Allison Janney). From undergoing aversion shock therapy in hope to “cure” his homosexuality and attempting to have sex with his wife – Bridges and Janney hold huge appeal on the show and should have been a permanent casts immediately.
However, as the title suggested parallax played a big role in this episode, where once again we dwell into the lustful night between Bill and Virginia. Personally I don’t understand why they showed us the flashback scenes if it doesn’t serve its purpose. Does Bill feel guilty about having sex and lying to his wife or he is just an egomaniac bastard who clearly suffer from psychological disorder? The ending shows Bill and Virginia agreeing to continue their sex research without any personal feeling involvement. Bill even bluntly said that their intercourse at her house was nothing special or whatever. All in the name of science, am I right?
I like Michael Sheen in all honesty, but his cold machismo personality as Bill is annoying and I am tired of it. His character is too one-dimensional in this revolutionary era of television when we have complex characters such as Don Draper, Walter White and even Jamie Lanister. He is easily outshone in the first season by almost everyone else and it seems there is no sign of maturity come this season. For instance, the scene when Bill purposely ignored his newborn baby cries proves nothing to me. What does that scene trying to establish is beyond my understanding. The show even make Libby said ridiculous lines like, “You understand more about baby than anyone else”. Uhmm I am not going to start ranting about Libby. No I am not.
Nonetheless, as I have stated before Masters of Sex is about Lizzy Caplan and her character Virginia Johnson. Forget about the sexuality study if you want, the 60s backward behaviour or Bill Masters who got nominated just because award shows are bogus and pretentious. Forget it. If show creator Michelle Ashford thinks she has written a great feminist character on TV, then she is right. Because even if everything else fails in the end, Masters of Sex still have Lizzy Caplan to ease the pain and that’s just what everyone needs.