Masters of Sex – Season 2
Season 2 of Masters of Sex was anything but memorable or enjoyable. It was uneven and surprisingly flawed. A serious step back compared to Season 1.
Narrative-wise, the first half of Season 2 kept on dealing with some stories from Season 1. We see Bill (Sheen) and Virginia (Caplan) adapting to the new dynamics of their relationship since it has undoubtedly changed. Once again, Sheen and Caplan’s chemistry is extraordinary and constructs this idea of an unbreakable bond of some sort between these characters. *cough* love *cough* Professionally, they’re not having the greatest time: Bill cannot seem to get a hold on any job at any hospital. And because he doesn’t have a steady job, she cannot work with him as his assistant. Therefore, she barely has any money to pay her bills.
At the same time, Libby Masters (Caitlin Fitzgerald) gets written into a terrible storyline during the first half of the season. She hires a black babysitter for her baby and because it was the 50s, she gets paranoid and walks down a self-destructive path paved with racism, incoherent fears and prejudices. This storyline deals with racism issues, but it’s filled with boring scenes and the episodes feel a bit endless, basically.
Unlike Libby’s story, watching Betty (Annaleigh Ashford) and the Pretzel King’s (Greg Grunberg) marriage debacle was a total heartbreaking disaster. Another highlight: Dr. DePaul’s (Nicholson) story. We got to know a little about her during Season 1, but she truly gets to shine during the first half of this season.
The second half of Season 2, on the contrary, felt more like a proper new season.
Episode 7 (Asterion) felt like a breath of fresh air: we got time jumps, new characters — Dr. Douglas Greathouse (Huston), Helen (Silverman) and Masters’ new secretary Barbara (Brandt) — an undeclared “war” between Bill and Virginia, and a new baby for Bill. Unfortunately, it was JUST a breath of air and the freshness faded away rather quickly. To keep on working on the study and to prevent Bill from losing any more jobs, Bill and Virginia decide to open a clinic together. The 1960s bring many challenges into their lives: money problems, deciding what to do since they realize it isn’t “just work” for them, Virginia’s struggle to accept she’s neglecting her kids because of the study and the beginning of their work on sexual dysfunctions.
Power comes up as an interesting element in the always-difficult relationship between Masters and Johnson. How powerless they feel against what’s going on between them and how much power each one of them uses to get what they want from the other. They don’t know how not to get absorbed by their relationship, but they also know they can’t stop this from happening. Functionality couples be dammed!
During the second half of Season 2, I found the storylines involving Lester (Kevin Christy) and Barbara, whom later becomes a patient at Bill’s clinic, to be the most interesting to watch. By the way, Libby’s storyline has a drastic turnover during the second half of the season. Thankfully, it’s for the best. Still, it looked as if she had no real purpose to keep on being part of the story. She has to be there because — duh — she is Bill’s wife.Other than that, her storyline seemed pointless and a bit irritating. Her greatest scene this season arrives during the finale, so there’s that.
Overall, this season was a total disappointment. Nothing really happened and it had no real purpose! Masters of Sex just threw some historical events and social issues to the show and created boring scenes for the characters. I honestly don’t care about historical accuracy if that means many of the interesting and entertaining aspects of the show will be butchered.
I want the main cast from Season 1 back! Yes, we have Sheen and Caplan, but what about Beau Bridges and Alison Janney?! They were SO important (ok, they were VITAL) to the show, that with them gone, each episode feels like it lacks something.
With a season 3 renewal, I really hope Masters of Sex goes back to the formula that made it a hit and manage to erase Season 2 from our minds. Until then, I will just pretend this season never happened.