Masters of Sex Season 1 Review “Brave New World”

On the latest episode of “Masters of Sex,” the past began to give way to the future in the aptly-titled “Brave New World.” We started with everyone’s then-favorite psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, here representing the hopelessly antiquated old-school. His daughter Anna was giving a lecture which Johnson attended, along with Jane. The latter was duly impressed- “He has a cigar! He obviously knew what he was talking about!” she protested- but the former was her typically-doubtful self. Much to her relief, so was Masters: “I stopped reading him after my college paper on the Oedipus Complex. I nearly put my own eyes out.” My former psych-major self got a kick out of that one.

For much of the episode, Masters was out of play, going for a much-needed vacation with wife Libby, attempting to put the past behind them as well. Of course, this is Masters we’re talking about, so easier said than done. As Libby went on to point out, he’d rather take notes on other people having sex than have it himself, which is exactly what happened when they were placed next to a particularly amorous couple, who turned out to be elderly, much to Masters’ fascination.

Alas, it was the final straw for Libby, who sent Masters packing after he more or less spurned her own advances, or at least showed more interest in the next-door neighbors. Well, that and the fact that, while the cat was away, the mice did play, and Johnson did a little extra-curricular testing on her own, having become fascinated with the idea of orgasms being possible in a woman not only without a man at all, but involving other parts of the body than the vagina. Said Jane, after testing proved as much: “My clitoris beat my vagina? That’s crazy.” How little they knew back then!

That said, even I was a bit surprised when Jane confessed she’d had orgasms just by someone touching her breast! Though not as surprised as when Johnson said another patient claimed to have had one while brushing her teeth! “Sexual pleasure via good hygiene,” said a bemused, if unconvinced Masters. Well, Johnson decided to put the former to the test, if not the latter, and we finally saw the way forward for these two, as she volunteered to be part of the study herself, much to Masters’ shock. From the looks of next weeks’ preview, Masters will be joining her soon enough, so this is obviously just the beginning of their more intensified relationship.

This was a really good episode, considering how much transitioning was going on. In my experience, when a show does episodes like this, they tend to be a necessary evil, but a bit of a wash as not much happens and more often than not, it comes off as treading water until the next big plot twist. I didn’t feel that way with this episode, and I think it’s because the details were so rich: the quiet heartbreak of Libby and Margaret Scully (a superb Allison Janney) ; the passionate release after all the repression for Mrs. Scully and Dr. Austin; the amusingly tame revolution of “Peyton Place,” which was apparently the “50 Shades of Grey” of its time, which says a lot about how far we’ve come; the humorless passive-aggression of Dr. DePaul, who could stand a bit of good hygiene herself, if you know what I mean; and the desperate passion of Provost Scully, so mortified at his secret coming out.

In short, I loved the episode, and if it didn’t quite meet the lofty highs of the last episode, it wasn’t really meant to. We needed this episode to get from Point A to Point B, but in typical “Masters of Sex” fashion, the transition was as crucial as the incidents that caused the transition in the first place. Is this a great show or what?

So, what did you think of “Masters of Sex”? Do you like the way they’re handling things? Are you worried for Libby and Provost Scully? Could Dr. DePaul stand to have an operation to remove that stick from her butt? Is a cigar sometimes just a cigar? Sound off on this and more in the comments section, and see you next week!