Masters of Sex Season 2 Review “Parallax”

Masters of Sex Season 2 Premiere 2014 Parallax 7

On the second season premiere of “Masters of Sex,” the dust continued to settle from the fallout of last season’s finale. While Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) continued to work for Dr. DePaul (Julianne Nicholson) and fend off unwanted glares, leering and flat-out harassment from the medical staff; Masters struggled to find other work after his dismissal, not exactly helped by his resentment of having to end his study and his not playing well with others.

Meanwhile, Masters’ wife Libby (Caitlin FitzGerald) realized the depth of how one-sided her raising of their child was going to be, made worse by Masters running his mother out of town after confessing the real nature of his relationship with Johnson. Looks like these two will be getting a nanny sooner than later, as Masters ended up getting a job with Dr. Greathouse (Danny Houston), a man he hates, but who also promised him he’d re-start his study after a helpful donation from Gene Moretti (Greg Grunberg).

Masters ran into him at a fund-raiser, alongside his wife, Betty (Annaleigh Ashford), who, you’ll recall, used to be a prostitute at the house where Masters did his study before he was able to move it to the hospital. She did not look happy to see him, to say the least.

Johnson, in between working for Dr. DePaul and fending off lecherous doctors and wrangling dildos, tried her hand at hawking diet pills, unsuccessfully. I think her instincts to not use the prepared script was right, though she went about coaxing that one potential customer all wrong, admittedly. Thankfully, she won’t have to do that much longer, as the study will be back on soon. Her proposed marriage to Ethan, on the other hand, looks to be quashed, however. Probably for the best, really.

On other fronts, poor Dr. Barton (Beau Bridges) continued to struggle with his sexuality, subjecting himself to barbarous methods, notably shock treatment, aka ECT. Perhaps needless to say, it didn’t work, and despite trying to reconnect with his wife, Margaret (Allison Janney) and have intercourse with her again, it just didn’t fly and she knew Barton was kidding himself and stopped him. This does not bode well for their future (though Masters’ job offer to be on his team for the study might help), nor did his attempted suicide.

Also, Jane (Heléne Yorke) may be moving to LA with Lester to pursue their celluloid dreams; Dr. DePaul has an inexplicable black-eye; Dr. Ditmer (Evan Arnold) asked Johnson for help with some of the tech she used in the sex study; and Dr. Austin Langham (Teddy Sears) is back to his old tricks, this time sleeping with his own wife’s sister!

As ever, with this show the devil’s in the details: Austin labeling all nephrologists (aka kidney doctors) “perverts”; the flashes back-and-forth between Johnson’s night with Masters in last season’s finale and her conversation with Ethan regarding his proposal; Dr. Begner (Chris Conner) comparing Masters and his wife’s situation to serial killer Albert Fish and his wife’s; Johnson’s awkward run-in with the overweight woman asking about her diet pills; Margaret’s reading material: Nabokov’s “Lolita” (!); Elise Langham’s declaration about her philandering husband over the hospital intercom; Masters drowning out the cries of his child with the Everly Brothers; Dr. Greathouse’s tense relationship with wife, Tatti (Rya Kihlstedt), aka “Attila”; Dr. DePaul lamenting that no one had any trouble believing it wasn’t a man that gave her a black eye- even Johnson; and, of course, Masters serendipitously slipping in that he wants to include psychology in the next phase of the study, as per Johnson’s request, right before he told her he had no intention of leaving his wife for her and that they would be meeting at a hotel from now on and Johnson’s pained reaction to that.

This is a show all about stolen moments and subtle details, and you really have to pay attention to pick up on them all. Few shows load so much into every given moment of an episode like “Masters of Sex” does. I’m really happy the show garnered so many Emmy nominations recently, in particular for the richly-deserving Caplan, Janney and Bridges- though shame on them for not including Sheen in the mix, whose work is just as crucial. (He did garner a Golden Globes nod, however, as did the show itself.)

I’m super-excited about the show this season, and intrigued to see how things will play out, even if we know how they will to a certain point already. As they say, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. And what a journey it’s been so far.

What did you think of the “Masters of Sex” premiere? Were you happy with the way things played out after last season’s finale? Or do you wish they’d gone another way with it? What do you make of new character Dr. Greathouse and his wife? (That seems like trouble waiting to happen in my eyes, especially with Dr. G. practically salivating at the prospect of observing Masters’ work.) Will Masters step up his fathering game? Will Ethan come after Masters? Will Libby find out about Masters and Johnson’s hotel stays? Make your predictions and observations below and I’ll see you next week!