Masters of Sex Season 2 Review “Kyrie Eleison”

Masters of Sex Season 2 Episode 2 Kyrie Eleison 3

In the latest episode of “Masters of Sex,” the cracks beneath the surface of our intrepid sex researchers started to show, as their circumstances kept them away from their work, in “Kyrie Eleison.” (Yes, like the song– it means “Lord, have mercy,” for the record.) Interestingly enough, even while this was the case, their current work still led back down the path of their sex research nonetheless.

As Johnson struggled with an ailing Dr. DePaul, whose cancer proved to have metastasized, causing her speech to be impaired, she found her new job aiding Dr. Detmer (Evan Arnold) to be not what she suspected. It seems that Detmer was more interested in hearing explicit descriptions of Ulysses and its natural habitat. Was it me or did he actually get off as she talked, despite never doing anything down below to pleasure himself? Is that even possible? Either way, awkward!

Meanwhile, Dr. Greathouse was equally excited- okay, maybe not equally….yet- but let’s just say he could barely contain his enthusiasm for Masters getting his sex study back on track. Unfortunately, that plan doesn’t seem to include Masters rehiring Johnson, much to his chagrin. Instead, it seems as if Greathouse’s dead set on having Barbara (Betsy Brandt, late of “Breaking Bad”) serve as his secretary, quite possibly because the two are having an affair. Masters intended Johnson to do his dirty work for him by scaring her off but she backed out when she saw how frazzled Barbara already was.

Though Masters was mostly his usual crabby self, the seams did start to show when he found out the real reason Dr. Barton had been absent from work, from daughter Vivian, who came in to get a cast for her arm after breaking it getting her father down from the rafters- talk about adding insult to injury. Add to that his tragic situation with little Rose (Ana Valentine Walczak, “Teen Wolf”), who came in after a botched abortion and then requested a hysterectomy in order to stifle her self-proclaimed base tendencies; and Masters was confronted at all turns as to why his sex study was work that needed to be done sooner than later.

We also met Coral (Keke Palmer, “Akeelah and the Bee”), a young nanny with a light touch with baby Masters- not that Libby was entirely thrilled about being told how to mother her child, despite having championed Coral when Masters balked at her age earlier. She also took her to task for her pronunciation of the word “ask.” She better watch herself, or Coral might have to “ax” somebody for real. I like Palmer- she was adorable as “Chilli” in that “TLC” biopic on VH1- and I like it when the show addresses the social mores of the times, which the addition of Palmer as a regular should allow them to do more of, so I approve of this casting.

Also having some nice moments was Annaleigh Ashford, as Betty. I love her grumpy demeanor at having to go through the motions of taking fertility drugs for the benefit of her clueless husband, but that moment between her and Rose, who she wrongfully thought Masters was cruel to, was exceptionally well-acted by both parties. And that monologue about stabbing her mother’s eye out with her high heel shoe…yikes! Someone might want to remind Masters to stay on her good side.

I like that sometimes we get a better sense of the characters through other people’s eyes. Masters can certainly be distant and brutal to those he claims to love, but he was just wonderful with Rose, I thought. It’s enough to almost redeem him for the other stuff…almost. He’s still got a ways to go before he becomes actually sympathetic in my eyes.

Not that Johnson is perfect by any means. In addition to sleeping with a married man on the sly, she’s neglecting her own kids, and then there was the whole unfortunate business with Ethan and Vivian, who let her know in no uncertain terms that she was not forgiven. More forgiving was Austin, who figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and threw an impromptu party to that end, which he corralled Johnson into attending- complete with a little dancing. He claims that he has no designs on her, but this is a guy who slept with his own wife’s sister, so all bets are off, IMHO. Watch yourself, Virginia!

All in all, a decent episode, made better by poor Rose’s plight, which was heartbreaking, and a good reminder of how important Masters’ work really is, as opposed to the leering perversity it brings out in certain others (Greathouse, Detmer). I will admit that Masters is exceptionally hard to like, but I really do think he means well, when all is said and done. Now if he could just work on that attitude and bring more of what he brought to the table with Rose to the people he works with and claims to love…well, then we might have something.

What did you think of “Masters of Sex”? Are you wishing they’d get back to the study already? Or are you liking the character studies they’ve been doing instead better? Who’s your favorite character? Or your least favorite, for that matter? Let me know down below and I’ll see you next week!