Masters of Sex Season 2 Review “One for the Money, Two for the Show”

Masters of Sex Season 2 Episode 11 One for the Money, Two for the Show-1

On the latest episode of “Masters of Sex,” it was time for Masters & Johnson’s close-up, and guess who wasn’t into it? On the wryly-titled “One for the Money, Two for the Show” (because Libby was referred to as the “money” at one point, and she certainly got “one,” alright, if you know what I mean and I think that you do on a show like this), the team from CBS arrived to do their profile on Masters & Johnson, and they got a crash course on TV reality vs. real-life, in which everything is not always (if ever) like it seems.

I loved the nods to various real-life events here, particularly the bits about the Kennedy vs. Nixon debate, which I studied in one of my mass communication classes. As noted by Shep, on the radio, Nixon came off as the winner, but on TV, Kennedy did, because of his charisma and overall charm, something Nixon decidedly was lacking in. As ever, there was a reason that was brought up on the show, and it’s because Johnson is clearly the Kennedy to Masters’ Nixon.

While, as Johnson herself pointed out, Masters was as much as selling point in convincing people to do the study as she was, it was their working together as a team and their natural chemistry that really sold people on volunteering to do such a thing at such an uptight time in history. (Not that we’ve come that far since, mind you, but still.) This did not go unnoticed by wife Libby, nor ex-husband George, for that matter, who made a similar comparison about Libby and Masters as a couple also being rather unexpected, which a fellow spectator/building tenant agreed with, labeling her the “money” as aforementioned.

Meanwhile, the wacky ongoing thing between Austin and Flo took a somewhat dark, but revealing turn, as Flo declared she wanted Austen to “break into” her house that night and take her “by force.” It was, of course, a role-playing type thing, kind of the 50’s version of a rape fantasy, albeit not quite as sordid as all that. Though Austin made it clear that he’d been around the block enough to have done some role-playing in his time, he couldn’t wrap his head around that particular scenario, and I must say, I was right there with him.

Granted, I have very personal reasons for that, but it still has always knocked me for a loop that some women like that sort of thing, when the real-life equivalent is one of the worst things, if not the worst thing a woman can be subjected to. I mean, I get that it’s all fake and controlled and agreed upon beforehand, but I don’t know that I could personally do such a thing, though, like I said, I do have my reasons. Still, that was an astute observation on Austin’s part that it spoke volumes about Flo’s own issues, and I liked the way they tied it into the Clark Gable thing, and how some women just liked the idea of being “taken,” a la Rhett and Scarlett in that famous scene.

I also liked how they tied the Gable thing into Libby’s storyline (she mistook it for the “big news” Robert and company were up in arms about), which finally managed to get interesting this time around. I’ve made no secret of my disdain, or at the very least, boredom with her storyline as of late, but I genuinely found it interesting this time out, especially as they tied it in with Dr. King’s arrest in Atlanta.

The scene with Robert and Libby outside her house with the cop was genuinely intense and unnerving, if somewhat inevitable. The minute I saw the cop go by them, I knew what was going to happen, but I definitely didn’t see what happened next coming, even though I suspected in previous reviews that Libby and Robert were being positioned as potential love interests. I did not think, however, they’d end up doing it on the kitchen floor while her kids were asleep in the next room and Masters could come home at any given minute! Who knew Libby had it in her? (No pun intended- well, maybe just a little- look at the show we’re talking about.)

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out, to be sure. It almost goes without saying that it won’t end well, but the question is, how will it end exactly? I always just assumed that Libby would figure out what her husband and Johnson were really up to on the side or catch them at it, and that would be what led her to divorce Masters, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe she’ll end up leaving him for Robert instead. It could go either way, honestly, but given the times they’re living in, I imagine Libby has a rough road ahead of her, and Robert even more so.

I looked it up on Wikipedia, and if I’m not mistaken, the show is presently set in 1961. If they follow the real-life of Masters & Johnson, that means that it will still be another ten years, give or take, before the two officially become a couple. That means he and Libby managed to keep it together for another ten years, which seems hard to believe within the context of the show.

I haven’t read the biography on Masters & Johnson that the show is based on, so I don’t know if the whole interracial romance between Libby and Robert was based on a real thing or not, but given that she and Masters stayed together that much longer, I can only assume that, if it is true, that it either ended relatively quickly and Masters never found out about it, or that, if he did find out, he forgave her- as he himself was having an affair, too, after all- and they made do, despite the slip. I guess we’ll see how it goes down next season, if not in the season finale.

As ever, this was an incredibly well-written and acted episode, with some choice dialogue throughout. I especially liked the bit with the interviewer, Roger, telling Masters how the word “orgasm is a problem,” and he replied, completely without irony, “For some people, yes.” Masters’ prediction for what the TV crew wanted with Libby was also amusing: “I’m sure they just want you to tell them I don’t touch myself under the dinner table or wire you up to machines when we make love.” LOL.

Michael Sheen really just nails this role, doesn’t he? Ditto Lizzy Caplan, who really made us feel the heartbreak of agreeing to let her kids go away to Europe for the holidays, as well as the genuine compassion she felt for Masters when he doubted himself, post-interview. These two really are perfectly cast, and the rest of the cast is no slouch either. I just realized that Flo was played by the same actress from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” She’s really knocking out of the park, too, I thought. As with Sarah Silverman before her, she really shows that being known for comedy not need define her. Great stuff all around.

What did you think of “Masters of Sex” this week? Were you more into Libby’s storyline than before, if you weren’t previously? What do you think will end up happening with them? What did you make of the whole Flo and Austin situation? How about the TV gig with Masters & Johnson? Did you like the way the show blended in real-life events with the plotline? Sound off below and see you for the big finale!