Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex Ep. 2.07 “Asterion” pulls the series out of the ’50s

It seems this is the year creative time skips became an unexpected fashion in television. Both True Detective and Fargo pulled off the unprecedented move of jumping forward in time in the middle of an episode, and now Masters of Sex has one-upped them both by performing several jumps in the same episode! My knowledge of TV history is far from comprehensive, but I can’t think of any other show that’s done something like this before (except for a few episodes of The Simpsons, in which time is a… malleable concept, to say the least). Of course, multiple series have ended on greatest hits montages in their final episodes (Six Feet Under, for instance), but to my knowledge, no one has plopped an episode like this into the middle of a season.

Masters of Sex, S02E06, "Blackbird"

Masters of Sex Ep. 2.06: “Blackbird” says a painful, beautifully intimate goodbye

“Blackbird” is a frustrating episode, containing some series-high moments of emotional potency along with some decisions that made me gnaw my lip with bafflement. The biggest disappointment is that after just two episodes at Buell Green, Bill and Gini are already leaving it behind. That and Libby firing Coral makes it seem as though the show may be done with exploring racial issues, at least for the moment. This is apparently true to the real-life experience of the Masters/Johnson study, which had difficulty finding a hospital to accept it for some time. Still, I’ll miss Dr. Hendricks. We’ll see where things go from here.

Masters of Sex, Ep. 2.02: “Kyrie Eleison” continues to shift the show’s gears

In case you haven’t already scuttered over to Google for quickie research, “Kyrie Eleison” means “Lord have mercy” in Greek. A bit of an on-the-nose name for an episode about people having to put up with all manner of off-kilter bullplop, but it works. While steeped in an unfortunate sophomore episode downturn after the premiere, this was still a good week. The show is still shifting gears as it maneuvers the leads into the place they’ll need to be to re-start the sex study.

Masters of Sex, Ep. 2.01: “Parallax” deals with characters’ self-deception

“Parallax” is the difference in an object’s appearance, depending on the position from which one observes it. One thing won’t look the same from the points of view of two people looking at it from different angles. The season premiere of Masters of Sex showcases this phenomenon with a scene that directly follows the end of last season’s finale. After Bill makes his anguished declaration that he “needs” Gini, they go inside, have sex, and then she breaks things off with Ethan over the phone. We see it first from Bill’s perspective, and then from Gini’s, which reveals that it’s their work she’s choosing, not Bill, over Ethan. Later, Bill claims that he too considers their sexual relationship “part of the work” and not an affair. Which does not dovetail at all with the emotions he displayed when he said he needed her, nor their closeness in bed.

Breaking Bad, "Ozymandias"

Best TV Episodes of 2013, Part Three: July – December

The first half of the year may have had more standout episodes, but those that came in the second half were just as memorable, if not more so. Kate Kulzick, Simon Howell, Ricky D, and Randy Dankievitch finish their list of 2013’s best TV episodes with their picks for July through December.

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