Masters of Sex S2E11 - "One for the Money, Two for the Show" Recap

Bill is still suffering from secondary impotence and his brother Frank has gone back to Kansas city with his wife. Bill hasn't spoken to him since they had their physical confrontation.Virginia suggests putting some makeup on his face to hide the injury since they're going to be on camera telling the story of their study as part of the PR plan. Bill is more preoccupied being stressed about the fact that he can wake up with an erection but struggle to perform with Virginia. But there isn't time to focus on that at the moment so he puts some of Libby's make-up on before heading out to the office.

Virginia is also getting ready and speaking with the father of her children, who is back from Paris. He has married a woman named Audrey and has something he wants to tell Virginia but she's too busy getting ready to listen. The CBS cameramen have arrived at the office and are preparing to shoot the Masters and Johnson story. PR man Shep has plenty of suggestions, from Bill needing his makeup to be touched up, and for him to wear a tie instead of a bow tie. Bill also needs to play up the family man angle. Bill tells Virginia he's not a salesman but it looks as if he'll have to be.

Langham is back from a business trip and needs to pick up some more brochures since he's all out. Flo is upset to learn that Clark Gable has suffered a heart attack while changing a tire. She launches into an explanation of how Clark Gable is a real man and his carrying Scarlett up the staircase in "Gone With The Wind" was a sexually appealing scene for many ladies. Langham doesn't understand the appeal and Flo questions his knowledgeability on what womyn really want, finding it ironic considering how many he has been with. He's offended by the idea that he's not a man's man so she challenges him to prove it. She commands him to break into her home and have his way with her.

Libby is downstairs at CORE, a place where she is slowly learning to find some usefulness outside of the role of dutiful wife and mother. The group is waiting to hear news about the recent arrest of Martin Luther King, Jr. at a protest.

Bill and Virginia do a preliminary interview to prepare them for the do's and don'ts of being on camera. Virginia is her usual charming self whereas Bill is stiff and uncomfortable. She's doing her best to try to guide him but it's just not working. Also, the censors won't allow Bill to use a lot of his usual vocabulary, be it "masturbation," "dildo," or "orgasm." Also, the footage that they have for the study won't work for broadcast television. Lester tells the CBS worker that sanitising the clips will undercut the intentions of the study but the man won't listen to him.

Bill communicates his concerns to Libby when she brings him the tie and it allows him to find his voice when on camera. The purpose of the study is to promote conversations about human sexuality and the words they're keeping him from saying should be commonplace. This censorship only perpetuates shame, which fosters ignorance, which in turn prevents important and necessary change.

Lester communicates his concerns about the documentary to Bill while they are in the bathroom. Bill is beginning to see the merits of what they're doing now and Lester is taken aback by Bill changing his mind. The last time Bill tried to explain his work, things didn't work out well so this may be a better opportunity. Lester thinks this doesn't sound like the Bill Masters he knows. Bill insists he doesn't need a lecture but Lester says perhaps that's exactly what he needs. Lester has given a great deal of himself to this study and it's something he believes in just as much as Bill.

George stops by the office and pulls Virginia aside to say that he's headed back overseas on tour with his new wife Audrey and wants to bring the kids along for six weeks. The trip coincides with winter holidays so they'd only be missing two weeks of school and would get to see Europe. Virginia says no but George points out that Virginia hasn't been seeing as much of the kids lately, given all the work she has been doing. She later seeks advice from Herb, the divorce lawyer, who after receiving plenty of information advises her to let the kids go, lest it provoke a new custody battle that would ruin the overall good arrangement already in place.

Langham goes to Flo's place and she is all rearing to go with the roleplaying. Flo gets annoyed at Langham's lack of understanding the game they're meant to be playing but she still gets her way.

Bill is appalled when the camera crew set up a pretend intake interview to be filmed with a "couple" that is simply a pair of actors. It's designed to make Bill and Virginia look as if they're healing couples suffering from sexual dysfunction but they have yet to achieve any of that since they are still in the stages of compiling research. Shep and a producer point out that they are simply projecting what the study hopes to accomplish so it's not a complete lie, though Bill doesn't see it that way. He pulls Shep aside to express his displeasure at having to sell something that doesn't exist. Shep says they're all salesmen and that Bill needs to stake his claim and reach for his goal and be first.

At CORE, everyone is sent home but Robert and Libby are the last ones left at the office. Libby says she'll have to call a cab since she was supposed to get a ride home from Bill, who isn't finished upstairs yet. Robert offers her a lift home, which she accepts. During the ride home, Libby asks Robert if he enjoys testing her and he says he doesn't think she's stupid, simply uninformed. They've arrived at the Masters home and are parked outside and Libby explains that regardless, she cares about the cause. A police officer pulls over and racially profiles Robert, but Libby says he's just a co-worker that she has invited into her home. The cop tries to pick a fight but Libby breaks it up and brings Robert in.

A cameraman unintentionally prods Bill's insecurities about being with Virginia. The man's wife is attractive so he's used to the whole "beauty and the beast" attitude towards them. Bill can see why everyone would want Virginia but doubts why anyone would want him.

Libby insists on fixing Robert's shirt, which is now missing a button thanks to the cop. He points out that the neighbour watching the kids will have words to say about her inviting a "negro man" into the house. Libby assures him that the neighbour is not a gossip, adding that her daughter married a Mexican man.

Virginia tells her children that they'll be getting to go with their father to Europe. They tell her how strict their dad's new wife is and express concern over what Virginia will do for Christmas. She keeps a brave face on and says they can celebrate together when they return.

Robert tells Libby the button's too big but won't let her fix it when she offers to use a smaller one. He says he has a neighbour that can fix it. That neighbour would think he was asking for trouble by coming into a white woman's home and being alone with her at night. Libby asks about what it felt like to break the law and he said that was just the mistakes of a dumb kid. She's envious, having always been the teacher's pet. But now wanting to be good as an adult has made her quiet, so she forgets the sound of her own voice and people forget she's there, including her husband. But now she's met someone who doesn't like her very much, and thinks she's ignorant, prejudiced, and maybe she is. But it's almost a relief to have someone think ill of her because she's not invisible anymore.

Robert tells her she has a lot of nerve, talking about being discounted to someone who has never known anything but just that. Libby doesn't know who or what she is and says that if he kisses her, perhaps she can figure it out. He says she has the neighbour, the policeman, and her two children. But she kisses him and he kisses back. Then they're undressing and having sex on the kitchen floor. For once, Libby is experiencing passion and pleasure from sex.

Flo and Langham have finished their little roleplaying session. Langham thinks he should get points for not knowing the right way to take advantage of a woman. Flo explains that she's tired of being Rhett, the one who is denied what she wants. She wants to be Scarlett, who has things come easily to her, hence the roleplaying. She's been Rhett for a long time, waiting to be wanted. It makes you do the damnedest things. So she's not ready for their sexual meetings to be over yet. "Although it would be nice if you gave a damn."

Bill's insecurities have worn Bill down. The cameras are gone now and it's just him and Virginia in the exam room. Bill doesn't feel right about them being presented as saviours of sexual dysfunction when he hasn't even cured himself. He doesn't seen why anyone would want him in their living room. He doesn't have a Kennedy twinkle and isn't personable. He feels like a loser, like Nixon. Virginia says he has something important to stay but Bill doesn't even find himself attractive. Virginia gets frustrated, saying she's here, with him, instead of at home with her kids. What more reassurance could she offer him?

"I can't twinkle. I can't fuck." Bill's insecurities have reached a boiling point so Virginia hugs him to try to calm him down. He breaks down and collapses, so Virginia sits and stays cradling him.

Masters of Sex airs on Sundays on Showtime at 10PM.


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