Masters of Sex S2E6 - "Blackbird" Recap

Virginia and Bill are in bed again. She tells him there is no kissing in their research. They later confront Hendricks over his not allowing black staff members to participate in the sex study. He explains in detail how this stems from all the historical abuse black people have faced at the hands of whites. Bill says that the study is ethical, that there are already people who want to volunteer, and that it would help to move history forward.

Lillian is still being treated for her cancer. She notes that she is losing cognitive function, weight, and hair. She has also gotten sunburned due to her increased sensitivity to her skin.

Betty is planning a large celebration for her husband and his business going into syndication but he gets her to slow down long enough for him to say that part of the appeal in having children was seeing a part of her in them. He then tells her that she is enough for him and that he doesn't want to adopt. As long as they have each other, that is enough for him.

Libby has been watching the way Coral and Robert interact every day when he picks her up. Bill tells her she is acting like a "peeping Tom," which offends her. Libby tries to play it off as her feeling unsafe after Robert "threatened" her but with the way she fiddles with her hair and after that conversation she had with Coral about sexual pleasure, it would seem there is something else going on deep down.

Betty has been shacking up with her ex, Helen. Betty suggests getting Helen an apartment but Helen feels this is simply her being treated as a mistress. Betty doesn't see it that way, saying that this is a good opportunity for them, since they never would have been able to live the white picket fence life as a lesbian couple. Betty has a wealthy husband that can provide enough security that should now be able to help them be together too.

Bill and Virginia have gotten a reporter from the St. Louis Chronicle to do a piece on the study. Their motive for contacting her is to try to put pressure on Hendricks to let black hospital staff participate in the study without the threat of losing their job. The reporter, a black woman, asks them if they will be doing any work to prove the falsehood of the man-dingo and jezebel stereotypes, both of which are harmful to black people. They tell her that they plan to go where the research takes them and if those myths are dispelled, it will be a positive side-effect.

Lillian asks her doctor to be honest about the condition of her cancer and he tells her that the treatment will slow the progression for now but it will be a gruesome deterioration of her health till death. This leads her to tell Virginia that she will no longer continue with the treatment. Virginia wants her to keep fighting but Lillian tells her that she can't do this for her; she has tried but she is done. Virginia later gets emotional in her hotel room with Bill, saying that Lillian got through her walls and became her friend. Virginia doesn't have many friends but Lillian knows her and now she's about to die. Bill tells Virginia he knows her and kisses her on the lips.

Helen and Al visit Betty and Gene to tell them that Helen has proposed and the couple now plan to elope. Betty is furious and snaps at the couple when they begin to make out. She apologises, blaming it on a headache, and excuses herself to bed. Later, Gene thinks her behaviours stems from her being attracted to Al. Betty laughs this off, saying she is sickened by the freakshow that is Al and Helen's relationship. She never wants to see them again.

Libby has someone in the police department run a background check on Robert and learns he has been arrested three times. She tells Coral she doesn't want Robert anywhere near the baby so someone else will need to drive her. Coral says she'll call her aunt and have her pick her up. However, when she later leaves to get picked up, a paranoid Libby follows and sees Coral walk further down the street and get picked up by Robert.

Bill is interviewed by the reporter and is uncomfortable by how thorough her research is. She knows about him being sick as a child, his assault at Greathouse, and the fire extinguisher he threw through a window at Maternity. She also thinks he has a bit of a God complex but says his story is one of overcoming adversity. He's a revolutionary estranged from the white community. He tries to tell her not to put certain things in the story but she says he has no say in that. This further upsets Bill, who is worried about those personal details from his life being damaging to his career and reputation.

Virginia visits Lillian to patch things up after their argument. Lillian asks for her help in making arrangements to have her body donated to science. She says that it would be nice if a medical student is able to use her body to find a cure for ovarian cancer.

Bill meets with the reporter's editor to try to smooth things into what he wants. Bill goes so far as to say that the study has proven that black men have a larger penis size, increased sexual desire, and higher testosterone levels, which would prove those negative stereotypes true. The editor doesn't believe Bill, and rightly so, as Bill had earlier told Virginia that the sexual stereotypes against black people were wrong. Bill is more concerned about his reputation than anything. So now he is willing to falsify his research. The editor knows he is lying and refuses to back down from Bill's threats.

Gene tries to tell Al about Betty's wishes to not see him or Helen. Al says it doesn't make any sense, saying that he saw Betty and Helen kissing and how they are clearly close. While Al simply chalks it up to them being tremendously affectionate, Gene is wise enough to figure things out. Gene then confronts Betty right before their big celebration dinner. Though he knows she didn't love any of the other men she's been with, this was because she was in love with Helen. He has forgiven so much from her but this is one lie he cannot move past. She tells him she cares for him but he won't have it, telling her that caring is not the same as loving.

Lillian and Virginia have some wine and chat. Lillian say her one regret is that she never had a lover who stayed with her, lingered. She notes how Virginia has that sort of closeness with Bill. Virginia isn't impressed by that, though Virginia points out that Bill loves her. Virginia says that Bill never says it but Lillian says that Virginia knows he does and that's everything. Virginia tucks Lillian into bed and traces constellations on her face, a technique she uses to get her kids to sleep. She then kisses Lillian on the lips and tells her she'll see her in the morning.

Libby grabs the baby and follows Coral and Robert home. She scrapes her leg on her way in. Robert catches her going through the apartment's mail, trying to find which one Coral lives in. When Libby calls him Coral's boyfriend, he corrects her, saying that he is her brother. They have different last names because they have different fathers. It's then that Robert notices Libby's leg bleeding and with her permission, bends down to put a handkerchief against it. Libby, most likely remembering Coral's words about a soft touch and gentle nature, becomes flustered and hurls some cash at Robert, telling him that it is Coral's severance package and to let her know that she is fired. She bursts into tears upon getting back into her car and when at home, she touches the cut on her leg lightly.

Virginia returns to Lillian's house, having forgotten to take the letter about donating her body to science. She hears Lillian's laboured breathing and finds that Lillian has taken a bottle of sleeping pills. Virginia begins to call for an ambulance but upon realising that Lillian just wants to die in peace, she hangs up the phone and crawls into bed as her friend passes away.

Hendricks visits Bill, having heard what happened at the newspaper. Bill is not proud of his actions and says he has never misrepresented his work. Bill can't continue his work like this, being beholden to other people's rules. Hendricks isn't angry, and actually understands where he's coming from. He tells him to "cut the cord" and find the guts to find his way and be reborn, before telling to clear his office out by morning.

Bill has lost yet another job so she goes to visit Virginia. Upon arriving, he finds a man in Virginia's home. He's Virginia's "beau," and even has a key to her home. They met in the hotel lobby when Virginia stopped to watch the end of the big fight. They've been dating ever since. Bill plays it off, claiming to just be a colleague stopping by. Bill's on the verge of a breakdown as he walks away. His life is falling to pieces and now he doesn't even have Virginia as much as he thought he did. He returns home to Libby and claims to not be feeling well, before sitting on her bed, taking her hand, and watching as their baby rocks to sleep.

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


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