Masters of Sex S2E7 - "Asterion" Recap

It's Oct. 15, 1958, five months after Bill was fired from Buell Green. He's opened up his own fertility clinic with Virginia, the Masters and Johnson Clinic. It's in a building in a "transitional neighbourhood," which is also where the Communist Headquarters is located. Lester has been hired to help document study patients again. He had unsuccessfully tried to make a career for himself in Hollywood since he was last seen. In the study, he is measuring ejaculate distance, one of 100 different phenomena Bill wants to compile data on before publishing. Each phenomena must be observed at least 100 times so the data may be ironclad. Virginia is concerned about how expensive this approach is. Currently, he only has 23 fertility cases.

Bill and Virginia's relationship is tense and this is amplified when Betty arrives, having been hired by Bill to answer phones, do paperwork, and look after their financial books. She's gotten a divorce from Gene, the Pretzel King, and it doesn't appear that she has any current lover or relationship. In addition the financial stress, Virginia's beau Shelly is also part of the cause of their tenser relationship. Bill visits the hotel bar to badmouth "Mrs. Holden" (Virginia's alias) to the bellhop. Bill talks about betrayal and vows and it's all very hypocritical, as he is the one stepping out on his marriage. On top of this, Libby tells Bill she wants another child, saying it is what she needs.

Virginia and Shelly go on a double date with Dr. Langham, who is seeing a hand model that he sees as his second chance. This model is considering getting into lingerie modelling and perhaps conveniently, there is a modelling agency downstairs from the Master-Johnson clinic.

At the clinic, Betty tells Bill he won't regret hiring her. She's thankful for the opportunity and all the times he has helped her. He meats with a man about a loan in order to help keep the practice running. Unfortunately, he will have to put all of his assets up as collateral, including his house. The study isn't going that well. A participant orgasms in under five seconds, which doesn't give them any useful information but they'll still have to pay him the $10 fee. Virginia says they should broaden the questionnaire in order to screen for sexual dysfunction and Bill agrees.

Virginia tries to clear the air by apologising for the awkwardness he felt in meeting Shelly but Bill coldly replies that Virginia has brought many men into her home. He doesn't want to be another stranger walking in and out of her kids' lives. He firmly states that they are just work colleagues. Virginia also has Bill going to get back alley blow jobs from prostitutes but he's unable to rise to the occasion.

Fast-forward to Sept. 2, 1959, and Libby comes to visit the office. Betty greets her and the new baby girl Libby has brought along. Libby confronts Bill in his office about not telling her about putting the house up for collateral. She learned of it after finding a man from the bank snooping around in the bushes to reassess the property. Bill insists that everything is fine, she has nothing to worry about, and that sacrifices must be made.

Libby goes ahead and calls Bill's mother, who has been visiting Libby and the children on a regular basis. She comes to visit Bill, who is furious to learn of the contact she has had. She asks for Bill's forgiveness and promises that his secrets are safe; she has not told Libby about his affair with Virginia. She asks for another chance, saying she will not judge him, and offers him a large sum of money to help him with his practice.

Bill returns home and gets into a large argument with Libby. Bill doesn't want the money and is furious about Libby's deception. Bill says he has always provided for them and Libby berates him for acting as if he's the only one wounded from his past.

Bill and Virginia go to Langham's birthday party. Langham's girlfriend is now working in burlesque, popping out his birthday case. Bill is trying to sabotage Virginia and he new boyfriend Kevin's relationship by getting explicit in his description of the study. Virginia heads to the bathroom to have a cigarette and Libby comes in to touch up her lipstick. They bond over the pain they have suffered from those they love and Libby admits she and Bill haven't had sex in over a year.

Virginia meets Bill on a balcony. He's drunk, apologetic, but also tries to make a move on her. She pushes him away when he callously brings up "all the men" in her life and his "faithless, fickle heart," and leaves him.

Fast-forward to Oct. 11, 1960, where Betty is showing Flo, the Cal-O-Metric saleswoman around as potential new tenant to lease the extra space. Betty later tells Bill that the fertility patient numbers are up, due to her raising their rates, and they have experienced a 20% increase in profit over the last month.

Virginia briefly runs into her old boyfriend Shelly. Lester pulls out some older footage from their time at Maternity and she observes some of her fixing Bill's bow tie. It brings her back to a time when things were good between the two of them and they were not weighed down by all of the baggage accumulated over the last few years. She later brings a hotel key to Bill's office, telling him that aside from her children, everything she has is tied to her work and him. Their relationship cannot be undone and she asks that he allow her to have someone to hold onto just as he holds onto Libby. They later meet at the hotel and Bill lists all the things he will do to her after she asks if they should take off their clothes. They're later seen post-sexual interact with Virginia completely naked and Bill still fully clothed, having reacquainted himself with her body.

Langham is having a bachelor party and Lester is there to film everything. Langham then turns on a stag film and it's shown to have his fiancee as the star. This sends him back to his estranged wife, asking her to take him back. He promises to be faithful but she tells him she's moved on.

Bill tries to offer his services as an on-call doctor to the hotel in exchange for free boarding for himself and "Mrs. Holden." However, the bell hop who is now the night manager, tells him the guests may not feel comfortable being seen by a radiologist. Bill's lie has now turned against him. The bell hop even says that his sister had her first baby delivered by "a Dr. Masters" and that someone with those credentials would easily get the job. He and Virginia will have to find another way to afford their infidelity.

Bill's old Memorial secretary, Barbara, visits Virginia to ask about participating in the study. However, she has a "closed" vagina and she is therefore not qualified to participate in the study. She has still had an active sex life, just not in the normal way. Virginia later discusses this case with Bill at one of his children's birthday party. Virginia sees this as a missed opportunity to learn about another type of sexual history. Libby and Virginia have another chat in which Libby invites Virginia to their lake house, saying Bill is more pleasant when she's around.

Bill is making quite the effort with his family, even inviting his mother to the birthday party. Privately, he tells her he knows that she has gone behind his back and funded the clinic. That 20% increase in income mentioned earlier by Betty was actually from her. Mrs. Masters tells him that she wasn't about to not help him again and tells him she is proud of him.

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


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