Masters of Sex S2E9 - "Story of My Life" Recap

Virginia finishes telling her story which is actually from Barbara but the psychologist believes that she is not speaking about herself but then advises her to try saying "no" as her twelve-year-old self as a way of therapeutically changing the outcome.

Bill and Libby have Frank and his wife over for dinner. Bill and Frank's mother is also in attendance. Frank is a recovering alcoholic, whose condition nearly destroyed his marriage. Frank thinks that the things he learned in AA can also help him repair his relationship with Bill.

Bill decides to use Lester in order to learn more about sexual dysfunction. Bill is feeling insecure about what he sees as his own inadequacies. When Bill meets with Virginia, he plays off wanting to just service her by saying he has had too much to drink. So he hires a prostitute friend of Betty's to try to cure Lester.

Libby goes with Robert to meet a lawyer working for the activist group CORE. She shares her account of what she saw. The lawyer wants her to claim she remembered the first three numbers of the license plate, as it was witnessed by a different person on the scene who was not white. Robert doubts her ability to help, not believing that she'll be strong and convincing enough to sell the lie. Libby is offended by his doubts but Robert, remembering her prejudiced behaviour with Coral, simply thanks her for her willingness to help and sends her on her way.

Barbara begins meeting with Bill and Virginia to learn more about her vaginismus and hopefully begin treating it. She has her first physical exam and despite Bill's best effort to proceed with caution and sensitivity, Barbara breaks down crying. Bill and Virginia step out and when Virginia tells Bill that they're only treating half the problem, Bill says they are treating the part they can actually help with. Virginia later advises Barbara to use the practice from the psychologist, and try saying "no" and all that she wishes she had said to her brother when they were children.

Lester meets with Kitty to try to help with his sexual dysfunction. She plays up the "sexy doctor" fantasy but he is still unable to perform. Bill takes down his account of the experience and Lester tells him he will benefit from partnering with someone he sees as his equal, instead of an "expert."

Frank brings Bill with him to an AA meeting, on the night he is meant to receive his sobriety chip and share his backstory. He tells a tale about disappearing down the street to a neighbour's home when he sensed there would be trouble with their father, like when he would become critical. He then said he needed help to make his father disappear, in the form of alcohol. He says that the greatest teacher he had in vanishing was his father. Bill eventually steps out, right when Frank attempts to put the spotlight on him.

Virginia meets with the psychologist again, wanting to receive the next step in her treatment. He is skeptical of her being so methodical about her progress. She asks if he can blame her for wanting piece of mind and he is curious about this. Virginia eventually begins to share more personal information about herself instead of Barbara's story. She talks about being with a married man (Bill) and her friend Lillian found out, becoming disappointed by the behaviour. Virginia says she didn't feel all that guilty by it because she didn't see herself as threat to the man's wife. The psychologist asks her why she ended the relationship if she wasn't concerned about the man's wife. Virginia then realises it was because of guilt; she indeed feels guilty about her actions.

Libby meets with her sister-in-law Pauline. They swap stories about how they met their husbands. Pauline nearly left Frank over his alcoholism. It had become increasingly difficult to hide, as he began to lose his ability to justify his strange behaviour, being impulsive, coming home late, not being able to sexually perform, etc. Libby becomes alarmed realising the similarities to her situation with Bill. Pauline had given Frank an ultimatum: either alcohol or her. No one expected Pauline to stand up for herself but she felt empowered by doing something no one thought she was capable of.

Virginia meets with Barbara, who reveals that she spoke the words to Paul directly instead of just saying it to herself. Her brother remember the situation differently, believing that Barbara was the one who initiated it. It wasn't accusatory, but actually made her remember other things and she was the one who invented this game to keep him from leaving her. It would be easier to try to blame her brother but now it would seem that her already slow progress has taken more steps back.

Frank visits Bill, wanting an apology for walking out of the AA meeting. Bill has no guilt over his actions. Bill says that the tale of the sadistic father teaching humiliation till he left home to become a doctor is his own story, not Frank's. Bill doesn't believe his brother had it anywhere near as bad as he did and that Frank was merely a witness to the abuse Bill faced. Frank simply says that he was the next victim after Bill left. Frank says that he has healed and that Bill only needs to face the truth to do the same and forgives Bill for leaving him, understanding now where he was coming from.

Virginia goes out to grab a cup of coffee and Libby ends up being at the same place. Virginia is uncomfortable having to face the object of her guilt. Libby tells her she wants to be as brave as her but Virginia implores her not to hold herself in such high regard. But Libby is still able to draw some inspiration from their conversation and returns to CORE to volunteer her services for their cause. Robert tests her by asking her, a white woman, to make a sandwich run for their office full of black workers. She grabs a notepad, a pencil, and asks what she can get for them.

Bill and Virginia meet in their hotel room. Virginia asks if drinking helps them to reconcile their guilt over the affair and the fact that they're hurting Libby. Bill doesn't understand where this is all coming from. Virginia wants to uncover what lies they've told themselves to justify their affair. Virginia likes Libby, and says she has been a great friend. But Virginia has been horrible by sleeping with her husband. Now Virginia wants to talk about this and Bill snaps, saying this will only make things worse. Bill says it's about the study but Virginia calls him out, saying it's been years since they have taken any notes or reading and that clearly they are only thinking of their own pleasure. Bill says they can't find the cure for dysfunction by pairing couples together who are strangers, but can do so with subjects who know each other's bodies. Virginia demands to know what dysfunction they are treating, and he responds, "Mine."

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


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