Masters of Sex recap: 'Kyrie eleison'

Masters is tested on his first day at Memorial Hospital when a VIP patient needs emergency care. Meanwhile, Virginia must decide between staying with DePaul or following Bill.
Ep. 02 | Aired Jul 20, 2014

Michael Desmond/Showtime

Betty overhears everything about Rose's case—and what her mom wants Bill to do—while having her "treatments" in Masters' office. A former prostitute who herself is sterile, Betty is, in a way, a grown-up Rose. Before Rose leaves the hospital, Betty sneaks into her room for a little pep talk. Her mom used to call her a tramp, too, she says… and then she stabbed the woman's eye out. "There's a life lesson in there," Betty insists, and Rose gets it. Rose is thankful Masters talked to her; he said, "You're not your worst part." And that brought Betty to tears, particularly since she had just been confronted about her former occupation by a client from her past, a past she is desperately trying to forget with her new husband and those "fertility treatments."

After Scully's suicide attempt—Vivian and her mother rescued him, hanging from an electrical wire—Vivian goes to Maternity to have her injured wrist examined. (It was presumably hurt while helping to cut her father down.) There she runs into Virginia, who shows concern for her and her father, who hasn't been to work in a while. Vivian tries to brush her off with the "my parents are in Europe" excuse, but worse, she wants to know why Virginia is trying to act nice—Virginia slept with her fiance, Ethan, after all. Already emotionally drained after the ordeal with her father, Vivian lets Virginia know exactly what she thinks of her. ("Were you bored?" "You'll do anything to get what you want.") The harshest zinger: "Eventually people will catch on. All you'll be is old and ugly and alone."

Virginia caught Vivian at her worst; Bill caught Vivian off-guard. He meets her at her school to ask about her father, and that's when Vivian breaks down and finally tells the truth, knowing Bill was one of her father's oldest, most-trusted confidants. "It had to be an accident, right?" she asks, helpless. Bill knows the unspoken truth: Barton tried to kill himself because he's not able to "cure" his homosexuality. He's a "sexual deviant" in the eyes of society—just like Rose. And later, that realization is enough to make the usually guarded Bill fall to the ground in tears.

Dr. Langham
Langham, brilliantly called out by his wife for his cheating ways—over the hospital loudspeaker—last week, returned to his old tricks, trying to hit on Vivian while applying the cast to her wrist. But later, when he invites Virginia to the party he's throwing in his office, he quasi-redeems himself. He compares their recent breakups, saying he has a theory why they're both now single (and why they won't ever sleep together): We're lone wolves driven from the pack for our refusal to conform, he says.

Interesting foreshadowing: Langham's estranged wife has moved back with her mother in Alton, Illinois—the town where Bill and Virginia's hotel is located. So how long before they're caught?

Bill's wife is the only person who doesn't receive some sort of redemption this week. Instead, her grasps for power are highlighted, which ultimately serve to draw attention, once again, to Bill's failures as a husband.

Bill sent his mother back to Ohio and instructed Libby to find new help for the baby. She hires an 18-year-old, Coral, whom Bill criticizes for being too young, as if he suddenly has an opinion about the care the child receives. "The home is my domain," Libby asserts… but she can't remember where she put Bill's shirt, which makes her feel foolish in front of the new nanny/maid.

Libby and Coral bond over old cooking scars earned due to their mothers dying young and both women being forced to help out more around the house. Libby begins venting about Bill—about his directness, his lack of "chitchat." She admits it: She had hoped having a baby would soften her husband, but it's made him more cold and distant. "It's like he's afraid of his own baby," she says desperately.

Later, the baby is crying uncontrollably. Libby, frustrated, slams shut her Dr. Spock book. (Frazzled parent jokes—ha!) Coral suggests swaddling; Libby doesn't listen. Bill comes home, and of course is annoyed by the crying child… who suddenly quiets. The solution: Coral wrapped him in a tight swaddle, saying she was telling Ms. Masters all day long about her aunt's amazing swaddle technique. Coral didn't mean to put down Libby, but Bill jumps at the opportunity to get a jab in. "Maybe you were right about the girl," he says. "She does seem competent."

The next time Coral is working for the Masters, Libby corrects her pronunciation of the word "ask." Obviously Libby isn't okay with the girl showing her up in the parenting department. "I'm always grateful when someone points out something I could do better," Libby viciously says with a smile. Poor Coral is stunned, but accepts her boss's desire to "operate as a team." Perhaps Libby does already realize the extant to which she has lost Bill—and that it's very likely she's not going to get him back.

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