The entry into Buell Green Hospital has advanced the world of “Masters” into compelling new territory. Bill and Virginia are back working together again, each with their own office and ready to start bringing in their patients to further the sex study. The problem, however, is underlying racism and their patients not wanting to, for example, leave their car parked out in the street in such a neighborhood. Likewise, a scuffle in the waiting room leads to the room getting completely segregated.
And, of course, all this racial tension we’re seeing through this episode had been foreshadowed through Libby’s unrelentingly god-awful treatment of nanny Coral. It’s impossible not to feel bad for her (and what a performance Keke Palmer has been delivering; she needs a guest actress nomination next Emmys go-around) and want to smack Libby upside the head.
At least she does get a smack upside the head — of sorts. She receives a visit from Coral’s boyfriend who confronts her about forcing the whole hair washing debacle. Libby once again overreacts and tells Coral she needs to dump the boyfriend, claiming he seems dangerous. Coral delivers an astonishingly passive-aggressive response, saying though he can be rough, that all fades away once they get into bed together. Libby keeps referring to herself as a “woman of the world,” and so Coral insists she must know what having a man in bed like that must feel like. And then she adds: “When I’m done making Mr. Masters’ bed, should I make yours, too?” Ouch.
When Libby tells Bill about the boyfriend confrontation, whose side does he take? Coral’s, naturally. He insists she must apologize. And who does she apologize to? Not even Coral, but the boyfriend. And then, feeling the sting of Coral’s smack-down, Libby tells Bill they should have sex to make up. Commence their awkward, very vanilla love-making because we all know where he gets his intimacy from.
Which brings us back to Virginia and Bill. She’s continuing to make sure she has the upper hand over Bill and isn’t being yanked around by him like she’s on some sort of leash. “You can’t just assume I’ll come running whenever you call,” she tells him upon demanding an employment contract at the new hospital.
Bill then reveals Lillian knows about their supposed affair. Cut to that confrontation, which escalates into an all-out argument with Virginia offended Lillian would give away her study based on anything outside of their work, while Lillian counters with suggesting she could never rely on Virginia when she would drop her for Bill at a moment’s notice. They both have a point.
As a side note: later when Lillian collapses on the bathroom floor and only has Virginia to call, it dawns on her that she really does depend on her for what lies ahead in terms of both her study and her illness. It’s a sweet moment between the two of them.
But in the moment hearing this from Lillian, Virginia asks Bill if their personal participation in the study is part of the job. Basically: if their affair is part of the job. Bill’s answer? “Yes, it is part of the job.” So be it. Back in the hotel room, Virginia makes Bill masturbate in front of her and then has her way with him.
Over in the world of Betty, there’s a flame from the past who emerges, and it’s none other than Sarah Silverman playing Helen, her ex-lover. Surprise! Betty’s a lesbian — or at least bisexual. She tells Helen to “buck up and do the right thing,” which in her mind is settling down and being with a man. Gene sets up a double date for Helen and them, much to Betty’s dismay and much to Helen’s pleasure in watching Betty squirm. A delicious dinner scene has the two ladies playing little mind games that become too personal, leading to a private kiss in the bathroom. I’m in love with this subplot already, and it’s only just getting started.
All this talk of subplots also makes me (sadly) realize it looks like Beau Bridges and Allison Janney are officially out of the picture. Sigh.
Back at Buell Green, Dr. Hendricks reveals his master plan in bringing Bill to the hospital: he wants him to help desegregate it. He chalks it up to a mutual benefit. If Bill helps in integrating the hospital, it’ll get his patients to return to him and also help with getting participants to the sex study. But turns out Hendricks’ motives are a little dirtier. It turns out he’s the one throwing out the sex study participant flyers Virginia has been posting around the hospital, not the delivery man as she had suspected. They remain under fire.