The sense of dislocation that was introduced in the Season 2 premiere of “Masters of Sex” only grows stronger in episode 2. Sunday’s (July 20) show is titled “Kyrie Eleison,” which translates to “Lord have mercy,” and everyone could use a little bit.
Settling into at his new hospital, Masters treats a young woman who recently had an abortion — and whose parents, big donors to the hospital, want him to perform a hysterectomy against her wishes and Bill’s medical opinion.
Bill’s new boss Doug Greathouse sides with the parents, and although Bill ultimately goes his own way — offering some insight to the girl as he does — it sows the seeds for what could be a very prickly relationship with Greathouse. Maybe even more disturbing is the way Greathouse insults “deviants” and “perverts,” then turns right around and salivates over the sex study.
We also meet Bill’s new secretary, played by Betsy Brandt. Here’s hoping her entirely frazzled character pulls things together a little bit in future episodes — if only for the potential of future interactions with Betty in Bill’s waiting room.
Virginia is throwing herself into her work with Dr. DePaul, only to find out that her condition is way worse than she’s letting on when she flubs the filming of an instructional film about pap smears. DePaul has almost never let her guard down on the show, but the way Julianne Nicholson shows both her frustration and resignation is heartbreaking.
Virginia also has to deal with the seemingly nice Dr. Ditmer, who last week was interested in applying the camera technology she and Bill used in their study to his own work. This week? He, uh, can’t quite keep himself in check when discussing how Ulysses works.
At the Masters home, Libby has hired a young new housekeeper in Keke Palmer’s Coral, after Bill ordered his mother away in the season premiere. Coral’s enthusiasm and natural affinity with kids threatens Libby, who resorts to condescendingly correcting Coral’s speech to reassert her position. It’s an interesting moment for Libby, as we see her possible worry about her own abilities as a mother (which every single parent ever has felt in one way or another), but it’s also a low one. She’s better than that.
There is, at least, a moment of uplift late in the episode as Virginia stumbles on Dr. Langham’s version of Cafe Disco and enjoys a carefree moment with him. The scene at least begins to balance what was kind of a bummer of an episode for the characters — though a continued strong start to Season 2.
What did you think of “Masters of Sex” this week?