As much as we deride the Austin-Flo storyline - and let’s be honest, Austin is entirely a plot device, not a character — it at least (mostly) kept in line with the theme of wanting to be wanted we saw in “One For the Money, Two For the Show,” the eleventh and penultimate episode of Masters of Sex’s second season. And doesn’t that desire to be wanted — that desire to have someone give a damn — make one do the damnedest things?
Bill struggled with the notion of anyone wanting to look at him and listen to what he has to say, especially Virginia, as the two prepared for a CBS special about their work. Their interactions were moving, as Virginia comforted him in almost a motherly fashion. She doesn’t feel like she’s getting a chance to mother her children, so she’s turning to Bill. In kind, it is when he finds himself in a submissive position that he can let his guard down and overcome his impotence. Masters of Sex continues to explore human sexuality and adult relationships in ways rarely, if ever, seen on TV. The only series that comes close is The Americans. Its pioneer status is fitting considering its subjects.
But this episode truly belongs to Libby, who has had a trying and often troubling arc this season. Her journey is becoming more clear, and thankfully, it isn’t without frank discussions regarding her motivations for working with CORE and even being attracted to Robert (a fantastic Jocko Sims). He’s hesitant to get involved and isn’t interested in playing games or making her feel better about herself. She’s not easily let off the hook - she doesn’t get to share her story and equate it to Robert’s. But her honesty, their honesty, is progress. And their sex scene? One of if not the most passionate we’ve seen on the series so far. Libby needed to be noticed, to be seen for who she is and what she’s capable of. Bill is too focused on Virginia to provide that, and Libby is tired of waiting.
Will Libby confront Bill about his relationship with Virginia? Will the CBS production ever make it to air? Mallory Andrews, of cléo and Movie Mezzanine, and I discuss these topics and more in the latest Podcasters of Sex episode. We’re joined by special guest Dan Schindel, a writer for Sound on Sight, Los Angeles Magazine and Movie Mezzanine. You can listen to our “One for the Money, Two for the Show” discussion here:
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Join us next week for the Season Two finale, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.