Review: ‘Masters of Sex’ – ‘Three’s a Crowd’: To love, honor, and cherish

Senior Television Writer
07.19.15 19 Comments

Showtime

A review of tonight's “Masters of Sex” coming up just as soon as I have an appointment with a travel agent…

As I said last week, I'm going to tinker with the format of the weekly reviews for this show, since some weeks I have an essay in me, while others I just have a bunch of random observations. This is one of the latter, so let's hit it:

* On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter ran an interview with Michelle Ashford discussing, among other things, the new disclaimer at the end of each episode about the TV show's kids being wholly fictional. She's not allowed to discuss much, but said that “certain things that had to be done in our storytelling that had to do with legal issues.” On the family front, this episode gets even deeper into fictionalizing things, since Virginia didn't have a third, late-in-life child, nor did she and George have a sham second marriage. But as with changing the timelines of when Bill and Virginia had their earlier children, I can see the storytelling rationale for it, as it allows the show to more clearly illustrate the phoniness and dysfunctional intermingling of the two marriages at this stage of things. Mather Zickel is a cast regular this year, and while the paper marriage didn't happen in real life, in the world of the show it creates several fascinating new layers of dysfunction, including Libby's brief, futile attempt to suggest Gini and George try to make it a real marriage. The way the wedding sequence edits between the hollow ceremony and the outlining of the legal realities of things tells us all we need to know about how unhappily ever after this will turn out.

* A timeline tweak, but not an outright fictionalization: Masters actually did consult with the Shah of Iran and Princess Soraya about their infertility problems, and the Shah did divorce her because she couldn't produce an heir, but this all happened in the mid-late '50s. In this case, the story gets located here so the princess can discuss the untenable nature of a marriage among three people, just in case we don't already understand what a terrible idea Bill, Libby and Virginia's ongoing arrangement is for all involved.

* Hey, it's Maggie Grace from “Lost” as Virginia's temporary replacement, Dr. Wesh. In the long run, the way he's behaved with both Libby and Virginia is far worse, but it's still impressive how awful and dismissive he manages to be with his new colleague in so short a period of time.

* The winky opening credits sequence took a week off for the season premiere, but unfortunately returned tonight. Can't have everything in life.

What did everybody else think?

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