Masters of Sex 1.06 Review: Different Kinds of Therapy

4 Nov

The women of Masters of Sex are doing it for themselves in a variety of ways in an episode that explores several different therapeutic methods. There’s a lot of healing that needs to be done and while this isn’t entirely successful, the study moves forward with leaps and bounds. Costuming patterns are repeated and continue to evolve and this is the first episode in which one of the prominent characters doesn’t wear red. In an episode that sees Virginia taking the reins of the research this may come as a surprise to lose one of her dominant and most powerful costuming color but it shows that Virginia is gaining confidence in her abilities as a vital member of this team.

Masters of Sex ep 6 lectureWe open with Virginia and Jane at a lecture being given by Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna and this kickstarts a discussion about Freud’s theory on female orgasms. Virginia is in professional mode and her grey suit mimics the styling of Dr. Lillian DePaul. It’s not as stiff or formal looking as Dr. DePaul’s and Virginia’s natural openness is why so many different people warm to her; she puts people at ease and they feel more comfortable sharing their most private information. Jane’s costuming continues to feature a range of blues and yellows and like Virginia, Jane is warm and approachable. “Brave New World” gives this pairing a chance to shine as friends, colleagues and pioneers.

Masters of Sex 1.06 lunch with JaneVirginia is skeptical when it comes to Freud in part because of what she has personally experienced and she is not alone as Bill has issues with Freud’s theories. Jane is more convinced by his work and part of that is thanks to Freud’s appearance as a photo in his book shows him with a cigar and this apparently indicates his wisdom – sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Virginia and Jane discuss Freud over lunch and they standout in a cafeteria of white nurse uniforms and dark doctor suits. Jane is once again in one of her primary bold colors.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Libby and JaneOne woman is in a lab coat, the other in a bathrobe but you don’t get a sense of inequality with this pairing and it feels like real teamwork at play. This scene also gives us the line “My clitoris beat my vagina” and that’s going to be hard to top. Masters is away on vacation with Libby which is why it is left to Virginia to debunk Freud’s theories about women and she goes about this task with poise and enthusiasm.

Masters of Sex 1.06 phone callSomething has shifted between Virginia and Bill since his breakdown at the end of last week and even though he is surprised to hear that she is ringing from his office – and yes she lies about sitting in his chair, people are very fussy about their chairs – there is a new found trust and respect. This is why Bill doesn’t respond well to Dr. DePaul’s complaints that people mistake Virginia for a doctor when she doesn’t have the qualifications. This is a reverse of the conversation that Virginia had with Bill a few weeks ago when he listed his own credentials and experience as a reason why she is the one who has to get the laundry.

Masters of Sex 1.06 a new titleThe shot above is Virginia’s reaction to the news that she has a new job title; she is no longer Bill’s secretary, she is now a researcher. This calls into mind another conversation that occurred in the same episode as the laundry discussion when Virginia referred to herself as an assistant rather than a secretary to Betty. Is there a difference in these titles? Well, yes there is and it sets Virginia apart from the other women in the secretary pool and it brings to mind Peggy’s promotion in Mad Men. Dr. DePaul believes that Bill is being swayed by Virginia’s looks but if she actually listened to Virginia when she talks about her interest in medical matters she would soon come to realize that Virginia is more than a bit of fluff and she would be a good ally to have. Bill mentions getting a new secretary and I hope that Jane will get this job as she already knows the ins and outs of the study (PHRASING) and she’s an asset to the team. Virginia is in green in this scene and as a color of prosperity it represents the growth of Virginia’s relationship with Bill.

At the end of the episode Virginia takes a step with Bill that she hesitated at in the past; it is a giddy reaction to the data they have collected and a desire to see how much more they can both prove and disprove. It’s a conflicting scene because we know that Virginia is good friends with Libby and up to this point Masters of Sex has carved out two strong female friendships. I hesitate to talk about the future direction of Virginia and Bill’s relationship even if history isn’t really a spoiler but some knowledge of this is informing these scenes as well.

Masters of Sex ep 6 LibbyBill and Libby’s vacation to Miami is an attempt to escape their grief and get away from the elephant in the room that haunts their every conversation at home. Their neighbor has just had a baby and Libby attempts to ignore what has just happened in her own life when she goes to see her. She wraps her pink cardigan around herself as a form of protection and it’s awkward as neither the neighbor nor Libby knows how talk around this matter. This includes pointing out that there is something different about Libby, she’s had a haircut and Libby’s situation is not mentioned. Nobody is at fault during this conversation but it is clear that some time away could be a big help. The loss of this baby shouldn’t be ignored, at the same time people deal with tragedy in a variety of ways and for Libby the healing process requires somewhere else.

Masters of Sex 1.06 FloridaOn vacation they don’t have to be the couple that lost their baby and instead they can be the couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. Bill looks incredibly uncomfortable as often does in social situations like this, but vacation really looks good on Libby. Even if it is a temporary mask for her sorrow.

Masters of sex 1.06 Libby in underwearThe spell is broken pretty quickly despite Libby best attempts to distract Bill; he’s either timing the couple next door having sex or he is on the phone to Virginia discussing research. Libby’s not going to let her new holiday wardrobe go to waste including her swimwear in the shot above – yes I love that it has a matching jacket . She sends Bill packing and decides to stay as this is what she needs. It’s a pretty ballsy move and with each week I like Libby even more.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Libby getting drunkBill’s departure gives Libby the chance to let her hair down and drink some strawberry daiquiris with the older couple from the room next door (it’s Serena’s grandmother Cece from Gossip Girl). Libby’s outfit wouldn’t look out of place back home, aside from the straw sunhat as it’s her standard pink pastel color scheme. Barb’s got a lot more skin on show despite her years on Libby and Libby is drawn to this couple because they are so different to her own experience. Libby comes up with a fake life for herself where she has two children and in this world her husband is dead; her life is still not perfect in this reality but she has children.

Masters of Sex 1.06 drunker LibbyAs the drinks flow Libby gets the name of her imaginary son wrong and things start to spiral. Libby deals with her grief with more denial and she ends up with an unwelcome visitor and a proposition from Maurice. He talks about how his wife is like home, but sometimes you want to travel. Ah, got to love the cheating 101 chat up lines. He claims that Barbs likes to listen, which could of course be true but it’s too much for Libby and she reveals that her husband isn’t dead. This new identity she created momentarily doesn’t really work out and it’s unclear whether this trip has been the therapy Libby thought it could be.

Masters of Sex 1.06 MargaretWhile Libby is pretty buttoned up, this is nothing in comparison to Margaret Scully. Last week the vivacious and confident woman that we met in an almost plunging red dress is all but gone; that is the Margaret of hosting parties and the real version is a lot more reserved and aches for something more. Margaret’s regular clothes are in sharp contrast to what we saw in her introduction as they’re all high necked and muted colors. It’s gorgeous tailoring, but a far cry from the person we met at the party.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Margaret Scully

Margaret has heard about the study through a friend and passion is something that her life is definitely lacking. This is hardly surprising as her husband Barton Scully is keeping his true sexuality hidden and this has left Margaret feeling alone and unfulfilled. Margaret visits in an outfit that could be mistaken for mourning wear aside from the blue flourish below the peplum and on the collar.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Margaret in blueMargaret looks less somber but just as conservative as she answer’s Bill and Virginia’s questions and Allison Janney makes my heart ache in this scene as it dawns upon Margaret that her sexual encounters have been lacking the key factor of pleasure. With each question it gets more apparent that Margaret’s sex life is all but dormant and has been for a long time. As Margaret has never had an orgasm she can’t take part in the study and that makes this scene hurt even more.

The walk from Bill’s office to the elevator is long as she tries to keep it together and hide her embarrassment. It’s a small moment but she does that thing where you repeatedly press an elevator button even though you know it won’t make it get there any quicker. In the brief time before the door shuts Margaret Scully lets out a cry of anguish and never have I before wanted a woman on screen to experience an orgasm as much as I did in this scene. This is part of the reason why a study like this one is so important; to dispel myths (as with the couple last week) and show that pleasure is an important aspect of sex.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Scully dinner

This is the dinner table the Scully’s; there’s a lot of physical space between them and the lack of bright color has a draining effect. Nothing here suggests any kind of spark or passion.

Masters of Sex 1.06 leaving the moviesEarlier in the episode Margaret is reading Peyton Place before she goes to see the movie and she reads Barton a passage that hints at what made this book controversial and also a best seller as it deals with sexual coming of age in a small New England town. The community in Peyton Place has many secrets much like the characters that we are watching here. Margaret silently cries during a passionate kiss and seeing her leave the film with this aching loneliness makes what happens next even more satisfying. I really like the shot above as you can see a solitary man lighting his cigarette as he exits the theater and it feels like an encounter with a stranger could be on the cards.

Masters of Sex 1.06 Margaret and AustinIt’s not a stranger though, it’s Dr. Langham and he has been having his own problems related to his sexual performance. Jane suggested that it is all in his head so therapy might be the solution but he seems just as frustrated with his psychoanalytical treatment (Freud is taking a beating). It’s this conversation that leads to a freeing moment from them both after Austin has made a remark about the glow from other people’s houses seeming like something that can’t be seen from your own house. He thinks it’s a dumb comment but Margaret understands and she senses a connection. I think it’s safe to say that Margaret can now participate in the study.

For more Masters of Sex costuming discussions head here.

4 Responses to “Masters of Sex 1.06 Review: Different Kinds of Therapy”


  1. Masters of Sex 1.07 Review: How to Save a Life | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 11, 2013

    […] does see the return of both burgundy and red to the wardrobe color palette that was mostly lacking last week. Bill offers to zip up her dress, but Virginia insists that she has got it, maybe to reduce the […]

  2. Masters of Sex 1.12 “Manhigh” Costume Review: | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 16, 2013

    […] Good Wife, Masters of Sex has used this space for moments of escape (as with Margaret Scully in “Brave New World“), to show the disconnect between Bill and Virginia last week and as a place where Lillian […]


    […] bordel – Betty – Libby – Les vrais Masters & Johnson – Bill Masters – Virginia et Jane- God transparent – Virginia […]

  4. Masters of Sex 3.06 “Two Scents” Review: Some Place Better | TV Ate My Wardrobe - August 18, 2015

    […] she doesn’t need another venue for his honor. We have seen Libby indulge in a fantasy life back in season 1 when Bill left her on vacation by herself. That was after her miscarriage and she invented a dead […]

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