Can you tell a finale is fast approaching on Masters Of Sex? The third season premiere found its characters in a delicate balance that was almost immediately upended. And, matters have only gone further south for Bill and Virginia, especially. "Through A Glass, Darkly" ends with both researchers finding out what rock bottom feels like, and they don't even have each other to turn to right now. But, while both Bill and Virginia are dealing with emotional turmoil, Bill's related weakness may have fundamentally jeopardized his professional reputation and their work. He gave into temptation with star sex surrogate Nora, and Nora is definitely not who she seems.
I've been skeptical about the intentions of Nora Everett since she showed up on the clinic's doorstep. Emily Kinney's character is unnervingly direct, and not the type of direct that makes Virginia such a captivating and unusual female lead. Nora's been zeroed in on Bill for her entire stay on the show, and the reason for that focus was finally revealed tonight. Nora is in cahoots with Ronald, the starched-shirted member of the "Committee For Decency" who's been haunting the office building's lobby since Human Sexual Response was published. This is very, very poor news for Bill and not just because he really hates that guy.
Bill is now certain that he is losing Virginia, and he's never spoken about his attachment to her so boldly and definitively as he does in this episode. ("The only thing I've done right is loving someone so completely with as much of my broken soul as I can muster." Wow, OK.) After seeing Virginia and Dan cruise out of the parking garage in Dan's convertible, Bill is back in the office, wild-eyed and ready to take Nora up on what she was very clearly offering earlier. But, Nora isn't all femme fatale in this scenario. Just as Bill is about to, you know, start things, she begs him to tell her that he loves her. It's a spell-breaking moment for Bill, who careens to the other side of the room as quickly as he can extricate himself. Methinks this wasn't part of the Decency Club's script; it's a clue that the emotional issues that took root during Nora's childhood are very real, not just a story to reel in her new boss. She a pawn in this game, just like Bill. (There's also a stark power imbalance there.)
Though there isn't a real-life version of this story in the biography the show is based on, it follows one of the enduring themes of Masters Of Sex: Bill is almost always the architect of his own misery. He tries to woo Virginia back by tricking her into one of their special naked research sessions (okay, robed research sessions, to be fair), but can only confess how deeply he's in love with his partner to the young woman who now has the ammunition to destroy his life. The promo for next week's episode has a cop showing up to the Masters home, so I assume Ronald didn't let this proof of an insanely damning ethical violation go un-reported out of the goodness of his heart. But, if Virginia isn't around in the way he wants her to be anymore, I'm not sure Bill will even be able to bring himself to care. How much farther can he fall? There are two episodes left in Season 3, and I can always count on Masters for a painful cliffhanger. Be prepared.
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