'Master of Sex' Season 2 Premieres and Everyone is Cast Adrift

Bill Masters, the buttoned up doctor with the unbuttoned sex study, and Virginia Johnson, the secretary/researcher/heartbreaker/single mom who's way cooler than him, are back with Season 2 of Masters of Sex . Everybody celebrate by attaching electrodes to your nipples and banging in an unused exam room. Or something.

Unfortunately for our merry cast of characters from the hospital at Washington University in Saint Louis, season two is not quite so cheery, at least not at the moment. In fact, everyone's a bit...unmoored...at the moment. With Masters fired and the study seemingly dead forever, all the characters involved in it are a bit adrift at the moment, not sure of their purpose or not connecting in their relationships. In fact, this distance between everyone is so great that the only sex scenes in the whole episode are disjointed flashbacks.

Hopefully we get a return to human connection again soon. But for now, here's the state in which we find out merry heroes.

Barton

Poor Barton has decided to go through with the electroshock therapy in a desperate attempt to "cure" himself of homosexuality. The treatments leave him sick and confused, not knowing where he is or why, but even worse, they obviously don't work, plunging Barton into despair. Trying to prove to himself and his wife that he's cured, he tries to initiate sex with Margaret, but she can tell he's not attracted to her, and rather than let him pretend she's a boy, she insists they stop. Cut off and helpless, Barton later tries to hang himself, but survives after his daughter walks in on him.

Dr. Langham

On a much lighter note, Dr. Langham is not having a very good time of things for reasons that are entirely his own fault. His former flame Jane is contemplating a move to Los Angeles with Lester, her filmmaker boyfriend, while Langham's wife has discovered that he's been sleeping with her sister and marches down to the hospital to announce the affair over the intercom. You keep hiding in Virginia's office, Langham.

Libby

Libby is holding up rather well in spite of having both a newborn and a husband who sits around the house not doing anything. She tells off an OB/GYN who compares her husband to a serial killer, charms society people, and manages to parent a newborn while her hair still looks perfect. But it's also clear that she still has her doubts about Bill, especially in regards to Virginia. And needless to say, the two of their communication skills haven't improved much.

Bill and Virginia

Our dear Masters are, unfortunately, not doing so well at the moment. With the study shut down and Bill on the outs, Virginia is trying to sell diet pills to supplement her income. She's also fielding dozens of improper — and sometimes aggressive — propositions from men who think she was the naked woman shown from the study. Bill, meanwhile, is struggling with his newfound parenthood, afraid he's going to turn out just like his abusive father. And their relationship with each other is...complicated.

It seems that even though they slept together after Bill showed up at Virginia's door the night his son was born, leading Virginia to turn down Ethan's marriage proposal, Bill and his ego then had to go and mess everything up for the umpteenth time. Upset to realize that Virginia chose the work over Ethan, not him over Ethan, Bill gets all persnickety and tells her that he doesn't want to have an affair, but rather to sleep with each other without wires in order to observe whether or not being hooked up changes their sexual responses. Or something.

The real reason is that he needs to find his big boy panties and realize her life doesn't revolve around him and that as a married man he has no leg to stand on. In the mean time, the two of them are having sex in a hotel where the concierge thinks they're married, but they aren't shown together on screen in anything but flashbacks.

The Study

The study really does seem to be the thing that bound everybody together, and once it was sent floating off into limbo, everyone else was cast adrift too. But things might finally be looking up! Bill happens to run into the wealthy pretzel-making husband of a former patient from the brothel at a hospital function, and the man is so taken with Bill he offers a sizable donation to Memorial Hospital — on the condition they hire Bill and support his study. The hospital agrees, and the study, it seems, is alive again. Now hopefully some of these people can start coming back together — and getting busy.

Image: Showtime