Given that it's a show centered around sex, it's unsurprising that Masters of Sex would occasionally focus on secrets. After all, sex is one of the things human beings are most secretive about. But in the episode "Mirror, Mirror" it's clear that there are also plenty of secrets that aren't about sex — and a surprising number that actually do relate back to the bedroom. And as the episode drives home, secrets don't stay secret forever, which is probably for the best.
In this episode, Virginia finally gets Bill to start looking at the subjects who have been rejected by the study due to sexual dysfunction, people she wants to help rather than ignore. Since they are in the "numbers game," as Bill says, they start with the most common problem: male impotence. But it turns out this is a subject that most men, Bill included, simply don't want to talk about. Virginia is convinced they need to look at qualitative data and psychological factors to treat this disorder — an opinion that Betty the ex-prostitute extraordinaire eagerly confirms. But of course, Bill has yet to clue Virginia in on the fact that ever since their three year separation he's been having trouble getting it up. So this whole topic makes him hilariously uncomfortable.
Funnily enough, I think the stress of keeping the secret might be contributing to the condition at this point.
Meanwhile Virginia starts talking to a woman with a much more serious sexual problem, Bill's former secretary Barbara. While trying to get to the bottom of Barbara's vaginismus, a condition in which involuntary muscle spasms close the vagina during sex, Virginia accidentally helps Barbara unlock a long-repressed memory of having sex with her brother, and it becomes clear just how much a secret can tear a person apart, especially one bad enough that you have to hide it even from yourself.
Meanwhile Libby is grappling with a secret of her own that also has the potential to cause its own disruption. While visiting Bill's office, she witnesses a truck speeding down the street which moments later tosses a beaten and seriously injured black activist onto the sidewalk in front of a group of organizers as a message. Though the papers report it as a drug deal gone wrong (ah, the old victim blaming approach to policing; never gets old), Libby has her doubts, which are only compounded when Coral's brother Robert comes to see her and asks her to come forward with what she saw. By the end of the episode she agrees, and this is one secret that might have major implications when it gets out, considering Bill just convinced the police chief to join the board at Masters and Johnson.
But hey, maybe Libby is getting better at dealing with and understanding race? I mean, she hopefully can't get worse.
Throughout the episode, the viewers get to witness the disconnect between the public and the private, between what people are willing or able to share and what they keep to themselves. From the exclusive and semi-secret Veiled Prophet Ball with its overt KKK vibe, to the roundabout way Lester lets Bill and Virginia know his father died, to the ways in which people try to hide or disguise their sexual hang-ups, it's clear that what we hide and what we reveal not only says a lot but has a huge impact on our lives. And in this episode it seems as though, even though letting something out isn't going to fix everything, things that are kept hidden and secretive are often times the most important things of all.
As Bill's plastic surgeon friend tells Bill at the end of the episode, "You think it's enough to fix the outside. That's the easy part."
But the biggest secret of all this episode is the revelation at the very end that this plastic surgeon friend is not a friend at all but Bill's brother. Mind. Blown.