Masters of Sex Season 1, Episode 5 – Catherine

WARNING: Spoilers for Masters of Sex Season 1, Episode 5

Masters of SexMichael Sheen is an astounding actor. His performance in this episode was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever watched. In two scenes, I was on the verge of tears.

The first time, when he’s in the operating theatre and holds his stillborn daughter for just a moment. Clutching her to him before he has to let her go.

The second, at the end of the episode, when after avoiding the loss of his child for all that time, he finally breaks down and cries. A sound of despair from the heart that touched me very deeply.

It’s almost impossible to talk about the other events of the episode. The scenes at the end blotted out all of the dramas and frolics that came before it. I’ll do my best, though.

At the start of the episode, Bill and Virginia decide that they’ve found out everything they can from the solo study and need to move back to couples. They start with Dr Langham, but pair him up with a stranger. Dr Langham fails to perform and shouts that he was expecting Jane. However, the next night, he fails to perform with Jane as well. That was quite funny. Considering he’s meant to be a serial cheater, it was kind of fun to see him have so much trouble.

Virginia is struggling with juggling motherhood and a sixteen-hour-a-day job. Her son, Henry, is beginning to resent her absence. As Virginia says, it’s understandable. We’ve seen what a deadbeat her ex-husband is, so we can see the conundrum she’s in. She doesn’t want to tell her son the truth and destroy his image of his father, but she can’t keep hearing that she’s a horrible mother either.

Scully sets Ethan up with his daughter, Vivian, on a date at a malt shop. She convinces him that she’s only interested in a fling and they end up back at his place. He unwittingly takes her virginity and feels the responsibility of that weighing on him. Vivian takes advantage of that to corner him into a relationship.

As I said above, though, all of that pales when Libby stands up at an anniversary dinner and shows that she’s bleeding. Bill rushes her to the hospital and does everything he can to bury himself in work and avoid the personal tragedy that’s unfolding. Libby tries to get him to stay with her, but he just keeps running away.

It may well be that he’s done irreparable damage to his marriage. Libby refuses to take his hand on the way home. After avoiding her for the most tragic event of their lives, she may well be finished with such a cold man.

We see, though, that he’s not heartless. He feels the pain of it, but he keeps pushing it down, trying to ignore it and hoping that it will go away. It takes Virginia’s prodding to get him to finally break at the end.

The show was quite light. Almost like a soap opera in recent episodes. This took it into a turn into serious drama, that touched me deeply. Until now, I would have recommended the show with reservations, but I think everyone should watch this show for this episode alone.


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