‘Masters of Sex’ Season 1 Episode 10 Recap: “Fallout”


We’ll start with the silly stuff: The hospital is put through a civil defense drill because of tensions with Russia. Everyone from Jane and the Random Blonde Doctor freak out a little about it. Jane is some kind of marshall in the process, which means she gets a stupid hat. I think we are supposed to conclude that Jane is very capable. There’s a part where Jane flirts with an overly intellectual documentary filmmaker, using facts about the end of the world to seduce him. It’s a little bit meet-cute, actually, in the result. But kind of out of place in a show, like this one, that is so wholly cynical about romance.

During the drill Gini ends up under the table with Dr. DePaul, who has just gotten her check for a pap smear study that, as she points out, is roughly equal to the administration’s budget for emergency manuals. Gini decides this is the time to lecture Dr. DePaul on being a lot more charming. “Pearls of wisdom from the steno pool,” Dr. DePaul pings back. When DePaul tries out the charm strategy, later, she screws up and uses the chancellor’s wife “handicap” to segue to “Speaking of women’s health, I have this study.” He wrongly concludes she’s trying to flirt with him. I feel like I’d watch a show about Dr. DePaul if someone really opened up the character and made her less socially inept.

Haas, having jilted Vivian Scully, is denied a permanent position at the university. He’s sure the two events are related. In truth, Haas mostly has a lot of trouble caring because he’s back in Gini’s bed. Masters doesn’t like it, doesn’t like it at all. Being a paragon of mature, considered emotional behavior, he of course had given Haas a really bad evaluation that was led the board to effectively fire Haas. Scully was only too happy to accept the board’s non-recommendation of Haas for a permanent position. Haas ends up going into surgery with Masters and points out that his ratings were great until he’d angered his former mentor. Masters punches him out, admitting he’s angry because Haas did Libby’s cervical capping behind his back. A little bullshit, but okay.

And the Masters assholery just keeps piling on. Ashley Johnson, who was the youngest Seaver daughter in Growing Pains and I’m just never going to be able not to mention that when she pops up on television shows, plays a woman named Flora. She is a participant in the study who has now turned up pregnant. She wants the name of the father. Masters won’t give it to her, getting all up in arms about his ethical obligation to maintain anonymity. Gini, of course, calls him on his claim that he is not “liable for any unintended consequences.” But he won’t budge. She goes into their files and pulls the necessary information and sets off to tell the father herself.

RBD’s been hoping the panicked atmosphere will help him pick up some hot chicks but he gets stopped in his tracks when it turns out he’s the father of Flora’s baby. RBD hyperventilates and has the usual “what does this woman want from me” clichéd reaction. Gini leaves it up to him whether or not he will contact the woman in question. RBD goes rampaging into an OR where Masters is prepping, instead. He wants to know if he’s “protected.” Perhaps in the 1950s insurance companies offered accidental impregnation insurance. Masters reassures him that the forms he signed are ironclad. I’m glad they had this little bonding moment. Masters, returning to his office, yells at Gini some more about the righteousness of anonymity. THIS GUY. Gini ultimately gives Flora some money, from “the man who is responsible.”

Margaret Scully, meanwhile, has been contemplating divorce. Her friends are all chattering about what a bad idea that is for women over fifty. She spends another night at her random hotel bar and promptly insults a “working girl” at the bar. She says she just wants to know some “tricks of the trade” so she can recapture her husband’s interest. She’s concluded that the man she saw Scully with was a pimp. But as Margaret begins to describe what Scully is like, she tips off the lady-of-the-night that the husband is “queer.” Margaret looks like a woman hit by a truck for just a second before dissolving into giggles. But later, at home, she seems devastated. She takes herself out for a swim and RBD, fleeing his prospective fatherhood, comes by and finds her there. They swim together and contemplate the meaninglessness of life in the face of nuclear war, no joke. This show is never content to leave anything unsaid.

Gini, upon learning of the tussle between Haas and Masters, decides to give Masters a lecture of her own. She asks him to congratulate Libby on her pregnancy. And then she decides to directly address the way he tried to pay her for her participation in the study. “You felt guilty,” she tells him, “because you had formed an attachment to me.” I don’t know, it feels awfully direct, this speech. Gini calls their involvement an “affair.” And she explains she’d given Flora $2000 from their discretionary fund. And that she quits. Man, this show has a steady-employment drama every frickin’ episode. Gini decides to work for Dr. DePaul instead.