Panic overwhelms Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) as his career and marriage threaten to fall apart on “Dirty Jobs,” Episode 204 of Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.”
In his new position at Gateway Memorial, Bill struggles to restart a human sexuality study without the aid of colleague Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan). Bill’s lascivious boss, Dr. Douglas Greathouse (Danny Huston), won’t hire Virginia. And he demands a front row seat for the sex research.
“I’ll be invisible,” Doug promises. But the lab takes on a raucous air when he invites other doctors to eat dinner while watching an attractive woman stimulate herself.
“This is a scientific study, not a stag film in a frat house,” Bill angrily tells Doug. “And you’ve grossly misjudged me if you think I’m going to allow those baboons to sit in my exam room, slurping chop suey, mocking my work.
“You will clear my exam room and you will never get near it again. And you will authorize Mrs. Johnson’s hiring starting tomorrow morning!”
When Doug arrogantly refuses to comply, Bill slugs him in the mouth.
“By the time I’m off the telephone tomorrow morning, there’s not going to be a single hospital in the Midwest that’s going to let you so much as step through their doors,” Doug yells, axing Bill on the spot.
Bill wakens the next day to find his wife, Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald), barely controlling her rage after speaking with Doug’s wife, Tatti (Rya Kihlstedt).
“She told me the most outlandish story,” Libby snaps. “She said that you were fired. That you assaulted her husband!”
With Bill losing two jobs in two months, Libby fears this is the new normal.
“How many more opportunities do you have to squander before you make this work? You have a wife and a child who depend on you,” Libby sobs. “Does that mean anything?”
“Whatever happens, I’ll always take care of you,” Bill gasps, hyperventilating in a panic attack.
Adding to his stress is that Dr. Austin Langham (Teddy Sears) spotted Bill and Virginia leaving their hotel room after a tryst. Austin, whose philandering led to divorce proceedings, suddenly regards Bill as a kindred spirit.
“You and me, we’re the same — two men trying their best,” Austin says before warning Bill he has much to lose.
“All I’m saying is, whatever this is that you have with Virginia, you’ve got to weigh it against all of this,” he says, referring to Bill’s lovely wife and baby boy. “Is it worth it?”
As for Virginia, her ambitions are stymied by limited research experience and a lack of academic credentials. Now her meager salary at Washington University is in jeopardy because Dr. Lillian DePaul (Julianne Nicholson) is discontinuing her involvement in a Pap smear program.
Lillian, who’s dying of cervical cancer, doesn’t believe Virginia is qualified to carry on the work. So she hands over the program to Pap smear inventor Dr. Georgios Papanikolaou (René Auberjonois) for his research center at the University of Miami.
“We’re partners,” Virginia protests. “I worked like a dog to get this program off the ground.” Now Georgios will get the credit, Virginia laments, and Lillian “won’t even be a footnote.”
Unfortunately, it’s back to selling diet pills for Virginia as she persuades overweight women with shaky self-esteem to buy the dubious product.
But a ray of hope shines for Virginia and Bill as he’s hired for yet another position. This time it’s with Buell Green Hospital, which caters to African-American patients.
So it appears the controversial sex research will resume shortly, with Bill and Virginia working side by side once more.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times