Long before The Beatles used the blackbird as a symbol for civil rights struggles, dark birds have been known to represent the unknown. In this week’s episode of Masters of Sex, titled “Blackbird,” nearly every character marches into the unknown — not necessarily by choice — to ultimately dismantle or alter his or her life. As Bill’s Buell Green boss Dr. Andrews tells him upon firing him, “It feels like dying, and it is. Let’s see if you have the guts to be reborn.” As a viewer, the possibility of a Phoenix-like rising that lies ahead is exciting, but damn if it isn’t exhausting. Masters of Sex — a show that changed very little in way of characters and setting in its first season — has become a bit exhausting to watch. Instead of stable footing, there’s the overwhelming fear that Bill’s job, marriage, household, and study are on the brink of breakdown yet again. This can be thrilling, but some of TV’s finest dramas know when let it up with a slow-moving episode or two.
It sounds cruel to say, but there is finally nothing to be done here. Virginia acts in an admirable way when Lillian poisons herself on sleeping pills: she lets her go. The moments between Lillian and Virginia were among the episode’s most touching, because they weren’t in a rush to get anywhere. Th...
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