“Masters Of Sex” pretty much kicked off a few weeks after the fallout between Virginia Johnson and Dr. Bill Masters that was seen in the last season’s finale on the Showtime series. As expected, the obstetrician was at rock bottom. He was a regular at court, frequented bars posing as someone other than a doctor and lived in a hotel.
Bill Explains Freefall
Posing as a bra salesman who was once a pilot, Bill (Michael Sheen) explains the concept of Freefall – which is also the title of Season 4, episode 1 -- to a stranger. He tells a gentleman at the bar that he quit becoming a pilot because he once had a jump with a tangled parachute. At first he panicked and his heart pounded on his chest, but later he felt at peace when he thought he was close to death.
On his journey home after the drunken revelry, Masters contemplates ending his life by crashing into a car. But he doesn’t. Instead, he finds himself parked just outside a church. Out of nowhere, a car comes crashing into his. Despite it being the other driver’s fault, Bill is slapped with another charge because his blood alcohol level was twice the permissible limit.
This leads the judge to mandate court-appointed Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings led by a wonderful woman named Louise (Niecy Nash). He has to attend (and not necessarily participate) in these AA meetings. But AA chairperson Louise isn’t going to let him just sit there. While signing the court mandate (he has to finish 90 meetings), she coaxes him to participate.
Bill, being stubborn as ever, isn’t willing to admit he’s an alcoholic or that his life is in shambles. Ultimately, what convinces him of taking his AA meetings seriously is Louise’s explanation of a freefall – the same explanation he gave to the man at a bar the previous night.
Furthermore, with his license suspended for three months, Bill has to be driven to the meetings by Louise.
Virginia Is Up To No Good
Meanwhile, an equally stubborn Virginia (Lizzy Caplan) seems to be enjoying her honeymoon … without Dan (Josh Charles) in Las Vegas. She hooks up with a bar tender while she’s drunk calling into question if she still is with Dan.
Later, she chances upon a talk by a so-called sex researcher who wrote a book called “The Method” and claims to have worked with Masters and Johnson. Virginia questions all of the claims of this “sex researcher.” Then, the crowd realizes she is Mrs. Johnson.
One of her fans mentions to Virginia that a sex column would certainly boost her brand image. She decides this is a good idea and phones playboy billionaire Hugh Hefner for a chat. She wants to write an advice column in Playboy magazine.
Virginia visits Hef’s mansion – complete with beautiful girls and photoshoots. But Hef isn’t happy to hear she’s broken off from Bill. Unbeknownst to her, he calls Bill for a meeting at his mansion.
Back To Work
Meanwhile, the season 4 premiere of “Masters Of Sex” showed Betty (Annaleigh Ashford) barely holding the fort down at the Masters and Johnson clinic. She dodges clients, makes excuses for Bill’s absence and buries herself in phone calls cancelling future appointments.
When Bill shows up at the clinic, Betty explains how she has been doing his and Virginia’s work. She pleads him to take up the case of the Donnelley’s – a married couple that haven’t had sex since they got married.
Bill isn’t sure he can solve the case without Virginia. After all, she was the one good with people. But Betty assures him the case is simple enough. And it is. Turns out, the husband had a shoe fetish and, after they got married, his wife has only been wearing slippers.
Hugh Hefner To The Rescue
Meanwhile, Bill meets Virginia at Hugh Hefner’s mansion. He tells them in no uncertain terms, that he will only publish the column and invest in their practice if they work together. He explains to them that they are a brand – just like playboy is to Hugh Hefner – and they cannot be separated.
Bill and Virginia agree to go back to work but not as partners. They would share office space, but not their work. Oh, and Bill made a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking confession to Virginia – he screwed up their relationship big time.
Elsewhere, Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald) joins a women’s support group and appoints a lawyer to begin proceedings with her divorce from Bill.
“Masters Of Sex” Season 4 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EDT on Showtime.