By Chloe Gilke, Daily TV/New Media Editor
Published September 3, 2014
Following last week’s surprise time jump, “Masters of Sex” settles into 1960 with a scattered and unfocused episode. The best thing about moving forward two years is that, in theory, the story could bypass finishing some of the weaker elements that have been developed this season and move ahead into new territory. This isn’t the case, though — the problems that plagued the characters in 1958 (and the show itself) continue to haunt them in 1960.
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A full recap of the episode would reveal just how disjointed it is — Bill’s brother comes to town, Libby witnesses an act of racial violence, Virginia decides she wants to help victims like Barbara sort out the psychological demons that spill into their sex lives, Austin is the new chair of Cal-O-Metric, Libby plans a gala, Bill needs a board of trustees. “Mirror Mirror” throws up a bunch of parallel situations, but only a few of them actually resonate. While the interplay between some of these disparate elements are cool (especially a scene that intercuts a conversation about male impotence to its female counterpart), “Masters of Sex” suffers from a crippling surplus of characters and plotlines. There’s enough going on that the lows (Libby’s racism and general awfulness) are beginning to make the show’s strengths (Bill and Virginia’s relationship) seem miniscule in comparison. Bill may be incapacitated by the memory of seeing Virginia’s boyfriend answer his call to the door, but that doesn’t mean that “Masters of Sex” must also be rendered impotent by its past troubles.