“Masters of Sex” has passed the midpoint of its season, but the show still lacks direction. Thankfully, “Masters” has retired some of the ridiculous plotlines that plagued earlier episodes of the season (hello, boob-grabbing zoo gorilla) and stopped trying to make us care about Virginia’s teen daughter — but the show has some work to do if it’s ever going to be good enough to deserve Josh Charles.

“Masters” is seldom successful in handling its endless roster of side characters and subplots, but somehow, guest actors like the aforementioned Josh Charles keep signing up to be on this show. Emily Kinney (“The Walking Dead”) plays Nora Everett, an old neighbor of Bill’s who joins Bill’s sex study as a “surrogate” to help men with erectile dysfunction. Knowing that Nora was an old neighbor of Bill’s and he hasn’t seen her since she was a child, their flirty student/teacher relationship is deeply creepy — and it doesn’t help that Kinney’s youthful appearance makes her look very, very underage.

Masters of Sex



Sundays at 10 p.m.

Legendary comedian Sarah Silverman doesn’t get much to do aside from wanting a baby, and actual full-time cast member Caitlin FitzGerald (“Adult Beginners”) hasn’t been granted an interesting storyline for Libby in almost two seasons.

“Higher Anxiety” provides standard fare for an episode of “Masters of Sex” — obvious relationship metaphors, oorly-drawn female characters, beautiful production design and period costumes that almost distract from the bad writing — but “Masters” as usual is not good enough to properly honor the show’s excellent cast. Get your act together, “Masters of Sex.” For the love of Josh Charles.

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