Well, here we are. Life for William Masters and Virginia Johnson has been up, down, and all around in a season that comes to its conclusion with them choosing to tie the knot. Is everything going to end in happiness for everyone? Let’s find out as we jump into “The Eyes of God.”
The episode begins with Virginia awakening to the sound of Bill singing while he shaves. As she joins him in the bathroom, she tells him that the marriage could take place at Hugh Hefner’s mansion. Brides there have even appeared in puffs of smoke. Virginia plans to head out before the kids see her. She then reminds Bill that he has an intake with her parents.
As Virginia heads out, she spots Libby returning in a hippie van, which she got from a man named Patches. Libby doesn’t regret a moment from Woodstock. She’s fine with Virginia and Bill being together, but then Virginia tells her that the two plan to get married, and Libby is the first to know. Libby is glad, but she’s concerned about the children being confused. Virginia hoped that the two of them could figure this out together.
Virginia, why can’t you ever handle your own shit?
At the clinic, Barton and Guy congratulate Bill and Virginia. Guy asks about the wedding planner, and since the two don’t have one, they select Guy for the responsibility because of course. Barton is to stand as witness.
Just then, Edna and Harry arrive for the intake. Bill walks the two through the questionnaire process and begins with their current sexual activity. Virginia, briefly interrupted by Lester, listens in on the session from the recording room.
Edna wants to know how revealing of this private information helps. Once you say the ugly and secret things, they’re out there for good. Edna admits that she’s done her best to be a good wife and that should be enough.
If Harry knows Edna well enough, he should know that he’s asking too much. With that, Edna leaves. Harry is out, too, if Edna leaves. He’s done with marriage. Virginia chases after her father to get him to stay, but Harry is now even more upset that his daughter listened in on their conversation. Virginia doesn’t want her parents to break up- there are worse things than driving each other crazy, like growing old all by yourself.
But again, with two failed marriages of her own, Harry asks how Virginia can say that. Before Virginia can follow her father, Art arrives to discuss an urgent matter. He tells her and Bill that Nancy plans to open her own clinic using their work and patient names, particularly the wealthy one. Right now, Nancy is in New York to sign paperwork for office space. Art was with her, but no longer.
He’s facing hard truths about his marriage. Art tells the two that they didn’t deserve to have their trust betrayed and hopes that it’s not too late.
So Bram walks the team through a process of cutting off Nancy’s breach while she’s ahead. Barton doesn’t believe that Nancy would do this, but Bram counters that it’s often a trusted employee who would do this. Bill and Virginia need to get to Bob Drag and tell them that any book on homosexuality based on their work, will be from them, not Nancy. Guy goes back to the important thing: the wedding. Priorities.
This is news to Lester and Bram, so Bill reveals that, yes, he and Virginia are getting married. Lester wishes the two the very best and hopes they don’t find it as soul-crushing that he has with Jane.
Libby gets to work on making phone calls to register for law school when Bram enters, glad to see her after a week. He missed her a lot. What does he mean by a lot?
Fucking in the van. That’s what he means. Bram isn’t a fan of Libby’s van, but Libby calls it an awakening. Me? I’ll just never get tired of a topless Libby.
As Guy makes calls and Lester goes to work putting new locks in place, Nancy calls Barton to speak with her. Nancy, though, is at home when Virginia and an officer arrive to search the premises. Nancy isn’t intimidated by Virginia’s threats since never signed the nondisclosure agreement.
Nancy believes that the two of them will end up alone, so Virginia brings up that she’s marrying Bill. She’ll end up happy, while Nancy will not. Nancy, though, maintains that Virginia won’t find anything- not even her happy ending.
That evening at House Masters, Libby tells Bill all about her experience at Woodstock and a doctor who inspired her to enroll at law school at Berkeley. The kids would come with Libby, but Bill still wants to spend time with them. It’s taken years to find a path forward, and while Libby is happy about that, it’s time for her life to fall into place as well. Bill maintains that she can do that in St. Louis.
Libby has no intention of fighting for the kids, but Bill is worried if the kids will think that he doesn’t care if he won’t fight for them. Libby isn’t about to pay for Bill’s selfishness just because he spent years as an absent father.
Then they hear a noise. The two rush out to see Johnny driving away in the car, and doing so shitty of a job that Bill is able to catch up to him. Johnny is tired of the fighting as Bill embraces his son. Bill apologizes that Johnny had to hear that.
Johnny tells Bill that he doesn’t plan to move- he’ll stay in St. Louis with Bill because it’s the right thing to do. Bill won’t have friends or his mother, so if Johnny leaves, Bill won’t have anyone. Not even Bill deserves to be alone.
Bill informs Johnny that he and Virginia are about to get married. He didn’t want to hurt Libby, but adult lives are complicated and as much as he’s tried, he couldn’t change his feelings for Virginia, no matter how much he tried. He admits to many mistakes, but there’s still love in it. He even still loves Libby, but not the way he loves Virginia. As such, Johnny won’t stay if he doesn’t have to.
Bill tells Johnny that he doesn’t have feel responsible for adults- they have to figure out their problems for themselves.
Virginia meets with her mother and apologizes, but Edna considers it a relief. She knows that Virginia won’t understand how she feels, and at least agrees with Harry on how baffled they are at why Virginia wants to keep them together. So Virginia drops the bombshell that she and Bill are getting married, hopefully, next month. She hoped that Edna and Harry could walk her down the aisle.
But Edna considers the marriage a mistake. For years, she attended to her father, but she’s now done with sex. Hell, she has been for years. Now she crawl into a bed alone with a book in peace. Now Virginia does bring up that Edna told her to nail down Bill, but Edna was speaking from fear. Plus, given Virginia’s age and what she’s endured, Edna wonders if her daughter needs another failed marriage.
Virginia lays out her woes to Bill and wants to push the wedding back so planning doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Okay, so Bill wants to have the wedding tomorrow with just the two of them. After all, they only have to do what they want. The two have each other, so their marriage should reflect that, but Virginia feels that marriage is bigger than that. All they’ve believed in has come true and their marriage would be inspiring.
But Bill doesn’t care about people. That much is true. They need to separate themselves from Masters and Johnson and push aside their distractions. They need to make this about them in the eyes of God. Roll credits. Bill concedes that Barton can still witness, but just him.
Nancy awakens and finds Art standing before her because he forgot his high school wrestling trophies, which now mattered to him. Nancy didn’t believe that Art had betrayal in him. She’s impressed and sad at the same time. Art is still upset about Nancy aborting their child. Even though Nancy may not love Art, he could have found love with a child and Nancy took it from him.
Art will never again swallow everything that he is and feels for the sake of someone else. However, Nancy admits that Art was wrong about one thing: she does love Art, but couldn’t imagine being with a child. What kind of mother would she be? Worse than Virginia? Art could have loved a child for both of them. Nancy still tries to convince Art that New York could be a fresh start.
But Art isn’t backing down. He is a shrink, after all. And Nancy confessed the one thing she knew would end her marriage. Sometimes what we want can surprise even us. And with that, Art and his trophies leave.
At the clinic, Bill and Virginia talk with Bob Drag about their work and his supposed loyalty to them, based on his deal with Art and Nancy. Bob maintains that Art put in the work, but he’s not a known entity in the publishing world. Point is that Masters and Johnson are a household name and, as Virginia says, their book on homosexuality would chronicle the homosexual transition. As in conversion. And Bob doesn’t like that. Neither does Bill.
Bob tells Bill and Virginia that the book is theirs. He’s not sure how this mix-up happened now in the first place. Virginia later tells Bill that she just said what was needed to get the book back. She then decides to head home to get changed. Virginia doesn’t want the two to see each other before the small ceremony.
In enters Guy to tell them that Hugh Hefner has offered the mansion for the marriage. Bill and Virginia want that plan on hold for now.
Art meets Bob at a bar and learns that Bob plans to do the homosexual book with Virginia and Bill, and Art is fine with that since he’s leaving the work. Bob is upset by that since Art is a great doctor. As for Nancy, that’s not difficult for Art anymore. Bob is sorry about what Art has endured, though he feels the two understand each other very well.
Then Bob confronts Art in the men’s room and kisses him on the grounds that he’s tipsy. Oh, it may be more than that, Bob.
As Libby packs, Bram is upset that she’s moving far away. He’s proud of her, but also loves her. Libby doesn’t know how the two will keep in touch. She’s just being realistic. If the two find their way to each other, fine, but if not, it wasn’t meant to be. She’s happy about the wonderful time they’ve had.
Bram won’t allow her to go, but it’s not up to him. Libby won’t organize her life around a man anymore, but Bram will organize his around hers. For the time being, Libby can go, but one day, Bram will be there.
Back at the clinic, Guy informs Virginia of an important phone call: it’s Art, who tells her that Bob Drag kissed him like Rhett kissed Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Bit of a random reference, Art. In his opinion, Bob is an active homosexual, so if Virginia wants a success story of turning homosexual impulses to heterosexual, Bob Drag is not that. Art’s fear is that this negates the book entirely. Art maintains that he at least tried his best.
Virginia promises to give this news to Bill. As Virginia prepares to leave, Dody arrives. She and Bill talk in the diner about Dody’s cousin who just moved to Chestefield, so Dody is staying with her. But Dody tells Bill that seeing him again helped upend her marriage. It had to happen since she’s been living like a visitor in her life for so long. Seeing Bill helped clarify another truth: she was always meant to be with Bill.
A stunned Bill reveals that he’s getting married today to Virginia, so Dody says that she would like to properly meet her someday. It would make Dody happy to see Bill happy, but he tells her that no one actually knows about the marriage except for her and Barton. Dody wonders what it would be like if the two ended up as friends, but Bill reminds her that they already are.
In the parking lot, Nancy confronts Barton and says that he’s the last person she wanted to hurt. She feels that the world of sexual therapy is exploding and Bill and Virginia are holding onto something that’s slipping from their grasp. Nancy plans to take the work places that Bill and Virginia could only imagine, but she isn’t saying that the two won’t stop what they are doing.
However, Virginia’s ambition is pushing the work into an area that could be their undoing: gay conversion therapy. Barton doesn’t buy that, so Nancy presents a recording and tells Barton to do his own research.
Wait, how’d she get that?
Whatever. Anyway, Virginia arrives at a court building to check in for the wedding, but she can’t do that since both parties aren’t present. So the court clerk, played by Aloma Wright- hey, it’s Laverne from Scrubs– tells Virginia to have a seat.
Back at the clinic, Barton tells Bill that he won’t be going to the wedding if it’s true that Bill and Virginia are indeed publishing a book advocating gay conversion. Bill doesn’t deny that he and Virginia took back their work from Art and Nancy and will publish a book, but Barton reminds Bill that he promised he wasn’t advocating conversion therapy. Bill admits that yes, Bob Drag redirected his heterosexual impulses.
Barton is stunned by Bill’s clinical take on the situation after everything Barton suffered, not to mention the hell he put Margaret and Vivian through and how he nearly killed himself just trying to get rid of his homosexuality. Bill doesn’t want to see that again, but he says what he and Virginia are exploring is nothing like the torture that Barton endured.
They’re just taking what they knew about heterosexual couples and redirecting it towards people like Bob Drag.
Bill felt it was his duty to help Bob change, but Barton says that people like him shouldn’t have to change. And then Barton brings up how Virginia may be pushing Bill towards this conversion work. Barton is and always has been fond of Virginia, but he feels that she has always had the most to prove, maybe because she doesn’t have credentials.
And that’s where Bill gets aggressive, as he won’t allow Barton to malign Virginia. Barton won’t abide by this and will say what needs to be said. Given their relationship of over 30 years, Barton admits that he loves Bill like a son. But if Bill uses his pulpit to advocate gay conversion, Barton will make it his life’s work to see Bill discredited.
Because Bill is at the clinic, he’s 13 minutes late for the marriage, so the clerk presents Virginia with a box of tissues. After all, the court house closes at 5 pm.
Libby is all packed up and ready to head off in the Hippie Mobile as she and the kids head off to start their new, bright future.
Virginia sits at the courthouse all by her lonesome and prepares to leave, but Bill and Guy finally arrive, Guy taking the spot of witness. So indeed, Bill and Virginia take their sacred vows, place their rings, and are pronounced man and wife.
As the two head out, a cameraman takes a quick picture. Odd, considering this is not only a private affair, but there’s no telling how he found out about the ceremony. As the two head out, cameramen and journalists approach from all directions. With the courthouse locked, Virginia proposes giving the paparazzi just one photo. Bill doesn’t look so happy about this.
And as cameramen snap photos of the newly wed Masters and Johnson, the fourth season of Masters of Sex comes to a close.
By season’s end, I sort of see Bill and Virginia standing on a house of cards that appears stable for now, but you can spot an occasional wobble or imbalance that threatens to ruin the entire arrangement. Despite everything the two have endured, Masters and Johnson are now wed and prepared to spend the rest of their personal and professional lives together.
This comes at the cost of…not necessarily burning bridges, but hindering most of the relationships with the people around them. With the exception of Libby, who gets a decent and happy sendoff, we end on mixed notes for Bill and Virginia’s friends and family.
The door is left open to explore the potential fallout or rebuilding of these relationships in a future season, but as of now, while Bill and Virginia are wed, others are left with their hopes dashed, as if wherever Bill and Virginia go, they leave a path of despair behind them, whether intentional or by accident. What started as a bright and happy intro with this finale ends with a feeling of uncertainty.
But we’ll get to that later. As much as I’ve disliked some of Libby’s decisions and demeanor in past seasons, I have enjoyed her arc this time around. Free from Bill, in love with Bram, and with law school in her future, Libby has made a major turnaround from the quiet housewife we saw back in the first season.
She’s independent, outspoken, assertive, and doesn’t back down just because Bill doesn’t like being called out for his shitty parenting. And that argument not only felt genuine, but I feel they both had a point. Libby shouldn’t have to and won’t have to fight for the kids and she’s waited long enough to let her life fall into place on her terms, not a man’s.
More than that, she doesn’t feel obligated to stay in one place because Bram will miss her. That’s great for Bram, but he has advocated that Libby think outside the box and saw a future law career for her. If he does care for her, he has to be willing to let her go, and he is. Unlike Bill, Bram is willing to sacrifice the closeness of Libby so she can pursue her dreams.
And while he doesn’t have a leg to stand on as far as his parenting goes, Bill has made strides to improve his relationship with the kids. For all his faults and strained bond with Johnny, I did like him assuring his son that he doesn’t need to try and feel responsible for adults. They’re complicated people and right now, Johnny should just enjoy being a kid.
That said, given how complicated Johnny’s relationship has been with his father, he’s come a long way since throwing Bill’s work in the water last season. Then, he hated Bill, but now, he initially refuses to leave St. Louis because not even Bill, as bad as he’s been, deserves to be by himself. It was a very warm exchange between the two and felt like, by episode’s end, Johnny, though hesitant, was ready to let his father go.
All that in mind, it is upsetting to see Libby go if this may be the last in which we see her. I can’t imagine Masters of Sex juggling a storyline in California in addition to St. Louis, and while there wasn’t much subtlety to Libby’s storyline this season, this felt like an appropriate point to end her character arc if we never see her again. She’s free, has a goal in mind, and is ready to begin the rest of her life.
The same can’t be said for Dody, who came all the way to visit Bill and tell him that she’s relocating. I’ll admit, it was sad to see the heartbreak on Dody’s face when she learned that Bill was getting married soon, but at the same time, I’m glad that they have remained friends. And since she’s making this huge move, optimistic as this sounds, I don’t think this will be the last we see of Dody.
As I’ve said before, Nancy had every right to be upset at the shitty way Virginia treated her, but her revenge wasn’t well thought out. Once Art learned about her aborting the child, it was clear that he would try to get back at her and he did. If Nancy wanted to start her own clinic and get the recognition she felt that she deserved, fine, but don’t do it by taking the work and research of the very people who hired you in the first place.
It felt so sudden and half-assed that Nancy deserved to end up where she did by episode’s end. She brought it on herself and she drove Art away in the process. The most she could do is taunt Virginia by claiming that she won’t get her happy ending.
However, she did manage one win with giving Barton the recording on Bill and Virginia seemingly accepting the idea of gay conversion. Side-note, how did Nancy get the recording in the first place? Lester changed the locks, right? And I’m sure if Nancy entered the clinic, someone, or at least Guy, would have stopped her or alerted the proper channels.
Anyway, while Nancy didn’t succeed at being able to start a clinic, she is successful at driving a wedge between Bill and Barton. You would think that these people could be more careful since their entire office is bugged. But Barton was right: Virginia is ambitious. Even if just to save the book, it was wrong of her to say that the book would chronicle homosexual conversion.
This goes against what Bill stands for. He saw back in “Parallax” how society tries to convert homosexuals. And we saw Barton’s suicide attempt and how much that hurt Margaret and Vivian. Now that he’s out and proud of who he is, the very idea that Bill or Virginia would advocate or include anything related to conversion in their book is a slap in the face.
And it’s a shame if this is how Barton’s relationship with Bill and Virginia ends. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to be adversaries or be put in a situation where he might have to discredit the two of them, but Virginia has forced his hand. And as noble as it may be for Bill to defend Virginia, Barton and Nancy are right: Virginia is ambitious, and her current trajectory has driven away one of her biggest allies.
Virginia’s overconfidence often gets the best of her, and that’s very prevalent here. She wants to protect the book? Fine, but that means saying that you’re in favor of conversion. Whether she means it, it’s still recorded.
And as we’ve seen in previous seasons, she learned here that she can’t save every couple, even if it’s her parents. While Bill and Virginia are set to tie the knot, Edna and Harry are all too anxious to be rid of one another. Based on Virginia’s experiences with George, Bill, and Dan, she knows what it’s like to drive away a significant other and end up alone. She doesn’t want that for her parents, but she’s not a miracle worker.
The fact that, despite the craziness of the season, she and Bill still get married at the last second is a miracle in and of itself. But she continues to go by “Masters and Johnson” to the press, even though that’s just their marketable, household name. And it doesn’t look like she’s told Bill about Bob Drag kissing Art, telegraphed as it was, thus negating the book.
With Libby gone and him revealing his plans to Dody, Bill is now wed with the woman who truly gets him. But based on that final moment, I didn’t get the sense of warmth with Bill and Virginia that I got with some of his interactions with Libby and Dody this season. With Virginia, there looks to be some anxiousness about what the future holds.
That holds for the show as well. At the time of this posting, unlike Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex has yet to be renewed for a fifth season. And while I hope the show doesn’t go the way of Penny Dreadful when there’s so much to tell, the future is uncertain.
What will become of Bill and Virginia’s marriage? Will we follow-up on Libby and her law school adventures? How far will Barton go at discrediting Bill and Virginia? Is the book in jeopardy now? And what became of Betty’s custody battle? With the future unknown as of now, it’s anyone’s guess. But for the moment, here’s hoping we get a chance to further explore this world in the fifth season of Masters of Sex.
Update: Well, should’ve mentioned this sooner since the news has been out for awhile, but apparently “The Eyes of God” was indeed the swan song for Masters of Sex, as Showtime has decided to cancel the drama after four seasons. While I had my issues with Season Four, it was still enjoyable to watch and I was curious to see what the future held in store for the characters.
But looks like that won’t be the case. With that said, on the off-chance that anyone is still reading, I do want to thank those who have followed or took any time to read my unnecessarily long recaps and ramblings on this show. It was the first program I blogged about and it’s been fun getting to know these characters, see their conflicts, and watch them grow as people.
Masters of Sex had its flaws and took some liberties, but even with its flaws, I had fun watching this. Like Penny Dreadful earlier in 2016, it’s the end of this chapter for Masters and Johnson. Thank you all for reading and take care.