A Look at Legion- Season 1, Episode 2: “Chapter 2”

So now that David Haller is in the hands of Melanie Bird, it’s time for David to learn more about his powers, look back at his past, and take a deep dive into his own mind.  And this doesn’t involve a trip to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

chapter-2-david-arrives-at-summerland

The episode begins with David and the others still on the run from wolves, black masks, and Mackenzie Gray’s character, who we can now call The Eye.  As the journey continues, we overhear Melanie Bird say that the human race is evolving.  She and her group believes that David is a powerful telepath- potentially telekinetic- meaning he can control matter with his mind.

chapter-2-dr-bird-instructs-david-to-focus-on-one-particular-voice

As David rests in the facility known as Summerland, Dr. Bird tells David that The Divisions were created by the government to track and study people like him and Syd. Ones who cannot be controlled are killed.  She asks if David is hearing voices and then tells him to focus on them, despite the pain this power is causing him.

Dr. Bird tells David to concentrate on finding a single voice calling out his name.  It’s like turning down a big volume knob.  As David focuses, Dr. Bird explains that this is called telepathy.  For now, David can rest.  Tomorrow, memory work begins.  Syd joins David, who is curious about what Melanie meant by memory work.

chapter-2-dr-bird-tells-david-that-the-voices-he-hears-are-a-result-of-his-powers

Let’s find out together. The next day, Melanie poses a question: what if everything people said about David’s supposed illness was a lie?  Instead, the voices and hallucinations could just be his powers.  And Melanie can help him rewrite the story of his life.  Right now, David wonders if there’s even time for that with Division Three still in pursuit.

chapter-2-ptonomy-dr-bird-and-david-prepare-to-begin-memory-work

There’s time, though.  Dr. Bird tells David that he is important to her, so she needs him clear and focused.  They, along with Ptonomy, sit at a table with rods sticking outward. This, Dr. Bird says, is how her group looks back, finds a person’s abilities, and what triggers them.  More than that, you’re made whole.  They grab the rods and memory work begins.

chapter-2-dr-bird-wants-david-to-take-in-his-memories

The three travel to the past and watch a young David and Amy running through a field.  This is memory work, thanks to Ptonomy’s gift as a memory artist.  Right now, Ptonomy just wants David to take all of this in, as talking to his younger self and sister could change the memory.  It’s best he not do that.

Right now, the idea is for David to accept that this is real, and then the group can focus on taking David back to moments when his ‘illness’ started developing. Melanie will show that this was really just David’s gift and he will soon be whole again.

chapter-2-david-and-dr-bird-watch-younger-david-with-his-mother

In essence, this is David’s museum and he can do whatever he wants.  He glimpses moments from his youth, like his mother doing garden work with him and marking his height on the wall in their home.

chapter-2-davids-father-reads-young-david-a-bedtime-story

As for David’s father, he was an astronomer, but he passed away.  We then watch as David’s father, who we can’t see, reads his son a bedtime story.  As David watches his younger self, he soon backs away and the room begins to shake.  All of a sudden, voices begin flooding in again.

chapter-2-david-freaking-out-while-syd-tries-to-calm-him-down

He breaks free from the memory work, afraid of the memories, but Syd implores him to calm down.  She felt the same way on her first time, too.  A frantic David, now wanting to leave, is soon put to sleep by Ptonomy.

chapter-2-dr-poole-played-by-scott-lawrence-asks-david-about-his-home-life

We then flash back to David speaking with Dr. Poole, played by Scott Lawrence, who asks David about his home life and girlfriend, who apparently left him.  While David asks for gum, Dr. Poole notes that the end of a relationship could be disruptive for someone with David’s condition.  David’s sleeping just fine, and he states that vapor has helped. Poole asks what David meant by ‘the vapor.’

More than that, he notes that the dynamic of fighting and then making up isn’t good for David, who still has flashes of when he destroyed the kitchen.  He needs a more settled environment.  David promises to work on that.

chapter-2-lenny-tells-david-about-how-she-stole-a-kitchen-range-from-a-girl-she-finger-banged

We follow David as he leaves his appointment and meets up with Lenny, who asks if he’s good in the head.  Turns out that Lenny got her hands on a kitchen range from a girl she finger-banged.  Kinky.  She and David start walking through an alley.

chapter-2-ptonomy-tells-david-about-his-father

David soon awakens and receives a glass of milk from Ptonomy.  The first time in memory work is always the worst.  Syd threw up her first time.  She’s doing talk work with Dr. Bird, who thinks that David is the key to winning the war and other things.  David admits that he’s impressed with Ptonomy’s memory artist abilities.

Ptonomy explains that his father had a shit memory due to artillery shell in the war causing him to go deaf in one ear.  As a result, he was never good with facts.  He’d just snap his fingers whenever he forgot Ptonomy’s name.  Odd, since Ptonomy remembers everything.

And he does mean everything, like his birth and even being in the womb.  Imagine being inside your mother’s body, warm and blind, and then light after some intense pressure. Ptonomy then asks David about that book his father read him- “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World”- because if David’s parents read that book to him before bed, that’s messed up.  David doesn’t remember, but Ptonomy is certain that David’s memories seem clear.

David would rather not talk about it, but hey, it’s not Ptonomy’s deal, either.  He’s just the memory guy.  Okay, fair enough.  Meanwhile, The Eye leads a squadron of soldiers as they continue their pursuit…

chapter-2-syd-tells-david-what-happened-to-her-when-they-switched-bodies

Later, at a swing set, David tells Syd that he doesn’t see how the memory work is helping.  Syd thought the same when she first arrived.  Once she got there, all she wanted was to rescue David.  It wouldn’t have mattered what she saw when she was in David’s body.

She still doesn’t understand it.  After a flash, she remembers switching places with David and everything in the dayroom growing louder.  Between that and the lights, Syd never felt that way before.  And then, in addition to glimpsing the blob with yellow eyes, Syd realizes that she’s responsible for killing Lenny.  David knows that it’s not Syd’s fault.  As Lenny said, you don’t give a newbie a bazooka and act surprised when they blow shit up.

chapter-2-syd-back-in-her-own-body

However, Melanie and the others, as well as Division Three, heard Syd using David’s powers. Melanie’s group thought they had found David, but it was actually Syd.  Sure enough, Syd soon returned to her own body when en route with Melanie’s team.

David confesses that he’d love to hug Syd or at least hold hands, but that’s uncomfortable for Syd.  The closer she gets to someone, there’s this feeling that she equates to being covered with ants or feeling little anxious needles under her skin.  It’s all she can do not to scream.  That sucks, but as David points out, they’re at least having a romance of the mind.  Sweet.

chapter-2-cary-loudermilk-played-by-bill-irwin-observes-david

We then cut to David receiving an MRI scan of his brain.  The doctor overseeing the process is Cary Loudermilk, played by Bill Irwin.  He instructs David not to move or sneeze because it could jumble the scan.  As Dr. Loudermilk rattles off a few words, David admits that he talks to himself, too.  That or the voices.  Cary wasn’t talking to himself, though.  He was talking to Kerry.  The other Kerry, mind you.

After noting that David has a large amygdala, Cary tells David to think of someone or something that he loves.  He begins the scan.

chapter-2-amy-tells-david-that-shes-getting-married-soon

We then cut back to Amy telling David that she thinks that a man- Bill, I’m guessing?- is going to propose to her.  David is happy, but Amy doesn’t know for sure.  She knows that David and girlfriend, Philly, gets him.  David doesn’t think so, but Amy asks why her brother why he can’t have what everyone else has: a nice home and a family.  David’s reason?  Because he’s sick.

chapter-2-the-greek-played-by-eddie-jemison-asks-lenny-why-he-would-want-a-stove

Still in the past, while David is transfixed on a dog, Lenny tries to give her stolen kitchen range to The Greek, played by, Eddie Jemison in exchange for drugs.  As they speak, their voices become more distorted.  The Greek has no need for a stove, even if it could be used to cook, heat a room or, hell, even kill himself.

chapter-2-lenny-and-david-get-high

Soon enough, Lenny does manage to score some drugs that she inserts into a blue bong. David wonders why the drug is blue, but they’re always blue. Lenny asks David how Dr. Poole’s place is since they could probably slip in one day when he’s not home.  There’s great score potential, after all.  The two soon start inhaling fumes from the bong and they begin to go on a trip.

chapter-2-dr-bird-david-and-ptonomy-observe-past-david-and-lenny-getting-high

Oh, but this is all part of memory work.  When time freezes, Dr. Bird asks David what he saw when he looked at Lenny, but David doesn’t see the point in that because he was high.  Melanie insists that David brushing his abilities off on schizophrenic delusions is part of an old narrative.  The things he sees are real.  Speaking of, let’s go through time again.

chapter-2-ptonomy-david-and-dr-bird-at-the-session

Ptonomy takes us back to David’s session with Dr. Poole.  At one particular point, he notes a glitch- a time jump.  It’s important that David remember everything.  Even if he was focused on something else, the surrounding memory should be intact.  If David is still confused, Melanie and Ptonomy will help him find the truth.

The session resumes and Ptonomy spots a flash of David’s kitchen incident six years ago when he used his powers.  He tells David to concentrate on where he went.  So long as David makes his mind blank, Ptonomy can take them to that particular moment.

chapter-2-david-in-his-bedroom-with-his-younger-self

So we return to David as a child.  David insists that he’s not doing this as the bedroom door suddenly shuts.  The room rumbles and shakes as the copy “The World’s Angriest Boy in the World” falls to the floor.

chapter-2-david-tells-syd-that-he-read-her-thoughts

Back in the present, Syd checks in on David, as Dr. Bird won’t tell her about David’s memory.  David asks Syd if they’re really safe at Summerland.  Right now, yes, but she knows that people are searching to experiment on them.  Syd promises that she’ll protect David.  Well, she thinks it, as David realizes, but Syd doesn’t think so.

chapter-2-dr-poole-asks-david-when-things-changed-in-his-life

After a brief cut to the MRI scan as Dr. Loudermilk tries to figure out where David’s memories are stored, we return to David’s session with Dr. Poole, who asks when David started seeing another world out of the corner of his eye.  It began when David was 10 or 11, but the pills Dr. Poole prescribed should help with that.  Poole asks if David is supplementing- since he used the word ‘vapor’- but David denies it.

Then Poole asks what David remembers from the years when the visions started.  David rattles off a series of constellations and ends up talking about his father studying the stars. Some nights, David’s father would wake him up in the middle of the night and the two would drive out in the truck to look up at the sky.  Dad said the stars talk to everyone, including him, but David thought he meant it in a metaphorical sense.

chapter-2-dr-poole-tells-david-that-hes-in-a-safe-environment

As for what the stars said, David says he’s not supposed to talk about that.  Besides, he’s soon drawn to the closet door opening by itself.  Dr. Poole, assuring David that he’s in a safe place, closes the door and says that it’s just a closet.  Nothing can hurt him.

chapter-2-david-hears-amys-voice

Back to the MRI scan, David apparently hears a woman’s voice, but it wasn’t Kerry. It was Amy’s.

chapter-2-amy-visits-the-hospital-and-asks-about-david

We see Amy visit the facility, where she learns that there are apparently no records of David Haller or Dr. Kissinger at this hospital.  Amy asks the clerk if she’s being coerced, but the woman instead proposes that Amy herself be admitted for observation.  She then asks if Amy ever saw a psychiatrist for paranoid delusions.

As Amy prepares to leave, she hears David’s voice.  David, in astral form, calls out to her, but he can’t reach her.  At the same time, The Eye enters the hospital.

chapter-2-devil-with-yellow-eyes-stares-at-david

Back to the scan, Cary notes a spike in neural activity.  He leaves, but the scan continues anyway.  And then David spots the Devil with Yellow Eyes standing before him.

chapter-2-mri-machine-ends-up-outside-of-summerland

Soon enough, David finds himself out of the chamber.  Why?  Because the chamber itself, as Dr. Bird and the others soon see, is right outside Summerland.

chapter-2-david-tells-syd-that-he-plans-to-leave-so-he-can-rescue-amy

David tells Dr. Bird that Amy is being held by Division Three, but Bird tells David that he can’t help her.  He soon packs up and tells Syd that he’s leaving, but not because of Syd herself.  He tells her about seeing his sister while in the MRI machine.  He can’t just leave his sister.  Syd insists that David stay long enough to learn to learn what they can do together.

That way, after the work, they can rescue her.  Plus, Syd knows that Amy won’t be killed by Division Three because she’s bait.  David relents.  He’ll stick around.

chapter-2-the-eye-and-amy

The episode ends with The Eye bringing a fish tank of leeches with him into the dingy room where Amy is being held.  It’s time to begin.

We’re now at episode two of Legion and it’s not as off-the-wall as the pilot, but that’s just fine.  The effects are just as outstanding as before, but this one slows down a bit in order to take us on a voyage through David’s mind.

chapter-2-dr-bird-promises-to-make-time-for-david

As Dr. Bird says, he has to move past the message that’s been parroted to him for years. He’s not just some schizophrenic, but has special abilities that could prove beneficial both to himself and Dr. Bird’s team group at Summerland.  Things are changing as he learns not just about his powers, but whether he can accept what is real and what’s just in his memory.

chapter-2-david-and-dr-bird-inside-davids-memories

At least he has a great support network.  We don’t know all of Melanie Bird’s motivations, but I like how she’s helping David understand his powers and how he can tap into them, as well as see them more as a gift instead of curse.  It’s no accident that her mentoring is very similar to that of Charles Xavier aiding mutants come to terms with their powers.

chapter-2-preparing-to-begin-memory-work

But is that all?  She just helps mutants learn to harness their abilities?  Because as Ptonomy mentioned, Bird believes that David is the key to winning the war and other things.  What other things?  If we’re talking about a war with humans who capture and experiment on them, then that makes sense.  But to what end?  And what other things does Ptonomy mean?

I doubt we’re talking about an all out war against humanity for experimenting on humans, though it would not be unwarranted.  It’s like Dr. Bird has all the teachings of Professor X, but maybe shares Magneto’s desire to battle against humans.  That could be a stretch since there’s no reason yet to think Bird believes in mutant supremacy, but I am curious to see the depths of her plans for David.

chapter-2-ptonomy-notices-a-flash-in-davids-memory

As is, I liked both her and Ptonomy going into David’s mind to see what triggered his mutant abilities.  I like how fractured some of these trips felt.  Between the direction and writing, it feels like whenever the scene glitches or cuts in and out, it’s he’s still battling with his mind or that he can only remember things in fragments and pieces.

David feels like he’s always on the edge.  He can sort of keep things under control, but either when pressed or taken to a certain point in his life, he loses it, as seen when he watches his father read a bedtime story to his younger self.  This is as much a journey for him as it is for us as he still processes his true capabilities as a mutant.

chapter-2-david-and-lenny-get-high

I like the slow, methodical approach the show is taking to filling out David’s backstory and not spelling it all out at once.  We see his drug escapades with Lenny before they were institutionalized, Dr. Poole discussing David’s condition, and David’s relationship troubles with his girlfriend, but these are just as important in telling us more about him as they are in revealing moments that led to his abilities manifesting.  Memory work is brutal.

chapter-2-ptonomy-sees-a-flash-in-davids-memory

By the way, the combination of Ptonomy’s abilities and the group grabbing the rods while at the table felt very reminiscent of Cerebro.  And Ptonomy, from what I got here, is a very laid back mutant who has been through this many times.

Being able to remember every single thing from your life, even before your birth, though, is a scary thought, coupled with examining moments where a person’s powers manifest. Sounds like a stressful job, but he handles it with care and it’s nice that he, like Syd and Bird, isn’t trying to force David.  After all, as he said, he’s just the memory guy.  He can only help unlock one piece of the larger puzzle.

chapter-2-david-tells-syd-that-theyre-having-a-romance-of-the-mind

For now, even though David is as conflicted as ever, he stays because Syd assures him that the training will help him unlock his true potential.  Not to mention it allows the two to bond more.  Their relationship is an odd one- well, they are an odd couple- but there’s such strong chemistry between Dan Stevens and Rachel Keller that I soak up any screen time they have together.  I loved that “romance of the mind” line.

chapter-2-syd-and-david-have-a-romance-of-the-mind

In addition, there’s still much more to learn about Syd and her abilities.  We learn that she was in a similar position to David when she arrived, but don’t know the full scope of her powers.  She has an intimate connection with David due to being in his body and accidentally killing Lenny when she lost control, but David accepts her nonetheless.

chapter-2-syd-tells-david-to-stay-and-do-the-work-so-he-can-save-his-sister

And she’s even willing to go as far as holding hands, against her rule, if it meant David would stay.  Sure, some of that is out of concern for him not putting in the work yet, but part of that also has to be from how she cares about him.

chapter-2-amy-held-captive

But at the moment, David doesn’t have a choice but to stay if he wants to improve so he can safe Amy without fail.  I do wonder what plans The Eye- and I’m guessing Division Three as a whole- have for her.  The fact that she went looking for David should prove she doesn’t know where he is, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be coerced or tortured.

chapter-2-david-and-his-father-go-for-a-drive-to-look-up-at-the-stars

And on an unrelated note, we learn more about David’s father and his interest in astronomy.  I hope we see more of him later on, not just to learn about David’s upbringing, but to see if Legion will play with David’s connection to Charles Xavier.

Chapter 2 peels back the layers of David Haller’s mind as he tries to understand his abilities, what triggered them, and how he’ll be useful to Melanie Bird.  We see more of David’s powers and vulnerabilities, but with time, he’ll hopefully gain more control of his powers.

At the same time, we see his continued struggles, glimpses of the Devil with Yellow Eyes that continues to torment his mind, and on top of that, Amy is in the hands of The Eye. David better start training hard.

A Look at Masters of Sex- Season 3, Episode 3: “The Excitement of Release”

A bit unsettling at times, a bit exciting at times with the return of a few characters, and Hugh Hefner all rolled into one.  With the book out, Masters and Johnson are looking to expand their market.  That isn’t cheap, so they’ll need backers.  That also won’t be easy, but hopefully you can at least arouse curiosity.  Or find a better way to say that.  This is “The Excitement of Release.”

The Excitement of Release- Bill and Virginia read reviews of the book

The episode begins with Bill and Virginia reading reviews of their book about the sexual revolution. The comments are quite positive. One critic even comments that Masters and Johnson killed Freud. Now that’s quite the achievement.

When the celebration is all finished, the two try and get intimate for the first time in eight months. All traces of George are gone, Bill says, so they should be fine. He even removes Virginia’s wedding ring, a very easy process. They’ve both missed this intimacy, but Virginia notes that Bill’s body doesn’t feel like itself, while Bill calls Virginia’s body perfect. Before the two can get hot and heavy, though, they’re interrupted by baby Lisa crying. Don’t you hate when that happens?

The Excitement of Release- Bill finds Libby's friends at the house

Bill returns home and finds it filled with some of the neighbors in Libby’s book group. Libby is in the middle of a conversation with Joy, played by Susan May Pratt, who was shown three apartments today and will make her decision by week’s end. If she doesn’t act now, it will be all for talk. Their conversation stops at Bill’s arrival, but he’s informed by Libby that Joy is leaving her husband, Paul. Apparently, Libby knows Joy well enough to give her a copy of The Feminine Mystique, which was an interesting book that shouldn’t have been used as an instruction manual.

The Excitement of Release- Joy, played by Susan May Pratt, talks with Libby about apartment hunting

Libby is concerned about Joy, who won’t talk to Paul until her bags have been packed. She wants Bill to talk to Paul, though Bill has only exchanged four words with the man. But Libby has attended three dinners and one neighborhood potluck. She’d think that Bill would want to know if Libby was leaving him, though Bill thinks that’s preposterous and people fantasize on what they never do. Fair enough. Libby left a Chinese menu for Bill. They deliver until 10 pm. Boom. Score for Caitlin Fitzgerald.

The Excitement of Release- Ronald Sturgis, played by Colin Woodell, of the Committee of Decency, discusses Bill's book

The next day, Bill heads into the office building and grabs some papers before having a run-in with Ronald Sturgis, played by Colin Woodell, of the Committee of Decency. He’s read the book and tells Bill that Hell is a real place. He thanks God that Washington University fired Bill before he corrupted the students with his filth and kept him from peddling his smut.

The Excitement of Release- Bill talks about the book with Lester and Betty

Upstairs, Bill fills in Betty, who knows that this is far from the end since they’ve received angry letters from…interested individuals. Bill looks ahead to the future of the book. He asks Lester about the number of medical students in the United States. Lester, like most people, doesn’t have that information readily available, but they settle for around 30,000. That means there are 30,000 copies of the book to be sold as textbooks. Bill can begin at Washington University and branch out to the rest of the Midwest, though Lester wonders whether medical schools even have courses on sex.

If they don’t, Bill will convince them. Betty isn’t sold on selling books as a get rich scheme and would much rather the team takes on an investor. She argues that if Bill wants this research to be self-sustained, he needs a dedicated funding source. Bill says that finding the right audience is the priority and that the money will take care of itself. His plan is for him and Virginia to meet with the dean of curricular at Washington University, but Virginia isn’t in. She called out due to a problem with her daughter. No, not the baby.

The Excitement of Release- Sister Annabelle, played by Wendy Worthington, informs Virginia about Tessa's behavior

Yeah, Tessa’s having issues at school. Sister Annabelle, played by Wendy Worthington, informs Virginia that Tessa’s behavior hasn’t improved, but part of that blame, she says, is the result of divorced parents that leads to kids acting out. Tessa skipped her afternoon classes two days ago and brought in a forged note yesterday- again. Sister Annabelle is considering all kinds of disciplinary action, including banning Tessa from the upcoming homecoming dance.

Even though Virginia is busy, Sister Annabelle reminds her that children learn from example. Virginia is more concerned with Tessa spreading word about her home life because it could have a bad impression. So what, Tessa then asks, is the right impression? Virginia’s response? No one’s business. Tessa spoke with Grandma, who also would have skipped school, too. Tessa just feels isolated at school from her friends since the book’s release, and in addition, Virginia is busy on the nights she has Tessa.

The Excitement of Release- Bill and Lester speak with a panel of university officials at Washington University

At Washington University, Bill and Lester speak with a panel of university officials, led by Dean Snyder, played by Pete Gardner, who calls Bill’s work impressive, but isn’t sure if Washington University is ready for this. He promises to run it by his colleagues, though. Bill just hopes that he managed to arouse their curiosity. A smarter man would realize what he just said and never say it again.

The Excitement of Release- Virginia arrives at Washington University

Virginia soon arrives after the quick meeting. Bill is upset that she missed the meeting, but, in her defense, Virginia had her own priorities and she did race from the office. Though Bill wonders if she can commit, Virginia says that she can since she did still show up.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa and Matt, played by Kevin Fonteyne, read Human Sexual Response

Tessa and a schoolmate, Matt, played by Kevin Fonteyne, read Bill and Virginia’s book. Tessa drops some useful knowledge Matt’s way: when a girl has an orgasm, it feels really good. Did you know that? Write it down if you didn’t. Anyway, after the girl has hers, there’s a lot of bulbar vasocongestion. Matt asks Tessa if she’s read Story of O, a French story, meaning that the characters go all the way. Apparently, that’s what French people do. Andy Zeitlin’s mom has a copy because she’s a major nympho.

Maybe all girls really like sex, but neither Matt nor Tessa cop to going all the way.  And with an upcoming homecoming dance, I get the feeling that this isn’t going to end well.

The Excitement of Release- Office celebration

At the office, Virginia’s almost run-in with Ronald is followed up with a surprise celebration upstairs. The celebratory champagne is courtesy of Mr. Hugh Hefner, someone who isn’t high on Bill’s list of potential interested investors. There’s a growing list of potentials, like this millionaire from Tucson that makes electric hand massagers- they aren’t just for your hands, didn’t you know? It has to be this week since Hugh Hefner is due back in Chicago for a Playmate Pajama Party…a party I assume most men would want to attend.

Not Bill, though. He’s not interested in pajamas. He wants to focus on the text that could change the face of medical education, but Virginia, like Betty, tells him that they should pay attention to the money trail as well. They should at least listen if there are potential investors. Betty and Virginia can meet with investors while Lester and Bill work on the book. Lester is glad to rededicate to the book after long days of no sleep due to kids and his grumpy wife. Huh. I didn’t think that Barbara could be a grumpy spouse.

The Excitement of Release- Jane brings Lester a homemade turkey sandwich and a Twinkie

Oh, never mind, it’s just Jane, who managed to take a break from spit-up and diapers to bring her husband a homemade turkey sandwich and a Twinkie. The hell is this? School? Jane drops the bag.

The Excitement of Release- Libby and Joy discuss apartment hunting and their husbands

Libby and Joy meet to discuss their plan, as tonight is the only good night for the realtor. Libby is more focused on handing out leaflets before the boycott and planning the next book group meeting, though Joy reminds Libby that if she’s unhappy in her marriage, she can walk away. Libby balks at that proposition. She has kids and isn’t unhappy in her marriage. Sure, Libby.

Considering Bill’s success, Joy figures that this must be a happy period for both Bill and Libby. When Joy first fell in love with Paul, all the girls were jealous. Paul had dreams…long ago. He’s a good husband, but none of those dreams have come true. As such, Joy feels that she’s walking down a straight, flat highway into the sunset. She agrees to help pass out leaflets if Libby sees the apartment with her.

The Excitement of Release- Bill and Paul, played by Benjamin Koldyke, watch football

Bill arrives and learns, to his surprise, that Libby made a casserole for Bill and his pal for the night, Paul. The two end up watching football. Paul, played by Benjamin Koldyke, read an article about the book. In his opinion, medical schools can use the text for their curriculum- exactly what Bill’s trying to do. Paul wants to read the text, but doesn’t think that the title is something married men should have. But Bill sees this work as a way to strengthen marriage.

There’s not enough irony in the world for that. Paul doesn’t think that he and Joy have any dissatisfaction in their marriage. He then talks about his college football days as a quarterback in Nebraska- and Bill recognizes him as that Paul Edley from the 1949 Rose Bowl. During a tense run, Paul had to run the ball himself. Sometimes, that’s the only way.

The Excitement of Release- Bill shows Paul his football card collection

Realizing that he may have a connection, Bill brings out his mint condition, 1933 Football Star Card Set. It took him two years to collect. Bill is ecstatic about the story behind each card, though Paul looks to just show casual interest in this…until Bill pulls out a card on Ernie Nevers, who Bill calls the single greatest fullback in the history of football. Paul disagrees. At school, one of Bill’s mates planned to give this card to him for five dollars.

Bill got one of his friends, Willy, to go in with him and they spent a month shoveling driveways to get the money. Eventually, Willy pulled out, so Bill spent a month and a half to make up the difference.

The Excitement of Release- Virginia buys Tessa a dress for the homecoming dance

At House Johnson, Tessa’s dinner comes in the form of a big bag of potato chips. Virginia enters with a surprise she picked up after stopping by Vandervoort’s: it’s a fancy new dress that Tessa can wear to the homecoming dress. Virginia did the logical thing that every parent would do: she volunteered to chaperone. After all, she thought about what Tessa said and thinks that it’s a good idea for the two to spend time together.

Virginia, you…you don’t get to do that.

Tessa is concerned about what the other kids at school will say. She won’t go to the dance if her mother attends. Fair enough. Virginia takes back the dress.

The Excitement of Release- Virginia notices that Lester is wearing the same tie

At the office, Lester reports that he received calls from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, all open to discussing the book as a textbook. Nothing from Washington University, though. Virginia enters and notices that Lester is wearing the same necktie as yesterday, as sleeping at the office has limited his wardrobe. I’m curious as to how Virginia noticed just when she came into the office.

Betty, meanwhile, has an investor meeting set up later. Hefner’s earliest availability is at nine. She and Virginia will handle this while Bill takes calls.

He does. He makes call after call to various doctors to discuss the book, possibly arrangements, and thanks for arousing curiosity. Again, a smarter man would realize what he’s said. Bill initially asks Betty to get Washington University on the line, but he decides against it.

The Excitement of Release- Bill visits Barton, also meets Judith, played by Eve Gordon

Instead, he pays a visit to Beau Bridges. Barton’s also in the company of a woman named Judith, played by Eve Gordon, who lives upstairs. One day, she showed up with homemade lasagna. The rest was history. Bill tells Barton about the medical school textbook offer. Barton can ask around, but he knows that Chancellor Fitzhugh has mixed feelings. We also learn that Barton gave up the provost job when he returned so he could get back to doctoring.

He’s done toadying up to authority figures and knows that Bill will do a lot of that in order to get his book in there. Bill is convinced that the book belongs at Washington University, given its reputation and since that’s where Bill started. It’s also where he was fired. Luckily, Fitzhugh is hosting a faculty cocktail party tonight. How convenient.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa learns that Virginia won't be attending the dance after all

So Tessa is going to the dance after all. I would think she’d be glad about her mother not coming, but she isn’t. She wanted her mother to not attend because she didn’t want her to, not because of work. Virginia says that Tessa is being deliberately difficult, but I disagree. Tessa is just deliberately being an asshole.

The Excitement of Release- Betty and Virginia speak with Dan Logan, played by Josh Charles

Betty and Virginia meet with various investors: Dan Logan, played by Josh Charles, who is our perfume man.

The Excitement of Release- Betty and Virginia meet with Leonard, played by Eddie Jemison, and his Electric Hand Massager 3000

We also have Leonard, played by Eddie Jemison, who has the Electric Hand Massager 3000. It relieves pelvic pressures. Hmm. But Dan is just curious as to how to bottle the smell of sex.

The Excitement of Release- Hugh Hefner, played by John Gleeson Connolly, tells Virginia and Betty that he has four million subscribers

Finally, Betty and Virginia meet with the man himself, Mr. Hugh Hefner, played by John Gleeson Connolly. Hefner senses Betty and Virginia’s skepticism, but he has something to offer. The book may have sold 4,000 copies, but Hefner sells four million copies a month. The science is expensive, but Hefner’s foundation can provide financial support. Enticing offer, but what does Hefner want in return?

The American Medical Journal posted a positive review about Bill and Virginia’s book. He’d like some of that good fortune to rub off on him, so he offers to feature Bill and Virginia in Playboy magazine and include their names on the foundation’s quarterly report. Changing the world is a lonely business. Why not do it together?

The Excitement of Release- Matt and Tessa in a car before oral sex

So Matt and Tessa sit in a car and go over the state capitals, with Matt failing and having to drink each time. Tessa picked up on this through her father’s travels. She hated never knowing where he traveled, so he put a map on her wall and stuck pins in places when he went on tour.

Matt admits that he hasn’t done a lot with girls and wants Tessa to teach him. Okay, that’s fine, but she doesn’t want to do that one thing that they shouldn’t do. It’s her time of the month. That and Matt doesn’t have a condom. They can plan ahead next time. Matt’s still hard and apparently never heard of masturbation, so he wants Tessa to take care of his erection. Not with her hand, though, but her mouth. Tessa doesn’t want to, but hey, it was in her mother’s book, so quit being a prick tease. Down you go.

When it’s all over, Tessa vomits on her dress.

She later cleans up in the bathroom, still shocked about what just happened. To be honest, I should probably feel bad for what Tessa just experienced, but I don’t and I’ll explain why later.

The Excitement of Release- Bill and Barton meet with Chancellor Fitzhugh

Barton brings Bill to Chancellor Fitzhugh’s cocktail party. Fitzhugh sends Barton to get a drink while the two talk. Though Fitzhugh calls the book an achievement, it’s still about sex. Bill also still lied, abused his authority, and embarrassed Fitzhugh. Fitzhugh believes that Barton showed poor judgment in his decisions, both with his professional and personal life, if rumors and gossip are any indication. A queer like Barton is lucky to have a position and at least Fitzhugh was able to get rid of one of them for now.

The Excitement of Release- Barton and Bill argue outside

When Barton returns, Bill knocks away the drink. Outside, Barton blasts Bill for blowing yet another chance, but Bill wants Barton to work for him by helping manage his fertility practice and bring in patients. Barton isn’t appreciated at Washington University, Bill says. Bill doesn’t need to wonder about Barton’s personal life because he already knows it, but that doesn’t matter to him. Barton should be where he’s respected.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa on the car ride back from the dance

On the car ride back from the dance, Tessa’s only comment is that she was the last one waiting. After that, she remains silent.

The Excitement of Release- Betty brings Lester an actual bag of good and bad letters

Betty brings Lester a literal sack of letters. Though much of it is hate mail, there are a few gems, such as one from a Lutheran pastor who needs advice on how to talk to his congregants about sex. Lester doesn’t want to do this because he’s busy enough with work, home, and the she-wolf.

The Excitement of Release- Betty tells Lester that Jane is bored, not a she-wolf

Okay, Betty has a few choice words about Jane: she’s not a she-wolf, she’s bored. Maybe she’s a bored she-wolf, Betty. Did you think about that? Betty knows that Jane is too smart to just be at home with the kids. She can sort the letters. Write back to the good ones. If Jane agrees, she’ll be paid five dollars a bag.

The Excitement of Release- Matt apologizes to Tessa about the Schnapps

The next day, at school, Matt apologizes to Tessa. Not for getting his rocks off, but for the vomiting. The same thing happened to him. You are really missing the point, asshole.  Anyway, Matt had a great time and wants to be with Tessa again. Tessa? She’d love to.

The Excitement of Release- Betty and Virginia tell Bill that they're leaning towards Hugh Hefner

Virginia and Betty update Bill on their meetings.  Initially, they were set on Dan Logan until they met Hugh Hefner with his built-in audience of four million subscribers. Bill wants nothing to do with Hefner, as he feels that he stands for everything Bill wants to get away from: titillation. What do you call sexual touching, then, I wonder? Bill thinks that Hefner would use the practice as a good housekeeping seal of approval. Hefner would be seen as high-minded academic through association. And yet, Virginia reminds Bill that no one comes close to Hefner.

The Excitement of Release- Dan Logan meets Bill and Virginia

Bill and Virginia meet with Dan Logan, who asks why people kiss. How does it start? It all goes to smell, which tells us what we need to know. We can smell things like fear, revulsion, and desire. What Logan wants is to create a fragrance that says ‘I Want You.’ Bill speaks for himself and Virginia when he says that they agreed on him as the right man, yet he doesn’t sound convinced with his own words.

The Excitement of Release- Jane reads Lester a letter

Jane goes over some letters, but she tells Lester that she doesn’t need a hobby. $5 isn’t a lot to her because she was once paid $35 to be in a Chiquita Banana commercial, but that was a long time ago.

Think about that. Jane was a Chiquita Banana. Lester concedes that answering hate mail isn’t fun, but staying at home isn’t fun, either. Jane did manage to find a letter from a Debbie from Des Plaines. She asks Dr. Master and Mrs. Jonathan- well done- about her yearning desire to be touched.

Lester and Jane then have their fun. She’s still angry and hasn’t forgiven Lester, but luckily, Lester didn’t ask for forgiveness.

The Excitement of Release- Libby tells Paul about the car running, Paul tells her that Joy collapsed

Back at House Masters, Libby sees a car idling in the driveway. She heads to Joy’s home and tells Paul that the car is running. He’s too concerned about Joy, who collapsed and, according to the doctors, has a brain aneurysm. She’ll be at the ICU for some time and the extent of the damage isn’t known yet. Despite the catastrophic news, the doctor assured Paul that Joy will make it.

The Excitement of Release- Bill, Virginia, and the baby

Bill asks Virginia why people go where they aren’t wanted. However, she tells him that he’s at least wanted with her. The two try and have their fun again, but they’re interrupted by the baby again. Virginia brings Lisa to join her and Bill as the episode comes to a close.

If the previous two episodes were about setting up Bill and Virginia setting up their book’s release and contending with George, then “The Excitement of Release” deals with taking their storyline forward as they continue pushing forward with the sexual revolution.  That, among everything else in their lives, is priority, which is unfortunate, because there’s disappointment all around them that takes a backseat to them focusing on finding financial and moral support for their book.

The Excitement of Release- Barton and Bill talk

Before getting to that, though, I want to address the reintroduction of two longstanding characters.  Barton’s welcome is a welcome one and it makes sense that, if Bill wants to take the book to Washington University, he’d seek out someone who works there and who has a past association with him.

The Excitement of Release- Bill tells Barton that he isn't respected at Washington University

The problem with Barton is that he’s still lying to himself and others around him.  Last season, we saw him try to convince his wife that he was straight.  When that and even electroshock therapy didn’t work, he attempted suicide.  His life is a tragic one, but he maintains this public image of being a heterosexual male so he can have some semblance of happiness.  It’s maddening to see him refuse to accept who he truly is.

The Excitement of Release- Bill calls Fitzhugh a smug, small-minded bureaucrat

But even if he did, Barton’s personal life has spilled into his professional and the rumors of his homosexual activities have become known amongst his colleagues, who may tolerate his work, but don’t respect him as an individual.  Fitzhugh is one such individual.  He says that he’s lucky to even have his position.  Bill calls Fitzhugh a smug, small-minded bureaucrat.  To Bill, Fitzhugh represents the world that hates what it doesn’t understand or can’t begin to embrace.

That’s not to say that everyone should just embrace Barton Scully’s homosexuality with open arms- we are still in the 1960s and the status quo hasn’t been upset yet.  To many, it’s preferable to keep their ideals and beliefs the way they are instead of trying to accept new lifestyles and ideals.

The Excitement of Release- Bill knows the true Barton Scully

And yet, Bill is someone who is always pushing the envelope and trying to change the medical world through his studies on sex.  He knows Barton believes in the work.  He also knows Barton well enough to not judge or think different of him because of his sexuality.  It shows that, despite spending so much time apart, Bill’s friendship with Barton has remained intact.  Rather than seeing Barton go where he’s not wanted, Bill tries to court into working where he’s respected.  Though there’s no telling what Barton will do, it would be nice to have him work alongside Bill.

The Excitement of Release- Jane returns

The same goes for Jane, who has seen happier days.  She was last seen way back in the Season Two premiere, “Parallax,” but she was referenced on occasion after that.  Last we heard about her, I believe, was on “Mirror, Mirror.”  She met a producer after spending time in Hollywood.  She then found Lester inadequate, but despite that, they’re somehow still together.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised- Barbara and Lester listen to Bill and Virginia

Based on how Season Two ended, I thought that Lester and Barbara’s bond would bloom into something more.  It felt as if Lester had put Jane behind him since she hadn’t been mentioned that much.  I was looking forward to Lester and Barbara taking that leap of faith together, so I do hope her disappearance is addressed, if she’s really gone.

The Excitement of Release- Jane reads a letter

But as far as Jane goes, we learn that she’s in an unhappy relationship that’s made her grumpy compared to the beaming personality from Season One.  Her life is at a standstill and she’s still unhappy with Lester about something, but we see, with the right trigger, she can jump back into that fun-loving Jane we remember.  Like Betty and Lester, bringing Jane back into the fold would not only be a good reunion, but for the purposes of her character, it gives her something to do and hopefully contribute to Bill and Virginia’s efforts.

The Excitement of Release- Jane and Lester talk

After all, Jane did take up the secretarial role at one point in the first season, so she has something to give.  I just hope this wasn’t a tease and that she actually does become involved with the others.  Plus, it’s great just to see Heléne Yorke again.

This episode dealt with characters trying to survive in places where they aren’t wanted.  It can be risky stepping into uncharted territory, but taking that leap of faith can prove beneficial if we’re able to stomach the dangers and come out on top.  So, at times, we have to swallow our pride and enter the lion’s den when we could be eaten at any moment.

This is the case with Barton, who works in an environment where he’s despised, Bill and Virginia with taking their study to universities, and even someone like Hugh Hefner, who only wants to contribute financially to Bill and Virginia’s work, yet isn’t desired by Bill.

The Excitement of Release- Hugh Hefner tells Virginia and Betty that he sells four million magazines a month

By the way, I do like John Gleeson Connolly’s performance as Hugh Hefner.  He comes off as a suave individual who knows that his work also isn’t won over by the morally righteous types like Ronald, but his four million subscribers stand as evidence that there is an audience for Playboy.

The Excitement of Release- Bill doesn't want to consider Hugh Hefner

Like last season, Bill has trouble marketing his work because he doesn’t know how to speak to everyday people about sex, the way that Betty and Virginia can.  If it’s not clinical, he’s stepping on his own foot by saying things like arousing curiosity.  Virginia and Betty have a point: if they want to expand, they need to follow the money, but I also understand Bill wanting to make sure the essence of the work remains untouched and not further vilified by having it associated with the likes of Hugh Hefner.  He thinks the money problems will take care of themselves, never mind his own money woes from last season.

The importance of this book cannot be underestimated.  It’s about opening up a world of sexual activity to those who haven’t experienced it or many lingering questions, as evidenced through the occasional nice letter found among the heaps of hate mail.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa vomits

However, even with a book about human sexual response out there, lessons learned still come from individual experiences and not just reading from a book.  Tessa learns this the hard way when Matt forces her to perform oral sex on him.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa realizes that her mother wants to chaperone at the dance

It’s bad enough that Tessa’s home life hasn’t gotten any better, going off of the strained relationship between her and Virginia.  She feels neglected because her mother is either too busy devoting time to work or the baby.  Not that Tessa even gets along with Virginia now that she’s a teenager, but she’s still young and doesn’t want to feel abandoned.  After all, she already claims that she raised herself.

The Excitement of Release- Matt kisses Tessa

If teenagers are meant to learn from example, Tessa isn’t far off from Virginia.  She lets on knowing way more than she actually does and ends up in a sexual situation with a man she has mixed feelings for, as of now.  I say mixed feelings because even though Tessa is clearly revolted by what she endured, she still agrees to see him again.  Whether that’s a forced response or what she really feels, I don’t know.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa and Matt in the car

Yes, seeing Tessa blow Matt was a tad uncomfortable to watch and she looked quite traumatized when she saw herself in the mirror.  Though Tessa wasn’t too enthused about this dance to begin with, she didn’t expect to be abused or for her night to end this way.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa examines herself in the mirror after being forced to perform oral sex

But, despite everything that happened, I can’t really say that I feel all that bad for Tessa.  Now, let me explain.  Was it bad that it happened?  Of course, and no one should ever have to go through that.  But Tessa did a few things to lead into this: she brought her mother’s book about sex and read it off to a boy she had to have known was interested in her, she acted as if she knew more about sex than she actually did, and she remained in the car while Matt became increasingly more intoxicated.  Something bad was bound to happen.

The Excitement of Release- Tessa's upset that her mother will NOT be attending the dance

And Tessa has been such an obnoxious little shit that it’s hard for me to have any sympathy for her.  She got drunk and hit on Bill, she chastised her mother for wanting to be at the dance, and then threw a fit when Virginia can’t attend not because of work, but because Tessa didn’t want her to.  Maybe this is just me, but I don’t have patience for petty characters like this when there’s little redeeming about them.  I’m not saying Tessa had it coming or deserved it, but I don’t feel anywhere near the amount of emotion for her as I should.  Then again, I’m a cold-hearted bastard.

The Excitement of Release- Matt is hard

Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not absolving Matt of blame at all.  He’s the abuser here by forcing Tessa to do something that she didn’t want, and then to call her a prick tease and later just talk about the alcohol is downright insulting.  And if he was so sexually frustrated right there, why not have Tessa use her hands instead of forcing her to blow him?

The Excitement of Release- Libby talks with Joy

As for the Masters’, I’m glad that we’re getting to see some of Libby’s social life and friends outside of Virginia.  More than that, she has a connection through Joy’s similar desire to leave Paul.  Libby claims that she’s happy with where she is, and that’s obviously a lie.  She’s honest enough to tell it straight to Virginia, but to her neighbors, she hides the fact that she’s unhappy.

The Excitement of Release- Libby tells Joy that she isn't unhappy

But unlike what Joy implied, Libby is missing out on everything happening with Bill.  There’s much ahead for Bill, yes, but Libby is just looming in the background and exists in Virginia’s shadow.  She can’t imagine what it’s like to share Bill’s joy because she isn’t given much of a chance.  I hope that she shows more of the assertiveness we saw last time and opens up about how unhappy she is in her marriage.  She may not need Bill to be an everyman, but she deserves some happiness.

Though I’m suspicious about whether Joy really had an aneurysm…

The Excitement of Release- Bill shows off his card collection

Bill, meanwhile, almost had a chance at genuine happiness through bonding with Paul over football.  I quite enjoyed this scene, as it was one of the few moments I saw real joy in Bill’s eyes.  He was like the kid who had a toy that he wanted to show off to his best friend that would rather just watch television.  Though this didn’t go very far, I think it was an important scene in order to illustrate that, despite how distant Bill is outside of working, he still has hobbies and passions like everyone else.  It’s just a matter of asking the right questions.

The Excitement of Release- Bill tells Paul that the book is about how to strengthen marriage

Bill is focused on maintaining the integrity of his work, despite the duplicity of his personal life.  He tells Paul that the book is about bringing people together and strengthening marriages, not realizing the extreme irony of the situation.  He’s married to the job and, by extension, Virginia, as he tries to open a world of sexual exploration, but his wife remains unsatisfied and unhappy.  Hell, Bill is much closer to to Virginia’s child than we’ve ever seen him be with his own children.

He’s so focused on making sure the work remains intact that he’s passing up opportunities like having Hugh Hefner on board.  Sure, Bill doesn’t like what Hefner stands for, but that’s no different than most of society disagreeing with what Bill stands for and what he’s trying to accomplish.

The Excitement of Release- Virginia reads Bill's body

As Hefner says to Betty and Virginia, changing the world can be a lonely business.  Why not do it together?  That’s exactly what Virginia hopes to do.  Her bond with Bill is strong to the point that she notices changes in his body after so much time spent apart.  She has an intimate connection with him that Libby can’t have at this point.

The Excitement of Release- Virginia and Tessa talk about the dance and work

The problem is that, like Bill, her personal life suffers as a result.  It’s interesting that Virginia once told George that sex is possible without love, and Tessa experienced just that.  Given the women that Virginia has worked with from Season One until now, I wonder if she picked up that something was wrong with Tessa or if she just chalked it up to Tessa being difficult again.

The Excitement of Release- Betty and Virginia with Hugh Hefner

Virginia was always the more outgoing of the two and she realizes that, despite how their work is interpreted as smut, they need to branch out besides the medical community if they’re going to make a name for themselves.  If real life history is any indication, then we know that we’ve not seen the last of Mr. Hugh Hefner.  And here’s hoping Virginia and Betty bring that personalized touch when it comes to outreach.

“The Excitement of Release” was a very good episode.  It further established the challenge Bill and Virginia face in getting out their message to a very skeptical audience, gave Libby a friend to relate to with similar issues, and brought both Barton and Jane back into the fold.  Tessa’s incident is an unfortunate one and while I’m still not a fan of her character, it’s something that no one should endure.  Again, as Hefner mentioned, changing the world is a lonely business.  And going about challenging tasks can be hard, so no need to go at it alone when you can get by with A Little Help From My Friends.

I can’t explain why I shoehorned in a Beatles reference right there, but there you go.