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Showtime's Masters of Sex sets stage for scintillating season finale

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The stakes are as high as they have ever been in Showtime's hit drama Masters of Sex, and following last Sunday's episode "Phallic Victories", the season finale which airs December 15th, looks to be a brilliant conclusion to the drama critics have regarded as TV's most entertaining series of the fall (Roush, TV Guide).

Episode 11 of Showtime's riveting new drama Masters of Sex, highlighted the collateral damage created by human sexuality pioneers Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson's (Lizzy Caplan) seismic rift in the previous episode "Fallout", in which Virginia unexpectedly quits as Dr. Masters research assistant. This tiff between the normally in-sync duo unearthed several fissures in the romantic facade surrounding the two and threatens to jeopardize the looming research presentation that the human sexuality pioneers had been working arduously towards all season. As the season has progressed, the protagonist Masters and his dutiful research partner Virginia Johnson, have been working ardently towards creating a research presentation that will be like none ever seen before on the subject of human sexuality. As the two delve further into their research, the lines outlining their personal and professional relationships, begin to bleed into one another, blurring the delicate line the two had been walking while attempting to write the book on human sexuality.

In Showtime's drama Masters of Sex, the budding relationship between the human sexuality research pioneers has been the subtext of each episode's storyline, with the duo of Masters and Johnson further immersing themselves in their research to perfect their study, which even includes having sexual relations with each other. The episode "Phallic Victories" shows what Dr. Masters' research would be like without his apparently indispensable research partner as Virginia travels with Dr. Lillian DePaul to a medical convention. With a new secretary and Virginia away, Dr. Masters scrambles to organize his human sexuality presentation, missing the presence of Virginia to the point that he begins second guessing both himself and his research leading up to the big presentation.

In episode 11 ("Phallic Victories"), Dr. Masters has more than the research on his mind when faced with the challenge of life without Virginia as he attempts to organize his findings to 'wow' the doctors during his hospital-wide presentation. Masters is out of sorts in Masters of Sex most recent chapter, mistakenly calling his new assistant by the wrong name continuously throughout the episode, even expressing his internal dialogue through daydream-like sequences that have him imagining Virginia's reactions to his every action, which calls for the doctor to second guess himself at times. He unquestionably needs her more than he knows, and her reason for quitting (his feelings) are still weighing down the doctor as he appears listless and slightly agitated throughout the episode, which has set the tone for the upcoming season finale.

Masters and Johnson have been tiptoeing around the inevitable all season long, while the writers and director of each episode, utilize cryptic glances and gestures to touch on the pairs' feelings without giving away the characters' definitive intent. "Phallic Victories", which aired Sunday, December 8th, removed some of the ambiguity shrouding Dr. Masters' feelings towards Virginia, which proved to be the catalyst behind her unexpectedly quitting the episode prior. "Phallic Victories" gives further insight into William's perspective of he and Virginia's relationship while laying in bed. Libby Masters (Dr. Masters' wife) unknowingly makes mention of the budding love affair between William and Virginia as she tries to probe an unable to sleep Bill about two of his anonymous research participants. Libby points a question towards the "23 [sexual] encounters by the two anonymous subjects" asking if they ever fell in love, Bill's response or lack there of, illustrates his own befuddlement over he and Johnson's situation, as he himself isn't sure (Abraham, Lipman, December 8th, 2013). The duo that Libby Masters is referring two happen to be William and Virginia, his response toward that question mirroring his own uncertainty and frustration.

Episode 11 of the Showtime drama's biggest challenge is created after William observes a fellow doctor's medial presentation and notices how dull a research presentation can be, a potential problem that Virginia eluded to in a previous episode. This notion then forces Dr. Masters to add a wild-card, attention grabbing topic about whether "penis size plays a role in women's satisfaction" (Abraham, Lipman, December 8th, 2013). This play by Masters is ill-advised and he knows it, however, Virginia's advice to the doctor earlier on in his research proves to be the driving force behind the decision to titillate the audience with his findings.

The season finale, which is set to air on December 15th, 2013, looks to be a scintillating conclusion to Showtime's new hit drama as the palpable tension from the relationship between Dr. Masters and Virginia Johnson reaches its tipping point. As Dr. Masters gets ready to give the presentation that will shape the future of his research will he be able to deliver a presentation that captivates the doctors in attendance to the satisfaction of Provost Scully? Can he and Virginia find a common ground in their personal lives that allows them to continue their work professionally? Tune in on Sunday to witness the highly-anticipated conclusion to the series that has received the deserved acclaim of 'best new show', to find out.


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