What happened to poor, distraught Bill? The man who was willing to do anything to get Virginia back? Why does he seem to have read The Pick-Up Artist and is using the Neg method to shame Virginia into choosing him? It clearly can’t work. Or can it?
The show opens with Bill and Virginia arriving at an upscale Chicago restaurant for what is supposed to be a celebratory dinner after securing a hearty advance from Little Brown for their second book. But Virginia is fuming. Not only has Bill hijacked the presentation to the publishers but he spontaneously added in a chapter about the very thing they agreed last episode would not continue: the surrogacy program. Virginia’s ire only increases when she finds out Bill has attempted to make a reservation for four — inviting Dan Logan and his wife along to celebrate their advance and what Bill hopes will be the end to the Logan/Masters & Johnson Partnership.
But things don’t go exactly as Bill has planned. First off, he has no reservation at said upscale restaurant, that is, until Dan swoops in and rescues him with his insider status and penchant for steak tartar. The two couples are escorted to their two-top for four, but not before Dan’s wife Alice, played by an always great Judy Greer, overhears Virginia in the bathroom getting upset with an inept attendant who sprays perfume on her — something she quickly wipes off because “the man she’s seeing” doesn’t like perfume. Hah, funny, Dan also doesn’t like perfume on his women and despite the couple’s unorthodox relationship, she’s not happy with him flaunting his mistress in her face. Which gives Alice every reason to go off the wagon and imbibe in the champagne Bill is generously pouring.
Things only go from bad to worse as Virginia uses the cozy soiree to express her irritation with Bill. Bill only ups the ante, proclaiming, again, without Virginia’s consent, that this advance means Masters and Johnson can terminate their relationship with Logan. That doesn’t fly with either Virginia or Dan, who calls Bill out for setting up this dinner prior to having met with the publisher — so determined he was to expose Dan’s marriage to Virginia, hoping that would end her affair with him.
The two couples go off and have their own fight, Virginia and Bill’s in the coat closet of the restaurant — an apt spot since Virginia has refused to relinquish her coat for the entirety of the evening, hoping she would make her escape early. Dan and Alice engage in the final battle of a failing marriage. It’s a heartbreaking scene, especially when Alice makes Dan tell her what he loves about Virginia and though Dan wants to continue to protect her, he’s realized the marriage has come to an end.
And if we thought things were going bad for Bill on the road, that’s nothing compared to the misery that’s about to hit him at home. And I’m not talking about Libby contemplating leaving him — though that is a comeuppance he does deserve. For a brief moment it looks like Libby is going to achieve some real happiness, something she so deserves, but as my colleague pointed out last week, it’s a shame it has to come at the hand of a man. But this is the 1960s, and gearing up to leave your husband, especially for a woman who has no discernable income of her own, is not an easy thing to do. It becomes far simpler when football coach Paul Edly promises to love her and her children, even going so far to hope that the children will one day call him “Pau.” And Johnny sure likes him. Finally a man in his life that’s willing to talk to him and spend time with him, something Bill never does.
Another sad scene comes from Libby when she practices how she’s going to let Bill know she’s leaving. It’s the moment when she admits that what will bother her most won’t be any yelling or sadness, but if he’s indifferent to the whole thing, which is what she fears the most. That he just doesn’t care one way or another.
NEXT: A not-welcome plotline emerges