After spotting Vivian dancing around his kitchen like some kind of deranged Disney princess who's bagged herself a doctor, Ethan decides to propose to her while the gettin' is good. Meanwhile, Austin Langham and Margaret Scully break up sort of amicably but it is still sad as hell, and we finally meet Mrs. Langham, who seems pretty cool for somebody who would marry that dude. Austin takes Ethan ring shopping, meets a new side piece, and decides to rejoin the study in whatever way they can use him. Ethan sort of bungles his big dramatic proposal, but since Vivian is running the entire show anyway, she doesn't even notice how sad he is about how irrelevant and pathetic these Seth Cohen grand gestures always tend to be.
Worried about overstaying her welcome in the middle of the Masters's marriage, Virginia decides to return focus to her college career. Problem is, Anatomy 101 is taught by Dr. Lillian DePaul, who hates Gini because she's a woman and whatever. But after some Johnson sparkle, a few bonding moments, and a great deal of hella shitty, on-the-nose dialogue (this episode is for cringing) DePaul decides she won't necessarily be helping Masters keep Gini in his pocket after all. Oh, and the reason she's obsessed with pap smears is because she has terminal cervical cancer and will be dead in six months, so it's not so much about gender equality, mostly just that she wishes somebody woulda given her a pap smear at some point.
After Austin dumps her, Margaret randomly meets Dale in a hotel bar and there is tension because he's there to meet and have sex with her husband. She freaks out a little bit in the hotel bathroom, gives everybody a hundred speeches about how she is a sexual being, and Barton takes her to a drive-in so she will settle down about being a sexual being for one minute. She asks him for a divorce, and so after he grills Bill about behavioral modification techniques, he tries to get Dale onboard for an aversive therapy that is so dark and offensive -- emetics, etc. -- that it makes Dale start crying and ditch their arrangement altogether.
Libby gets the big eye for the gardener, who quickly becomes like her only friend, and they practice dancing and interracial sexual tension together until the point where she faints, because as it turns out Ethan has once again gotten her pregnant. It's too soon to tell, due to the mawkish tone of this week's Sirk-aping episode, but it's just possible that all of this is not as lazy or silly as it seems. We'll see what develops. I can see Libby blowing everything up a fresh way, for sure, and whatever keeps her onscreen works for me, no matter how dumb it turns out to be.
While there were some funny and a few truly graceful moments -- Austin and Ethan's parallels actually worked a lot better than we might have expected, especially when laid alongside the other relationships in play this week -- and Dale is always welcome as a radicalizing agent/outside color-commentator, this one was too crammed of perfunctory/spotty character developments and melodramatic Moments to really qualify with the greats. The women in particular do what they can with the material, but it's tonally off from the rest of the series, and to its detriment:
Part of what makes this show's incredibly tricky proposition work is that it's unapologetic, so to fall into this Nineties trap of explaining itself and its metaphors so laboriously -- which comes off cringing at best, patronizing at worst, but either way lacking in confidence -- only serves to undermine the show's overall aims. You can't ask for another kind of buy-in this late in the game without the floor dropping out of your authenticity, blah blah, call it a blip. It wasn't terrible. Just different.
Next Week: Haas rudely turns out Jewish, ruining his entire wedding. Libby's idea to get Masters onboard with her secret future baby is to mend things with his mother, but then somehow she ends up catching him in the act of science with Virginia? So yeah, that'll be horrible.
A string of disappointments has led Ethan to settling down with Vivian Scully, who is more than happy to be settled down with by a hot doctor who knows sex tricks. The Barton Scullys are both dating hot guys, but there's a deadline looming for both of them. Dr. Lillian DePaul wants to bring pap smears to the masses, while Virginia has started engaging in science with her boss, and finding it altogether more emotionally complex than advertised.
Virginia: "I won't quote him, but Dr. Masters says you're a fine secretary."
Jane: "Really? Because he seems awfully unsatisfied."
Virginia: "That's his natural setting. Just pay attention to the words behind the words."
Jane: "So like when he says It's getting late..."
Virginia: "What he means is You're staying late. Essentially you just need to act like a seismometer, registering his unspoken vibrations from miles away. Like any other man. Keep the mail on the left, coffee on the right, and no stray paper clips anywhere, ever. And no mayonnaise."
Jane: "On his desk?"
Virginia: "In his life."
Jane: "Well, a weird robot is better than a normal one. My cousin Mae, her boss Mr. Burwell wanted everything, including sex in the office late at night."
Virginia: "Well I never."
Jane: "She put all her eggs in that basket, but the second his wife got wind, she was O-U-T. No severance, no recommendation. Instantly rubbed her out of existence."
Virginia: "That seems extreme."
Jane: "It's the oldest story in the book. He got guilty, she paid the price."
Virginia: "Good point. I gotta go move some eggs around now."
Is sewing baskets and baskets of pink things for the church when the doorbell rings: It's Walter the handyman, who has come to do the gutters.
Libby: "Sorry, I didn't realize you would be an attractive black guy on the phone."
Libby: "I mean, I thought you'd be older. Do you want some lemonade?"
Walter: "No, just the key to your shed."
Libby: "I am married. Uh, to a guy. He works really hard so that is why the gutters."
Walter: "Has he been working that hard since D-Day?"
Libby: "Are they that bad? You're probably right. Probably since Hoover."