‘Masters of Sex’ Breakdown: “Kyrie Eleison”

SPOILERS ABOUND, so don’t screw around…

Season Two, Episode Two: “Kyrie Eleison”

Written by David Flebotte; Directed by Michael Apted

Towards the end of “Kyrie Eleison” (episode two of the season), Bill’s first patient at his new job says, “You’re not your worst part.” This, in many ways, is the theme of the episode: Bill, Libby, Virginia, Dr. DePaul, and Betty all face their worst parts in different ways — and with different outcomes.

Quick Breakdown

The episode opens on a family having dinner in their home. As viewers, we don’t know these characters. There’s a mother and father and a teenage daughter named Rose. As they are eating, Rose realizes she is bleeding between her legs and gets up to leave the table. Her mother sternly tells her to stay, and she sits back down for more steak.

We then flip over to Bill and Virginia meeting at their hotel and discussing the continuation of the study. Virginia is under the impression that she will be getting hired at Bill’s new hospital (Gateway Memorial), so she can continue the work on the study. Bill informs her that his boss says he can’t do that right now and has raised concerns about Virginia’s lack of education.

Virginia, as always, quickly devises a plan: She’ll just start as his secretary like she did before and move up later. But Bill says, he already has a secretary that was assigned to him, and she came highly recommended. She counters with a plan to help push the secretary out. (Virginia’s “worst part” is doing whatever it takes to get ahead, which gets addressed multiple times in the episode.)

The next morning, we see Bill getting ready for his first day at Gateway Memorial. We are also introduced to Coral, who Libby hired to help with the baby after Bill sent his mother back to Ohio. Coral is only 18 and black, and Bill is less than impressed with Libby’s choice. It’s clear Libby partly did this on purpose, knowing Bill wouldn’t approve of her choice.

When Bill arrives at the hospital, he’s greeted by Betty and her husband (The Pretzel King who got him the job). Betty is there for her “fertility treatments,” which result her in her sitting in Bill’s office for three hours while her husband waits outside. Bill is against this charade, but Betty has pushed him into a corner with the money her husband gave. (Her worst part is hiding her past and truth from her husband.) Regardless, this can’t end well because she can’t get pregnant.

We are also introduced to Bill’s new secretary Barbara, who is a bit nervous as she tries to figure Bill out. (Good luck.) But before much can happen, Bill is called to an emergency involving an important donor’s daughter (from the opening family scene).

Rose, the patient, has nearly bled to death due to a badly performed abortion. Bill saves her life, and we learn that she’s had at least two abortions already. Her mother explains that she’s hyper-sexual and can’t be controlled anymore — she’s been this way since she was 14. The mother wants her sterilized, which Bill’s boss insists he do (welcome to the 1950s). Bill is, of course, against it and refuses.

When Rose wakes up, he talks with her about the issue. He assumes she will be against it — but, surprisingly, Rose is for it. She says she has this darkness inside her and wants it to go away. She hopes this will help.

Meanwhile, back at the old hospital, Virginia is helping Dr. DePaul get ready to shoot an instructional video for doctors, which was Virginia’s idea. Dr. DePaul just wanted pamphlets. Virginia also runs into Vivian (Barton’s daughter), and we learn that she broke her wrist in last week’s episode as she helped cut down Barton after his suicide attempt. She’s, of course, not telling people that, saying it was a tennis injury.

Virginia is questioning Vivian about Barton because no one has seen him in days and he’s not returning Bill’s calls. Vivian knows Virginia is just trying to use her and is still upset over Ethan leaving her for Virginia. Vivian calls her out on her methods and points out how she will do whatever it takes to get ahead. She does, however, inform her that Barton is in Italy on a “vacation.”


Vivian’s talk makes Virginia question her plan to try and push out Bill’s new secretary. She goes by Bill’s new office and meets her but doesn’t follow through. She does tell Bill about Barton’s unexpected trip out of the country.

When Virginia returns to work, she joins Dr. DePaul for the film shoot. Dr. DePaul seems a bit nervous. Then she starts switching her words and not making much sense. The director thinks she’s drunk, but we know it must be health-related. They stop filming, and Virginia confronts her about her condition. Dr. DePaul tries to blame Virginia for pushing her to do things she didn’t want to do. Virginia holds her ground and makes Dr. DePaul a doctor’s appointment.

Back at home, Libby is becoming friendly with Coral (maybe too friendly), as they connect over both losing their mothers at a young age. Then Libby launches into her problems with Bill — which is a lot to hear on the first day. Libby’s issue is her passive-aggressiveness and inability to standup properly to Bill. Instead, she’s using Coral, which becomes even more apparent as the episode progresses.

That night, Bill goes to see Vivian and hopes to get the truth about Barton. She confesses that Barton tried to kill himself, but we realize she still doesn’t know about the homosexuality, and Bill doesn’t tell her. As far as Vivian knows, her parents are in Italy and her mother writes every day. Bill tries to comfort her, saying the rest will help him.

The next morning, Bill’s boss confronts him about performing the surgery on Rose. He’s angry with Bill for not following orders. Bill tries to explain to him how Rose’s issue is connected to all the research he is doing.

Meanwhile, Virginia is meeting with another doctor, who wants her to walk him through how they designed and used a camera to capture the activities inside the vagina so he can use it in his research. The scene is spliced perfectly together between Bill’s explanation of the study to his boss and Virginia’s explanation to the door.

As Virginia continues, it becomes clear the doctor really just wants the sexy details and is getting off on the conversation they are having. It becomes very awkward. Virginia quickly leaves the office horrified.

As she’s leaving, she runs into Dr. Langham, who is throwing a small party in his office. Last week, his wife left him — and he tells Virginia they are alike because they are both “lone wolves.” But Virginia wonders if they are lone wolves by choice or because everyone kicked them out of the pack.

Meanwhile, Bill tries one more approach with Rose. He goes to her and explains that he can help her without doing the surgery, offering the option of an IUD (birth control).

Back at home, Libby is stressing out as the baby is screaming. She’s flipping through her parenting book while Coral quietly suggests a tight swaddle. Libby ignores her and goes to fix a bottle. Bill comes home to the baby crying and Libby in the kitchen — but suddenly the baby stops, and Coral comes out of the bedroom, saying, “Just needed a tight swaddle.” Bill agrees and tells Libby maybe she was right about Coral. (Not what Libby wanted to hear.)

The next morning, Betty confronts Bill about Rose. Since she’s been in his office every day, she’s heard the discussions and is horrified by the idea of performing the surgery on Rose. Bill tells her can’t talk to her about his patients, but Betty doesn’t give up so quickly, snooping around in Rose’s file.

Betty then steals some flowers and goes to Rose’s room to offer some unsolicited advice. Betty tells Rose a story about her own mother — how she called her a whore and said terrible things to her. She tells her how, one day, she stabbed her mother in the eye and finally stood up for herself. Rose then tells her that Dr. Masters was actually helpful, which surprises Betty. (Maybe Bill isn’t all bad.) She tells Betty how he told her, “You aren’t your worst part.”

Later, Virginia accompanies Dr. DePaul’s to her office visit. Things are progressing poorly with her health, and Virginia wants to help. Dr. DePaul seems both annoyed and thankful for her concern.

Back at home, Libby is making Coral pay for showing her up in front of Bill about the baby swaddle. As they are talking, Libby aggressively corrects Coral’s pronunciation of the word “ask” and makes her say it again. She then mentions how it will be confusing for the baby if they are each talking differently, saying it’s important that her and Coral are a team (hint, hint).

The episode ends with both Bill and Virginia lying to others (Bill to Libby and Virginia to her babysitter) so they can meet at their hotel.



This week, we saw different sides of many characters — and particularly a different side of Bill and Libby. Bill is complicated and cold, but this week, we saw him standing up for Rose (even when she didn’t want to stand up for herself). On the other hand, we saw a darker side of Libby, as she tried to use Coral — and it backfired. Where will Libby go from here? How long can Betty keep this fertility charade alive? And how long before someone finds out about Bill and Virginia?

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Dr. DePaul’s and Virginia’s scene in the bathroom with the makeup was strong. Their relationship brings a lot to the show.

Betty continues to steal the scenes she’s in. Her best line: “Not that blinding people is the right way.”

Libby and Coral’s “ask” scene was just the right amount of uncomfortable.

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