“We all need stories to tell ourselves,” or so says Virginia’s wise father (Michael O’Keefe). This episode revolves around characters working within the restrictions of their own realities and the stories they wish were real, including the celebrity couple who come to the clinic for help, only to have their lies unravel. After the royalty story early this season, this couple felt a little “patient of the week.” The saving grace was Virginia’s entertaining and obvious disgust at Football Romeo’s come on.
For Dan, the story is that there is a Holy Grail of attraction that can be bottled as a marketable love potion. In reality, attraction in sniffable forms eludes him until Virginia mentions research on pheromones. This plot idea was somewhat cheesy for me. Human sexual pheromones weren’t really discussed by scientists until the ’80s (do we have to attribute every sexual discovery to Masters and Johnson?). Dan’s frustrations aren’t just in the lab, since Virginia has backed out of his impromptu dinner invitation from the previous episode. But never fear, Josh Charles fans. Talk of courtship, followed by a slow dance in the lab, lends itself to the pairing that has been inevitable since he walked through the clinic doors. The question is how this will impact Bill when he, inevitably, finds out.
Mother knows best darling, and sometimes she’s not satisfied with just dispensing advice. Virginia’s mother (Frances Fisher) isn’t willing to leave her advice floating on the air; she’s going to force Bill and Virginia together over an awkward family dinner. Even more upsetting, however, is her dismissal of Tessa’s winning essay by pointing out a better hairstyle for her granddaughter and then pointing out how Virginia writing a book has left their lives in shambles. Perhaps it will take the harsh eye of grandma trying to force her granddaughter into yet another skin that isn’t hers that will finally allow Tessa and Virginia to see (and appreciate) each other. First, though, Tessa has to confront her mother about the men in her life/bed.
Bill’s story is that coaching football and forcing his son to play will somehow make Johnny a man. Instead he ends up bonding with Johnny’s bully. On the Virginia front, it’s strange that when presented with male competition for Virginia, Bill either becomes impotent, or, in the case with Dan, redoubles his efforts to pursue her. When their fame takes them from their luxury hotel, to the “Ground Zero” of their lab, Virginia criticizes their lack of courtship in those first days of Season 1. The nice development out of this foray into courtship is Bill’s revelation about his early feelings for Virginia, that they were so much more than just a lab experiment. This side of Bill probably has a short half life, what with Virginia playing away and Libby playing make believe. In between watching from the sidelines and caring for Joy, Libby decides to take a spin as a single girl in Joy’s vacant apartment.
Things are getting good, folks. Until next week . . .
Image via Showtime