A few quick thoughts on last night's "Masters of Sex" coming up just as soon as I invite you outside to smoke a Montecristo...

After the intense two-character piece that was "Fight," "Dirty Jobs" has a lot of work to do in advancing the season's plots. We see the apparent end of brief stint at the new hospital (I'll miss you most of all, Betsy Brandt), which puts him in a weak enough position that his best option is to work at a black hospital in town. And all his talk there about his partner suggests Virginia may have a job available right as Dr. DePaul is losing faith in her and preparing to shut down their end of the pap smear program.

What's most notable about the episode, though, is the way it casts several of the show's women in unflattering lights, with Libby taking the lice shampoo issue with Coral way too far, the Pretzel King discovering that Betty has been lying to him about her (lack of) fertility, and DePaul and Virginia both responding poorly to Langham's discover of the Bill/Virginia affair.

The Betty story is mainly a way to humanize her husband (and is a much more effective use of Greg Grunberg than just having the guy be a rich sap). The material with Libby and Virginia, though, is interesting because one of the few significant complaints about the first season was the idea that the show so favors Virginia over Bill that she might as well enter scenes with a halo glowing above her head. Virginia's no saint — she is knowingly carrying on an affair with a married man, regardless of how she tries to rationalize it — but the emotional deck is stacked so thoroughly against Bill and towards her that it's useful for the show to remind us of the ways in which she's driven by ego, and the ways in which her fierce independence streak can be a weapon as well as a shield. Similarly, it's not pleasant to watch Libby be so high-handed with Coral, but it helps to establish her as something more than just the blandly angelic woman who isn't enough for Bill, and it also helps set the stage for Bill's next job, where I imagine black/white relations are going to become ever more prominent.

What did everybody else think?