Last night's Masters of Sex was, to put it simply, an excellent, brilliantly-acted episode of television, one that should prove to any naysayers that this show is playing with the big boys of television drama. It also recalled a fantastic, game-changing episode from another: Mad Men's season four episode "The Suitcase."
The main point of comparison between Masters of Sex's "Fight" and "The Suitcase" is that they both use a historic boxing match as a backdrop to the plot. Bill and Virginia of Masters spend an evening in their hotel room roleplaying as the married Holdens while Archie Moore and Yvon Durelle duke it out on a flickering TV screen. Eight years later (in TV land), Mad Men's Don keeps Peggy working late while other members of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce team go to watch the Muhammed Ali beat Sonny Liston.
It's easy to see why both Amy Lippman, writer of "Fight," and Matt Weiner would be tempted by the symbolism of a boxing match as their two main characters go head to head. The punches thrown in the fights stand in for the verbal back and forth between the characters. Virginia, watching the match, remarks to Bill, "It almost looks like love doesn’t it, when they reach for each other and hold on." What Bill and Virginia were doing—having sex, sharing their pasts—also almost looks like love.