It seems this is the year creative time skips became an unexpected fashion in television. Both True Detective and Fargo pulled off the unprecedented move of jumping forward in time in the middle of an episode, and now Masters of Sex has one-upped them both by performing several jumps in the same episode! My knowledge of TV history is far from comprehensive, but I can’t think of any other show that’s done something like this before (except for a few episodes of The Simpsons, in which time is a… malleable concept, to say the least). Of course, multiple series have ended on greatest hits montages in their final episodes (Six Feet Under, for instance), but to my knowledge, no one has plopped an episode like this into the middle of a season.
“Parallax” is the difference in an object’s appearance, depending on the position from which one observes it. One thing won’t look the same from the points of view of two people looking at it from different angles. The season premiere of Masters of Sex showcases this phenomenon with a scene that directly follows the end of last season’s finale. After Bill makes his anguished declaration that he “needs” Gini, they go inside, have sex, and then she breaks things off with Ethan over the phone. We see it first from Bill’s perspective, and then from Gini’s, which reveals that it’s their work she’s choosing, not Bill, over Ethan. Later, Bill claims that he too considers their sexual relationship “part of the work” and not an affair. Which does not dovetail at all with the emotions he displayed when he said he needed her, nor their closeness in bed.