Seven episodes into its second season, Masters of Sex delivered one of the best time jumps in TV history. We’d already been prepped with the news that the story would “jump” three years at some point this season, but through carefully crafted transitions — Betty’s stylish outfits; Lester’s clapboards bearing the days’ dates; the appearance of a new child of Bill and Libby’s as we watched Johnny grow — we were taken on a three-year journey that felt natural. So often the technique of a time jump is used to disorient or shock, but here, it was solely in purpose of moving the story forward and bringing viewers along. Well done.
“Asterion,” directed by Michael Dinner and written by David Flebotte and Michelle Ashford, also moved the Bill-Virginia relationship forward as they finally addressed the issue at hand: They’ve gone too far to go back. They are connected, and they either have to sever ties completely or find a balance of continuing to be with each other while Bill goes home to Libby and Virginia goes home to someone else. This arrangement is still rather messy, but at least the time transitions helped move us through Bill’s most bitter and cruel years and into 1961, where he and Virginia are at peace.
Libby knows Bill is happier when Virginia is in his life, but does she fully suspect their affair? It’s great to see Betty doing so well, but what about Jane — will she ever return from B*tchtown? Will Lester ever get over her? And is there anything less cool than a girdle salesman named Shelly?
Mallory Andrews, of cléo, and I discuss these topics and more in Podcasters of Sex, and we also address listener and reader feedback.
You can listen to our “Asterion” discussion here:
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Join us next week for episode eight, “Mirror, Mirror.”
Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.