Wow. A couple little twists, a beautifully photographed show, and a few new characters. What a delight it is to be back in the sixties with all of my favorites ad men and women!
The show starts out in Hawaii where Don and Megan are on vacation. Megan is now a regular on a popular soap opera, and she’s just starting to get recognized and get asked for autographs, which is clearly thrilling for her. Don seems to be a little out of it during the trip, in his head most of the time, taking it all in. He’s been to LA with beaches and palm trees, but there’s something different about Hawaii that seems to have his attention.
One of the big points in the episode was how Don helps out a fellow GI by walking his bride down the aisle on the beach one morning since she had no family there to give her away. Megan catches him and, without his knowledge, snaps a photo of the ceremony. He seems a little miffed that she took a photo of such a private moment, but doesn’t react to it directly.
Somehow, Don and the PFC, Dinkins, manage to mix up their lighters, both of which they got from the service. For some reason, it really bothers Don that he did that. He keeps taking out the lighter throughout the show and looking at it, perhaps wondering about the young man or perhaps superstitious about his own lighter.
Betty becomes attached to one of her daughter’s friends, Sandy, who plays the violin. Sandy opens up to her about not getting into Juilliard, and when she tells Sally that she left for Juilliard early, Betty immediately knows something’s wrong and goes into Manhattan to look for her.
Betty is secretly one of my favorite characters (though I might say that about Pete and Kenny too). She’s supposed to be a less sympathetic character after leaving Don the way she did, and occasionally treating Sally and Don poorly, but she has such wonderful depth and all these hidden corners to her personality that I can’t help but like her and be fascinated by her.
I’m confused about why she’s still fat (though distinctly slimmer than last season) because that was just to cover for January Jones being pregnant. I figured they’d write it in so she’d go back to her old self, because all that make-up and padding can’t be that comfortable (especially the extra skin on her face to make it fuller). But, whatever, Matthew Weiner. It’s your show.
The girl, Sandy, really does play the violin beautifully, and I think it’s really human of Betty to go looking for her, even though Sally doesn’t seem that concerned or upset that she’s gone (of course, she doesn’t know the truth). It seems she’s given up by the end of the episode, but we may see more of that plot-line as the season goes on.
It was a very private, introspective episode. The characters all interact, but their most revealing moments are when they’re alone. The one that was most striking was Roger’s moment: his mother passed, and after a memorial in which nothing went according to plan, including Don showing up drunk and puking into an umbrella holder, he still doesn’t feel much grief at her passing.
He’s been bugging his secretary about getting his shoes shined and for some reason, the death of the man who shined his shoes affects him much more than that of his own mother. He cries in his office, sitting with the shoe shine kit that the man’s family sent over.
Roger’s been seeing a therapist during the episode, and having little success figuring out what he’s doing there or how it’s helping. Part of the problem there is that Roger isn’t the kind of guy, like Don, to share all of his deepest feelings or darkest secrets, so without that kind of honesty, therapy probably isn’t going to do much. It’s nice to see Roger trying to move on at least. Jane leaving him was a big blow, and he’s making an effort to figure out his life before he runs out of it.
Toward the end of the episode, we discover that Don is once again back to his old tricks, sleeping with a woman who isn’t his wife, and one who is also married. His friend Dr. Rosen, who lives in his building, seems to be a good grounding factor in his life just as he seems to be approaching a crisis, but just at the end, we find out Don is sleeping with Rosen’s wife. Perhaps that’s why he’s trying so hard to become good friends with the doctor.
I was disappointed to see Don back with another woman. Megan’s high maintenance, so it’s not exactly surprising that he’s seeking comfort in a woman who is more mature and lower maintenance, but still, I hoped he’d be strong enough to avoid that temptation. However, it seems he’s in a much bigger state of crisis than he was last season–the lighter, the ad idea he comes up with for the Hawaiian hotel, the infidelity, the funeral episode (it’s not too often we see Don unable to hold his liquor!).
Looking forward to this season. We didn’t get to see much of Peggy, Pete, or Joan in this episode (more Peggy than the others), so I want to find out what’s going on with them. I’m loving the new guy, Bob Benson. He may seem annoying to Don and Kenny, but I like him. I think he’s sharp and he’ll bring a different flavor of drama to the show once we get into his story.
PS: If you missed this week’s Mad Men-centered Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, check it out here.
Monday night, The Following and Bates Motel are all new! Don’t miss them!
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