Now that's more like it! A major bounce back this week, as we focus on some of the actual important characters of Mad Men, so hopefully Diana the sad waitress really was the last mysterious Don mistress we ever have to see. This one was quite a change from the contemplative nature of the season's first two episodes, as it turned out to be a very busy one for the show, with lots of meaty storylines for Don, Joan, Betty and Sally.
We'll go ahead and get to Betty first, since I'm dying to hash this out. Remember Glenn, the creepy 8 year old who turned into Sally's devoted pal and who we see at least once a season? Well, he's back this week (for what's certainly the last time) and he's lost a lot of weight and gained Greg Brady's haircut and wardrobe, so I'm with Betty in that I almost didn't recognize him when he knocks at Sally's door. He's shown up to ask Sally to join him and his girlfriend at Playland, but of course runs into Betty for the first time in forever, and there's suddenly major sparkage between them now that he's all grown up. Betty is shocked at how old he is (18) and has forgotten all about her former attitude towards him, but he's just as obsessed with her as ever, much to Sally's dismay. Glenn lets them know he's joined the army, despite being against the war, and is shipping out in a week. Sally's furious, but Betty can't stop flirting and makes a show of supporting him. Later, Glenn shows up at the house one more time, but now only to see Betty, who he tries to hit on (hoping to live out his real life fantasy of The Graduate I'm sure), but Betty stops him, fairly calmly. He admits to being scared and having joined because he flunked out of college, and then leaves Betty standing sad and alone- although I really was hoping she'd go for it, because I will never in a million years, believe that Betty Draper Francis whatever is not completely insane, selfish and narcissistic, and if Matt Weiner's trying to tell us she's actually matured? I'll never buy it. She wanted that kid and the nutso Betty I know would have taken him. So long, Glenn.
Onto Joan now, who's been sent out to California to do some interviewing for a new position, where she runs into the unpleasant Lou Avery, who I guess has been transferred to the LA office now. He's also trying to sell his comic strip to Hanna Barbera (scoff), but Joan mistakes a millionaire developer named Richard for one of her interviews, and he can't help but ask her out of course. By the way, he's Bruce Greenwood, so he may be sticking around a while. Joan jumps at the chance for an adult night out, and actually sleeps with the guy that night, but what do you know- they've really hit it off. Even though he confesses to her that he's recently divorced, retired, and sent his kids off to college, she doesn't tell him about her own situation, aside from not being currently married herself, thinking she probably won't see him again. But, of course he shows up in New York not long after, and takes her out to dinner, where she finally fesses up to having a four year old, information he does not take kindly to. When she can't spend the whole night with him at a hotel, and has to argue her hippie babysitter into staying longer with Kevin, Richard balks and tells her he doesn't want to raise any more kids. Joan is upset and runs off, taking out her anger on the baby-sitter the next day, but Richard eventually shows up at the office to give her flowers and apologize, saying he likes her enough to move to New York and give this a real shot, with her and her kid (and her mother). Well, that's nice- I guess Joan deserves a happy ending with a millionaire Bruce Greenwood, right?
Meanwhile, Don is struggling with trying to sell his newly unfurnished apartment, and his realtor Melody is giving him a tough time, saying the place reeks of failure (gee, that's a little heavy-handed, don't you think?). Then Roger gives Don the task of coming up with the far reaching, future defining, big picture building speech he has to make for the McCann guys about the future of the company at a retreat in the Bahamas, and Don uncharacteristically can't seem to come up with ideas. He asks Ted for some suggestions, but Ted only sees as far as landing a pharmaceutical someday, and then he goes to Peggy, but her dreams are personal in nature, as she wants to become the first woman creative director. No one is able to think beyond that, and Don ends by not finding his answers quite yet. But he does end up selling the apartment after all, and Melody leaves him alone (as always) in his hallway, wondering where his next "place" is going to be.
-Sally this week gets a heavy dose of her parents flirting in front of her, as she has to sit through a dinner with Don and her friends right before they leave on a 12 day trip to Washington D.C. One of the girls embarrassingly flirts with Don in front of everyone, and Sally really lets Don have it, but this time Don tells her what's what, that she's like both of her folks whether she likes it or not, and it's up to her to be more than just her looks. Good. Sally's getting a little bratty for my tastes these days (although it is funny that she knows they can get weed at Playland).
-There's a dustup in the office this week, and one of Peggy's guys Mathis gets fired for an outburst in front of a client. After Don gives him the worst advice ever for fixing the situation, Mathis yells at him that he's got no character, he's just "handsome," which Don seems to take to heart, but not before axing him. This whole storyline was worth it for Pete's hysterical overreaction to everything, as he continues his role from last year as the comic relief. Will he get one more episode, I wonder, or is there really anything left to say about Pete?
-Okay, I've got to say this. As we watched Bobby and little Eugene run across the kitchen on their way to take in The Brady Bunch, I suddenly realized that, with ten years having passed on the series (it's finally made explicitly clear we're in the summer of 1970), Bobby has to be at least, at least, twelve years old, and I'm sorry but he still looks eight. And Gene? He should be seven (born in 1963), and that kid can't be older than four. I think I've discovered a continuity error here, because as little as we see those boys, they can't hide the fact that they should be much older than they actually look by now.
-Joan mentions to Bruce Greenwood that she's divorced...twice. I'm sorry? Am I forgetting someone or is this brand new information? Seriously, we've only ever seen her with Greg, the jerk doctor who apparently lived out the rest of his days in Vietnam, but has it ever even been mentioned that she was married to someone else before? Hmmm. I think this is new, folks. I hope we get that story at some point, but with four episodes left, I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.