After last week’s tour de something that left half of all Mad Men fans wondering what the hell just happened, and the other half digging through the rubble to try and find some little artifact or writing on the wall that foreshadows what will be, we have a return to as close to normal as the show gets.
And by normal I actually mean the first few seasons when Don and Betty shared a bed, because when the two get around each other at a hot and sticky summer camp while visiting Bobby, well, Betty leaves the door open for her ex, and then she gets to experience firsthand what it’s like being one of the many other women in Don’s life. Obviously a Draper family reunion is big news, but the moment that got me was when the two are laying together in bed after getting reacquainted, when Betty makes the smart point to her former husband that, “Loving you is the worst way to get to you.” Now we’re left wondering if this was a one-time thing, or if Mr. and the former Mrs. Draper will be scheduling more visits like this. One thing is for certain: The second-half of this season should be subtitled “How Betty Got Her Groove Back.”
On the other side of the Draper pond, Megan spends an evening drinking Canadian Club with the wife of her boss (you remember him as the guy who suggested the Drapers go back to “smoke some grass” and just see what happens), and–no shock here–the wife tries to seduce Megan. Megan, unlike her husband, doesn’t go for the sex.
While the Drapers and ex-Drapers made the biggest splash in the episode, the life and times of Peggy was the most central part of “The Better Half.” Poor Peggy who a few episodes ago kissed Ted, only to find in this episode Mr. Cool Guy Ted turning around and acting like a cold weirdo. “The boss in love with his protégé,” he says to Peggy, which made me go back to check my notes, because last I checked, I thought Peggy was Don’s protégé. I mean, I could be wrong here, but Ted is basically just a poor man’s Don, right? Isn’t that what we’re getting from that? He was never Peggy’s mentor, he’s just a flaccid little man.
If Ted being a freak isn’t enough, Peggy and Abe’s gig as neighborhood “pioneers” (also known as Original Gentrifiers) reaches its condescending conclusion, as Abe gets stabbed once by some neighborhood toughs, and then again by Peggy with some weird makeshift bayonet when she thinks her beau is an intreuder. As the two are on their way to the hospital in the ambulance, Abe breaks it off with Peggy because, according to him, Peggy’s actions are offensive to his every waking moment. Honestly? Fuck Abe. I was hoping he’d bleed out on the way to the hospital. I still think that Team Peggy is going to have our moment this season where something amazing happens to our young heroine, in the meantime, I’m going to go over-analyze the sirens you hear blaring in the distance both times Don and Megan are together (one of which may have been the ambulance transporting Abe at the end) to see if there is any sort of crazy meaning behind all of that.