Mad Men: It's still about Don and Betty

Last night’s episode of Mad Men showed us an upside-down world in which the once-invincible Don Draper is reduced to living in a dark and dingy apartment, having lost the respect (and fear) of his ex-wife, and being in a position of having to re-invent himself. The scene with the prostitute punctuated the “new and dark Don” and indicates that this season we will see a perhaps less-conventional but fuller picture of the man that is Don Draper.

Peggy looks vaguely like Ayn Rand now but she is much more interesting now that she is in a role of authority and responsibility – although she shows that she still looks up to Don in her telling comment, “We’re all here to please you.” Don’s old business partners remain frozen in their past roles (curmudgeonly and shoe-less Bert Cooper and the ready-to-party-at-a-drop-of-the-hat Roger Sterling) and it was nice to see Joan get an office finally.

I hope that we see growth in the former Mrs. Draper since she was portrayed in earlier episodes as being without much depth. My thought is that, as with Don Draper, the characters will have to fall far and hurt more before they rise up whole and better.

People had been saying that the show was going beyond the twin pillars of the ad agency and Don’s marriage but I think it will remain based on those basic pillars but will now be about Don and Betty’s changing lives and the fortunes of the new agency; in other words, the original formula. If for no other reason than that is what originally pulled us all into the world of Mad Men.

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