Mad Men recap: Sneers of Cold Command

Betty tries to hurt Don, Sally tries to hurt Megan, Roger tries to hurt Pete, and Don tries to hurt Michael — so everyone got hurt
Ep. 08 | Aired May 13, 2012

"Lovely Megan" After an unplanned encounter with Megan (Jessica Paré), Betty (January Jones) struggled to maintain her weight-loss regimen, and inadvertently unleashed Sally's (Kiernan Shipka) inner mean girl

Jordin Althaus/AMC

Last week, while I vented about all the famous faces that have been distracting me on Mad Men, just a quick scan of the message boards revealed that a single face has been driving many of you to distraction: Megan's. (For some, I quite literally mean her face. Strange that I never read anyone making fun of Pete's odd teeth.) At the risk of losing all of you completely before I'm even through the first paragraph, it's no secret that I started this season feeling defensive of Megan against the haters. Beyond just enjoying an optimistic woman who's sharp as a tack and so different from the cynical, deathlessly unhappy citizens of SCDP, I really loved what she meant for Don as a new beginning. But, yes, by last week, I admit I'd grown a twinge sick of her too, and was grateful that she was finally leaving SDCP so Don could finally get back to doing what he does best: Advertising, and being an a--hole.

Oh, and did he ever. Not only did we get a major dose of the old Don Draper attempting to roar back into fighting shape last night, but Betty finally returned! And we got a juicy Sally story! And a juicy Roger story! And Pete ruined Gilmore Girls for everyone! Filled with self-serving dirty tricks masking (what else) gnawing, chronic insecurity, it was a motley stew of an episode, with moments for just about every character except for the AWOL Lane Pryce. So let's start with the woman whose been AWOL herself this season: Betty.

We opened with what appeared to be a daily breakfast ritual for Betty: Burnt toast, carefully weighed cubes of cheese, and a grapefruit. (A fair number of carbs in that diet, but I digress.) In the months since we'd last seen Betty wolfing down her daughter's dessert, it seems she'd committed to changing the course of her life (and body), and joined Weight Watchers — likely one of the very first Weight Watchers, which had only just been founded by Queens housewife Jean Nidetch in 1963. (Fun fact! In the '80s and '90s, Weight Watchers was owned by Heinz.)

At her first meeting of the episode, Betty was preoccupied. Yes, she'd lost half a pound, but she reluctantly told her fellow watchers of weight that the week before, she'd "had a very trying experience." She didn't give any details, but we already knew what she was talking about: For the first time, Betty stepped inside Don and Megan's apartment, where she A) Saw their stylish and fabulous Manhattan high-rise home (in contrast to her gloomy gothic castle in Rye); B) Saw Megan through a window in just her bra — young, beautiful, thin; and C) Saw Don's young, beautiful, and thin second wife lovingly kiss all three of Betty's children goodbye. As Betty described it in her meeting: "I was in an unfamiliar place, and I saw — felt — a lot of things I wish I hadn't." When she'd gotten home that night, the first thing Betty did was race to her fridge and squirt a giant wad of whipped cream directly into her mouth. I admit, I guffawed pretty hard, but was cut to the quick by how Betty handled her moment of weakness. The old Betty would have gulped down the mouthful of whipped cream and then brooded over her guilt. The new-ish Betty immediately spit it out, ashamed, but not a slave to her feelings. Yet.

NEXT PAGE: "Fat" Betty: Just as vindictive as skinny Betty 


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