This most recent hour of Mad Men was the best twist-of-fate rollercoaster ride in series history.
I felt Joan's story really shared the main stage with Don, as her life is becoming very difficult. On the day of Dr. Harris' residency exam, Joan readies to leave the office that she runs (on some level) to live the good life as a surgeon's wife.
But as we've learned, while Dr. Harris appears to be a dreamboat he is quite flawed. Joan waits home all night for a drunk doc who was told he'll never be a surgeon, and has to extend his internship one more year.
But the announcements have already been made at the office, and Joan's goodbye cake has already been wheeled out...Until a tragic mishap. Now Jane has the perfect excuse to return to Sterling-Cooper, to hold things together after a crisis.
Roger Sterling's character re-emerges from his short funk with a series of quips, one-liners, and even some practical wisdom.
In Putnam, Powell & Lowe's grand plans for re-organization, Roger was marginalized, completely left off an overhead projector flowchart. "My name's on the wall, but not the chart." He sold the ad agency and now the new boss has exposed him as an empty suit. But at least he doesn't lose his sense of humor.
And then there's Don Draper. Always under control, always has the smart answer. Never tips his hand. Even when Pete Campbell tried to expose him as an imposter in Season 1, he played it cool and won. In this episode we saw a little more of him.
Don was practically giddy when rumors of PPL's visit to the office likely meant a promotion for the creative director and a London office. He was genuinely excited, then was put back in his place with his position on the chart, working alongside (though slightly beneath) London's new hotshot account man.
But just as we see Don as angry as he gets, telling Peggy the champagne sucks, his fortunes turn upward. They always do. Conrad Hilton calls him in for a meeting based on a chance encounter they shared at Sterling's party a few weeks back. And Don talks "Connie" into a deal.
Then Don finds out that his new boss Guy McKendrick had his foot severed in a freak accident at an office party. So Don continues to step in shit. And even though he's a scoundrel, lothario, and a phony, I feel a personal connection to him.
Because as a Dad, he's got all the answers at home too.
Nine-year old Sally Draper has become a very compelling character. You can see the conflict and confusion in her with the death of her new best friend "Grandpa Gene" and the nearly simultaneous birth of a baby brother named after him.
While Mom tries to buy her off with a Barbie doll, Don is patient and hopeful, and makes a difference.