Indeed, the episode belongs to not just Peggy, but also to the other female force of the show: Betty Draper. "The Fog" of the episode's title is the drug-induced indignity of '60s childbirth Betty has to endure, along with her mismanaged grief over her father's death.
But that's just the beginning of the madness. To see what I thought were the best moments from this week's episode (spoilers ahead!), just
- The entire 1960s birthing experience. God, poor Betty, I thought, throughout her hospital stay (check out what Lil had to say about the traumatic scene). Oh, and also: so glad I don't have to give birth in the '60s. The fun stuff just piled up on Betty, starting with her isolation: the scary drugs that brought on the "twilight sleep" of creepy hallucinations, the enema (yick!), her sad struggle with the nurse in the delivery room.
- The blood motif: First, there's the weird splice of Sally's blood-covered face during the parent-teacher meeting, then Betty's disturbing dream that features her father mopping up blood and her mother wiping the blood off of a suited African-American man (most likely Medgar Evers).
- Pete and Peggy reunited: But it didn't feel so good. The Pete/Peggy storyline is one I've been super eager to get back into after last season's emotional confession from Peggy that she'd given up Pete's baby for adoption. Unfortunately, it's not the reunion I was hoping for — Duck's surprise lunch to woo them to his agency is a total misstep. Still, hearing him acknowledge P&P's "secret relationship" is somehow gratifying.
- Integration at Sterling Cooper: Pete Campbell becomes the unwitting face of integration when he proposes a blended race strategy for Admiral televisions. His conversation with Hollis, reprimand from the partners for his bold suggestion, and Betty's aforementioned hallucination all indicate the coming storm of racial issues.
- Peggy and Don's office chat: When Peggy tells Don, "I look at you and think, I want what he has," shortly after fingering a baby's slipper, we know she's not just talking about his salary and status. We've always known that Don doesn't appreciate all he has, but his hollow answer to Peggy's proclamation that he has everything, "I suppose that's probably true," cements it.
It was a heavy time-period episode, with the mention of integration, equal pay for women, and the archaic delivery room methods, but the character evolutions continue to crackle. What parts of the episode got to you the most?
P.S. Dear Don Draper. Your interaction with the PYT of a teacher worries me. Please keep it in your pants.
Photo courtesy of AMC