Spoilers, of course. If you haven’t already, make sure to read our full episode recap, Only Connect.

  1. Mortality bingo certainly, well, bingoed this episode, but there were lots of other hints, too: Ted piloting a plane with a death wish (Pete: “He’s off the deep end. Lane. Pryce.”), everyone terrified that something bad will happen to the astronauts, Roger asking Joan, “Is this what would happen if I died?”
  2. Don’s philosophy about how to climb the ladder at the agency is a bit schizophrenic. He’s fought his way up, especially with the commandeered Commander meeting, but his tactic lately has been more along the lines of what he tells Harry: “Don’t negotiate. Just accept the deal.” (And had Harry taken his advice, he’d be in better shape now.)
  3. Other hints at character development, which happens at a glacial pace on this show, as it does in real life: During the first season, Don famously told Peggy to forget about what she’d done and move on, and “it will shock you how much it never happened.” But two things seem to be contradicting that this season: Peggy’s apparently awakening maternal instincts, and Don’s statement to her this episode that “some actions have consequences.”
  4. Betty: “I’m starting to think of him as an old boyfriend. Someone a teenage anthropologist would marry.”
  5. Was that Sally’s first kiss? Er, excuse me: mini-Betty. (Also, the boy’s name is Neil—well played, writers.)
  6. Okay, far be it from me to think that Don and Peggy are going to get together in the end. That seems like a sloppy bit of writing. But they’re certainly getting cozy; this is the second episode in a row where they’ve been seated next to each other (once at Burger Chef, and here on the hotel bed) and their arms and shoulders have touched, and it’s all knowing smiles between the two. It’s times like these that I wonder, just a little, if the writers are trolling us.
  7. Finally, if you noticed nothing else this season, it’s worth noting how much of Mad Men happens off-screen. For instance, if you, like I, have found Joan’s vitriol toward Don a bit baffling all season, you only found out this week why it exists. We have absolutely no idea what’s going on in Ted’s personal life. We can only assume Pete and Bonnie have broken up. The state of Henry and Betty’s marriage is unclear. Did Megan do something that makes her tell Don he doesn’t owe her anything, or is she just being kind? It’s these sorts of questions that make Mad Men so good: it’s a show that richly rewards close attention and a re-watch, in the way a good book does. A lesson to would-be writers of all stripes, everywhere.

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