How is it possible that a series as languid as Mad Men has already aired 9 episodes and it seems like they just started the new season a week or two ago? This program is more densely packed than a holiday fruitcake, and fortunately more easy to digest.
This week's episode ("Wee Small Hours"), sans the amazing force of nature Joan should have felt even slower than normal, but three story lines kept me on the edge of my seat. Don continued his jousting with Connie Hilton, who keeps calling him in the middle of the night to whisper ideas over 40 year old prohibition era moonshine. Don doesn't seem at all alarmed by Connie's suggestions which are apparently fueled by a direct pipeline to God and include a Hilton Hotel on the moon. Connie isn't nearly as nuts as he seems though, and he (quite correctly) tells Don that his creative effort for the Hilton world wide expansion campaign is "good but not great".
Meanwhile, Betty kicks her flirtation with Henry the governor's aide up a few notches and wins this week's "Meltdown" award, when she hurls a metal campaign cash box at Henry in a burst of childish rage. Betty Draper is becoming increasingly disturbed. Not to go all pop Psychology, but I think she's bipolar. The kids shouldn't be left alone with her anymore, thank God for Carla the maid.
Last but by no means least, closeted commercial producer Sal found himself out on the street this week when he rebuffed the advances of a Lucky Strike client. Drunk and angry, the client demanded Sal's head (so to speak) and Don gave in rather than lose a $20 million dollar account.
It would be very unlikely for Matt Weiner to jettison two powerhouse characters (Sal and Joan) so one would hope to see them brought back to the fold soon. Less crazy Betty and more Joan d'Advertising Agency would suit me just fine.