Mad Men opened Sunday night with Don Draper filling up time during his unemployment watching 1969 movie Model Shop in which a man dating an aspiring actress falls for another woman in Los Angeles.

Mad Men Recap

After watching the movie, Don (Jon Hamm) gets Dawn (Teyonah Parris) on the phone so that he can ask her to get him typewriter ribbon and to catch him up on what’s going on at Sterling Cooper & Partners. He then takes a phone call from Megan’s (Jessica Pare) agent, who informs him that his wife had a meltdown following a recent poor audition. She ended up stalking the director during his brunch on Sunday and making a scene that included some crying hysterics.

Dutifully taking up the task of damage control, Don flies out to Los Angeles. During their chat, Megan gripes to Don about her lack of immediate success. Don continues to press her about her career, which causes Megan to get on the defensive – which then leads Don to tell her she’s behaving like a lunatic. Megan then takes the opportunity to question his fidelity. Don plays the victim, telling her he’s been on a leave of absence, not realizing that wasn’t the best thing to admit. Megan, furious that he hasn’t been with her in LA while he’s been out of work, tells him to get lost.

At SC&P, the firm is learning who’s received CLIO nominations. Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), who developed the firm’s best work, didn’t receive so much as a single nod. Ginsberg’s (Ben Feldman) Playtex ad did, however, and was the only piece from SC&P up for consideration, which isn’t particularly good for business. One of the reasons for the low CLIO recognition was that Lou Avery (Lou Avery) only submitted projects he developed.

Betty Tries To Bond With Bobby

Out in the suburbs, Betty (January Jones) chats with her former neighbor Francine Hanson over lunch. The two mothers get into a thinly veiled competition about who’s the better woman – Francine with her job and kids and Betty, the stay at home mother of two. In an effort to be the loving mother she portrayed herself as, Betty decides to accompany Bobby on his class trip.

Bobby couldn’t be happier to have his mother coming along to the field trip, chatting her ear off on the bus ride to the local farm. All is going splendidly until Betty catches a slight from her son. She can’t believe he had the audacity to trade away his sandwich to a girl in his class for some candy. For the rest of the day, she refuses to speak to her son. Betty’s anger is still present at dinner, and afterwards, when she asks Henry (Christopher Stanley) why her children don’t love her.

Don Gets His Job Back

Now that his marriage is practically over, Don has a renewed focus on fixing his professional life. Once he lands back in NYC, he sets up a meeting with Dave Wooster (David James Elliott). At dinner, Dave gives Don a more than decent offer, which is enough for Don to take over to Roger Sterling (John Slattery) in the hopes it’ll spark negotiations with SC&P. Roger is happy that Don is still a hot commodity and tells him if he wants to come back to the firm he’s more than welcome.

Monday morning, Don is back at SC&P read to go, however, Roger’s impulsive welcoming of Don back to the firm hadn’t been discussed with anyone else. It’s an awkward first day back for the ad man. Peggy only makes matters worse for him when she approaches him to say, “I can’t say we miss you.”

When Roger gets back from his lunch, he meets with Cutler, who thinks that Don shouldn’t be there. Both Cutler (Harry Hamlin) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) had thought that the leave of absence was a precursor to a complete termination. Cooper (Robert Morse), who backs Roger, doesn’t see the problem with Don returning. As Roger puts it, Don is a rare talent and one they don’t want competing against them. Joan seems oddly ambivalent about everything, admitting Don’s talents but wondering how he’ll fit back into things.

In the end, the partners decide to tell Don he can stay – but only if he abides by their rules. It seems more than likely that the stipulations were put in place to guide Don into walking away, but he’s not going anywhere. When Cooper puts the contract before him, which made deal breakers of drinking in the office, going off-script in a pitch and failing to report to Lou Avery, Don simply says “okay.”

– Chelsea Regan

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