Both of Don Draper's former wives made valiant returns in "Dark Shadows." Fat Betty ate up the screen (pun intended) with every emotion you can imagine, while the deceased Anna Draper appeared in mention only via an attempt to cause a rift in Don's now solid family situation.
Although everyone in the known universe hates Betty Francis, it is difficult to argue that January Jones has been amazing in the role over these past five years. Let's look at the depth at which she portrayed the character this week by running through the many emotions of Fat Betty...
Not only did it make me sad watching Betty attend those bizarre Weight Watcher meetings, it obviously was making her sad to be there. The leader of that crew is all well and good, but I think they could all benefit from a more influential instructor. I would suggest someone like Tony Perkis, who always knows how to treat his students at a "weigh-in."
With things seemingly not running so smoothly with Henry, Betty was supremely jealous when she walked through Don's apartment. The trendy furniture wasn't the only thing she was jealous of, though. Seeing Megan with her shirt off – and later reading that note from Don to his new wife – must have shattered Fat Betty's self confidence a lot.
She certainly is trying, but after that encounter with Megan, Betty just had to go straight for the fridge once she returned home. I don't know why, but in that split second she was opening the door, I couldn't have been more interested. What was she going to choose? Carrots? A ham? Ice cream? Nope, she went right for the whipped cream, and took it to the face like a pro. The guilt hit her like a ton of bricks, however, and watching her spit the cream out into the sink was hilarious.
Although she showed many emotions in taking that lone bite at dinner, my favorite to see on Betty's face was joy. She was happy to be eating a wonderful piece of food, and because her relationship isn't what she wanted it to be and she seemingly has no friends at this point, that one bite was the happiest she is going to be for the time being. As she chewed, though, it seemed like she also felt more guilt, then confusion, the sadness, jealousy, and joy again.
Jones was great in this episode, and she did it so quietly. There were no "That's what the money is for!" outbursts leading to this high praise. She subtly put forth a fantastic performance around many other great performances.
The other Draper ladies were amazing as well, especially the scene between Megan and Sally. To paraphrase Don, which one was the child? Sally had complete control over Megan as she demanded to know who Anna was, and basically was telling her stepmother to give her what she wants and then keep her mouth shut. "Don't you dare tell Don I asked you." She is feisty, and Keirnan Shipka was unsurprisingly wonderful.
As much as fans have begun to hate Megan as much as Betty lately, I remain steadfast of the opinion that she is good for Don. Take, for example, when she told him about what happened with the whole Sally/Anna/Betty thing. He was fired up and ready to call Betty to yell at her, but Megan calmed him down, and explained that Betty wanted nothing more than that. She reasons with the man who sometimes can seem as unreasonable as they come.
Finally, "Dark Shadows" was also filled with some great SCDP drama. Don dealing with Ginsberg's rise to success, but mostly that single creative meeting in which they both pitched their Sno Ball ideas, was intriguing to say the least.
Both ideas were enjoyed by all. The difference seems to be that Michael is coming up with a million ideas all of the time. They aren't all that thought out, they're not that brilliant, but they're funny. Don, on the other hand, spends hours and hours thinking of one idea. It is also funny, but it's a very different style, and I can see the advertising world slowly moving in Michael's direction. He is a rising star, and that might cause even more trouble for Don in the near future.
What did you all think of this week's episode? Were you as impressed with Jones as I was? Are you afraid of Michael Ginsberg for Don? And how many more times is Pete going to dream of a naked Rory Gilmore this season?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.Tags: Mad Men, Reviews
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