The loss of family, the growth of family. This Sunday's Mad Men deals with the complexities of family issues. We find Betty's father who has fallen victim to stokes and will not recover from their ravages. Betty's step mother who has ravaged Betty's childhood home and the sentimental items that remind her of a better time. Betty's father doesn't remember who she is often, several times thinking she is her mother and even making sexual advances on her. I can't imagine what she is going through as she watches her father's deterioration knowing he will never be the same. The loss of a parent is to me an unimaginable pain, but to watch the parent die a little each day must be torture.
Betty feels that she is now an orphan (she still is thinking like a child). And poor Don, he just wants to comfort her, to be by her side and take care of her. He dutifully sleeps by her side, as if a loyal pet. And we all know he isn't loyal. Still, you can see he cares deeply for her and wants to take her pain away; but she won't let him. In the end Betty spends some time with Helen Bishop (OMG is Glen not the creepiest child you've ever laid eyes on) and as Betty confides in the single Ms. Bishop, it is revealed to Betty that all the problems with Don and her marriage, are really in her own control. The most touching moment of this whole storyline was the middle of the night romp Betty and Don have; it's evident that they both still care for each other, dearly, but I could cry when Don awakens to find himself yet still alone. Tear...
Many still are the references to the life cycle through the entire show: the passing of Pete's father and his "Inheritance" turns out to be nothing; Pete and Trudy's quandary to adopt or not to adopt; Harry's surprise baby shower; Kinsey's girlfriend and their struggles as an interracial couple; Jane and Roger's Tiffany Co. gift indicating the divorce from Mona is on track; this episode reminded us that life does indeed carry on. Take note Betty, you might miss life unfold before you. And I predict that Pete will adopt, just to spite his mother. Do any of you think he didn't want a child because that child might possibly inherit Pete's portion of his deceased father's estate...hummmm I wonder.
I must admit that I was overjoyed to see the return of so many sub-plot characters to the show. Most disturbing of all is Glen, Helen Bishops son, who is fixated by Betty. I was completely creeped out watching them sit side by side as Glen grabs Betty's hand. UH! I don't often feel repelled, and even though we all know Glen's behavior is out of wanton love for a mother figure, it does just feel so dirty. At least the writer's brought back Kinsey's girlfriend Sheila and gave us a break from the disturbing and return us to the Civil Rights movement and the feeling of hope through strife. I find it even more insightful as Americans have the potential to elect our first African American president. We are reminded of the difficulties Americans faced in another time. Did you see the lead receptionist's eyes bug out and roll when Kinsey kissed Sheila good day? I'm not so blind as to think we are so far progressed that we don't ever see a reaction such as that, but the roots are getting deeper.
Do you realize how many characters we have come to love and look forward too? There isn't a single episode that can accommodate our appetite for an update of all of them. I wonder if this won't become even more frustrating in the future. This week I find myself missing Peggy or Salvatore or Joan or Roger's update of gossip. And in truth, I wonder how much longer Don can keep up the hotel-scoundrel lifestyle. I feel like we are moving drastically to some sort of pinnacle. But of what, and with who? One hour is not enough time for me to get my Mad Men fix each week.