Mad Men followed up last week's exceptional episode with another moody and dark episode getting inside the mind of Don and delving into some dicey office politics. And, as usual, everything comes with a nice hint of dread.
The show doesn't usually employ voice over as a device, but this episode showed Don writing some sort of a journal, spilling his mind onto the page. It was a little stilted, as all VO-heavy sequences can be, plainly saying the things that the show often conveys with much more subtlety and nuance - even if it is intercut with Don getting a hummer from Bethany in the back of a cab.
Later in the episode, we got the kind of scene that has made the show so consistently great; a scene filled with nuance and metaphor, tying together what's happening with all the episodes. Don may not be in total control of his emotions, as he yearns to be earlier in the episode, the lesson of the fable that he and Dr. Miller talk about at dinner seems to have real meaning for him.
Of course, not everyone in the Mad Men universe is ready to shine warmth down on everyone. Having finally had it with the high-jinks of some male co-workers, Joan threatens them with their imminent departure to and hellish existence in Vietnam. It's a threat as much to the audience as it to those characters; we all know that Vietnam will play a larger and larger role in the world of the show, and Weiner and co. have been teasing it more and more each week, threatening us with the inevitable havoc it will wreak.