We are now two episodes into the third season of Mad Men and there's been a lot of discussion and speculation as to whether the show could sustain the brilliance of its first two seasons.
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: the beauty of Mad Men for me is that it works on several levels. I can watch it week to week and enjoy the plots, the characters, the amazing costumes and sets, but then also go back and watch the show in long stretches and catch the themes and symbolism inherent to the arcs of the show.
And so far, I am loving where the characters are going, especially Peggy. All along she has been discovering how much of a weapon her femininity can be, but last week she really ratcheted it up by using some practiced Joan and Ann-Margaret skills to see if she could reel someone in. Her whole scene in the bar had a definite experiment vibe to it; Peggy wanting to see what she could get away with. Although I did hate seeing her disappointment in Don when he failed to understand how far ahead she is of the curve (and other copy writers) when it comes to understanding how women think and how that can aid them to sell products.
As for Don and Betty, I'm not really sure of where they are in their marriage. In the season premiere, Don got up in the middle of the night to warm milk for her, which may have been a small action, but it certainly showed that he cared for her. But from then on, they seemed to be a couple that was merely going through the motions; especially since Don took the first opportunity he had to bang some random chick. Although the fact that it was a random encounter and not an actual mistress was, I guess, a step up for him?
Betty's bitterness this season is interesting, and I seriously fear for the health of her child with all the smoking and drinking she has indulged in lately. I wonder how her father moving in with the family will further affect the dynamic?
Obviously there are a billion other characters to talk about, but my fingers are starting to hurt (I've been typing all day, yo), so I'll leave with two final thoughts. First, does anyone else get the feeling that there is a giant ticking clock over this season counting down to the Kennedy assassination and what it is going to do everyone? I don't think it's really anything that the show creators have explicitly done, but I am sensing serious tension for the future. And second...