The hiatus is over, both parts of the return episode have aired, and now we’re delving into the meat of Mad Men’s fifth season. Episode 3 is entitled Tea Leaves, and here are my Top 10 comments on the episode.

1. Being Fat Gives Betty Francis An Interesting New Dimension

The first thing we see is the always fashionable Betty having some serious trouble fitting into one of her outfits, to the point where she does the unthinkable and allows it to keep her from a social engagement, something that would be mostly unthinkable for Betty Draper. Also surprisingly, Henry Francis seems to understand that his wife is having trouble with her body image, which is the opposite reaction from what I expected of him. Having the trophy wife be less of “just a pretty face” will be an interesting facet to her character as the season progresses.

2. Mother-In-Laws-A-Plenty

We get a glimpse into Don’s difficulty communicating with Megan’s mother due to the difference in language, and later we see Betty Francis have a difficult time of a different sort with her mother-in-law Pauline, but they seem to understand one another plenty.

3. Megan Wearing Two Hats

During the dinner with the Heinz folks, as Don gets dragged into a discussion about potentially involving the Rolling Stones in an uninspired campaign, Megan essentially has to play up the idea that she’s not interested in talking shop when the other “wifey” tries to change the topic. Seeing the new Mrs Draper have to balance her ambition with the societal expectations will be interesting to see transpire, especially with a new culture evolving in the world around her – one which Don might not understand as well, hinted at with the Rolling Stones aspects of the episode.

4. The Evolving Ethnic Diversity (part 1)

The running joke with Don’s new African-American secretary is due to the homophonic nature of DAWN’s name (giving us Roger Sterling’s “It’s darkest before the Dawn” comment), but her ethnicity is very likely to open some new avenues on the show. Each season there’s typically a storyline arc which involves the agency attempting to reach a particular client base they don’t understand. Before the season is over, Dawn will undoubtedly be called upon, and I’m guessing she’ll have plenty to offer.

5. Don Being Cold to Harry Crane

Throughout the episode in the various interactions they had, Don was considerably cold in discussions with Harry Crane. Their first interaction left me wondering whether Don had heard about Harry’s comments about Megan’s Zu Bisou Bisou. Previous seasons saw Don act significantly stern towards his lackies, but last year it seemed like the tough love approach had dissipated as his “office children” had grown up a bit. Maybe a bit of that is coming back… or maybe Don does know about Harry’s comments.  Either way, I don’t believe Harry would’ve included that embarrassing scene in the first episode if Harry wasn’t going to pay for it later.

6. The Benign Storyline

Betty talks to a doctor, initially because she wants diet pills, and the doc finds something in her neck.  She goes home, Henry isn’t there, and the person she turns to is Don, letting old comforts ease her concerns for a while. The concern Don shows was an interesting storyline element, as was Betty’s new budding friendship with an old friend she saw at the doctor, but now that Betty apparently doesn’t have cancer, both of those stories potentially fade away. While the writers probably have plenty planned for the season, both of those storyline arcs could have been extended a couple episodes. It was affecting her psyche to the point where she had a dream about how her family would deal with her death.

7. A New Favorite Character

Peggy has the fun task of identifying a new copywriter to hire, and from the portfolios she stumbles upon Michael Ginsberg, who is one of my new favorite characters on television. Though he hasn’t surpassed Don or Roger Sterling, Ginsberg has shown tons of potential in his first episode and (likely purposefully) reminds me fondly of what Roger Sterling might’ve been like in his youth. By the end of the episode we see that he’s got an interesting situation at home with his father and he’s got a little nickname for Peggy (calling her by her real first name, Margaret) to go along with his stream-of-conscious style of speaking to people other than Don. If this character doesn’t become a fan-favorite by season’s end, I’ll be shocked and disappointed.

8. Roger Sterling vs Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell makes the big announcement to the office about Mohawk Airlines bringing over their business. Roger Sterling feels left out, like he’s being pushed aside, and complains a bit about it. The feud between these two began late last season, and it’s kicking into gear this year, with Pete now getting some considerable fire-power. It’s always nice to see Roger Sterling get a storyline which doesn’t revolve around his love of women.

9. Henry Francis vs Don Draper

Henry Francis is clearly not comfortable with the way Betty got in touch with her ex-husband about her medical situation, and he takes the passive aggressive route. He’s cold to Don in telling him frankly that Betty’s got a good bill of health, and then when Betty asks who called, Henry won’t even tell her that it was Don calling to show his concern. This could potentially provide more fireworks than the Sterling v Campbell feud.

10. Return of The Army Doc

As we saw in the previews for next week’s episode, Joan’s husband looks to be returning from war, which opens a new can of worms for a few people.

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