It's still not clear where things are heading, but Mad Men Season 7 Episode 2 showed that any forward movement at all is better than nothing.
Seeing Don just hanging out, sleeping in, munching on Ritz crackers and watching That Girl on television after seeing a cockroach meandered on by - only putting on a suit to greet Dawn delivering Sterling Cooper intel - was the visual epitome of his downfall.
Don's not the only one feeling the pain of a drifting career and personal loneliness. Pete's not as happy as he appeared on the outside in Mad Men Season 7 Episode 1 and even Ted is working merely to cash his check.
Can we talk about Peggy? She's become a lot more like the young girl who joined the firm when Mad Men first started, and yet she has weight to throw around so it becomes her goal to make everyone miserable.
What Peggy did with Shirley's Valentine bouquet was cringe-inducing. She's still so certain that Ted is in love with her but holding back his feelings (I guess for her pride and sanity) that she's started creating little scenarios about and around him that aren't true.
There was a brief allusion to just how clueless Ted is with the whole affair after Pete broke down wondering why they even had two offices when he said they never did talk about what clients Peggy lost. Forehead slap!
The entire hour was like a comedy of errors. There was blatant racism on the part of Bertram Cooper, Roger apologizing for his every word because of it's sexual nature and everyone wanting to switch their "girls" because they just couldn't get along with them any more.
After a ridiculous day of desk shuffling, Jim finally realized Joan had two jobs and let her choose whether she wanted to work in accounts or as the head of personnel. That was a no-brainer. The upside was, unless I completely misread the situation, Dawn was promoted to personnel.
Through all of this ran the saga of Don. Don is finally starting to realize that he's more than likely not going back to Sterling Cooper. He has to wonder if he would even be able to face the people in that office after his absence, but he's still plugging along, getting that information from Dawn and keeping his ear to the wall.
He has his feelers out, as indicated by his business lunch with
Jag Dave Wooster, but he's still under contract and can't make a move. He's in a very precarious position both professionally and personally. Enter Sally Draper.
It was so good to see Sally, wasn't it? She's growing up nicely; much better than I imagined considering the close calls she had when she was younger. She's a normal girl. She's also uniquely tied to her father's conscience. She tells him not to lie when writing her a note about her absence from school and pretty much refuses to talk to him until he's straight with her about his life.
When he finally is, it's as if a weight has been lifted from his shoulders. Someone knows his secret. He can talk to his daughter now, without hiding anything about himself. Don was attempting to open up when he created the mess he's in and coming clean with one of the people he shared his past with had to feel amazing.
From starting the day in his underwear drawing a line on his whiskey bottle to track how much he drank to having Valentine's dinner with his daughter was about as bright as things could be for Don on that particular day. The look of surprise when Sally told him she loved him was perfect. He was exactly where he was supposed to be.
I loved all of the nods to pop culture from the era, and the closer they get to TV shows that aired as repeats when I grew up, or use glasses my grandmother had, the more tickled I get watching. That alone is worth the time to watch. I'll also admit I'm really fond of "day in the life" type scenarios. They feel very intimate and that was achieved here, as well.
If you feel like it, chat about your thoughts on the hour and then watch Mad Men online for more flashes of the past.
Did Joan make the right career choice?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.