Mad Men Season 3, Episode 1: “Fucking Don”

Okay, that’s my title, not the shows. At the end of Season 2, Don and Betty after a whole season debating a divorce and living apart come back together; there was this cathartic release in the last episode when Betty reached out for Don’s hand, a symbol of accepting him back into the home. I cried because (1) I’m soft, (2) they were finally back together in what seemed like a healthy way. Don rediscovered his love for Betty. And Betty knows more about Don and accepts him for who he is. Progress.

Then, starting season 3, in the first episode, we get dropped from that heaven back to reality, after Don cheats on Betty. The producers did such a good job of making us say “fucking Don” without actually hating him. I wondered how they did that.

This time when Don cheated, it was different in the way the events unfolded. He never pursued it, never sought it out. Likewise though he didn’t resist. But it felt like he had a conscious and he was trying to do the right thing. Secondly, we could see the flawed side of Don, how he is doing it to fill a hole within him, and we could relate to that temptation.

Perhaps these are the keys to liking anyone, no matter what wrongs they commit. As long as we can see that they are trying to do their best and care about doing the right thing, and we understand why they failed do the right thing, then we’re okay cutting them a break. It’s the ones who don’t learn and don’t question that I don’t have time for.

Luckily for me, Don is trying, so I’ll continue to spend my nights on the rollercoaster, watching him be the man I want to be and then being dropped from up high after he does something that makes me say, “fucking Don.”