Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 9 “Wee Small Hours” (B+)
Don’s drives really are mesmerizing, and his encounter with the teacher just out for a late-night jog is as stark and powerful as ever. It’s clearly some needed relief for the very stressed-out ad man, who seems on edge at just about every moment and like he doesn’t have a shred of patience for anyone who wants a moment of his time at the office. Sal really can’t catch a break, trying to stay in the closet at work but losing his job due to his refusal to engage in potential career-breaking activities. His dismissal is quite shocking, and Harry’s lack of action is predictably unintelligent and unhelpful. There was a terrific scene for Roger in this episode (at the expense of all the other characters, of course) where he very abruptly and shrewdly chewed out the dismayed Sal, dumbstruck Harry, and unsuspecting Pete in one fell sweep. It’s a return to authority for the rather recently diminutive Roger, and a reminder that Sterling was always the hardworking, client-side face in the Sterling-Cooper partnership. The visit to Betty’s home by her extramarital gentleman caller was a pretty surprising occurrence, though his failure to show up at the fundraiser he rather spontaneously proposed at the Draper residence was even more unexpected. Betty’s stop at his office was another great showcase of the talents of January Jones, who continues to deliver a knockout performance. Jon Hamm is also doing a spectacular job – it’s not so easy to seem on edge constantly without becoming terribly unlikable. His rejected pitch to Connie with the universal word “Hilton” was pretty impressive, and even though he wasn’t in a great mood, he still delivers a stunning presentation.