'Mad Men' Recap: There's More to Betty's Weight Gain Than Meets the Eye

betty francis takes a phone call about her cancer resultsThe season premiere of Mad Men sucked us back into the world of our favorite ad men and women -- with the exception of one. Betty Draper Francis was nowhere to be seen (due to a shooting conflict with January Jones' pregnancy). But the housewife everyone loves to hate is baaaaack this week, and it seems there have been some big changes since 1965. Literally.

Don's ex has piled on the pounds. (A plotline written in to accommodate Jones whilst in her last trimester? Perhaps.) Betty's so uncomfortable with her weight gain that she's refused to go to several political functions with Henry, and when her new mother-in-law, Pauline Fancis, catches wind of this, she shows up at their doorstep with some choice words for Henry's wife.

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When Pauline prodded her to take the bull by the horns, I couldn't help but wish for Betty to dish out a cutting comeback. And yes! She pointedly asks her chubnik MIL why she hasn't dealt with her own obvious weight problem with diet pills. Ha. But Betty can deflect on Pauline as much as she wants. Doesn't change the fact that she's unhappy being overweight, so she listens to Pauline and heads to the doc for a script. Not all that surprising when things take a turn for the more dramatic and the physician finds a lump on Betty's thyroid. Could Betty have cancer? Whoa.

What followed was probably one of the biggest reality checks for our dear Betty, bless her heart. She calls Don in a panic (even before telling Henry) and has a nightmare that she's passed away and the kids are left with Henry and Pauline in a cold, lonely kitchen. But in the end, she gets a call from the doc and it turns out the lump was benign. Her response? "Turns out I'm just fat!" How Betty is that?! 

Honestly, as superficial and empty-souled we're lead to believe Betty pretty much is (still), my heart goes out to her ... a bit. Mostly at the end of the episode, where we see her polishing off Sally's leftover sundae (after finishing her own). She's clearly incredibly unhappy -- even more unhappy than she may have been with Don. Yeeesh. And oh yeah, speaking of Don! He's so worked up worrying about the idea that he could lose her to cancer that he's blowing off Megan. Anyone else see where this could be going, hmm?

Meanwhile, back at SCDP, Heinz wants the Rolling Stones to do their commercial ("Heinz, Heinz, Heinz is on my side ..." Agghhh!), but obviously that's not going to happen. Mostly because Harry screws it up when he and Don venture to a Stones concert. He's such an adorable mess this season, huh?

Also, not only does the company now have their first African-American secretary, but Peggy handpicks a Jewish (thus, typical Woody Allen-type, neurotic, but brilliant) copywriter to fill a new position. The way Michael Ginsberg (played by Drop Dead Diva's Ben Feldman) treats Peggy could be construed as sexist and obnoxious, but obviously, he's just a nervous wreck and will fall head over heels for the shiksa sooner or later. My bet's on sooner.

What did you make of Betty's return and cancer scare? Think Michael and Peggy have a romantic future?

 

Image via AMC

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