Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Mad Men season premiere recap: Secret Lives of Men

Sterling Cooper’s ad men are back. At the start of season 3, Don’s up to his old tricks, Sal finds himself exposed, and Pete lusts after a promotion

Posted on

Mad Men 301
Carin Baer/AMC

Mad Men

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss

Season 3 opened on a shot of bare feet, lit by the light of a refrigerator. Don, vulnerable and alone, in the middle of the night. As he warmed milk on the Draper stove, we flashed back to his first night in the world. His father’s wife delivered another stillborn daughter, carted off in a bowl of blood and ooze. His father went for relief in a hooker’s bed. The woman, another brunette, swore she’d fry the man’s dick in hog fat if he knocked her up. She died in childbirth, moaning for the man’s head. The midwife named the baby boy after his mother’s last vulgar request, and brought her to the wretched Whitman household. Dick was alive. It was his birthday. Don started from his reverie and skimmed the fat off the top of Betty’s milk.

Upstairs Betty rubbed her pregnant belly. ”Am I ever going to sleep again?” she murmured to her husband. What does Betty want after last season’s strange arc of torment and despair that ended with her straddling a stranger in the back of a bar? Well, apparently she wants to doze off again, and dream of the time when she was convinced her home life was straight out of a Sears catalogue. She wants the new baby to come home to the perfect family, which meant that damn Sally had better shape up fast. The bad seed broke the clasp on Don’s suitcase. ”She’s taken to your tools like a little lesbian,” sneered Betty. (I’d kill to see Sally in 20 years, bringing home a Betty or Jane to one of her stunned mother’s Around-the-World dinner parties.)

The carpet shifted under everyone’s feet at the Sterling Cooper office. In one brutal scene, familiar to too many these days, the top dogs called the old head of accounts into Bert Cooper’s office. He got the boot, but not without being casually assured that this wasn’t easy for anybody. Roger skipped in late, and slapped a hasty expression of regret on his face when he looked over at the canned man stewing in the corner. Sorry, sucker. Truly. The Brits set up a tug of war between Pete and Ken to see who should fill the booted man’s shoes. Pete, after a thoroughly dorky Pee Wee Herman celebratory dance when he thought the job was his, whined like a creep to his wife that he wanted everything good in life right now. Pete stamped his feet. Ken grinned and shrugged his shoulders. Ken is hot.

NEXT: Joan’s bling and nasty sting