Sunday's episode of Mad Men ended with three generations of characters in various states of abject despair, sitting at a table at a fancy dinner. Other characters (like Peggy, for instance) we can imagine felt similar despair, though she wasn't at that event. So, what preceded all this?
The episode began with a phone call between Sally and her former neighbor Glen Bishop, the boy with the onetime crush on the former Mrs. Draper. Sally and her brother are as usual being babysat by the worst step-grandmother in the world, Pauline. This time, Sally—you'll recall one of the last times we saw her she had been drugged by Pauline and was asleep under a couch—gets back at the woman, whom she refers to as "Bluto," whom she says treats her and her brother "like slaves." The phone cord trips Pauline; she falls and breaks her ankle. Betty and Henry are not there. Sally, always Daddy's girl, calls Don.
At Don's house, another daddy-daughter scenario is playing out. Megan's parents Emile and Marie are visiting, as Don is receiving an award at an American Cancer Society dinner for a letter he's written about Lucky Strike. Emile is in town to meet a publisher as well. From the beginning it's obvious that there is disdain for Don, particularly from Emile, even if it's covered up in French. Megan tells her parents to speak English; Don, who thinks he can never do anything to get Emile to like him (remember his relationship with Betty's father?), is attempting to study French. Sally's accident with Pauline, however, adds new family members and another dynamic into the mix: Sally and Bobby are sent to Don and Megan's apartment, and share dinner—spaghetti, the only thing Sally eats; Megan's "favorite food" from childhood as well—after which Marie excuses herself (after touching Don six times in one night, in a bid for male attention, says Megan, who is her father's favorite) and falls asleep, her cigarette still burning in her hand. Megan finds her and throws it away. This image of a grown woman sleeping in child-sized bed, a cigarette in hand, a foil to Sally, is meant to stay with us, and it does: The whole episode is pervaded with a sense of waiting for the cigarette to drop, the fire to begin, while—in contrast to last week's episode—on the surface, seems to be going OK, save the standard family dysfunction.