Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis. That’s a lot of names — as many as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, as many as Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. And this season, Betty has felt like several different people at once. In the season premiere, she somehow achieved the moral high ground in an interaction with a gaggle of dirty hippies, and then immediately ceded the moral high ground, dying her hair brown for vague-but-definitely-weird reasons. When Martin Luther King was shot, she was a nagging ex-wife on the phone to Don (drunk as usual) and a chastising mom for Bobby (unusually sentient). When husband Henry announced his intention to seek higher office, she was proud of him…and when he mentioned that, as a result, she would become a public figure, her face became unreadable again, maybe scared, maybe excited.
A couple of episodes later, Betty reappeared, suddenly slim and blonde again — the old Betty, the Phoenix arisen, reborn through Weight Watchers and perhaps a TBD cocktail of diet pills. In the speed-freak episode, she was the justifiably angry mother, chastising her shifty ex-husband and his actress second wife for leaving her children at home. But this past weekend, Betty hadn’t just forgiven Don; she shared a steamy night with him at sleepaway camp. “Ah,” you may have been thinking, “Now that they’re no longer married, Betty has fallen for the impossible Don Draper charm.” But no: In bed together, Betty revealed a fascinatingly in-depth understanding of Don’s problematic nature. She was using Don, really, which might not be so bad; but she also felt sorry for him, which constitutes a complete up-ending of the Betty-Don power dynamic from the beginning of the series. Mad Men typically feels impeccable created and curated and planned down to the tiniest micro-detail, which makes the shifting zig-zag of Betty’s recent arc — brunette! blonde! fatsuit! Daisy Dukes! — an intriguing conundrum. What’s the deal with Betty? READ FULL STORY