There was always going to be a very good chance that this week’s episode would in no way live up to the level of excitement set by last week’s episode. I mean, really, how do you top the de-foot-ification of a British ad exec? Even taking that into consideration, however. tonight’s “Mad Men” still seemed pretty slow.

Not bad, just slow.

When we first see Don Draper, he looks like he’s been through the wringer, but when we next see him, he’s getting spiffed up for work. There was a brief moment where I thought it was a case of quick recovery, but, no, we were flashing back to see the path that led him to this point. After a momentary stop in the living room to offer up his complete indifference to Betty’s plans for the living room (but still nonetheless throw in a suggestion that the interior designer apparently didn’t see herself), Don was off to work, where he was surprised to find that Conrad Hilton was already waiting for him. It was hilarious to see the guys at Sterling-Cooper giddy as schoolgirls about Hilton’s presence, but Hilton was all business, indicating his disappointment in the lack of a Bible and family photos in Don’s office. Despite these issues, Don still found himself on the fast track to handle accounts for the Waldorf Astoria, New York Hilton, and Statler Hilton…but not, however, until he signed a new contract with Sterling-Cooper. Although Don’s insistence in remaining without a contract may have ostensibly been a business move, I couldn’t help but notice his comments about how he gave his word to Hilton. Wow, remember the days when a man’s word could actually serve as his bond without any contracts needing to be signed to back it up?

Betty and her gaggle of gal pals in the Junior League, meanwhile, were tackling environmental concerns, leading Betty to contact her close personal friend Henry Francis in an attempt to get him to help them with their cause. The two of them had a lovely luncheon, but it wasn’t until the closing moments of their time together – when Henry put his hand over Betty’s eyes to keep her from looking at the eclipse – that a spark really went off with Betty. Interesting…

Don spent a lot of time in the office deflecting questions about the Hilton situation, even enduring Pete trying to get his mitts on the account, but when Peggy tried to get her foot in the door to assist…man, talk about shitting on someone’s parade. I’m not saying that his comments were completely and totally what led her to sleep with Duck, but they sure as hell didn’t hurt. Their close encounter was one which I didn’t see coming, but I think it’s fair to say that Peggy’s starting to get the hang of using her feminine abilities to get what she wants in the business world. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that she might be able to use them to her advantage.

A few random comments:

* Betty once again proved what a grouch of a mother she is, yelling at her son for hanging up the phone, even though he did exactly what she told him to do. Be more specific next time, Betty. He’s only a kid, for God’s sake!

* I don’t know what to make of this thing with Don’s teacher, except to observe that it’s hard to believe Don’s going to hold out much longer without acting on her obvious attraction to him.

* I’m probably supposed to have been fascinated and enthralled by the surrealistic scene of Don picking up the high hitchhikers, only to take a couple of reds, see a joke-telling hillbilly, and get punched in the face, but I just thought it was weird, personally.

For me, the best moment of tonight’s episode was the one-on-one scene between Don and Cooper, when Cooper subtly but pointedly brought up his knowledge of Don’s identity as a way of hinting that it might be a good idea to sign the contract. Hey, it worked, didn’t it?

Here’s hoping next week’s “Mad Men” is more exciting than this week’s…