Although many will likely disagree with me, Season 2 didn't hold my interest the same way Season 1 did. During Season 1, Don Draper was such an enigma that by the time we hit "Nixon vs. Kennedy" and "The Wheel," the show that usually felt like a slow burn suddenly felt as riveting as any of AMC's other shows. However, Season 2 was a bit more methodical in its story-telling, and while I appreciated a lot of the character arcs, some of them felt rushed and the last few episodes of the season didn't pack the same punch that Season 1 did.
But enough of the complaining. Season 2 was still amazing television, and based on this premiere (which I think is the strongest premiere the show has had to date), Season 3 is going to be a pretty darn good one. The opening scene prepares us for what will likely be another season of Don Draper struggling to reconcile his two identities: he imagines the steps that lead to him being born. It's quintessential Mad Men, the flashbacks that merge effortlessly with the present, revealing just a sliver of Draper's life without showing the whole thing.
The episode itself was actually a bit more energetic than I was used to for a Mad Men episode, but that's likely because a lot has changed with the characters. Sterling Cooper has merged with Putnam Powell and Lowe, meaning the British have set up shop inside Madison Avenue and are making changes. They're firing people, giving promotions to Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove and just being generally disruptive of the usual way things run.
The best parts of the episode were in Baltimore, where Don and Sal go for a business trip to try and convince a company called London Fog (a raincoat manufacturer) to stay with them, despite the changes going on at Sterling Cooper. Here, Don and Sal prove to be a good team and have a good rapport with one another. I loved watching them take on new identities around the stewardesses. Don and Sal already live duel lives (Don, with his false identity and Sal with the secret of his homosexuality), so watching them adopt new persona's seemed almost like a metaphor for the show itself. When Don discovered Sal, I was curious at how Matthew Weiner and the rest of the writing crew would handle it, and I couldn't have asked for a better way: Don ignores Sal's proclivities and acts as if it didn't happen.. I guess what happens in Baltimore stays in Baltimore as well.
I could write more, but with this show, there always seems to be more to write about. Let's hope Season 3 can stay as consistent as the last two seasons were.