The theme of this episode is difficult to pin down. In a way, it is birth pangs, a refusal to grow up on one hand and wanting to on another. The main story dealt with a caterpiller/butterfly theme, as some wanted to stay a catilpillar and others wanted to be a butterfly. The caterpillars were highlighted by Betty giving birth and her weird "Soprano-esque" dream while under drugs. It highlighted her refusal to accept adulthood. Also, the client in this episode, Admiral television, also is refusing to grow up in a way by not recognizing that they are a company that "blacks" like.
Peggy, Pete and the Brits (surprisingly) represent the butterfly. Betty asks Don "what if this is my time?" while asking for a raise. We finally see what happened to Duck, who consistantly for him sort-of guessed the truth to Pete and Peggy while being wayyyy off..lol
Pete correctly sees that Admiral is selling well to blacks and his conversation with the black elevator operator recalls Don's first scene of the first episode when he asks his black's waiter opinion on lucky strike cigarettes. His conversation with the elevator man was great as it showed the great issues of that time. He preaches the American dream to one who only rolls his eyes, and has reason too. Admiral reacts harshly to his common sense and is reprimanded by Roger and Bert, and is defended by the Brit, as he points out they may be behind the times.
As to caterpillars, Betty is one both figuatively and literally, as she has a "catcher in the rye" vision about having one in her hand and clasping it refusing to let go. This is hammered home in the next vision as she acts very childishly to her parents (who are really her subconscience) who tell her to not question things and be happy with what she has. Although January Jones is great, what has not explored is why she refuses to grow up. this really needs to be developed.
Peegy is a butterfly who is straining to break free as she is courted to leave by Duck, and unlike Pete is too naive to see thought to the fact he is a loser. She asks Don "what if this is my time?" He sympathizes, but the Brits are not in a giving a raise to employee mode. Don is also disgusted by their penny pinching.
Finally, Dons penchant for cheating is again dealt with as talks with his girl's teacher and another expectant dad in the waiting room. The show is clearly laying the groundwork as to whether Don will stray again or if he will finally "grow up" (ties into the theme again) He has a conversation with a expectant dad where his love is new and contrasts with Don's third time baby plus having trouble in marriage vibe. He is clearly touched by the guy, as he promises to Don, like he is God, that he will be a better man. Tellingly, like promises made to god, he sees him the next day and after an initial smile, he averts his eyes. He knows he will sin again and is hiding his shame, much like we would after saying something like that to god and knowing the next day when the crises is averted they will not live up to it.
Probably the episode they will submit to the Emmys. I could probably write another 2000 words on how complex the episode was and was very well acted. Reminded me of the Sopranos and Battlestar Galactica, there was soo much going on on so many levels. Great episode!