Two themes I saw in this episode is confronting problems and sexuality, and the way we think "good looking" people have a leg up. This episode seems to suggest that looks are a double edged sword, even if those who don't have them envy those who do.
First, Don is finally confronting his drinking, and this leads to him being back on his game with women. He is keeping a journal (I assume for the quitting drinking) and when the voice-over hit, I thought "oh no, Grey's Anatomy" This device will probably be hated, and I see this episode going down on the worst episode lists people keep on the web. Voice overs are all clunky unless being done by Morgan Freeman, and I get the feeling someone in the writer's room wanted to try it, so they picked now. Interestingly, Matt Weiner took all the credit for last episode (which was excellent) and listed himself third here. (read into that what you want.)
Don hasn't quit drinking completely (so no AA) but we do see he is going through some withdraws, as that is his crutch when unpleasant feeling arise. He looks at the bottle after his call from Henry. And he zones out at a work meeting looking at Peggy and the others drinking, seeing for the first time how omnipresent alcohol is in the office. The product is Mountain Dew, and it doesn't help they are looking for cocktails to pair it with to sell it.
Joan also has a problem -with Joey, who doesn't swoon over Joan and escalates a minor argument into full blown sexual harassment. We get an underline under the fact that Joey is perhaps the best looking guy in the office, as Harry has a man crush on him. (which Joey mistakenly thinks is a come on from Harry) Harry isn't gay he is like Peggy with Joan. Peggy always thought Joan had the sexual magic she lacked and envied her ability to wrap guys with her little finger.
Like Don's blow up with his secretary earlier in the year, Peggy follows Joan around to see how she "handles" it when her authority is challenged (like Peggy's peeking at Don over the divider when he slept with his secretary). She is fasicinated about how pretty people handle their problems. What she doesn't get is that Joan is no better handling it than she is. Joan is at a loss on how to confront a young good looking guy who doesn't respect her. She tries her indirect way of getting Joey fired, but Don and Lane doesn't get it because she only hints at the problem.
However, Peggy sees it very well, and sees that the frat guys in the office is hurting her authority as well. Peggy fires Joey after he comments that women are impossible to work under, and she thinks Joan should be thrilled. However, Joan is mortified and is probably jealous that Peggy has the power to do something that she can't. (I guess only creative and partners can fir other creative) Don tells Peggy if she wants Joey gone, she has to do it, because the others won't respect her and will think she ran to daddy. (he's right) Joan puts Peggy down after the firing, which I took to be resentment. She has no friends in the office and her power over men is all she has, and when that didn't work, she was reminded of the fleeting type of power she has (her looks) over Peggy (her youth and talent). I orginally thought Joan was telling Peggy something about the ramifications of firing Joey, then I remembered she tried to do the same thing with Don and failed.
Betty and Henry also pop up in this episode, as Henry and Betty confront their "Don problem". Poor Henry is really seeing that he is second place to his wife. At a dinner where he got quite a compliment and a great job offer, his wife couldn't care less, as she was stewing because Don was there with young, pretty Bethany. Bethany also was shocked that Don had such a pretty ex-wife (she placed him as a diamond in the rough sad sack divorcee) and we see her stepping up in the taxi later. (No more kiss at the door now..ahem) Kitty kats compete, and Bethany knows Don can land great looking girls, so she gives him something to remember her (ahem). Don is no longer a sad sack, but a challenge to Bethany, and she steps it up.
Don also has a date with Dr. Miller, and she swoons for Don in the taxi (boy those taxi drivers are professional!) He turns her down being Mr. Challenge again.
Betty also seems to want Don back, which makes sense story wise. How else is Betty going to be in the story unless she wants Don back. She thought he was devestated, but now thinks he is living it up with young pretty girls. (we know the opposite, Don was a wreck for over a year, but perception is everything) I think the climax of the season might be who Don chooses, Betty or Faye. They have three kids together, so Don will be tempted. Bethany will be out, as Don says, he knows her ad she she is Betty 2.0.