This is the bleakest episode to date, an unflinching portrayal of the human condition. We see Megan’s anger and grief, Pete’s despair for the future, Harry’s remorseless lechery, Marie’s anger and frustration, Stan’s betrayal of Elaine and outsized ego, and the cynical manipulation of NYC photographer Pima Ryan.
Don’s hope for redemption through a relationship with the sad-eyed waitress Diana is dashed as she’d rather engage in self-flagellation. This is unfortunate, especially as Don is a fellow self-flagellant, as evidenced by his acceptance of Megan’s one-sided assessment of him as an aging, sloppy, selfish liar and the fact that he has Lane’s New York Mets pennant on his office wall, a constant reminder of his role in Lane’s suicide. In retrospect, it seems that Don and Megan were doomed from the beginning, Don longs for a larger role in his children’s life, and for redemption through love with Diana, which, for now at least, is not forthcoming.
Is the only glimmer of hope the union of Roger and Marie? I believe that all of those who recognize their flaws and seek redemption are worthy of it, yet tragically they are often unable to find it because they look for something or somebody to provide it, while it can only come from within. So we all have access to redemption, but this is a difficult and lonely road for most of us.