Now that Mad Men's Don (Jon Hamm) has left the house, his future with wife Betty is left hanging in the balance, without much time left in Season 2 to figure it out. Yet, as Betty has slowly become more emboldened in recent episodes, her newfound independence is leaving her portrayer, January Jones, in a bit of a conundrum as to her hopes for the couple's storyline to come.
Jones wouldn't say exactly what does happen in the season's two remaining episodes, but she did share her hopes for Mr. and Mrs. Draper. "I'm old-fashioned. I'd really like to see her and Don work it out," she told TVGuide.com. "But, on the other side, if it were me, actually me, I would have kicked him out a long time ago, so I don't know."
Yet, she continued, "I have high hopes for her. I think these last couple of episodes have been a huge deal for her. I don't know what's happened that's made her have this strength all of a sudden, but I think the ticking time bomb went off."
Part of Betty's evolution, Jones believes, stemmed from her unusual relationship with her young neighbor, Glen — and its termination. "He was her confidante," Jones recalled. "There's a lot of child-like qualities in Betty, and adult-like qualities in Glen." Yet, she said, Betty "had to cut him off" in order to move forward. "It was kind of sad," Jones lamented.
Since Mad Men arrived last year, the actress' picture-perfect 1960s housewife character has been a window on the less-than-perfect pathos beneath the surface of the Drapers' lives. Her story, and the rest of the show, gets help from authentic costumes. The mastermind behind those costumes, Janie Bryant, was honored recently at Hollywood Life's 5th Annual Hollywood Style Awards. Jones spoke to TVGuide.com just before presenting Bryant with an award alongside costar Christina Hendricks.
In a show where the aesthetics are as compelling as the characters, she couldn't emphasize enough how integral the period garb is for the actors when the cameras are rolling. "[Janie] knows our characters better than we do a lot of the time," Jones explained. "Sometimes the clothes tell their own stories. Like these last couple of weeks, with Betty's character. She's been very depressed, and we show it in the clothes, and how she carries herself, how she takes care of herself. [Janie] just makes it easier for us." (Later, when Bryant accepted her award, she thanked her cast for "pulling their pants up high" and wearing girdles under their clothes.)
With so many decadent frocks from the show, Jones still has an all-time favorite: The modeling audition dress from Season 1, which she described as a "black and white pink-striped humungous strapless thing." The "thing" was a vintage piece that Bryant found and added the pink panels. "I just felt like a cupcake in it," Jones laughed.
If last season's modeling costume represented a quiet battle and defeat for Betty, don't expect another "cupcake" dress again anytime soon. Asked what kinds of costumes we can look for in the future, Jones is confident that things have changed for good.
"I don't think she'll regress back into the old Betty, that's for sure."
Adam Bryant contributed additional reporting.
Mad Men's season finale is Sunday, October 26 on AMC (10 pm/ET).