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Mad Men‘s Gay Finally Gets Some Lovin’. And Then The Boss Catches Him

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You already hear it from your friends, so we needn’t remind you: If you are not watching AMC’s Mad Men, you’re doing yourself a disservice. But if you are not watching Mad Men, you’re also a bad gay. Because things just got interesting! (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

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Last night’s third season premiere was excellent in many ways, but you’ll care because we finally got some gay loving from married closet gay Salvatore Romano, played by the openly gay (and very, very pleasant) Bryan Batt. On a business trip with Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, Salvatore encounters a bell hop who wants nothing more than to fix his air conditioning … and other things. They kiss! They grope! They begin to undress!

And then there’s a fire alarm.

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On the way out of the hotel via fire escape, Don spots Sal in flagrante delicto through his hotel window. Awkward! This is the 1960s, after all.

And that’s where things got more interesting, in a way only Mad Men can deliver. Flying back to New York, the twosome share some first class conversation, doused in nuance and double entendres. They had been working on an ad campaign for the raincoat company London Fog, and on the plane ride back — having not mentioned one word of the incident to each other yet — Don queries Sal about a possible new slogan: “Limit your exposure.” Perfect branding for their client. And Sal.

We’ll let Batt take it away, from an interview with New York:

Sal’s reaction to the bellboy is pretty different from when he recoiled from the Belle Jolie guy’s proposition last season. What do you think has changed for him since then?

Well, I think some time has passed, and he’s also quite inebriated. And he’s out of New York. So there’s all these other possibilities in play. It is his first foray, shall we say, into that realm. But also, it’s very interesting, everyone hits on Sal. He really doesn’t go about seeking it; it comes to him, which is great because it’s just an innate attraction.

The moment on the plane when Don comes up with the “limit your exposure” idea for London Fog had us holding our breath! It was clearly inspired by the bellboy incident.

Ugh, my God, how great is that line?! I definitely think he’s speaking in a duality; he’s covering a lot of bases, he’s telling Sal exactly what he thinks Sal should do. Whether he knows something happened or just suspects it, since he really didn’t see anything, it’s nothing concrete, and they really don’t discuss it. It was very interesting when we had the premiere in L.A. last week. I was expecting such a reaction from the audience on the kiss, and they were really intensely into it, but the biggest reaction was when Don saw Sal through the window. That elicited audible gasps.

So do you think Don was putting him in his place? Or kind of silently showing some sympathy?

It’s up for interpretation. I think down the line, as the season progresses, it can be interpreted different ways. I took it, as it was directed, that he’s almost telling Sal, watch what you’re doing, but he’s not going to call him on it. But Sal kinda does breathe a sigh of relief after that. “I don’t want to see this” is another aspect of what Don is saying, without really saying it — so much is said in silence on our show! You have to watch it over and over to figure out how to interpret.

(Photos via AfterElton)