It's August, and amid the sweltering heat, Pete has been left on his own while Trudy's at the beach, and when he runs into a German au pair who lives on his floor and has ruined an expensive dress of her mistress's, he takes it upon himself to get it replaced. When he speaks to a manager at the store, it just so happens to be Joan, and she handles the dress situation with her usual extreme competence, but when Pete triumphantly produces the replacement frock, the girl tells him she's got a boyfriend. He seems to take that in stride, but later, he drunkenly shows up at her door, and soon, they are going at it. Unfortunately, the girl's employer shows up the next day and gives Pete some friendly but pointed advice about staying away from his nanny and keeping his extracurricular activities out of the building. This lesson is driven home when Trudy and Pete run into the au pair in the elevator, and although nothing untoward happens there, Trudy's kindness and affection cause a wave of guilt that suddenly overwhelms Pete. The meaning of this reaction is not lost on Trudy, but later, Pete tells her he doesn't want her to go away without him anymore, and she chooses to see this development in a positive light.
Don has been doing some intermittent traveling for the Hilton account, and he and Betty are getting along again, so when he gets called to Rome, he invites her along, but she initially declines, at least partly because she's too busy slaving away for an imminent hearing over the Pleasantville reservoir issue. Francis shows up at said hearing with a request from the Governor's office for further study of the quality of the reservoir's water, which is enough to suspend the project for the moment. But when this leads to a kiss between them, initiated by him, Betty changes her mind and decides to accompany Don to Italy. You'll remember, of course, that Betty spent a significant amount of time in Italy when she was younger, and she falls right back into speaking the language as though she never left, which charms everyone around her, including Don, as the two of them spend a romantic night of reconnection together.
While Don and Betty are away, Francine leaves her kids with Carla, and when Bobby sees Sally giving Ernie a kiss, Sally lashes out at her brother verbally and physically. Carla reports this to Betty when she returns, and Betty gives Sally a short but stern talking-to about hitting her brother, and then a longer, more motherly chat about the magic of a first kiss. Combined with the lovely trip, it's no wonder when Betty tells Francine not to expect her to reach out to Francis anymore, but it's clear that the trip to Rome only underscored to Betty how humdrum her existence in Ossining is, so despite her tacit declaration of fidelity, it looks like a bumpy road ahead indeed.
At SC, people are leaving for the day, and Hildy pops her head in to find Pete reading Ebony. HA! I would love to hear what working on this set is like when the cameras aren't rolling. It must be hard to get the days in on time when you're laughing so hard. Hildy informs Pete that she's prepared all his correspondence and she has "the summaries" for him to go over. She puts them down expectantly, but he doesn't catch her drift, so she explains that it's five o'clock, and he cottons on that she wants to be given leave to, well, leave. He asks what she's up to, and she tells him that some of the girls from SC and also from Traveler's Insurance (presumably in the same building) got a place out in Saltaire (a community on Fire Island, and they're probably doing shares for the summer, which is a nice option for New Yorkers to take advantage of). Paul and Harry drop by, with Paul asking if Pete's making Hildy work because he's got nowhere to go, but Hildy brightly says no, and Pete tells her, "Have a wonderful weekend, dear." It occurs to me that, since I seem to recall that Hildy used to really kind of despise him, the friendly and non-creepy nature of this exchange underscores the fact that Pete's come a long way. And I'm sure he won't do anything to change that evaluation by the hour's end! Anyway, Hildy heads for the beach, and is soon replaced by Ken, who can't believe that Pete's still working, as Bertram's in Montana, "Sterling's in Jane" (ew, and hee), and Don's on vacation. Mention is made of the fact that Don's been traveling for Hilton, to places including "Dallas or Denver or something," and Harry longingly says he'd love to get out of town during August, even for work. Pete, however, echoes the sentiments of many natives when he says he loves the city when no one's around, although Ken disagrees, opining that there's "nothing but those fat girls with the hairy armpits putting their feet in the fountain." Thanks for stopping by, Ken. Pete stands and magnanimously says he'll take anyone for a drink who wants one, which is a lot safer thing for your wallet to declare when Roger's not within earshot.
We get a close-up of a paper that reads "Save The Reservoir!" on Junior League letterhead, and we see Betty is working on a cold-call list at the kitchen table as Don bustles around in his undershirt, which is shorthand on this show for "it's hot as balls." Well, the whirring fan and the sweat the makeup people have liberally applied to both their brows are helping create that feeling as well. Don opines that "they" should be paying her for all the work she's doing, perhaps not quite grasping the concept of a volunteer organization, but she merely mentions the upcoming hearing before adding, "I'm paid well enough already." A sentiment she may have trouble holding onto by the end of the episode. Hearing the kids outside, Don asks what they're doing, and Betty tells him they're catching lightning bugs. With a small smile, she suggests he join them, and after giving her an answering wry smile of his own, he goes to do just that. These two are in pretty great moods for people without air conditioning.