Don and Betty have arrived at the Rome Hilton, and Betty's wearing a pink suit, which, combined with the red stain on the neck of the dress and the earlier mention of Dallas, serves as a reminder of what end this season is careening toward. Betty notes that the air smells like "rubber, or diesel," and I'm not sure if that's got any significance other than so many European cars run on diesel fuel, and that's never more apparent than in August. Don goes to check something or other out, and when Betty takes out a cigarette, she finds it lit in approximately 0.00213 seconds by a passing bellboy, a bit of attention she'd do well to get used to. She looks around at the grand lobby...
...and then we cut to her and Don being shown into their room. The bellboy tells her in Italian that he hopes she finds everything to her liking, and adds that her Italian is very good. You'll probably remember that back in the first season, Betty told Francine that she spent a summer in Italy when she was a fashion model, but it's still impressive that she's retained such command of the language with no practice. Maybe she's been calling Sal in secret for late-night chats. I don't know what they'd talk about, but listening to them would sound good. Don tips the guy two dollars, for which Betty chides him: "That's what he makes in a week." On the plus side, he'll probably be the only guy in Italy who won't hit on her now. Betty takes a moment to admire the view before the phone rings, and when she answers, "Pronto," Connie, on the other end, thinks he's gotten the wrong room until she switches to English and introduces herself. He's very pleased to speak with her, and encourages her to put his staff "through their paces" and complain about any little thing, adding that he would have given them a suite, but he "wants Don to see the way this works for most people." Hey, she's the anthropologist.
Later on, Betty and Don have been napping off the jet lag, but she gets up and calls down for a beauty salon appointment. Lord, like the Italians aren't going to be all over her already.
Inside the Drapers' door, Francine is thanking Carla for taking her kids for an hour or two on short notice. Lucky thing Carla's well-rested from her vacation.
Outside the hotel at night, Betty looks lovely in a fairly exotic-looking black dress with a long, showy necklace accessorizing it, her hair in an updo and light eyeshadow emphasizing the blonde color. She sits in the piazza near the fountain and orders an asti spumante, to the appreciation of two guys sitting a table over from her, one of whom addresses her in English and teases her for drinking alone. She responds in Italian and after they flirt with her and she chides them for their familiarity, she sees Don approaching, cigarette in his mouth, wearing a lovely blue-grey sport jacket. Her eyes follow him as he sits at a table next to her on the other side from the Italian guys, and he asks if he might join her. The guys don't catch on to their little game at first, as one of them tells the "Yankee" to go home and the other speculates that he's an American millionaire before the first tells Betty that Don's old and ugly, and I know Italian men have the reputation of being supremely self-confident but I didn't know that extended to the point of blindness. Don asks Betty if they're making fun of him, and when she smiles and acknowledges that they are, "a little bit," Don says he's only in Rome for one night. "I won't have my heart broken." The guys realize they lost this one before they even started playing, and when Don moves over and joins Betty, they withdraw with a goodnight to the signorina, as they, probably purposefully mistakenly, call her. When they're gone, they discuss what the guys were saying, leading Betty to ask mock-seriously if Don thinks she's shallow. Don: "I was just hoping you were easy." Hee. More softly, though, with love in his voice, he asks what brings her to Rome, but the game doesn't have time to progress much further before Connie appears and interrupts. Take note, however, with respect to the end of the episode, of how the masquerade underscores the fact that this interaction has nothing to do with the reality of their day-to-day lives. Anyway, Connie's delighted finally to meet Betty, and tells Don, "You are an indecently lucky man." And again, it's true Don's lot in life is unbelievable, but... have you all looked at him? I mean, there's a reason he got cast as the bubble guy on 30 Rock, you know?