'Mad Men' Brings Don's "Niece" Stephanie Back Into The Picture

A major link to Don's past showed up during Sunday night's truly bizarre, upsetting episode of Mad Men , titled "The Runaways." Don's "niece" Stephanie (played by actress Caity Lotz) called him with the news that she is not only pregnant, but living out in Los Angeles and desperate for financial help. Don was more than happy (he actually smiled) to oblige Anna Draper's (actual) niece and instructed her to go to Megan's house in Laurel Canyon and that he'd be out to see her. Of course, thanks to Lou, a frustrated Don got stuck back in New York City while Megan and Stephanie had some truly awkward exchanges and forced pleasantries.

Stephanie — who has gone full, wandering hippie since we last saw her — tried to make nice with Megan, but she got the impression that Megan didn't want her there at all. Especially after Megan overs her a $1,000 before Don could even arrive and a possibly not-so-subtle message to hit the road. (Megan had a hippie actor party to throw at her "out of sight" digs, after all.) Stephanie assured Megan that nothing happened between her and Don, but the unease between the two women was palpable, and Stephanie hit the road.

When Don eventually made it out to California (thanks for nothing, Lou) he was upset to find out that Stephanie had left and it seemed like Megan didn't make much of an effort to get her to stay. ("She must have been embarrassed," Megan offered up.) But the Drapers didn't need Stephanie around to make things weird. Nope, that's what ill-advised, desperate threesomes with Megan's friend Amy are for.

Stephanie called Don the next morning, alerting him that she was back in Oakland. Don told her "I'm worried about you" and insisted that she call him when the baby arrived and that he'd help her with anything she needed. Now, Stephanie's return to Mad Men has to mean something, whether it be parts of Don's past resurfacing that sends Megan even further off her already-unstable emotional cliff or, you know, it's part of that whole Charles Manson/ Mad Man theory that just won't die this season. As New York Times writer Dave Itzkoff tweeted:

Image: AMC