Mad Men
Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) talk things out AMC

Three small words are enough to save anyone, but first they have to be believed. Mad Men's final season will show us whether Don Draper will finally learn how to be loved, and believe that he's worth loving – and in the final season of the second episode the show took a major step towards that conclusion.

Last week's superb reintroduction set up where the characters are going to be for the final 14 episodes (split between this and next spring). A Day's Work wasn't a perfect episode, but it did move several characters along nicely and gave us couple of series-best scenes between Don and his daughter Sally.

Let's start with the bad though. Peggy's Valentine's Day sub-plot was nothing short of an appalling add-on crowbarred in to serve other parts of the story. We established last week that Mad Men's leading lady was frustrated at work with a non-existent personal life, and this week's rose debacle did nothing to move that on.

Peggy mistaking someone's Valentine's Day roses as her own, assuming they were sent from former flame Ted and then her clash with her secretary Shirley only made her come across as a petulant child. Were it not for what this story helped set up, it may have been one of the bigger missteps in the show's history.

Thankfully it lent fuel to the fire of a major office reshuffle, also helped along by Don's replacement Lou, who revealed himself to be a prat of the highest order. After Sally turns up at the office only to find her father's office now occupied by someone else, Lou lashes out at his secretary Dawn and demands Joan move her to another desk. Peggy does the same with Shirley.

Mad Men
Dawn (Teyonah Parris) is wonderful, and further proof that Mad Men is anything but sexist AMC

Mad Men has never confronted the issue of racism in the 60s in a hamfisted way. It has just dealt with it as and when it rears its ugly head. Weiner never lectures, instead providing a realistic take on what it would have been like. Most crucially, his black characters are very well written.

Teyonah Parris, who did an excellent job as long-standing secretary Dawn. Her assuming Joan's Head of Personnel role is both thoroughly deserved and a great signof more to come.

Now, let's get back to Don. We started the episode with a typical day in his life without work. He's bored and lonely, even going as far as getting showered, suited and booted just for a quick chat with Dawn – who has been keeping him up to date with Sterling Cooper & Partners' goings-on. He attempts to invite her in, almost appearing borderline desperate for the company.

Sally meanwhile starts the episode at her boarding school about to attend the funeral a classmate's mother. She and the other girls hatch a plan to ditch the service and go shopping instead, but after leaving her purse in a shop she ends up looking for a father so she can get some money for the train ride home.

Mad Men
Peggy's (Elizabeth Moss) Valentine's sub-plot was a low point for her character AMC

After meeting Lou, she returns to Don's apartment and is met with a lie when she asks where he has been. After walking in on Don and neighbour Sylvia's affair last season she has never looked at her father the same way, but in season six's finale there was a hint of possible redemption there.

Don drives Sally back to her school. There are two superb scenes as they sort out their differences. Fourteen-year-old Kiernan Shipka is generally fantastic, but here she was particularly brilliant and more than a match for Jon Hamm as Don.

They both lie to each other and each see through the other's masquerades before finally being more truthful with each other than ever. Don then suggests bailing on the restaurant without paying, realising and indulging the darker side they both share.

Don then - for once – gets a karmic reward for telling the truth. As he drops Sally off at her school she gets out of the car and casually tells her father: "Happy Valentine's Day," followed by the three words that could steer anyone toward redemption, "I love you."

And for Don that redemption suddenly seems a lot easier to attain.