Mad Men s3e12: The Grown-Ups

“Just because she went to India doesn’t mean she’s not an idiot.”

Ah Pete, let down again, in a frigid office nonetheless. Kenny and his haircut beat him out as the Head of Accounts position, but Lane remains optimistic. Time to start branching out, I guess. Trudy’s gentle coaching is great, you can tell she’s genuinely on his side. She really supports Pete, and in spite of his stepping out and other entirely absurd qualities, I think they make a great team. She really loves that totally ridiculous man.

Margaret is about to get married, and is having a meltdown over Jane’s overextending faux niceness in the form of some super fucking expensive earrings. Mona agrees with her (along with Roger), but doesn’t think that the wedding should be canned; Roger and Mona work really well in sync to get Margaret to fall in line and stop acting like a brat.

Speaking of which.. once Roger tells Jane to back off, she responds by locking herself in the bathroom, mid-tantrum. Real mah-toor.

sterlingcooper_jfk

ah, shit. || image courtesy of Tumblr

Awaiting Pegs for a lunchtime fuck, the news begins to break re:JFK. Class act through and through, Duck unplugs the TV. I didn’t think he could top leaving Chauncey out to roost in Maidenform, but I guess I was wrong..

In the afterglow, he plugs the TV back in to peep the news; Peggy is horrified not only at the fact that the president is dead, but also that he clearly knew what was up but went on with the bang anyway. Gross.

duck_pegs

ah, shit part deux. || image courtesy of JimCofer

Not surprisingly, Margaret’s wedding the next day is a sparsely attended disaster, though Roger keeps spirits up with a good speech and staying as positive as possible, turning the day to the two young people in love right in front of him. Seeing Henry from across the room, Betty is transfixed; on the dancefloor, Don pines for his wife’s attention, but it’s painfully obvious that Betty has checked out. It’s super sad that this is the most we’ve ever seen Don covet his own wife, something she’s yearned for since the pilot, and right now she couldn’t be more indifferent to his existence.

donbetty_weddingdance

image courtesy of Fanpop

Post-wedding, Roger rings Joan, with a drunk Jane snoring in the background. At the end of the day, he still wants to chat with Joan which is sort of sweet. Sometimes you just want to talk to someone who gets it.

Roger: “Nobody else is saying the right thing about this.”

Joan: “My god, you’re really upset..”

Roger: “What’s that about?”

Joan: “Because there’s nothing funny about this.”

donbetty_leeharveyoswald

image courtesy of NJ.com

Aaaaand, Lee Harvey Oswald has been shot and killed. Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been to see unfold on live television? This is a time before the ubiquitous 24-hour news cycle we’re familiar with today. Betty’s shrieking fear is tangible, and she pushes Don away on her way out of the den. Sneaking off for a drive to see Henry,  she appears significantly calmer as she explains she couldn’t stand to stay in that house. And hey, it turns out Henry wants to marry her. That escalated quickly.. “If you search your heart.. you’ll know that I can make you happy.”

It’s notable that Henry can easily make her smile in this uncertain time. It’s a simple gesture, that he’d love to take her to a cinema somewhere that’s playing her favourite movie; Singin’ in the Rain.. and Betty’s smile lights up the Lincoln at the mere thought of it. He reinforces that everything will be OK, and to think of her fave flick in the meantime. Henry Francis is the opposite of Don, of what she’s known; he never belittled her feelings, but aligned with her and thoughtfully tried to cheer her up. You go, Hank Frank.

Angry and upset with Don, Betty comes home and speaks her mind. She doesn’t love him anymore, and he looks entirely crestfallen and shocked to hear those words from her. I feel for Don in this scene; in spite of him being a bastard to her on and off and a generally horrendous husband, that’s still an agonising thing to hear. Natch, he tries to deflect and minimise her emotions by changing the conversation. Oy.

Betty: “You can’t even hear me right now.”

Don: “You’re right.”

Hurt, Don retreats to the bedroom. Believing Betty doesn’t love him anymore due to who he really is, that he’s just some dirt poor farm kid and she is above him, Don misses the point; what he fails to see is that he’s been lying to his own wife for an actual decade. That’s real betrayal, real sadness. Ya fucked it up, Don.

Time to yap about the main event serving as a backdrop for a hot second. So many historians have rapped about how the JFK assassination functioned as an incredibly significant watershed cultural moment, blowing cracks in American societal norms and trends to create the remainder of the 1960s.. where the resulting shit gets crazy. Juxtaposing Betty’s dawning realisation that nothing makes sense in regards to the Old Rules (i.e. what kept things in their right place throughout the 1950s and how she chose to live her life according to said rules in order to attain happiness), her frightened and helpless reaction to Lee Harvey Oswald being shot on live television says it all.

“What is going on???”

The JFK assassination was not The Cuban Missile Crisis, in that it was not just another important historical event. It was exactly what this episode displays; JFK being murdered violently jolted the characters out of the inherent complacency of the old. The JFK assassination and subsequent murder of Lee Harvey Oswald created a cynical brand of nihilism that fed into the 1960s as a reaction to the idealism of the prior decade. Time to jumpstart the counterculture.

(Sidenote- as someone who was born 21 years after the JFK assassination.. I thought this episode gave some meaningful real life context to an event which I’ve only ever indirectly experienced via history books, documentaries, and my parents’ retelling of the day.)

As the wheels turn in Betty’s head about divorcing Don and moving on with Henry, having something like this come in and harshly turn everything upside down helps her move that decision along. Nothing is as it seems anymore, the old rules legit don’t apply. The world is a-changin’.

Hell! Even the Campbells, our favourite WASP-y couple, are totally disgusted at the hollowness of their friends and colleagues’ reactions to the event. They end up boycotting Margaret’s wedding as a form of protest, criticising Harry losing his shit about TV ratings due to shows (and their ads) being pre-empted for news coverage. Why should they be celebrating his boss’ spoiled daughter’s wedding when the president has just been murdered?

Come Monday morning, Don sneaks around the corner to assess the damage. Betty doesn’t even meet his gaze as he slinks out.

In the office, Don sees that Peggy is the only other one there working; thank fuck she’s not hanging out with Duck, at least. Realising that the Aqua Net campaign is all but useless post-JFK assassination with the similarities to the Dallas motorcade, she’s working on rewrites. Turns out her apartment has been invaded by her roomate’s friends and their neighbours, and not even Anita’s house offered a safe haven. There’s no space for her to process.

“And then I went over to my sister’s, and my mother was crying and praying so hard there wasn’t room for anyone else to feel anything..”

Ugh, this episode is sad all around. But let’s be real.. Don had that shit coming.

Advertisements

Mad Men s3e11: The Gypsy and The Hobo

“You were adrift, you didn’t do anything but spend money. You walked around like you were hoping to be a character in someone else’s novel.”

Fucking iconic episode right here; the shit is about to hit the fan. Betty’s let that mystery box marinate for a bit now, and is planning on taking the kids outta town for Halloween to see her brother and sister in law.

An old flame of Roger’s from years ago is at the office, lamenting her dog food company’s PR crisis; the horse meat secret is out, and the brandname is market poison as a result. Annabelle refuses to let Don change the brand’s namesake, since her late father coined it; her saying this to a man who knows a thing or 20 about the power of rebranding is pretty good.

Recently widowed, she’s convinced herself that Roger was the love of her life and she his, and can effortlessly snag him again. At their French dinner, Roger is sauced and a touch harsh about the facts. Annabelle is hurt and stunned to be both knocked back in the present and repudiated re:the past.

Essentially Annabelle broke his heart, and then she comes back all these years later saying that he’s ~The One~ like a slap to the face.. and it turns out she wasn’t The One in Roger’s realm. Ouch. I’m guessing the Honeymoon Hypnosis will wear off with Jane as time goes by, but for the time being, Roger is interested in being faithful to his wife.

Suzanne laments that Don is unhappy in his life, which is pretty much the biggest boner killer to a guy like that. In classic Don form, he pretty much rolls his eyes at her Emotions(TM) and goes to lie down to let her ride out her temper tantrum. She wanted more than she thought she would want (Taaaaale as old as tiiiiiiiimmeeeeeee). Don transposes a bit of his runaway fantasy onto her, as Betty is headed out of town with the kids for the rest of the week, and suggests a getaway to Mystic.

Joan is encouraging to her trash husband for his Psychiatry interview, being way nicer than he deserves. It’s pretty hilar as Greg would be the earth’s least fucking astute psychiatrist. His new focus means more school, and Joan needs a legit non-department store job. Ringing Roger the next day looking for work, he’s happy to hear from Joan. “You want to be on some people’s minds. Some people’s.. you don’t.”

Natch, Greg doesn’t get the psychiatry gig and bombs the interview. Joan comes home to a husband that’s deeply steeped in manpain. In a fit of defeat and utter frustration, Joan has the most appropriate reaction to his horseshit manbaby feelings I’ve ever seen.

“I don’t want to be a psychiatrist.. it’s not medicine. I might as well work at a bank.”

“I don’t care what you do, as long as you do something. We need money.”

“I did everything I was supposed to do. Everything they told me. College, med school.. I wanted to be a surgeon since I was that big.”

“I’m sorry, Greg.. Maybe it’s time to move on.”

“You don’t know! You don’t know what it’s like to want something your whole life, and to plan for it, and to count on it and not get it! Okay?”

vasesmash

image courtesy of Photobucket

As if Joan wouldn’t know how that feels, you trashbag of microdicks.

Betty consults with the family attorney about her marriage, seeking advice and getting some bleak shit in return. Looks like it’s harder to divorce than she thought. He can take the children, adultery must be proven in a court of law, yadda yadda yadda. Is he a good provider for the children? You’re not scared of him, right?

Welcome to 1963, I guess.. but, fuck that noise; that’s not what it’s about for her. Time to take matters into your own hands, Bets.

Don goes home to what he thinks is an empty house to grab some stuff for his mistress voyage to Mystic, and surprise! Betty is there waiting for him. Time to get your ass cornered, Don. Here’s hoping Suzanne, waiting in the Caddy, catches the hint and doesn’t entirely blow up his spot.

donshocked

image courtesy of Tumblr

Watching Don completely crumble as Betty takes the wheel with the conversation is shocking; this is essentially his worst nightmare, after all. He initially fights her, but once Betty confidently reveals she knows what’s in that drawer, he falls apart. What else can he really do?

donbetty_theconversation

image courtesy of Slant Magazine

He tells her who Anna is, about how his name is really Dick Whitman, his family, the whole nine. Growing up very poor, seeking any escape possible. Being in Don’s shoes, this is probably the most terrifying thing he’s ever had to face. This image of his life and this idea he’s so carefully curated, the uniform and game face he wears in the day to day, it’s been stripped. He’s lied to Betty for the better part of a decade at this point, every single fucking day; that’s really deplorable.

donbetty_photos

image courtesy of IGN

Once Don starts talking about the people in the photos, his family and how they’re all dead, he really loses it. Betty asks about Adam, and he looks at her as if he’s seen a ghost; how does she know? “The little boy in all the photos”. Explaining that Adam came to the city find him, wanting a relationship and he callously turned him away, taking his own life as a result, Don breaks down. This is the only sort of softness and empathy Betty shows him, sincerely.

Brass tacks, Don’s life story is pretty fucking sad. Betty is sympathetic, but who knows how long that will last. It’s a pretty gargantuan lie.

Latenight at the office, Roger rings around trying to help Joan land a job. At home, she’s made soup for dinner; Greg comes home in better spirits, flowers in hand, to let her know that he’s up and joined the fucking army (without consulting her); apparently his tiny dick led him there, since he’ll go in as a Captain.

iseeyouthrowingshade

I SEE YOU. || image courtesy of ONTD

So.. it looks like Greg is headed to Vietnam. Bon voyage!

This is the closest we’ve ever seen Don and Betty to having a real emotional connection, but it may be too little too late and under probably the most dire of shit circumstances imaginable. With the curtain down, do they have a shot at a real, honest relationship? Or will it create a whole new slew of issues?

“And who are you supposed to be?”

donbetty_s3e11

image courtesy of Tumblr

Mad Men s3e10: The Color Blue

“The truth is, people may see things differently.. but they don’t really want to.”

It’s a touch before Halloween. Don pops over to Suzanne’s for a bang, and later we see him looking slightly guilty as Betty expresses worry and that she thinks he’s working too hard. He’s really milking that Hilton excuse to sneak out every night to get it in.

The Aqua Net ad idea is pretty similar imagery-wise to the upcoming JFK assassination, though the characters of course don’t know that yet. Peggy is doing well at work, freewheeling creatively and pissing off Kinsey in the process. She’s really talented, and that raw talent is something he just can’t crack. Go Pegs!

Missing the mark as usual, Kinsey assumes her perceived brilliance is due to the fact that she’s Don’s favourite; but Peggy knows that’s not the truth. This is proven later on in the episode during the Western Union idea exchange with her, Kinsey (and his lost idea), and Don. Kinsey is one of those guys who carefully curates this image of himself as the smartest guy in the room, and he works to be the most cultured and intelligent guy he can be; and when it’s consistently chipped away, he becomes deflated. Kinsey ain’t a bad guy– he just needs a reality check, and to find his real vocation, a place where he fits.

danny_don_suze

image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

In the midst of a bang, Suzanne’s epileptic brother Danny shows up unexpectedly, and Don has a weird fucking meltdown about it. While he’s determined to sneak out, she insists on introducing him. Reminded of his own brother Adam, Don visibly stiffens, then shows him a little kindness with a handshake and well wishes. Danny is similarly down on his luck, and looks to Suzanne for help and guidance and she happily obliges. As soon as Don splits, Danny calls a spade a spade, talking shit about Don being arrogant and upset that his plans with his sister were interrupted. Suzanne chooses to see it as Don being secretive.

As Lane rehearses his speech for the upcoming Sterling Cooper 40th Anniversary Party, London rings to let him know that Sterling Cooper is once again for sale. Turns out the party is more of display. As a result, Lane has to charm Bert into attending by playing into his inherent vanity. And hey, it works!

But now, Lane sees his superiors for the smarmy dicks they really are; they had no interest in his future, nor any sort of personal investment in the company as Lane has. That’s a pretty big matzah ball for Lane to grasp. Maybe once Guy MacKendrick got his ass run over by a John Deere PPL re-examined hanging onto Sterling Cooper.

betty_key

image courtesy of Tumblr

The dryer is rattling, and Betty fishes out a pair of keys.. oh shit, will these open that desk drawer that’s been thwarting her for a season?? AND OH FUCK, THE KEY WORKS!

Equal parts relieved and fretful, Betty unlocks the drawer. There’s an astounding amount of cash, along with a beat up shoebox. Cautiously opening it, the box reveals a plethora of old photos with Don labeled as Dick, a pair of dogtags, old timey photos of his family, a Deed to a house in California, a Divorce Decree to an Anna Draper.. it’s all too much.

Of course, we all know how the pieces fit together– but to Betty, there’s no context for this secret information overload. She had a sneaking suspicion that Don was hiding something (or things) from her, but surely nothing as big as all this.

As everything washes over her, Betty goes wan as Carla brings the kids home. It’s all so overwhelming, as if an H-bomb has been dropped on 42 Bullet Park Road.

In this episode, I feel a little more for Suzanne as a character, Don’s intense hard-on for Good and Wholesome mommy issues galore aside. Previously I wrote her off as your run of the mill Thirst Trap(TM), but maybe she’s simply on a different level than the other emotionally repressed characters; she’s inherently more open, and contrasting with everyone else we encounter on this show, it seems like she’s totally fucking bonkers.

Suzanne manages to swing a job for Danny, to help him out; a foreign concept to Don who pushed his own brother away (and unknowingly nudged him towards a noose) back in Season 1. And perhaps reflecting upon sins past, Don offers to drive Danny up to his new job in Massachusetts.

Danny ain’t as grateful as Don had expected, though. Then again, Danny is living Don’s hobo dream; drifting from place to place, figuring shit out as he goes.

“I know what’s waiting for me at that place. I’m 25 years old, Don.. I don’t want to be cleaning toilets until I die. Just pull over.”

“Hold on– I’m older than you, and I’m telling you it seems bad now.. but you can still change things.”

“Pull myself up by the bootstraps?”

“Does that just sound stupid to you?”

“How do I explain this? I can’t do anything that you can do. Everyone knows, sooner or later, that there’s something wrong with me. They’re kind and they try, but then when I come to with piss in my pants, they stare at me like I’m from another planet. I am afflicted, okay? It’s not a question of will. I can’t change that.”

Another curveball thrown at the Don Draper “just move forward” mantra. Natch, Don throws some cash at the guy as he lets him out of the car, but not before imparting his card with a little support and insight.

“I swore to myself I would try to do this right once. I want you to call me, if you ever need to. And I want you to remember, if something happens to you.. your sister will never forgive herself.”

Baby steps, I guess.

Sitting up until 2am with that shoebox, Betty slowly realises Don isn’t coming home yet again. Accepting defeat, she places it back in his desk drawer, locks it, and puts the key back in his robe. Startled by his phone call the following morning, she’s apparently supposed to be dressed to the nines and ready to be shown off at the Sterling Cooper 40th later that evening.

En route to said SC 40th, Lane is totally nerve-wracked and stuck in traffic. Thinking it’s the traffic that’s getting him down, Rebecca tries to soothe; Lane lets her know they’re selling the company, and she takes the news with glee, wanting him to take comfort in returning to England. Nope. Lane is a man who has done nothing but obediently follow orders all his life, and he’s sick of it. There would be no place for him at the company in the event of a sale and he knows it.

sc40thdonandbetty

image courtesy of PopSugar

As Roger makes a speech lauding Don’s work achievements and character, Betty looks equal parts heartbroken, betrayed, and pissed off. And we know that Roger ain’t too chuffed to make that speech either. Cue thunderous applause.

“Well, he knows how to leave a room.”

Mad Men s3e9: Wee Small Hours

“But when I say I want the Moon.. I expect the Moon.”

Wanting and yearning, sprayed all over this episode. How do you give the person you’re bound to what they desire when even they don’t know what that thing is? What do you do when you’re trying to satisfy actual grown-ass human people who are as fickle and formidable as baby Gene?

donbetty_nighttime

image courtesy of Fanpop

Hilton is blowing up Don in the middle of the night, while Bets dreams of snogging Henry on that whacking great hideous fainting couch. Betty decides to start writing him letters; after all, she is a person who has thoughts.. and nobody with which to share them.

Turns out Henry ditches the forced fundraiser at the Draper house, with good reason; infuriated, Betty drives the cashbox to Henry’s office herself and nearly beheads the fucking guy when she launches it directly at him. He talks her down from the ledge, letting her know he couldn’t just show up at her damn house like that; she’s married, after all, even though it certainly doesn’t feel like it to her sometimes.

sal_leegarnerjr

image courtesy of AMC

Sal is directing a Lucky Strike commercial, and Lee Garner Jr is sloppily sauced and ready to get weird in the editing suite. When Sal turns down his advances, Lee is PISSED. Lee Garner Jr is a man who never not gets whatever in the fresh hell he wants, the moment he wants it. Uh-oh.

Latenight meeting with Conrad Hilton and Don, father and son. In his life to date, Don has never once had approval from a paternal figure, but that concept profoundly matters to him. Connie and Don have an understanding. He’s worked his ass off while making his way up in the world, and Don is trying to do the same; neither of them had that boost of rich parents with cashflow, nor flashy Ivy League connections.

Though Connie sounds absolutely bizarre yapping about how the Commies don’t have God, he’s one of that generation that thinks of the USA as The Greatest Place On Earth(TM). He’s a ludicrously successful, wealthy self-made man; he built the most famous goddamned hotel chain in the world, after all.

The man is an icon, and Connie is also from a generation of men that believe American Democracy and our way of life is not only the best way, but the way of God. And after all, it’s the 1960s; we are at the peak of the Cold War here. Communism fundamentally preaches that religion is the opiate of the masses; “We’re good because we have God and Communists don’t. That’s their number one belief.”

In the office, Don Draper is fucking fried. He’s exhausted and at his wits’ end, and he’s creatively constipated. Even when he tears down Peggy and her team’s work on Hilton, she doesn’t respond with defensiveness so much as worry for his mental state of affairs. At this point in their working relationship, it’s obvious that she understands Don; it’s jarring to see him unravel.

Lee Garner Jr rings up Harry in the middle of the night, loaded and pissed off at Sal. He tells Harry he wants him gone. Awkward. Boob Harry does fuckall with this information; the meeting a few days later is a piping hot mess, which causes Sal to get the axe once light is shed on what happened.

Coaxing what went down out of Sal in an attempt to help him, Don is cold as fucking ice and lets the axe drop; it’s actually shocking. At this point, Don perceives himself as trapped at Sterling Cooper via his contract (thanks to Hilton), and he seems to be lashing out in bizarre ways as a result.

Sal: “He was drunk, and he cornered me in the editing room. And I backed him off, I told him I was married, and he was embarrassed and he left.”

Don: “You must’ve been really shocked. But nothing happened, because nothing could have happened because you’re married?”

Sal: “Don, I swear on my mother’s life..”

Don: “You sure you want to do that? Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Sal: “I guess I was just supposed to do whatever he wanted? What if it was some girl?”

Don: “That would depend on what kind of girl it was, and what I knew about her. You people.”

Sal: “I didn’t do anything but turn him down. He’s a bully.”

Don: “Lucky Strike can shut off our lights. I think you know that this is the way this has to be.”

WOOF.

Sal was hoping Don would understand, as a man with two lives; he might become his saviour and his champion. Instead, he just turns out to be a bastard. Truly devastating.

In a Central Park phone booth swarming with an enclave of hot dudes, Sal lies to Kitty about his whereabouts. What is he doing? It’s a heartbreaking end for this character. All I can do is hope he lives happily ever after on Fire Island.

hiltonmeeting

image courtesy of YouTube

And to top it all off, Don’s Hilton pitch bombs catastrophically; apparently Don didn’t think big enough. When Connie said he wanted the Moon** and didn’t get the damn Moon (apparently he was being literal), he’s deeply disappointed in Don. He takes it very hard, feebly defending his campaign on deaf ears. “What do you want from me, love?”

**(Fun fact– apparently, the Lunar Hilton idea is real.)

donsuzeanne

Y A W N || image courtesy of MadMenWiki

Faking a Hilton call, Don splits in the middle of the night to go see thirst trap Suzanne. Sigh. I guess it’s one way to deal with his apocalyptically awful day, diving headfirst back into what you know. Similar to Pete with the German Au Pair, Don is about to shit pretty close to where he eats. Not a good look.

“You’re my angel, you know that? You’re like a son. In fact, sometimes you’re more than a son to me because you didn’t have what they had .. and you understand.”

Mad Men s3e8: Souvenir

“New York in August? It’s like a great big melting wax museum.”

It’s the dog days of summer. Sweaty Don goes to catch lightning bugs with his kids at Betty’s suggestion, while Pete comes home to an empty apartment. Trudy has gone to spend some time with her parents.

While Betty works on some reservoir shit, Hilton rings the house; Don has been bounced around all sorts of American cities/toilets checking out hotels and getting to know the brand, and now Connie wants him to hit up Rome. Betty is intrigued by the idea, as Don scribbles down the Pan-Am flight details on her cold call list. Her eyes light up at the idea of an international trip, but then the reality slaps her in the face; they have a 2-month old baby (not to mention 2 other young kids) here at home. Boo-urns.

Bachelor Pete seems pretty content watching Davey and Goliath and eating cereal, laughing to himself; then he passes out later in the day. Eventually imitating a real person, he heads to Gristedes for some groceries and spots the neighbour’s busty German Au Pair frantically stuffing a stain-dress into the trash chute. Pete tries to help her out, and hey-o, Joan works at the department store now!

Turns out Joan had to take something of a trash job while things are tough at home; Greg is changing his specialty to therapy. Sigh. The good news is that she’s mastering her job at the department store, but she’s still deflated once Pete leaves, thinking of the life and prestige she had at Sterling Cooper.

Betty goes about her day, applies her lipstick in one fell flawfree swoop, while Sally gazes on in awe. It’s time for that reservoir hearing, and Henry makes shit happen. As he walks her to her car, Betty is driving her father’s Lincoln; she thought it would be good luck. Hank goes in for the kiss, and Betty reciprocates though she stays quiet and vaguely mysterious.

“They should just do it up in Newburgh. It’s already disgusting.”

At home, Betty is on a happy high from winning (and snogging Henry), and jumps at the opportunity to hit up Rome with Don. There, she can have the chance to feel smart and interesting, and hey, she speaks fluent Italian. The reservoir hearing was a good step in the right direction, a place where she could feel like she was more than just the housewife or Don’s shiny better half for some work dinner.

donbetty_romearrival

image courtesy of Tumblr

Landing in Rome, Don and Betty look exhausted. Speaking Italian without missing a beat, Betty side-eyes Don for overtipping their bellboy. Post-nap, she makes an appointment to get her hair set, and emerges totally stunning for their dinner with Conrad Hilton. Taking a seat outside, she orders an Asti. In the midst of being hit on by some Italians, Don approaches her as if they don’t know one another and they indulge in some flirtatious role playing.

donbetty_roleplay

image courtesy of Mad Men Wiki

“To whatever they were saying.”

“They said you were ugly.”

“Does that bother you?”

“You think because of the way I’m dressed that I’m shallow?”

“I was just hoping you were easy..”

“They said that too.”

“What brings you to rome? Seen anything interesting?”

“I could take it or leave it.”

Having done a nice favour for the neighbour’s au pair re:dresspocalypse, Pete creeps on her expecting something in return. In a scene that mirrors that of Ladies’ Room in Season 1, when he creeped on Peggy’s doorstep latenight, his sauced frat boy faux charm is a little stale now. Woof, it’s super fucking uncomfortable.

In the following days, his neighbour comes home and he ain’t pleased with Pete’s shenanigans while the cats are away; he’s had some peaceful weeks, and now it’s been disrupted since the au pair is upset about cheating on her boyfriend and ya know, ~Women’s Emotions~. Yikes on bikes all around, but he imparts some valuable advice to Pete; don’t shit where you eat. Philandering 101.

When Trudy comes home, Pete is pretty shellshocked. He doesn’t communicate what actually happened, but he lets Trudy know he doesn’t want her to vacation without him again. Seems like they have an understanding, and they are both happy to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

Vacation seems to be so easy for Betty and Don, so effortless; but once they crossed the threshold of their home, they were confronted with the bullshit of the day to day and resume their New York roles in their real life together. Don immediately leaves as Carla starts yapping about the kids while Betty furrows her brow. Life resumes.

How can Don and Betty bring that Roman romance stateside? It takes a lot of work, but Betty may be out of steam at this point. As the wonder wears off from their brief holiday, it’s back to reality at casa Draper; Betty has to address Sally kissing Ernie (and then Sally’s temper– beating the shit out of Bobby for making fun of her). Glancing at the whacking great fainting couch, she thinks of Henry. In one of her better parenting moments, she has a frank conversation with Sally about kissing boys.

“I don’t want you running around kissing boys. And you don’t kiss boys, boys kiss you. The first kiss is very special.”

“But I already did it.. it’s over!”

“You’re going to have a lot of first kisses. You’re going to want it to be special, so you remember. It’s where you go from being a stranger to knowing someone, and every kiss after that is a shadow of that kiss. Do you understand?”

“I think so.”

Betty might have a different opinion if she was married to someone whom she really connected with, someone who understood her and loved her no matter what. But this is what she’s got for the time being, and imparts her wisdom to Sally.

That night, Betty expresses her total exasperation and frustration with their everyday life in Ossining, brought on by Francine’s small town nudging towards Henry Francis in an effort to further stir the pot. In Rome, it was as if they had no problems, no kids bothering them, it was wholly magical. Vacation rules!

But unfortunately, that’s just not real life no matter how much Betty desires that to be; “Aw, Bets– we’ll go away again.” It’s a shame to see just how much of her personality and flair for life Betty suppresses in the interest of being a housewife, to fit into that specific suburban mould. In Italy, she was alive, she was happy, and able to show off how intelligent and vibrant she really is. How can she translate that to work at home?

dondeflated

image courtesy of Tumblr

Don surprises Betty with a little Colosseum charm for her bracelet, and she is entirely nonplussed. Fed up with her life, she takes it out on Don. Yikes.

“I saw how happy you were in there.. And I thought, ‘Dear God. Did I have anything to do with that?’ Because that would make me happy.”