Mad Men s3e7: Seven Twenty Three

“Young people give us energy, don’t forget that.”

One of my favourite episodes right here. I know I’ve said that at least 100 times, but this episode is fucking fantastic. The structure, the concurrent storylines, all of it; aces. There’s some glimpses at how desperate Don is at his core, how much of an isolationist asshole he can be when he feels even the slightest bit threatened.

Conrad Hilton shows up unexpectedly at Sterling Cooper, and Don is fashionably late per usual. The buzzing junior execs are worked up into a froth, then shooed away. Hilton points out the lack of family photos in his office Don’s real connections to the world, while sitting in his chair behind his Important Man(TM) desk. He then gifts Don the New York hotels as a start.

Betty is having some sort of ladies’ meeting about the reservoir, and links up with Henry Francis, the silver fox from My Old Kentucky Home who was borderline creeping on her while sauced on martinis. Henry and Betty decide meet for lunch to discuss the reservoir that Saturday afternoon. As she hangs up the phone, she checks Don’s desk drawer almost as a reflex. Still locked.

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incredible, iconic Betty look.. || image courtesy of Pinterest

They have a nice lunch, where Henry orders the foul midcentury staple of apple pie with cheddar cheese. Walking to the car, they spot a fainting couch in an antique shop window. Henry explains the story behind the couch’s silhouette, revealing that he used to work as a mover before becoming an attorney. Betty buys this whacking great couch as a form of furniture protest on Don, who had one-upped her interior designer with one end-table swoop.

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image courtesy of ApartmentTherapy

While Betty has a flirtatious Saturday afternoon with Hank Frank, Don is at a school-related eclipse viewing party with Sally’s forever parched teacher. Oh yeah, and it turns out Carlton stares into the sun, shocking nobody.

Don and Miss Farrell make friendly conversation, then she faux calls him out for being one of those bored philandering suburban men, when the reality is that.. it was just a pleasant conversation? It seems like she’s trying to take control of their interaction, but it comes off as super fucking tryhard. Eyeroll.

Speaking of thirst, Duck is really trying to court Peggy over to Grey with an Hermès scarf. Shit is mad classy, but she ain’t into it; he calls her bluff by inviting her to The Pierre for a meeting, so she can return the scarf to the Hermès people in person.

Don’s contract, or lack thereof, is a hot topic. Connie needs him to have a contract in order to work together, and Lane agrees with the pragmatism behind it.. along with pressure from Hilton’s herd of lawyers. Bert puts his foot down and emphasises that the contract is important to Sterling Cooper as well as Conrad Hilton to drive the point home.

“I met him once. He’s a bit of an eccentric, isn’t he?

Ah, the irony of Bert Cooper calling someone an eccentric..

Roger tries to talk Don into signing the contract, tempting him with his name on the front door; no avail. Stonewalled. Sneakily, Roger rings the house and chats to Betty about Don signing the contract in a roundabout way. She’s flippant and frosty on the phone, but the wheels are turning. Jackpot, but also a major dick move on Roger’s part.

And it’s bad timing again for Peggy. After that irritating conversation Don had with Roger, she tests the waters re:Hilton under the false guise of work needing approval, and Don is prickly at best. Apoplectic about the contract hammer coming down, he takes it out on Peggy in an attempt to reassert control. Maybe he sees her as an extension of himself and is thus hard on her, but nonetheless it’s another major dick move.

At the Pierre, Duck dangles the opportunity of a new gig at Grey in front of her, then makes his real intentions known. It’s probably one of the grossest come-ons I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been witness to a lot of vile things..

Peggy: “What are you doing?”

Duck: “I was just thinking about all the times I walked by you and didn’t even notice. How is that possible?”

Peggy: “What do you want from me?”

Duck: “I want to take you in that bedroom, lock the door, take your clothes off with my teeth, throw you on the bed and give you a go-around like you’ve never had.”

..

UGH NO, CAN WE FUCKING NOT WITH THIS SHIT

nope

Ahem. Peggy’s previous experience banging dudes has been with young guys, perhaps guys who didn’t know what they wanted, or the first thing on how to please a woman. So I guess Duck seems appealing? VOM. Apparently he also ‘loves the morning’.

Once Don gets home, Betty grills him about his contract. She pushes back on Don and his “I have all the power, they want me but they can’t have me” garbage; as if she wouldn’t understand how that works. And on top of that, she got more information from Henry in an hour about his job and life than Don has ever given her in years of marriage. She’s getting more confident.

Like a pedantic manbaby, Don bounces. He drives off into the night, shattering his rocks glass in direct contrast to Red in the Face where he makes absolutely certain that Roger returns the glass to Betty. Wanting to indulge his transient fantasy, he picks up some young 20-somethings. They’re looking for a ride to Niagara Falls to get married; the 22 year-old guy is 1A, headed to Vietnam. Is any of it real?

Ah, drugs. Don pops a few pills, and hallucinates that his father Archie is in the motel. The hitchhikers are slow dancing, and are wondering when the fuck Don is gonna drop so they can rob him already.

Archie: “Look at you, up to your old tricks. You’re a bum, you know that?”

Don: “No, I’m not.”

Archie: “Conrad hilton? You wouldn’t expect him to be taken so easily! You can’t be tied down.”

Don: “That’s right.”

Ahh, then the guy pops Don on the back of the head, and he falls to the floor of the Knights Inn. This is a real place in Hackensack NJ, by the by.

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image courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo

Conrad Hilton might not be so spot on about young people giving us energy here. The next morning, an exhausted Don shows up at the office all fucked up. Thanks, hitchhiking assholes. His pipe dream transient fantasy has failed him. As he strolls into his office, Cooper is sitting in the big seat behind his Important Man(TM) Desk, and serves him with some ice cold realness.

Bert: “Would you say I know something about you, Don?”

Don: “I would..”

Bert: “Then sign. After all, when it comes down to it.. who’s really signing this contract anyway?”

HARSH. But, don’t get it twisted; Cooper ain’t wrong. 7/23/1963, the date Don signs.

“What do you do? What do you make? You grow bullshit.”

Mad Men s3e5: The Fog

“What time is it? What time isn’t it??”

Don and a very pregnant Betty are at a parent teacher conference at Sally’s school, turns out Sally’s been acting up in the fortnight since Grandpa Gene has passed. She hasn’t properly grieved, maybe because Don doesn’t believe children belong in graveyards. Not an uncommon line of thinking from that time, but as a result, Sally didn’t get any sort of the closure she would feel from attending the funeral.

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image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

Sally and Don have something crucial in common here — he lost his own father when he was a child, just as Sally has lost her surrogate parental figure. Later that night, Sally’s thirst trap teacher Suzanne drunk dials the house, telling Don that her own father died when she was just 8 years old and apologises for over-relating to Sally. Don is probably popping a boner at the fact that he and this practical stranger have something ~so deep~ in common, but now it’s time to have a baby! He can consider shitting where he eats later on.

At Sterling Cooper, Pete tries to crack the code behind Admiral Television’s flatlining sales; they’re total shite except for one market which is showing expansion. He lands on the growing African-American market and finds the idea worth pursuing.

And hey, Duck is back! He’s at Grey now, trying to coerce Pete (and Pegs) to lunch. Upon seeing Peggy there, Pete ain’t pleased. Maybe he thought he was special, but Duck is pulling some bizarre headhunter shit trying to capitalise on their “secret relationship” to get them both to come work with him. Pete storms out, then feebly tries to strike up a conversation with Hollis in the elevator about his TV. Hollis is resistant. Gotta be more normal and less business, Pete; when he’s himself and jokes about baseball with Hollis, it’s a much more positive interaction. Relax.

In the Admiral meeting, Pete tries to show the clients that targeting the African-American market would be extremely profitable as ad space is exponentially cheaper than the white market; shifting a portion of the media budget to focus on the black community would really blow up their sales.

Sadly, the clients don’t see any of the appeal that Pete does; after all, he’s quite advanced in his thinking being that it’s 1963. Duck’s hypothesis that Sterling Cooper won’t ever reward Pete’s forward thinking and new ideas proves true in that Admiral meeting, and how superbly poorly it was received in the aftermath. There’s a bunch of yelling, and Roger lets him know that 90% of that job boils down to “I don’t like that guy”, a sore point for a guy like Pete Campbell; he’s been dealing with that sort of shit his whole life, no doubt. Lane offers a little bit of sanity, acknowledging that Pete at least had a thoughtful approach.

About to get pumped full of drugs and give birth, Betty feels nervous and alone. She is wheeled down the hallway as Don is shooed off to the waiting room; she fretfully looks back for him as he evaporates into the ether. Betty thinks she sees her father mopping the floor, and shouts out for him. Her nurse, who’s about 110% done with everyone’s shit for that day, lets her know she needs to keep quiet once they roll close to the nursery.

In the waiting room, Don meets an overly anxious prison guard, Dennis Hobart. They proceed to get loaded together. He’s waiting to see his wife and newborn, very on edge, raw. Spanning the course of several scenes, Don and Dennis have a peculiar, heady interaction.

And Don’s watch, the one Betty had fixed and monogrammed for him, suddenly stops ticking while he’s in the waiting room. Ah, shit.

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image courtesy of StillEmAll

Betty experiences some strange dreams in the fog. She’s wandering down a street in her plush neighbourhood, flawfree as a painting, crushing a caterpillar in her hand; then she’s at home, seeing her dead parents. Her mother is standing over a bleeding Medgar Evers, a notable Civil Rights Activist who had been assassinated in the days following Gene’s death. A news story about his funeral can be overheard in the hospital waiting room.

You see what happens to people who speak up? Be happy with what you have.”

Betty may be in her house in Ossining, but it’s a trippy backwards house. Gene mops up blood in the kitchen.

“You’ll be OK. You’re a house-cat.. you’ve very important, and you have little to do.”

That’s the kicker, Betty isn’t happy with what she has. And despite his best efforts to the contrary, Don isn’t either; he’s mostly restless and indifferent to it all. As Dennis yaps about all that he’ll do with his future child, how wonderful all things will be and what a good dad and better man he looks forward to becoming, visibly unsettled Don withdraws further, reminded of his own failures. He doesn’t even know if this is the life he truly desires, in spite of how much he continues to dedicate himself to it. Is that all there is?

“This is a fresh start. I don’t know who’s up there, but I’m going to be better. I’m going to be a better man.”

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image courtesy of Tumblr

If only Dennis knew how many times Don said those words to himself, tried it on for size, and ultimately fucked it up due to his eventual and effervescent apathy. Those are some lofty goals to achieve. As a prison guard, Dennis has seen some shit; he can spot a liar from miles away, yet is keen to insist that Don is an honest, good guy. Once again, Don flinches. What this guy doesn’t know could fill a warehouse.

Armed with the knowledge of what’s out there via Duck, Peggy tests the water with Don regarding a raise.. at the worst possible time as Lane is losing his shit and cutting expenses left and right. As Don holds firm, she’s surrounded by a bounty of baby gifts, gorgeous teal Tiffany & Co. box included.

“I look at you, and I think.. ‘I want what he has..'”

“Really?”

“You have everything. And so much of it.”

“I suppose that’s probably true.”

Miles away, Don can’t hear that this life he finds so eternally vacuous looks so remarkable and so lavish to someone on the outside looking in. As much as he wants to cultivate The Image(TM), his existential loneliness persists and gnaws at the edges of his vision. And Don feels he knows Peggy better than that, and she him; he does not even humour her about that raise. He lets her down.

As Peggy leaves Don’s office, she runs into Pete; he’s convinced she’s told Don about their offers to work at Grey. Cagey and slighted, she doesn’t respond to his particular brand of panicked nonsense. Pete retorts, “your decisions affect me”, and it speaks fucking volumes.

Betty signs the birth certificate for the new baby, Eugene Scott Draper. She looks genuinely pleased with her decision, at peace.

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image courtesy of AMC

Walking down the hall with a perf bouquet in hand, a picture-perfect Husband(TM), Don spots Dennis walking toward him with his wife in a wheelchair. Don looks at him with a touch of warmth, and as their eyes meet, Dennis immediately averts his attention once he realises who Don is. It’s jarring. Perhaps he’s ashamed of oversharing his emotions with Don in the waiting room that night, an actual stranger.. who knows. Maybe he thought better of calling Don an honest guy, his vision unclouded in the AM.

There’s a new Eugene in town, and not a moment too soon after the death of the former Gene. Since this season began, Don and Betty appear to both be making an effort at intimacy and closeness in their marriage. Don’s doing it because he figured out (during his California jaunt) that he wanted to quit being a spectator in his own life.

Betty, on the other end of the spectrum, has been keeping it all up for this baby. Natch, she doesn’t want to be a single mother to an infant on top of two young kids, and it’s become crystal clear over the past few episodes that Betty has convinced herself (as many soon-to-be parents in dumpster fire marriages do) that the kid is some sort of magical salve, a cure-all for deep-seated issues.. But when she’s lost in the depth of The Fog, she’s able to vocalise her true fears about Don;

“He’s never where you expect him to be. Have you seen him? Have you been with him? Someone call him.. I don’t wanna be here. I’m just a housewife.. why are you doing this to me?”

Y I K E S on bikes. The episode ends on a shot of her paused in the hallway of the Draper home, shrouded in inky darkness as baby Gene shrieks into the night; the ethereal music seeps in as Betty’s posture changes slightly.

“Our worst fears lie in anticipation.”

Mad Men s3e4: The Arrangements

“When we put that money aside for him, he was a little boy. We didn’t know what kind of person we were making.”

Hey, Sally’s driving! Grandpa Gene thankfully has the pedals covered, but he’s letting her steer the car in the ‘hood. Not too shabby.

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image courtesy of Jezebel

The relationships of characters and their parents are under the microscope in this episode, an important theme that is revisited over the course of the series.

Peggy is making the leap out of Brooklyn and into the city, and her mother does not take the news well; her sister Anita is happy for her (at least she gets Peggy’s reasoning), and maybe even a little envious of the excitement ahead for her sister. Thankfully, she’s managed to let go of her resentment and turn a kinder eye towards her sister.

On the other hand, her mother appears to have taken up some of that resentment shit whereas last season she seemed more understanding and sympathetic towards Peggy, concerned for her mental health. Her mother is hurt, in spite of Peggy giving her a new TV to soften the blow. As I’ve said before, Peggy is certainly cut from a different cloth than her family. She’s striking out on her own, and her mother clearly cannot relate to it or understand her daughter’s motivations, desires, and needs in her modern life, and really doesn’t care to either. Back to being upset about the Holy Father.

Seeking a roomate, Peggy pens an adult/super boring ad, subject to a bunch of ridicule in the office as ya do. Joan gives her some sage lady advice on her unfortunate ad, while trying to tweak Peggy’s perspective a touch. “This is about two young girls in Manhattan, this is an adventure!” Peggy is looking at it all so analytically, whereas Joan sees the opportunity and the fun that could be. Maybe Joan misses her freewheeling former life as an adventurous girl in the city.

Ahh, Pete’s college buddy Horace Cook Jr. (Ho-Ho..) is in the conference room of Sterling Cooper yapping about some preposterous sport, Jai alai. He’s a silver spoon smooth talking 20-something with an ascot and an expensive haircut. Don is not impressed; however, Lane and Pete see nothing but dollar signs as Ho-Ho is super eager to get his trash sport on American TV and in magazines posthaste. Kid’s got a $3mil inheritance in his pocket, ready to burn.

Grandpa Gene is encouraging to Sally, giving her the attention and affection she really needs at home. He lets her know that she’s smart, and sheds some light on why Betty is so picky about her appearance; turns out she was a chubby girl, much to the chagrin of her mother who made her walk home from the center of town post-errands. Yikes. It’s nice to see someone speaking to Sally as the tiny adult she is.

On the other end of the spectrum, when Gene sits his own daughter down to pass along his wishes, the arrangements in the case of his death, Betty is having none of it. He knows he’s staring down the barrel at this point, it’s sadly a matter of when. As Betty instinctively goes to light up a cigarette, Gene snaps back at her, “I don’t like watching you commit suicide, and neither do your kids.” Timidly, she obliges her father for the moment.

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image courtesy of AMC

Betty is resistant and reluctant to be an adult, choosing to have a vague tantrum over how morbid it is that her father is so openly talking about his own passing with his ‘little girl’. It’s the grownup equivalent of covering her ears and hiding. Her father admits that he shielded her from the world, was too overprotective, that she could have had so much more.. “if you’d even known what was possible.” Gene thinks that’s maybe why she married a man like Don instead of finding herself a better match, being more. Here’s Don, another man who shields her from the real world and treats her like a child.. words and implications she won’t soon forget.

Making the connection that Horace Cook Jr.’s father is connected to Bert Cooper in a million ways, Don calls for a meeting. Horace Sr. is more than a little exhausted by the whole Jai alai mess, and has given up on the idea of his kid doing anything sensible with the cash.

“Well, should you be lucky enough to strike gold, remember that your children weren’t there when you were swinging the pick. I’ve seen his plan… it’s gibberish. But if you refuse him, he’ll only find someone else. My son lives in a cloud of success, but it’s my success. Perhaps when that evaporates and his face is pressed against the reality of the sidewalk, he’ll be of value to someone.”

Horace Sr., not unlike Gene, figures he sheltered his son too much; “we didn’t know what kind of person we were making”. He’s a touch cynical and weary of it at this point, and until Ho-Ho figures out how the world really works (and stops valiantly trying to get the whole damn world to bend at his whim), Horace Sr. is okay with him failing repeatedly until he gets a reality check. Harsh, but understandable.

With Don receiving the green light, it’s time for fancypants dinner with Pete and Ho-Ho to sign him on as a client. Talking about their fathers, Don is reticent. Pete and Horace Jr. are guys living under the shadow of their fathers’ success, whereas Don is someone who left his apocalypse of a childhood far behind, in an attempt to get ahead of it. Seems like Ho-Ho wants to please his dad at the end of the day, to make him proud, however misguided and idiotic his ideas are and how he chooses to go about it. Don tries one last time to talk him down from the dumb investment, and fails.

Latenight, Don is looking at his secret shoebox of photos in his locked desk drawer at home. He studies a photo of his stern father, bathed in the pale moonlight. Was that man ever proud of him? Not bloody likely.

When Gene takes out his box of tricks and war memorabilia to show Bobby, Don is visibly bothered. Gene speaks to Bobby about war as a positive, character-building experience; how it made a man out of him. Don doesn’t see things that way; as we saw in Season 1, he bounced from Korea as soon as he could, did whatever he had to do to head home and get the fuck out of there, scared out of his gourd.

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image courtesy of Tumblr

So when Gene nonchalantly tells Bobby about how he killed a Prussian and took his pointy hat home (complete with bullet hole) as a souvenir, and now wants to pass it down to Bobby. Don isn’t pleased; after all, there was a person in that hat. Life is not so black and white, to deduce someone’s life as that of An Enemy to Don. “It’s a dead man’s hat, take it off.”

Over at Sterling Cooper, Don appoints Sal to direct the Patio ad, a shot for shot remake of Bye Bye Birdie. As he’s working on it later that night at home, Kitty tries to coerce him into having a bang and he ain’t into it, yapping about work.. he shows her the idea for the ad, the dancing and the whole nine. It slowly dawns on her that something has always been very off. Let’s be real; she probably knows on some level that her husband is so far away, and she looks happy that he’s doing some great work, yet devastated that she’s been living something of a lie. Poor Kitty.

Unfortunately for Sal, that Patio ad flops hard, turns out Peggy may have been right.. though this is apparently due to the fact that the shrill lookalike lady in the ad just isn’t Ann-Margaret, with none of her girlish charm and bright-eyed hope. It just ain’t right. Don is encouraging of Sal’s obvious talent for commercial direction, so it’s not a total loss.

Turns out Gene collapsed in the A&P, and a cop comes by the house to let Betty know that he has passed away. Betty nearly collapses on the porch, and when the cop asks what she would like to do with his body, she is momentarily relieved, realising that her father gave her all the instructions she would need.. literally shutting the door on poor Sally.

She grabs the door handle, but can’t quite bring herself to go inside. Grandpa Gene was a man who really connected with her, and now she’s back in a house with parents who vacillate between being indifferent and wrapped up in their own lives, or yelling at her about some complete nonsense.

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image courtesy of Fanpop

William and Judy have arrived at the house; the adults sit at the kitchen table reminiscing about things with Don and Betty. Overhearing the adults laughing about something and misunderstanding that they are grieving and sorting through feelings, Sally has an outburst about her grandfather’s death. Instead of being listened to and comforted, she’s shut out again and told to go watch TV.

Later, Don checks on her after bedtime; she’s asleep clutching the copy of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that they were reading together each night. Just because she’s a kid doesn’t mean she’s not grieving too.

As he folds up Gene’s former bed, Don stands in the room for a beat between the bed of a man who just died, and the crib of his yet to be born child.

“.. You can really do something. Don’t let your mother tell you otherwise.”

Mad Men s3e3: My Old Kentucky Home

Ah yes, the episode where Roger Sterling (very uncomfortably) slaps on blackface for his Derby Day garden party to serenade Jane with a racist song. Awkward and shocking as fuck.

I like that Don and Pete are the two horrified people bearing witness to this mess, while everyone else seems bemused. Don pops off, as he does, to seek out more booze and a moment of silence away from all the tryhard noise surrounding him. He meets an older gentleman in a white tux jacket behind the bar, mistaking him for the barman.

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image courtesy of Tumblr

They have an exchange about feeling out of place at fancy events, an ingrained understanding; way more than we’ve ever seen Don share in the series thus far with just about anyone, perhaps save for Rachel Menken. Fitting that it’s shared with a complete stranger.

Connie: Who are you hiding from?

Don: I am at work .. disguised as a party.

Connie: I’m at work disguised as a wedding. I hate other people’s weddings.

Don: Why’s that?

Connie: Make me nervous, All those expectations. And these poor kids in here– whew! That is a match made in the boardroom. When I was a boy, There was a mansion on the river I used to paddle by in my johnboat. The twinkling lights, violins, girls giggling about something... it’s different inside.

Don: Where are you from?

Connie: San Antonio, New Mexico, before it was a state. Don’t ask me that– old.

Don: You look fit.

Connie: You ever see “A Midsummer Dream” with Mickey Rooney?

Don: “A Midsummer Night’s dream”?

Connie: By golly, you’re prickly! I’m republican, like everyone else in there, but somehow, no matter how expensive my cufflinks, I feel like I’ve got the head of a jackass.

Don: Where I grew up, there was a roadhouse. It boasted live music– that meant a drum, a bass, and a player piano with nobody at it. I parked cars. Fancy people would go there. They’d get loud, they’d get drunk, But they wouldn’t let me use the toilet. So when nature called, I’d open up a trunk and relieve myself.

Connie: You didn’t.

Don: I was 15. There’s probably some kid out there doing it to us right now.

Don and Connie have this experience in common. And like Don, Connie is a climber of the social ladder rather than being born with a silver spoon. But that exclusionary feeling pervades; this feeling of being out of place despite the fact that they wear the proper costume, say all the right things, swing in the swanky circles, but it still just ain’t right. Rachel Menken nailed it in Season 1, and Connie is nailing it here and it resonates. Out of place.

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image courtesy of Tumblr

Meanwhile, Peggy is at the office working on Bacardi. She smokes marijuana (for the first time!) with Paul Kinsey, Smitty, and Kinsey’s cartoonishly handsome Patrick Bateman-esque Princeton drug hookup. Kinsey is unwillingly revealed to be a vaguely uneducated Jersey boy by nature, headed to Princeton on scholarship and putting on airs ever since. He’s insecure about who he really is and is consistently sort of a dick as a reflex.

Enjoying her experience and realising it’s helping her work, Peggy stands up to her judgemental secretary Olive, and gets on with it. She’s being open to new experiences, and doesn’t want to end up like the aforementioned secretary; wringing her hands over her college-aged son, and coming to the office on a Saturday because her husband is taking a trip to the dump.

There are some great scenes with Sally and Grandpa Gene peppered into this episode. Their relationship is sweet, it’s nice that she has an adult figure in her life who treats her (relatively) as an equal; it’s probably the most individual and encouraging attention she’s ever gotten in that house. Sally’s bonding with her grandfather, reading passages aloud from Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire before bed each night. Metaphorically speaking, Gene is pretty prophetic when he tells Sally “just wait.. all hell’s gonna break loose”. The Sixties are about to get pretty real.

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image courtesy of Mad Men Wikia

Sally swipes a $5 bill from his billfold, as kids tend to do when they want to push boundaries. There is panic and a search of the whole house, turning up nada; eventually Sally can’t take it anymore and “Finds It” in the dining room. She’s expecting the worst from Grandpa Gene, but he goes easy on her. I think he’s secretly relieved that it was actually taken and he’s not losing his entire damned mind just yet. As Don and Betty were on their way out to the aforementioned soirée, they were dismissive of his dismay at having his cash pilfered; they, along with Carla, treated his concern as if it wasn’t real. So having some validation must feel good for him at the very least.

Joan and Greg have a dinner party, hosting some of his hospital bros to earn brownie points. Turns out being married to a dignified and worldly woman like Joan is the best thing going for him, as it turns out (shocking nobody) he’s a pretty shit surgeon. This vile idiot wants to keep her in a very specific Wife(TM) box where he’s the alpha, the boss. Greg hates being reminded of the fact that she’s smarter than he is, that she has this whole other life aside from him and great experiences; he admonishes her to entertaining their guests by playing the accordion and singing a French song, which she nails completely.

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image courtesy of AMC

Back at the Derby Day garden party, Pete and Trudy show off their admittedly awesome dance moves. Everyone’s yapping about their kids or soon to be kids, and Trudy definitely feels a little left out; so they make up for it in dance form. It’s nice to see Pete enjoying himself too!

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image courtesy of ONTD and my own idiocy

Towards the end of the party, Roger walks over at precisely the wrong time as Jane drunkenly grabs at Don wondering if he doesn’t like her. She also blabs that she’s so happy he and Betty got back together, and Betty is naturally mortified. This little scene is a nice role swap of when Don walked in on Roger coming onto Betty in their kitchen in Season 1; here, Roger is pissed. He believes it’s due to the fact that he’s conspicuously happy, Don retorts that everyone just thinks he’s a fool. Later, he sees Roger and Jane slow dancing, as if they’re the only two people in the room, totally content. Maybe Roger’s not a fool.

The episode ends with Ben Webster’s “Memories of You” wafting through the air as Don and Betty share a private moment out in the garden, probably one of the more intimate moments we’ve seen on the series between them as of yet. But hey, that guy Henry might be on her mind..

And oh fuck, is ‘Connie’ actually hotel magnifico Conrad Hilton????? Insert faux-perplexed face here.

Mad Men s3e2: Love Among the Ruins

“If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.”

This episode is all about ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. But Christ, does Ann-Margaret have a shrill singing voice.. that Bye Bye Birdie clip makes me cringe every goddamned time.

ann-margret

STAAAAAHP || image courtesy of Blogspot

Don and Betty have an awkward courtesy dinner with Lane and Rebecca Pryce. It’s plain that Rebecca hates living in the States, and Lane not so much; there’s tension galore, not unlike the Drapers. The mood is heady and tense, both women seem out of sorts and distracted. Rebecca is reserved, curt, and very cultured — and most likely intimidates Betty.

Kinsey has a Beatnik style meltdown in the Penn Station meeting, so Roger and Don are ordered to save it. It’s fucking Madison Square Garden, after all! Pete has a good Blue Blood Yankee moment in that meeting, going into full Peter Dykeman Campbell mode. Like Don, he’s a guy who doesn’t really know how to be an actual human man just yet, but he’s figured out the correct personas to adopt in the correct situations.

Roger is pissed (and a little sad) that his divorce is having such an apocalyptic impact on Margaret’s wedding plans, thanks to Jane’s well intentioned but overcompensating friendliness. He doesn’t really understand that his divorce from Mona and marriage to Jane has created a paradigm shift around him, in the way people see and treat him just a little bit. He wants to feel as if nothing’s different; that Margaret will be immediately accepting of Jane, that Mona will play nice. Sorry Roger, that ain’t how real life on this planet works. Times are changing.

Naturally, Don fires some subtle shots before the potential client shows up.

Roger: “I’ve made my bed, I should lie in it, right?”

Don: “Your words, not mine.”

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image courtesy of Sky

As he and Roger try to convince the MSG guy that all is well, Don drops some iconic Draper realness on the table in front of him. A man who himself is trying to change and be better, he’s got some things to reflect upon.

“Let’s also say that change is neither good or bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy: a tantrum that says, ‘I want it the way it was,’ or a dance that says, ‘Look, it’s something new.’

“I was in California. Everything is new, and it’s clean.. the people are filled with hope. New York City is in decay. Madison Square Garden is the beginning of a new city on the hill.”

New York City is about to become an absolute shithole within this decade, and it appears Don sees it sooner than most. Living in California now, I see the hope and I see the newness; the clean not so much, as it never fucking rains in Southern California and everything is consistently covered in a fine layer of desert dust. Anyway.

The ink isn’t even dry on the check and then, just like that, Lane shuts down Madison Square Garden at the behest of the home office in London. Don isn’t having it. They’re not seeing the big picture and how much business it could potentially provide, so he’s understandably pissed off at Lane, wondering why PPL even bothered to buy Sterling Cooper in the first place. Lane doesn’t have an answer, but absolutely appears to be as frustrated as Don.

Peggy brings in some storyboards for Patio to an obviously pissed off Don. Stunned that he hasn’t seen the movie yet, she has him watch a bit of Bye Bye Birdie. Watching Ann-Margaret belt out the namesake song, Don is completely entranced to Peggy’s chagrin. Bad mood evaporated, he’s engrossed in this image, this idea of purity.

Back on earth, Peggy thinks it’s a crock of shit; it’s fucking phony, and she’s right. Women are the target audience for a diet soda and not men, to whom this ad is appealing to way more; Don sides with the dudes. Peggy wants to change how she approaches her business and how to really get into the minds of women, do things differently, instead of this oldschool stuff.

Standing out in every way, Peggy’s no Ann-Margaret, not a Joan either. She is her own person, navigating a shifting world and being as true to herself as possible. On her way home, she pops into a Brooklyn bar and ends up chatting up some rando; she tries Joan’s “it’s so crowded in here I feel like I’m on the subway” line which charmed the hell out of male clients in the office, to some success with said bar rando.

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image courtesy of Slant Magazine

He incorrectly assumes she’s some broad from the steno pool, and she doesn’t deny it; can’t let it be like that nightmare date with the vending machine truck-driving idiot from Season 1. They have a bang in his dumpy apartment on a pullout couch*, and she immediately bounces; he seems upset.

*(But really, how can a human sleep on one of those fucking things? It’s a dystopian nightmare of unnecessary bars. Nope.)

In the wake of Gloria leaving Gene, Betty has no idea how to help her father. He’s gone from being the formidable patriarch of the family to needing consistent care. Inviting her bother and sister in law/kids to bring her father up for the week of Spring Break, she wants to feel closer to him; she can’t get him on the phone and feels disconnected from his life.

At the same time, she resents William and is a touch jealous that his wife Judy can relate to him better that she can, while also being his nurse. Betty wants to feel more connected to her family, to mean more in spite of how everything is rapidly changing around her.

Her brother William is being absurd per usual, stating that Gene has to be in a home or they move into the house to care for him (and getting the house in the process..), and Don stands up for Betty.

William: “Look Don, we’re all upset. One thing I’ve learned from this– Don’t get old!”

Don: “About your father..”

William: “It’s a real jackpot. He always said he didn’t want to be a burden, and yet here we are.”

Don: “This is what’s going to happen. You’re going to explain to your sister and your wife that we have reached an understanding. You are going to support your father financially, and I am going to take him into my house. His house will remain untouched.”

William: “I appreciate the advice, Don.. I’ll take it under consideration.”

Don: “You’re going to go out there, and you’re going to tell your sister that this is what you want. We’ll pretend that you did the right thing on your own.”

William: “He’s my father!”

Don: “And he’s in my home. I want you to leave tonight, and I want you to leave the Lincoln. I can’t have him here without a car.”

WIlliam: “Are you kidding me? How are we supposed to get home?”

Don: “New York Central; Broadway limited from Penn Station. It leaves in two hours.”

William: “You want him? You got him.”

It’s a nice moment of generosity and true consideration from Don, though some of it is definitely rooted in Alpha Male(TM) dickwagging. As William uncharacteristically offers this info to his wife and his sister, Betty realises that Don played the massive part in this sudden change of heart. She looks at him with intense relief and adoration.

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image courtesy of Optigrab

And then, a confused Gene wakes up in the middle of the night, dumping all their booze down the drain because he hears the sound of sirens and thinks it’s prohibition times. Back to reality.

Ah, and here’s Sally’s hippie teacher happily dancing around a damn Maypole. All Drapers are in attendance watching Sally in this display of springtime innocence, Gene included.

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image courtesy of Optigrab

Don looks at Sally’s teacher, shielded by his aviators, yearning for something as he strokes the cool grass below his chair. Thinking about Patio and Ann-Margaret earlier, there’s a link with the teacher. “It’s pure. It makes your heart hurt… [She’s] young, excited, and desperate for a man.” More to come on her, no pun intended.

Oh yeah, and Margaret is set to be married on November 23rd, 1963. Hahahaha.. oy vey. As practically everyone knows, JFK was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963; this is just a sample of things to come, the massive, seismic changes looming within this decade. The folks we know on Mad Men are in for a wild ride.

“This is the greatest city in the world. If you don’t like it, leave.”