Mad Men s2e9: Six Month Leave

“Some people just hide in plain sight.”

Don is living in a hotel on the morn of Marilyn Monroe’s death. In the office, Peggy is thinking like Don, grateful that Playtex didn’t buy their Jackie and Marilyn campaign.

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image courtesy of Tom + Lorenzo

Betty is taking care of some house shit in an attempt to feel normal. Time to put new contact paper in the drawers, defrost the icebox, attempt to open your bastard husband’s locked desk drawer with a letter opener.. then pass out, face down in the lounge with a glass of red. Just then, Sara Beth swings by to borrow a dress; Betty claims she’s sick. SB is crushing on Arthur, and Betty raises an eyebrow.

At Sterling Cooper, Freddy Rumsen overdoes it. He’s excessively sweaty and red, even for him, a guy who consistently looks dank; he pours Sal a comically enormous glass of whiskey that nearly has a meniscus, rehearses the Samsonite presentation, then pisses himself. Pete is disgusted, Peggy is concerned, and Sal can’t stop laughing. Since Freddy passes out almost immediately in his office chair, Sal tells Peggy to present in the meeting for the first time. On her way, she chides Pete for being a judgemental dick.

Samsonite goes really well for Peggy, and Freddy apologises for being a drunk mess the next day. She’s very encouraging and positive, hoping to sweep it under the rug. However, Pete wants to look good to the execs so he spills the beans and takes the credit for having Peggy present at the last minute.

Don, Roger, Duck and Pete meet about Freddy, he hears the news. “The man is a trainwreck”. Don is very much opposed to firing him, but he’s one against three.

Don: “I don’t want to throw him away..”

Roger: “Your loyalty is starting to become a liability.”

Betty is back at the stables, observing how Sara Beth interacts with Arthur. Time to stir the pot. She plants the seed that SB talks about him a lot, and invites him to the lunch she was supposed to have with only SB. If she can’t control anything in her own life, it’s time to fuck around elsewhere. Childish, sure, but she doesn’t have any legit coping skills.

Speaking of teenage girls, the junior execs are making fun of Freddy. Word has gotten out. Don gets real pissed off when he overhears and puts them in their place. “Sure. It’s just a man’s name, right?”

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image courtesy of Giphy

Don, a man with two names, takes that shit very seriously. He’s trying to build something with the Donald Draper persona, and to hear junior execs malign the reputation of an old player in the game like Freddy Rumsen, he just ain’t having it.

Joan is taking a breather in Roger’s office, surprisingly upset about Marilyn’s suicide. After all, Marilyn was an icon as an independent woman of the time. She used her femininity to get where she needed to go, and was very successful at it. Her death appears to represent the loss of that strong female figure that Joan has been trying to emulate, but despite all the good things, Marilyn still got knocked back down to size; just as Joan did a couple of weeks back with her temp job in Harry’s department. Tragic.

Roger, as an older guy of the time, has no goddamned context for her sadness and doesn’t take her seriously.

“This world destroyed her. One day you’ll lose someone who’s important to you.. you’ll see. It’s very painful.”

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image courtesy of Mad Men Wikia

Speaking of guys of that time, it’s time to send Freddy off for a leave of absence to dry out. Natch, Roger and Don make a booze-soaked night of it.

“To Monday morning– it’ll be here faster than you think.”

“I’m Dick Dollars, this is Mike Moneybags.. and this..” “Tilden Katz!” Don opts to use Rachel Menken’s Boilerplate Husband(TM)’s name to get into an underground casino. It’s 1962 rich people speakeasy time, and thankfully it’s not one of those intolerable hipster speakeasys with $23 cocktails made by equally intolerable “mixologists” with overly curated facial hair.

Roger pieces together that Don and Betty are separated, and asks what’s up. Natch, Don is cagey. Right in the midst of that, Don spots Jimmy Barrett and sees red; he walks right up to him and punches that fucker square in the face.

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what did the five fingers say to the face? // image courtesy of Giphy

Freddy gets a right proper sendoff, and Don really emphasises the clean slate idea. The man with the escape plan wouldn’t see anything particularly awful about this situation. Freddy is concerned with what he’ll tell his wife, something that Don has likely never considered.

As Don and Roger have a nightcap together, he reveals that he’s staying at the Roosevelt. He also reveals that he doesn’t feel badly like he should, he feels relieved and doesn’t know what to do. Don is so disconnected with most people in his life, that this is not shocking news. He imparts some words of wisdom that Roger takes a little too on the nose..

“It’s your life. You don’t know how long it’s gonna be, but you know it’s got a bad ending. You have to move forward.”

Peggy gets word that she is taking over all of Freddy’s business. Don is peeved that Peggy didn’t tell him and was ambushed by Pete.

Mona barrels into Don’s office, clearly pissed. Roger is splitting from their 25-year marriage, due to drunk nightcap talk he had with Don, and she blames him. Turns out it’s Jane!

Don figures out that Jane must’ve slipped something Roger’s way about him being separated from Betty. Time for yet another new secretary..

“If I don’t go into that office every day, who am I?”

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Mad Men s1e6: Babylon

It’s Mother’s day! Don is not fully engrossed in breakfast-in-bed-for-Betty, and promptly falls over while reading the funny papers on the staircase. Somehow, he narrowly avoids death. This falling-backwards-down-the stairs-thing is my actual nightmare, by the way.

He then reminisces about Adam being born, as we glimpse Uncle Mac and the gawky kid Dick Whitman once was. His stepmother named Adam after ‘the first man’ which is just so clever.

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S H A D E

image courtesy of TheWrap.com

Mother’s Day is sort of bittersweet for Betty, whose mother died semi-recently. When she tries to open up and express what she’s feeling, a totally normal thing to do within the confines of marriage, Don shuts it down with his fucked out views on grieving, alluding to it as “extended self-pity”. Jesus Rollerblading Christ, that’s dark. Please refer to Sophia Loren’s face, above.

Here is the start of delving into Betty’s obsession with appearance. Clearly her mother instilled these ideas in her head from the getgo, and as a result she’s very concerned and insecure about ageing. Don is dismissive for all the wrong reasons and looks bored, which is always encouraging (once again, please refer to the flawfree Sophia Loren). He tries to turn it all into a bang sesh, and Betty flips the script, attempting to reel him in with reminders that she’s only for him. Don looks taken aback and a little irritated.

This is the first episode where we see Joan and Roger together, in the hotel afterglow. Their relationship seems comprised of witty banter, though you can see that he does care about her. She’s flippant about their whole arrangement, being pragmatic and knowing that it won’t last. Unflappable as usual.

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image courtesy of BasementRejects

And hey, here’s the first appearance of Freddy Rumsen! Good god is this guy delightfully insulting/tonedeaf about women. Fun fact: when it looks like someone is drinking too much in 1960, that person is a certified lush.

Peggy is discovered for her creative prowess in the Belle Jolie brainstorming session, which really launches her character arc. Joan is clearly semi-bored by the brainstorming sesh, snark all the way. She’s really unlike anyone in that room and knows it; it’s the same idea with Peggy, though different in the execution. Peggy is thinking of ways to write for the product, whereas Joan is just enjoying being in charge. Peggy doesn’t want to be one of 100 colours in a box, and she’s starting to find her footing and her voice.

Joan is irritated that Peggy was recognised for her budding talent re:copy. Of course, Joan has been recognised in the office, but I’d guess not necessarily for anything like that. More behind closed doors, no shade intended. Their unconventional lady kinship will grow throughout the course of the series.

Working on an account, Don needs to know more about Israel and Jewish history than he can infer from Exodus and history books. Natch, he rings up Rachel. He is uncharacteristically super tryhard during his ‘working lunch’ with her– he’s nervous and not put together, being overly complimentary, and Rachel is having precisely none of it.

They speak about Israel, as Don is trying to find something real and unsentimental. He can definitely relate to exile, and that’s about it thus far. Rachel leaves him with a lot to chew on. She refers to Israel as “more of an idea than a place”. And, utopia/utopos; meaning the good place, and the place that cannot be. A perplexing and captivating idea, reality for all walks of life.

Later, she rings her sister Barbara to chat about Don and whatever potential may possibly exist. Wise beyond her 28 years, she methodically maps out bits and pieces of what could or could not be.

“Sometimes, things come. Good things, but there’s no future in them.”

Since he couldn’t get it in with Rachel, Don heads to the Village to see Midge. Watching him in the dim beatnik bar is pretty amazing. He seems a little more at home around those types somehow, he’s funnier and a touch more real. “I blow up bridges.” Midge’s friend refers to advertising as perpetuating the lie, and though Don follows up with a snarky response, he doesn’t entirely balk at the idea.

Don: “People want to be told what to do so badly that they’ll listen to anyone.”

Roy: “When you say people, I have a feeling you’re talking about .. thou.”

Preach it, proto-hippie.

The ending of this episode is pretty fantastic. You can’t help but feel the loneliness and isolation seeping from these characters.