Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mad Men, "The Gypsy and the Hobo": The conversation

Particularly long spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I alphabetize the secretaries...
"Open this drawer." -Betty
Damn.

Damn.

Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn.

Damn.

Back in the days before comic book fanboys got a little too obsessed with their favorite titles maintaining a uniform continuity, comic writers were fond of doing fantasy issues where Lois Lane would finally prove that Clark Kent and Superman were the same guy, or where Batman would get married and have seven Bat-sons, or Green Lantern's vulnerability to the color yellow was replaced with a vulnerability to the color fuschia. Eventually, these "imaginary stories" (because the others were, of course, very real in the minds of their readers) became so commonplace that, whenever a title experienced a genuine seismic change to the status quo, the cover would often have to be accompanied by a blurb declaring this, Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story!

You need to slap a blurb like that on "The Gypsy and the Hobo," in which Betty finally confronts Don (who could sure pass for Clark Kent if you gave him some spectacles) about his own secret identity, and in such a way where there's no room for him to run, or hide, or dissemble. He fudges one detail (that the Army "made a mistake" only because he switched the dog tags around) and leaves out the adultery, but beyond that, he tells Betty everything: Archie. The prostitute. Abigail. Uncle Mac. The switch in Korea. Anna. Even, much as it pained him to do so, Adam.

And Betty - who impressively backs her lying husband into a corner and makes it abundantly clear that he has no choice but full transparency - hears all of this. Early in his story, she sarcastically asks if she's supposed to feel sorry for Don because he doesn't feel capable of being loved, but by the time he finishes explaining how he drove his own brother to suicide, she does feel pity for him.

More importantly, it seems, she feels some relief - and, so, amazingly, does he. This has always been Don's nightmare scenario. The day Betty found out the truth about Dick Whitman was going to be the worst day of his life, as far as he was concerned, so he held himself apart from her, kept secrets, slept with other women, even treated her like a child. But Betty finds out, and Don's world doesn't end. She doesn't order him out of the house, doesn't call the cops, or a divorce lawyer. She offers him breakfast the next morning and, when he gives her an excuse to not have to go trick-or-treating with him, she declines the offer. She doesn't want to run, and doesn't want him to run, not yet. She actually wants to be with him.

And as they stand on Francine and Carlton's porch, and Carlton jokingly asks the grown-up Drapers, "And who are you supposed to be?," Don looks... happy? At peace? Or simply surprised that his wife hasn't thrown him out yet in spite of knowing the truth about Dick Whitman?

After watching this one, I may need to retract my Hugh Laurie is a lock to win next year's Emmy column, because if Jon Hamm submits this one(*)... well, we have a horse race then, folks.

(*) Bryan Cranston would be tough to beat in any year - and lord knows what the "Breaking Bad" writers are going to give him to play in season three - but Hamm didn't help himself this past year by submitting "The Mountain King," which isn't an ideal awards showcase, in that he's playing Dick Whitman for virtually the whole hour, as opposed to shifting back and forth between the two personas, or else largely playing the more magnetic Don Draper personality.

By now, Hamm's made the switch from arrogant Don to cowardly Dick so often that the trick should feel less special, but it doesn't. He goes from defiant (when he thinks Betty hasn't been inside the drawer yet) to defeated (when she tells him she has) so perfectly. You can almost see all the air leave his body - not to mention all awareness that Miss Farrell is waiting outside in the Caddy (more on that in a bit) - once he learns that the jig is up. And while Betty suspects that Don will try to run again (and why wouldn't he, given what she knows?) or come up with a story, we can instead see Don not trying to manufacture a pitch, but Dick bracing himself to tell his wife as much of the truth as he can handle. And you can see that he was not in any way prepared to be hit with the thunderclap of Adam's name, even though he's precisely aware of what's in the box. Sending his brother away is, as far as Don's concerned, the worst thing he's ever done - worse than stealing the real Don Draper's name, worse than cheating on Betty - and so he's tried to bottle it down even further than Archie and Abigail and the rest. But as Betty tells him the name, his confession becomes the opposite of the advice he gave Peggy in "The New Girl" - "I guess when you try to forget something, you have to forget everything." - and so even though he doesn't want to tell her everything, he has to. And Hamm... has Hamm ever been better than he is throughout this whole sequence, playing a Don/Dick who's totally exposed, who can't run or hide, who has to confess all of his greatest shames to the woman who represents his dream life? And that look on his face in the end - there's just so much there, right? So many possibilities for what he's feeling, and for what his life might be now.

And I don't want to slight January Jones in here. This is twice now that she's had to play Betty trying to cope with a devastating truth about her husband (first Bobbie Barrett, now this), and Jones was just as good at playing Betty's steely resolve here as she was at the broken doll quality of "A Night to Remember." Betty nibbles around the edges of the problem at the start of the show (asking Don if he has any cash handy, well aware of how much he has in that drawer), then gets frank but depressing advice from her father's lawyer Milton(**), then heads home early so she can have the element of surprise to aid her against her very slippery husband. And she does not give him an inch of breathing room, does she? I loved seeing the role reversal in the kitchen, with Don reduced to a child who's been caught doing something bad, and Betty as the maternal figure who's going to administer discipline but has to calm the little brat down first by getting him something to drink.

(**) I'm sure Betty would be screwed-over to an extent if she wanted a divorce and couldn't prove adultery - though wouldn't Jimmy Barrett be happy to offer supporting testimony? - or the identity theft, but would she really be at risk of losing the kids? I thought it wasn't until after the "Kramer vs. Kramer" era that courts stopped routinely assigning primary custody to the mother in divorce cases.

And the genius part of the script, by Marti Noxon, Cathryn Humphris and Matthew Weiner, is the way that Miss Farrell's presence hangs over the proceedings like a ticking time bomb. Betty doesn't know she's out there, and Don may forget quickly, but we are acutely aware that she's still out there, and that she might be impulsive (if not outright cuckoo bananas) enough to knock on the door to find out what's taking so long, and then this delicate situation between husband and wife could just explode. I've watched the second half of the episode several times already, and each time I'm on edge, even though I know that Suzanne just waits for hours, then slinks off with her suitcase in the middle of the night, suspecting, but not knowing, what's to come.

Now, Weiner and Hamm have talked in the past about how one of the fundamental problems of the Draper marriage is that Betty doesn't know who Don really is, and Don therefore keeps her at a distance so she won't find out. Those walls are gone now, and in theory, their relationship could get healthier as a result. But there's another problem, perhaps an even bigger one, and it's that Betty still doesn't seem like Don's type. She's his idealized woman, but not the ideal woman for him. And maybe she could become his woman (as in their Italian role-playing), but for now it's clear that he's still drawn to the more independent, more in touch with their own emotions women like Midge or Rachel or Suzanne, and when he tells Suzanne he won't be seeing her again, he adds a "not right now" caveat. That could be just him trying to soften the blow, or it could mean that, for all that was exposed and potentially healed tonight, Don's wandering eye will still be an issue.

Even if it isn't, there's the fact that he never concretely told Suzanne that Betty doesn't know about the two of them, which could lead to something very awkward down the road should their paths cross again. Because whether Suzanne's crazy or just ahead of her time (and this episode lends more evidence to the latter theory), she seems exactly the type of person who would feel compelled to apologize to Betty should they ever come face to face, and that would be very, very bad for all involved.

Whether Miss Farrell surfaces again or not, whether Don and Betty manage to be more open with each other or not, this is a radical dynamic shift in their marriage. Don has always been not only the bread-winner, but the decision-maker. Not anymore. Betty knows too much about him now, can do too much damage to him now, can absolutely take away the kids and the money by getting him sent to jail as a deserter and an identity thief. So either he learns to share power with her, or she takes it from him. And we all know how little this man, whether he's calling himself Don or Dick, likes to be told what to do. If this isn't a solid partnership, then entirely new problems are going to arise.

And I see that I've now written over 1600 words about something that took up maybe a third of the running time of "The Gypsy and the Hobo," if that. I don't want to slight the rest of the episode, particularly since so much of it tied in thematically to the Don/Betty conflict.

In both Roger's story and Joan's, we see them dealing with romantic partners, past or present, discovering the truth about who they really are trying like hell to fight that, just as Don has for so long before potentially accepting his true identity at the end of this one.

Roger's old flame Annabelle has a crisis on her hands because her dog food company's name is poison in the marketplace, and she refuses to let Don (who knows a thing or twelve about the power of rebranding yourself) or anyone else change that name. And recently widowed, she's convinced herself that she was the love of Roger's life and can easily get him back, and is hurt and mystified to be both rejected in the present and dismissed about the past.

Dr. Greg, meanwhile, struggles with his psychiatric interview - and the man would be the world's least insightful shrink, based on his whining to Joan, "You don't know what it's like to want something your whole life, and to plan for it and count on it and not get it," which exactly sums up the story of Joan's life now that she's married to this loser - and is so fixated on keeping his surgical career going that he (as a bunch of you speculated on the last time we saw the jerk) enlists in the Army. The military is desperate enough for cutters that they'll even sign up his brain-less fingers, and I suspect (as so many of you did) that he's going to end up in Vietnam, either dead or gone for so long that Joan will wind up back at Sterling Cooper, under whomever the new ownership turns out to be. Now that Roger knows she's looking for work, so long as he has any kind of influence under the new structure, whom else would he call first?

Cathartic as it may have been to see Joan bash her clueless rapist husband in the head with a vase - and irrationally excited as I am by the thought of Greg getting blown up in Vietnam - I found Roger's story the more interesting of the two subplots this week. John Slattery, as always, gets the best lines and knows how to deliver them - when Annabelle compares their relationship to Rick and Ilsa in "Casablanca," Roger replies, "That woman got on a plane with a man who was going to end World War II, not run her father's dog food company." - but there was something oddly tender and mature about how Roger carried himself in this one. Or, if not mature, then secure - as in, maybe he really does think Jane is The One, does love her enough to not cheat on her (as opposed to just being afraid of getting caught), and has genuinely been looking all his life for someone just as carefree as himself. Now, it's entirely possible that Roger is full of crap and just trying to hurt Annabelle the way she hurt him, and it's more than probable that should Jane start to feel the ticking of a biological clock and start talking about settling down and having kids, Roger would toss her aside like he did Mona and start looking for his next young thing. But if young Roger was really the man Annabelle described - "hoping to be a character in someone else's novel," boxing, not wanting to work at his father's ad agency - then maybe this is for real.

Or maybe I'm feeling more kindly disposed towards Roger this week because of how charming he was during the phone conversation with Joan (who, even she no longer works at Sterling Cooper, knows the company's operations better than he does).

I spent some time with Slattery and his wife Talia Balsam (who plays Mona) at AMC's press tour party in late July, and we got to talking about whether Roger had settled - that he wanted Joan and wound up with Jane. And Slattery, who thinks about the character a lot more than I do, said he didn't believe so. He felt that when Roger, after his season one heart attack, told Joan, "You are the finest piece of ass I have ever had, and I don't care who knows it," that wasn't just Roger being crude, but Roger expressing the depth of his feelings for her. Joan was a great time for Roger, but she was also strong-willed and tough and more serious than Roger ever wanted to be, and despite his promises to leave Mona for her, perhaps he always knew this wouldn't work in the long-term.

But whatever's happening with Roger's marriage, with Joan's career, with the Draper marriage, the ownership of Sterling Cooper, things are going to happen soon and they're going to be tumultuous. We end this episode on Halloween. Margaret's wedding is 23 days away, which means JFK's assassination is only 22 days away. Again and again, I go back to Grampa Gene's line to Sally about their Roman Empire book: "Just wait. All hell's gonna break loose."

Some other thoughts:

• Great as so much of this episode was, "The Gypsy and the Hobo" also suffered from that occasional "Mad Men" tendency to be a little too on-the-nose, to spell things out too blatantly. So we get Bobby dressing up as the hobo his father truly is, and we got Greg's vase-inducing line so perfectly summing up Joan's life story, and Roger's line about the dog food company name ("Let it go! The name is done! It's unfair, but it's over!") so neatly echoing his feelings about Annabelle, and, of course, Carlton's closing line to Don.

• I had gotten the impression from Don's conversation with Adam back in "5G" that Mac was just as much of a sonuvabitch to Dick as Archie had been, and it seems to pain him to say Mac's name to Betty, yet he also tells her, "He was nice to me." Am I misremembering?

• For a half-second, I thought the episode's title might be an allusion to Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" (tramp is another word for hobo, and Don's an identity thief), but the song came out 8 years after the episode, so... ?

• The vanity mirror in the Draper master bathroom led to a memorable closing shot in "Maidenform," and here we see it used to show just how much Don hates himself for all the things he confessed to Betty. Guy can't stand to look a himself, from three different angles.

• It's been a good season for "Mad Men" cigarette humor, from Pete's coughing fit in "Wee Small Hours" to Don unabashedly lighting up a half-second after Annabelle explains that her husband died of lung cancer.

• A lot of people were intrigued last week by Roger's comment to Bert Cooper about having discovered Don at a fur company and want some gaps filled in. I don't think there's a lot left to fill in. Don has said before - most memorably in his Kodak pitch in "The Wheel" - that he began his advertising career as an in-house copywriter for a fur company in the city. (This is also how he met Betty, as she was a model at the time.) I imagine Roger tried to acquire the company's business, was told they were very happy with their in-house whiz kid, and proceeded to poach the whiz kid. But check out the look on Roger's face when Don says he's eaten horse meat, which I'm guessing was an allusion to his dirt-poor upbringing. Everyone at that office has always speculated about Don's past (except Cooper and Pete, who know), and Roger tried to probe Don about it going back as far as the series' second episode, on a double date with Mona and Betty. Given how much he's grown to dislike Don, any chance he tries to probe further?

• Annabelle, by the way, was played by Mary Page Keller, who's had a long career in television but is probably still best-remembered for playing one of the leads in "Duet," one of the first sitcoms on the Fox network.

• Loved William banging on the door to Gene's office, assuming Betty and Milton were conspiring against him. So cheap and petty, as always.

• Is this the first time we've seen Sterling Cooper's focus-testing suite since the secretaries tried out the Belle Jolie lipstick (and Joan obligingly gave the chipmunks a show through the two-way mirror) back in season one? That scene was funny, particularly Peggy's confusion about how to turn off something that's actually happening, but I thought the line, "When people are protesting, I'm on board!" was another instance of the episode aiming too directly at its target.

• Still trying to figure out how to equate 1963 travel times to 2009 ones. Google Maps puts Ossining to Norwich at only two hours, when Miss Farrell says they'll need four, where last week Don made what today would be a six-hour round trip from Ossining to Framingham well before dawn.

• The song playing over the end credits is "Where Is Love?" from "Oliver!" - which, don't forget, is the musical Joan got St. John and Harold Ford tickets for on the trip that led to the end of Guy's golfing career.

Once again, we're going to stick with the slightly modified version of the commenting rules for these posts, so let me repeat how it works. Until we get to 200 comments (i.e., until the comments are split into separate pages), the original rules apply (skim everything before posting to avoid annoying duplication). After 200, if you're going to ask a question, or if you're going to suggest a theory or observation that you don't think has come up yet (i.e., "I think that guy Connie from the country club bar might be Conrad Hilton" or "Do you think Joan's bloody dress was supposed to be a Jackie Kennedy analogue?"), or if you want to answer or correct something from a previous comment, I want you to do a word search (every web browser has one, usually listed as Find in the Edit menu) for some possible keywords you might be using. (In those cases, try "Hilton" or "Jackie" or "bloody.") If you don't see any of your keywords - and again remember that Blogger splits the comments into multiple pages once you get past 200, so check 'em both - then ask/opine away.

It may seem annoying or laborious for you to do this, but I want everybody to show respect for - and not waste - everyone else's time and effort, and this seems the best way to do that.

And given how close we are to the end of the season, let me again remind you of an even more important commenting rule: No Spoilers, which includes absolutely no reference to the previews for the next episode. Period.

What did everybody else think?

397 comments:

1 – 200 of 397   Newer›   Newest»
Pamela Jaye said...

at this moment, I just wanted to hear the rest of Where is Love

lactic said...

So Joan hits Captain McRapey in the back of the head with a vase.

In the spirit of Kennedy foreshadowing, can we consider her an Oswald-acting-alone girl?

Raz Cunningham said...

Amazing episode.

That being said, I felt like even though Don was talking to Suzanne on the phone, he was really talking to part of himself and part of his life, and those parts were talking back. Wonderfully done.

. said...

I am just speechless after tonight's episode. Thirty minutes in, it was a great episode, by the end, it was one of the greatest episodes in tv history.

This will be one to remember. It is a game changer for this show.

Alexis said...

Flawless--amazing performance by John Hamm.

William said...

If Jon Hamm doesn't win an Emmy for this next year, I'll stop watching the Emmys. Although I should have stopped when "The Wire" got snubbed, and I really should have quit when the same happened to "Generation Kill". This is hands down one of the finest performances I've ever seen an actor give.

And on another note, we are less than a month away (at least in the time of the show) from the JFK assassination. My guess is that will happen in the Season Finale though.

Fantastic episode. Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

So Greg might be off to Vietnam. We totally called it!

I have to say, at first I found Don (or Dick, rather) crying rather off putting - I wasn't sure if he was genuinely emotional or trying to win Betty's sympathy. But the final shot of Don in that fedora and the Oliver song was terrific.

Oh stupid little silly teacher. I can't believe she waited in the car for THAT long. Seriously now.

Paul Worthington said...

Holy smokes, that episode was something.

",,,the way that Miss Farrell's presence hangs over the proceedings like a ticking time bomb."

Exactly! That was driving me crazy with tension.

Anonymous said...

Best acting of the season--Hamm and Jones were kind of great in the confessional scene.

But when Roger was referring to "the one" I thought he meant Joan. My mistake?

Alexis said...

Was Roger arranging a job for Joan? Or more of a liason??

James said...

Great write up Alan.

I can't believe this episode made me feel sorry for Don again. My only question is what the heck is Pete Cambell doing?

Zack Smith said...

I usually have a long list of speculations, but you named all the major points tonight, Alan!

Overall -- best performance from Jon Hamm yet, though you were right about the on-the-nose aspects. After several very subtle episodes, this seemed to spell out a lot of themes left under the radar previously.

This episode seems to have cast aside aspirsions that the teacher will indeed be Ms. CrazySauce, but she might well still prove to be Ms. Homewrecker if she has an awkward moment with Betty.

Hell, this may have just proven that Don's next affair could be his last. Every other one has ended with him believing there is some new level in which he can commit himself to Betty. But if she knows everything...where do they have to go?

On the other hand, reaffirming his home life could give Don the edge he needs to turn things around at work. In both previous seasons, it was an act of humanity that gave him the edge to take control of his life -- first Peggy's lamenting the unfairness of the world, then Pete tipping him off about Duck. If Betty truly forgives him, then this might prove to be a similar case.

Roger seems to love Jane, but his heart still seems to be with Joan in many respects.

Boy, the board was dead-on with Dr. Rapist in Vietnam. The thought of the Viet Cong flaming bamboo under the fingernails never felt so...satisfying.

Next week, if pattern holds, should have a lot going down...

Rita said...

I really liked how Betty was mature through the whole episode - from the beginning at Gene's house with her brother acting like a brat to her patience in listening to Don/Dick's whole past.

Anonymous said...

RE: Your feeling Bobby being a hobo was a bit too on the mark. Remember how Dan refused to let the kids buy the crap Halloween costumes at the dime store? I was trick-or-treating in those early 60s and you HAD to make your costumes out of whatever was at hand: parents' clothes, an old sheet! At least half the kids were hobos because it was an easy fix: baggy clothes, blackened cork for your beard, a stick and handkerchief.

Linda said...

Boy, you weren't kidding about this one. I kept realizing I wasn't breathing.

For me, the "ka-chunk" sound where everything changed came when Don dropped his cigarettes on the floor, and Betty's brow wrinkled a little, and she told him to sit down and she'd get him a drink. I thought, "That is the first non-BS moment that has ever passed between them in the entire time they have known each other and had three children."

Until then, I think she was still hanging on to a bit of herself, and he was still hanging on to a bit of himself, but at that moment, he surrendered to the fact that he was going to tell her everything, and she surrendered to the fact that she was going to have to move from discovery-confrontation to listening to the story and figuring out what to do now.

I kept thinking he would only tell part of it -- that he'd claim he just changed his name because he was inspired by someone, or that he'd lie about his parents, or that he'd lie about his brother. I share your sense that he was incredibly relieved to be able to tell her all this. While Pete and Bert know parts of it, nobody knows all of it, and having someone else know something -- even if it's just one person -- is entirely different from having no one know.

They were both wonderful, but again, I have to give huge props to January Jones, whose work was much smaller and easier to overlook, but who was doing really complicated things there. It keeps seeming like maybe she's going to just burst open and put her arms around him, but she doesn't. She did a wonderful thing when he talked about Adam and she put her hand on his shoulder -- you could tell she just couldn't figure out what to make of him. She touched him sympathetically, like you would a stranger. It wasn't that she hated him; it was that she had lost the sense that they were married to each other.

Just brilliant. Fantastically done all around.

Anonymous said...

NY divorce law has always been weird and archaic; its the only state without no fault divorce. That said, proving adultery usually takes more than just testimony and even then I think the advice from the lawyer was sound. Money is a huge part of "best interest" standards, which existed in some form then. Very rare for parental rights to be terminated, even rarer then...but as a worst case scenario? Absolutely possible.

Amazing episode all around. Lots of expectations dashed.

Anonymous said...

I kept waiting for Betty to go, "Don, there's a woman at the door. She says she's tired of waiting in the car."

Y said...

I loved seeing Roger infused with more gravitas this week; for all of his sly one-liners, he also possesses a lot of wisdom. He's at his best when we see--however fleetingly--how profoundly resigned he can be to life's realities.

I don't think he's faithful to Jane out of a deep and abiding love for her, but because he recognizes that: a) his time with Annabelle has passed and b) he's too old to be messing around, mucking up another marriage and starting over again.

When he turned down Annabelle's advances, I thought it was pretty clear that Joan is "The One". Anyone else think so?

Nicole said...

What a great scene between Don and Betty. I am still thrown by it. If Jon Hamm doesn't win an Emmy for that scene alone, I don't know what it will take. Hugh Laurie was really good, but this was a culmination of so much for Don and the series itself. The shock of this revelation and what will happen to the Drapers and the show in general is probably meant to parallel the shock of the Kennedy assassination and the loss of Camelot, scheduled to happen 23 days later.

Although Betty did seem sympathetic when Don spoke of Adam's death, I don't think she was affected until that revelation. Betty knew that she did not have a great deal of options after speaking with the lawyer, but she wanted to assert control somehow since she couldn't leave. She truly was in control in those few scenes, and probably one of the few times that she held all the power in the marriage. I think now that the secret is out, she may think she has the power, but I don't know for how long. The worst has happened for Don in terms of the secret, so he may be braver if Betty decides that she doesn't want this marriage to go ahead.

As others have said, those few scenes were games changers... I just hope it wasn't jumping the shark. As the series has somewhat of an end date in sight, this should probably work out.

Devin McCullen said...

Greg's line may have been too on-the-nose, but I think it sort of had to be to make Joan's reaction believable. And I wouldn't give that up for anything.

When they introduced Annabelle, I was sort of expecting her to be the woman in the photo that Bert & Roger were talking about last week. But if that was supposed to be someone who worked at the office, I guess she wasn't.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the Don and Betty scenes. Just wow.

William said...

I may have missed this in past discussions, but did anyone else notice that Roger's daugther's wedding is going to take place on the day JFK is shot?

Anonymous said...

I was going to give up on Mad Men after this season because the first ten or so episodes were just so freaking bad (except the foot/lawnmower incident), but this episode single-handly sucked me back in

I just worry that essentially all of the deceit and lies and mystery is gone from Don Draper, that this show has nowhere to go but down.

Part of the reason Season 1 was so fantastic was because it had this Speilberg-ian aspect of mystery around this character. But as that mystery starts to get revealed, this show gets less and less entertaining

One thing though, this show needs to develops some of its memorable storyline- Joan getting raped, Peggy sleeping with Duck, the Ken- Pete feud, all very interesting subplots that have gone absolutely nowhere. And what ever happened to the jai alai dude?

Y said...

Also, my favorite line of the night: "Look at you, figuring things out for yourself." Christina Hendricks is perfect.

Anonymous said...

It is a measure of the greatness of the show that there are still two episodes left in this season. It is the kind of brilliant and dramatic shift in an entire show's DNA that some shows would want to save until the end of a series, let alone a season. But "Mad Men" is so assured of its depth, its flexibility and its complexity that it can move beyond that kind of stunt. Now we have an entirely new world to ponder—and before JFK and Vietnam even get involved.

Kevin said...

"there's the fact that he never concretely told Suzanne that Betty doesn't know about the two of them, which could lead to something very awkward down the road should their paths cross again."

Alan,
doesn't the fact that when Suzanne asked if she has to be worried about her job and Don says no indicate to her that Betty still doesn't know about their affair?

Leguleius said...

Possibly the greatest single hour of television drama.

Lyra said...

maybe he [Roger Sterling] really does think Jane is The One


I thought that when Roger told Annabelle he'd found The One he wasn't talking about Jane-- he was talking about Joan. I read some of what you called "tender" and "mature" as regretful and/or nostalgic. He was forced by Annabelle's reappearance to take a closer look at his past, but when Joan called, he realized that she was the one he really missed. He even drew the parallel between Anabelle and Joan directly. Definitely the most interesting Roger's been in a while though, no matter what he was thinking.

jamfan said...

Yes, Y, I totally thought Roger was talking about Joan being the one. I didn't, until I saw him on the phone with his business colleague trying to get her a job. That was commitment. To me, his not cheating on Jane was less commitment than the chance, after decades, to return the favor to the woman who broke his heart. But working the phone, at the office, at night, for Joanie...that was devotion.

Nicole said...

I am rewatching the episode and when Don and Roger and having the discussion about the name of Annabelle's company and Roger says : "The name is done let it go" , how little did we realize that essentially the Don Draper name is done. At least the version that we are used to.

LJ said...

The tension related to Miss Farrell's presence in the car kept me on edge, waiting for a "SHE'S IN THE HOUSE!!" moment. Alas.

I thought it was interesting that Betty didn't unpack from her trip to Philly and pointedly left her luggage in the bedroom. And Don picking up the box on the dresser, perhaps about to put it away, but setting it back down and leaving it out. Because it's all out there anyway.

KcM said...

A good episode, but, like you said, a lot of stuff seemed too on the nose this week.

To be honest, I much preferred the Roger and Joan subplots this week, particularly the former. Roger's a slumming scion of wealth living the Left Bank life (already de rigueur after the Crash) and aspiring to be Hemingway? Perfect. He's a Tom Buchanan who thinks he's Gatsby.

And having his heart broken by Annabelle makes sense for his character -- it explains Roger's tomcatting, his been-there, done-that je-ne-sais-quoi, and, in a way, his gallantry. Once you've hit rock bottom in the that department, everything else that comes along can be taken with a certain stride.

As for Don and Betty...well, we all knew this was coming, which was partly why I didn't find it all that interesting. It was the "very special episode" that's been in the cards since Day 1.

I personally didn't think Ms. Farrell was going to enter the Don-and-Betty scene at any point, but, then again, I don't share the common notion around here that she's a crazy, stage-5 clinger.

I do think Don would clearly be happier with Suzanne...or any one of his other flings, Bobbi Barrett notwithstanding. Which is another reason why I don't find the Don-and-Betty storyline all that diverting.

It would work better for me if both Don & Betty felt more of a pressure to make it work for the children, since that's the only thing I can see keeping them together (and let's be honest -- children have kept unhappy couples together since time immemorial.)

But, as it stands, I'm not sure I buy Don always going back to Betty at this point. She doesn't seem to bring anything to the table that he looks for in other women.

Alan Sepinwall said...

doesn't the fact that when Suzanne asked if she has to be worried about her job and Don says no indicate to her that Betty still doesn't know about their affair?

She could interpret it that way, or she could interpret it as Don saying, "Betty knows, but I talked her out of making a stink about it." Without overtly saying, "Betty doesn't know, but something else came up that means I'm going to have to cool it," there's going to be ambiguity in Suzanne's mind. And either way, she strikes me as the kind of person who will feel compelled to say something in an apologetic tone were she to cross Betty's path again.

Aaron said...

Did they ever mention who the business colleague was? Perhaps someone who may eventually be interested in purchasing SC, giving Joan a chance to slate herself back in by next season? Seems easy but you never know.

Can't wait for next week. With this business prospect, the wedding and the JFK assassination on the horizon, the next few episodes are going to be packed.

Jape77 said...

During the scene in the kitchen I felt *I* had to breathe for Don. Fascinating how both he -- and we the audience -- thought that the exposure of his secret would be "explosive" ... and yet it turned out to be one long slow exhale.


Now, can everyone STOP referring to Betty as a child?? She meticulously and carefully evaluated her position, sought out sound advice and then acted, confronting the issue head on with steely resolve. Not a single one of her actions in this episode was childish or immature in any way.

Anonymous said...

Easily the best episode of the season. I really felt let down and disappointed by the first few episodes, but recently the show has really redeemed itself, especially with this episode. I was standing up the entire time with excitement....

laurav said...

there was so much i was thinking during this episode!

it was so nice to joan back....loved the look on her face when greg told her she had no idea what it was like to put her time in and wait for something to happen and never get it. you could just see her life with roger flashing before her eyes.

peggy's "dogs don't like uniforms" comment. hi-larious.

i kept thinking they were going to change caldicott farms to kal-can.

betty ordering don around...finally!

i'll have to come back later after i've had time to think about things more....

oh, and william, um, i think it's safe to say that the whole jfk-roger's daughter's wedding date has definitely been discussed before.

Pamela Jaye said...

First off, I was thrilled that you noticed Mary Page Keller or even remembered Duet, which I fell in love with in reruns on Lifetime. I remember the promos on Fox (even if the show did not debut on my birthday as I thought, but two weeks later)

As for the rest, loved the vase, barely missed the SC gang, and Don/Dick's reaction to what he did to Adam... I don't even know what to say. I rarely have positive feelings toward Don, but in that scene, how could I not?

For some reason I find myself thinking that perhaps Joan's husband will return from Vietnam, not dead, but so severely damaged that she will spend the rest of here life working to support them both while trying to care for him. So, have I read too much fanfic, or is it just that my mother watched too many soap operas back in the 60's?

And yes, I forgot that Joan got them tickets to see Oliver. Oops. I've always loved that song (and a couple of others, but especially that one)

And yup, Suzanne in the car... that was tense.

So it looks as if there won't be any more additional insights from me than there usually (aren't) but the trick or treating took me back to my childhood, so there's your moment of "child of the 60's" (I would have been 4 at the time, and I don't remember going out, but there are pictures from earlier years, so I probably did.) It was still two years before we moved to the suburbs. (when did the Beatles come? To radio, not to perform? That is something I really do remember from that time)

apt word verification: undig
at least my captcha is deep!

Mary Lynn said...

Sunday, November 22 of 2009 is in 3 weeks. Mad Men has 2 more episodes - are we somehow going to end up layering November 22 1963 with November 22 2009?

Anonymous said...

Throughout that entire conversation with Betty, I thought Don/Dick was going to make a run for it. Take off with Suzanne and never be heard from. The tension was off the charts!

Lisa said...

So, what will Betty do with this leverage? She knows her husband's true identity now, she knows how much money he has stashed. I'm still wondering what she'll do with Gene's house -- I need to watch again, but I suspect she gets the proceeds less what she chooses to give to her whiny brother. Betty has power for the first time in this marriage. I think that's a very exciting idea.

And yes, Alan, the thought of Joan's loser husband getting potentially blasted away by the Viet Cong was another piece of good news. Let's hope that Joan is getting her power back as well.

PanAm53 said...

What a powerfully emotional episode! I had tears streaming down my face for the latter half of the episode, and still do a half hour later. I was not, in any way prepared for this. First of all, I did not anticipate that Betty would confront Don in this episode. I thought the issue would be simmering on the back burner for at least awhile. And then when it occurred...I think that both Jon and January should win an Emmy for their performances. Then there was the suspense of thinking that Suzanne was waiting in the car outside the house, and would probably come to the door at any moment. After awhile, I even thought that perhaps I was wrong, maybe Suzanne wasn't waiting in the car. I have to go back and re watch now. Just superb.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh and yes, I got the feeling in the past that he hated "Uncle Mack"

Mauimom said...

I'm sitting here in a hotel that doesn't have AMC, so I had to come here to see what happened tonight; won't be home to see my Tivo'd program for at least a week.

Thank you, Alan and all commenters. I can't wait.

Muse of Ire said...

And then we have Don Draper's summing up of his philosophy: "It's a name on a can. It's not a lie, because it doesn't affect the quality of what's inside."

I never thought the next act of domestic violence in the Harris household would be Joan's.

I also remember Mack as behaving horribly to young Dick. Why else would he have run away?

Bitsy said...

I think in terms of the show being a little too obvious, I felt that way too. But could it be that they're dumbing it down a little to acquire more viewers, Arrested Development-style?

Pamela Jaye said...

I know that compare to My husband has an ex-wife and two different last names, the amount of money he had in that drawer comes in at last place, and she wouldn't think to mention it, I guess - at least not while he was crying. But I still wonder if she wonders why. I think at some point, I would get to wondering that, when the shock wore off.

and now my other thought has wandered away, darn it.

Layne said...

Wow, what a phenomenal episode. So much has been said already - I, too, was on the edge of my seat expecting Suzanne to pop her head in the front door at the very worst moment she ever possibly could.

The way Betty so coldly (and so understandably) asked about whether Don had visited his "other wife" in Calfornia made me almost feel sorry for Betty's assumptions about Anna. I absolutely loved the character of Anna Draper and I feel that she is so representative of the stability (and happiness) that could be achieved in Don's life if only he could be real .

You can't blame Betty for being contemptuous about Don's relationship with this other Mrs. Draper but wouldn't it be lovely if she could somehow learn what a smart and stable figure Anna really is? Don's proclamation that Anna made him realize that he loves Betty hinted at that and, I thought, was really very nice.

Also Dr. Greg is a goner. You can do better, Joan!

BigTed said...

Truly a great episode. Don finally has to come clean with Betty, and great Joan and Roger plots too? Fantastic.

I agree that a lot of things seemed too "on the nose" -- and I would add to the list Dr. Greg saying he might be sent to Vietnam "if that's still happening."

I also thought of a ticking time bomb scenario with Hot Teacher waiting out in the car while Don was having it out with Betty -- it was practically a "MacGruber" plot. But I wasn't surprised that the bomb never went off. It seems to me that "The Sopranos" sometimes utilized a similar device, having something potentially dangerous in the background causing tension in a scene without it ever actually materializing into anything.

Snacktime said...

This was the first time in a long time that I was screaming at the TV screen.

"She's still in the car! She's still in the car!" Alan is right; it was a ticking timebomb.

Basically, I'll be back to comment on the Roger/Annabelle/Joan bits, but Jon Hamm and January Jones were amazing.

First, I didn't think that Betty would confront him this episode, given her giving up last time. Betty with a spine is a wonderful thing, just as... Don, with the the air taken out of him, is interesting...and compelling. I'm wondering where his character can go now that the "cat is out of the bag" so to speak. Hamm's performance was terrific. We've never seen Don cry before (I think), and as he told his story, he wasn't "storytelling." Very refreshing to see Don be completely (almost) honest.

I've got to rewatch!

Anonymous said...

So Joan's husband *deserves* fingernail-torture and a horrible death in Vietnam and Suzanne Farrell is a creepy-crazy bunnyboiler...boy, when the mob turns on a character, they turn hard.

Pamela Jaye said...

oh, it was just that unlike some people who were expecting Don to tell some more half truths, I was sitting her begging him to tell it all. (doesn't mean that those who expected him to keep lying didn't wish he'd stop, but it wasn't till someone mentioned that they thought he would, that I remembered how much I was hoping he would just spill everything)

Also, as one of those who asked about Don from used cars to Sterling Cooper, thanks for the explanation.

Awesome episode. I even noticed Jon Hamm's great acting. (if it's good, I usually don't notice)

Jennifer said...

There are a million comments on how insanely good/tense/powerful this episode was, so I'll move past that point fairly quickly.

Instead, I want to comment on the Suzanne/Don relationship. I know the possibly-crazy Miss Farrell isn't too popular on here but I actually think she's less crazy and just more in tune with people than anyone else on this show. She's a classic giver - putting others' needs above her own - which probably makes her a great schoolteacher.

I was really intrigued by her reading of Don when she said that regardless of her presence in his life, she knows he is not a happy man. And later, when Don finally calls her from his office, even Don can recognize that it's surprising for Suzanne to ask how Don's doing in the midst of all this... when she's the one who was left waiting in the car for hours on end.

Just really interesting stuff. I don't think we'll see much of her in the rest of the season but something about the way her character is developing made me feel like she is a modern/mature woman in the making.

Anonymous said...

Man, this episode was thrilling and depressing at the same time, much like most Mad Men episodes, I suppose.

What depressed me was that it seems both Don and Roger can only care for the women who selflessly love them -- and they don't really care how badly it sucks for the women involved. Roger talking about how Jane doesn't care about the future, and Don still keeping Suzanne on the hook, being grateful and amazed that Suzanne would ask how he was doing the morning after his showdown with Betty.

Has Roger not considered that Jane will one day grow up, and worry about the future and what growing old would mean with him?

As for Suzanne, her "I don't care about your family as long as you're with me" attitude is still just a little hard to believe. It seems such a precarious position.

Anyway, this episode was so thrilling. LOVED Betty and how strong she was when she confronted Don, after all the times he treated her like a child and kept secrets from her.

In particular, when he asked her why she cared to know anything.

Her response: "You don't get to ask questions!" Hahaha.

janine said...

I can help with the travel times. I imagine you're going to need to find out when different highways were built. A major bypass might shave hours from a 2009 trip, while a new development (probably of McMansions) might cause a few detours. I know there a planned communities in MD that didn't remotely exist when I was a kid and I'm only 31.

Danger Boy said...

What an episode. What performances! It's a crying shame more people don't watch this show. For me it'll be right up there with the final episode of MASH (or maybe the one when Henry Blake was killed).

I imagine this has to be the climax of the series. This was the major unresolved conflict, right? And since we're almost three-fifths into its lifespan, I suppose that would make sense, though it does seem early.

Absolutely can't wait to see how it all spools out and to see what Weiner has in store for these characters.

And yes, Grandpa Gene was prophetic: all hell is breaking loose. Not to mention Paul's quoting TS Eliot: "This is the way the world ends" (the post-WWI disillusionment that Eliot, Hemingway and others captured being as big a cultural turning point as Kennedy's assassination).

I loved how Don seemed to get the best night of sleep of his life after confessing to Betty. And that he actually kissed the baby in the morning -- the first time I think we've seen him touch the kid! Then, of course, his tenderness over the phone with Suzanne. "Only you would ask how I am."

And count me as another Halloween hobo (though it was the 70s). Loved making that burnt cork beard.

Tamara said...

I don't believe anyone has noted this, but the next morning, the look that astute Miss Sally Draper gave her parents was perfect. That little girl has such intuition, she knew something was different with her parents. She gave them such a, "What the heck is going on face" that was priceless. She's such a great little actress.

Also, instead of being the "Don on his way to work" Don he usually is, he was instead weakened, with a new deference to Betty. When she asked if he wanted to eat, his reply, "Are you going to eat?" As if he wouldn't want to trouble her unless she was going to eat herself. (Sorta reminds me of how I trained my dog. I eat first so she knows the pecking order.) Typically, Don just grabs a piece of the kids' toast and walks out. This time, he checks with Betty first.

The tide has turned for sure. Can't wait to see what's next.

And that last look on Don's face after Carlton's "Who are you suppose to be?" I saw that as him not knowing the answer rather than happiness or relief. Instead of being Dick or Don, he's neither, so who is he? On his face, I read, "I have no idea...."

keepingawake said...

The tension of Suzanne being in the car was really begun when Milton asked if Betty could prove adultery. When Betty confronted Don, we still didn't know exactly where she was going to go. The living, breathing proof of adultery (complete with a packed suitcase) was 20 feet away the entire time.

I'm with the folks who have never thought that Suzanne is a bunny boiler. I could have seen her making some excuse to knock on the door as Sally's teacher, but not to waltz in and create a scene. I think the show has gone out of it's way to show that she's the most emotionally honest woman Don't ever pursued, but that doesn't make her crazy.

Hamm deserves all the accolades he can possibly receive for this episode, yes. Riveting, heartbreaking, believable. Half of America held it's breath wondering what he'd do next.

And so does January Jones. She's made Betty's journey towards adulthood and maturity as frustrating and believable as it would be in real life. It is a series of missteps that point in a general forward direction when real people mature, and she's pulled that off brilliantly.

All Betty's really ever wanted from Don was to be let inside. Obviously she could never have imagined how much he was hiding, but she's relieved to know, even if she had to back him into a corner to get it out of him. She's so busy being relieved and making sure she has the entire story that she isn't all that shocked by it. Don's culpability for Adam's suicide shocked her because it's the one piece of the entire story for which he admits any responsibility. His admission of guilt is actually more shocking than the story itself. He makes the rest of it sound like uncontrollable circumstance. He didn't even apologize for lying to her!

If you've ever had the misfortune to become romantically involved with a liar, her reactions ring true. Who knows what she'll do with all this information later on, but for now she is nothing but relieved: relieved to get the whole story, relieved that she wasn't crazy to so badly mistrust him (although he's certainly tried to make her feel that way), relieved that his marginalizing her is no longer an option.

The direction was fantastic as well. How many times during Don's confession was a door framed in the shot? The constant reminder that Don could do what he's always done-run? Beautiful.

Rose said...

I love the fact that Betty acted so mature in this episode. First she discussed the situation with a lawyer so she could understand her options. Then she talked to Don. No tricks, games, or gimmicks. She's come a long way since the first season.

jane said...

Totally agree that as great as Hamm was, Jones playing Betty as a woman, not a child, was as wonderful.

Also, I only associate "Where Is Love" with Swan Brooner, the star of HBO's Living Dolls documentary about child beauty pageants. In this context it just made me appreciate Kiernan Shipka all the more.

Whitney said...

As for Don's feeling towards Uncle Mack, in the season 1 episode "5G," Don doesn't really give an opinion of Mack. He does say "good" when he hear's that Archie's wife, the woman who raised him, is dead, but nothing about Mack. I only have season 1 though, not season 2 and Don could have given some opinions of Mack in those episodes that I'm just not remembering.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm not sure I buy Don always going back to Betty at this point. She doesn't seem to bring anything to the table that he looks for in other women.

She is beautiful and cultured (theoretically) just a beautiful object to have on his arm and for everyone in his business life to know that he was the one who won her.
It's all a very pretty picture to paint for his colleagues and clients. Getting divorced and running off with some younger woman? That wouldn't win prestige points. (oddly, today, maybe it would. turning wives in for a younger model and all. perhaps it's cause Betty isn't that old?)

rcade said...

"Suzanne Farrell is a creepy-crazy bunnyboiler...boy, when the mob turns on a character, they turn hard."

I've been amazed by the reaction to Suzanne Farrell as well. When did an assertive woman who is open and direct about her feelings and clear about her needs equate to crazy? Particularly in the world of Mad Men where the cost of repression is made so abundantly clear.

Anonymous said...

I for one am ashamed I recognized Mary Paige Keller from Baby Talk.

jamfan said...

Oh, and I also loved the callback, when Don fumbled and dropped his cigarette in the kitchen with Betty, to the scene where he fumbled and dropped the lighter, causing the fire and explosion that killed the real Don Draper.

keepingawake said...

"I've been amazed by the reaction to Suzanne Farrell as well. When did an assertive woman who is open and direct about her feelings and clear about her needs equate to crazy? Particularly in the world of Mad Men where the cost of repression is made so abundantly clear."

It says a lot about the way women are still viewed today, frankly. Makes me worry about the relationships some of our posters may favor and those they may fear. ;)

mialou said...

Norwich Vermont is googled at 3 hours, 56 minutes, so either Suzanne wanted to go to Vermont or someone on staff messed up between Conn. and Vermont.

One of the best hours of television this year by far.

Lee said...

Count me in as another one who loved this episode and who thought that Roger was talking about Joan.

I actually thought it was really obvious that me meant Joanie. There's a reason for everything in this show and the juxtaposition of Joan and Roger's stories and their interaction leaves little doubt that Roger meant Joan is the love of his life.

I can't wait to see what happens with Betty and Don from here -- both as a couple and individuals. There has been some talk about Don already, but this is a life changing event for Betty, too. She was a strong woman and got what she wanted. Hopefully this will rub off and she'll continue to grow.

stellatex said...

I also thought Roger was talking about Joan being "the one" (Isn't that a modern term borne of the Julia Roberts scene? Did delusional, overly sentimental people say that in 1963, too? Ha.)

I don't think you would just walk off in perfect shape after someone hit you in the back of the head with a glass vase as close range.

I also agree with the posters who think viewer's assumptions regarding Miss Farrell's "craziness" are revealing more about their own attitudes toward women than about Miss Farrell as a character.

I think Don's Farrel problem will not come from Suzanne but from her brother.

Is Peggy rooming with the Swedish girl or what? Where's Sal?

Stephen S Power said...

1. Don is horsemeat.

2. Suzanne asking whether her job was safe showed that she will remain discreet. To make a stink in any way would destroy her too.

3. Jane is to Roger today as Betty was to Don when they first met.

4. "I can't turn it off." The best reference on the show so far to how TV conflates fantasy and reality until neither can be distinguished from the other.

5. I love how Betty wanted Don to open the drawer and how her dialogue could have been read by Don as a big bluff before she showed her cards: the keys.

6. Gene's house is the key to Betty's future: if she did dump Don and lose everything from the marriage, selling the house would keep her flush for a while. That's literally the room(s) of her own.

7. I also love the power play between Betty and her brother. She's sitting behind the desk, while he stands in front of it trying to look big.

8. The biggest scene next week will be Don's return to the office. Will he be Don--or will he be Dick?

Pamela Jaye said...

Oh Anonymous, don't worry: I remember Mary Page Keller from a pilot of a sitcom with Scott Bakula that *never even aired.* (at the time I was sad about it (would have loved to have seen them together) but at the same time, who can really wish upon their favorite actor a sitcom titled "Father Can't Cope"?
(the only reason it wasn't downright terrible was that the title itself diminished your expectations)

Paul B. said...

Has Roger not considered that Jane will one day grow up, and worry about the future and what growing old would mean with him?

If Roger is as carefree as he claims to be, then maybe he did not think that far ahead. If Jane does grow up, he can always find another 20-year old.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Betty was wearing pants during her confrontation with Don -- one of the few times we've seen her dressed that way in the course of the series. The last time, IIRC, was when Don was in California last season. Whenever Betty asserts herself or acts like an adult, she's wearing pants.

Winner said...

I wonder if Weiner is a Dead Kennedys fan:

You're still hiding in a mask
You take your fun seriously
No, don't blow this year's chance
Tomorrow your mold goes back on After Halloween


Bobby and Sally playing the hobo and gypsy, Betty playing an adult, Don playing tender, Joan playing tough, Roger playing devoted.

Do the molds go back on tomorrow?

hthbooks said...

Great episode. The new-found honesty in the Draper marriage doesn't preclude the fact that if she chooses to do so, Betty can expose Don for being a fraud, in divorce court. So we'll see him walking on eggshells for a while, I think. BTW, it does not appear that IPhones have word search capability, Alan.

Anonymous said...

DoubleLifeofaSalesman here, technically Anonymous for convenience's sake, and this is far and away as early as I'll ever get to post. Some reactions:

1. The whole dog food subplot led me to personally title this "They Serve Horses, Don't They?" I'd forgotten about "The Misfits" -- for me, the demonizing of killing horses for dog food came with "Billy Jack" in 1971.

2. By epsiode's end I was a little sad to hear a potential Minnie Mouse and astronaut downgraded to the titular costumes -- reflecting far more wayward spirit than we might want to face up to.

3. Possibly Roger's best episode, not so much of that great wit but it's the closest he comes to being almost heroic. He's straight with Annabelle, true to Jane -- he has his points.

4. Terrible irony in "maybe Vietnam if that's still going on." I do hate Dr. Greg, and even so ...

5. Speaking of Dr. Greg, I flashed over to the Michael Douglas character in "Falling Down" moaning "They lied to me!" towards the end, and all Robert Duvall could do was wonder, That's what all this was about!? I'm not sure how much worse this character can get. Joan may have figured "Hmm, handsome doctor!" but it hurts to see her coaching Greg instead of someone like Peggy.

6. Good comic touches, thankfully. Peggy got "I can't turn it off, it's actually happening." (Poor 1963 -- thye had those flippin' "focus groups" even back then!) I also appreciated how Roger cleared the room, then one secretary at the very end saw him just standing there and still figured, Whoops, don't tread on the boss's territory and whooshed right back out.

7. What's off about MM is that it can convey very intimate and painful stuff but do it so carefully and intelligently that you can't look away. I saw a relentless theme here of Women Not Being Able to Count on Their Men.

Betty vs. Don, Joan vs. Greg -- those were inevitable. It was interesting though to see the score evened somewhat by Roger making what looked to me like a rational rejection.

(Meanwhile, I'm still going crazy looking forward to Peggy becoming disillusioned with Duck.)

I have to admit, I find it easy to side with Don. Betty has truth on her side -- but what else? Does this simply vindicate the Elder Gene's grumbling that she married beneath her? And how much do I really care about that?

And will Suzanne be there if they fall apart?

I shall return.

Paul B. said...

Regarding Uncle Mack, I am glad I am not the only one surprised to hear that he was nice. More curiously, Dick's abusive father died when he was only 10, so he had a good 8 years or so before he was old enough to join the Army.

I think it makes Dick's running away a little less justified, and he is a jerk for letting a man who was 'nice' (despite not being a blood relative) believe he was dead. Then again, we know that Archie's wife never let Dick forget that he was a 'whore-child' so I suppose his home life still wasn't all that rosy.

Pamela Jaye said...

Funny thing about the bunny boiler comments and Mary Page Keller. I haven't looked up when Fatal Attraction came out, but I remember an ep of Duet where (I think it was Ben) was terrified of a potential bunny boiling. I can't remember if he thought Laura was going to do the boiling, but I think I remember someone telling him he should stop going to the movies. (my rewatch of Duet got stalled by a missing episode early in the series - the brother wouldn't continue without knowing why Ben and Laura were fighting)

BigTed said...

"I've been amazed by the reaction to Suzanne Farrell as well. When did an assertive woman who is open and direct about her feelings and clear about her needs equate to crazy?"

I really don't think that's what's happening here. It's precisely because she seems so perfect that, from a dramatic point of view, we're waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Clearly something the writers expected us to do in this episode.)

While we don't actually know that much about her, we do know that she represents a potential danger that Don's carousing will be exposed, since she's his kid's teacher and lives nearby. (And because, up until now, Don has seemed pretty careless about getting caught with her.)

As for who she really is as a person, we don't know much about that yet. But there have been plenty of other assertive women in this show who don't give off a similar "watch out" vibe. It could be that's all it is -- a vibe -- but it's certainly there.

gma said...

Brilliant episode - writing, acting, and comments as well. My small input: yes, Miss Farrell is the most empathetic of all of Don's "affairs", it was touching that she asked a defeated/changed/altered Don how he was, but I don't think she would ever confront Betty; after all, she knows where she stands in the community and is afraid for her reputation and job. She will be an early anti-war protester, though.

As for Jane -- sorry to disagree with Alan on this tiny bit, but I am not sure the term "biological clock" was of great concern to women in the early 1960s (though someone could correct me on this one). Women tended to marry early, and they were "expected" to have children. I think Roger got more than he asked for at first - he actually left Mona - but will they have children? or does Jane understand that he would be an "older" father --imagine Roger as a father and grandfather at the same time.

Jon Hamm in tears, and January Jones placing her hand on his shoulder -- great scenes. Its the small gestures - and use of the set decorations - that make it great viewing.

Need to re-watch the Hobo episode -- I thought that the step-father wasn't nice to Dick either, but maybe he was better than Archie.

Anonymous said...

The Suzanne-as-crazy theory originated I believe when the kids were watching the eclipse and she brazenly accused Don of philandering when he was just making conversation. That seemed written as a (possible) red herring to make us think she may be unstable and heighten the tension. I don't read it as a sexist reaction from this board.

I agree with the comment above that Don's face in response to Carleton's jest was "crap... I don't know who I'm supposed to be!"

Susan said...

We mentioned Bobby as the Hobo, but Sally was a gypsy. Bobby=Don but Sally is not Betty. Gypsy is more fitting for Suzanne or Midge.

Great episode. The intensity meter rose enough to send my weak stomached husband from the room. Esp. with Suzanne sitting in the car. I expected her to show up at the kitchen window while Don was there alone and Betty had left for the baby.

One other thought - though I too was very happy to see Dr. McRapey get it with the vase, wouldn't that have really hurt him? Yes, it's a TV vase, but that sucker much have really hurt.

Finally, who WAS Roger calling about Joan? He didn't say "Duck" did he? It sounded like "Bob." Or maybe it's less that he called anyone in particular and more what he said about Joan.

Katie Chasowy said...

Regarding Roger probing into Don's background, I do recall Roger previously commenting on how Don "drops his Gs," in reference to dropping the 'g' at the end of words (like droppin' instead of dropping). I don't remember what episode, or whether it was season 1 or 2, but It may have been in 'Six Month Leave'

Anonymous said...

Oh Boy! Joan's Husband is going to be the VietNam Frank Burns, one meatball surgeon coming up.

Puff

hutch said...

Loved the episode! I was particularly intriqued by the name on the shoe box Don kept in the drawer as being "Shoe Castle". a continuation of the foot theme as well as the many allusions made to royalty, Ceasar, etc. this season. Don felt like a defeated king to me in some of those scenes, his hands shaking and dropping cigarettes, as well as his hand dropping down on the table hinted at a vulnerability and impotence we have rarely seen in this character. The power shift between Don and Betty was almost palpable and we are able to see Don's damage from Betty's point of view. How little he had "we were very poor" and how the corresponding oh-so-subtle body language let's us know it's not alright, not by a long-shot. As relieved as Don might be in the present I think it will be a transitory feeling. Admission sometimes make the shame more profound and as Don realized that Betty is more and more his idealized image of the perfect wife there may be no peace in his heart.

cgeye said...

First, I switched back and forth during the first airing, so I missed Miss Farrrell's presence in the car. I was still on tenterhooks, throughout.

We know Weiner wouldn't use a horrorshow convention like her busting in -- what would hurt Don is knowing she's sensitive, deeply hurt, and unable to be with him. She's still too emotionally intense to have a commonplace affair, but at least we know now why she was desperately needed by him -- to be the one to feel, when he couldn't feel anything lest he fall apart. Suzanne isn't the lover of a cocksure man -- she's the lover of a man so sloppy he brought his lover to his neighborhood, for anyone to see should they peer in his car. If it wasn't the keys, it would have been necking at a drive-in. He was, in his minimalist way, decompensating.

Betty's bad behavior was all because she couldn't deal with the elephant in the room -- Why Her Husband Is Not Like Other Men. Once she had that proof, and at last defeated his bullshit, *she* came into focus.

Did anyone else notice that their 10th anniversary came and went in May, and we saw not one thing about that? I know a baby takes up time, but not even a special necklace?

"For me, the "ka-chunk" sound where everything changed came when Don dropped his cigarettes on the floor, and Betty's brow wrinkled a little, and she told him to sit down and she'd get him a drink. I thought, "That is the first non-BS moment that has ever passed between them in the entire time they have known each other and had three children.""

That "king of his castle" attitude was the hardest part to take about their marriage. Betty being fully in her life, mature, has so much to do with what Don allows her to be. We knew that last season, and were distracted when she tried to distract herself with Henry Francis, but now *she* can't lie about her life, which must be terrifying for her, too.

"I'm with the folks who have never thought that Suzanne is a bunny boiler. I could have seen her making some excuse to knock on the door as Sally's teacher, but not to waltz in and create a scene. I think the show has gone out of it's way to show that she's the most emotionally honest woman Don't ever pursued, but that doesn't make her crazy."

I think the point is that in MAD MEN's world, it does.

Think about it. Just about every woman we've seen on this show ha been either physically or emotionally abused by the male characters. If they just expect common decency, they're suckers, especially should they choose to have an affair with one of these handsome, heartless men. Suzanne, in this context, is crazy, because she knows these men use her, to the point of possibly endangering her job, yet she pursues them anyway. She knows the game is fixed, but she doesn't even use the solid mistress prerogatives of cash, jewels, property to at least improve her situation should the affair go south. She leaves herself unprotected and vulnerable -- but she markets herself using that precise vulnerability, just as Don markets himself through his mystery. The only difference is that we know Don has been a victim in the past, but has done so much evil that he should not be given slack by those he has hurt. Suzanne still thinks of herself as a fuzzy kitten looking for a home. You show me a Suzanne fully taking on the consequences of her actions and being honest about the damage she does to the kids she supposedly loves, then I'll acknowledge her as a 'modern' woman. Till then, suspect.

Roger. That's been the most respectful he's ever been with a client -- and even his size comment was said out of pleasing her. As for the horsemeat, why si Roger surprised? Annabelle just said it's eaten in Europe, and hasn't Don been traveling everywhere Hilton's asked? Sheesh. I swear that reaction was just to include Don in the action, when Roger's B-story is necessarily self-contained.

"What's taking so long?"

The Pinteresque pauses that say so much, young man. The Pinteresque pauses.

verif: alibl -- what Don's paying right now.

Whiskey said...

so nice to make it over here before there are 200+ comments! Especially after an ep like this one. I too felt like I was holding my breath through most of it. I loved the humanizing of Roger, Betty & Don/Dick, we got to see sides to these characters that were very intimate, poignant. Loved this! To me, it felt so intimate that I was happy to be watching it alone, how weird is it that watching it with my husband would've felt uncomfortable? Still processing that...

I'm not surprised at the characterization of Suzanne as a bunnyboiler, Bobbie was often referred to as gross so it's really not a stretch that another strong & assertive woman is also perceived negatively.

Alan, I've also been under the impression since S1 that Dick's stepdad was a jerk. Maybe you can get some clarification from MW next time you interview him? ;-)

And I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking that Jane isn't the great love of Roger's life. I thought that was clear when Roger made the remark about being happy that he was on Joan's mind when they were on the phone. Remember when Rog had his heart attack and Cooper told Joanie in the elevator to not sacrifice [her] youth to old age? Then she went and got herself her doctor boyfriend, and was already engaged to him by the time Jane entered their lives. So yeah. Super happy to see CH again this week. And that some of you called Dr. Greg's joining the Army. I actually had a moment where I wondered if MW was reading our comments on here, LOL!

So many moments to be gobsmacked by, and yet the one I keep flashing on is Sally looking at her parents at breakfast, both of them saying so much to one another with the rawness of the previous night still right. there. WOW

Anonymous said...

"I've been amazed by the reaction to Suzanne Farrell as well. When did an assertive woman who is open and direct about her feelings and clear about her needs equate to crazy? Particularly in the world of Mad Men where the cost of repression is made so abundantly clear."

Oh boy. I fear this is an issue that will haunt this board until Suzanne is dumped or killed off or left in Norwich, never to be seen again.

I can't speak for everyone, but the feeling I've gotten is that people consider her kind of cuckoo bananas precisely because she does not understand her own feelings and needs. She has a track record of saying one thing and doing another.

For example, she seems to be a teacher who loves children, and yet she doesn't see anything wrong with jeopardizing the lives of three children by having this affair with Don. She doesn't seem to have ever considered how damaging it would be if Sally found out about her father and her teacher having an affair. Her recklessness was on full display in the eclipse episode, when she was flirting with Don and calling him a philanderer within five feet of his daughter. That's just wrong, not to mention unprofessional.

So I think the polarized feelings toward Suzanne are not because people fear an independent woman, it's because people here are defining that differently. IMHO, there's a difference between emotionally aware, and emotionally mature. Suzanne is the former, and far from being the latter.

(Side note: I'm curious if it's the same crowd that views Suzanne as "strong" and Betty as "childlike." And vice versa. Because can anyone imagine Suzanne dealing with Don lying to her, cheating on her repeatedly for years, discovering his real identity after having three children with him, one of whom is still an infant -- and then handling that with the strength and control that Betty displayed in this episode? I can't imagine that. I think Suzanne would've had a bunny boiling meltdown back in Season 1.

Valerie said...

I don't see Suzanne as a modern, emotionally honest woman at all. Her actions aren't exactly consistent with the values she expresses. She calls Don out as a philanderer with little evidence, then proceeds to get deeply involved with him anyway, with the full knowledge that he is unavailable. Yes, the philandering accusations and the following him to the train station make her seem crazy. But the biggest thing that makes her seem off is that she's really in deep with him, much deeper than even Rachel, knowing that he can't fulfill what she truly wants, pretending that it "will pass". It won't pass, she's fooling herself, and the situation is going to get worse.

Jayne said...

What they said! and they said, too.
When Joan went for the vase I felt absolutely giddy; when she actually smashed it on his head, I screamed so loud my son came in from the next room, sure I'd been cornered by a spider.
As the scene played out between Don and Betty, with the thought of the hapless teacher waiting in the car, I kept thinking he'd walk out anyway to warn her. It made me think of Hitchcock's definition of the difference between surprise and suspense (surprise: couple sitting a table in a restaurant talking, and bomb goes off - boom! 15 seconds of shock. Suspense: we see the anarchist plant the bomb, and then the couple sit down and casually begin their small talk. The audience wants to yell at the screen, they're so frustrated. 15 minutes of suspense.)
And the upshot of Greg joining the army (what, I could go to Vietnam - if that's still going on) made me think of Neidermeyer at the end of Animal House - "Killed by his own troops in Vietnam"..
Thanks to you and all for the best blog in the ether. I spend the week going back to the latest review to catch up with posts.
You are the best...

cadfile said...

As an aside the dog food company is most likely Kal-kan brand. Mars Inc owns it now and changed the name to Pediagree but I did find a blurb online that Kal-kan was owned by someone who had a horse farm and raised race horses. I kept thinking during the episode - Kal-kan change it to Kal-kan

I only was concerned about Suzanne because she seemed to have slept with other fathers of students and came off as if she got hurt so I have been waiting for her to crack and confess to Betty or something. May still happen.

sonnybobiche said...

I'm not happy. This expectations for Don's confession have been building for 36 episodes, and have culminated in not a bang, but a whimper. Lazy writing throughout (the kind of obviousness that has been sadly prevalent throughout Season 3 really attains new highs here). I have no doubt some Slate or Vanity Fair article will run an expose about how little writing Weiner actually did this season, and how he's upset about it and promises to do better for Season 4.

This might be the one season I don't pick up on DVD. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably get it anyway...

rueben said...

I keep thinking that this show is looked upon in the wrong light. And while I agree with everything you've said for this episode, I only agree if you look at it only in the perspective of the episode or even the season. I don't mean to Troll or anything but I find a lot of ties to Cain and Abel. My Sunday School Knowledge is a little rusty but Don must be Cain. Kills his brother and then enjoys the riches of stealing his brother's birthright, only to have it eventually tumble down upon him.

The show is great though, and I just wanted to add my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Small plot hole? Recall that when Don popped home finding Betty back early he told her he was going to a client dinner and implied it was important . . . Even after such a momentous conversation, dropping that completely might itself seem suspicious to Betty whereas attending to it would have gotten Suzanne home. Seems unlikely Don would have totally forgotten that Suzanne was out there no matter how shaken he was. None of us watching forgot, after all.
anonymoose

Julia said...

Observations about Suzanne:

When the shots pulled back to show doorways, I kept expecting Suzanne to show up to see what was taking Don so long. Remember she thought the family was out of town - even Don didn't recognize they were there because the lights were dark.

Suzanne is young - why is she wasting her time with unavailable older men? Or does she get a thrill out of it? I wonder how she got along with her father.

Ta da. I called the scenario of Greg going to Nam.

Betty & Don:

Betty said to the lawyer - just saying all this outloud makes it real. That's probably what was going on with Don - the first time saying it all out loud to somebody makes it all come home and be real. And he never told any of the mistresses or one night stands 1/10th of what he has now acknowledged to Betty. Rather than a power shift, they are really intimate for the first time in their lives together.

I was surprised to know that Betty already knew that Don had been poor - she was listening very intently to exactly how poor. Perhaps she has been superficial because the life Don has concocted for them has been fake. Seems to me they are both going to need to digest what has happened before either one can tell which way this is going to go. People did not divorce as easily as they do now - and I don't just mean about how legally easy or difficult it was.

Don - take Betty out to meet Anna. That would certainly be an adult & healing thing to do.

The living, breathing proof of adultery (complete with a packed suitcase) was 20 feet away the entire time.

No, in New York, and other states where you might be using adultery as grounds for divorce, there has to be more than the Petitioner testifying about something like this. New York had, and may still have, an entire industry of private detectives who took photos and testified at trial. Where the parties agreed to divorce, fake scenarios were set up with actors in hotel rooms!

I'm wondering why the Draper home interior shots are always so dark. Is that a statement about 1963 or about a mood the directors want to set?

Great background info about Roger. People really are partially formed by the times in which they became adults.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe anyone has noted this, but the next morning, the look that astute Miss Sally Draper gave her parents was perfect. That little girl has such intuition, she knew something was different with her parents. She gave them such a, "What the heck is going on face" that was priceless. She's such a great little actress."


I'm wondering if Sally or possibly Bobby saw the teacher in Don's car. While Don was confessing to Betty, the kids weren't seen. Sally may be waiting for the right moment to piss of Mommy to innocently ask why was the teacher in Daddy's car? Or perhaps Francine or her husband saw her in the car.

Lee said...

I'm re-watching the show (thanks AMC for running it on a continual loop!).

More evidence that Roger meant Joan is his "the one" -- when he calls his friend (who is definitely not Duck as was asked upthread), he said "she's important to me."

That's not a phrase that the writers would include without meaning.

nfieldr said...

I more recognized Mary Page Keller as Medavoy's realtor girlfriend Brigid on NYPD Blue.

The Likely Lad said...

Neat Hemingway reference by MP Keller during the dinner scene-- the "boxer" being Robert Cohn from Sun Also Rises, Id take it. Little hint at a Roger Sterling that wasnt always so clubby...

Anonymous said...

I just have this feeling that Betty will leave Don by the end of this season. I don't think that just because she's still there the next day means she's committed, rather she's just going over her options. --

John J. said...

Betty's not taking Don/Dick's confession with calm maturity, it's just her people are Nordic.

Seriously, amazing stuff from both actors there. Clearly Betty didn't realize how much she'd pierced the Don facade--and how much it was a facade at all--until he fumbled his cigarette. And was she supposed to feel sorry for him? He let the facts, at long last, answer that for him, and she did indeed feel sorry for him. He begins to realize by the end of the episode that the nurturing, understanding woman he's long sought elsewhere might have been right there all along. Of course, as Betty has some genuine psychological issues (she's not a child, but her personality has some childish elements, as does Don's), this hard-won sense of peace and relief seems unlikely to last long.

I don't think Betty will give a second thought to the "client dinner" Don missed, and I don't think Don cared much what happened to Suzanne that night. He was in serious trauma, and to the extent he cared, I'm sure he figured she would just walk home.

I would be remiss not to laud John Slattery, continuing to give us new insight into Roger Sterling, tortured playboy. Fantastic episode all around.

Killer Vee said...

So why did Bobby and Sally scrap their Halloween plans? Bobby wanted to be an astronaut which is certainly noble but he ends up a hobo. Is that a slight nod to Joan's situation later in the episode? Not getting what you want?

dez said...

My favorite part of the episode was when Don and Betty were sitting at the table to talk with what looked like a large camera pointed straight at the audience. I'm puzzling it out still, but it was a very arresting image.

Imamarilyn said...

I was surprised Betty had the courage to confront Don. I was surprised Don was so truthful with her. Amazing performances by both Jon Hamm and January Jones.

I was not expecting Miss Farrell to show up at the window. Her just getting out of thd car and leaving was in keepung with the character.

I believe Roger was referring to Jane when he spoke of "the one." Not Joan. I think he truly adores his young wife.

LA said...

Wow. Just wow.

I tweeted as I watched that Hamm had his Emmy submission episode. Glad to see everyone agrees.

When Betty asked about Adam, I freaking lost it. But then I was completely unprepared for the raw emotion that Hamm would bring to the rest of the scene, and I was a blubbering fool by the time they broke for commercial.

But when Roger was referring to "the one" I thought he meant Joan.

So did I. Still do.

Hatfield - I drove by Anna Draper's address on Stanton this week in the LBC. It doesn't exist. The street exists, but not the address.

Next week is the penultimate episode, no? That's when Weiner usually gives us fireworks. Good lord, I can't wait!

dronkmunk said...

I thought it was interesting that so many characters were told to 'let it go.'

Suzanne says it to Don when he talks about first meeting her.

The lawyer says it to Betty when she asks for advice about what do with whats shes learned.

Joan says it to Greg when he is upset that his dreams of becoming a surgeon will never happen.

Don and Roger tell the horsemeat lady that the name of her business isn't worth a turd, and to just let it go by changing the name.

And of course the whole Halloween thing isn't related to that, but it was great how it tied together the whole theme of 'playing dress up.'

Henry said...

-- I thought the scenes with Don and Betty during his confession were agonizingly long, though incredibly immersive. The absence of a score upped the tension even more. So many tv shows and movies insert a score there to add dramatis, but I think Mad Men went the right way.

-- I kept being terrified at the thought that Suzanne was just gonna bust through the door of the Draper house to find out what was going on with Don.

-- So satisfying the bashing of Greg's head by the vase. What a clueless buffoon, and I'm a little conflicted in my feelings regarding his eventual shipping to Vietnam (we all know it's coming). Terrible to lose a young American to a war, but this is Greg... the rapist. I suspect this is true with a lot of Mad Men fans.

-- Anyone else find it a little funny that, in the middle of this confession between Don and Betty, Don fumbles with his cigarette? Another small moment of cigarette humor for the show, this one in the middle of a gathering storm. But Don Draper is so smooth that it's kind of sad to see him so broken that he can't even light a cigarette correctly.

Nicole said...

I believe that clicking on this will make many Joan fans happy:

http://i34.tinypic.com/15x094o.jpg

LA said...

Need to re-watch the Hobo episode -- I thought that the step-father wasn't nice to Dick either, but maybe he was better than Archie.

To clarify, the man in The Hobo Code flashbacks was Don's actual father, Archie. And he was a rat bastard.

Uncle Mac was in the episode (Babylon maybe?) where Don falls down the stairs and has a flashback to Adam's birth. He encouraged Dick to look at the baby, but Dick was scared because of the blood and screaming. Mac wasn't cruel (like Archie was), but matter-of-fact. The only other time we saw Uncle Mac, to my memory, was at the end of the first season when Dick/Don accompanied the body back, and Adam spotted him on the train.

Anonymous said...

@Killer Vee - as someone else mentioned in the comments, Don didn't want to spend money on cheap costumes. The kids were probably encouraged to create costumes from stuff they already had in the house.

paul in kirkland said...

The interesting thing for me is that now that Betty knows Don is really Dick, and that it's against the law, she either needs to go all in on the facade or turn him in. If she tries to play it halfway she's screwed, because now she's knowingly aiding and abbetting.

I think she's going to stay.

Dave said...

Just a few thoughts I didn't see covered yet ...

Suzanne in the car! So smart to raise the tension by having Sally be the first to greet Don at the door. If the door was slightly ajar, she would be the first to recognize her teacher.

Betty dealing with the lawyer Again, another subtle wrinkle added, but it was great to see her idly thumbing through the contents of the top right drawer of her father's desk to see if Gene had any secrets he kept tucked away in a mahogony vestibule as well.

Bravo to Joan The bit of acting where Joan walks out of her husband's sightline once she hugs him after he says "Let's go out" and her face changes to a look of surreal disbelief was tremendous. I had to rewind it and give it its proper due several times.

Don & Suzanne's failed trip Anybody else think she was going to try to arrange an unannounced drop-by to see her brother along the route?

Don & Betty at the kitchen table "I was surprised that you ever loved me." Anybody who has been in a relationship with someone who doesn't love themself, knows how pervasive this sentiment can become. It's tragic really.

Incredible analysis as usual, Alan.

HautieTx said...

Easily my favorite moment this entire season was Joan cracking Dr. Greg on the head with that vase.

I had to stop the DVR and laugh for 5 minutes. If there was ever a man that needed a pop on the head it is that man.

I am so proud of Betty. Happy that she stood up to Don and forced him to tell her the truth.

I can think of only one other time where she stood up against a man.

It was back in season 1 when Betty stood out in the back yard in her nightgown... shooting those neighbors pigeons out of the sky.

So Betty knows that Don is tight with their cash. And has kept her on a strict allowance. I am wondering if that will be changing.

Especially if she sells her parents home and keeps the cash away from Don's control.

But what I am wondering the most about, is who is Betty going to tell Don's secret to?

It will happen eventually.

Beatuofa said...

I'm one of those who thinks Roger really was talking about Jane, not Joan. I don't think he turns down a chance for a roll down memory lane just because he's daydreaming about Joan -- remember, as far as he knows she is happily married. We know that he's a creep, but nobody else in MM's world does.r

Anonymous said...

Indeed too on the nose, courtesy of Marti Noxon, but the cast outdid itself.

"Or, if not mature, then secure - as in, maybe he really does think Jane is The One, does love her enough to not cheat on her"

I (also) thought the comments Roger later made on the phone about Joan were intended to make us believe that when he said Annabelle wasn't the one, he didn't mean Jane, but Joan. That said, he clearly cares for Jane.

Julia said...

I'm in the camp that thinks Roger meant Jane.

It seemed the whole episode Betty lost that petulant look - the look of a frustrated little girl who was going to pout and stomp her foot. Her face didn't have that bored frown. It was angry and curious, but not petty.

It occurred to me tonight that Betty was a fashion model - that's a profession where you are play acting at least as much as in the advertising business.

The commenter who said that Don might have just realized the woman who could accept and nurture him could be the little wifey he always has.

Looks like they are both a bit shell-shocked. Counselors often say that a couple that has been through a highly emotional event together can form bonds that mutually protect them from that big, bad world out there.

Talk about beimg honest and owning your feelings.

Anonymous said...

Terrific episode, but Carlton's line at the end almost - well, not quite ruined it for me, but I had been really into the show, holding my breath the entire way, and then that line just took me out of it. A bit schlocky. But then "Where is Love?" came on, and all I could think of was Swan Brooner (from HBO's "Living Dolls") anyway.

I used to work in advertising for pet food - coincidentally, an agency mentioned on this show before - and fact: they had human testers for the dog food. After all that talk about eating horse meat, I was half expecting that the (human) focus group would be served the dog food! Or, that the account team would taste the food as part of their efforts to get the account; my former agency did it, IIRC...

Anonymous said...

The word that I think best sums up Suzanne for me is "disingenuous." I never believe a word she says. And she's a master at playing the martyr. She keeps bringing up how much she wants Don all to herself and then, when he gets concerned, tells him to "let it go." She is anything but an independent woman having a little fling. She's aiming to get him for keeps. And she's playing him like a violin. The phone conversation when she asks Don if he's OK, and he takes it as selfless concern with his feelings over her own... I call... disingenuous! By the way, I'm a woman who loves women, it's not that I can't "handle" her seeming independence. I figure my take on her is coming from the writers, because all the other women on the show are quite different, and my reactions to Joan, say, are different from my reactions to Peggy, Jane, or Mona. Compare Lois and Don's current secretary. They appear to be who they are (clueless and professional, respectively) because the writers write them that way.

Russell Lucas said...

After last week's episode, I was a bit worried that the show's tendencies to resemble a soap opera were taking over again, with yet another Draper affair in full bloom. It was as if the writers didn't think he was an interesting character unless he was philandering.

What was compelling about last night's standoff in Ossinning was that Draper never went for the door, and didn't really look that way. Betty asks him if he's trying to think of what to say or looking at the door, but there's no indication from the time Betty takes him to the study that he is thinking at all about Suzanne. We may have feeling tense about her coming in, but Don's tension was not Suzanne-related. There's no furtive looking around, or any additional attempts to retrieve his hat after he realizes that Betty's on to him.

If he walks out that door and takes off with Suzanne, it's more of the same, with no real character development or arc. The promise that Draper might now be freed to deal with some of these things is what will keep me watching.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Please do not attempt to psycho-analyze other posters' reasons for liking or disliking a particular character, folks. Talk about the show, not each other.

And I think the drunk-dialing scene in "The Fog" and the eclipse scene in "Seven Twenty Three" provided enough in-show evidence for people to at least wonder if something is off about Miss Farrell, if not know for sure that there is.

Lizbeth said...

Joan is "the one." Or that's my opinion.

Jane makes Roger feel young, so why would he go back and embark on an affair that will only remind him how old he is? Plus, Roger likes being in control, and he knows better than to get involved with a strong, controlling woman who calls the shots. Roger doesn't want a woman who makes the moves and that's why he backs off from Miss Horsemeat's sexual advances. Even Joanie (a strong, smart woman) always knew her place with Roger.

Don too liked being in control of his marriage which is why he married Betty...but we see a seismic shift in that relationship now. In Italy we saw just a small peek into how the Draper marriage would be if Betty had more power. Last night we saw again Betty wielding the power..but I'm not so sure Betty would want to be married to Dick Whitman...he's not suave, sophisticated or sure.

So, we'll see if both would prefer the "fantasy marriage" that Roger too has opted for.

Sarabelle said...

Alan, your post made me tear up more than the show did. Thank you for being able to wrap up 50 minutes of the most incredible television viewing ever with such tenderness and powerful insight.

Suzanne --- I get the sense that she keeps playing this role ("other woman") over and over. When she asked if her job was in jeopardy...she has been down this road before and lost her job. She seems to be trying to perfect a role of independence, struggling with the fact that it's not as easy to be the "other woman" as she thinks it is. (Geez, do we analyze ourselves through this show OR WHAT!)

Both Betty and Suzanne (I think) are showing how woman are getting ready to break free from what it means to be a woman in the 50's and 60's. I was born in the 70's so I can't explain it better but as a woman who has had the benefit of the struggle that allowed me every opportunity I could ask for, I love seeing from whence, we as women have come. Joan, Betty, Peggy and Suzanne...they are wound so tight, wanting to break free but without knowing what that means. We (women today) have a choice -- these women had only one "life" and we get to watch them live it. Fully, with or without regret, bucking to change it.

The stuff about things being "on the nose" --- I don't consider it laziness, just that those moments are irrelevant to the overall story. Best line ever about not being able to "turn it(the focus group) off".

LDP said...

I thought the episode was excellent, except for the scenes with Joan and her husband, which brought the show's momentum to a screeching halt. I'd like Mad Men either to find a way to get her back to Sterling Cooper, or drop her entirely.

Katie said...

I'm not so sure Betty would want to be married to Dick Whitman...he's not suave, sophisticated or sure.

I actually think Betty and Dick might be remarkably well suited to each other, now that they have a chance to find out. Both of them are essentially scared children who have learned how to pretend to be adults, but not how to actually be adults - they just weren't taught how by their respective childhoods (or society, especially in Betty's case).

And in this episode, we saw them taking the first steps towards really growing up and towards each other. As long as he was consistently the smooth, in-control Don persona, Dick was never going to become a real boy, so to speak, and he was never going to be doing more than playacting adult. And Betty was relying on the Don persona just as much, I think. It wasn't any better long term for her than it was for him. Now they're both freed of that, they can start to develop. Maybe that'll be in different directions, but I suspect not.

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole episode was excellent. Don and Betty morphed into
an adult couple sharing adult intimacies as opposed to being a perpetual man child and his vapid trophy wife.

I also think we we're shown Roger's faithfulness to Jane as a set up for a future episode where Jane does not return the favor. She's young, bored, and married for money and prestige.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one to see a physical similarity between Annabelle and Jane?

Regarding Miss Farrell, many school districts had morals clauses in their teacher contracts.

Mark Madel said...

In "Long Weekend" (Episode 10 of Season 1), Don say's to Rachel, "...she buried him and took up with some another man, and I was raised by those two sorry people."

So he wasn't being very generous about 'Uncle' Mac at that point in time.

Cassandra Marcella said...

A few random points -

I got the impression that Don didn't park the car right in front of his home; he walked up the street, not directly perpendicular from the car to the side of the road and presumably into his home across the street. I also sense that don would be smarter than that; not because he suspected his family was home, but if any of the neighbors noticed his car in front of his house. Do you suppose Suzanne stayed ducked that whole time?

When Suzanne said it'll pass, there was, to me, a sense of knowing in her tone. Which led me to believe she'd done this before. any one else pick up on that?

Also - I got the sense that Betty's in the marriage for sure once they both accompanied the kids trick or treating; but also loved Sally's knowing look in the morning. I also believed she gets that Don does value her, if not love her, given what happened with Adam. She grasped that I thought.

Great insights again from Alan and from some of the posters - I didn't grasp the echo of him dropping the cigarette in the kitchen to him dropping the lighter in the war, overtly but I think i did subconsciously - just another vague sense of a dangerous explosion coming.

Also the still packed bags of Betty (they were Betty's - her make up case). But I also thought - Betty wasn't sending a signal; she just hadn't had time to unpack.

I too noticed the open drawer in Betty's father's office, as if she'd been searching through her father's drawers too.

Finally -re divorce law. I learned in law school - studying family law - that the women's movement enabled women to keep the kids after divorce. Before that, because men were the earners, kids often stayed with the father as fathers could provide for them. The women's movement changed that presumption. Or maybe it had started to change already.

I agree that Betty's discussion with her father's lawyer showed not only her maturity, but also laid out her limited options and what was at stake for her. Given that, her confidence in confronting Don was all the more dramatic to me.

I've impression that the movie Kramer v. Kramer, a late 70s movie, was a reaction to the presumption of the late 60s and early 70s that kids were always better off emotionally with mothers.

Lots of changes in divorce law in the last 40 years, the results of which are still being assessed.

And of course, i agree with all the accolades for the acting. Especially gratifying to see for January Jones as she is often given short shrift. (see The Atlantic this month!)

thanks for a great, thoughtful and insightful post Alan and for the discussion here.

Brett said...

Alan, How can you forget the "while you were watching Casablanca, I was going to work" line. I'm happy to see someone on Mad Men resist the urge to cheat on spouses. For the Dick/Don vs Betty exchange, well played by both actors. Dick/Don clearly wanted to run but Betty slam that door when she remarked "we're not done" before getting up to attend to baby Gene. The teacher is going to do something about being stood up in the car. Either except that Don got trapped and couldn't escape or go "Ms crazysause" and do something drastic. Good Show last night.......

thekinni said...

i think roger's "one" is joan, not jane. there is definitely a strong connection between the two, stronger and more genuine than the connection that he has with jane (who is so 1-dimensional). this will be an interesting development.

Anonymous said...

The reason Betty bugs me so much: When she said she wanted to talk to the lawyer in private, she looked at the door for him to get up and close it. If you want to talk to someone privately-you get up and close the goddamn door. Just bugs the crap out of me.

The tension was so high for me in the Don/Betty scenes, that I stopped the DVR several times and walked away. I rewatched it all again later so I could enjoy the poignancy of Don's confession without wondering if Suzanne would ring the doorbell.

Bryan said...

Great episode - the last half I was literally breathless on the edge of my couch. Wonderful performances all around but especially Hamm.

Count me in as one of those that dressed up as the hobo with the big plastic cigar and charcoal beard. One of the thoughts I had though was it might have been intentional by Betty -something to soften the mood a little. Although we didn't see Don explicitly tell her about the hobo or much of his childhood I think we can assume they spent the night talking and since he did tell her the worst things I would assume he told her all of it. It might have just been coincidence but with each of the kids dramatically changing what they were going to be (which is not uncommon I know) I thought maybe Betty had a hand in it.

Secondly, in regards to Alan's comment about some things being too tidy - I tend to enjoy that about the show. It reminds me of an old novel or movie in that respect so it fits I think. Nowadays everything tends to be so insinuated, mysterious and open-ended it's a nice change of pace especially when it's done as well and cleverly as it is on MM.

Karen said...

I agree with @Tamara: I thought the look on Hamm's face in the closing scene conveyed his complete inability to answer Carlton's question.

Major, major kudos to Hamm in this whole episode. When he was sitting on the bed with Betty, explaining the people in the photos, he really seemed to be going back and forth between Don and Dick: Don, when he calls out 'Betts, I'm in here,' and as he calmly describes the nature of his family, and Dick as he finally verbalizes the story of Adam. It was heartbreaking to see him so broken, and that has to be what finally broke the worst of the hardness in Betty, as she reached out to comfort him.

I was confused about his description of his step-parents, though, as well. Wasn't Abigail absolutely hateful to him? I was surprised he didn't say anything about it, although Uncle Mack, who was "nice to me," may simply have been less horrible than Abigail.

As someone born in 1958, I can attest to the incredibly popularity of the homemade hobo costume in the early 1960s; I was one more than once myself. And yes, all Halloween costumes were always homemade; there wasn't much to buy, even at Woolworth's.

When I first saw the episode title, "The Gypsy and the Hobo," I thought it was going to refer to Miss Farrell and Don, so I was delighted to see Sally and Bobby at the end. Nice work!

I also want to commend Christina Hendricks' acting: the contrast between the face she showed Greg during his Army announcement and the face he didn't see was quite striking.

One last comment about Hamm's acting, by the way: the first time I decided Hamm and the series were something special was back in Season One, in a small scene in Don's office where he is shot from behind as he rests his hands on the credenza behind his desk. I think it might have been after Adam resurfaced, or perhaps after he learns that Pete knows about Dick Whitman. I remember thinking, "That man is more expressive with his back than many actors are with their faces." And they repeated that tonight, with the final shot of Don brishing his teeth, bracing himself on the sink and unable to look in the mirror. Even his back looked ashamed.

That's some nice freakin' television.

mikanola said...

I thought the choice of "Where is love?" from Oliver! was genius. The song is sung by orphan desperately yearning for someone to love him.

rcade said...

"The Suzanne-as-crazy theory originated I believe when the kids were watching the eclipse and she brazenly accused Don of philandering when he was just making conversation."

Subsequent events would suggest that Don wasn't just making conversation. She recognized immediately that he was another father on the make. He had been infatuated with her since the may pole dance with Sally.

The thing that's "off" about Miss Farrell -- as Alan put it -- is that she's more self-aware than any of his previous mistresses. This trait makes their relationship more tense because it's hard to believe that once they are over, she'll go quietly into that good night.

This does not make her a bunny boiler.

She's never done anything that would call her sanity into question more than, say, masquerading as another man and continuously pursuing empty sexual relationships that could destroy your family.

Anonymous said...

I loved the comment 'You don't understand money, you never did'. My favorite line of many favorites lines from this episode.

Petite Salope said...

Jennifer, great point about Suzanne Farrell being a classic "giver." This has been very evident all along, but her conversation with Don, after being abandoned to waiting in the car for several hours, really drove the point home. During that conversation, Suzanne's primary concern was whether Don was ok and whether his life would suffer any repercussions of being "caught." What a contrast to Betty's petulant, selfish response when Henry Francis failed to show up at the fundraiser. I think these disparate reactions capture the profound difference between the two women very nicely.

Despite Betty's rare displays of emotional maturity this week, I was struck by her coldness/restrained sympathy when Don, through choked, gut-wrenching sobs, told the story of his brother's suicide. I know that she was still in a state of shock and confusion over learning about her husband's heretofore unrevealed past, but as usual, she seemed scarcely able to even go through the formal motions of empathy. I couldn't help but imagine how different Suzanne's response would be.

Of course, I still see that people are referring to Suzanne as crazy, which is baffling when she is one of the few characters with any kind of true self-awareness.

Jed said...

We lost another character last night -- the drawer....

Wonder if it will be at some shady park looking for another desk?

I thought Annabelle was goint to be the person in the picture that Bert and Roger talked about last episode, but she seems much yonger than that person would be....

Lane said...

even though this may be the end of Suzanne for this season, I hope Alan still can somehow work "cuckoo bananas" into the next 2 reviews.

lactic said...

"People were jumping out of windows. And we were on vacation."

Thought this continued the season's commentary on our current economic crisis and some of the disparities it brings to light.

Bryan said...

What a contrast to Betty's petulant, selfish response when Henry Francis failed to show up at the fundraiser. I think these disparate reactions capture the profound difference between the two women very nicely.

Yes Betty can certainly be selfish and immature but in her defense this is new to her Suzanne's been around that block many many times. Also I think some people are giving Suzanne way too much credit for strength and stability I don't believe she has. Her behavior with men is as much of a front that hides a real neediness as Don's is for Dick. I think she's about to blow.

Anonymous said...

@dez-I thought the object on the kitchen table while Betty was interrogating Don was an old tabletop sewing machine. I may be wrong, but it would fit with the children's home-made costumes.

cadfile said...

I needed to make a small comment about divorce and children back in the 1960's My mother divorced her first husband and at the time they had my 2 sisters. He abused her and was an alcoholic. He got custody of the 2 girls because my mom didn't have a job. This was in 1966.

She was unfit based on employment prospects.

Glad it is different now

Lisa said...

"Isn't that against the law?"

For some reason, Betty's question was stuck in my mind this morning and I found myself taking inventory of who knows Don's secret. Bert Cooper already used it to extract his pound of flesh from Don, the original Mrs. Draper got paid off with a house, and to the best of my knowledge, that leaves Betty...and Pete.

Pete was silenced by Cooper on the Don issue last season, but is that really going to remain permanent? As for Betty's almost gracious behavior after the disclosure, I wonder if the wheels are going to start turning in her head about how secure her setup with Don really is. Granted, the severest threat to Don was the first Mrs. Draper, but how would you feel if your husband was living under a dead man's identity? That he could literally be yanked out of the house by the cops?

DTor said...

“when greg told her she had no idea what it was like to put her time in and wait for something to happen and never get it. you could just see her life with roger flashing before her eyes.”

I think a lot of viewers are projecting their romantic ideals onto Joan and Roger. Joan and Roger had an affair. It was hardly the first for either of them and it likely won’t be the last for either of them. They have affection for each other, certainly, but I think they’ve both been around the block too many times to really believe in true love or “soulmates” or any such thing. Roger’s “the one” was in reference to Jane-- but I think that was more about posturing than genuine emotion. I believe that at this point, Roger’s devotion to Jane is more designed to prove a point-- to prove Don wrong; to prove that he is not “foolish.” The truth is that there is no “one” for either Roger or Joan. (Or anyone else on this show. Or anyone in reality, if you want to be really cynical.)

As for Betty no longer being childish… I disagree with this. She may be more mature now than she was in the first two seasons, but her journey to true maturity is just getting started. There was still an element of childlike selfishness in the way she approached Don about the contents of the drawer. The whole thing was still more about her and the fact that he lied to her than it was about the content of that lie-- which was really the far bigger issue. That content could affect a lot of people (particularly the children), but I was still left with the impression that Betty was still thinking strictly of herself and how it affected her alone.

Anonymous said...

In a hurry so not logging in as Keeping Awake.

Not sure how to read Roger's comments about 'the one'.

It could be Jane, as that makes his complete ostracization over pursuing and marrying her tragic. If he really does love her, then there's a nice set-up for her not feeling the same way and devastating him. And I don't see why he'd feel the need to lie to Annabelle (although he's more than capable of lying to himself).

You could read his desire to help land Joan a job as meaning she is 'the one', but I'm not sure. He's been stripped of almost all power, and helping Joanie out is one of the few things he can still accomplish. He doesn't have very many other opportunities to influence much of anything these days.

When Joan hit her husband over the head with the vase, I wasn't cheering her on. I understood her frustration with her dolt of a husband, but I was concerned that he might retaliate, given the way he's reacted in the past. I was worried we were going to see a knock-down, drag out, physical fight between the two of them, with Joan the worse for it. Relieved that didn't happen.

Garrett said...

"You were the one." "You weren't."

Roger managed to deliver a zinger with perfect timing but zero insouciance, which I wouldn't have thought possible before this week.

I'm always happy when they give Roger more than wisecracks (not that he doesn't knock those out of the park). Remember last year, when Harry went into Roger's office to ask for a raise? It was great to see how intimidating he is to people on the lower rungs.

marianne said...

"And who are you?"
Carleton says this to Don and Betty. I thought Don looked really startled and almost panicked for a second, thinking that someone else knew his secret. The scene was brilliant - it started out with the camera panning their "perfect" neighborhood with children happily trick or treating. The scene ended with a shot of Betty holding the baby and Don standing next to her. To me the filming suggested that behind the facade of the perfect-looking neighborhood and perfect-looking parents lie all sorts of secrets.

Don's type of woman:

Wasn't it last season that Peggy came up with the idea that women chose to be either Jackies or Marilyns? That was the age-old theme of whether men are attracted to saints or whores (don't mean to offend anyone, that's the way the it's usually phrased). Don puts Betty on a pedestal - mother, home-maker, etc. (saint), yet he has intensely sexual affairs with women who like sex.

"I feel as if I've woken up from a dream."

Betty says this to her lawyer, describing how she feels now that she's told someone about the contents of the box. But Betty has been in fantasy-like states all season (couches theme). A number of posters talked about how real she seemed last night. I thought so too - she seemed more dimensional and animated than her usual one-dimensional self. It's as if the dream had been happening for a long time and she finally woke out of it, like coming out of a trance.

Eric said...

When Don fumbled the cigarettes, I saw an echo of Betty's hand problems from the first season, with all of the role reversal that implies.

Also, it was interesting to have Betty at her Father's house for the first part of the episode. Once both your parents die, even if you're already an adult, it can cause a psychological shift towards maturity.

I wouldn't put it past Weiner to hold out that possibility of Joan's husband going to Viet Nam for the rest of the series, and it never happening. Or he gets posted somewhere like West Germany or Okinawa, and dies in a car accident (or a whorehouse.)

Katie said...

I think a lot of viewers are projecting their romantic ideals onto Joan and Roger. Joan and Roger had an affair. It was hardly the first for either of them and it likely won’t be the last for either of them. They have affection for each other, certainly, but I think they’ve both been around the block too many times to really believe in true love or “soulmates” or any such thing.

Agreed; I don't think Joan was thinking about Roger at all when her husband said that. She was thinking (though perhaps not consciously; I don't know how aware of the dynamic she is)about how she did everything she was supposed to - dressed right, didn't go after advancement at work like Peggy, didn't threaten the (dumber) men she worked with - and still, still didn't end up with the supportive husband her society promised "good girls."

Kind of the same thing Betty was going through, actually.

Maura said...

Anonymous said... Oh Boy! Joan's Husband is going to be the VietNam Frank Burns, one meatball surgeon coming up.

Puff


Heh. I was thinking the same thing. Also, "Frank Burns eats worms."

Any suspicions that Joan is living like an abused woman were dispelled when she hit Greg over the head that vase. Not that Greg isn't a sniveling little punk-ass. But at least Joanie isn't walking on eggshells worrying about getting punched in the face for no reason at all.

Although the petty part of me laughed at the idea of him being "killed by his own troops", like Niedermyer, I'm not wishing any great harm to come to Greg, because I think it would break Joan's heart. She knows he's a schmuck, but I doubt she wishes him dead.

-----
Roger might be able to stay faithful to Jane for the moment, but, as DTor said above, I don't think she or anyone else is The One for him. I believe Joan is more special to him that Jane is. Helping Joan find a job is the only kind thing he's done, in my memory. But he doesn't care enough about any woman to consider her The One.
------
Suzanne to Don: I went into this with my eyes wide open.
Me: No, you didn't.

Don to Suzanne: I pressured you.
Me: No, you didn't.

Highly delusional, these two.

------
Julia said: Betty said to the lawyer - just saying all this outloud makes it real. That's probably what was going on with Don - the first time saying it all out loud to somebody makes it all come home and be real. And he never told any of the mistresses or one night stands 1/10th of what he has now acknowledged to Betty. Rather than a power shift, they are really intimate for the first time in their lives together.

I agree, Julia. My husband said that Betty was constantly shown to be in a position of power during their discussion. I pointed out that most of the time, they were eye-to-eye. Yes, Don was slumped over a good part of the time, and Betty was sitting perfectly straight. But she always sits that way. (Must be all that good breeding.) She doesn't want to wield power over him. She wants to be his equal.

The tension was unbearable. I think my heart stopped once or twice.

Great stuff, this.

JT said...

Fantastic episode, and excellent analysis by Alan and posters alike!

I wanted to add some thoughts about Annabelle. Maybe I'm being wildly speculative, but I think we may see her again. See if this works:

1. Sterling Cooper is for sale.
2. Annabell is rich (Roger tells her to sell the dog food company and enjoy herself).
3. Roger might tap her as a source of funding to help management buy SC?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Agreed; I don't think Joan was thinking about Roger at all when her husband said that. She was thinking (though perhaps not consciously; I don't know how aware of the dynamic she is)about how she did everything she was supposed to - dressed right, didn't go after advancement at work like Peggy, didn't threaten the (dumber) men she worked with - and still, still didn't end up with the supportive husband her society promised "good girls."

Yes. This. Whether or not Roger thinks that Joan was The One (and I still believe that either he thinks it's Jane, or that it's no one), Joan thought about Roger only one time during this episode, and that was when she was calling him in search of a job. Her pre-vase reaction was entirely about realizing she had also followed the rules of society and gotten bupkes out of that.

Wordnerd said...

I'm actually surprised at some of the posters' thinking that the Dick/Don revelation was anticlimactic -- I think the way the whole thing was handled is indicative of the way this show is written - it's understated, and that's the beauty of it. Anything more and you may as well have overly dramatic organ chords playing in the background.

I also agree that Roger has been talking about Joan all along. I didn't hear Roger say she's "the one" - I heard him say "this one is different". That's Joan. Not Jane.

Eric said...

Also, I noticed the sewing machine on the Drapers' kitchen table, and assumed it was there to make the kids' Halloween costumes.

Maureen said...

Someone mentioned this previously, but when Don said "I was surprised you ever loved me." with that look on his face, it said so much about him. Does Don keep himself aloof from Betty because if he gives her all of himself, he would be devastated if she left?

I thought this episode was amazing-so many wonderful touches-the way Betty's face would change when Don's cool facade started crumbling. So subtle, but so telling.

Wonderful review by Alan, and great comments-I was really excited to read what everyone had to say.

Debsa said...

Finally, it's fantastic to see Betty take the leadership role in this relationship. I loved the confrontation so much, just watching the shifting roles of their relationship as the dialogue continued was great. Jon Hamm must submit this as his Emmy reel.

I was left with the hope that Don and Betty are now more on a even keel. Hopefully the adultry will stop.

Daniel said...

Good night. It's just a tv show!

Scott Hollifield said...

I always find it difficult to offer any general comments about the episode because it takes so long to mentally process it, and by the time I do, there's already a flood of comments on here saying essentially would I say. (Especially for an episode as amazing as this one.)

However, with the Joan/Roger "The One" debate emerging, I will have to cast my chips on the same side as Alan (and John Slattery, per Alan's interview quote) -- Joan is not The One for Roger. She's too much for him. We saw this in season 1 when he wanted to cage her like a bird. I think some may be making too much of this week's dialogue about "the One"; I don't recall Roger ever saying that he had found the one, or even indicating who that might be. All he said was that Anabelle wasn't it.

I agree with Alan's sentiment that Roger either believes his One is either Jane, or no one. And I feel like Joan's "the One" is still out there somewhere yet to be introduced.

miles said...

I think that Roger realized that Joan is 'the one' in this episode. Just as many of us did. I also think that he got some satisfaction in turning down the woman who broke his heart.

As to Suzanne, I wondered about her cukoo banananess when she followed Don onto the train. That she didn't come up to the house in this episode causes me to rethink that.

stellatex said...

I certainly agree that Joan wasn't thinking about Roger at all during Greg's deeply ironic self pity speech. She was just thinking about how accurately he was describing her life as a woman groomed for and expecting middle class marriage.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I feel like Joan's "the One" is still out there somewhere yet to be introduced.

Or perhaps we've met Joan's "One" already. Matt Weiner said in our pre-season chat that he thought Joan could have had the best relationship of her life with her female roommate if she'd given it a shot.

Sally said...

I think it would work well to end this season on the morning of Nov. 22, with everyone going about their normal day, including the Sterlings on their way to the wedding, when the radio starts to come on with a special news bulletin.... fade out.

Marc said...

@DaveBravo to Joan The bit of acting where Joan walks out of her husband's sightline once she hugs him after he says "Let's go out" and her face changes to a look of surreal disbelief was tremendous. I had to rewind it and give it its proper due several times.

YES. Props to Christina Hendricks for that. Her eyes said so much in that moment. Also kudos to the director for getting that shot with both Joan and Greg's faces. His face is beaming with happiness and maybe even pride. "No soup tonight! Let's go out." LOL. And she has a look on her face that just says, "Great / I don't believe I married this shmo."

Mark Madel said...

After the episode, I started wondering what the different characters' reactions might be to Kennedy's murder.

The writing seems to imply that Miss Farrell is the most politically aware/sensitive, so she might have an even more intense reaction than most. This could have ramifications for Don just 3 weeks after their 'separation'.

April said...

Garret said
Wasn't it last season that Peggy came up with the idea that women chose to be either Jackies or Marilyns? That was the age-old theme of whether men are attracted to saints or whores (don't mean to offend anyone, that's the way the it's usually phrased). Don puts Betty on a pedestal - mother, home-maker, etc. (saint), yet he has intensely sexual affairs with women who like sex.

Actually, it was the boys -- Peggy was left out of that "meeting" which was after work. Peggy asked "what am I?" and thus challenged that simple binary.

Tamara said...

"Anonymous said...

I loved the comment 'You don't understand money, you never did'. My favorite line of many favorites lines from this episode."

I wondered about this too. I never got the sense that Don didn't know about money, except for when he over tipped the bellhop in Italy. Are there other examples I'm missing? He does throw money around, but I assumed that befitted someone like Betty who was use to living a comfortable lifestyle. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't take my eyes off January Jones last night. Take that, Atlantic Monthly!

I think Suzanne is not going to play any major role. With her livelhood at risk, she's taken enough chances already.

And I agree, she's a huge hypocrite, "loving her job and the children" in one breath, banging a former student's married father with the next.

Wasn't Uncle Mac mean to young Dick when he fell down the stairs? Not hateful, but not kind either. A casual SOB rather than a pathological abuser like Archie.

I thought Greg's solution to his problem, while selfishly made (and possibly while drunk), was not such a bad one on a practical level. He gets to be a surgeon and earn more money in one fell swoop. And their marriage gets a chance to air out.

Can you imagine Joan as an officer's wife on a military base in Germany? It didn't look like she could, either.

Man, what an episode. I had really weird dreams all night!

Anon1

Danger Boy said...

I don't know who Roger or Joan's "one" is, but something I could easily see, at the series ends, is the two of them ending up together. They both sort of loosen up a little on their expectations after his young trophy wife eventually gets bored and leaves, and she's left a widow and finds she'll never realize the husband/kids/picket fence dream.

They then settle into a more modern type of relationship based on mutual respect and the kind of true intimacy that comes from really knowing each other like no one else does. Maybe Roger grows a pony tail and raises hemp and Joan finally tosses out her girdle. Fun to think about.

PanAm53 said...

I am now even more convinced that MW wanted us to believe that Suzanne was a little off in order to create the suspense regarding her possible actions after Don entered his house. A bit of a Hitchcock touch...the surprise of Don coming home to a dark house to find that his family was there, in contrast to his previously expecting that Suzanne was already at her apartment because the lights were on. Then the suspense of wondering whether Suzanne would show up at the Drapers' door.

arrabbiata said...

I see that I'm not the only one who had some fear of physical retaliation against Joan by her husband for the vase head bashing. Was relieved to see it didn't happen. As for his solution to the couple's financial problems- anyone know what army doctor pay would have been in 1963? Enough to maintain their lifestyle in Manhattan without Joan working, as he claims?

I think Annabelle's insistence that she can get her company past its public image problem without making any changes to the product or the name is unrealistic, but I can understand her frustration at being singled out. A few years back I found some dog food can labels saved inside a book of grandmother's (there was some prize offer involved, never redeemed), Ken-L-Ration, probably from around that time period. Among the listed ingredients were horse meat, horse meat by-products, mule meat, mule meat by-products and oats. (it was made by Quaker) Last I checked no modern dog food contains horse, so I guess they all eventually had to change.

my opinion on these popular points-

On "the one" and loyalty to Jane...my feeling was that it may have been less about not wanting to cheat on his new wife and more about not wanting to get involved with Annabelle again. Now if Joan had approached him the same way, I think it would have been a much more difficult decision.

On Don's opinion of Mac...I was also a bit surprised by his statement that he was nice to him. I don't have the episodes to review, but my impression was that he didn't get along with him either. Maybe it was just in comparison to Archie.

Suzanne in the car...Don must have been really overwhelmed with the immediate crisis of the drawer to have the issue of his current mistress sitting in his car outside not even be an issue for him. I was among those viewers nervous that she'd come looking for him. Life was more complicated back when you couldn't just send a quick warning text.

Outstanding episode, even for the level of expectations set by this show.

berkowit28 said...

Actually, Eric said...

"When Don fumbled the cigarettes, I saw an echo of Betty's hand problems from the first season, with all of the role reversal that implies."

Yes, that's what I thought of too. Nervous, twitchy hands, out of control. And here was Betty, of all people, calmly reassuring him.

A lot of people in this episode were just plain nice and considerate, in ways we hadn't seen them being before. Not least Roger.

Anonymous said...

When Betty touched his arm and said she was sorry about Adam, I thought of the time Don told her about his father beating him (after she wanted Don to discipline Bobby) and she put her arms around him. She will respond when he lets her in to Dick.

Winner said...

Tamara said: Are there other examples I'm missing? He does throw money around, but I assumed that befitted someone like Betty who was use to living a comfortable lifestyle. Any thoughts?

I thought she meant "money" as the culture of the moneyed rather than the currency?

LA said...

Wasn't it last season that Peggy came up with the idea that women chose to be either Jackies or Marilyns?

Oh dear. Paul Kinsey, who came up with the Jackie/Marilyn concept, would DIE if he read the above statement!

Karen said...

The look on Joan's face before she smashed that vase over Greg's head (and oh how that scene made me cheer!!) didn't make me think she was thinking of Roger--it made me think she was thinking of Greg. She planned for so long what her life was going to be like when she was the hot wife of a successful doctor--she practically rubbed it in the faces of everyone at Sterling-Cooper--and then she ends up married to this joker, this rapist, this incompetent. I thought that it was as much how HE had HER down as it was his inability to understand her own longings and frustrations, that caused her to pick up that vase.

Rachel said...

I loved the comment 'You don't understand money, you never did'. My favorite line of many favorites lines from this episode."

I wondered about this too. I never got the sense that Don didn't know about money, except for when he over tipped the bellhop in Italy. Are there other examples I'm missing? He does throw money around, but I assumed that befitted someone like Betty who was use to living a comfortable lifestyle. Any thoughts?


Could be wrong, but I thought the "money" comment had less to do with understanding finances than the money/society dynamic we see from time to time. (For example, at the Derby party.)

Just a great episode top-to-bottom. Predictably, Jones' work is being overshadowed by Hamm, but I thought she was wonderfully nuanced. It's oftentimes harder to react to surprising confessions than to give them. (Think of Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment.)

Loved, loved, loved, Peggy's "I can't turn it off, it's really happening" line. Can't wait for more hell to break loose in the final two episodes.

Hatfield said...

LA - I'm glad someone else in the area did what I was thinking about doing. That's interesting that it's not there, if only because Google maps claims it is Anyway, knowing Weiner I thought there might be some significance.

I don't have much to add, other than to wonder what the hell could possibly happen now. I assume the sale of Sterling Cooper will be the major plot point for the last two episodes, and any fallout from Don's confession. I'm very excited, but this season more than either of the first two has lacked an overarching conflict, so whatever happens will be fairly unexpected.

Also, doesn't it seem that this season has marginalized the supporting characters more than the previous ones? Not a one of the chipmunks even appeared in this one, and Peggy was only in it for one scene. I know there was a ton of Roger and Joan, but I miss the others when they're not around.

Liam said...

Teacher Dearest, so far, has not shown any hint of being batty or off-kilter.

Rather, she is a classic Silent Generation counter-character who (1) likes the concept of self-awareness but doesn't understand that it's ultimately about embracing your ignorance, not your "inner wisdom", and (2) thinks it's going to help her be more fulfilled than her peers. She's already being given the hard lesson that neither are true, though it's not clear she's aware of that yet.

Irene said...

Julia said:

No, in New York, and other states where you might be using adultery as grounds for divorce, there has to be more than the Petitioner testifying about something like this. New York had, and may still have, an entire industry of private detectives who took photos and testified at trial. Where the parties agreed to divorce, fake scenarios were set up with actors in hotel rooms!

After seeing Betty reading "The Group," I got it from the library. It takes place in the 30s and has just such a scene as Julia mentioned: A married woman who lives in an apartment is having a affair with a friend's husband. Loud knocking on the door. Woman goes to door while man hides in bedroom. Police (or private detectives?) and a screaming woman rush in and confront the man in the bedroom. But the woman has never seen this man before! It was a setup like Julia described, but they came to the wrong apartment. They were supposed to "break into" the apartment upstairs, and IIRC the woman upstairs had been the "other woman" for these setups before.

This is my first post (I live in the Mountain Time Zone and we don't get MadMen here until 11 p.m., after which I'm too tired to read all the comments and then post.) So I'm excited to finally have something to contribute, and hope I did it properly

Just want to add that I too was on the edge of my seat, barely able to breathe wondering if Suzanne would be noticed or try to come in. I thought that when Betty went to take care of Gene, Don would run out to tell S. that she had to leave, maybe give her taxi money? Tho where she'd get a taxi out there late at night I don't know.

The scenes with Betty and Don were so powerful and the two actors were amazing to watch. And Alan and this forum are the best!!

Anonymous said...

Amazing recap Alan, you hit every thought that I had when watching as well. The comments here also.

The most amazing scene for me was when Betty left Don sitting at the table after leaving to tend to the baby. You could just feel the look on Hamm's face like when you get punched in the head by some shocking news...eyes glaze over, your temp instananeously seems to go up to 110 degrees, your skin gets all prickly, your salivary glands completely dry up, and you can practically hear your blood pumping in your ears even over the ringing of your eardrums. He really did an incredible job of showing a peron in mental shock in that moment without even moving a muscle.

Jann

Anonymous said...

I believe Betty's comment regarding Don's lack of "understand" about money relates to the thousands of dollars stored in the desk drawer. Don's childhood of deprivation meant, among other things, that he was never exposed to how the wealthy manage their money in order to earn even more. I've always assumed that the cash Don stored in his desk was an "emergency" fund in case he needed money fast, but in light of Betty's comment, it seems this habit is more reflective of his lack of financial management sophistication (and possibly also a distrust of banks--common among those who lived during the Depression).

brich$ said...

I liked that Betty was not only sitting behind her father's desk and running that household, but at the same time presents herself as the head of the Draper household once Don/Dick is clearly a defeated, trembling man during his confession...

Anonymous said...

As for the money comment, I took it as an Old Money attitude vs New Money. Old Money doesn't like to give it away...they didn't get rich by giving it away after all...so they sometimes scoff at unofficial charity that doesn't create tax shelters, or charity outside the family (i.e. trustfund babies). Old Money also doesn't need to talk about wealth as a rule, or make a show of their monetary status. New Money on the other hand tends to throw money around (e.g. lotto winnners), and likes to talk about money. I'm not saying that Don brags about his money becuase he doesn't seem to, but the thing with the tip for the bellhop made me think that he sees it as, I've got it, there's no harm in sharing it. Whereas Betty would think, let the bellhop earn his own money. JMO.

Jann

PanAm53 said...

Just wanted to add that even though Suzanne didn't show up at Don's doorstep, I think that inadvertently she will cause trouble. As Alan stated, Don did not tell Suzanne that Betty did not know about the affair, Don only confirmed that her job was not in jeopardy. I think that Suzanne believes that Betty has found out about the affair, and that was the reason for their subsequent break up. In Suzanne's mind,what other reason could there be? And we know enough about Suzanne's personality to know that, again as Alan stated, she would feel compelled to apologize to Betty.

Monica said...

I don't think anyone's mentioned this. A word search for "prostitute" didn't turn it up, at least.

Did anyone else think that Annabelle looked like a cross between that prostitute that Roger had for one night and Jane? She looked like an older version of that prostitute, same hair and everything.

Roger sure likes his brunettes.

And so does Matt Weiner, apparently! Betty is the only blonde on the show.

Karen said...

One last observation, which I don't recall seeing mentioned yet--when Betty is sitting behind her father's desk for the meeting with her brother and Milton the family lawyer, she leans over and opens the upper right drawer and peeks in. The same drawer as the locked one in Don's desk. It was a lovely echo, I thought, of Betty doing the same action in different circumstances.

Julz said...

Thinking about it now, Don's reluctance to sign that contract with SC proved to be more well founded than he might have ever guessed. After all, he left the keys in the bathrobe after putting away some of the cash from his signing bonus, correct? So in a sort of indirect way, it's the contract that's brought all of this about. Talk about being tied down.

Julia said...

"People were jumping out of windows. And we were on vacation."

hmm That would be 1929 - 34 years before 1963. I guess the two of them are in their 50's. Roger is really robbing the cradle marrying Jane.

Interesting that Roger was in the Pacific for WWII. I'll bet he really saw some horrific stuff which could produce a cynical view of life as a defensive mechanism.

From personal experience in 1969, a Captain in the Army Medical Corps would have definitely made more money than his pay as a Resident, but not enough to pay for a jazzy apartment in New York City - Manhattan. I'll bet he's expecting her to go along unless he gets sent on an unaccompanied tour. Wonder how Joan would amuse herself while he's gone. She wouldn't just sit at home.

Being in the service, Greg might also be able to continue his training after giving Uncle Sam a few years of general surgery.

I still wonder why the story line is that he can be a surgeon or a psychiatrist. What? Are internists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, radiologists, pediatricians, etc. chopped liver?

Julia said...

I think Betty's demeanor when Don began his story was not so much cold as bracing herself for what might be revealed. She had no idea what he was going to tell her. He might be a serial killer or a spy. Besides, Oprah and Jerry Springer hadn't had their effects on society yet - Grace Kelly cool was the model and much admired.

There was a guy on TCM a week or so ago who said that he liked to watch the old movies at night to relax. The movie characters had some reserve before Brando and our therapized times. It was in conjunction with the movie Dodsworth, which also deals with an adulterous spouse and how her husband deals with it. The spouses are civil and there was no screaming and yelling in spite of great emotional suffering in their eyes and demeanor.

SpinQueen said...

Re: Norwich. Miss Farrell could have been referring to Norwich, Vermont, which is just across the border from Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College). That would be a trip of about 4 hours, circa 1963.

Courtney said...

This probably is far fetched but watching tonight and recognizing all the Kennedy references - some very subtle, others not so subtle - throughout the season, I thought about the similarity between Don and JFK with respect to their never-ending, unabashed womanizing while married to the picture perfect woman who is cultured and great looking on the arm.

Probably not Weiner's intent given all the screwing around on this show but whatever drove JFK to so recklessly cheat and get away with it could somehow mirror Don's prediliction.

Not sure as yet if Don's life is headed towards imploding as we near JFK's death - or if they will find other ways to cope. How will things change now that secret is out and how will they justify continuing to behave as they have in the past - if indeed they don't change as a couple or ndividually.

Agreed that Hamm's performance was exquisite - so nuanced and true.

I was one who never thought the teacher was crazy and who knows what we will see in the future but I liked that she asked him how he was. For that moment at least, she was the person I have assumed she is -

PanAm53 said...

SpinQueen said...
Re: Norwich. Miss Farrell could have been referring to Norwich, Vermont, which is just across the border from Hanover, NH (home of Dartmouth College). That would be a trip of about 4 hours, circa 1963.

They were definitely headed for Conn. Their destination was Mystic Seaport.

Julia said...

I liked that she asked him how he was. For that moment at least, she was the person I have assumed she is -

Seeing as how Suzanne probably thought Betty discovered their affair, and knew that Betty recently had a third child with him, and knew that Betty had lost her father not too long ago, it would have been nice to also ask how Betty was doing.

Something just came to mind. It's a cliche that men often have their first extra-marital experience in conjunction with the spouse being pregnant or too busy with the baby to pay the expected attention.

Suzanne might have picked up on Don's possible neediness when she saw how over-ripe Betty was the first time she met them. Men in that position often feel neglected. [Can you tell I did a fair number of divorces back in the day?]

Lilithcat said...

Great episode, but one thing struck me as odd.

Betty took the kids on a road trip, planning to stay longer than she did, and Don was going to go off for a few days ("I can clear my calendar") with Suzanne. But this was mid-week. October 31, 1963 was a Thursday. I was in school then, and don't recall any autumn vacation falling at that time. Sure, Betty could have taken the kids out of school (though parents didn't usually do this), but how does a teacher manage the time off on the spur of the moment?

KarenX said...

Regarding Don's Secret:

Betty's lawyer also knows, and considering how annoying her brother is and how easily we saw her psychiatrist blow off doctor/patient confidentiality (I understand that maybe it wasn't a law yet), I am not sure how much I trust the lawyer to keep his mouth shut. Brother William would love having something like Don's secret to hold over Don's head, and he's already got his hackles up about Betty's plans.

I really couldn't tell if her lawyer was being patronizing or sensible. If the legal divorce cards were stacked at high against her as he said, then it was reasonable advice, but this was advice he said he would give his own daughter. I'm probably overthinking it.

Regarding the sewing machine on the table and the most pedestrian point I could make of all the points possible: Yes, Betty had been sewing their costumes. It's probably why Sally and Bobby couldn't be Minnie Mouse and an Astronaut--technical skill/effort. They've been away all week and Betty's been stewing about Don. When would she have had the time to make those things?

Regarding Joan and Roger: Roger didn't cross Joan's mind at all during the speech, but I would be able to view them each as the other's "one." He was too cocky and lazy with Joan to give it all up for her (and I don't think she would have accepted him amid an office scandal), but his conversation on the phone with her and then the unseen associate spoke volumes to me. And Joan! Remember how she responded when Roger had a heart attack? She was doing her job helping to contact staff and clients, but she was grateful for the chance to be as close to him as possible when he was sick. They had something special, sort of, but were destined to be apart--just like characters in a novel. (Perhaps the House of Mirth, with Roger as Lily and Joan as Seldon. [Now I am reaching beyond my ability to think about the show. Nevermind.])

Anonymous said...

When was the last time we've seen Betty eating?And happily. And she shared. Don had turned down food but took her last bite gratefully. It was the most intimate gesture we've seen (while being themselves = not in Rome.

Hobo and gypsy are two different words that mean the same thing - perfect in an ep about names. Also perfect costumes for 2 children whose futures are unsettled.

LDP said...

I think Roger sees the idea of "the one" -- that there's only that one special person out there for each of us -- for exactly what it is, a greeting card myth. He's a cynical guy, and this is the kind of thing cynics are right about.

Bryan said...

As always love reading all the comments it makes the enjoyment of the show that much better. I just had a thought though - is it possible we are making entirely too much out of the JFK situation. Meaning we might be expecting much more than we get. Like Suzanne in the car last night (and numerous other times throughout this show) Weiner has shown he's the master of anticipation. We know what happens to the country in hindsight - but the characters don't - that and the fact that these are some of the most self-absorbed characters you'll ever meet leads me to believe the assassination might not be much more than a footnote in the show.

DTor said...

“I still believe that either he thinks it's Jane, or that it's no one.”

I feel the need to revise my earlier statement: I still don’t think Roger is really in love with Jane-- I believe it started out as just another office affair and then Roger’s midlife crisis inflated his feelings (and Jane herself) into more than they really were. Don telling him how everyone thought he was “foolish” has caused Roger (consciously or unconsciously) to dig in even deeper and cling to his marriage to Jane even more tightly, just to prove Don wrong. Roger stubbornly *believes* he’s in love with Jane and that she’s his “one” (at least for the moment), but he’s absolutely kidding himself.

So he believes his “one” is Jane (at least for now he believes this), but in reality it’s no one.

“Her pre-vase reaction was entirely about realizing she had also followed the rules of society and gotten bupkes out of that.”

Yes this. To dissect it further: Joan followed the “old” rules society. Rules that held much more sway in the 40s, 50s, etc. But times changed and passed her by and she never recognized it. This is why she could never figure out Peggy-- because Peggy was playing by a new set of rules that were completely alien to Joan. If only Joan had recognized the changing rules sooner, maybe she would have been the one running the tv dept. at Sterling-Cooper (as we all know she should be, in place of the bumbling Harry Crane). Instead, she married a good-looking doctor… which-- according to the old rules-- was supposed to guarantee her a life of complete happiness and fulfillment. She’s learning otherwise, much to her (and the viewer’s) dismay.

Annie said...

Was anyone else worried that Carlton (or any of the other neighbors) would walk by and notice Susanne in Don's car? I was much more worried about that than her ringing the doorbell. I agree with whomever said that trouble is more likely to come from her brother. He is bound to resurface, right?

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