Monday, November 09, 2009

Mad Men, "Shut the Door. Have a Seat": We're putting the band back together

Spoilers for the "Mad Men" season three finale coming up just as soon as I have the carpets cleaned...
"How long do you think it'll take us to be in a place like this again?" -Roger
"I never saw myself working in a place like this." -Don
For much of this season, we wondered exactly when the show would get around to dealing with the Kennedy assassination - whether Matt Weiner would wait till the finale, or get to it ahead of that. He took the latter approach, and many of us assumed it was because he was following the "Sopranos"/"Wire" model of putting all the big developments in the penultimate episode.


Turns out Weiner put Kennedy into last week's episode because that wasn't the season's biggest development, not by a long shot. (In the grand scheme of the '60s, Kennedy was huge, but far-removed from the world of Sterling Cooper.) Instead, he had to get that out of the way so he could use the finale to deal with more pertinent matters for our characters: Betty divorcing herself from Don, and Don, Roger, and Bert finding a brilliant way to divorce themselves from PPL.

Over and over in "Shut the Door. Have a Seat," characters are told some variation of the episode's title, and they sit and hear some life-changing bit of news: that St. John is selling all of PPL to McCann Erickson; that Betty has hired a divorce lawyer; that Don, Roger and Bert are determined to buy the company back; that Betty won't have an easy time of divorcing Don in New York; that Don wants Peggy to quit Sterling Cooper and come with him; that Don and Roger need Pete to come on board; that Bobby and Sally's parents will be separating; and that Don, after being an aloof bastard to Peggy for most of this season, will do anything to get her to go with him to join the new firm.

We end the season on what could be two enormous shifts to the series' status quo: a core group of SC employees (Don, Roger, Bert, Lane, Peggy, Pete, Harry, Joan) have started up a new shop, and Betty has gone to Reno to divorce Don and plan for a new life with Henry Francis.

But will they take?

After all, "The Sopranos" closed its fourth season with Carmela kicking Tony to the curb for one infidelity too many (as Betty already did midway through season two) before taking him back a few months later when she realized she didn't have better options (ditto Betty). As soon as Henry told Betty to not try to get any of Don's money in the divorce, alarm bells went off for me. Bad enough that he proposed marriage to her after they'd spent perhaps a combined two hours in each other's company (assuming that, outside their stint as pen pals, they didn't get together off-camera at any point in the season), but he's setting up a circumstance where Betty's going to be just as dependent on her new man as her old one. It's entirely possible that midway through season four, Betty will be asking Don to move back in with her and the kids.

As for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce(*), while it's a shock to the system to see Don and Roger walk out of the familiar offices (leaving the doors unlocked, no less), this is a company being run by the same guys who were more or less running it this year - albeit with the balance of power more evenly-distributed - and with many (but not all) of the familiar faces from SC. Will this be a new beginning, or just an opportunity for the production team to have fun designing a different office set?

(*) Should there be any kind of punctuation in there? Sterling Cooper seemed to work fine without commas, but that was just two names. This is four - with the potential to expand to five if Pete proves himself down the road. (Don told him that working towards a goal has always led to his best work.)

But we can talk about how significant these changes might be in a bit. Because whatever happens in season four, this episode was such a concentrated shot of pure storytelling joy that I don't much care at the moment whether Betty goes back to Don, or whether Ken, Paul, Kurt, Smitty and even Lois slowly find their way onto the SCDP payroll.

"Shut the Door. Have a Seat" felt very much like a caper movie: the jazzy piano music, the intrigue, the plan unfolding perfectly as Lane walked in, got fired by St. John, and walked out happily, leaving a dumbfounded Moneypenny in his wake. Specifically, though, the episode felt like my favorite part of any caper (or other kind of ensemble adventure) movie: the gathering of the team. I have been, and always will be, a sucker for those sequences in movies like "Ocean's Eleven," "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Magnificent Seven" where the two leaders (there are always two guys at first, aren't there?) travel around to assemble the perfect team of experts, explaining their value and using various tricks of persuasion along the way to get them on board.

And what made this particular variation on that trope work so well was that it was a regathering of the team. This isn't Lee Marvin starting from scratch as he walks through a military prison. This is Don and some combination of Bert, Roger and Lane going out to gather the people that they - and we - know so well, and telling them why they're so important to each other.

In many cases, these are relationships that haven't been on great terms this year; given the way this episode goes, that was clearly by design, as it gives greater emotional weight to the reconciliations. And in some cases these unions are a matter of convenience. Don still doesn't like Roger but will put up with him because the company needs his contacts and social skills, and Don and Roger act all magnanimous while in Pete's presence but belittle him behind his back for trying to bolt the company. (They're just annoyed that Pete thought of it before they did.) And Harry, a lucky idiot as always (he can't even remember the room number of their suite at the Pierre), doesn't even get an elaborate sales pitch; just the threat of being locked in the store room by Bert Cooper. (Bert's man enough to do it himself.)

But if not every speech is sincere, we still get to see these characters singing each other's praises, and figuring out exactly the right buttons to push: Bert needs to feel vital, Roger likes the action and wants an apology from Don, Pete needs his ego stroked (specifically, by Don), and Peggy needs to know that Don values her work as much as she values (or used to value) his mentorship.

And it all works like gangbusters, for both the men assembling this new company and for the audience watching it come together.

Again, by design all these characters have been adrift at work this year. Bert and Roger have more or less checked out. Peggy has been Don's punching bag. Pete has been nervously competing with Ken and his haircut. Don's been emasculated by Lane, who is himself merely a puppet of St. John. So it not only feels satisfying to have everyone coming together again, but to see them all playing offense instead of defense. After apparently being foiled by the three-year contract he signed in "Seven Twenty Three," Don pulls off his greatest escape yet, and manages to get everyone important at the firm to go hobo with him.

You don't think of "Mad Men" as a plot-driven show. Important things happen, in the world and to the characters, but it's more about mood, and about the era, and about how people relate to one another. Yet the moment when Don realized that Lane's unquestioned authority to fire anyone - which was set up back in one of the first scenes of the season premiere - would be the key to everyone's salvation felt as satisfying a moment of story design as, say, when Marty McFly realized he knew exactly where and when a bolt of lightning was going to strike in "Back to the Future."

And yet as energizing as so much of the birth of the new agency was, we see that the divorce is painful for the people left behind. It's all fun and games for the people who get to start over, but what about the ones being left behind? Or, worse, the ones who had no idea this was coming?

In the same way, the Draper divorce plays out differently depending on the perspective. Don is cast out of the home and the life he built, while daddy's girl Betty neatly moves on with paternal, doting Henry. And the poor kids are collateral damage just like Allison and Ken and Paul are back at Sterling Cooper.

It's fun to watch SCDP come together, and beyond painful to see Don and Betty sit the kids down on the couch and explain that Daddy won't be living there anymore. Don tries to soften the blow (to the kids and to himself) by claiming it might be temporary, but Sally - who's been aware of the problems in her parents' marriage for a long time - knows differently, and poor Bobby somehow thinks it's his fault for losing Don's cufflinks. Betty can't wait to get away from Don, but even someone whose people are Nordic can't hold in her feelings of guilt when she watches her son cling to his father and beg him not to leave.

We opened this season with expectant father Don daydreaming about the circumstances of his own birth. In the finale, with both his professional and personal lives seeming to fall apart (and only one of them in any condition to be re-assembled to Don's satisfaction), he flashes back to childhood memories he was old enough to remember, and to how a professional disagreement of Archie's occurred led to Dick Whitman losing his father(**). Things don't play quite the same way in 1963, but Don does wind up severing his relationship with his old company at the same time that his kids have to live apart from their father.

(**) Considering the way adult Don describes Archie, it's interesting but not shocking to see young Dick so broken up about his death. Drunk and abusive or not, Archie was his dad, you know?

And because we have the Dick Whitman biography on our minds throughout the episode, it makes Don's midnight confrontation with Betty - in the wake of learning about Henry Francis through Roger - seem that much uglier. Don has often been an angry hypocrite with Betty, but leaving aside the fact that he's screwed around on her far more than she has on him (with or without Captain Awesome as part of the calculation), for Dick Whitman - whose stepmother never let him forget who and what his real mother was - to call someone else a "whore"? Wow. As always, Jon Hamm's not afraid to show a very unattractive side to his alter ego, and it's in that moment - as the word echoes in the room and wakes up baby Gene - where even Don realizes that he's gone too far, and that his marriage is over.

And having endured that horrible talk with his devastated kids, Don is finally humble enough to realize that he doesn't want to see everyone who matters in his life slip away, and to go to Peggy, hat in hand, and tell her that he does care about her. His marriage is too far gone, but he manages to save this other relationship. He tells her - in a speech echoing the one Peggy gave to Pete in the season two finale, which also dealt with losing a part of yourself(***) and trying to move on without it - that he understands her, and appreciates her, and appreciates that they see the world the same way. And when he gets Peggy to the precipice (in another superb duet between Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm), he pushes her over to his side with these perfect words:
"I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you."
(***) Matt Weiner has said that Peggy's "Meditations in an Emergency" speech was not about having given up the baby, and I don't think that's what Don's alluding to, either. (I'm not even 100 percent positive that he knows why she was in that psych ward.) He's just suggesting that each of them had some kind of idea for who they would be in this world, and instead tragedy and unexpected circumstance have turned them into these two people, who are only happy at work, and who really only understand each other.

To me, the work part of Don's life - and the ongoing rapport between Hamm and Moss - has always been a more appealing part of "Mad Men" than what happens in Ossining. So given the choice between Don fixing things with Betty or with Peggy, I'm glad the writers chose the latter. A "Mad Men" where Don doesn't have Betty to come home to is still "Mad Men," I think, whereas a "Mad Men" where Don doesn't have Peggy to bounce ideas off of wouldn't be.

But to get back to the question I asked near the top of this review, how permanent will any of the changes from this episode be?

As I wrote last week, the series' narrative doesn't have a lot of room for people who either don't work at the ad agency or aren't closely-tied to someone who does. Betty assures Don that he'll always be Sally and Bobby's father, and so there's room for interaction between the two of them. (Don as weekend dad has a lot of potential.) But unless the series is prepared to dramatically expand its scope - to show Sal's journey through the gay subculture of the '60s, to follow Dr. Greg to Vietnam, to spend a whole lot more time on people who don't work for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce - I'm not sure how Betty stays as connected to the narrative. To bring it back to "The Sopranos," by the time Carmela had separated from Tony, the show had established such a large world (only some of it related to organized crime activity) that it felt natural to keep watching Carmela out on her own, interacting with the other characters as Tony's estranged wife. Betty's not a part of this universe in the same way; there isn't really a simple circumstance where you could put her in a scene with Joan, you know?

And because of that, and because I think Matt Weiner wants no part of losing January Jones, I suspect there will be some kind of attempt at reconciliation in season four, even though I feel like the story of the Draper marriage has come to a natural conclusion. What else is left to say? They've broken apart, gotten back together, he's tried harder, she's tried harder, he's cheated, she's cheated, she doesn't love him, he maybe only loves the idea of her, etc., etc., etc. Let's move on, shall we? And if that means either less of Betty, or a shift in the way the show tells its stories, so be it.

As for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce(****), if it does just turn into a redecorated version of the same shop, that will be a wasted opportunity. But I don't think that's where Weiner is going. While there was a good deal of flattery in what Don told Pete about his value, I have to believe that this will really try to be a forward-thinking agency. Up until this point, Sterling Cooper has been on the wrong side of history, but we've just crossed a generational line in the series. Kennedy is dead. The Beatles fly into New York in a few months. The '50s are definitively over, and what we think of as the actual '60s is just beginning. An ad agency that looks at the culture differently, that looks ahead rather than behind, seems ideal to depict the societal change that Weiner talks about so often. In a new office, with a smaller staff, stripped of so much institutional memory and bureaucracy, SCDP could - and hopefully will - be something that reflects the vision of people like Pete and Peggy as much as it does the old guard.

(****) Dammit, I really want some commas in there. And maybe an ampersand.

Weiner's going to be traveling for a while and not available for interviews. And given how he likes to shroud the future of the show in mystery (even the "Lost" producers don't hate spoilers as much as he does), I doubt he'd want to say anything about where the show is going in season four, or when that action might be set. But with all these huge changes, it feels like we need the action to resume sooner rather than later: a season 2-->3 gap, rather than a season 1-->2 gap. Just as Weiner didn't want to skip over the birth of the baby, and what that meant to this marriage, I don't think he's going to want us to miss too much of the growing pains of the new firm, or of Don adjusting to bachelor life, or Betty and the kids getting used to Henry.

Whenever season four is set, this tremendous finale has given Weiner the opportunity to take the show in some bold new directions. I hope he follows them, or else the theme to the next season will be Don's line to the stewardess from this season's premiere: "I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I've already been."

But there's too much of a sense of hope in this episode, in the look on Don's face as he walks back into the living room of the suite at the Pierre after saying goodbye to Betty, for me to think anything but that this is a show looking ahead now. As Roy Orbison sings (in "Shahdaroba") while Don heads into his new apartment, "The future is much better than the past."

Some other thoughts on the finale:

• I know some of you had guessed that Duck's company might wind up buying Sterling Cooper. Not only did that not happen, but Duck didn't appear at all in the finale, which is another reason I suspect we won't be jumping too far into the future for season four. I can't see Peggy and Duck as a long-term thing, but the prospect of Don finding out that his protege is sleeping with one of his most hated enemies is too delicious for the show to not depict. So we have to come back while they're still together, or at least not long after she's seen the light and treated Duck the way Duck treated Chauncey.

• Meanwhile, for all the time we spent debating whether Miss Farrell was cuckoo bananas, a healthy woman out of time, or something in between, she also doesn't figure in at all to the finale. It's entirely possible that Don could wind up with her now that Betty has sent him away - that we could even return in season four with Don and Suzanne shacked up in the apartment Joan found for him - but he was too busy with divorce at home and work to even think of her.

• Even though I assumed Joan would wind up back at the company sooner or later, I did a massive fist pump when Roger went to "make a call" for someone to help with the raiding of SC materials, because I knew exactly who'd be on the other end of the line. Joan gets to make her grand entrance, and then we get to see her and Roger acting like an old married couple as he complains about her handwriting. Whether or not they're The One for each other, the two (both characters and actors) work together incredibly well.

• Joan's back, but Sal is another MIA character in the finale. (Though for a half-second I thought they were going to call him when they couldn't get into the art department. Instead, Don just awesomely kicked the door in.) And with American Tobacco just as fundamental to the success of the new company as the old, how do they get him back? I really, really hope our last glimpse of Bryan Batt on this show wasn't at the end of "Wee Small Hours."

• For that matter, what becomes of everyone else from Sterling Cooper? I don't want to see the show backslide to the point where the new firm is indistinguishable from the old one, but a lot of interesting characters got left behind. Some of that is because they could only afford to start with a skeleton staff, and sooner or later they'll need to take on more help. Assuming Weiner also isn't ready to say goodbye to a lot of these people, it may be interesting to see tensions develop between the cool kids at the Pierre and the confused ones who were standing around Allison's desk.

• Note that when Peggy initially says no to Don, he plans to go to Kurt and Smitty next, and not Paul. Is that an indictment of Paul's talent, or of his character? Did Don fear Paul would rat him out if he could gain some advantage from it?

• Whoever else is on staff at the new company, I'm glad we'll have Jared Harris around long-term. (Presumably, anyway.) I've grown as fond of him as Lane has grown of America, even though I suspect that fondness will create all sorts of marital discord for him. His delivery of "Very good. Happy Christmas!" to St. John was one of the funniest moments in an episode full of funny moments.

• And could the cramped temporary quarters for the new firm create any marital problems for Pete and Trudy? So far, Pete seems to be swallowing any objections he might have to continuing to work with Peggy, and he and Trudy again seem like a finely-tuned machine (she gets her father to give Pete back the Clearasil account he took away when Pete wouldn't provide a grandchild, and she even brings the staff "every kind of sandwich imaginable... and a cake!"), but I don't think it's an accident that Weiner wanted the seating arrangements to put Peggy and Pete at the same desk.

• John Slattery, as always, get all the best lines, whether Roger's saying of Jane, "It's the most interest that girl's ever had in a book depository" or him responding to Harry's "Are you kidding?" with a deadpan, "Yes, yes we are. Happy birthday." But the man can get a laugh without any dialogue at all, like the way he had Roger's hand just shoot up as soon as a puzzled Don asked if they should all vote on the firing plan.

• God, Sally has been forced to grow up so much by these circumstances, and it's both a little funny (because of the things she says through her lisp) and a lot tragic, and the work of Kiernan Shipka is still another reason why I don't think we'll jump all that far ahead. They can only fudge her age so much, and unless Don's family is becoming a minor part of the show, I can't imagine Weiner wanting to recast Sally at this point.

• Though Conrad Hilton gives Don the tip that allows him and the others to pull off their great escape, Don clearly wants no part of the man's manipulations again anytime soon. He probably could have gotten Connie to sign on to the new agency, but didn't want the attendant headaches. As with so many other people left behind, I hope this isn't the last we see of Chelcie Ross on the show.

As we come to the end of another season of this show, I want to thank you all again for being both the smartest and best-behaved group of TV blog commenters around. I write about a lot of TV shows, some of them ("Sons of Anarchy" and "Breaking Bad," to name two) that exist in the same creative stratosphere as "Mad Men," and none of them come remotely close to drawing as many passionate, insightful comments as this one does. You've done a good job of sticking to the commenting rules (we're late enough in the season that I'm not going to bother repeating them), and you've made this a tremendous place to discuss one of the very best shows on television.

What did everybody else think?


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Sonia said...

It's a Sterling Coup! LOLOLOL!! Can't wait to watch again!! See you season 4!

Bill Raid said...

Was Trudy filling up a Chip N dip?

Word Verification - baggies. If only that was for Breaking Bad.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alan!!!

Stayed up late! Can't wait to read this!

word verification: outlets


bombaygirl said...

OMG. What an episode. Had to watch it twice. And then spent about an hour waiting for Alan's review! LOVED IT! LOVED JOAN!

P "N" K said...

Superlatives abound. What an episode. I will say amidst all the SC intrigue, the family scene was heartbreaking. Those poor kids.

rcobeen said...

This great episode almost made watching the the four out of five soap opera-ish previous ones worth it. This is more what Mad Men should be. If only Sal could have been brought back (it was Lucky Strike that was the problem, right?).

C. Hogan said...

"Note that when Peggy initially says no to Don, he plans to go to Kurt and Smitty next, and not Paul. Is that an indictment of Paul's talent, or of his character?"

I think it has more to do with - as you hope - SCDP being set as a very forward thinking advertising agency.

Remember, Kurt and Smitty were brought on because of their connection to the youth. I don't think Paul's old, but he's old thinking.

Nicole said...

It was nice to watch an episode and feel joy at what was happening, at least on the SCDP front. Betty and Don divorcing is inevitable, although it may not "take" next season, they are both not right for each other and if Weiner wants to be true to those characters, he will make it happen by the end of season four.

I was so glad that Roger went to call Joan, and she clearly saved the day. I doubt the coup could have happened without her. I do think it was great to have Don acknowledge Pete's few qualities, that of being forward thinking, even though Pete is smarmy otherwise. I did feel that Don's speech was really close to what you have said about Pete in a blog entry or two, starting from the Nixon Kennedy episode.

It was also great to see Pryce stand up to Mr. Sheffield for once, and his line was the funniest of the night. (I have always wondered though why the Brits in Merrie Old England say Happy Christmas, while North American say Merry Christmas).

Waiting until next summer will be hard to do...

Erika said...

Love you Alan!! Stayed up with you for this!! What a finale - it will last me until next season :) Don has a new family of misfits.

KarenX said...

I'm a west coaster who usually has 100 comments or more to ponder before having to think of something of my own to say, but here goes:

I am positively giddy after this episode. All my wildest dreams came true for everyone branching off and starting their own business and Don giving Pete the credit due for his forward-thinking, and for Lane Pryce getting to stay, and Joan getting a job with more responsibility... everyone but Sal went to La La Land with me. This is so my dream/fantasy, in fact, that I never in a hundred years imagined that they would give us such a scenario. It felt completely right, though. Cooper and Don and Roger were fantastic the way they refused to surrender, and I loved that Pryce got to join them.

I was so sure this would be a heavy episode, but it was pure joy after the stress of everything we've watched in the previous weeks. Perhaps I should not be so exuberant and perhaps I am overstating my case, but I am very, very happy for all my friends on this show.

Oh, well. One of the joys of posting early is that you can be all reaction. And what a reaction it is!

Unknown said...

i thought it was beautiful how weiner handled sal in this episode. in an hour packed full of gathering the team, the art department door being locked immediately led us to believe that he was right around the corner. but don effortlessly kicking in the door reminded us that some "sins" in this era remain unforgivable. it would be a real shame if we never come across him again.

AG said...

Spectacular. And I agree that it had a wonderful caper-movie vibe as they, well, pulled their caper. (I'd also like to thank Matthew Weiner for letting us know he was going to mess with our season-finale expectations by opening with a shot of Don's head on a pillow -- a shot greatly similar to the shot which with his former boss opened the final episode of The Sopranos. Way to remind us that we are owned, dude.)

I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of Henry and Betty. The financial talk was disturbing enough -- yet another version of the 'don't worry your pretty head' speech Betty both longs to hear and bridles at hearing -- but reality is much less fun than having white knights and handsome scoundrels fighting over one. The twitching at Betty's temple during that last call with Don bodes ill.

And the rest: Don moves on and ahead by mentally laying his father to rest, and by giving poor Pete the affirmation that character has craved from a parental figure since he got here. Trudy makes herself as much a partner in Pete's success as Peggy does, which makes the placement of Peggy and Pete at that table not such a slam-dunk for the 'shippers. Paul looks into Peggy's office and the look on his face says everything about how it hurts to be left behind. And Robert Morse owned every scene he touched. A satisfying season finale indeed. Cannot wait 'til summer.

Susan said...

Another interesting piece of the puzzle as we see little Dick Whitman see the horrible death of his father. Great Lane Pryce moments. I especially enjoyed the scene in Pete's apartment. And for once Trudy was welcome dropping in to see her husband at work.

Patrick said...

After a few minor issues with the backhalf of this season, I felt like this episode really brought it all together and made a lot of the choices made throughout the season much clearer and comprehensible. A really top notch episode.

I went in more depth on my blog if you want to check it out.

Brandy said...

Roger's lines are always good but I also loved Slattery's delivery after telling Don about Henry, "I was going to tell you. No, I wasn't" He just slides that in there and it cracks me up.

Such a beautiful coup. I cringed when they put Peggy and Paul at the same table if only because I've really grown fond of Trudy.

But whatever that brings I can't wait to see it.

My issue with Betty and Henry even more than her not knowing him well is that she should be hyper aware that a relationship can be built on a bed of lies.

When Henry tries to talk her out of taking money from Don, I have major alarm bells because her intial, "I have three children" was the right way to go. Get what you can to be secure and then move on with your life.

Why would she be so willing to trust somebody she barely knows when she's still living with the consequences of the last time she did that?

I don't begrudge Betty moving on, not at all but it's not smart how she's going about it.

Seems like SCDP took all the people looking boldly forward to the 60s (and the Kennedy assasination is the start of the 60s zeitgeist even if it's 3 years after the start of the decade) while Betty and Henry will start the season firmly ensconsed in 50s values.

But we'll see. Who leaves their kids a couple of weeks before Christmas? The move to Reno couldn't have waited until New Years.

Happy Christmas Drapper kids, Daddy's moving away, you are getting the world's most boring step father, and not only wil Daddy not be there for Christmas, your mom? Not so much either.

Have I mentioned there is no Santa?

Anonymous said...

So happy to see Joan back (and Hooker left behind)! Hope Sal is back sooner rather than later, too, but I wonder how they'll handle the Lee Garner, Jr. issue. I realize that the Draper divorce was supposed to be a big part of this episode, but I too found myself just not caring as much--I think largely because I find Betty so much less enjoyable a character than the SCDP crew.

Looking forward to next season. Just as I've really enjoyed seeing what the FNL writers are doing with starting over at East Dillon this year, I'm excited to see what Weiner & Co. have in store for the new agency (I hope minus Lois).

cgeye said...

Alan, every comment mentioning 'poop' is spam, and the poster should be blocked.

Anonymous said...

Part of me wants to quit watching this show because the nearly year-long wait between seasons is torture.

ScottyG said...

amazing, after a little disappointment last episode,
"I thought I was out, but they pulled me back in!"
(okay that was a lie, i'll never quit on Mad Men )

just bring Sal back (and Kenny too?) and we're rolling

Marie said...

I think Peggy would be more hurt by Don approaching the young and hip Kurt and Smitty, more than the obviously inferior Kinsey.

Unknown said...

Is it weird that I hope Don Draper would fail at one point? I keep going back to what Sterling told him when he said that, in effect, Don only plays nice when it suits him, when he needs someone to bail him out, and I wondered many times in this episode (Sterling, Peggy, Pete) when one of them would say, Thanks, but no thanks.

I work at an ad agency, and while my CD isn't the creative genius Don is, the personality traits of belittling others and passing off ideas as his own, sometimes, is there, and that makes me wish that Don would be caught in a jam with no one to bail him out.

berkowit28 said...

FUN! I applauded many times during this episode. Very, very cathartic, as all sorts of things came to pass that felt just right.

One thing that Alan didn't mention: when Roger (it *was* Roger, yes?) asked Peggy to get him coffee, and she said, simply, "No". Right on.

Zac F. said...

A magnificent end to a magnificent season.

Thanks to The Sopranos and The Wire, I had been "trained" to expect the big stuff to happen in the second to last episode, but Weiner blew that out of the water.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the characters that get left behind at the remnants of SC.

Too bad this blog couldn't have a poll asking people how the new company's name should be spelt out. I would vote for Sterling Cooper Draper and Price.

The scene where Betty and Don tell the kids what is going on reminded me of my parents doing the same thing just over 20 years ago, a scene that remains in my memories fresh as the day it happened.

Elizabeth Moss' line reading of "Again?" was pitch perfect. Everyone else who said it was good too, but EM was perfect.

Was NYC looking that run down in the mid 1960's? I know it was looking real bad in the late 80's before it started getting cleaned up.

This was the first season I was able to watch live in its entirety and it has been nothing but awesome, both in watching the show and coming here to read the blog entries and comments. Kudos to Alan and to the other commenters on making this the destination for after Mad Men.

John Sturgeon said...

That was an amazing game-changing episode and the best hour of scripted tv this year. Thanks for the great recaps Alan.

Will Eidam said...

If TV shows were boxers, then Mad Men's Season 3 Finale would be Pound for Pound the greatest Heavyweight in the World... I caught myself smiling/misty eyed/with mouth wide opened during the entire episode. Not a single frame was wasted...The Wire took 4 Seasons to make me feel this way...Mad Men only took 3....

I don't know what to think anymore!

J said...

Am glad Amanda is back running D&D again.

Done well, and pleasing as far as which Avengers they chose to keep for this squad, but the ad agency reorg just feels like a correction for a dead end. First two seasons felt profound, better-than-television; this season ultimately felt like just-television. I'm actually pretty happy this season is over.

Brandon Nowalk said...

A caper film! Yes! I couldn't put my finger on what it was about the jazzy score and the prank-like wreckage of Sterling Cooper, but you nailed it.

I'm elated to see Joan and Lane sticking around. I don't see Betty's story as a problem given how much of her performance has been alone or with the kids, but I do hope she realizes that Henry Francis is not the fulfillment she seeks fairly soon.

Any chance we'd find out over hiatus if they're dropping Bryan Batt, Michael Gladis, and Aaron Staton as regulars? This is the first time Mad Men might cut people from the opening credits, I think.

Unknown said...

Incredible episode.

Alison's "We've been robbed!" was great, as was her "He didn't even leave a note!" I wouldn't mind if SCDP poached her from McCann once they get their sea legs.

A question re the contracts that the principals escaped via being fired - Wouldn't those contracts include non-compete clauses? When Duck attempted his coup at SC in season 2, he implied as much when he said that Don would be selling insurance if he didn't stay with the firm.

I'm also a bit taken aback by the outright theft of assets (intellectual and otherwise) that the new firm took. Would there be no ramifications from that?

LA said...

I LOVED this episode! It was so satisfying. I, for one, sincerely hope that Betty's a minor - if not missing - character next season. I'm really not interested in her, the action in the office has always been much more interesting to me.

Did anyone else notice 1) the date the "four men shot themselves in the foot" was a Friday the 13th, and 2) someone had drawn an "F" on the door of the Art Department so that it read Fart Department? Just a couple tiny touches that, I swear, Weiner throws in to see if we are paying attention. Likely, there were others, but those two caught my eye on first viewing.

It was so sweet when Don went into the guest room he was sleeping in to find Sally in there.

Damn, I'm going to miss this show for the next several months. Thanks, Alan, for another fantastic season of your stellar reviews and this forum. And thanks to the rest of you for your insights and wonderful comments. Both have profoundly enhanced my viewing pleasure.

Margaret said...

Couldn't fall asleep from thinking about this show; thanks for posting so soon and giving me a forum.

I work in advertising and love all the on-the-job angles, and really enjoyed the various flatteries needed to assemble the team. Ad biz = egos!

Couple of things. I see you didn't go into Pete's interview; didn't he say it was at Grey, Duck's agency? So might there be something next season along the Pete-Duck-Peggy continuum again?

When the kids were taking the Draper break-up badly, I railed to my husband, "How could Betty think her kids don't still love Don, just because she no longer does?" He replied, "Because she's got borderline personality disorder and cannot empathize or imagine anyone has emotions other than hers." Not that my husband's a professional psych or anything (actually, he's a lawyer) but goes way beyond her people being Nordic!

So who's in charge of the old SC now? Ken and his haircut?

I think now that Lucky Strike is gone, Ken could rehire Sal. And it would be delicious to see some new biz pitch situations where Ken, Paul and Sal run into Pete, Peggy and whatever AD they hire as they all wait in the potential client's lobby to do their dog'n'pony show. I've been there! It's wonderfully fraught with tension.

Can't wait for next season!

Anonymous said...

When does Season 4 debut?

Zack Smith said...

Boy, I feel sad when the season is over. It's so much fun to read all the thoughts and analysis of each episode.

@Bill Raid: Thought that was a Chip N' Dip as well, which would be only appropriate.

This is going to be all random thoughts of randomness.

-More noticeable scoring this episode than the rest of the season -- and this season has used music more than the other two. But it was a lot of fun here.

-Don confronting Betty was the creepiest scene since Pete and the au pair. I was briefly worried he was going to try to rape her. He was dead-on as to why she was going with Henry, but it was a massively nasty moment with both of them at their worst.

-Next season, might Don wind up in a new relationship but having an affair with Betty? Ironic if that happens.

-Betty is getting with Henry for the wrong reasons, but it's not like a woman had a lot of options back then. Even with Gene 1.0 pointing out the strength her mother had, Betty doesn't BELIEVE she has the strength to be on her own, and she's just going to wind up like Jane with Roger.

-Thought it was a bit sad the way Betty brought Gene but not the other kids with her to Reno. There's an ugly sense she might dote on her baby, who's not as used to Don as a father.

-The kid who played Bobby was pretty good in the breakup scene. Could this mean the recasts will stop?

-Archie died after leaving a co-op. There's a sense this might play some role in Don realizing he needs others to survive a bad situation.

-Harry Crane is one lucky SOB. He might have made a darn good cog at PPL...

-Really do not want all the other characters coming back -- I briefly regained interest in NIP/TUCK when they changed locations, then they brought the same annoying supporting cast and storylines, and I checked out again. But if they can do something with Sal...

-Loved Trudy calling out to Pete from the kitchen. She knows his moods and how to keep him from shooting himself in the foot.

-Also loved Roger and Don grumbling afterward. "I can't believe he was going to leave." "The little shit." Liked Alan's point that they're just jealous, but it also goes to show that even with all their flattery, they can't completely admit to Pete as an equal.

-There were a number of theories that Betty would find out about Don and the teacher through running into her, or through some mutual gossip. Instead...Don finds out because Roger's daughter is friends with Henry's daughter, and she heard gossip. Good twist!

-This season was about father figures. To break it down:

1) Don's obsession with Archie, and not becoming him even as he makes similar misakes.

2) Don and Connie, where he breaks away after trying to be a son to him.

3) Pete and Peggy both try to assert themselves outside of Don's approval, and are promoted as a result, though that need is still there.

4)Betty and Gene 1.0, where she doesn't learn the right lessons her dad is trying to impart at the end. And there's Gene and Sally, where he gives her the attention her own parents won't.

5)Betty and Don as parents: Still failing their kids, even as Don tries to do better.

6) Betty and Henry; Roger and Jane: An older man as a father figure; and of course Roger has problems with his own daughter, Margaret.

7) Pryce and PPL: Similar to Don and Connie, where Pryce learns he doesn't always have to play along.

8) Ho Ho and his dad: Self-explanatory.

9) Matriarchal, but Peggy and her mom and her secretary, where in both cases, she asserts herself from an overprotective influence.

There are probably some others throughout the season I missed.

Where will things go from here? We've a year (at least) to wonder...

Worth staying up for your review Alan! Hope you can do a "Mad Men Companion" book or something similar with all your analyses.

Geo said...

When they're leaving the office with the movers and Pete is carrying his rifle over his shoulder and the clinking SFX when Don pputs down the box of his office stuff...that's why I love this show so much. It rewards its loyal fans time and time again through such small moments.

Brandy said...

Janet--Wouldn't those contracts include non-compete clauses? --

That's why they had to orchestrate the firings. Since they were fired the non compete was void.

They were fired, they left without severance, henceforth they can do what they want.

Lauren said...

Thanks Alan for getting the recap up tonight.

I was already excited for Joan's arrival after Roger leaves to make the phone call, but then Joan arrives in pants and I knew that the future really was coming to SCD&P. (I like the ampersand best personally.)

I knew it was going to be a classic when I kept on glancing at the clock and hoping that I would have more time left in the episode.

Anonymous said...

The flashbacks were reminding Don of how he should deal with the current "bidness" situation.

Archie was ready to leave his fellow businessmen because they had deceived him---the right choice. But then his wife convinces him to give and he is literally killed for doing so.

Don was not going to make the same mistake.

AG said...

@Zack Smith: "Loved Trudy calling out to Pete from the kitchen. She knows his moods and how to keep him from shooting himself in the foot."

My nomination for funniest line of the night, no disrespect to Slattery of course.

Zack Smith said...

Another thought: Did this episode remind anyone else of the two-parter of THIRTYSOMETHING where Eliot and Michael tried to oust Miles Drentell from the ad firm? That was a great, tense episode. Actually, I'd like to see David Clennon on MAD MEN...

Also, Matthew Weiner's words + John Slattery's delivery = Comedy Gold. Though Peggy upstaged him big time with the coffee line.

Fernando said...

Could this get Freddy Rumsen back in the fold?

SK Rollins said...

Nice turning of the tables with Don being blindsided when Roger tells him about Henry Francis...reminded me of when Betty had no idea Don was cheating near the end of season 1 until it was casually asked about. On that note I never thought I would sympathize with Don in his divorce but I found myself really disliking Betty.

This goes without saying but I'm very, very curious to see where Weiner takes Season 4. A big question is what will he do with the remaining SC characters?

I agree that they probably can't do anything more with the Draper marriage than they already did, that arc seems finished to me. But they can't write Betty out completely either.

BigTed said...

I initially got the feeling that when Peggy turned down the new firm, there was a possibility that she would end up pillow-talking about it to Duck, and that he would ruin their escape plans somehow. But that was another "ticking time bomb" that never turned into anything.

When Don finally did deliver the talk that convinced Peggy, he said something about how things had irrevocably changed, and she was the only one who understood. I wasn't sure what he meant by that -- that everything changed after the Kennedy assassination? (But they don't seem to have talked much since then.) That the times were a-changin' in general? (But apparently Pete understood that too, and was ready to sell products to the new generation.) Or did it have something to do with their encounter in the hospital, when he encouraged her to forget everything and move on, the way he did in his own life -- and now he was getting everyone else to do, too?

berkowit28 said...

At the end, I wondered - if Betty and Henry are going to Reno without the kids, why in the world can't Sally and Bobby be with their father?

There is no danger of Betty leaving the show. Because of the kids, as in any divorce, Don and Betty will always have to make regular contact.

Monica said...

"After apparently being foiled by the three-year contract he signed in "Seven Twenty Three," Don pulls off his greatest escape yet, and manages to get everyone important at the firm to go hobo with him."

Hehe. I want to go hobo with Don Draper too!

This was an amazing season finale.


- Loved the look on Bert's face when Don asked Lane to fire them. Bert may be old, but he's not slow.

- Hate that Harry is in the new firm. He is useless! Hello, he couldn't even remember the hotel room number!

- Why didn't they ask Ken to come along? I never got the impression that they thought he couldn't be trusted. In fact, it always seemed that they liked him better than Pete. Surely, Ken and his multitude of accounts would've helped SCDP's cashflow even more.

- Oh Betty Betty Betty. I was always on her side and defending her against the "childish" accusations. But, to me, leaving your kids right after announcing a divorce is completely inexcusable. I do hope that she and Henry are flying right back after "establishing residency" and don't have to actually stay for six weeks.

- Favorite line of the episode was, of course, Roger's: "Dec. 13, 1963. The day that four men shot off their own legs."

- Roger and Bert didn't understand cashflow? I can see how Don wouldn't be familiar with the company's finances since he's in charge of creative, but who the hell was running Sterling Cooper before Lane and Duck came along?

- American Tobacco! I live in Durham, NC, where the old American Tobacco warehouses have been renovated into a beautiful office complex. That's still a big name around here and I loved that it got so much air time in this season finale.

** FYI Alan, a poster on the TWOP boards mentioned that Dec. 13 was a Friday the 13th in 1963. Don't know if that might have more significance down the road.

LA said...

A couple more things I loved:

Cooper calling Jane a "trollop."

In that pivotal scene where Don confronted Betty in the bedroom, when he threatened to take the kids, I LOVED when he said something along the lines of "God knows they'd be better off" (without her). Bravo. Such a cathartic moment for this viewer.

Anonymous said...

Question: Why is Ken passed over for Pete, when the opposite happened last week?

Anonymous said...

iamcjs as anonymous since it's 250

Great episode....kinda had the feeling that we'd get a new agency going into this episode but didn't see the hatchetman having such a pivotal role, love Price's character and also his interaction with Moneypenny too

Other random thoughts:
-the May-November romance "setting sail" for Nevada...just hit me that they literally ARE a May November romance since that's when Derby day and the wedding occurred. And as for Betty--she's going to need a bigger raft....and she isn't getting any of Don's half million payout. Does she assume(?) that she's got the house...guess that two half houses will equal one real one??

-also before she "sets sail" she is still answering the phone as Draper residence, and also still prominently has on her wedding/engagment combo on her phone hand (although you can't see her left hand on the plane thank to baby Gene)

-plane scene shows Betty in the exact same situation as she was with Don: her holding the fort/baby in isolation with her new Silver fox sitting next to her. Needless to say the inflight movie isn't Singing in the Rain. She doesn't look happy AT ALL!! (although the cynic in me snarks that she must be so worried about Bobby and Sally at home with Carla)

SD said...


I'm glad I stayed up to read your post. Not much new to add. Let me just second a couple of things: I also gave a fist pump and a yell of "Joan!" when Roger said he had to make a call. Roger has had quite a season. Also,that "porkchop around my neck" line was hilarious.

I was surprised when Peggy turned Don down. But I was proud of her. And, yet, she just had to be on board in the end. Don had to earn it, and earn it he did. That was just an incredible scene. In the end, with the unfortunate exception of Sal's notable absence, everything felt inevitable, as if there was no other way the season could have ended. How awesome is that?

Other than the fact that I don't care if we ever see Connie again (a one-season jerk, like Jimmy Barrett), I second everything you mentioned. Thanks to you and your many followers for a great season of reviews and comments.

Jim Hill said...

Time again to disagree with Alan: I hope we've seen the last of Chelcie Ross, Brian Batt, and by the middle of season four, January Jones. The actors are tremendous, and the characters they inhabit have been fruitful but the show is at its core about Don's life, professional and personal.

Don made it clear in his episode-launching meeting with Connie that he felt he'd been ill-used by the hotel magnate. It's unlikely he'd direct SCDP resources that direction.

Roger brought American Tobacco to SCDP and with American Tobacco comes Junior. They can't hire Sal under those circumstances without driving a tremendous hole into the reality they've established; every time Batt appeared it would scream "We shoehorned this guy in because he's so awesome."

And despite the quickening of breath I feel when JJ appears onscreen (*) the past season and a half have established that this is a marriage which is good and done. Bets goes to Reno, gets the quickie divorce, and then vanishes from Don's life except for the brief interaction when he picks up the kids or drops them off. Again, anything else would be shoehorning and I'd hate to see that. A reconciliation plot (to be correct, ANOTHER reconciliation) would ring hollow. Betty Draper will soon cease to be a part of Don Draper's life in any meaningful way and so ... orf wi' 'er 'ead.

Likewise the untaken from PPL/SC. Paul wouldn't be brought over for all the reasons he wasn't in on the coup. Kurt and Smitty were sufficiently minor characters that it doesn't matter a lick whether they come or not. The only loss is Ken (and his haircut) but they can't have him come over with Pete already there without forfeiting their storyline realism.

So let the philosophy of Dick Wolf come into play: you've been great, we love ya, now beat it. New characters, new actors.

But boy-howdy, it's going to be a long haul until S4 kicks off.

(*) As opposed to the complete cessation of breath when Christina Hendricks appears onscreen, a physical condition accompanying a complete shutdown in nonvisual sensory input.

Unknown said...

Stupendous finale. The "divorce talk" with the children just wrecked me. Juxtaposed with the "caper" verve of the rest of the episode was a great contrast. This show is amazing.

And I must say, Alan, that to crank out that high of a level of review so soon after the finale is an impressive feat. Kudos.

renton said...

Pete said his interview was with Ogilvy, not Duck's agency.

That's the benefit of being deaf enough to watch with the captions on.

Hatfield said...

I have to say that while I don't like the spamish comments, it did amuse me that they targeted cgeye after he/she pointed them out. But hey, I'm easy.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the contract clarification Brandy! Makes sense.

Still don't see how they can gloss over the theft from Sterling Cooper though.

Alan, thanks for a season of great recaps and the wonderful, thought provoking forum you provide for us here!

cgeye said...

To go further -- who leaves their kids with the Negro help, alone, for six weeks, during Christmas vacation and New Year's? Wouldn't Betty just this once ask her brother to help her out? Doesn't Carla have her own family to deal with? There goes that vaunted hope Weiner would actually take more care with the Negro Problem.

But ain't it funny how Don's no longer white? He could have described Betts' nose as 'pinched', 'snooty', but 'white'? He sure went into that Hairy Ape space, didn't he?

And what truly pissed me off is that Betty had all the corroboration she needed, through Jimmy Barrett. The only thing she needed to do is ask Barrett whether *his* P.I. dug anything up. Even if Bobbie didn't cooperate, Henry had enough clout to make her business life hell until she gave the names of those in her 'network' of Draper paramours. Hell, even Mona probably knew dirt on Draper since she was so angry at him for prompting Roger's midlife crisis.

That was the continuity I expected, not some detail about firing authority, and after three seasons of Don walking around with his pants unzipped, it's a damn shame he'll never have to say in public just how lousy a husband he was.

But Betty's still swayed by daddies telling her what to do -- lawyers discouraging her to take her full rights as a mostly faithful wife, a new beau promising to take care of everything when she knows damn well they don't. Can Mrs. Draper think for one moment about the basics -- a bank account in her own name, a safe deposit box for her jewels and papers, serious calculation of child support and college funds, now that her ex is going entrepreneurial? Not one question as to why he's now working at the Pierre?

Betty won't become a better mother, nor a stronger woman, until she really confronts how important money is. From her behavior, *she* doesn't understand it, not in a way that gives her more security for her and her kids.

Jim Hill said...

Zack Smith said...
"Another thought: Did this episode remind anyone else of the two-parter of THIRTYSOMETHING where Eliot and Michael tried to oust Miles Drentell from the ad firm?"

Oh, yeah. Big time. It's remarkable how two of the best hours I've seen on TV have been machinations at ad agencies. And nary a car chase to be seen!

Anonymous said...

This finale was so awesome that I don't even mind the fact we saw this same plot last year on The Office. I'm sure Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will be every bit as wonderful as The Michael Scott Paper Company.

Unknown said...

Amazing way to end the season. I am so intrigued as to when Season 4 will start, it can't be a huge time jump we'd just miss too much. So many funny moments and times my wife and I just looked at each other with awe and disbelief. Can't wait for Season 4 and great insight you give Alan, Thank you so much! My wife and I just started watching in October and caught up just in time to see the Finale live!!!

Wes covington said...

Sal could get hired back at the new McCann owned version of PPL.

McCann Erickson is still around today and really needs a less annoying homepage on its website

jenae said...

Wow, I'm in the minority. I found the episode anti-climactic. Felt more like 35 mins than a longer than usual hour. (Okay, reading the above closely, I’m not only in the minority, I think I am the minority.)

I still don’t know, and wish I did, what’s going on inside Betty. Why didn’t she give life with Dick Whitman, the father of her children, a chance?

So, for me, an anti-climatic climax. (We didn’t even learn if Jane is Jewish, though we do know that Roger will now allow someone to call her a trollop and not even argue.)

The “new family of misfits”—as Erika put it—aspect was nice, the best part actually. And Don’s father’s death was important back-story. And Don and Peggy’s moment together, that was moving and well done.

Alan usual refers to Harry Crane—one of the new misfits—as a bumbler, but I’ve liked him ever since he told the caveman artists hand pint story (wonder if any cave women worked on those paintings?) Maybe I can identify with his anxieties at work. I too have been pleaded with to stay and offered promotions in my office jobs, but I always felt unbearably anxious working in offices, like I was always one unseen mistake from blowing everything. (I would ask someone to explain something, not understand, then after asking 3 or 4 times be too embarrassed and give up, and have to go on not knowing how to do various tasks that were part of my job.) Office jobs, when they’re good they’re good, when bad, very. (Dealing with all those personalities in close quarters always made me nervous.)

I do wish I knew what caused Betty to give up so easily. (As someone ?? pointed out last week) JFK is shot, she reaches out for Don; LHO is shot, she pushes him away. Permanently. What are the emotions? Reasons?

It is nice to have Joan back in the fold; our gang working their hearts out out of a hotel room.

Okay—I’ve been writing this while going back and forth from room to room, watching the replay. If you focus on the hi-jinks of the misfits, and give up your expectations of more satisfying development of the romantic story lines, the episode does improve, for me, on repeat viewing. Great Orbison song over the credits.

Hatfield said...

At the point when Don and Cooper were trying to sell Roger on the coup, I turned to my girlfriend and said that this episode was already better than last week's. And that was what, ten minutes in? Just a stellar hour in almost every way, with classic scenes and lots of laughs. This may have been the first episode I've ever felt happy the whole way through; the change was so shocking that I kept expecting something awful to happen.

Let me share Alan's enthusiasm for the continued presence of Jared Harris. If we do lose Cosgrove, Kinsey or Sal, he will make up for it. And the thought of him being on the same team as everyone else instead of hamstrung by his British bosses is very appealing.

I'm with LA and others in feeling that we could do without Betty. Even if she's right to be mad at Don, she just rubs me the wrong way. Hell, even the way she smokes bothers me.

This season hasn't grabbed me as much as the previous two, but there's so much they could do now that I don't know how I'll make it until next summer. On the plus side, my Sundays are gonna be a lot more open.

Anonymous said...

iamcjs' other thoughts

SCD&P: same ingredients, just changing the name on the label

Harry: way to man up and commit to this great new opportunity...this is a TOTAL setup for a future return of Joan to run media dept, after she's done rearranging everything else, especially since Harry can't even remember which room their new "office" is in...

Pete/Peggy: sharing a desk...on this comment Pete immediately glanced to Peggy. Great little moment (thanks for the assist in THAT setup Joanie..awesome as always). Also Peggy returns this glance x2 at Pete AND Trudy sequentially when she arrives with sandwiches and cake. Again, such a great little moment!! I'm even tempted to call these little moments pregnant pauses....

Anonymous said...

I totally miscounted. Even after watching everything that happened in this episode, the lack of a preview for an upcoming episode, and a promo for The Prisoner, I still thought that the finale was next week.

Hey, a remake of The Prisoner, too. What's with the return of campy Cold War era franchises? Granted, most of the others are from the second Cold War, but still…

Unknown said...

Given that Henry Francis is in the same social circle as Roger Sterling, I'd think that it's inevitable that Don and Betty run into each other at an event or two!

Anonymous said...

iamcjs: Also am I seeing Peggy with pregancy cheeks and jowls again? God I hope not....totally want her "to Chauncey" Mr. Herman (image of Duc looking in thru a pane-glass lobby looking so sad...would serve him right)

Dan said...

Going to sleep, but just had to note that Betty was wearing the same grey dress when she spoke to the divorce lawyer that she wore when confronting the psychiatrist in 1.13.

Unknown said...

I liked how the episode was a series of Don Draper pitches, which we didn't get to see a lot of this season. The scene where Don admits he needs Peggy was a class DD pitch.

Pamela Jaye said...

I wasn't really clear on whether Dick hated his father, of uncle Mack who came after. I'm sure someone can sort me out.

A big DVR disaster (it said it was recording in every way except the file size increasing) led to my missing the open, but as it turned out, only the Previouslies. A few reboots later (and losing and finding tuner cards) I was finally able to watch the entire ep (and be sure of it at 1am).

Penny, coffee? No. Yay!

Leaving children alone with Betty (or better/worse with a "sitter") gives me creepy Gosselin-like feelings. Betty could rarely be bother with her kids (bothered *by*, yes)

One would have to be desperate to run off with Mr. Don't Worry About The Money even though we have never even had a date.

At the end, was that Don or Henry with the suitcases? I'm guessing from the buildings, it wasn't Reno.
(guess what kids? Dad's leaving and Mom's going to Reno for 6 (weeks? months?))

at 3am my thoughts are even less deep than usual.

Guess Lane won't have to go to India.

Donnell, Young, Dole and Frutt (and someone), may I help you? That's what all those asterisks reminded me of.

Way to get out of a contract, Don! Thanks for the heads-up Connie.

Loved the mass conspiratorial firing.
Loved seeing part of Peggy's apartment.

Still not clear on the bad blood between Don and Roger. Probably missed the answer many times in the deluge of posts.

I do hope Carla's a good mom to those kids.

They moved all that stuff out without anyone noticing...

No more Xerox machine? Didn't check.

Reminded me of my last office before we moved to an office about the size of that hotel living room.
Glad someone is planning for the amount of revenue necessary to stay afloat.

Looking forward and hoping next season will not jump ahead in years.
Fun all around. Favorite charcters (cept Sal) and no interlopers, except the redeemed Pryce, who may have been the most fun of all.

Unknown said...

You nailed it, Alan-- this finale was a heist, and it was no coincidence that this was (Ossining drama aside) by far the most fun we've had in this very depressing season.

This season, we saw Don Draper-- the man and the myth--come apart completely. We saw him come clean to Betty, and then be kicked to the curb for it after Ruby shoots Oswald.

And it wasn't just a low point for Don. We saw the sulky bastard driving poor Pee Wee to Uncle Herman, Roger performing in blackface, Guy losing his foot just when he gets it in the door, Pete losing out to Cosgrove and his haircut, and Pryce being kicked around over and over again by St. John. Oh, and the President got shot, and so did the guy who shot him.

All of this just made the heist that much more fun. I cheered out loud when Roger went to go make his phone call, and burst out laughing at Pryce's "Happy Christmas." (Especially since St. John has been a smug, superior bastard from the moment he appeared on the show, surpassing even Uncle Herman in hatability.)

And now we have an ad agency and a Don Draper rising from the ashes just as all hell is about to break loose for America.

On an more mundane note, I hope this Pete and Peggy thing doesn't completely blow up-- against all expectations, I've been really enjoying seeing Pete and Trudy coming together as a couple and taking on the world together (and cutting a rug while they're at it.)

Oh the times, they are a-changin'.

happyfeet said...

Wowser... can't believe I'm on the board so early! Jubilant at parts of this episode, so sad in others.

It is oddly satisfying to see so many things you hoped for come together in quick succession - all my favourites agrreing to sign on, and Joan coming back and in her element. How much was she enjoying that?!

Don spoke some truths when he brutally woke Betty in the night saying that the kids would be better off with him, and belying his feelings about feeling inferior to her as well as Betty's childlike needs to be with someone more 'respectable' and her 'do no wrong' self-view. She didn't deserve to be called a whore however, and Don is such a hypocrite on the infidelity front.

Am I right in saying that Betty and Henry have taken baby Francis to Reno for SIX WEEKS and left the other two alone at home with neither parent???! I suppose it will be easy for Henry to love the baby, who will only ever know Henry as his father, but the children get left behind. I felt soooo bad for them. Could they not have stayed with Don?

I cannot wait to see where the next season picks up. I cannot wait!

Intrepid Logician said...

as far as paul:

They were only asking people they thought were guaranteed yesses... Don may think Paul is a coward and would balk, therefore threatening the plan.

Anonymous said...

Nice way to conclude a season instead of a cliff hanger. I also liked the new possibilities added to the show with starting a new agency.

I think they took Pete over Ken because Pete still has connections - the reason he was at SC to start with. Even though they want to be forward looking the new firm didn't want to totally throw out the old world.

I worked at a company where all the marketing people played golf even the women because deals were made on the golf course or at golf tournaments.

They took Harry because he was the TV guy not because he was the best person.

I also wished Sal would've been back but the way the episode played out I doubt he will.

Greg M said...

What's so great about this episode--and pleasantly surprising--is that it's the first season finale that felt genuinely happy at the end, and it's the first season finale which Don ended close to people, as opposed to alone. (Granted, we saw him with his suitcases alone, but the shot of him entering the new offices of SCDP was mor prominent.)

Julia said...

I have been, and always will be, a sucker for those sequences in movies like "Ocean's Eleven," "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Magnificent Seven" where the two leaders (there are always two guys at first, aren't there?) travel around to assemble the perfect team of experts, explaining their value and using various tricks of persuasion along the way to get them on board.

The inspiration for all those films was one of the greatest movies ever made - "The Seven Samurai" by Kurosawa. Now there was a director who was an astute observer of the little gestures and statements that make for such rich portraits of people - like MadMen's writers.

I wonder why Jane and Henry's daughter know each other.

Why did Betty end it? She told Don : "I've never been enough for you." She's probably been thinking through the significance of Don never telling her who he really was and needing outside lovers. How likely is it that he could change? He didn't even want to discuss the Kennedy assassination aftermath with her. And her statement that she didn't break up the marriage stung him. His reaction was visceral.

But he seemed to have learned from it - Roger told him he never was good at relationships because he didn't value them. You could see that statement was also resonating with Don.

Don's attempts to be a better husband were too little, too late. There would have been yet another stewardess because he seemed incapable of relating to Betty as a real person.

I'm thinking the teacher wouldn't like actually being married to a guy who makes his living in what the counter-culture would call a "phoney way to make a living".

What a great episode. All the stodginess of the Brits has been dumped over-board and the competant Joan is back. Next year should be great.

Don has really committed himself to something, and Roger seems excited to be a founder of a company instead of the inheritor of one. Lots of productive self-assessments going on.

Stayed up too late to wait for the critique and the early comments. Well worth it, tho.

Anonymous said...

i love that we finally get an establishing shot of the outside of SC in the episode when they decide to leave it.

Anonymous said...

i feel silly asking this, but could someone explain the phrase "sausage factory" as it meant back then?

Anonymous said...

I'm usually making noise at BoK but their party crashed the server or something.

however, I've also read your blog and want to thank you for the insights and interesting comments here.

This was a great episode. Matt W. was sooo mean to put us through all that misery this season. But it was a great set up to this satisfying moment after all the frustrations of S3.

Don picked Peggy and Pete because they can see and feel the changes that the sixties embodied.

Surely Sal can find a way into the new SCDP. Maybe he can use a little blackmail on Lee. Just to get his job back. I think Sal's too honorable to screw his way back into the fold, so he can't go the Jane Sterling route.

but if the show has the emerging women's issues creative with Peggy, Pete as the young demographic (and open to doing business with other races, etc.) they need Sal or someone who represents for closeted homosexuals who may or may not come out.

Betty and Don's marriage is over. No more love. that was heartbreaking, even if they are just the plastic bride and groom on top of the wedding cake.

Betty is so screwed, tho, with this Henry Francis thing. you just know it.

Unknown said...

From the way the firings went, I think that PPL would have a strong case that the firings were fraudulent and should be treated as resignations. The only real firing was that of Pryce. The smoking gun is that after he was fired, he immediately joined those he had fired as a partner in the new firm, and was thus complicit in a conspiracy of fraud.

I would think that that would enable PPL to enforce any non-compete clauses in the contracts.

I'm not a lawyer--just a logical thinker.

Omungous said...

I liked how Pete was carrying his rifle as they removed their belongings from Sterling Cooper.

Deborah said...

What a great finale to Season 3. I can't get over how happy I was to see the elated look on Don's face as he gazes upon his fellow hobos in SCD&P's makeshift office at the Pierre. I think the way Weiner tied up loose ends with the central characters was brilliant: detente between Don and Roger, Don telling Peggy and Pete why they're important to him and the new agency, the triumphant return of Joan, etc, etc. The demise of Don and Betty's marriage was inevitable and I'm glad they showed how ugly Don could be in that scene in their bedroom. Didn't Betty get an inheritance from her father? I have to think that she has some money of her own so she's not completely beholden to Henry Francis. So many great moments -- I loved Pete's holding out his hand and saying "I'm really not sick" and Lane's "Happy Cristmas!" I'm going into mourning now that my Sunday night MM viewing followed by your review and reader comments are on haitus until the start of Season 4. Alan, thanks for the great reviews and thanks to your readers for their perceptive comments!

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that the bar where Roger told Don about Henry Francis was the same bar that Don inadvertently convinced Roger to break it off with Mona?

And was it a coincidence that Betty and Henry had a seat between them on their flight to Nevada?

Hardly the way you imagine two lovebirds on their way to getting married...

Oz said...

"No ... I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you."

Is this quote correct? I played it thrice and for the life of me couldn't tell if Don said "will" or "won't"


Adam said...

Just have to point out that Betty certainly won't have any trouble getting a settlement out of Don in their divorce, remember she knows about Dick Whitman, and we've seen Don be blackmailed before.
3rd times the charm.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the Draper marriage has reached a natural conclusion at all. There is a lot left unsaid between them. This is not the end of their story at all.

I fear for Betty's future at the end of this season. She's going from an abusive husband like Don to one who is already showing signs of possessiveness in Henry.

I hope January Jones finally gets her emmy nomination next year!

Commie Bastard said...

Holy flaming Jesus on a jetpack, this episode was OFF THE HOOK.

Burt Cooper is a big old ninja, and not just cause of his lazy fetish of the 'Far East.' He could kick that doofus Crane into the storage closet on his worst day.

Re that bedroom "whore" scene - cripes, Don is (a) dick.
Some folks need to check their internalized misogyny and quit putting any stock in that early shrink's laughable diagnosis that Betty is a child. Betty has weathered this storm with preternatural grace and maturity - and I'm glad the show has alluded several times to the especially sorry-ass state of psychiatry in the mid-century. I LOL'd when Joan revealed Dr. Rapist's aspirations in a field then populated with "knights of reason and order saving damsels from the proliferating dragons of the mind."

Feminism may be the radical notion that white, middle-class women are people too - which sure as sugar leaves me out in the cold, but even I am getting sick of all the thoughtless Betty hate. LOL at these poor suckers who seem truly incapable of taking into account the repulsive behavior of Don and just about every other patriarchal tool Betty encounters. One should probably be more disturbed at this trend of suckers in what's ostensibly such a smart, high-falutin' fandom, but eh, abuse apologists come a penny a dozen.

Don's entreaty to Peggy was the humble, honest conversation that he should have had but can never have with Betty - and that's his fault, not hers.

Speaking of Peggy - Moss roundhoused Slattery's ass in delivery, if not dialogue:
"Peggy, can you get me a cuppa coffee?!"


OH, and did Trudy's bustling around to take care of Pete and later his co-workers SCDP evoke Joan's pilot statement that it's all about being "halfway between a waitress and a mother" or WHAT.

I just love how nothing in this show is filler. Ever.

Farm Girl Pink... said...

My favorite line:

Roger to Don...."so what? are you reading your will? I want the Cadillac..."

I see I am in the minority but I like Betty. And I see ugly things coming her way.

She is getting out of one marriage to immediately marry a man that obviously has issues. Demanding she ask for no money from Don is a big ugly warning.

Plus allowing Henry Francis to sit in on her meeting with the divorce lawyer was not a good idea.

I am really enjoying Trudy and her growth. Her ability to be able to quickly read Pete and stop him from shooting off his mouth.

I am the only one who thought Duck was hiding in Peggy's apartment when Don came to visit.

With all the cloak and dagger behavior of trying to leave the firm with the files and clients in tact. I was waiting for the wrong person to over hear the plan and screw it up for all of them.

And Joan is back! That alone makes me very happy. She is really important to the show and her ability to get things handle quickly and quietly makes her the girl to always have around in a pinch.

Rob Biesenbach said...

About characters coming back. We all have a selfish interest in seeing Brian Batt return, but something about that last scene of him a few weeks ago was perfect the way it was. His getting fired sort of freed him to be who he was, running off into the night, breathless, telling his wife not to wait up, the hungry cruisers waiting in the park behind him. I can see him returning at some point for a cameo, maybe not "out and proud" (gay lib still being at least 4-5 years away) but at least happy and sure of himself.

I'm also not sure the Duck thing needs any conclusion. From the last episode, it was clear Peggy was cooling on him already. He called her complaining that it had been several weeks since they'd seen each other. I think the affair was already winding down and, for Peggy, his withholding of the JFK information was maybe the last straw.

Regarding Don's treatment of Betty in the middle of the night -- yes, he called her a whore. Yes, that's a terrible thing to say. Yes, he's being a hypocrite. But give me break, who doesn't behave badly at the end of a relationship? That stuff happens.

I, too, felt the "firing" solution was just a little too simple and tidy, but think it would get boring if they "lawyered it up" next season with the British suing the upstarts.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Couple of other thoughts.

* Loved Roger's line to Pete: "We haven't talked to Ken {perfectly timed pause} YET."

* I've been more and more aware all season of Don's damned hat. Always the taking off and putting on and "leaving in the car" (sometimes I guess it's a handy prop). At the end of the episode he barely remembers to pluck it from the box the movers are taking out of the old office. The hat being a metaphor for the buttoned up '50s, I have a feeling we're not going to see much of it on Don's head in Season 4. (As with Joan and Sal, will we all be wringing our hands imagining plot turns that will somehow bring the beloved hat back into a scene or two next season?)

* There sure was a lot of "opening up" in this episode (Don to Peggy, Pete and Roger). Alan's pointing out the "caper" construct certainly explains it, but I was so struck by it all being so different from Don's usual holding back. It seemed to be another harbinger of the coming "let it all hang out" era.

Eric said...

My favorite moment, and the biggest indication to me that SCDP will be a different agency was Roger asking Peggy to get him coffee and Peggy saying "No."

My guess is that they went to Pete instead of Ken because a) choosing Ken was the Brits' idea, not Roger, Bert, and Don's, and b) Ken's exactly the kind of smarmy yes-man to thrive under the new ownership and wouldn't be willing to leave.

MP said...

On baby Gene: it occurred to me just now that Betty treats him as her kid, in a way she never did with Sally and Bobby. Her's, not so much Don's.

She decided on the name, a name that Don hated. She is very protective of Gene, taking him in her bed, telling the kids not to wake him and obviously taking "his side" over Sally's. And now, while it's been established that his age was never much of a reason not to leave him behind, she is taking the baby and only the baby with her*.

The kid was conceived when Betty was furious with Don and one of the reasons for a not entirely voluntary reconciliation. She could have taken that out on him, but it seems to me that Betty instead has taken to him as rightfully hers, a reward she got for putting up with Don's philandering ways and his lying. And that's why she took him with her.

*Haven't watched it yet so I don't know if there was another reason- I'm reading because I'm a sucker for spoilers - but I've thought of that before.

Anonymous said...

Any significance to the fact that the oriental screen in Bert's office was reversed from it's usual side?

sane jane said...

Alan, you'll be pleased to know that if they want to be a truly hip, progressive agency, they'll touch up the type treatment on the name:




or some such.

Word Verification: "prest"

(just one "o" short of a magic trick)

Unknown said...

Holy cow. From start to finish a brilliantly written and acted episode. I could have watched a full movie of that episode.

Personally, I think it just may be Henry who has his world shaken when he realizes who Betty really is beneath all the coy smiles and beauty. When the layers of her dysfunctional personality become more apparent he may be the one who bolts.

When Ken said he learned that Pete tried to seduce away John Deere I was struck at how dangerous that act was on Pete's part - by being greedy in that ultra-secret few days, that one effort on his part could have blown the whole caper up if John Deere had contacted Ken over the weekend to ask what the hell was going on.

Loved how Lane embraced the classic American spirit of charging out on a shoestring to begin again - we have seen all season how he has come to appreciate the U.S. but this just made me so happy. For once, he will be an equal and not some lackey and a pawn to be pushed from place to place like a piece on a chessboard taking whatever orders he was given. And, I adore Jared Harris so I'm glad he will be around.

I think they may poach a few others from the old firm once they get set up but we now have an opportunity to see new characters who will bring their own set of perspectives and personalities to the dawning of the age of aquarius which will make for some new conflicts and relationships.

I remember reading how Mary Tyler Moore's character in the Dick Van Dyke show wearing black capri pants was considered controversial as that show started in 1961 and was elated to see Joan walking in wearing those same capris.

Many had speculated they would buy back the firm but I was totally gobsmacked when it turned into a heist - love being surprised.

And while Don is a hypocrite given his cheating ways, I totally understood his reaction to learning what Betty had been up to after she has been painting herself as a victim throughout this whole ordeal.

I'm not shocked at all that she followed through and walked out of this marriage - this has been one mess of a marriage since we have been witness to it.

And, man, the writers must love John Slattery because I laughed out loud at each of those golden remarks.

Lane said...

thanks for dropping in cuckoo bananas for me. Made my day.

sane jane said...

One cynical way of looking at the rebirth of SCD+P is that it gives Weiner & Co. a convenient chance to do a little cast tweaking.

When Kinsey had his "oh shit" moment, realizing Peggy had gotten the call, that could easily have been Michael Gladis (the actor) saying goodbye to the series?

In hindsight, maybe Kenny's lack of storylines this season was because he wouldn't make it to S4?

Karen said...

Doing a search through the comments, I see I'm not the first person to wonder if Peggy is pregnant again - I was looking at Elizabeth Moss's face last night and the way she was dressed and thinking, "Oh no..."

Anonymous said...

DoubleLifeofaSalesman here, technically Anonymous for convenience's sake -- and I find I have rather little to say. This finale left me in a strange place. I can remember all the way back to the finale of "Hill Street Blues" and the shot pulled back and back from the station while voices continued, basically saying "The show ends but the station goes on." For me this had very much the feel of a wrap-up, not simply a tying together of a season but a true end -- it was that satisfying.

I find Alan's take on this particularly good this time. Yes, a caper feel -- though I have to wonder, why do we think of it as a "coup"? Somehow "exodus" leaps to my mind.

(Personally, I just think of the new firm as Sterling Pryce -- if only because an aptly named Sterling Price was once an economist.)

I'm the sort who enjoys worrying about who won't be back. It wouldn't be too surprising to see no more of Cosgrove: he's a happy enough cog, nuff said. The point has been well made that it would be awkward to have Lucky Strike AND Sal Romano, but I wouldn't mind seeing some way to swing it. I guess Kinsey is gone, which I find a bit of a shame -- sure, he's snooty, but in his own way he was trying, he did after all go down South. Besides, you always need a handy foil, sort of like Winchester in late "M*A*S*H." And I'm with jenae, happy that Harry isn't gone: he bumbles, but I relate to him, and Sterling Pryce needs to have its own TV department in play.

So this is the weird place I am now -- the show could just end, and it would be satisfying. Weiner and Company is seriously upping the stakes for S4.

And for that, I shall return.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Note that the account that put Pete over the top, in terms of the goal Don and Roger set for him, was Clearasil. Pete lost Clearasil when he refused to adopt a child. Could one of the conditions placed on getting Clearasil back have been a reconsideration of his position on an adoption? That could also explain why Trudy's been so interested in him breaking away from SC all season. Perhaps Season 4 will open with a baby Campbell...

sane jane said...

Another great small Slattery moment:

"Goodbye, Trudy"

Wives may be offstage but they are seldom out of earshot.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Could one of the conditions placed on getting Clearasil back have been a reconsideration of his position on an adoption?

No, I think Trudy - who, as we saw, was very much on board with Pete's attempt to join the new firm - just went to her dad and said, "I don't care about a baby anymore, but Pete needs this account." And Trudy's dad, who dotes on her, gave in.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, I think there are two reasons they chose Pete over Ken and his haircut:

1)Pete is, as Don notes, more forward-thinking, and that's going to be of value.

2)Pete's bitter at being passed over for the head of accounts job, and would therefore be much more likely to commit to this scheme. They needed people who would be a definite "Yes," and Ken would be much more uncertain than Pete.

Sonia said...

Now that I have had time to sleep on it...

I also agree that Don and Betty are doomed, and I don't blame Betty for leaving him. But here's the thing...she obviously hasn't learned anything at all from her experience with "Don the liar". She's jumping right in with another man that she hardly knows. he wants to take care of her, telling her not to worry about money...I don't know...maybe it's my 2009 filter judging a character form the 60s, but this is not going to work out. I understand she's scared to be a single parent with three kids, but she's just signing up for a few years of blissful denial until things come crashing down again.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Archie was ready to leave his fellow businessmen because they had deceived him---the right choice. But then his wife convinces him to give and he is literally killed for doing so.

No. Archie dies because he left the co-op. Without the co-op, Archie had to go sell the crops on his own, and chose to go do that while drunk, in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Archie Whitman thought he never needed anyone, and it killed him. This episode was all about Archie's son acknowledging how much he needs all the people around him.

mj said...

One of the largest professional services firms in the world is Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG for short). No commas. There are many more examples.
Speculations: Duck will take over the old Stirling Cooper. One of the accounts he will win is Henry Francis' campaign. Peggy will be sleeping with the enemy.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I couldn't stay up for the review and comments last night--and I should be getting ready for work right now, but I had to read them all this morning. Great review, as usual, Alan; great comments, as usual, posters. I thought the episode was riveting--both funny in many places and tragic in others. All the expressions, comments, everything was just perfect. (I'm going to watch it again later tonight to pick up stuff I missed.) I'm really looking forward to next season.

Anonymous said...


Julia said...

Henry Francis' campaign

Mmmm. That would explain a lot. Perhaps he wanted a Jackie to be by his side in the campaign photos.

Many analysts thought Adlai Stevenson lost his Presidential bid for being divorced with no family in the picture.

BUT judging from the conversation with the lawyer toward the end, Henry was thinking about the Governor not wanting any more scandal near him. So Henry would still be on staff and doesn't betray any indication of running for anything himself. It would be the governor's run for President or re-election for governor.

Seemed to me Betty asked Henry for a lawyer recommendation and Henry took her to the Governor's on-staff attorney for advice. That's kind of unethical. The lawyer has a conflict of interest - he has Henry's best interests at heart (as the gov's aide), not Betty. Shame on Henry and the lawyer.

Looks like Henry may want a trophy wife, too. And she'll be likely to move with the kids to Albany, right? Or - Betty will again have a husband who is away from home overnight frequently. And who won't seek her input concerning his job or finances or anything of substance any more than Don did.

Julia said...

Pete looked so different with his hair tossled and not slicked back as usual.

We'll probably see new hair styles on the guys in the next season. So far the suits changed every season, but not the hair.

Karen said...

After the episode two weeks ago where Paul finally realizes that Peggy is damn good at what she does, better than he is, in fact, it was interesting that Paul dashed to Peggy's door as soon as light began to dawn that Don's trashed office wasn't a crime scene but a desertion. That "Damn!" of his spoke volumes. Also interesting in light of his playfulness with her last week over her "nooner"--as someone noted in the comments last week, he was treating her like one of the guys after so long dismissing her as Don's kitten. Paul seemed more upset at Peggy's leaving than his own being left behind.

As soon as the conspirators acknowledged that they didn't know where anything was, I cried out, "Joanie!!" SO EXCITED to see her walk in that door and immediately be so in-control and indispensable.

I was terrified that Peggy was going to tell Duck about the developments. Cooper said they had to talk only to reliables, and when Peggy turned down Don and Don said nothing about keeping quiet--assuming, I'm sure, that she had no one to tell--I was jumping at every new scene. Which made Don's wooing of her at her place so much the sweeter. Poor Peggy. She's in a very strange place, now.

This was so wonderful. Don snuggling around Sally on Gene's old bed was heartbreaking. Bobby and the cufflinks was even more so. God, I hate Betty. She didn't even have the balls to cop to Henry Francis' existence when confronted with him.

grat said...

I don't know much about firing/hiring logistics, but what Pryce and Draper did seemed highly illegal considering the circumstances. Draper, one of the most prized advertisers in the industry, leaving and taking millions of dollars worth of clients with him on the eve of a buyout?

It would be like Apple/Microsoft merging and Steve Jobs, along with his proteges and talent, getting "fired" a week before and starting a new company. No one would allow it.

Otto Man said...

i feel silly asking this, but could someone explain the phrase "sausage factory" as it meant back then?

I took it to be Don's derisive term for a place that didn't value creativity and originality, but was just concerned with churning out a mass produced product.

Care said...

I never noticed Pete holding the rifle! I'll have to go back and watch it.

One thing that really struck me is that when Betty and Don were fighting when Don confronted Betty about Henry is the shadows over their faces. They were both two-faced and ugly. It was just incredible seeing it.

I'm wondering what's going to happen to the house--will Betty move to Albany?

I guess Henry won't be working on the Rockefeller campaign...

CH said...

I think what was so enjoyable about this show was how all the characters became empowered. Watching these drown-trodden employees getting their mojo back, and even growing was fantastic.

Draper finally realized what he wants to do when he grows up, "I want to build something, like you did 40 years ago" he tells Cooper, for once his instinct is not to run but to stand his ground. This obviously surprised Roger who raised his eyebrows, proclaiming "So you do want to be in Advertising?" Roger himself realizing that this is 'his' moment "I act like I started a company all my life. I inherited it." Clearly a chance to make a name for himself excites him.

In turn, Peggy finally stood up to her mentor "I have had other offers you know?" (you could imagine Betty saying the same thing) after Don just assumed she would be coming along for the ride (like some nervous poodle). And then Draper is forced to explain to Peggy what we pretty much already knew, but was still great to hear "it's only because I see you as an extension of myself".

And Campbell, while his "I want to hear it from *him*" remark was rather petulant, he perked up when Don started cataloging his strengths. By the end of it his renewed virility was crystal clear as he stood tall with his arm out ready to shake on the deal. Trudy was clearly impressed with her Man as she could not wait to kiss him once the Drapers left.

And of course Pryce, finally overthrowing his British overlords in a way that would make George Washington proud. It was great watching him go from being the smug insider with all the information to just another lackey who was being lied to by PPL, one betrayal too many for good old Lane. And then the other guys admitting that they couldn't 'do what he does' just completes the positive affirmations all around.

I think an empowered SCDP will be an exciting agency to watch unfold next season, of course there is potential for drama as both Roger & Jane and Peggy & Pete are reunited within close quarters. I don't think Don & Betty will be treated in the same way as Tony & Camela, this is the 60s! Its all about change and revolution, which is where I think they are going with Sally. Did you see how clearly young Sally could see through Don's lies? I believe this is where they will evolve the family story, a single Mom trying to deal with an ever rebelling daughter, damaged by her parents actions - of course this will create plenty of "will they or won't they" tension for the new divorcees.

And finally, the only other characters I see moving over to this new forward thinking agency are Salvatore and Paul. They represent two very important sub-cultures for the sixties and I can't see the show not dealing with either of them. Paul is continually trying to connect with the artsy, beatnik youth while trying to hide a more charmed past - how far will he go? Will he be called out as a fraud or will he embrace the growing hippy culture outright? Will Salvatore come ou, encouraged by the gay rights groups? Or will he fight it and continue his charade as a married man?

I always wondered how this show was going to represent the transition of the sixties, it still felt very much like the 50s in the Sterling Cooper office and would require some radical change to stay with the times. Well, here it is - a fresh start, and I can't wait to see what they do with it.

Amy said...

OZ -

I too believe Don said "I WON'T spend the rest of my life trying to hire you"

Simply the best episode ever. I laughed non stop and applauded repeatedly. When it was over, and I took the time to reflect, I cried for Sally and Don Jr.

I think Don has finally built the family he has always wanted, and while it doesn't seem Betty will find her happiness, I think we'll still see her as we explore the new generation of divorced parenting. (I can see Sally and Don Jr spending plenty of time in city, especially as Sally ages).

Total reboot, stories that were headed to corners have now exploded....

Otto Man said...

I too believe Don said "I WON'T spend the rest of my life trying to hire you"

No, it was "will."

Anonymous said...

Janet said:
I'm also a bit taken aback by the outright theft of assets (intellectual and otherwise) that the new firm took. Would there be no ramifications from that?

That bothered me too, but after thinking about it, I realized that Weiner doesn't follow up on every detail, even bigger ones. In any event, any issues about that would be buried within a larger lawsuit (filed by McCann) related to stealing clients and the senior exec non-compete clauses.

Yup -- bona fide fist pumping moment when Roger went to call Joan, and she shows up -- dressed for comfort in stylish capris -- YES!!!! Hubby's away -- Joanie can play!

Also thought it was funny when Pete said, re:job jackets, "I never look at these." Such a typical account exec thing to say. Let the Little People worry about the details, I'm busy thinking bigger thoughts. (Actually, he IS).

Did anyone else wonder if Trudy could end up as an unpaid go-pher, ending in a job? Bringing food was such a great (and smart) move. Everyone was so confused and uncomfortable -- then -- food -- the great social lubrication (besides booze).

Trudy's very bright and has nothing to do all day. I wouldn't be surprised to see her pecking away at a Selectric II when Season 4 opens (too long from now).

Poor Sally. I hope she gets to spend lots of time with Dad in his new digs. NYC and its attractions could offer a lot of consolation to a bright kid like her.

In that vein, has anyone else seen the 1964 movie, "The World of Henry Orient?" I totally picture Sally as the friend with the philandering mother. It's a great look at sophisticated NY at the exact moment we leave off Season 3. If you're suffering from MM-1964 withdrawal, this might give you a small fix. Peter Sellers is hilarious but the setting is really the star of the movie.

Didn't find it strange that the kids were left with Carla. Just sad at how isolated the Drapers were as a family that the closest person to take care of the kids is someone who gets paid to do it. No family, no close friends to turn to.

For one second I wondered if Don would call and ask Suzanne to look in on them regularly. But he was too busy and it might complicated the divorce thing.

But overall I was happy not to see Suzanne. She doesn't get or respect what Don does for a good living and that would create annoying relationship conflicts I would find contrived.

Oh yeah. How about that scene with 10 year old Dick in the barn taking a practiced pull on the moonshine? His drinking problem started early.


Tim Windsor said...

I love how Bobby knows something bad is up "because we're in the living room."

Nice period detail -- the "living room" was often an off-limits showpiece.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I feel like I may go around all day just quoting lines from this episode:

"Joan. What a good idea."

Anonymous said...

Lots of talk about continued "poaching" of staff, but I think It will be more likely that people who are made "redundant" by the purchase of SC and reorganization into the McCann fold will come begging to be let into the cool kids club.

srpad said...

Like you, Alan, I just loved watching the plot unfold in this one. Often, Mad Men seems a show about the 60s that happens to be set in an advertising agency but this episode seemed like a show about and ad agency that happened to be set in the 60s and it was fun!

I also literally cheered when I knew Roger was bringing in Joan (by the by I hope Joan will now get her chance to be back in the Media Department) and also got tricked by the "Sal" fake-out (which I am starting to think may have been intentional).

As for the other story, the scene with the children was heart-breaking and perfectly played by everyone including the kids. The aside that New York's laws were written specifically to make divorce difficult was also eye-opening.

Just wonderful all around. Really the only downside to this is I will miss readng these reviews :-)
Any chance of you doing a post about the season as a whole?

AchillesTheJanitor said...

For those asking why SCDP took Campbell instead of Kenny and his haircut, it makes sense from both a business standpoint.

Kenny and his haircut had just received a promotion to Senior VP, and him and his accounts would be very valuable to McCann. It would be harder to convince Ken that moving to the upstart agency would be in his best interest, and he had more leverage to demand more in negotiations (like a name on the door).

Pete's accounts, on the other hand, were much less valuable to McCann, but were just right for the upstarts at SCDP. Pete would be easier to convince to leave.

SCDP swung for the lower-hanging fruit they were more likely to get.

DTor said...

“Note that when Peggy initially says no to Don, he plans to go to Kurt and Smitty next, and not Paul. Is that an indictment of Paul's talent, or of his character? Did Don fear Paul would rat him out if he could gain some advantage from it?”

It’s an indictment of his talent, imo. Outside of the Jackie-Marilyn campaign (which was never actually used, though of course this wasn’t Paul’s fault), I don’t think we’ve ever seen Paul deliver creatively. He’s clearly not in Peggy’s league.

“My issue with Betty and Henry even more than her not knowing him well is that she should be hyper aware that a relationship can be built on a bed of lies.”

Yes, she *should* be hyper aware of this… but people in this universe (much as our real one) have an ugly habit of making the same mistakes over and over again.

“Why didn't they ask Ken to come along?”

As Alan noted, Ken just got rewarded with the head of accounts position and would be unlikely to bolt. Pete was passed over and therefore disgruntled, making him the more logical candidate for Don & Roger to approach.

“Sal could get hired back at the new McCann owned version of PPL.”

I thought the same thing. With the tobacco account gone, it would be a logical fit.

Anonymous said...

I fell asleep last night contemplating Don harshly calling Betty a whore, when he has had affair after affair. I don't think he was attacking her so much for having slept with someone else, but more so because she was selling herself to another (potentially) successful/wealthy man (similar to why she married Don in the first place). I believe the choice of the word whore is important in the differentiation. Note how he didn't use the word slut (although, perhaps that word wasn't used as commonly then as it is today). I think what was not said, and not done in that scene (i.e. hitting her) is just as important as what actually happened.

On another note, I think my favorite line of the night was when Roger told Layne, "Don't act like a stranger, we have tea!"

Ash said...

-My favourite Roger Sterling moment that hasn't already been mentioned is when he told Lane at their initial meeting, 'We've worked next to each other for a year, don't be a stranger. We've got Tea!'

-Rather than Ms Farrell, isn't it time now for Don to finally make a move on Joan. I mean they clearly have great chemistry and always worked brilliantly together when Joan had to fill in as Don's secretary.

-I don't think we've seen the end of Connie. Although Don is pissed off now, I think Connie would have been greatly impressed by Don's initiative and would approach Don again rather than it being the other way round.

@Commie Bastard I don't know how you can assert that Betty is not a child. Throughout she's done a number of things which can be attributed to lack of maturity.

1) Taking revenge on Don by sleeping with the man at the bar.

2) Forcing the name Gene on the baby and refusing to see how that was affecting Sally.

3) Not respecting Sally's intelligence by telling her that the doll was a present from baby Gene whilst thinking that Sally would easily be won over with a simple gift.

4) Getting upset at dinner party in season 2 after she had bought the Heineken Beer.

I think there are other examples from earlier on in the show of which I can't remember now.

Unknown said...

I too thought Don he wouldn't spend his life trying to hire her. After listening to it a number of times I can't say for sure either say but I'm leaning towards "won't" rather than "will." Hopefully, someone in the know will clear that up.

I think that Pete was asked over Ken for a number of reasons but one could be that it was Lane who decided to put Ken in charge of accounts based on what he thought was the more important skill.

I think Don views Pete's talents and forward thinking as more relevant to creating a new agency with fresh ideas rather than someone who knows how to assure clients that they "don't have any needs" - I would probably go with Pete too with all his personality issues if I wanted to begin anew. Maybe Don feels it is more important to persuade clients that they do need to think in new directions and persuade them as such.

A few people have asked why the kids wouldn't stay with Don while Betty was in Reno. He's going to be working all day and would likely only get home when the kids were off to bed so it makes sense. I think from the inferences in the episode that he will be making time to see them as often as he can.

"nervous poodle" - another brilliant image from Peggy.

Liam said...

1. Re Don's "will/won't" statement to Peggy: I believe Hamm was directed deliberately to elide the word so that we were left wondering until Peggy is shown at the office. It was a little impluse of suspense. A master touch.

2. I too wondered if Peggy is pregnant.

3. Sally was awesome, and Bobby was excellent. Carla is their real mom, anyway.

4. I agree that Don's use of the word "whore" was pregnant with vileness given his childhood.

5. And Henry Francis, silver fox that he is (Chris Stanley and John Slattery would make an interesting couple), is wrong for Betty. She will learn the hard way.

Eyeball Wit said...

Seeing Roger call Joan reminded me of the segment of Pulp Fiction, where Jules and Vincent have to deal with Marvin's body and the Bonnie Situation, and Marsallius calls Mr. Wolfe.

"I'm Joan Holloway, and I solve problems."

After all the speculation, I guess, Ms. Cookoobanana's brother is gone for good. (it is a fun word to type.)

Remember that in the Sopranos, Weiner was used to having great characters played by great actors depart suddenly. We may have seen the last of Sal/Ken/Paul.

And finally, Don is really a scuzzbag. In an alternate universe where Jackie Jr and Brooklyn and the Feds weren't making things miserable for him, you could see Tony Soprano as Kevin Finnerty, a basically decent guy with a straight job and a family he loves but doesn't understand.

Don's only redeeming quality, it seems to me, is his ability to make great ad pitches. He's a lousy husband, a lousy father, a fair weather friend, and a liar.

He was so cruel and hypocritical in that penultimate scene, that he made Betty seem almost sympathetic. He's an early contender for the 2010 Jon Gosselin Father of the Year award.

I guess if a guy's very very good at his job--think Vic Mackie--Weiner knows that we'll forgive a lot.

And while I loved the episode, and the season, I do think we're kind of in "a place we've been before" with Don and Betty on the outs, a Sterling Cooper where Don-Roger-Bert run things and Peggy is making goo goo eyes at Don.
The more things change...

DeeTV said...

I have to agree with LifeasaSaleman. This felt like a SERIES finale to me, not just a season finale. And although I am glad to have at least one more season of Madmen to look forward, I would have been totally satisfied if this was the series finale.

Wonderful, wonderful episode. It felt like it wrapped up loose ends and at the same time, was the set-up for so many new and exciting things to come.

Oh Don, how I love and hate you. The cheating man calling the cheating woman a whore. Despicable!

Betty, good riddance. I don't ever need to see you again. January Jones, the ice queen. So good in her part that I can't stand her. She's so concerned with appearances, she wants the divorce to be quiet, God forbid any messiness was made public. And I can't imagine her holding her baby w/o a wedding ring on, God knows what people might think. She's just looking for someone else to take care of her and to continue to live in the fashion she thinks she deserves.

Peggy, you made the right more. She's already proven herself so many times to this crew, that she's in a good position to move up if she keeps up her usual standard of work. Elsewhere, she would have to prove herself all over again, and we know that may not be an easy thing to do given the time period and women's place in the office. Plus where else can she say "no" to getting her boss coffee?

Harry, I wish they would have left you behind. I don't think he ever offers much to the firm or the story.

Trudy and Pete. People criticize you, but to me it seems like you two have the most functional marriage of everyone on the show. Look at the other marriages on the show... Joan & Dr. Rapist, Roger and Jane, Don and Betty. As least Pete & Trudy talk to each other and truly care for each other. And yeah, I'd love to see Trudy as the new secretary as SCDP. She'd be totally dedicated and loyal (as long as Pete was employed there!)

Whew! That was a very satisfying episode. It's going to be a long wait until next season.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this has been mentioned. Am trying not to break posting rules.

Reno, Nevada is not far away from the original Mrs. Draper, right?

About 3.5 hours?

Do you think Henry will let Betty use a car?

Unknown said...

While I LOVED the episode...shouldn't there be some legal issues surrounding Pryce's actions? I'm not an expert on business law in any sense of the word, much less on business law 45 years ago in a state I've never lived in, but it seems like the firings would be a major breach of Pryce's fiduciary duty to PPL. Any lawyers care to comment?

Julia said...

Who's now in charge at the former Sterling-Cooper?

What happens between the bolt for the door and January 1st?

McCann paid for something they aren't getting. Who will be held liable for that? It was an employee of PPL who fired the trio, will PPL sue Pryce, the ex-pat? He wouldn't seem to have assets sufficient to make it worthwhile. BTW does Pryce have a green card? Will he get divorced and marry a local to get citizenship?

I witnessed a break-up of a lawfirm where the leaving party took files. The dispute was mediated. When people are fired, security is immediately called, their rola-dex confiscated (nowadays their computer)and they are escorted to the door with only their box of personal items.

I'd be surprised if there was no provision in the contract for what happens if the employee is fired.
THe ones I have seen say that termination by either party results in the non-compete clause being activated. Any difference would depend on whether the discharge was for "good cause" with stiffer non-compete clauses, or "wrongful" with the non-compete more in favor of the employee. I guess there's a reason why we didn't get to see the entire contract. It lets the writers interpret the contract situation any way they want.

Anonymous said...

"I still don’t know, and wish I did, what’s going on inside Betty. Why didn’t she give life with Dick Whitman, the father of her children, a chance?"

Because he is a lying cheating fraud and she can't trust him anymore.

I agree with others that Betty isn't going anywhere. Don and Betty many no longer be married, but they still have a relationship. It's going to be interesting to see them deal with each other without the wife and husband labels.

If Betty and Henry do marry, Don and Betty might end up having an affair.

Unknown said...

Lane is not yet an employee of the new firm as it was stated that the deal didn't go into effect until January 1 and it was only Dec 13 in this episode.

At the time he fired them he was exerting his given authority by the mothership in London.

Stealing clients was and has been very common place if there are no such iron clad provisions in their contracts. Don't know what their contracts said at this time.

Taking all the attending documents relating to those clients seems to be a proprietary issue that could certainly be challenged - if they had the time, they would have probably been better off had they been able to make copies of everything before hightailing it out of there - but, alas, this was a down and dirty fast and furious caper.

Too much fun.

Lisa said...

Great episode and incredible commentary as usual, Alan. Yes, I also did the imaginary fist pump when Roger said he was making "a call," and I literally said out loud, "Forget the key, Don, just call Sal!" right before he kicked in the door. Other random observations:

* January Jones has created one of the strangest and controversial female characters on TV and I love her for it. You can see on her face during the attorney's visit that she's already questioning her move with Henry Francis, particularly with the money comment and when the attorney mentions something about avoiding a Rockefeller scandal. I don't know about you, but I don't believe those two have even slept together, which is another red flag. And I would have to hear the dialogue again, but in the bedroom scene with Don, she doesn't seem to really acknowledge or defend her relationship with Henry, and permits Don to throw her around like a rag doll (or an errant child). It's like Betty is in a semi-permanent sleepwalking state around all men. While we got a glimmer of what Awake Betty was like when she revealed she knew about Dick Whitman, she regressed back to childlike Betty in the finale. Did anyone else get the idea at the end that she was simply taking Baby Gene and running away like Don did during his California episode? I have to wonder what she'll be like when she comes back.

* I think Peggy's initial rejection of Don's job offer was a dream speech -- hasn't everyone wanted to say something like that to a boss that's taken them for granted?

* I don't know about you, but I want Joan's second project to be kicking Harry Crane's sizable ass out of the new company so she can take his job. After all, she proved she could manage broadcast strategy with one hand tied behind her back last season.

* Don't tell me there won't be a backlash with the old agency against the new SCDP. I suspect McCann will do whatever it takes to grab back the old S-C accounts, and my guess is that it will grab Lucky first because it will be the most crippling to Don's new shop (but it would also allow Sal to return). And don't be surprised if Duck comes sniffing around as well, considering that his nooner and Pete have now elected to stay with the enemy. What I do hope is that we'll see more of Robert Morse on an equal footing with Slattery and Hamm as the trio fight tooth and nail to build this business. Morse is so wonderful, I want to see the old man doing more than taking a nap and committing the occasional blackmail.

* It will be interesting to see how Lane's character evolves now that he'll be allowed to develop talents beyond hatchet-man. And hopefully the move to SCDP is the final straw that gets his annoying wife to head back across the pond.

Such a terrific show.

CH said...

I imagine the only company in a position to sue is PPL, and they probably don't want to get involved in the trans-Atlantic ickyness right before a major sale.

Mauimom said...

"Let me go make a phone call."

Were sweeter words EVER spoken during this entire season?

I'm on the road, in a hotel that doesn't have AMC in its channel line-up, but I was able to locate an on-line site and watch this episode. The site, however, "paused" every 15 seconds [no kidding!] so I got to watch in v-e-r-y s-l-o-w motion. Can't wait to get home for a re-watch on the TiVo.

I've been thinking, as I commented a couple of episodes ago, about how the "story" plays out in Weiner's mind, given that at the beginning of a season, he doesn't know if the show's going to be renewed/story continued. [I think this year's notification of renewal was uncharacteristically early.]

This show could have been the end of Season 3, and the show itself, if renewal hadn't happened.

I'm lukewarm about Pryce, and particularly negative about his getting his "name on the door." What, exactly, does he bring to this "caper," other than his British accent and pompous ways? Since I don't know the actor from any other work, I have no love for him; thus my discomfort.

I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that Brian Blatt will be back somehow. He's so wonderful.

Folks above [and Alan] have mentioned all the great lines. I'll just "second" Peggy's "no" to Slattery's coffee request.

Alan, any clue as to when casting additions and deletions might be announced/revealed?

Francine said...

Alan, thank you so much for your talented, thoughtful, excellent Mad Men bloggs. I enjoy them so much, and wish you all the best!

MadAsHell said...

Don is a master wordsmith. Betty, in a previous episode, doesn't allow him to use his famed powers of persuasion; she's too aware of what he's able to do with a quietly-delivered set of honeyed words.

The pitch to Pete is an example. Don contrives a speech that ego-strokes successfully, and Pete's too flattered to resist.

Then we come to Peggy. She, more than anyone, recognizes Don's special skill. So, why does she follow?

Because her value to SCDP is related to her skills as an ad-writer and nothing else. If she accepts Duck's offer, she'll always wonder whether she got where she got due to sex.

With things tied up as neatly as they are, I expect next season will spring forward a few years. Hair may grow longer. Cooper may die. Someone may experiment with an Open Marriage. Sal will shoot colorful commercials independently, and be hired for accounts other than (not-so-)Lucky Strike.

Anonymous said...

4 points:

(1) Is it commonplace for conspirators to threaten to lock people up until morning? Not sure if it was intentional, but I loved that it was Bert Cooper who threatened to go all Henry II on Harry.

(2) Looks like there's at least a chance that Puck Pholson is over. Peg's worry that Don would turn his back on her forever if she said no seemed like it may have come from a fresh, personal wound.

(3) Hope SCDP knows some good lawyers! Looking forward to meeting the HITGs who show up to litigate McCann Erickson, et al. v. Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, et al. in Season 4.


happyfeet said...

Oh my goodness... trying to take my mind of Mad Men, and switched on to find a re-run of Gilmore Girls and onto the screen from behind there appears a slimline Don... I think: no - it can't be. Then he turns round and there is a frighteningly young looking Jon Hamm. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Yes Betty hardly knows Henry, but he is her kind of people - upper crusty, Main Line sort of folks. I am sure she is thinking he is exactly the kind of guy she should have married in the first place.
And she does just have to go rent a apt, or somesuch in Reno to establish residency, she doesn't actually have to live there for 6 weeks. Although she may have to fly back and forth quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've been paying attention to recently is how little outdoor shots their are in Mad Men. Don outside for the Eclipse is one that comes to mind. Season 1 on the train when he is called Dick. End of season 3 with him walking into his new apartment. Halloween and the car scenes are the others this season. ALSO, Early seasons showing work-environment tensions of early sixties could shift to an urban civil rights-esque story. This could be why Don is in the city, single and in an apartment. Would be interesting to see him with black neighbors, amoungst movements, etc. We will see.

Unknown said...

Seems like it is becoming a cliche in any business-setting TV show to go rogue and start your own business...Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Miller/Gold Agency (Entourage), Michael Scott Paper Company...yawn.

Brandy said...

She may not have to stay in Reno but I suspect that she will, in fact, stay in Reno for the six weeks. If she was going for a three day weekend to sign a lease and hit the DMV she wouldn't have taken Baby Gene.

KendraWM said...

That was wonderful, I just sat there with a huge grin on my face with the office scenes and then watery eyes with the home scenes, although that could be because of our 5 month old, I turned to my husband during the talk with the kids and said we are never getting a divorce! It was just so heartbreaking.

I have a feeling that one of the major problems that Henry and Betty will face, other than not knowing each other, is Sally. She has really shown her assertiveness this season and I can see her really making life hell for Henry.

Betty's is all about instant gratification, just like a child. She wants Henry because like a toy he is new and he holds the promise to a better life for her. And her desire to want things now and her flights of fancy is leading her into marrying a man she knows nothing of.

But, unlike Don, who put up with Betty's behavior and fits, because Don felt he had to because he had to keep his little world he created together, Henry has already laid the ground work that his first priority is to protect Rockefeller. I think all the baggage that Betty is coming with is going to be too much for Henry, and the facade of this perfect wife he thinks he is getting is going to be over quickly.

If the next season picks up in '64 Henry will be in full on Presidential Campaign mode and once again Betty will be left home alone with the kids. Realizing she married an older more controller man who is never home.

As soon as it was over I said, I can't wait until next summer, I need it to pick up again next week!!

Anonymous said...

There are all sorts of legal issues that would need to be addressed.

But the solution is pretty simple - McCann finds out that Sterling, Cooper is no more (and that many of the accounts are now gone), and rescinds their contract to buy PPL (and Sterling Cooper).

McCann avoids buying a damaged product (PPL) and the "bad guys" (PPL) are the ones who suffer.

PPL is stuck with a weakened, less valuable advertising firm. My guess is that they would eventually sell it off, at a far lower price. Perhaps to McCann or perhaps even to Duck's firm (wouldn't it be something if Duck finally took over "Sterling Cooper", but only a weakened version of the Sterling Cooper he knew when he was let go).

Could PPL go after the new firm? Probably. After all, the firing of Draper, Cooper and Sterling was clearly fraudulent. But I think that the most that PPL would do is probably just threaten a lawsuit, and then take some small settlement from the new firm to make it all go away.

This is what happens with many law firms when some of the partners split off, and take some clients with them. It's pretty rare that the end result isn't some sort of minor settlement.

Great episode!

Anonymous said...

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for Joan to kick Harry's ass to the curb and replace him.


Anonymous said...

Also, did Pete seem older and more confident here? Is it just the actor himself gaining a maturity, some character design or both?

I HATE that I care for Don and want him to succeed. What he did to Betty was SOOO wrong.


Alan Sepinwall said...

One thing I've been paying attention to recently is how little outdoor shots their are in Mad Men.

Outdoor filming is much more expensive, and Mad Men is working with a basic cable budget.

Susan said...

MadasHell, I disagree that Peggy would always wonder if she got a position at Gray because of sex. It was clear. Duck tried to get her to go to Gray before they ever had sex.

I do agree that Don is great with words and Peggy knows that. You always have to be careful with wordsmiths because they can totally fool you with their fancy talk! I detected a tone of sincerity in his speech to her when he was at her apartment. Maybe she did, too. He said he would forever be trying to hire her. That reminds me of his letter to Betty last season, when he said she would not be alone long, but without her he would forever be alone.

I didn't see what some have mentioned, that Peggy looked heavier like she might be pregnant again. She looked the same to me. I think the cardigan at home didn't "help her silhouette," as Joan would say. I can't imagine her letting that happen a second time.

The sausage factory? I think that's where you go in as pig (completely whole) and they grind you up into tiny little pieces. My take on that is that you get ground up in the machinery and lose yourself in a company like McCann. Connie told Don he was the "prize pig." And props to Connie for warning Don about the upcoming sale. He did that as a favor to him, but Don didn't understand that at the time.

I appreciate the many facets of Don Draper's character. That scene with Betty in the bedroom, which involved domestic violence, showed us part of who Don is. He can be very ugly. He was cruel. Calling her a whore? His mother was a whore and he was saying she's just like his mother. I think he idealized Betty as the perfect, loving mother he never had (witness his speech after she lost her job as a model in Season 1) and now he has turned her into the whore. Madonna/whore, classic with narcissists such as Don.

If Don does become a weekend dad, at least the children will have time with him where they are the focus of his attention, so it might be an improvement over the life they had when the parents were together.

Some have thought Peggy was going off to Reno to stay for six weeks, leaving Sally and Bobby at home with Carla. I thought you just had to establish residency, not that you had to literally live there for six weeks. So she could be coming back. Or maybe Carla and the kids would fly to Reno for Christmas. There are a number of scenarios that are possible.

JT said...

From a longtime fan's perspective, this season has been a letdown beyond words. there has been hardly any real development for any of the characters and except for the welcomed addition of price, there has been hardly anyone to root for.

Great folks like Sal and Joan have been marginal at best (even if it was always the plan to bring them back into the fold of things. Word is still out on Sal but after how coldly Don dismissed him and his sexual persuasion, I'm not holding my breath) and important characters like Pete and Peggy have been treading water all season (in Peggy's case the olny thing she got to do this season was sleep with Duck. One wonders what Ms. Moss thought of the lack of story for her this season).

The JFK thing, which MW said he didn't feel like getting into got its own ep, when all we really needed to see was Sterling's brat crying "it's ruined." Remember when folks thought roger was gonna be the one bitching?

So, as I watched this amazing, perfect season ender, I wondered if it was all part of a plan or nought. I think the latter. From start to finish, this is the ONLY truly great episode of this season. Sad to say, but 1 outta 13 is not a good thing.

I reserve judgement till next year. I hold my breath. Hoping fo the best and expecting the worst.

It was great to see Joan back in command and I have good feelings that MW can pull it together.

One hting to note that I have noticed as this season as dragged by at a snail's pace: People are ALREADY beginnging to make htis SOPRANOS 2. By that, I mean that any one could see that, by the third season of that show, it WAS NOT the great thing people thought it was. It had already gone downhill (frankly, INHO, the show never recovered from NM's passing) but people kept callnig it genius, but when you put the run of that show up against, say THE WIRE, you can see how full of holes most of those seasons were. Likewise, this year of MM has brought out the same folks, claiming that it is still great, meanwhile, the discriminating fans, like myself, have huffed and ruffled the feathers and dared to admit that MM has started it's downhill turn.

That being said, THERE IS HOPE and I see it in Don's speech to Peggy to win her back, in his quiet, broken acceptance of the divorce, and both in Roger's clar sadness of NOT wanting to be the one to to tell Don about betty's new man (god, that wa beautifully played in a real ,non-schlocky way!) and also in Roger's getting Joan back into the fold. you could see the peices coming a mile away cause god knows this slow season has been nothing but slow buildup that amounted to very little until this episode was played out.

So, I look forward to next season with a bit of hope that MW can focus his storytelling powers and get it back to tre form.

Yes, this season was in many ways about growing up and chaos, but don't let that fool you. There are problems with this show but I still have faith that this course can be righted and last night's ep proved that is possible.

BTW, nothing sealed it like Roy Orbison's perfect voice. my favorite singer right after Mr. Marvin Gaye.

God love ya both.

Julia said...

I'm lukewarm about Pryce, and particularly negative about his getting his "name on the door." What, exactly, does he bring to this "caper," other than his British accent and pompous ways?

He's a very talented bean counter. The group needs a guy who can strategize financially in his head. They will need to be mean and lean until they make a name for themselves. All that stuff Don told Pryce about spending money to keep the creative people happy will need to be put on hold. Pryce is invaluable, as is Joan. Creative people need managers.

I thought that both Peggy and Betty's faces looked softer. Peggy looked more centered and less tense - actually pretty. Betty looked more calm and less worried - the perpetual scowl is not there all the time.

I could see Betty using her time in Reno to think and maybe go through with the divorce, but not marry Henry. It occurred to me that the trip to Reno for a divorce was a huge part of "The Misfits" and that great old movie "The Women". I wonder who she meets there.

An aspect of the Reno divorce: it was one of the few places where you could get a divorce without a property settlement. That will be a voluntary agreement between Betty and Don back in New York.

There were states back then that would not recognize a Nevada divorce for that very reason. There were men who ran off to Reno, divorce their wives, married another woman, started over in another part of the country and the home state got stuck supporting the abandoned wife and children. This was also the reason for many "bigamy" laws - a way the state could go after the guy for spousal and child support after a Reno divorce.

Amazing to see the disapproval of Betty for being gone 6 weeks, when everybody knows where she is, and the acceptance of Don disappearing for 3 weeks with nobody knowing where he was.

I'm thinking that Don will be staying at the house over week-ends while Betty is gone.

Anonymous said...

Maybe SCDP will represent the older generation; those that were left behind culturally. Sterling and Cooper certainly don’t see the world the Peggy and Pete do. And I believe that S and C will have a hard time being in charge of a forward-looking agency.

As for Don, while he is smart enough to understand his new shop needs to be forward-looking, will he be able to leave his old-fashioned proclivities behind?

Maybe the next season will use SCDP to delve deeply into the generation divide that defined the late 60’s and beyond. Don will represent the middle generation that gets lost in the shuffle between the generations represented by Sterling and Cooper versus Peggy and Pete and ends up wondering what the hell went wrong?

I think the optimistic and hopeful tone of the final scenes and "Shahdaroba" playing over the ending represents the high-water mark for optimism. Everything these characters have known will be completely changed when we see them again. I think some of the characters will embrace the changes that are coming and thrive in both the new company and the new society of 1964. Others will grow to despise these changes. We’ll see big rifts develop along these lines; about what the new agency will represent and who it will speak to.

I don’t think Don will care much at all about Peggy’s affair with Duck. It’s private. And we’ve seen how he treats sexual affairs by other employees (Sal).

I have to believe that Sal will be coming back some how. The rise of gay culture is surely going to be part of the narrative, isn’t it? Also, the new agency lacks an art department. None of the poached staff is art. Somehow they’ll find a way to keep Sal hidden from American Tobacco. And this could produce some of the generational tension along the way as SCDP gets bigger and more successful. Join that to the coming societal rejection of cigarettes (at least the beginning of that rejection) and tobacco advertising will be less and less important. And this might make Roger less and less important and lead to the inevitable split of SCDP into two companies.

Betty desires to be treated like a princess just like her father Gene treated her. She sees Henry as Gene and believes he’ll treat her like that princess. But something tells me there will be no sexual chemistry between them. Will this drive Betty into Don’s arms? Maybe not as a couple but only for a sexual affair. Irony of ironies would have Don cheating on the teacher, or some other woman with whom he has a relationship, with his ex-wife. And when Henry realizes the idolized perfection idea of Betty that Henry has created does not exist, will the sober reality be enough for him?

Susan said...

Oops. I said Peggy was going off to Reno. I meant Betty.

Alan Sepinwall said...

All I want for Christmas is for Joan to kick Harry's ass to the curb and replace him.

Hey, I'd love to see that down the road, too, but at the moment, Joan is one of the most valuable people at the new agency. The logistics of getting on their feet, hiring staff, coordinating clients, etc., etc. are enormous, and it's here that Joan's superhuman eye for detail will be most valuable.

Give SCDP a while to be operational - to have their own offices, and some secretaries, and the rest - and then we can start talking about how Joan needs to be running the media department. Right now, she's in a position where her talents are most needed.

And what's great is that everyone is aware of how valuable she is right now.

Wes covington said...

Unless the original Mrs. Draper is on a vacation, she's unlikely to be headed to Reno. Reno would have been close to a nine-hour drive from the Long Beach/San Pedro hour back in 1969. Then it would have been because of the roads, not it would be a case of traffic.

I've lived in the L.A. area my whole life and I've set foot in Reno once.

Whiskey said...

no one's mentioned that Sally accused her mother of *making* Don sleep in Gene's room, and it's creepy there. !!! That was awesome AND heartbreaking. As awful as the divorce announcement scene with the kids was, I wish I'd found out about my parents' divorce in such a civilized way...

@Commie Bastard: Alan has repeteadly asked that we analyze the show, not one another. Your assertion that those who characterize Betty as childish are mysoginists and losers is pretty harsh and uncalled for. I was birthed & "raised" by the 70's iteration of Betty, so I have a feeling that for Weiner & Co., Betty is more than just a convenient plot device. I bet someone on that writing staff is purging their childhood...

Betty will remain in the picture because if she marries Henry Francis she'll remain in Roger's social circle, as evidenced by the fact that Henry's daughter is a friend of Roger's daughter Margaret. And Don will probably have to do more of that social schmoozing that he despises, in order to build the new agency, so they're all bound to run into one another, much as what happened at the Derby party and Margaret's wedding. In retrospect, I think Weiner was prepping us for this storyline with Duck's divorce and his relegated role as father, subordinate to his ex-wife's new husband. And then too with Roger and Mona. Divorce doesn't happen in a vaccuum, it affects the children and the couple's social circle. (my half-sisters tell horror stories of being shunned by their classmates and their parents once their mother divorced my dad in the early 60's; eventually their stepdad became their father figure and my dad was an afterthought) So it'll be interesting to see how Don balances his desire to be a father to his kids with the resentment he feels towards Betty & Henry. As well as whatever dynamics develop between the kids and Henry -- remember how Duck's kids were uncomfortable around him and seemed to be perfectly happy with their mom's new guy? I also hope that next season we get to see Carla's family, maybe Sally & Bobby will get to meet Carla's kid/s as she has to balance her family with Betty's increased social obligations in Henry's political world.

Unlike some others, I loved every single ep of this season so to me, this was the cherry on top. And, while I'd been dreading the season finale because last season I was left in a total funk, this time I feel happy and hopeful. My husband loved it too because there was more of the work world in it (he does not enjoy the domestic storylines).

IMO, the new agency can contract work out to Sal without it affecting their relationship to Lucky Strike. An agency that small will not have the ability to have their own, inhouse art department and would have to comission work out to people like Sal... provided he hasn't gone off the deep end and wrecked his life after he got fired from SC. So the possibility is there. Maybe JJ and BB will be on contracts for 5-8 eps?

On the Ken vs. Pete front, maybe it wasn't Pryce's idea to promote Ken (and his haircut), since the Brit did think the idea to target the Negro market was spot on. Maybe it was the PP&L guys that decided on Ken because he'd be more attractive to a prospective buyer. Tho I do agree with those, including Alan, who say that Pete would be a better candidate for the startup because of his society connections and because he's hungrier for success after being passed over.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this wonderful, wonderful ep and season later, as I continue to digest...

Susan said...

Julia, I agree with your assessment of Lane. Absolutely Lane and Joan will keep things in order. Now that Don is part of the ownership of a business, instead of disdaining Lane's bean counting as he has in the past, he will welcome it. It's totally different when it's actually your money that's being spent.

Lee said...

This is the first time Don/Dick has gotten to start over without running away. He gets a chance at a new life (a work one that he at least wants) without leaving his old life entirely. I think that is why he looks so at peace and hopeful at the end. After a season of being beat down, he has taken charge of his life instead of running from it.

I think Betty is going to find that Henry Francis is more controlling than Don and her life is smaller with him. Her unhappiness doesn't come from Don it comes from being trapped as a housewife that she finds unfulfilling. That's going to get worse with Henry and his "don't worry your pretty little head" attitude, not better.

Karen said...

The comment the lawyer made about the Governor not wanting another scandal around him, re Henry being named as co-respondent in a Draper divorce, has to refer to Rockefeller's own recent divorce (1962), which many historians claim cost him the presidential nomination in 1964.

It was nice to see Roger and Don together again, at the bar, and I don't believe Roger was being malicious in bringing up Henry Francis. I think he genuinely assumed Don knew. Don's always on top of everything, isn't he?

When Don called Betty a whore, I think it was more than just a reference to what he'd always heard about his own mother. I've been maintaining for weeks that Dick Whitman married Betty because this well-born blonde ice queen is who he thought Don Draper belonged with. The strong, independent brunettes he's actually drawn to can have as much of a past as they want--that's not important to Dick. But now Don's ice queen wife has proven herself unfaithful--and he reaches down for the worst insult he could possibly throw at a woman. I don't think Betty even realizes how hurtful that word was supposed to be.

It was nice, though, to see Don survey the new family he'd built as he surveyed all that activity in his new "office." He did that. Fitting, too, that it was hobo Dick/Don who recognized that Lane's power to fire was their ticket to light out on the road, rather than the putative heads of the firm.

So much more to say....but I just want to savor it some more.

Susan said...

Lee, awesome observation about Henry being more controlling than Don and the real reason for Betty's unhappiness.

Anonymous said...

Roger: "Peggy, would you get me a cup of coffee?"

Peggy: short pause. "No." Continues working

That was gold.

Mary said...

Great review and great reader comments -- as always.

A couple of thoughts: SCDP would get sued in the real world. Non-competes are not invalidated just because someone gets fired. We'll see what happens next season.

Also, people aren't supposed to do it, but often take whatever paperwork they can when they quit or are fired.

Agree with those who say Henry's insistence that Betty not take anything from Don is a big red flag, and that things are not going to end well for her with that relationship. Also agree that they've got the perfect recipe for a very rebellious daughter.

SCDP will need an art director and I would love to see Sal back. Lucky Strike is obviously a huge obstacle. The situation is potentially a set-up for a Roger-Don conflict, but they really need that huge account and I think Don understands that.

There is also the issue of exactly how forward-looking Sal is. His frame of reference as an illustrator is already out of date, although the fllm role is an attempt to update (initiated by Don, not him).

It was interesting to see that Carla actually sat down with the kids to watch TV -- something neither parent did very often. It seems like Betty was largely raised by her mother's housekeeper, and it is the same for the Draper kids.

I had been wondering how on earth Roger and Don were going to deal with the real 60s when they hit -- looks like Don was smart enough to realize they'll need some mentoring in that regard, and Pete and Peggy are the ones to do it. And Joan in pants -- the 60s are coming!

Kinda nice to see that everyone's so busy at the Pierre that there's nary a bottle of booze in sight.

Toby O'B said...

Along with everyone else, I loved Alan's analogy to a caper film. It also had that backroom political skullduggery feel I get from movies like "Advise and Consent" and "The Best Man" in a way.

But for me, the thrill running up my spine as they hatched their scheme was the same I felt in the first season finale of 'Slings & Arrows' as the young actor hit all the points in "Hamlet", or when the White House inner circle affirmed that they "serve at the pleasure of the President" in the "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet" episode of 'The West Wing'.

DTor said...

“I think that Pete was asked over Ken for a number of reasons but one could be that it was Lane who decided to put Ken in charge of accounts based on what he thought was the more important skill.”

Pryce wasn’t making these decisions; PPL was. Pryce was just their mouthpiece-- a role he was clearly chafing under more and more as the season progressed.

“He was so cruel and hypocritical in that penultimate scene, that he made Betty seem almost sympathetic. He's an early contender for the 2010 Jon Gosselin Father of the Year award.”

I disagree. First, it’s been made clear over the course of three seasons now that Don is the better parent-- being far more sympathetic toward his children and their needs than Betty is. Second, yes it would be hypocritical for Don to get pissed about Betty cheating/lying to him… but that’s not what set him off. What set him off was that Betty was acting so smug and morally superior to him for several weeks/ months, when in truth she turned out to be every bit the philandering liar he was/ is. She even denied knowing who Henry Francis was when he initially confronted her, which I’m sure only enraged him further.

“I'm not an expert on business law in any sense of the word, much less on business law 45 years ago in a state I've never lived in, but it seems like the firings would be a major breach of Pryce's fiduciary duty to PPL. Any lawyers care to comment?”

I’m no lawyer, but the fact is they did give Pryce total firing power for any reason he saw fit-- this is something that was emphasized early on in the season. So while PPL certainly has a case, it would seem, it’s not a slam dunk, I don’t think. It could potentially drag on for in court for a while and maybe it would be worth their while to seek a settlement of some kind instead.

Anonymous said...

Loved Loved this episode. I really do not buy Henry Francis. something is wrong with this guy and Betty is in for some pain I think. I would be happy not to see her back with Don though. I was happy he said everything he did to her (though the whore bit was too much everything else was not).
Favorite lines: the tea one by Roger and Peggy saying no to him when he asked for coffee.
Can'y wait til next year. Thanks Alan and all.

OldManDeac said...

Will Betty go to see the first Mrs. Draper while she is out west? That could be an interesting twist.

Favorite line of the night from Roger (and there were many) as a comment on Bert's no shoe policy was "when you put your shoes outside the door here, they polish them."

Anonymous said...

How fundamentally have things changed?
Answer: The image of Don Draper at his typewriter at the Pierre.
This is a whole new world.

Tom said...

I suspect the Henry/Betty relationship parallels the actual scandal of Nelson Rockefeller's divorce and marriage to Margaretta Murphy in May 1963. Like Betty, she divorced her first husband under NY divorce law, and did cause trouble for his campaign.

Zodin2008 said...

That was a fantastic season finale of "Mad Men" and having to wait 10 months for the show to return is cruel and painful. One thing you can say about a normal network show - the wait is generally only about 3-4 months, a lot less cruel.

And it really was a stand up and clap moment when Joan came sauntering in to help save the day for a trimmed down Sterling Cooper group. And kudos to Lane Price for coming around and joining the newly revised Sterling Cooper team, going forward. He's been a terrific addition and not nearly the villain the show made us think he might be. ("happy Christmas" was a great line).

The biggest laugh out loud moment had to be when they received their "first" phone call at the hotel - but it was just harry Crane forgetting what room number (Joan: "It's room 438, Harry") they were in. Just loved every second.

I also found it completely interesting that two two key cogs were left out of the coup: Ken Cosgrove and Paul Kinsey....
it will be very interesting to see Ken and Paul next season - will they eventually re-join their former comrades or will they have Paul and Ken at McCann Erickson to show as contrast to Sterling Cooper.

Don & Betty: I am glad their marriage is over. I am sad for those kids to see their parents split up, but it's clearly for the best. One thing I have always said (and my wife agrees) that while Don may have never been faithful, ergo, not a good husband at all, he was always the nicer and more caring parent and it was not a surprise to see the kids prefer to be with Don. Betty Draper is a cold, cold person. (chicken and the egg...did she become cold because Don always went for other women and kept her at bay all these years keeping Dick Whitman a secret, or was she cold from the outset which further pushed Don Draper towards other women and never feeling comfortable about telling her too much and living this ongoing lie?).

Sal: we hope and assume he'll come back to this new firm. We brought him up a few times while watching, but you did make the correct point about American Tobacco, so it concerns me they won't have a way to bring Bryan Batt back, unless Sal goes to McCann Erickson and rejoins Paul and Ken.

Christine said...

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Mad Men for a finale both hilarious and heartbreaking.

As to the Drapers' marriage, I'll have to respectfully disagree; I am enormously invested in their relationship, and hope there is some future reunion as they both mature and come to know themselves better. Who *really* wants to see a family break up, the poor children shuttled from parent to parent, and new lives started with either Henry Francis or Miss Cuckoobananas? Not I.

Wendy said...

Thought it was quite amusing that when Trudy showed up, everyone at the new SCDP was hard at work -- except for Roger, who was reading the paper. Hah!

drat said...

I don’t think Don will care much at all about Peggy’s affair with Duck. It’s private. And we’ve seen how he treats sexual affairs by other employees (Sal).

dont know how the peggy/duck relationship will shake out. it was don's dismissiveness towards peggy which pushed her towards that initial meeting with duck and their eventual liason. now that bridges have been mended peggy might start to lose interest or she him more for what he is.

but in the interest of drama its hard to say exactly how don will react. he was pretty angry when he found out jane, then his secretary, was involved with roger. so when his business interests are compromised he may think differently. when sal's sexuality impinged on business, he was regrettably let go. not that he would react that way with peggy, just that he may lash out if important information was withheld that had monetary ramifications.

Dave F said...

I'm not going to repeat all the great comments above, excpet to say that I am glad DTor stated Don's case regarding Betty: she was a hypocrite playing the victim, and he was outraged about that and that his marriage was over. Did she have a right to? Sure, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be mad- I imagine I would say a lot worse than "whore" if I had a wife that left me for another man.

A few months ago I viewed the original film "The Women" (a very funny movie, btw) and a lot of that movie focused on the Reno divorce for ladies of means.

One question for the group: I didn't understand why Hilton fired Don. He seemed to already have accounts at McCann (international?) so what would be the big deal- diversifying his assets?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of these comments have misrepresented the Sal issue by asserting that SCDP could simply hire him and just keep him a secret from American Tobacco/Lucky Strike. Yes, Lee Garner Jr. demanded that Roger Sterling fire Sal, but it was Don who let Sal go without a fight. Don, who dismissed Sal with an ugly, anti-gay "you people" comment, was the real villain in this situation, and I don't think Sal could come back without Don's support.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

As always, an interesting review and insightful comments.

I was taken by the selection of "Shahdaroba" by Roy Orbison as the closing theme. Not only does the song talk about looking to the future rather than dwelling on the past, but Roy Orbison was one of the few pop or rock singers of the pre Beatle era to survive The British Invasion- in fact, for awhile Orbison became bigger in the UK than in America, where his career started to fade in the late 1960's.

Orbison's career went into transition, just like that of the principle characters of SCDP are doing as 1963 turns to 1964. The 1960's truly were jumpstarted in just a few weeks when four young Brits arrived from Liverpool to appear on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW.

1964 was such a transformative year on so many levels. Its going to be interesting to see where Weiner & company take the audience. The cultural changes, the way we dressed, talked, the year everything British was young, trendy and hip- 1964 wasa year of sweeping cultural change. And of course, Vietnam just getting ready to escalate, and America's inner cities moving closer to explosion.

Wherever they take us next, its going to be a ride to remember.

arrabbiata said...

Those left behind-

Many good reasons have been proposed for why Ken wasn't plucked for the new SCDP. I thought of another possibility. They may feel that Ken isn't fully committed to advertising. He admitted a while back that he just sort of fell into it as a job to get coming out of college. He's got his creative outlet, and an easygoing charm (and haircut) that would allow him to slip into almost any corportate gig. I could see him easily moving on to another career. Pete, for all his faults, is a committed ad man. And he does bring some of the strengths that Don catalogued.

Don't know if Paul is just in a slump right now, or if Peggy is just naturally that much more creative, but of the two, she's the obvious choice. Besides, Paul is an ass. Not the guy you want to start over with.

The new firm has no art department and may not for a while. Their most important contract will not allow them to hire back Sal as the dept head, but there's no reason he can't work freelance for them. Just make sure he's not in the office when Lucky Strike comes around. At first I was upset when Sal got fired for no fault of his own, but the more I thought about it, the more I saw it as a potential blessing in disguise, career wise. He had said (to his wife I think?) how he felt his art director position was being squeezed out, and directing might be the wave of the future. With his vast experience in advertising and some limited experience in directing, I could see him take advantage of the growth of the tv industry to go into that full time.

And everyone else- dozens of secretaries and others worked in that office. Did any of them serve any functions that will be needed at the new firm? Not having such a huge support staff will save a lot of money.

other thoughts-

Trudy, Pete, and Peggy together in the same room. Don't think there's any chance of Trudy finding out about what went down with her husband and the copywriter who shares his desk (only two people know and I'm sure they won't be talking), but you'd think there'd be some tension there.

As soon as the guys shared their confusion over the office documents I knew instantly that Joan would be called in. Roger's statement about making the phone call was the confirmation. Once she walked through the door I knew this crazy caper would succeed.

Lots of amusing lines, already quoted above. A nice contrast to last week's very good, but very depressing episode. I don't think I've ever seen anyone as happy to be fired as Lane was. Wonder if he's told his wife the news yet.

In my head I know that Don has been an awful husband and deserves to have his wife leave him, but somehow I still feel that Betty is at fault for the break up of the marriage and family. Sally certainly thinks so, though she doesn't know what we know about Don. Betty and the kids will come out worse for this. Dick/Don the survivor will feel some pain, but he's better equipped to move on.

The worst part of this episode is the long wait until season 4. On the bright side- not having new episodes to watch (and rewatch) and 400 blog entries to read each week will free up several hours each Sunday and Monday. Thanks again Alan for guiding us through another amazing season of this show and providing a place for us to deepen our appreciation for it.

W. Blake Gray said...

While I like the Lane character, I don't see what he brings to SCDP. Everybody else is there for their specific abilities or connections. He's on the team out of gratitude, but as a partner?

I wonder if that will be a source of tension next season.

dez said...

But the solution is pretty simple - McCann finds out that Sterling, Cooper is no more (and that many of the accounts are now gone), and rescinds their contract to buy PPL (and Sterling Cooper).

That's what I was thinking, especially after St. John bellowed at Pryce that he'd cost PPL lots of money.

Really enjoyed the reconciliation scene between Peggy and Don. It was great to see that she had all the power, towering over him as he sat, hat off and placed respectfully on the coffee table. I like how she wouldn't sit down and be on his level until he conceded her importance. Only then were they equals and Peggy could go with Don to the new company, secure in her position. Grade A staging by the director, that was :-)

Anonymous said...

As for Betty and Henry.... I think alot of us forget this is the early 60's, not today. Remember how Betty reacted to the divorcee down the street. You had to have a man to take care of you, women's lib is coming but it will take a while to get to the suburbs. She needs Henry to get this divorce, she needs his connections. Betty is strong but the only world she knows is being a wife. What the lawyer told her is true, they made getting a divorce extremely difficult (at least for the wife to do.) If she stays with Henry she will have a world in politics and that world does involve Roger so there are opportunities for the social intermingling as well as Don having to come deal with the kids etc. What would be interesting is if Henry moves them into the city, out of the suburbs, and Betty is faced with the changes in the world. We need to see the women's movement through Joan, Peggy, Betty, Trudy etc.

What I loved is how Trudy and Pete are now a team. She can't have kids so now she has to figure out a place for herself. I loved her calling out from the bedroom when Pete was about to dig himself into a hole with Roger and Don. She sees the future too and is perfect for Pete now.

Mad Men is heading into the 60's perfectly, I just wish we were seeing it next week instead of next summer!

Julia said...

Her unhappiness doesn't come from Don it comes from being trapped as a housewife that she finds unfulfilling.

She knows for sure about at least one affair and now that she knows Don had a whole other life and identity he didn't tell her about, she probably figures he's still got another separate life going on the side.

The change I saw in Betty after finding out about Don is likely due to realizing she's not been imagining things all these years. That uneasy sense had a basis in reality. His saying she needed to see a good doctor was a real insult.

I saw my ex's psychiatry textbooks when he was in med school about that time. There was a lot written about women who reject the "woman's role". They were considered neurotic and un-womanly. That view is reflecte in many of the films of the time. Think of the John Wayne - Maureen O'Hara films. And the "real woman" who sacrificed and put her man first. My ex thought my not particularly liking house work was evidence of maladjustment.

Perhaps Don now accepting Peggy's ambition and competance at work will shake him free of his Madonna/Whore complex. I hope so.

The trapped-as-a-housewife meme looked different to people in the early 1960s. It took a very brave number of women like Peggy to make it possible for later women to move into employment the same way as men take for granted. Most women back then did not see it as a trap; it was just life. Peggy is very lucky that she has someone like Don to help her toward her goals. I'm not so sure she would have been accepted at other agencies of the time.

In any case, there were lots of outlets for intelligent women outside the work force. Betty might really like politics, United Way, Red Cross volunteer, teacher's aid, board member of local charities, soup kitchens. Those kind of women were the backbone of their communities and valued.

Anonymous said...

Pete VS. Ken

Why would Don, Bert, Roger, and Lane decide to court Pete before Ken? Lane picked Ken over Pete for the promotion. Don hates Pete. Now this group decides to go to Campbell first?

Brandy said...

Pryce may or may not stay with the company, he's the only one who has a serious change of a pending lawsuit.

But they need somebody like him. Many a fledgling ad agency has been taken down not by lack of creative but rather lack of somebody managing the store.

Pryce is as valuable as Jane at this point.

It's hard to make bean counting visually exciting but none of the rest of them would have known exactly what they needed to bring in billing wise to keep everything afloat.

Bob said...

What I enjoyed most was Don's leading the effort to save his professional career, and by the by Bert's and Roger's. They were willing to die the slow death on the ice floe until Don barged in to Bert's office and lit a fire. And it was Don who figured out the caper to bring Lane in by firing all the contracted partners. It was Don being brilliant. His marriage is over, but to see him take charge and force the boys to save all their professional lives was thrilling.

I loved Peggy's "Well, thanks for stopping by" - giving him nothing. And Pete's "I want to hear it from him." was the same. Don is being forced out of his cocoon of impregnability to make something new. To create a new professional family, one where he could see himself, unlike Sterling Coop, as part of something he had made. Where he could be himself. And where he could genuinely connect with others as a real human being, not his own false construct. I think we saw Don and Dick starting to integrate into a real adult person.

BTW - I think Sal's return is too complicated to just bring him in the door at the finale. That's going to take some doing next season. Too big a story for one night. I'm just glad we got Joanie back!

Unknown said...

I heard Don's line to Peggy as "I won't spend the rest of my life trying to hire you." I'll have to go back and listen more carefully as the difference between will and won't really changes the tenor of the scene.

I thought Betty's handling of the confrontation with Don was pitch perfect. She didn't back down or scream. She just stood there and let him boil over. He was drunk and abusive, so arguing with wasn't going to solve anything. And crying or teting to run would have been weak. She just held her tongue until he simmered down and then cooly ordered him out.

I know everybody loved the feel good aspect of this episode (and it was emotionally satisfying on that level for me too), but I have a couple of criticisms. It's somewhat unrealistic that so many players who hav had so much tension between them could just set aside all their differences in hours to join a merry band of brothers and sisters in what will be a very difficult endeavor that will require close cooperation from all of the for quite some time. And for all the optimism, the new company faces major hurdles. Whether the seires displays them or not, there will be potentially crippling legal action, and starting a business really is a massively time consuming and risky endeavor. They don't have an art department for God's sake and there will months of lag before billings are generated and paid.

Loved Paul's reaction to the fact that Peggy jumped ship. Felt very sorry for him despite the fact that he's often been smug and unlikable. He's not actually a bad ad man. Yes, the show is at pains to show that he's not as good as Peggy, but in addition to the Jackie Marilyn thing, he was cited as doing good work on the nuclear power campaign. Kurt and Smitty on the other ahnd have never been shown as real contributors. In his stuffy Ivy League way, Paul represents another voice of the liberal sixties trends. Still he's exactly the kind of character that can successfully be sacrificed, so I suspect we won't be seeing too much more of him

berkowit28 said...

Alan replied to"

"One thing I've been paying attention to recently is how little outdoor shots their are in Mad Men.

Outdoor filming is much more expensive, and Mad Men is working with a basic cable budget."

Also, the show is set in New York City. That's what you'd expect to see in most outdoor shots - NYC. But the show is shot in Los Angeles.

Actually, I noticed something a bit peculiar in one of the interviews with Matt Weiner. Having explained back in the first year (I can't recall now if on the DVD commentaries or in an interview) that the choice to do the show in LA was his, for personal reasons - that's where he and his family lives, there was an interview sometime last year where he referred to his kids living back east! I'm sorry I don;t have specifics, I'll look out for them. But does anyone know more about this? (Starting off-season chat here...)

Anonymous said...

What a great episode. I thought Don seemed happy for once despite all his personal troubles. I think on some level he is relieved to be rid of Betty and out from under all the lies he had to conceal from her.

As for Betty, she is trading a life with one stranger for another and I predict things will not go smoothly fir her. She is terribly self-absorbed and childish to break up her marriage and family to run off with a man based on mere flirtation. What do they have in common? Aside from the flirting, do they like one another as individuals? Betty has already shown her childish side to HF once, I predict he will tire of it and her rather quickly. Did anyone notice when they were on the plane how far apart they were sitting and that he wasn't paying any attention to her at all? Betty is miserable with herself but makes a habit of blaming Don for her unhappiness. I bet she will do the same with HF.

Best line of the night "Very well then. Happy Christmas".

Can't wait till next season.

Unknown said...

It was good, yes, and satisfying. May I say that I just love Peggy? She is so forthright and honest and plain-spoken, and Don's rejection of her this season has only made her stronger and more her own gal. She looks lovely, too. She's finally getting her props!

And may I also say how tired I am of Betty. She is almost vacant, and is going from one gilded cage into another. Why? Because she can't see past being "wanted" and imagine a real life for herself.

And poor Sally! She feels so deeply. She will not be happy, torn from her father and living in a house with the stranger, Henry Francis. Plus, she has to wait out the 6 weeks while Betty's in Reno. Not a great situation for a girl mature beyond her years and so sensative and bright. Don will be too busy to be there for her....

Joan looked super, didn't she? Va-va-VOOM!

Karen said...

And more thoughts....

"I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you."

And, yes, it was "will"--at least according to the closed-captioning.

I loved this line, especially in light of the several-season speculation that Don will end up with Peggy. I've never thought that was the case, and this line really summed it up. I mean, substitute "find" or "marry" or something equally lovey-dovey for "hire" and you've got a cliche of romantic melodrama. But that is so not what Don wants from Peggy. I mean, he said it himself--he's always seen her as an extension of himself. When he's hard on her, it's no different than how he'd be hard on himself. When she's clicking on all cylinders, he smiles at her with perfect recognition and ease, as he did with the Western Union account 2 weeks ago. Peggy is for him the perfect colleague and someone who makes him better at HIS job. In a world where success is more important than love--and I'm not entirely sure that's where Don/Dick lives, but at the very least they're running neck-and-neck--that line is probably the most romantic thing he could say.

And, of course, it worked. I was worried that Peggy, who knows Don pretty well, too, without actually knowing him at all, would say "Don't sell me the way you sell our clients." I was actually pretty worried that Pete would say that as well. Because, geez, that's exactly what Don was doing. He told both of them exactly what they wanted to hear. He gave them their fantasy. And with a kernel of truth, which makes it all the sweeter. Because, of course, where Pete's concerned, Don was right: he HAS always been out ahead of them on cultural curves. (I was surprised Don didn't mention Kennedy/Nixon as well.)

Such a very, very satisfying episode.

Olsencatz said...

Did I get this right: SCDP is starting up with the $25 million American Tobacco account along with some $8 million other accounts from Campbell? With 75% of the new firm's billings tied to Lucky Strike, might they be a bit leveraged - particularly in light of the pending Surgeon General's report on smoking?

Incidentally, that report was issued January 11, 1964 - how perfect for a short bridge between Seasons 3 & 4 as Alan eludes to above.

Arushia said...

I don't if I am too much of an optomist or too much of a romantic, but I actually think the Betty-Fracis relationship could be a good one. I know people have said that she is being foolish for attaching herself to someone she knows so little about but, as we've seen with Don, you can "know" someone for a long time and not know anything about them. Likewise, lasting friendships and relationships can develop quite quickly.

Alan once said that the Betty-Don relationship seemed doomed because Betty is not Don's type. I totally agreed. Likewise, I feel that Don has never been Betty's type and Francis seems to fit the bill.

While Betty and Francis leaving Bobby and Sally home with the help does not bode well for them, I am still hopeful that her union with her elder children will be improved by her marriage to Francis. As far as we can tell, his relationship with his daughter is sound (they are close enough that he confided in her about his feelings for Betty). And perhaps, having a more affectionate husband will bring out the maternal instincts in Betty.

Another thought... Francis was first enamored with Betty when she was very pregnant. Will he want to have more kids with her? And if he does, will Betty want to have more children with him? And if they do have more children how will Bobby and Sally react? That is a subplot that I feel is more likely than a Betty-Don reunion.

Pam R said...

Thanks for all the wonderful recaps, Alan. MW just got busted on this ep. Now we know that he is capable of writing focused, action packed, and intelligent episodes(the finale and the John Deere eps).
How many women out there loved when Rodger told Don about Henry? I did. Too bad Betty didn't have the info about the teacher to throw back at him. Although I would be glad to see Betty go(we endured a lot this season)Don is a free man starting a new life while Betty is stuck working her good looks to attach herself to someone else.
The closing scene was odd. Betty looked all alone even though Henry was sitting next to her.

Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled by people who claim Don is the better parent in the Draper family. He wanted to run away with Rachel and leave everything behind in S1 and disappeared without a warning for a long time in S2, not giving one thought to his children. He obviously spends a lot less time home than Betty, barely ever seeing them and therefore barely ever being around them. How exactly is that good parenting? I'll give him that he is the nicer parent (didn't we all want a mom or dad who never yelled at us or tried to set boundaries?), but he is also canonically the more absent parent. I don't know, personally I just don't feel like claiming him as thee better parent until I see him dealing with the parental duties to the same extent than Betty has. Yeah, maybe Carla is the real mom to the children, but at the moment Betty has still been more of a parent than Don has.

Matthew said...

If Kiernan Shipka (Sally)doesn't win an Emmy award for best supporting actress in a drama, it would be a crime!

Loved the 'let's get the gang together' feel of the episode. As with other episodes, there was the lingering tension that word would leak out and the plan would be spoiled (like knowing the teacher was outside in Don's car while Don gets confronted by Betty).

Enjoyed the contrast of sadness (telling the kids of the divorce)and hilarity of the one liners ("Peggy, can you make me some coffee?" "No!"). As always - just so well done!

Felt the same way about Betty as soon as Henry said not to go for the money. Are you nuts?! Having said that, Don did say he wouldn't fight her in the divorce so, if she wised up in time, she could get something in order to be secure on her own if her 2 hour relationship doesn't work.
(Will Betty and Henry have spent more time together on the flight from NYC to Reno then they have previously?!)

Looking forward to Season 4!

Susan said...

OldManDeac, I would love to see a conversation between Anna and Betty. Anna has a lot of compassion for Don and understands him a lot better than Betty does.(Although Long Beach, California is not exactly next door to Reno.)

John, I don't think it was unrealistic that they could band together. Bert Cooper is the only one who has actually started a business, and he told Don young men are willing to take risks because they don't understand the consequences. Everyone except Bert is blissfully unaware of what is actually required to make Sterling Cooper Draper Price work. They also have one common goal which bands them together, and sometimes that overrides any past differences people may have.

Trilby, yes Joan did look fabulous. She was in capri slacks with a scarf on her head when she walked into Sterling Cooper. That tells me she hurried right down there as soon as Roger made the call.

Sally is awesome and so honest. She just cut through all the garbage when her parents were trying to awkwardly explain things. She knew Betty had made Don do it and said so. Her comment about him sleeping in Gene's scary room was great.

moog8008 said...

One of my favorite scenes was the move out - Pete holding his Chip N' Dip rifle. Very cute.

Anonymous said...

Karen: Don's always on top of everything, isn't he?

Nice ping for me Karen, back to when Peggy showed her surprise to Don not seeing the Ann Margaret clip. "You see everything."

Apparently not...


deanne said...

"Feminism may be the radical notion that white, middle-class women are people too - which sure as sugar leaves me out in the cold, but even I am getting sick of all the thoughtless Betty hate. LOL at these poor suckers who seem truly incapable of taking into account the repulsive behavior of Don and just about every other patriarchal tool Betty encounters. One should probably be more disturbed at this trend of suckers in what's ostensibly such a smart, high-falutin' fandom, but eh, abuse apologists come a penny a dozen."

THANK you for saying this! Honestly, the double standards for Betty are nauseating.

Anonymous said...

Great recap (which is actually much too trivial a word for what you do Alan), and very statisfying episode, wow. I was riveted. And you're right, it did very much have the flavor of the original "Ocean's-11"

I felt the same thing about Betty being dependent yet again. And Henry really gives me some serious hyper-controlling vibes, regardless of his laid-back demeanor. I also felt sad for the baby on the plane, he'll never get to have the family that the older kids had, even shortly. So much for Betty's goal of a better life for the baby.

I love how Pete calls his wife, "Lovely!" X-D

Seriously, I agree, how cruel is it to your kids to break up family during the Christmas season, that vibe is going to taint every Christmas for them for the rest of their lives!

Wonderful comments here everyone, I always enjoy reading your thoughts, and that of the host most of all. I look forward to all the analysis of this finale! Now, I going off to Itunes to make myself a MadMen cd to get me through to next season! P.S. thanks for telling us who sang the closing tune!

Shahdaroba! Jann :-)

Rachel said...

Just FYI -- not sure about the state of the law in NY in the 60s, the current state of the law is that a non-compete will not be enforced in the case of an involuntary discharge. Of course, the discharges here weren't actually involuntary, and the conspiratorial aspect of Lane's involvement with the new agency could make him liable. But this is TV so I highly doubt they will be dealing with this head-on or in any detail.

Anyway, great episode. Loved the dichotomy between the Sterling Coup caper and the Draper break-up. Both situations are teeming with dramatic possibilities for season 4.

Don's speech to Peggy brought a tear to my eye. I can relate to not feeling appreciated by a superior and then finally getting the acknowledgment you deserve. Another great moment for the relationship between those characters.

And Joan's triumphant return to the office was great. They've done a nice job with the story lines for the three female lead characters. At times I've been frustrated by Peggy and Joan seeming to disappear in certain episodes, but the actresses have really soared when given the spotlight. And Betty is perhaps the most controversial female character ever -- and I love that. She brings out so many emotions in me.

Anonymous said...

You've nailed it with the heist vibe - and it was sublime indeed.

I think people are overstating the leal ramifications of the office raiding. There are too many factors at work for PPL to mount a legal offensive against the new SCDP. They already planned o get rid of Bert and Roger, so it comes down to Don. Lane could make a good case for firing all of them, they just lost Hilton after all. The advertisers that have gone with SCDP won't magically return to PPL if they sue the new firm, and the word on the street would be that Draper is too valuable, that PPL has no talent to replace him.

People bail on contracts all the time and are not sued under their noncompetes. Too many factors to work out before declaring such an action 'worth it' and when you've got a transatlantic relationship that is already undergoing merger - well, it's the perfect time to take you chances. I don't think it would end the sale - the terms might get slightly renegotiated, but the loss of accounts during a merger would be somewhat anticipated already. PPL is much bigger than just Don Draper and two of his subordinates.

I think they got away with it.

Flynn said...

Alan-Love your blogs. Am admittedly new to this series but seriously hooked on it. In the past 2 weeks I have watched every episode from start to finish, from season one, episode one, to last nights Season Finale. As a result of watching these episodes one after another in so short a period of time, and perusing the accompanying message boards and reading literally thousands of comments, I believe I have discovered something no-one else has ever touched on, you included.
In at least half of all the episodes that have aired, including Sunday's season 3 finale, there has been a specific scene where Don Draper has a really bad smokers,cough. It occurred again last night right at the start.
There has to be a reason for this, yes? If you're watching one episode at a time over the last 3 years perhaps it would be unnoticed. But when you watch 3-4-5episodes at a time it is clearly noticeable, and Matt Weiner must have the actor John Hamm doing this for a specific purpose, no?
So Alan, have you or anyone else noticed this?, and does anyone out there believe the end of the series (whenever it may be) will be Don and lung cancer?

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