Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 4 USERS: A-
That's Some Great Business Sense!
on, so as I mentioned, it's not like Paul is just being, well, a beatnik about the whole thing, but Pete's unimpressed, blithely warning Paul he's going to have to fill Don in on what happened. Less sure of his defiant stand when the specter of Don the Dad Figure is invoked, Paul tries to say that the clients will trust him more when he turns around and helps them, but Pete channels his great-great-grandfather Silas Dyckman and disdainfully replies, "Do you ever listen to yourself?" Look who you're asking, Pete. Would you?

Betty's striding into the office, flanked by Joan, who compliments her on how well she's "carrying." Rather than extol the virtues of melba toast and remind herself to fire Carla, Betty dismisses it as "smoke and mirrors." Half right. Joan says it makes her optimistic, because come the first of July "when [her husband Greg]'s Chief Resident, I'd better watch out." I take it no one disagrees with that last part. Don's secretary (no idea of her name yet) approaches and greets Betty, and Joan suggests she get Betty a glass of water, but Betty pipes up, "Why don't you first tell me how long I'm going to be here?" Well, Betty, if you're going to be that strident, you might as well lead with "Belay that order!" Come on, how often in your life do you get the opportunity to say it?

Anyway, Betty will be around for a bit, it seems, as her husband, as well as Roger and Bertram, are just now coming in to see Pryce. Pryce thanks them for coming, to which Bertram grumps, "Didn't you just call us all into your office?" Seems like the polite thing to do would be not to call attention to it. Pryce informs them that Campbell's UK has sacked them, to which Bertram responds that it's an ad agency, and he doesn't want to walk down there every time they lose an account. "I'll wear out the carpet." Bertram, I would certainly miss you, but retirement is a viable option here. You certainly qualify both in age and crotchetiness. When he's gone, Pryce goes on that the root of the problem is that they never had a meeting with the American arm of Campbell's, to which Roger replies, "Perhaps I should drag Burt Peterson in and fire him again." Considering the scene he caused? Yes. Yes you should. Anyway, that comment is indicative of both Roger's and Don's investment in the conversation, so Pryce gives it up as a bad job, saying there's no need to fret as long as they get some new business. He's then informed that his wife is waiting, and asks Don for five minutes, so that explains why Betty's there...

...if not why Joan and the secretary are hovering over her. No, they're employing some old wives' tricks to figure out the baby's gender, but they disperse when Roger and Don appear, with the former greeting Betty thusly: "Oh, look, Princess Grace just swallowed a basketball." Betty returns the greeting coldly, probably out of disapproval of Roger throwing over Mona as he did, although the basketball comment can't have helped, and then she and Don leave Roger and Joan to exchange awkward (Roger's) and fake (Joan's) smiles. Joan walks away first, and Roger calls after her, "Good night, Mrs. Harris." Elsewhere, as they walk out, Betty informs Don, "I'm in a foul mood." Probably less dangerous now that she's learned to express such feelings.

At dinner, Mrs. Pryce, the toity to Pryce's hoity, compliments the wine and their "furnished flat" on Sutton Place, adding that it's near the U.N., "so there are plenty of Africans." Might as well joke about the few colonies you have left. After a canned toast from Pryce about improving with age, he tells them "Rebecca" was wondering if they had any recommendations for schools, but Betty confesses she's a bit out of touch when it comes to the city. Maybe she could ask Captain Retro Awesome. Preferably while naked. Rebecca asks how long they've been together, and Betty responds that it's been nine years while Don answers ten. One wonders if it's because to Don, it seems like longer, or if instead Betty's marking off the time they were separated. Maybe both. Pryce then mentions that "J. Walter Thompson" is opening an office in Caracas, but Don sharply opines that the ladies don't want to talk about that, in a "we'll discuss this later" tone that throws the relationships at the table into confusion, at least for me. Dinner is then served...

In the car, Don "apologizes" by way of grousing that he didn't want to be at the dinner any more than Betty did, and she somewhat resignedly replies, "It was just the cherry on top of my sundae." I congratulate her on correctly employing a reference that's so obviously foreign to her. Don snaps that she should just tell him what's bothering her now instead of "three seconds after [he's] dozed off," and he's being awfully brusque but I have to grant that that habit would wear thin in a hurry. Betty tells Don that she's been trying to get her father Gene on the phone for a while, and she just found out from her brother William that Gloria, the second wife, left him. Don, in a more conciliatory tone at least, asks Betty if she can blame her, but of course Betty can: "She came into his life, he suddenly takes ill and she abandons him." Don replies that maybe she realized he's a "son of a bitch," and the particular way Betty chooses not to argue the point suggests to me that she doesn't exactly disagree, but she does say she's worried about him, and since she can't take a long car trip in her condition, she's going to have William and his wife Judy bring Gene up to them that weekend. Don grumps that William and Judy's girls are a nightmare, and wonders why Betty even bothered asking him. Well...she didn't, so much. That was kind of the point. There's definitely a new dynamic in their relationship -- she certainly seems to have forgiven him, but she no longer perceives herself as inferior to him in the relationship, it seems to me. Betty notes that the baby is really kicking, and Don wisely does not suggest it's because the child is just as unpsyched about the in-laws coming to visit as he is. He was thinking it, though.

In his office, Roger is informed that his "family" is there, and after he gives the okay, Mona and Margaret enter. Excuse me while I grab some popcorn and Raisinets. Margaret greets her dad awkwardly, while Mona merely settles into a chair and accepts an offer of sherry, despite the fact it's only 10:30, as Margaret is at pains to point out. Roger is partaking as well as Margaret informs him she asked her fiancé Brooks to come late to avoid embarrassment. Roger asks if the social discomfort has to do with the fact that he's paying for everything, but Mona, rather blithely, informs him that it's actually about Jane. She takes the relatively-good-cop role as she adds that she's suggested a compromise to Margaret in regard to the seating (this time, referring to Jane as "June," heh) but Margaret isn't so much on board with that: "I didn't want to go to her wedding, but I did. The least she can do is not come to mine." She adds that seeing Jane on her wedding day will ruin the whole thing. "She's young enough to be my sister. How does it look?" Well, it depends on your perspective. Or lack thereof, which is why asking Roger that question is probably futile. Brooks then arrives, not nearly late enough to avoid any embarrassment, and the way he warmly greets Mona as "Mom" before stiffly shaking Roger's hand is probably all you need to know about where his loyalties lie. They then segue into the invitations, and Roger gives his opinion on which one to choose before musing: "November 23rd. I'll tell Jane." Given what's going to happen on November 22nd, you might as well not bother. No church is going to be able to accommodate you, for sure and certain. Which reminds me of one of my favorite moments from last season, Joan warning Roger in the wake of Marilyn Monroe's death: "One day, you'll lose someone who's important to you. You'll see. It's very painful."

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Mad Men




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