Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | 4 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
That's Some Great Business Sense!
I wonder if we know when that's going to be?

Pryce comes in to tell Don how wonderfully charming Betty is and how much she lifted Rebecca's spirits. Don's lifetime of practice at lying once again comes in handy as he agrees that they really hit it off, and then Pryce continues that he'd like Don to go make nice with the MSG people, with Roger in tow. Don is roughly as thrilled about this as he is about the family coming to visit, but he also has as little choice, so he tells Pryce to have Pete send over the folder. Hopefully Pete will remember to remove any traces of all the times he doodled "Mr. Peter Draper" inside.

A gaggle of giggling kids (I think it's Sally, Bobby, and two girls who must belong to William and Judy) cause me to reach for the Excedrin before they thankfully head upstairs, leaving Betty to offer the lunch she fixed. However, Gene, starting to distribute the contents of a paper bag, says they went to "Pat's Steaks," and he even got Gloria a chicken parm. William: "Great. We'll mail it to her." Heh. Betty looks askance at him, but William is unfazed, loudly announcing that Gloria's in Boca and isn't coming back before opining to Betty that Gene understands and is just playing it up. Betty asks her dad how the drive was, and he basically says that since they took "the Lincoln," it was awesome. Betty smiles, but when Judy offers to serve his food to him, her face falls, all, "He's my daddy and you can't have him!" I'd be a lot more interested in the sandwich.

Peggy exits a meeting and pauses to take note of Joan holding court in front of a group of men; she tells a joke about riding the crowded subway, and the guys laugh uproariously. Peggy observes this, possibly wondering how she's having such trouble breaking into the world of men when they're all such idiots. However, after she observes them watch Joan go like their necks are all attached to the same string, she allows a sly smile to cross her face. Again, I'm not quite getting it -- Joan's always been popular with men in a very stylish and sophisticated way, so for Peggy to take an offhand comment from her as the inspiration to suddenly start acting like Ann-Margret seems rather forced, and it's not like some light flirtation on Joan's part gives much insight into her relative capacity for change either. Still: More Joan and Peggy, please.

Roger shows up to the restaurant late, although not as late as the clients, and Don somewhat disdainfully asks what the hell else he even has to do that day. "What else do you have to do all week?" Heh. Roger bitches about his familial situation, but then sighs, "I made my bed, I should lie in it, right?" I'd imagine that was kind of the point of marrying a girl barely out of college, yes. There's a bit of a questioning tone in his voice, though, like he's wondering whether Don's still mad at him, and Don, a hard edge in his voice, replies, "Your words, not mine." Asked and answered! Roger nods, but chooses not to engage Don here, instead bitching that it's all Mona's fault. "All of a sudden I could give two craps about that wedding. All I want to do is win." Before Don can express further disapproval (and it's duly noted that it would be easier to get fully behind him were we unaware that he's still cheating), their meeting arrives, and it's just the oldest guy (Ed Raffitt is his name), which strikes me as a little odd since he seemed the most put off by Paul. He literally isn't even going to sit down until Roger cajoles him into it, so I'm thinking Don's going to need some Kodak-level inspiration here, particularly after Roger makes a joke about Yetta Wallenda that has "too soon" written all over it. Don takes the reins and, after ascertaining that the demolition plan's detractors can't stop it from going forward, points out that the guilty conscience they're betraying with their concern over public opinion isn't doing them any good. He goes on that change is neither good nor bad, but merely is, and it can be greeted with terror, by throwing a tantrum about wanting things the way they were, or with joy, with a dance that celebrates the new. It's a good speech and in fact lays out the main theme of the episode -- exploring the characters' different responses to change -- but thanks to SNL all I can see now when Don makes one of the speeches is that damned hula hoop with the straps. However, he continues, "If you don't like what is being said, change the conversation," and when the guy reaches for a menu, they know they've got him even as he asks what that conversation is. Don brings up his trip to California, saying that it's clean and new and hopeful (and broke!), while New York is in decay. "Madison Square Garden is the beginning of a new city on a hill." So the Felt Forum was an ugly suburb? The guy tells Don if he comes to SC, he doesn't want "that kid" on his account. He could just as easily be talking about Pete as Paul, but when he clarifies, "The Communist. The radical," Don says he'll handle it personally. I have to admit I thought this meant Paul was getting the Burt Peterson treatment, but then I wondered: Does he even have a Rolodex?

Judy leads Gene into the TV room and announces to the kids that he's going to watch his program now. She flips the channel to baseball, and then heads into the living room to join the other adults. Betty starts by saying that Gene seems well, but reproaches William for apparently having been unaware for some period of time that Gloria was gone and Gene was alone. William tells her Gene lied to him for a while because he was ashamed, and while Judy has been successful in getting through to him, he's angry and "in and out." He suggests a nursing home halfway between them they could put Gene in, and adds that he and Judy would even sell their house to pay for it. Betty, however, sees right through her brother (although I didn't transcribe it when I recapped it, her comment to him that he should "Stop counting other people's money" was in the previouslies, a sentiment that was echoed last week when Don opined William "never tires of putting his name on other people's things") and accuses him of scheming to get his hands on their parents' house. Judy is so horrified that she has to leave the room, but it's not like William denies it as he asks what, then, the solution is. You probably will not be surprised that at Minute 25 they do not resolve this question.

When Don arrives home, he finds the TV still on but just giving static, and I think we can guess who forgot to turn it off. Indeed, Don finds Gene still awake in the living room, and Gene, referring to the fact that he's going to be sleeping on the couch, thanks Don for the "ritzy accommodations." Don, however, points out that Gene is an Army man: "Drop your socks and...grab something." Heh. Gene laughs, but Don doesn't join in, opting instead to withdraw...

...and head upstairs, where he finds Betty reading. He compliments her for achieving lights out so early, as it's only 8:15, but she replies by upbraiding him for bringing his sooty coat into the bedroom. Guessing where her mood is coming from, Don sits on the bed and asks how bad Gene is, but Betty seethes that he's not the problem. "What am I saying -- he's the whole problem. That and William's never-ending bullshit." Betty! Do you kiss your mother...er, your father...um, I think I see what's going on here. She repeats her opinion that William wants the house, and speculates that Judy might be pushing Gene along the path to senility. After opening the door to bark at the kids, Don asks Betty

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