Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 6 USERS: A
The Cat is Out of the Bag…
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
In traveling attire, Betty is closing up her suitcase and calling to the kids, who are downstairs in the kitchen with Don. Sally is trying to land a Minnie Mouse costume, but Don won't hear of it: "You'll wear it once. Plus it's made out of plastic, and it's crap." I can hear Disney's lawyers getting into formation now. Betty enters and after mildly chiding the kids for not listening to her, we learn that the plan is for them to be gone a week, causing Sally to worry that they'll miss Halloween. Betty assures her they have Halloween where they're going (heh) and she'll be trick-or-treating with her cousins, so they say goodbye to Don and then rush off to get their bags. Betty, thinking of the stacks of money in the locked drawer, gets a purposeful look on her face and tells Don she only has forty dollars, so he tells her to swing by the bank, as she's got at least two hundred in there, which should be plenty. Well, unless William is planning to pilfer a twenty or two out of her purse. I wouldn't put it past him. Betty stares at Don: "You have no more money." He just gives a puzzled look in return and then kisses her goodbye, which seems a little more clueless than normal for him, but it is a little early in the episode for the upcoming bomb to drop.

Roger and Don enter Bertram's office, and the former is startled to see a woman of a certain age in there, and from the way he exhibits manufactured trouble in digging up her last name, it's seem likely that (a) he's known her for some time and (b) there was something between them at some point. Not that I haven't already seen the episode as I write this, but the show really is that good at the subtle things. Anyway, the woman's name is "Annabelle Mathis," and after the four of them sit down and Roger gauchely asks if she divorced "what's-his-name," she informs him that what's-his-name is dead, and as a result of her father's will, the company her husband had been running reverted to her. She adds that her husband was only fifty-one when he died of lung cancer, and there's a hilarious cut to the smoking Don, who looks like, "Well, that gives me a few more years, anyway." The mention of the dead husband barely slows either Roger or Annabelle down from making moony eyes at each other, and then she gets down to business, saying she'd like her company, "Caldecott Farms," to return to SC if they can deal with the PR nightmare that recently befell them. Apparently the movie The Misfits prompted an exposé that revealed that Caldecott Farms uses horsemeat in its dog food, and when Annabelle says she's not sure why her company was singled out, Roger tells Don, "She owns a horse farm that makes dog food." Heh. Anyway, after some discussion of how solving the PR issue through advertising will be difficult despite how delicious horses are (no, seriously, that's pretty much what's discussed), Annabelle tells them that she's thrown down the gauntlet to a bunch of firms, and the best idea gets her business. Of course, what passes for the "best idea" from Roger may be different from what she's looking for from everyone else, if the way she giggles at a joke about his dick size is any indication (again, not kidding). The four of them stand, and after she tells them her two simple rules ("Don't change the name, don't change the product," as Don sums them up) she asks Roger to walk her out. Good idea to do it while she still can. When they're gone, Bertram tells Don that SC used to have their account, but "her father was a son of a bitch." He adds that people spend more money on dog food than baby food, and Don needs no further encouragement: "I'll put the fellows on it." Whether that includes Peggy depends on how seriously he's taking Bertram's statement, I'd imagine.

Outside, Roger asks what Annabelle's really doing there, and while she plays it coy, it definitely seems like she's interested in more than dog food. Roger seems reluctant to encourage her, but eventually agrees to a business dinner, and if he's really that worried he should have thought of that before he started referencing his endowment. I guess old habits die hard, in more ways than one. And speaking of which, his fake tan has returned with a vengeance. For a show that's so incredibly detail-oriented, the tone of that thing is certainly all over the place.

Suzanne arrives home to find Don waiting for her, and after a little talk about the stealthy ways she's keeping their affair from her landlords and the fact that she'd love to take him to Little Italy sometime, she tells him that she's not trying to make it seem like she's thinking about the future, but even if she removes herself from the picture, she sees a man who's not happy. He looks taken aback by this assessment, but merely steps forward and says he's happy now. This is apparently not what she wanted to hear, though -- she probably was more interested in an acknowledgement of his unhappiness with his life, as despite her denials she's surely interested in something long-term with him. She withdraws into the kitchen and starts busying herself with making dinner, and put off by her sudden iciness, he says he's going to go lie down, which she acknowledges with a fake smile. Well, they're certainly starting to seem married.

Joan is mock-interviewing Greg to prepare him for his entry into the psychiatry world, and gets curious when he won't tell her what experience he's had with the field. Reluctantly, he admits that his father once had a nervous breakdown -- apparently he sold furniture and went through a period where no one was buying, and "a headshrinker got him through, but we weren't allowed to talk about it." Amazing how quickly things can make sense when you're given a little backstory. Joan tells him that the kind of openness he just exhibited is exactly what the interviewer will be looking for, and after she encourages him some more, he expresses surprise that he never told her about his father before. Joan smiles like, "I knew my man had some hidden depths!" Honey, you know I love you, but give it up already.

Don's asleep in Suzanne's bed when she comes in and puts his arm around her, waking him up. Explaining her earlier behavior, she tells him she realized she wanted more than she originally expected, but assures him the feeling will pass. "Actually, I know for a fact it will." An intriguing comment, to be sure, and perhaps the clearest signal yet Don isn't the first married man she's been with, but instead of pursuing the subject, he tells her he doesn't want the feeling to pass, and when he picked the kids up from school that day and saw her, he wished she could have gotten in the car and driven away with him. He then offers to clear his schedule so they could spend the week in Mystic, or someplace, but after scoffing at the idea of visiting the setting of an early Julia Roberts movie, she says she can think of someplace they could go if he's serious. He is, so it's a date, but they do not hurry up and leave immediately, a decision at least one of them will live to regret.

Roger's hitting some golf balls in his office, and I'd expect he's getting out some frustration from the fact that he's using a pitching wedge instead of a putter. Just then, though, he gets a phone call that considerably brightens his mood, as it's Joan. He tells her she's lucky he answered, as his girl isn't in, and Joan is like, exactly -- she has a hair appointment at this time every month. Hilariously, that's news to Roger, but after some fun at Hooker's expense and some flirting, Joan gets down to the reason for her call -- she needs help finding work, since Greg (whom Roger hysterically refers to as "Dr. Cutup," hee) needs a lot of training to become a shrink, and she doesn't "want him moonlighting all the time." Well, having him make more money and not be around seems like a good deal to me, but we'll happily be getting to that soon enough. Roger suggests she come back to SC, but she points out that she's been replaced, "and a secretary makes less money than if I were working at a department sto

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Mad Men




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