Mad Men
The Summer Man

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B+ | 2 USERS: A+
Half the Battle
gizes for interrupting their evening (they had been at the theater) but says that "the Congressman" wanted this done immediately and in person. Henry tells Ralph that Betty, as a political wife, doesn't mind, and hilariously, just as he's assuring Ralph of her discretion, Betty spots Don inside the restaurant with Bethany and looks like she's going to start screaming bloody murder. She valiantly recovers and suggests they get a drink at the bar, which is certainly smart enough given that it will provide a change of venue and that she really, really needs one, and then Henry spots Don himself and catches on, but Ralph says their table will only be a minute... we might as well check in with Don and Bethany, and when we see Don waving the waiter off from pouring him champagne I wonder if the booze industry in the Mad Men universe is about to have its worst quarter since Roger had that heart attack. Bethany tries to bring some pop culture into their conversation by asking if Don's a Felix or an Oscar, and Don admits that while he'd rather be an Oscar, he's probably a Felix. That sounds like a response calculated for his audience rather than one consistent with the picture of a diner waitress's uniform slung over his bureau, but regardless, it fails to have the intended effect, as Bethany tells him that every date feels like the first with him, and not in a good way -- she knows he must be seeing other people. Don points out that they're together now, but Bethany thinks a few dates aren't sufficient to get to know someone -- "it takes intense, prolonged contact." Don doesn't make a lecherous raise-eyebrow comeback to that one, which probably shows as well as anything that he really is cutting down on the sauce, and when she asks if he doesn't want to be close with anyone, he simply says that he does, in fact. She informs him that she's going to need more from him, but he amusedly counters that clearly they are from different generations, because he doesn't remember women pushing this hard, and adds that he's not seeing anyone else -- he's just been working. I believe him when he says he has no other entanglements, but even at his booziest the only woman I think he saw more often than Bethany was his prostitute, so take this with a grain of salt, honey.

Bethany softens as she tells him she gets excited when he calls, and then it's disappointing when she doesn't hear from him, but their discussion is interrupted by Henry coming over with Betty and Ralph in tow and giving him a short and gruff greeting, probably having calculated that this will be best in terms of controlling a potential situation. He might have been better advised to have a little confab with his wife first, though. Don is slightly more congenial as he introduces "Miss van Nuys," and Bethany offers her given name, but Henry only tersely instructs them (well, that's the tone he used) to enjoy their dinner, while Betty and Ralph say nothing before they all walk away. Bethany's taken aback at the chill in the air, and I can hardly blame her given that the other three approached them, but it makes more sense when Don informs her that it was his ex-wife and her husband, "and some slob who's about to have the worst dinner of his life." Heh. When Bethany looks over at Betty, the camera goes in close as if to emphasize the fact that she and Bethany are both blonde, of similar physical type, and significantly younger than Don, and Bethany looks secretly pleased. Honey, don't get your hopes up -- guys like Don can sense it, and before you know it you're masturbating in the Barbizon. (Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Across the room, Betty stiffly sips her cocktail as Ralph thanks Henry for "securing the governor's endorsement for Congressman Lindsay," which he supposes was no small feat. He then goes on that "hypothetically," Lindsay has his eye on '72 (the Presidential race, although he doesn't specify that), and he would want to form his team around Henry. Henry leans back and smiles in the most indescribably smug and irritating way, not that Betty notices, so busy is she downing her cocktail with extreme prejudice and giving Don a psychotic side-eye worthy of a young Pete Campbell. Henry eventually asks her if she knows what she wants, but Betty excuses herself, not even really allowing the guys to get to their feet before she's out the door. Henry covers by saying that Betty gets flushed after one drink, which is hilarious to consider given that she used to be married to Don, but even though Ralph easily admits that his wife has the opposite problem, Henry looks in the direction Betty went and appears displeased. Well, guy, you didn't exactly cover yourself in glory with Don over there. Manners aren't just for the wives to learn, you know?

Upstairs, Betty locks herself in a stall and tries to recover, but even a cigarette doesn't seem to calm her nerves...

...and then later, on the car ride home, Henry is chewing her out for apparently having said she needed a drink, although we didn't hear that, and if he's referring to her suggestion that they get something at the bar, that seems more than a little unfair, especially the part where he asks if she's a "wino." Betty gets off a reasonable comeback when she points out that if he's going to tell her what she can and can't say, no thanks, since she was in a marriage like that before, and it is worth remembering how badly Don often treated her even outside of the cheating. She adds that she hates Don, a sentiment that Henry finds disturbingly strong, adding that he doesn't like seeing his ex-wife either, but he doesn't hate her because he's an adult. Betty starts to try to bring it down, asking who cares about Don, but Henry answers the rhetorical question by saying that she obviously does, and he's taking up too much space in her life and her heart. Betty, sensing the obvious jealousy, says that's ridiculous, but Henry wonders if they rushed into the marriage, like VEGAS WASN'T HIS BRILLIANT IDEA. Betty takes it one step further, pointing out it's a little late to be questioning decisions given that the fact that she was six months pregnant when they met didn't slow him down one bit, and then tells him he can just drop her off at the house, "because you don't want to live there anyway. And you can stay in a hotel, or wherever you were when I met you. In your mansion, with your servants." I just hope if they get divorced, this time she remembers to take what's hers. Henry tells her to shut up, which is a brilliant comeback from the mind that's going to put Lindsay in the White House, but she's got him dead to rights and he knows it... why not head over to a cheerier vehicle, as Bethany and Don are making out in the back seat of a cab. After an appraising look the driver's way, Bethany lowers herself, um, out of frame, and DVO offers, "She's a sweet girl. And she wants me to know her. But I already do." If that's true, it's pretty clear that he already knows she's not for him, but if that's what's on his mind during this situation I'm going to guess her technique could use some work too. As we cut to him in his bathrobe late at night, he writes, "People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be." Still not two hundred and fifty words, but he's getting somewhere, especially since he's echoing a side of the season's theme that Faye has been trumpeting ever since she arrived. Of course, he's also finding that it cuts bot

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