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Mad Men S3E5: The Fog

"Breathe and think about the beauty parlor."


It's not that the above quote really illuminates this episode so much as we just think it's a fantastic quote. The theme this week was prisons; from the Sing Sing guard who shared his fears and promises to Don in the waiting room to Betty's suburban hell to Peggy's corporate one, it was all about people trapped both figuratively and literally this episode.

The Drapers pay a visit to Sally's teacher who we last saw traipsing barefoot through the grass on May Day. It seems that Sally's acting out in school, getting into fights, and asking a lot of questions about Medgar Evers' murder. Sally's reacting not only to her repressive home life, but also the quietly exploding world around her that no adult seems willing to acknowledge, let alone explain. Betty doesn't want to deal with it. In fact, Betty doesn't want to deal with anything, not even her own emotions. "I'm not as upset as I look," she says to Miss Farrell, in reference to her own father's death, a sentiment that reveals that appearances are more important than feelings. She rushes out of the room and Don and Miss Farrell have a moment. Once again, Don reveals a bit of himself to a stranger rather than his own wife, admitting that he knows what it's like to lose someone important as a child.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Lane Pryce is bringing the hammer down on corporate spending. "Pennies make pounds," he says, further utilizing his P's by bemoaning the overspending on paper, pencils, pads, paperclips, and postage. Don's not having it and the two of them go head to head in Don's office. Pryce seems amenable to Don's ideas of getting clients to spend more money on television advertising in order to fuel creative's needs for their P's. These two have an interesting relationship. It's adversarial, but not as much as the relationship between Don and Duck was. Pryce seems to defer to Don out of respect.

Miss Farrell drunk dials the Draper home and, bra strap slipping, reveals a little more of herself to Don than is probably appropriate. He seems bemused and hangs up, turning to find Betty packed and ready to go to the hospital. "It's time," she says, and we get an ever so brief glimpse of a flummoxed Don.

The ladies of a certain age in our readership could do a better job of determining this than we ever could, but it seems to us like they did a good job of depicting how horrifying childbirth really was for women back then (based solely on the stories our own mothers told us). Betty is quickly whisked away from her husband and drugged into oblivion, waking up to find a baby in her arms, having no idea of how things went or even what gender the baby is that she's holding. During her "fog," she has a series of dreams and hallucinations depicting both her fears and her hopes. Walking through an idyllic suburban paradise (all lush lawns and trees but curiously, no houses), she stops to let a caterpillar slowly descend into her hand. She smiles and closes her hand around it. Is she crushing it or capturing it? Later, she walks into her kitchen (and we're not entirely sure about this, but we think they flipped the image on this scene so that everything's opposite from where it's supposed to be) to find her father dressed as a janitor and mopping blood all over the floor and her mother, sitting at the kitchen table tending to a wounded Medgar Evers. "You see what happens to people who speak up?" asks her mother. "You're a housecat," adds her father. "You're very important with little to do." Betty, tragically, is a product of her parents; trapped in a life where she has no power and fears being severely punished for voicing her discontent.

"That's a bullshit excuse." We have no doubt how Don would feel if Betty were self aware enough or strong enough to voice this. He meets a prison guard from Sing Sing in the waiting room and they get to discussing prisoners while waiting for their children to be born. The guard tells Don that most of them blame their parents for their lot in life and Don, ever the self-made man, rejects the idea. Of course Don is just as much a product of his parents as Betty is except he spent his life running away from them and she spent her life trying to live up to them. The two men bond, and much like Betty in her dream state, inadvertently reveal their hopes and their fears. Actually, that's not quite true. Don sits and listens to the other guy's hopes and fears and says practically nothing, but we know he feels mostly the same. Especially when the guy declares that the birth of his son will be a catalyst to him being a better man. We don't know if he ever voiced it quite the same way, but Don recognizes something in the other man's promise; something we suspect he doesn't quite believe is possible.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Pete, ever the inadvertent forward-thinker, makes a pitch to a client that's so revolutionary, he doesn't even realize it's revolutionary. He figures out that Admiral televisions are selling in predominately black areas of the country and tries to figure out a way to get an ad pitch out of it. Because the only black people he deals with on a personal basis are basically servants, he tries to strike up a conversation with Hollis, the elevator operator. "We're just talking," he says. "It's just Hollis and --" "Mr. Campbell," says Hollis, pointedly. One of our favorite things about this show is the way in which it deals with some of the biggest issues of the day. They're just background to family and business problems for this exclusively white, exclusively middle to upper-middle class cast. Southeast Asia? That's just a monk on TV setting fire to himself while a family grieves. Civil rights? That's just a way to sell televisions.

Pete pitches the brilliant (for its time) idea to Admiral that they should run ads for their product in black media like Ebony and Jet. What makes it even more revolutionary is the idea that they should run the same ads they run in more traditional media. Integration via advertising. "Isn't that illegal?" asks the timid client. Of course it's not but the client isn't buying it. Not because they don't think it's a valid idea but because they simply don't want to be known as the company that sells "colored televisions," which, you have to admit, is a pretty brilliant turn of phrase dreamed up by the writers. Pete gets hauled into Bert Cooper's office and Roger rakes him over the coals. Typical for Sterling Cooper, both Roger and Bert don't see what's right in front of them and it takes Lane Pryce, a self described "stranger in a strange land" to point it out to them. "There's definitely something going on," he tells them. "We'll look into it," Bert says dismissively. Honestly, we can't wait to to see the full weight of the sixties come crashing down on some of these people.

The late lamented Duck Phillips takes Peggy and Pete out to lunch, the other person's presence unbeknownst to the them until they arrive. Both of them are deeply uncomfortable being around each other and we finally get an answer as to how they're dealing with Peggy's bomb drop of last season's final episode. Basically, they hate each other now and we really can't blame them for that. Duck tries to get them to come over to his agency and woos them with bullshit promises of gold and velvet cushions. Duck tells them both, to their utter astonishment, that he figured out that they have a "secret relationship." Maybe Duck's not as dim as we thought. "Your decisions affect me," Pete says acidly to Peggy later in the episode. They of course deny it vehemently to Duck and Pete storms out.

Peggy, as she always does, goes to Don for answers. Wisely, she doesn't tell him about Duck's offer but does try and get him to promise her a raise. Once again, Don lets her down. This seems to be a recurring theme in their relationship. "You have everything. And so much of it," she says enviously as she fondles a baby bootie amongst all his baby booty. This is the first time we've seen any indication of what giving up her baby did to her. She gave all that up for her career and now she's stalling. "What if this is my time?" she asks. Don has no answer to that. Clearly, Peggy's not as happy at SC as we thought. She's slowly starting to realize that no matter how good she is at her job, she's never going to get what she wants and she's never going to completely fit in because she started off as a secretary. She's a total outsider. "No one told me they were all going in on it together," she offers as an explanation for why she bought a separate gift for baby Draper. We can hear the sadness in her voice.

We'd hate to see the Sterling Cooper gang broken up, but after that scene it seems almost inevitable now. How can Peggy not take Duck's offer? As much as Don's been a mentor and a benefactor to her, it seems like that relationship has gone as far as it's going to go. In a way, we hope she really does take Duck's offer, especially since more and more, Sterling Cooper is starting to feel like a sinking ship.

Back in Ossining, Baby Draper is crying in the night and Don doesn't even stir from his sleep. Betty slowly gets out of bed and walks dejectedly down the darkened hallway, the shadows forming prison bars on her back. She pauses outside the baby's room and we can see that for all Betty's talk of wanting everything to be perfect when the baby arrives, nothing at all has changed and she is more trapped in her prison than she ever was before.


[Photos courtesy of amctv.com
]


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105 comments:

Damn, it was Medgar Evers. I thought Betty was prescient and dreamed of MLK Jr.


"Betty slowly gets out of bed and walks dejectedly down the darkened hallway, the shadows forming prison stripes on her back."

Double damn. Missed that. I wondered if Betty was actually going to tend to the baby, or if she paused at the baby's door, then walked past it. She would have had to go to the kitchen to get a bottle, as she specifically said "no breast" to the nurse. You would think a mother would pick up the baby first and try to comfort it until the bottle was warmed.


What do y'all think about the scene in which Don passed the prison guard pushing his wife out of the hospital? Don smiled, but the guard totally cold-shouldered him. Do you think he'd already come to regret his promises of the previous evening?


I don't watch Mad Men -- I remember the '60s all too well without their prompting! Had to laugh though at your comments on childbirth as my two daughters were born early in that decade. Husbands were left out of the birth process -- just waiting until it was all over before coming to see the results -- but personally I was not drugged into oblivion and was aware of my baby's ID as soon as she was born.
For the record I do read your blog regularly -- even the ones on subjects I'm not especially interested in, just to enjoy your comments and analyses. Keep up the good and entertaining work!
Jacquie in Vermont


Dammit, I didn't get that that was Medgar Evers at all! My mistake.

I am so glad that they lingered on the terrible childbirth scenes. I *just* took my first childbirth ed. class last week, and was told in great detail about the way women in labor were treated over the past century, so it was fascinating to see it played out dramatically. I actually thought that a woman would be more anesthetized than Betty and her fellow laborers were - there's that moment where she hears another woman screaming. I guess I took the whole notion of "twilight sleep" too literally.

The drugs, the banning of men from delivery rooms, the condescending asshole of a doctor ("She can't hear you" "Bullshit!"), the drugs, the forced back-lying position - amazing. They made it look so dire, I thought she wasn't going to survive her labor.

What I was told in class last week: For some time, women were given a drug called Scopalamine (not sure if that's what Betty's given) that made them crazy - flailing, screaming obscenities, and so on - but also gave them amnesia. And, that because their muscles weren't functioning to push, babies were extracted with combinations of *kneading* on the poor woman's belly, and yanking out with forceps or plungers. Unbelievable. This was supposed to be the better future?


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

Well TLo, thanks again for your re-cap and cluing us in on the theme of the night.

Is it just me, or did the writing on this one just seem a bit clunky? I know the writers are moving characters through their story arcs, but it just felt a little, well, off.

Pete's raking over the coals and the penny-pinching makes Sterling Cooper a ship merely listing in the waves of all the change.

It's interesting to see Duck back, and what that means for Peggy. But kudos for Peggy having the guts to ask for more $$$.

And no speaking parts for Joan this week. Snore.

Hopefully when I watch this episode a second time around, I'll get more out of it. But this one I had a hard time with, especially with Sally's teacher drunk dialing Don. Not only did it seem artificial and tacked-on, but if those two end up in a fling, I'm going to be very disappointed with the writers.

Thanks TLo!


Betty had the bare feet this time around.

The caterpillar - I was thinking it was Betty herself being trapped (by family and societal expectations...and also by herself)in an early stage of development. Not being allowed to turn into an adult/butterfly.

I had a little fantasy moment of Peggy leaving Sterling Cooper for Gray and being in a position to later save Don by hiring him to work for her in a season or two when the world comes crashing in on SC.

LOVED the bar shadows on Betty at the end of the episode.


I've been eager to see how they handled Betty's birth this season. True to form, the writers did their homework impeccably. Birth in the US from the 30s-60s was a pretty terrible affair. From what I've read, the drugs just put a woman in an altered state but didn't take the pain away. It served only to make women complacent and generally immobile – and they didn't remember much of it at all when they awoke. I expected no less than total accuracy from this show, and of course they delivered.

Thanks for your wonderful recaps and insights, TLo! I've been here for years for the PR, but Mad Men has been a real bonus. :)


Great recap for a great episode. Like a train gathering speed, it's fascinating to see MM finally incorporate the changes of the outside world in such a direct way. The elevator scene was wonderful, and the dream sequence with Betty's mother and Medgar Evers was haunting and pitch-perfect. I love Sally's teacher even more now - I wonder if they were actually discussing Evers's murder in class, or whether Sally caught it on the news in one of her go-watch-TV banishments. Sally is turning out to be the most present character on the show. As for the birth scenes, I was born in late 1961 and based on what my mother said, they got it just right. I blame the drugs for my middle name.


Forever22, I was wondering about that too but then I realized that I didn't see his wife carrying a baby. I don't know if that was just my inattention (I didn't even realize it was the prison guard until they were showing Don's confused expression) or not...

Leela, I didn't get that that was Medgar Evers either. I had to ask my husband who he was. And all the other stuff about childbirth - yikes. Just yikes.

I don't think Don will have an affair with the teacher. Maybe, just maybe, they will become friends, but the way he works, he would have been in her pants already if that's what he wanted.

Seeing more of Sally is awesome. I don't normally like kids at that age but she seems pretty cool. It's interesting, too, to compare her proto-hippy attitude to her parents' old-fashioned one. It really makes me understand why there was such a generational divide back then.


Where is Joan? She better get some screen time next week.

Also, Forever22 and EHR, the prison guard's wife was not carrying a baby in the wheelchair. I assumed that the baby had died.


I completely missed that the prison guard's wife wasn't carrying her baby - I assume this means he must have died. That would certainly explain the "cold shoulder" towards Don.


@FOREVER22
I noticed during that scene that the prison guard's wife was not holding a baby. Between that fact and the guard avoiding Don's gaze I took it to mean that something tragic had happened to the baby, contradicting Don's earlier advice, something to the effect of anticipation being the scariest thing (when he was trying to comfort the man who was afraid of his wife dying while giving birth).
I took the look on Don's face to be one of recognition that tragedies do happen, and everything is ultimately not within his control. It reminded me of Hemingway's saddest story in 6 words...
But maybe the guard was just wheeling the wife around and the baby was safe in the nursery?!


Joan Rivers had a line for childbirth with drugs: knock you out at the first contraction and wake you up when the hairdresser arrives


I think people are overthinking the prison guard in the hallway scene. He was smiling until he noticed Don. He avoided Don's gaze because he was embarassed by his heartfelt promise to him in the waiting room. There was no dead baby. Just another guy embarassed by his emotions and unable to keep a promise.


I was happy to see Duck back on the scene-- with his wild geese (or ducks) on the wall-- and a turtleneck!

The Medgar Evers cameo was haunting--now that's dreaming in "colored".


I was not as in love with this episode as I have been with others, and I think part of that problem was the number of commercials that kept interrupting the action. Ironic, since the show is about advertising. However, I did enjoy Yeardley Smith's appearance as the waiting room nurse (Ay, carumba!)and the return of Duck Phillips. Betty's dream sequences didn't do much for me, but I did enjoy the scene of Don in the kitchen with Sally...it was a rare moment when Don seemed truly into being a father. I'm looking forward to next week. If the previews turn out to be what they seem, we'll see more of Joan. I miss her!


I look forward to your recaps as much as the show itself.

I don't think the prison guard's wife not holding her baby necessarily means it didn't survive. There wasn't much "rooming in" with newborns back then, especially if the mother wasn't breastfeeding. Babies were brought to the mothers on a schedule. It could be that they were going to view the baby in the nursery.


Was anyone else distracted by the teacher being named Suzanne Farrell? And the fact that we first saw her dancing? I know it wasn't meant to be the actual Suzanne Farrell, obviously, but it still drew my attention away from the scene in the moment.


Amy Sez
I'm due any day now, and have heard birth stories from several women (including my Mom) from that time and it was spot on. My Mom said she was 'out' for all 5 kids and doesn't remember anything. My neighbor was a nurse and said these young girls would wake up with a baby and had no idea where it came out of. My best friends mom has worse stories..she had 9 kids in the 50s-60s. She had a Dr say right to her face that Catholic women have too many babies. And even tho she wasn't drugged up and was delivering her 7th and 8th kids, the doctors didn't listen to her at all. She'd tell them baby was coming and they'd dismiss it and say it was too soon. Weird.


In the 60's, the drugs made you loopy but didn't take the pain away. You still needed to push during labor, but all they could do is take the edge off.

There were epidurals available, but they were one-time deals, as catheters were not very good back then and they could not deliver the meds continuously. Epis back then numbed you to your chest and caused breathing problems, so they were not used for regular labor.

Poor Betty.

My mom's experience was that when she came to, she practically wrestled the maintenance man to the ground. He was in her room to fix the radiator. She was having post partum hot flashes and couldn't figure out why he was turning the radiator on!

Two nurses had to restrain her.


What was the deal with Don resisting the name Eugene? Was it just that he didn't like Betty's dad or is there more to it? What is the significance that betty went with it anyway?
-Rebekah


The most disappointing segement for me last night was Pete's pitch to Admiral.

Talk about fogs...

I think Pete as an expert ad man would have mastered all the acceptable code words for the time period.

"I believe you need to focus your product to urban markets..."

"We have isolated some media that has heavy concentration in urban areas..."

"Blue collar..."

Don would have been brilliant at this.

Don would have also placated Peggy by giving her instruction and tutalage-- i.e., "Do you honestly think Duck can teach you what I know?" But he hasn't taught her anything. So she has no incentive to stay.

Don isn't fixing Patio, he's struggling with the London Fog children's line (even though he's a dad...imagine that...)

So I get the impression that Don is kind of a lackadasial boss. He does no mentoring, he barely monitors budgets or travel expenses, etc... They promoted a master technician to a managerial level--but he has no managerial skills.

I found next week's previews kind of disturbing and they indicate that Don is going to be paying for his laid-back attitude.


About Betty choosing Eugene, I took that as Betty honoring her father. But for Don, who Eugene senior did not like at all and was not shy about it, it was an insult. Also, a couple episodes back, Don called Eugene senior a "son of a bitch," so I gather he wouldn't want his son named after him.

Betty, with all her denial, somewhere deep knows that Don would at the very least not appreciate the namesake. I found her smirk signing the birth certificate as a bit spiteful. Yes, she wants to honor her dad, but from her rants during her labor, she is not at all happy with her husband or her marriage. There's still a hint of last year's Betty in there, buried underneath the desperate need for "everything to be perfect."


Sane Woman,

You don't want a sleep deprived zombie mom holding a baby AND fiddling with glass bottles and rubber nipples in the kitchen!


No Joan! I feel a little cheated.

This is the first time I have liked Pete at all. I felt sorry for him before - but I liked him trying to talk to Hollis. That scene in the elevator was fascinating on so many levels. I loved the look Hollis gave Pete after he'd said that bit about how everybody is going to have a house and a car and a tv. Pete seemed likable there for a minute when he said to Hollis that he couldn't believe he didn't watch baseball and they grinned at each other.

On childbirth in 60's - my mom has said similar things as others here. But, I have to say one thing - my mom says she was in the hospital for a week (this is after a normal delivery). Now they give you the bums rush. I'm just saying . . .

I was walking out of the hospital with my first child (a fairly long hike to a parking garage) and an older lady stopped me to coo at the baby. She looked up at my bloodless face and said, "They should at least give you a wheelchair to your car!"


I found her smirk signing the birth certificate as a bit spiteful.

I thought at first that she did it behind Don's back, but then realized that of course she would never have been allowed to make that kind of decision for herself, nor fill out that birth certificate without Don's signature too. (They had to get Dennis' permission to save his wife's life, for heaven's sakes! What if he'd said "nahhh.") Don's really trying hard to suck it up right now, even if his parenting skills do not yet extend to giving his new baby a kiss, or even a pat on the head. Let's just hope he can keep it in his pants with Miss Farrell.

In my MM fantasy, Don announces to Betty that he wants to name the baby Dick Whitman Draper. And then "all hell breaks loose" as Gene would say.


Current events are going to start intruding. I felt Peggy was very upset when Don dismissed her "equal pay for equal work" comment and laughed off her complaint that she made only a little more than her secretary.
The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963. There may be a lawsuit in Peggy's future along with a new job with Duck.
I'm impressed with Sally's interest in current events. Wouldn't be surprised to see her joining SNCC.


Anonymous (12:24)

"I think people are overthinking the prison guard in the hallway scene. He was smiling until he noticed Don. He avoided Don's gaze because he was embarassed by his heartfelt promise to him in the waiting room. There was no dead baby. Just another guy embarassed by his emotions and unable to keep a promise."

This was my interpretation as well. The guard was most definitely smiling and stopped when he saw Don & Betty. In fact, he seemed to go out of his way to look away and scowl a bit.

Very intense episode. For me it was very dreamlike --- which could translate into the episode title. Some sequences seemed much more dreamy and even creepier than others. Two additional things I noticed about the episode; multiple use of blood and use of the term "redundant" in dialogue (at least three times in the episode). I'm glad we're seeing so much of Sally. She breaks my heart, but I actually think that she'll be a pivotal character in future episodes.

- edina -


There was SO much in this episode to digest -- I can't wait to watch it again, especially after reading the TLo recap and the comments so far. I TOTALLY missed the shadow stripes on Betty at the end - thank you, darling T&L for pointing it out. Some thoughts:

1. I, too am confused about Dennis the guard's snubbing of Don in the hallway. PLEASE, Matt Weiner, choose this episode for commentary when the DVDs come out.

2. My mother's account of my birth in 1956 is much like what we saw Betty go through. She told me they drugged her and then strapped her to the table. She thrashed around and begged them to "untie" her, promising to "be good" if they would do so. They didn't.

3. LOVED the Don/Sally scene in the kitchen. I don't think we have ever seen either of them so relaxed. Perhaps it was because Betty wasn't there?

4. Betty's return home. Is she EVER going to hug her kids? Poor Sally, hugging her and saying, "I missed you, Mommy!" and receiving a perfunctory peck on the top of the head. Betty never even made eye contact with her two kids when she got home. She seems to be withdrawing and shutting down even more all the time.

5. Suzanne Farrell - yes, the name gave me pause, too! - seems to be 180° from Betty, right down to her coloring. When she reached out and patted Betty's hand, the gesture was shocking in its warmth. Betty does NOT invite that kind of connection from anyone, it seems. And Betty's complete lack of concern for the poor "bruiser" who is getting picked on at school . . . Betty terrifies me. WIll Sally, Bobby and Little Gene be expected to call her, "Mommie Dearest?"

6. I loved loved LOVED the way Pete's questioning of Hollis hearkened back to the very first scene of the pilot, when Don asked the (black) busboy which brand of cigarettes he smoked, and why. The Q&A was essentially the same, but the essentials were SO different! Don was completely colorblind in his motivation - it was all about the man and his smokes. But Pete was interested in Hollis' opinions solely because of his race. Pete is indeed onto something, but he has NO idea what.

7. More Joan next week!!!!!!

Thank you TLo!
xoxoxoxox


What did everyone make of that fleeting image of Sally rubbing blood? on her face? That was so bizarre! For me, it took me out of MM world for a bit. It didn't seem to fit the tone of the show. What was Weiner trying to say with that?


Carlanoodle said...
What did everyone make of that fleeting image of Sally rubbing blood? on her face?

It looked like war paint


I loved that the dream sequence in which Betty was walking down the street looked like a 1960s musical. I'm guessing it was green screen? the effect was just spot-on. As usual.

And yes, we were dying to know what the deal was with Dennis in the hallway.


"I just want everything to be beautiful when the baby is born" Betty tells the teacher. But Betty doesn't realize you can't fix everything in the blink of an eye. Instinctively she knows this, but she doesn't want to believe it. And that is always her undoing.

The caterpillar? Crushed.

And I missed what the guard said to Don when he said, "You heard me, didn't you?" I'd missed that bit due to loud neighbors. Now I have to watch the whole thing again. Darn the luck!


I laughed out loud when Hollis tells Pete all jobs have ups and downs..basically describing his job all day long in the elevator.
I was born in 1960 and my mother was given a saddleblock that completely numbed her from the waist down and she felt nothing I was pulled out with forceps. During my brothers delivery three years later, nine days after JFK assassination the doctor was listening to a football game on the radio. My mother still remembers who was playing.
I was put on formula and my mother was given strict instructions to feed me every four hours and give me exactly a certain amount of ounces. . I have been told as a baby I cried a lot. Christ I probably had headaches from the forceps and was either starving or too full most of the time. My breast fed babies ate every couple of hours or so


This episode gave the the impression that Betty is simpleminded, or worse -- maybe she's the sociopath in this soup?


When Pete was telling Hollis that everyone was going to have a house and a TV etc.all I could hear was Hollis' unspoken "everyone but me"


I was thinking about how modern Duck looked in his green turtleneck and tan jacket and how old-fashioned and conservative the Sterling Cooper men looked when Peggy went back to the office.
I think it was a great way to show how set in their ways the ad men of SC are- something Peggy is keenly aware.
I look forward to seeing how everything from this episode plays out!
Thank for the recap!

velvetbeet


I remember the Joan Rivers line--which is pretty much what happened when I was born in 1958. My sister, on the other hand, was born 2 years later in a military hospital where the doctor was so busy watching the World Series that there was no time to give my mother anything and when Mom's water broke and my sister decided to shoot out a medic had to catch her before she hit the floor in the delivery room.

Ah, the 60s. That episode was dead on.

Shari


Two things. Did anyone else notice that the nurse making announcements in the waiting room was Yeardley Smith, voice of Lisa Simpson? Second, was Scott the name of Don/Dick's little brother who comitted suicide? It's the baby's middle name.


Roger really cracked me up this week; first, what was with the ice cream sundae he was eating when he was talking on the phone to Don? Has his new wife's drunken escapade and his black face foolishness given him pause? Then, at the meeting, when he is asked if he had to promise to fire Pete, he says '..to have you KILLED.' Finally, when asked by their version of Moneypenny if the flogging was over, Roger sighs and mutters, 'It's never as much fun as you think it will be..' I found myself snickering outloud.

Duck appeared to be trying to save his new job by stealing Don's real talent for Gray. His comments about Peggy and Pete's secret relationship were totally unexpected and almost seemed a veiled threat to reveal it to one and all at Sterling Cooper. Makes me think he has had investigators digging up whatever dirt he could find. Perhaps the Brits even did so prior to acquiring Sterling Cooper and Duck had access. He doesn't strike me as intuitive enough to have come up with it by himself. He definitely wants to destroy Don, so I am sure more is to come.

The rest of the episode all seemed to be a setup for a coming major twisty story arc~a bit tedious and drab, but probably fraught with all kinds of important bits upon reflection later.


JK_in_KC, Dick's younger brother's name was Adam.


hahaha i thought the episode was about new beginnings.


His comments about Peggy and Pete's secret relationship were totally unexpected and almost seemed a veiled threat to reveal it to one and all at Sterling Cooper.

I don't think he was onto the real relationship between Peggy and Pete (although at first THEY clearly thought that's where he was going.) It seemed to me that he was talking about the Freddy Rumson episode, implying that Pete and Peggy cooked that up to get promoted. Once again, Duck is trying desperately to manipulate people, but with a total misunderstanding of the situation at hand.


i liked the cut to sally wiping blood on her face. i thought it added to the horror movie vibe the episode had. with the women's screams in the hospital, the invasive birthing scene, and the screams of the new draper baby in the last scene.


I was born in 1964, my dad tells of the nurses would work their way down this hallway of chairs and waiting Dads. At each man, the nurses would whisper, "Are you Mr. Whatever?" and then go onto the next.

They never whispered to him, at 37, he must have seems too old to be a Dad. The nurse just gave up and shouted from the end of the hallway for him.

Mom also recounts that the doctor kept telling her, "She was just fine to go home." Mom kept answering, "You said I could stay a week."

A week! I had a baby last July and almost got to stay 2 days, but that was only because it was a holiday weekend and the doctors didn't show up to discharge us.


I couldn't help wondering if the baby will turn out to be disabled in some manner, there seems to be a lot of foreshadowing going on. Betty's wish for perfection, the prison guard's anticipatory fears, what seemed to be a rather tiny lunch Betty had before going to the hospital (aren't pregnant women more ravenous than that?), coupled with the standard drinking and smoking, and the questionable hospital procedures that others mentioned here.


Carlanoodle said...
"What did everyone make of that fleeting image of Sally rubbing blood? on her face?"

SusanID said...
"It looked like war paint."

It looked like blood to me, but her gesture was more of a putting on the warpaint stroke of the hand. I, too, wondered what it meant because it certainly did stand out from the rest of the scenes and sequences. Was it real? Was it related to her mother's having just given birth to Baby Eugene? Or was it directly related to her fight with "the heavy girl" (forgot her name) at school?


I experienced the kind of childbirth experience shown all too realistically during this episode. The enema and the shaving? Check. The "twilight sleep"? Check. Note: twilight sleep references scopolamine injection into the IV which produces total amnesia of the birth, thus Betty's "fog." The hallucinations? Check. I awoke from the experience of giving birth to my son with no memory at all, but with obvious bruising of my arms and legs due to what my mother (who was allowed to be with me after the birth of my son) observed and described as violent movements, language, and other added details like ripping my IVs out with my own hands. I wasn't allowed to see my son until he was 4 hours old. Altogether the worst of all possible childbirths. All the pain, but none of the satisfaction of seeing my child born out of my own body. Just dreadful.


I haven't read the comments so maybe someone has mentioned this omission from the childbirth scene: the lack of wrist and leg restraits. I had my son in the early 70s in a large metropolitan hospital and my wrists were pinned, my legs in stirrups with my ankles "tied down". There would be no flailing and kicking at medical personnel!


Suze, "urban" didn't become code for "black" until much, much later. I thought Pete's Ebony and Jet pitch was a little forced; I don't have any copies to hand but I would think that they (and Amsterdam News? No way) wouldn't be getting the attentions of a top man like Pete, or the major figures at Admiral, but junior men befitting very low-dollar accounts. And the implication, from Pryce, that change was just around the corner, is also premature; those men's reactions would have been the same in 1973 as well, for the most part. Not everything changed as much in the 60s as is commonly believed.

I'm skeptical that Peggy should move to Grey. I think she's genuinely trapped, and there are no easy ways out. I think Duck is a total weasel, and doesn't have the power at Grey he's pretending to. Look how barren and crappy his office looks, with what looked like a war-surplus desk (and his own ducks). She may not be worth any more than a paperclip at Sterling Cooper (Don made that clear, but in the long term I'd bet on Don over Duck every time. And realistically, though we can point to examples of women who made great strides in that impossible era, we can point to a million more who weren't allowed to. Peggy's trap isn't just a dramatic hook, it's a TRAP.

Another furniture question: Pryce mentioned at one point "and a credenza is missing". At the end of the episode, there was a shot of a credenza with a flower arrangement -- where was it? The Draper home? Don's office? Somewhere else?

The menace that hangs over everthing in this show is getting palpable. I thought that prison guard was going to hit Don a couple of times. He's a prisoner, too.


I thought there was a very strong "blood" theme in this episode. From the Medgar Evers reference, Gene mopping blood, to Peggy's Bloody Mary when she's meeting with Duck, to Sally wiping blood from her face, and of course the blood of childbirth, which we didn't see. I have no idea what it all points to, other than the concept of "blood letting" aka "all hell breaks loose".


all these references to betty this week as the trapped caterpiller, the housecat, the prison bars, the way she was 'unbetty-like' while drugged... shes either going to implode (ala 'mother's little helper) or explode (ala women's lib). im thinking the former. either way, shes far from done.

and yes - i sense something is going to go very wrong for the baby. betty wanted it gone the second she got pregnant and knew it was a trap for her, but wasnt brave enough to break free.

don on the other hand is stepping up to be a better parent & has tried (by his standards) to be a better husband. he seems better for it.

peggy - she has no clue how desperate & manipulative duck can be. i think she'll fess up to don about the better offer & he'll bring her back. shes too vital to the cast to let her move away - same for joan. those girls arent going anywhere.

and i agree with another commenter - duck must already be in dire straights at his new gig if hes fishing back at his old job for talent. desperate for power, desperate to be up on trends... hes a desperate man all together. he'll never win.

with MLK's 'i have a dream speech' just a couple of months off, i suspect SC might be waking up to the world sooner than they plan to. i just love how the world's events have been seeping more & more into every episode. the characters are being set up for some very seismic shifts.


Oh, and does anyone understand Betty's reference to the Hebrides, Scottish Highlands, and the faintly Scottish music the ended this episode and has been in other episodes? The only thing I can think is that the music is faintly Scottish, but also possibly Appalachian (strong Scottish influences there) which refers to Don's real background?


Won't go into it, but I was born in the early 60s and my mother was literally bitching about how she was treated during her labor on her death bed.

The regular labor experience has improved in hospitals, but now they rush to do C-sections.

Thanks TLo for making the prison links--didn't pick up the connection--nicely done.

As an ad-agency brat, the realiztic sequence that I could see happening is that Don splits off from Sterling Cooper and takes Peggy and/or Pete with him. Peggy would probably do it if she were promised a decent rank. But Don is set up to walk off with a certain chunk of Sterling-Cooper business.

Which is why the Brit guy handles him with some delicacy. Don has no contract and is clearly the big talent and draw at Sterling Cooper.

Or was--he's slipping this season. Almost like his attempt to be a good guy has seriously blunted his intuitive edge. He deliberately blinds himself to things--and people. Don's affairs have an educational element to them.

But, anyway, loyalty has kept Don, in part, at Sterling Cooper. But now he's had a big falling-out with Roger--foreshadowed in next week's episode. His only remaining loyalty is to Bert Cooper.

Loved the interchange between Peggy and Pete--Pete's sheer fury and hurt--and, then Peggy's reaction in the scene with Don afterwards and her fury about having sacrificed so much for so little.

Meanwhile, Duck's turtleneck was a real flashback. Eek.


I am about the same age as that baby and it was just like my mother described. She said my father was sent home because the nurse told him there was not need to even stay (because it would take all night) and that she never felt more alone in her life. The nurses just put you to bed and let you scream (and that was in a major city) can you imagine the country? I Imagined my mother when you saw Betty after the birth, looking like she had been through hell and did not remember any of it.

I thought it was interesting when the nurse asked her about breast feeding. I did not think that would have even been discussed in 1963. My mother said it was never presented as an option and nobody would have shown her how anyway.

Having babies my self and cannot even go in to the comments about shaving or the enima. Or the fact that she could not push (after being given all the drugs) and the nurse saying to her "either you push it out or we will have to go get it". No wonder our mothers were lunatics!


And the worse news came this episode: Carla no longer works for the Drapers!


Peggy's gotta stay on the show - I love her story line.

I loved the *snack* Don was making for himself. Canned hash brown and egg. My mom used to make that for us - haven't thought of it in years.

Also liked when Don "candled" the egg. (That's what my mom said they called the practice of holding the egg up to light to see if there was a fetus inside.) When Don gets ready to crack the egg he automatically candles it - no matter how completely he thinks he has obscured his past he can't help but reveal it. You can take the boy away from the farm but you can't take the farm away from the boy.


Andy, I don't think Betty let Carla go permanently. I think that Carla was staying with the kids while Betty was in the hospital and hadn't been home for a while, so Betty told her to go be with her family. I can't imagine Betty handling all three kids by herself for very long. I'm sure Carla will be back.


Love this, guys! I look forward to your Mad Men posts.


I was born in 1957 and I am third of eleven. I was my mother's helpmate and right hand when it came to babies, housework, and diapers. The stories she would bring home from every delivery were horrific. Loss of blood, 24 plus hours of labor, forceps, suction, and the stirrups. Even through her "twilight" she was very aware of what was happening and was forever scarred. She went crazy after number eight.

Finally, after the 13th pregnancy, her OB, "Dr. Woosley", called in my Dad and told him that if he ever touched her again he would put him in jail.

Even as late as 1978 I was denied credit because I was not married and a real education was unheard of because I was just going to get married and have children so why spend the money on med school.

Thankfully, my mother, an original feminist, even in her crazy years, encouraged and demanded that I "go and do" and don't worry about what the world has to say because her daughter has much to give.

She taught me many lessons about strength, fortitude, compassion, and problem solving through her example. She was a tough old bird.

The women of the fifties, sixties, and even seventies, did the dirty deed so the generations that follow have it easier.

I love Mad Men because it really captures that time period. Love Joan, love Peggy, and I really love Betty, cause she is tough old bird. She just doesn't know it.


I had 5 boys in the 1990s I can tell you that about the only thing that would have made recovery from delivery worse is if I had been shaved and given a low enema.

That line made me shiver like no other!

Suz


Now they just rush you onto their very short schedule. If you aren't where they want you, out comes the pitocin and c-sections.

Things are definitely getting better, though. It seems like it's slowly, slowly becoming more accepted for a woman to have choices. Whether that's an at home, tub birth or a scheduled c-section and tummy tuck, giving birth seems to be slowly moving back into the control of the women who are actually going through it.


Oh my goodness that episode was so unsettling! But I love putting the puzzle pieces together with all of you.

So many things:

1. Going along with the prison theme, did anyone else notice the plentiful "from the second floor window" shots? For example, Betty gazing down at her family as if from a prison window after visiting hours, or Betty and Don coming home from the hospital, as seen from the window of their house.

2. That overhead shot of Betty and Don coming home with the baby made me think that we were seeing the homecoming from Sally's point of view, as if she were watching from the second floor window. But then, when Sally came running in from the kitchen to greet her mother, it occured to me that perhaps another presence was watching the new baby's homecoming: Grandpa Gene. Maybe I'm riffing too much on the eerieness of this episode, but is it possible Gene's presence is still lingering in the house? After all, during her dream, it was Gene himselfwho said, "No one knows I'm here." Also, who else thought that Gene would spin around during that dream sequence and have a deformed face or something? I was getting ready to scream.

3. I think Betty killed the caterpillar. If you watch closely, there's a flash of satisfied cruelty in her eyes after she closes her hand.

4. One more parallel to earlier episodes: did anyone catch the shot of Betty running her hand along the hospital wall? The last time she did that was before her shady tryst in with that stranger in the restaurant.

5. Finally, I noticed something this week that I think is true of the season as a whole: as faithful viewers of the show, it is becoming harder and harder to anticipate what is going on, or how a particular episode will make us feel. There were several times last night where my boyfriend and I turned to each other to ask, "What the FUCK is going on??"

Not only is it getting harder and harder for the show's characters to find footholds in an ever-changing world, it is becoming harder and harder for us as viewers to find comfort as we watch. The quiet subtlety that I think fascniated us throughout the first two seasons is being replaced in season three by a frightening surreality. Also, compared to the first and second seasons, the way that the show is filmed has completely changed: scenes are shorter, symbolism is much stronger and stranger, and the puzzle pieces from each episode are even harder to piece together.

Things are getting messy and garish in the Mad Men world, and thank goodness, because it's thrilling to watch.


Wow, the birthing stories here are just incredible. I'm nearly 7 months pregnant right now, and plan on giving birth in a freestanding birthing center, with midwives and a doula, who will be with me in the hospital if there's an emergency and I have to go there. I know you can't control what happens at the gates of life and death, but I also know I'll have advocates, a big tub, and my helpful-to-a fault husband. I'm so horrified by the stories I'm hearing.

My husband's mom was certainly in twilight sleep when she gave birth to him, and to his sister. I was born in '72 to a hippie mom, in a suburban Boston hospital, and I don't recall her telling me anything about being sedated or tied down. I'll have to ask her for details, but I'm pretty sure she delivered me with no drugs at all.

I learned recently that in the late 60's or early 70's, some men in California protested being banned from the delivery room by handcuffing themselves to their wives. Leaving aside whether a woman wants to be handcuffed to anything, even her lover, while in labor, that's pretty ballsy and great. I really appreciate the work of people like Ida Mae Gaskin, even though I can't bear to look at the photos of bearded, braided hippies in labor, because she and others like her made it possible for people like me not to be strapped down and drugged like a goddamned circus animal.


Bettys dad Eugene was very permissive with Sally by allowing her to drive and telling her she could do anything she wants but presented a much more repressive role to Betty in her dream. Is Betty dead in the water or on the cusp of transformation?
Ducks Jewish Ad firm (the nosh remark )would likely encourage Petes ideas more than Sterling Cooper. Not what happned with the prison guard. This episode was intense.


Does it seem like this show tries to hard to get its "message" across on each episode? It seems like it's pretty heavy-handed at times.

There were a lot of people who made it through the '60s without changing or having to pay the piper. They were called "rich, white men." Some of them are still around now and still don't get it.

My mom gave birth to two kids during this period. Luckily, when I came along, I was pretty small and she barely made it to the hospital, so there were no drugs involved.


If you think this show is "heavy-handed", I think that's a compliment to your intelligence. I believe a lot of people would just not get it.


My mom had me and four more children between 1960-66. Prior to starting her family, she was a nurse anesthetist. She had five uncomplicated births with the twilight sleep, which was state-of-the-art anesthesia at that time. She said she went to sleep, woke up with a healthy baby each time, and didn't remember anything. But she was fascinated with the epidurals I received and wished that she could have experienced childbirth as I did.

TLo and other writers, thank you for sharing your thoughts on MM. Your analysis and comments are integral to my enjoyment of the show, and you all never disappoint.

--Itsjustme


My mom had me and four more children between 1960-66. Prior to starting her family, she was a nurse anesthetist. She had five uncomplicated births with the twilight sleep, which was state-of-the-art anesthesia at that time. She said she went to sleep, woke up with a healthy baby each time, and didn't remember anything. But she was fascinated with the epidurals I received and wished that she could have experienced childbirth as I did.

TLo and other writers, thank you for sharing your thoughts on MM. Your analysis and comments are integral to my enjoyment of the show, and you all never disappoint.

--Itsjustme


Am I wrong or did the prison guard and his wife have no baby with them as they passed Don in the hall? I rewound and watched that point several times and did not see a child. My speculation on this point is this; perhaps the prison guard baby was given to Betty and Don in some sort of hospital mix up. The nurses attending the waiting room could not get the guards name correct. Also we can assume that Betty lost a lot of blood as evidenced by the dream/fog where her father is moping blood across the floor maybe she lost her baby during delivery?

Just some thoughts, as always I adore your blog it's such a treat to read!


I cheered when I saw Yeardley Smith as the waiting room nurse! I love it when two of my favorite shows collide.

Also, I loved that when Roger called Don and answered "Da Da!" he *literally* had a silver spoon in his mouth. Between that and the ducks on Duck's wall, it's the little details that kill me.

I also appreciated the music in this episode - especially the gentle, lilting waltz that accompanied Betty's dreams and was reprised during her midnight shuffle to the nursery. Just heartbreaking.


CarlyZ: "Not only is it getting harder and harder for the show's characters to find footholds in an ever-changing world, it is becoming harder and harder for us as viewers to find comfort as we watch."

Carly, what a brilliant observation! Now that you mention it I did feel a certain sense of comfort in the stringent obsolescence of the first two seasons; now, as the decade moves inexorably towards the events for which it is (in)famous, it is getting increasingly difficult to feel that comfort as we share the characters' increased dis-ease and confusion. The show is doing a brilliant job of shifting the tone to reflect that uncertainty.

Hands down the best show on television.


I hadn't even caught the beauty parlor quote in watching the episode, but now that you mention it, I actually think it DOES perfectly capture the prison theme of this episode.

What's the only conversation that's taken place in a beauty parlor on MM? Betty wanting to abort the baby she's now giving birth to.

Brilliant! I love this show!


Excellent recap and analysis!

Being 2 years older than Sally, what struck me most of all during this episode was the complete acceptance of Sally bashing the fat girl's mouth into the water fountain spigot as just one of those things, and no harm was done because the girl didn't even need stitches.

I can' t even imagine what my parents would've done to me, had I EVER been in a fight at school. That would have embarrassed them. (Actually, the worst thing I ever did in school was to forget my homework... once. I was grounded from TV for a week.)

This episode focusing on fog made perfect sense to me. As children of the day, we were beginning to become adults who really did ask what we could do for our country (and everyone less fortunate than we) instead of asking what the country could do for us. We were inspired to understand stuff, not just accept the way things had always been. We thought talent (what you know) was more important than who you know.

And, believe me, we took great pleasure later on, watching old, pasty white farts become the joke of the neighborhood party who did nothing but drape their arms on mantles and suck on hard liquor, hoping someone... anyone... would pay them a bit of attention.

Betty, Betty, Betty. Poor thing is stuck in Grace Kelly mode, and I fear she'll never wake up and do something productive. I still hope, though, that she has some kind of "Carla Epiphany" and figures out that, as long as black (and every other color and gender) people aren't free, no one is. I'm not holding my breath, though.


Thank you TLo for your insightful recap of this episode. This is the first season that I am watching and I really enjoy it.

All I could think during this episode was thank God I had my child in the 90's and not in the 50's


Thanks to the wonders of Google Books, you too can scroll through several back editions of Ebony from the 1960's. The July 1963 edition is pretty typical.

Many major national brands targeted their ads to black Americans. Cigarette, beer and liquor companies led the way. All major brands of toothpaste, Coke, Pepsi, Bayer, Gulf Oil, Dial soap, Listerine, Tampax and Kotex, Greyhound, Clairol, Chevrolet, and the tourist bureaus of Miami Beach and Bermuda.

Many national brands advertised with their regular campaigns: Speed Queen, Frigidaire, Dr. Scholls, Goodyear, Firestone, Chrysler, Papermate, Sealtest, 7Up, and Kelloggs.

And some even went with questionable campaigns, including one for Morton Salt that featured a.............................................................................
watermelon.

The point is that black media was sponsored by more than pomades and fade creams.

Although, I didn't see any ads for TVs. So maybe Pete is doomed right out of the gate, with Admiral.


I actually thought this episode was about people's "positions" in life, and how knew, begrudgingly accepted, or longed to break free from them The prison guard let go of his underly position, after he and Don got drunk together. But in the light of sober day he knew they had nothing in common-hence the scene in the hall (although i also wondered if their baby died) The elevator man definitely knows has assigned position, and doesn't trust Pete's demonstrations about them just being 2 guys. Peggy knows what her position is regarded to be at SC, but wants to fight out and beyond the restrictions. Betty- I thought she had come to accept her position as quenn of the home- kind of like Rose Kennedy; but i just don't know. Sally is going to bust through all the barriers and freak all them out!!


It seems that the hospital procedures surrounding Betty and the women of her time also made it more difficult for them to bond with their babies. I was born in the 50s, but my mom remembered nothing about our births, & was in the hospital for 2 weeks, during which time her babies were cared for by the nursery. I have no experience in psychology, but Betty also seems to suffer from an attachment disorder. She doesn't appear to be close to anyone.


I couldn't make it through all of the comments, so I don't know if this came up:
Did anyone notice how Duck gave Pete complete Credit for Peggy's rise, and how Pete took the credit by saying Thank you? SHE does the work, SHE asked for the office, all he did was sell out a coworker to clear a place for himself ("we'll be promoted.")


I was lucky enough to have been born in the late sixties, when more natural childbirth was coming back into fashion. So my mom was fully conscious. And my father was there to document the entire disgusting process. Those pictures are not pretty.

We'd better get more Joan next week!


eric3000 - Disgusting, huh? That's a lovely thing to say on a comment thread full of women who are or have been pregnant.


"Leela said...

eric3000 - Disgusting, huh? That's a lovely thing to say on a comment thread full of women who are or have been pregnant."

Why? He didn't say pregnant women were disgusting.


My mother had all her children from the late 50's to the mid 60's (in a fog).She can't remember a single one . Except when she was laboring with me the OB remarked that she had a lazy uterus (prick)! I hope I crapped on him.


Sorry about that Leela! Childbirth is a beautiful, wonderful thing! However, the photographs of my birth are pretty disgusting. They used an antiseptic back then that was dark red so it looks like my mother is bleeding to death.


eric3000 - Thanks for clearing that up. And, that actually does sound rather disgusting. I can't imagine photos or video being taken of me during childbirth, and if my husband tries, that camera's going to a very interesting place.

Anon - Because we have enough problems without hearing that something we have to go through is somehow "disgusting". I'm not in the "beautiful" camp, either, but it'd be nice to keep it neutral. We hear negative things directed towards us a lot while pregnant. You might be surprised. But obviously, he meant something very specific, and made that clear.

Sewing Siren - "Lazy uterus"?! Jeez. That's nice. Not too different from what we saw in this episode, where the doctor, whose face we can't even see, flatly states that Betty can't hear him, even though she's clearly responding to sounds in the room.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with something called "Incompetent Uterus", which sounds like the most discouraging thing to hear about oneself.


You're right, Leela; "disgusting" was a very poor choice of words. Thanks for understanding.

Also, I forgot to mention that these were not just your average family snapshots but very clinical documentary photographs that were then used at a teaching hospital to promote new methods in natural childbirth. Fun!


I had four children between 1966 & 1971 and the procedure was all pretty much the same. Once I arrived at the hospital I was separated from the DH and put in a labor room with multiple other women in various stages of labor. I was there about 36 hours with my first one and never saw anyone but nurses the whole time. I was all of 18 years old and terrified of what was happening.

During my childbearing years a friend's DH bragged that he was in the delivery room with his wife and I called him a liar; told him they'd never allow that. He swore up and down that he demanded to be there and was. To this day I don't know if he was telling the truth but it was totally unbelievable at that time.

I was in the hospital a good 5-7 days with each baby and was astounded when my daughter had her first baby in '88 and was sent home in less than three days. Not only that, but her babydaddy was in the delivery room with her the whole time. Amazing how things changed....


I had three babies in three years, 1990, 1992 & 1993. It was smack dab in the middle of the 24 hour delivery procedures that most hospitals prescribed to at the time. It wasn't as bad as the drugging them up and strapping them down days of the 50's and
60's but in retrospect, that was pretty damn stupid, too. It's amazing that the birthing procedure seems to still be evolving. And to all the pregnant ladies, you're months or weeks or days away from experiencing one of the best days of your life. Congratulations to all!


If you look carefully at the prison guard and his wife, she's not holding a baby. I think that they lost the baby and the prison guard can't bring himself to look at Don.

Apologies if someone's already said this.


I'm surprised you didn't discuss the importance of timing in this episode.
Last season, Betty tells her doctor "It's not a good time," when she learns of her pregnancy. This episode Don uses that same phrase twice. Once when Don is talking to Sally's teacher and a second time when he is talking to Peggy about a raise.
Betty notifies Don that she's going into labor by saying, "It's time."
Lastly, we have Peggy asking Don, "What if this is my time?"
I agree about the theme of imprisonment, but I believe timing was another major theme in this episode. Timing plays such an important role in the fate of these characters. The timing of the baby probably kept the Drapers from divorce. And timing will determine what direction Peggy takes with her career.


Anonymous 9/15/09 11:41 PM, nice catch on the "time" theme. As I recall, there were at least two incidences that focused on a wrist watch. The one young man at SC pointing out the watch he apparently received along with his baseball tickets as a reward for his Birdseye account and the prison guard commenting to Don in the waiting room about how he couldn't wear a watch to work.

After finally getting to watch this episode all the way through without falling asleep, this is the feel I get for the future. Betty is going to suffer from post partum depression and possibly harm her baby. She's already depressed with her life in general and now with Carla away and having to deal with three kids on her own she may be pushed over the edge. I also get the feel that Don loses his job at SC (Roger saying, "Bye-bye Don" in the preview; Betty saying, "I don't even know what to say", possibly at that news from Don.

I agree that Sally is going to be a rebellious teen but how are the producers going to get to that point? Are they just assuming that the show will be on for another 5-7 years? Or will they jump ahead in time a lot faster than they have been?


I have a question about 20th century hospital birth methods: In this episode of MM, we saw Betty's much-discussed delivery experience. She's an upper class suburban white woman. What would the experience of a person of color, or of a completely different economic class (not the wife of the prison guard, who lives in the same community, roughly speaking, but very different) have been? Would it have been the same? Or not?

This came up in both my husband's and my minds in our first childbirth ed class last week, which is held in the very class-specific Park Slope, Brooklyn. The issue was not addressed there, but it glared out at both of us. And seeing this fictionalized version of it emphasizes the question for me. Thanks.


I agree about Betty's post-partum depression. They'd better get Carla back, or someone to help her with the kids, ASAP. I also noticed Duck's bare desk--does he have any work? Pete and Peggy shouldn't trust him an inch.


Re. Leela's comment: the hospital wouldn't have been as nice. Betty knew what to expect as it was her third time, but parents received very little preparation, which is one reason why doctors scoffed at the idea of the husband (sic) being present at the birth. Also, note that she had a private room, where as a low-income woman might have shared a room with 3 other women during labor and post-partum.


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I think Duck is a total weasel, and doesn't have the power at Grey he's pretending to. Look how barren and crappy his office looks, with what looked like a war-surplus desk (and his own ducks). She may not be worth any more than a paperclip at Sterling Cooper (Don made that clear, but in the long term I'd bet on Don over Duck every time.


I wouldn't. Peggy needs to get over her so-called loyalty to Don and think about herself. If Sterling Cooper cannot provide her with the mobility she so desires, then she should get the hell out. Don is no better than Duck, and vice versa. Calling Duck a weasel, while pretending that a fraud like Don is morally better does not make any sense to me.


I think I may have finally realized why Betty is so unpopular with fans. Good old-fashion sexism. She does not live up to society's ideal of what a mother should be (whether we're speaking of 1960s society or early 21st century society). It's like someone had recently told me . . . both parents can be imperfect; but society, who STILL identifies women with the household, are expected to be the ideal parent. Even many of the so-called feminist viewers expect Betty to be perfect. Which makes me wonder if the women's rights movement was nothing but a joke.


Did anyone notice how Duck gave Pete complete Credit for Peggy's rise, and how Pete took the credit by saying Thank you? SHE does the work, SHE asked for the office, all he did was sell out a coworker to clear a place for himself ("we'll be promoted.")


Pete was responsible. Remember the Freddie Rumsen incident?


SusanID: Pete was horrible in this episode. The confrontation with Hollis was excruciating. Medgar Evers was gunned down in his driveway in front of his children and Pete says that Hollis is thinking too narrowly because he didn't want to describe why he- a 'negro' had decided to purchase an RCA??? They were skewering Pete's sense of entitlement and his inexcusable oblivion to the world around him. It's a bit shocking that you didn't get that.


Susan- I apologize if you were being ironic in your post. I re read it and now I think it impossible for someone to be that ... Are you writing in character maybe?


Leela--I'm due in November and live in Carroll Gardens. If your childbirth class is the one I think it is, I was supposed to be in it! Instead, we ended up moving that weekend. Hope things are going well with you and your soon-to-be little one!


Jen - It's at Birthday Presence. Is that where you were going? I'm due in November too! Good luck to you! Where are you delivering?

Rush - I don't think people hate Betty out of some kind of feminist backlash. Notice that Don comes in for plenty of negative attention as a dad, too, in these comments, and in the way he's portrayed. They're both terrible parents. I said it someplace else around here - Betty reminds me of Emma Bovary in some ways, in that she's just not smart enough to see her way out of a trap, because she doesn't have any ambition. No drive, just drives.


soooo glad I've stumbled upon this blog--your analysis of these episodes is genius and entertaining. I was born in 1962, and my mother claims to only have been drugged "at the last minute" right before the pushing out process. Funny, I've had 2 children and that's the stage when the doctors do not want you drugged so you can be conscious of giving birth! (ps. I ended with 2 c-sections-ouch-anyway--so whatever)


First of all, thanks so much for giving me a new TV addiction. Because I totally wasn't watching too much television before you two turned me on to Mad Men. Pushers!

Here endth the sarcastic portion of this post.

Re: childbirth in the '60s -- I was born at the end of that era, and my mom has often told me that she was very careful to "put her face on" -- including her false eyelashes -- before going to the hospital to give birth. Priorities were a little different back then, weren't they?





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