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Mad Men S3E7: Seven Twenty Three

"What do you do? What do you make? You grow bullshit."


Suddenly, everyone in the Mad Men world is looking up. Roger watches the sunrise and declares it average, Betty looks into the sun and swoons, Carlton claims to stare at the sun every day, Sally and her teacher huddle together in a camera obscura to watch the eclipse, and Don? Don just needs to slip on his sunglasses because he's Don Draper, bitch.

Except he's not and he's finally starting to realize that he's not the king of the mountain anymore if he ever even was. We got an interesting segment at the start of the episode showing Don primping and dressing for work. It's a common theme in the show, the implication being that the people of this world go through life in armor. That implication was still there with Don, but there was something else, something that made Don a little small in our eyes. He likes how he looks. He takes pleasure in it. There's nothing particularly wrong about that but we've never seen that side of Don before; the side that admits to himself that he needs to think he's a stud. It was a classic setup for the downfall to follow. There have been many times when the show went out of its way to remind the viewer that Don, as suave and in control and devastatingly handsome as he is, is a right son of a bitch, but last night's episode really hammered that point home. We don't think we've ever thought so little of him while at the same time, pitied him. He was both an asshole and a victim.

The show opened with shots of Peggy, Betty and Don in settings that immediately forced the same questions: where the hell are they and how the hell did they get there? Which, when you think about it, works nicely as an overriding theme of the entire series. It also served to set up a dark tension over the whole show. We were dying to know what the hell happened to the three of them and because this particular episode was so loaded with plot developments, it felt like it took hours to get to the end. You gotta love television that gives you more bang for your buck. It honestly felt like we had watched an entire movie.

Betty, ever the upper middle class suburban wife with a husband whose career seems to get more and more lucrative with each passing day, has done exactly what would be expected of her: she's hired a decorator and redone her living room, which looked fabulous and every inch of 1963 from top to bottom. Two things happened here that were perfectly in character: 1) Even though this is supposed to be a major part of her role and one of the few areas where she would be allowed and expected to exert control, she nonetheless relies on others (Don and the decorator) to make decisions and 2) She didn't know what a hearth is or what it stands for. "Why, that's the hearth," says the decorator with surprise, "the soul of your home." How typical that Betty later turned the "soul of her home" into a showplace for a ridiculous and self indulgent item that doesn't belong there.

At Sterling Cooper, Don shows up to an office all atwitter. Conrad Hilton is sitting in Don's office, waiting for him. You have to realize, no one ever does that. No one ever gets to sit in Don's office and wait for him. Worse, Connie was sitting in Don's chair, forcing Don to awkwardly act as a guest in his own office. He couldn't control the situation and he was visibly shaken by it, so much so that Connie even had to comment on it. Of course, Connie only made it more uncomfortable for Don by zeroing in exactly on his weak points. He comes into the office late and displays nothing about himself in his office. He is completely divorced from the world around him and Connie knows that. He also doesn't seem to admire these qualities in Don very much. Nonetheless, he likes Don and he offers Don his business, which results in Don getting an impromptu standing ovation from his co-workers. He's pleased with the results but his head is spinning over how he got there. He's asked various times by various people how he managed it and not once did he give a completely honest answer, going only so far as to say they "ran into each other" at a party. He'd rather let his co-workers think he's a superstud who landed a prime account rather than admit he bonded with the guy by trading stories about growing up poor, without even knowing who he was talking to.

Meanwhile, Betty's fulfilling yet another expected role by chairing a Junior League meeting in her newly redecorated living room. The Junior League gets a bit of a bad rap for being a hobby for bored upper middle class housewives, but they really were involved on a deep and influential level in their communities. "Real estate," says Francine in awe, "That's scary." They may have tarted it up in "We're just silly housewives" small talk, but these ladies have an agenda and the contacts to enact it.

We predicted that the suave and slightly inappropriate Henry Francis was going to make a return soon. You don't put your hand on Betty Draper's stomach and just walk away. Betty was of course pleased that she had an excuse to contact the guy again. And nothing could have illustrated how secretly thrilled she was to meet him again than the incredible outfit she wore to the bakery. She looked stunning and she knew it.

While Betty's flirting with flirtation, Don runs into his own opportunity. He finds himself once again having a chat with Sally's teacher but, in keeping with the theme of this episode, Don's mojo blows up right in his face. Don always gets women by not pursuing them. He kept the conversation with Miss Farrell light and innocent and she wasn't going to have it. Granted, she was in many respects a little out of line and she came off a little nuts, frankly. But knowing what we know about Don, can we really say she was all that wrong? Especially since she made the very astute observation that all the men, all the suburban dads she deals with in her job, they all wear the same shirt. Don's not as different as he'd like to think.

We can't predict where this thing between Betty and Henry is going. Betty has a history of flirting with men in order to feel pretty and one instance that she'd probably rather forget in which she had a dirty girl hookup in the back of a bar. Here's what makes this new flirtation so interesting. Betty formerly enjoyed the attention of men that were nothing like Don (her stable flirtation, Jimmy Barrett, even Roger, to a lesser extent) but never allowed it to go anywhere and then hiked up her skirt for a quickie with a guy that was exactly like Don. Henry kind of embodies both qualities. He's like Don in that he's smooth and good-looking, powerful and well-dressed. He's totally unlike Don in that he's relatively open about himself and has no problem talking about what was apparently a humble background. Would Don ever admit to Betty that he used to move furniture for a living? Would Don shield Betty's eyes from the sun to protect her? Would Don have gotten Betty so completely that after spending one hour with her is able to point out that Betty is exactly the type of woman who needs a fainting couch? No predictions, but we have to say that Henry is the first guy to look at Betty that could seriously offer things to her that Don can't or won't. Except for one thing, of course: "Do you have money?" He doesn't; not at the level Betty's used to.

The one thing Don's got going for him in keeping Betty is that he seems incapable of going through a day without money being thrown at him. Bert, Roger and and Lane meet with Don in Bert's office to coo over the get of the Hilton account. Don tries to act all cool about it but his superiors have a little bomb to drop on him that unsettles him. The Hilton people are going to need him to sign a contract with Sterling Cooper in order to proceed with business. One of the things that defines Don is that he's set up his life in such a way as to be able to run away from it at a moment's notice, like he did once before. He's at his heart a hobo. His lack of a contract has played into several different storylines before but we could tell as soon as it came up (and Don could tell it too) that he wasn't going to be able to Don his way out of this one. He tries, though. "I'll give him my word," he offers, and he knew as soon as he said it that it wasn't going to be enough. Still, he won't commit.

He has no choice, though. The partners for once put the squeeze on him. Roger goes to Don's office to try and convince him, but their relationship is nonexistent at this point. Don barely even acknowledges Roger at all. And poor Peggy once again chooses the worst possible moment to assert herself to Don and receives the brunt of his anger and frustration. We have to say, while there was some truth to what Don said to Peggy, it was probably the ugliest we'd ever seen him. He used to get angry with Pete for being too impatient and nakedly ambitious, but he really tore into Peggy - and he picked a pretty lousy time to do so. Peggy pretended like she wasn't considering Duck's offer - she and Pete had another terrific scene that once again illustrated how comfortable and intimate they still are with each other - but we know that deep inside, she's still flirting with the idea.

Who wasn't flirting this episode? Don and Connie, Don and Miss Farrell, Betty and Henry, Peggy and Pete (because for all their anger and history, every scene they have together is loaded with chemistry) and, in one of the shockers of the season, Peggy and, of all people Duck Phillips.

Could we have predicted their tryst? Hell no. Does it make any sense? No less than any of the other hookups on this show. Sure, it was a shock, but this is the second time this season Don was nasty to Peggy and she responded by going out and sleeping with someone unexpectedly. Granted, this hookup was wildly different than her bar pickup, where she was the aggressor and the alpha. For the first time, Peggy submitted to something and someone who was far superior to her. She fumbled through some awkward sex with Pete but she never encountered a man who could say to her, "I want to take you to that bedroom, lock the door, take your clothes off with my teeth, throw you on the bed, and give you a go-round like you've never had." Now THAT is an invitation. We can't predict where this is going to go either but we suspect that Duck doesn't really feel anything for her and is simply trying to take one more thing away from Don.

Having failed to convince Don at the office, Roger does something that's typically inappropriate: he calls Betty at home and tries to get her to intervene. Betty, for all her faults, really knows her husband in a way that no one else does and it's something that's making Don increasingly uncomfortable. She tells Roger that Don is going to do whatever the hell Don wants to do. Normally, she'd be right. When Don comes home and she confronts him about it, she is on FIRE. There haven't been any "yay, Betty" scenes this season until now. Don tries the old tack of dismissing her. " It doesn't concern you." But he's not dealing with the meek Betty of season one anymore and he angrily tries to explain it to her. "I have all the power. They want me, but they can't have me." Which gives her the perfect opening: "You're right. Why would I think that had anything to do with me?" Yow. Go, girl. Not willing to stop there, she takes it all the way to where it needs to go: "What's the matter? You don't know where you're going to be in three years?" Faced with someone who gets him better than he likes, he does what he always does: he runs.

Honestly, we've seen Don do a lot of shitty, irresponsible things before, but they really didn't pull any punches last night. They showed just how shitty and pathetic he really is as he drunkenly drives his car and picks up two hitchhikers, downs a couple phenobarbital, and winds up in a hotel room with the both of them, fucked up out of his mind. While he was dancing with the girl and then later sitting on the bed while the two of them made out, for the very first time, Don looked old. Worse, he looked old and weak. Don's dead father shows up in a drug-induced hallucination to voice these feelings to Don. He's a liar and a bullshitter and he's worthless.

The next morning Don and Peggy both show up at work wearing yesterday's clothes and looking frazzled and worn out. Don waves off the curious looks regarding his busted up face with "Fender bender," but when he gets to his office, he finds that once again, someone who has control over him is sitting in his chair. He doesn't even try to explain his face and Bert doesn't even care, if he even noticed at all. "Would you say I know something about you, Don?" He used this exact line on Don once before when it was becoming obvious that the "doorways to power" were opening up to Don and this scene made a nice callback to that one. Don is succeeding tremendously at his job, but with each new opportunity his power over his own life is decreasing. Bert, for all his eccentricities, is every inch the hardcore objectivist Randian and he will use his power over Don if and when he can. He's held onto this secret for a while now and picked the perfect moment to play his card. Don, defeated, signs the contract.

Later, he goes home to find his wife looking ridiculous on her newly purchased fainting couch. He doesn't ask where it came from, she doesn't ask where he's been. Even if they do take any notice of each other, they just don't care. "I signed it," he says. And that's all that needs to be said. Betty got what she wanted, Roger, Bert, and Connie got what they wanted, and Don slowly walks up the stairs, the only one who didn't get what he wanted.


[Pictures courtesy of amctv.com]


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118 comments:

ooh, am i first??

i was really bothered by miss farrell...i also thought she came across as nuts.

great episode overall.


Episode 7: Peggie gets Ducked! I don't know if she was getting duped or using him right back -- but I feel a need to go blind all the horses. ~Gary


Don told Connie Hilton that they lost the farm in Illinois and moved to coal country. First, losing a farm scars people for life. The worthless feeling could be partially attributed to that.
Second, I have a somewhat wild theory, sparked by last night's episode (Sixteen Tons at the end), that Don was part of the huge miner strike right after WWII. I think his reluctance to sign contracts, and possibly part of his dislike of his own family, stems from being on different sides of a labor dispute.
Maybe that is where Dick Whitman started to 'advertise'? It would also account for some of his running from his old identity, beyond simply hating his old life - labor organization were suspect in the 50s.
I think Don is realizing how much he really has in common with Archie Whitman, that old bastard. He is his fathers son, but now he's someone else entirely. I feel like Don might not be so outclassed by the 60s, and might actually like the social change sweeping through.


Awesome episode. I had trouble falling asleep afterward. Two questions I had were:

1. What was the point of the hillbilly joke Don's father told? To remind Don where he'd come from?
2. Is Duck really attracted to Peggy or is he using her to get back at Don? While I think it's probably the latter, I don't quite see why Don would care if Peggy is sleeping with Duck. Even if she went to work at Gray's, would Don even care at this point?


See what happens in a world without Joan? The center cannot hold!


My thoughts on Peggy sleeping with Duck: shocking, yes, but no matter Duck's intentions towards her, he validated her. He has pursued her 'talent' and I think that's why she accepted his overtures. She is dying to be validated and Duck has given that to her.

Thanks, guys, for the awesome recap. I love reading them and love the comments just as much!


liz, i also thought don was getting hit with how much he does have in common with his father.

as much as he has tried to run away from his past, he is realizing you can't ever lose it completely. no matter what you do, no matter what or who you become, it's still a part of you and he hates that. though last night, with him laughing at the joke, it seemed like he was starting to come to terms with that and shared a laugh with his dad that he never could have when he was alive.

i also did not see that peggy/duck thing coming. AT ALL. it seems so weird because there was never the slightest clue there was any interest in her on duck's part. i would agree it seems that he's just trying to take something away from don, but i feel like that might be the easy interpretation. and i take it duck is on the wagon again?


ooh snap. i should sooooooooo have been awake for this episode. peggy and duck? i kept drifting in and out of sleep

and oh did don and betty do the do in this episode too or was i just hallucinating?

all that being said, when does AMC do reruns?


Duck only wants Peggy because he believes Peggy "belongs" to Don. What Don has, Duck wants, and Duck will do anything he can do to take something away from Don.

Amazing episode. I didn't think last week's could be topped. An apocalypse is coming!!


first time commenting...i absolutely love these recaps and they offer so much to the show.

is duck married? i cant remember....


Anon 3:08: Duck is divorced. His wife has the kids.


I loved this episode. It was dripping with innuendo. I think the reason why Season 2 worked so well is because they jumped ahead 2 years and were able to use it as a plot device to move back and forth. This season doesn't have that luxury and so far, it's just been ok (granted 'ok MM' is still light years better than 99% of anything else on TV).

But the big question remains: Where is Joan? Will she come back?


I thought the point of the joke was very clear. It's about someone getting screwed unexpectedly, just like Don in this entire episode. He's getting cuckolded by his wife (maybe), he's not getting to sit in his own damn office chair (twice!), he's getting money taken out of his wallet, he's having his underlings hired out from under him. Nothing is going the way he planned, all of a sudden. Kind of like being invited to a party-orgy at which you are the only guest.


As odd as Miss Farrell might seem, I couldn't help but smile when she could see through Don's uncoscious come on of her. She's aware enough to size him up. He'd come to her out of boredom just like every other studen't daddy. She doesn't need the bullshit

I have to say that this episode really showed Don at his most unseamly and pathetic to me. I wasn't reviled but I couldn't muster any sympathy. To me it was a Monkey's Paw moment-be careful what you wish for, Don/Dick.

His dressing down of Peggy was incredibly ugly. Peggy needed a reality check in this instance but not in such a viscious manner. Compare his reaction to Peggy with Pete earlier in the episode. I wander if Peggy hopping into bed with Duck just comes from likeing the attention. A response to Don's cruelity. She probably knows Duck is using her to get at Don but for the moment doesn't care too much.

I too cheered for Betty and welcome these little moments that make you support her despite her horrible flaws. Don is still keeping secrets from her and keeping her cut-off. Case in point he still has a locked drawer in the study.

It was amazing to hear that Betty majored in anthropology. Not to mention Don once thought of her as bright, vibrant and funny. It's sad to think what she could have done with her life if she had gotten better guidance and encouragement.

I liked how they ended with Bert. Bert is a formidable man and is clearly always underestimated. More proof he will survive the social changes to come. It was damn funny when he commented on Conrad Hilton's eccentriciites

Frank


Modern Dowager

Duck is divorced.
Two small moments I loved:
-After taking the call in the study, Betty jiggles that damn locked drawer, the one she so desperately tried and failed to break into last season
-When on-the-wagon Duck kisses Peggy he says something like "I love the taste of whiskey on your breath."


GOD I love this show.

Now, who do I have to sleep with to get that dress that Betty wore to meet Henry?


I've been refreshing all day, waiting for the recap. What a rich, troubling episode. I watched it twice.

The only discontinuity I found... but that may have been an intentional ellision of time was the lack of any reference to the previous week's bloody doings. Then again, there was blood on Don at the end. He did look beaten in more ways than one.

Ah, how I wish I'd watched the 1st season.... I will have to purchase the DVDs.

All the best,

NDC


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

"Oh Peggy, NO!" That was pretty much my reaction to the tryst with Duck. I have no idea where this is going, but I suspect it's not good. But you make a good point in bringing up the last time Don snapped at her and her reaction. Don's trait is that he runs away when he's losing control, Peggy sleeps around. Interesting.

The scene between Bert & Don was priceless. Don may get what he wants most of the time, but it was interesting to see Bert operate to get what he wanted. Especially his remark about who is signing that contract.

And the teacher - scary. There's trying to pick someone up by acting like they're hitting on you, but man, she really screwed up her approach. I loved seeing the boxes on the kid's heads.

Seeing Betty volunteering for the Junior League made me wonder if she will become more active in her community. And that dress January Jones was wearing was NOT for hiking near a reservoir! Still stunning though, and she knew exactly what she was doing.

Even if I may not care for the path being taken by some of the characters, I love this show for always keeping me guessing and wondering what's going to happen next. That's what makes it appointment TV for me.

I almost didn't miss Joan this week.


Call me obsessed, but I've just read through eight different synopses and no one is asking THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:

Did the Ossining, NY school system have classes in July?

The 1963 solar eclipse was on Saturday, July 20. What was Miss Farrell doing out in the park with the kids on a Saturday in July?

I don't feel as though I know where Peggy stands, vis a vis Ken and Pete. Ken gets the watch and riding mower. Pete gets credit for using data, even if his conclusion is disturbing. We don't know what became of Peggy's pot-induced Bacardi slogans or her Pampers ideas. We don't know enough to assess Don's critique. Perhaps that's the whole point.

Peggy needs to learn how to separate skill from luck and manipulation. She has all three in her tool-kit and if she doesn't heed Don's advice to keep some things in her tool-kit, she's going to get burned. We don't know and Peggy doesn't know where she stands. Don tells her one thing. Duck another. Who to believe?


Betty's major was anthropolgy (study of things buried in the past)... and she married a man with a buried past. Hmmm.


Miss Farrell said she only gets August off. so maybe the kids are in summer school, or they just kept kids late in that era (i was born in '68, so i don't know, in texas it would have been 100°F out in that field then).


Henry says something to Betty about "the master"...and later, he covers her eyes, as if he protecting something valuable of his. Then, the merest bit of interest he shows in the fainting couch and Betty brings it home (on which to display herself)... Makes me think this man not only reads her completely, but is going to move in for the kill -- personally and financially. Don't forget he's supposed to be in politics. For him to find the right woman with money and exert power over her, well, he'd have it all. And it would seem Betty is easily manipulated.

Peggy and Duck -- a million kinds of wrong...and a little right...going on there.

Miss Farrell is crazy. Doesn't matter that she can see right through Don. The fact is, she's playing with fire and I think it's only a matter of time before Don comes home to a bunny boiling in a pot on the stove with this one.

Now Don, is he ever going to learn that running around in the middle of the night is a bad idea? No. Because running is his thing. And yet, it seems as though he knows he can't really run from his past. Bert made that clear with his "and which of you is going to sign" question. In a way, Bert knowing who Don really is makes sense. And it makes even more sense that Don didn't get too bent out of shape with Pete when he first learned of it...almost like Don was playing with his breakfast before devouring it: let Pete think he knows something no one else at the office knows and then take him down for something else later on (because the only person who could really do anything with the knowledge of who Don/Dick is already knows and besides, it's fun to fuck with Pete).

I need to watch the ep again. There was so much going on that bears another viewing.


I think it's worth noting that Conrad Hilton was attracted to Dick Whitman-- the guy who grew up poor, and peed in rich people's car trunks. But suddenly he finds himself in business with the very slick Don Draper, which must be disconcerting.

That's why Don can't explain to anyone how he got the Hilton account. He didn't, Dick Whitman did. And it's because of Dick Whitman that he's forced to sign the contact.


That was the most delicious episode ever! A nice Lynchian/Hitchcock-tail edge to it.

I especially loved the Hilbilly joke--and happy that Peggy got laid by a grownup --even if it was Duck of all people...


White pleated skirt. Sharkskin.
As someone who came of age in the Mad Men era, in every episode there's one piece of clothing that takes me out of my chair and puts me into the episode where I can feel and smell and taste what's going on.
This week, it was Peggy's white sharkskin pleated skirt -- "the" required garment for summer in the early '60s.
Now that Don is locked into a contract is Betty feeling freed by Francis' attraction? Sticking the fainting couch into the living room without regard for appearances seem to be pushing her in that direction.


Loved the Junior League ladies. Do you know why Junior League ladies never participate in group sex?










Too many thank-you notes.


I said, "Oh, Peggy, No," too.

I also said "Oh, Don, Don't."

And I also LOVED what Betty wore. Wasn't she gorgeous walking in, gorgeous in the sun, and gorgeous on the fainting couch in front of the hearth.

And did you see how she ran her hands down her thighs on that lovely dress of hers?

Lord have Mercy, that was a good show last night.

Don got put in the corner and Betty basically said, don't put me in the corner unless there is a fainting couch waiting for me ...

Wasn't that speech of hers to Don just great? And I loved the phone bit ... where she tried to switch phones. But I was wondering, would she really yell "Freeze." Isn't that a little anachronistic for 1963? I was expecting her to yell "Stop right there, young man ..." something my Mom used to yell a lot at me for some other reason or not. The "Freeze" just caught me off guard, like a police show in the 70s.

Just sayin-


When Don comes home and she confronts him about it, she is on FIRE. There haven't been any "yay, Betty" scenes this season until now. Don tries the old tack of dismissing her. " It doesn't concern you." But he's not dealing with the meek Betty of season one anymore and he angrily tries to explain it to her.

Betty was on fire, and she deserved to be. I want to point out, though, that she's done this before. When Roger made a pass at her and Don accused her of being complicit, she laid into him then too. "What are you going to do, hit me? Go ahead, if it makes you feel like a man." Oh my. She always has it in her. She just saves it up.

RE: school in the summer. I'm going to assume they have summer programs for the kids. A solar eclipse would be perfect opportunity for a special outing.

Miss Farrell really showed her crazy hand with Don. I think he was genuinely shocked and offended when she accused him of coming on to her. She is, if nothing else, needy and filterless.


tlo, i think you might be wrong about henry being different than don because he seems exactly like the don betty married many years ago. we know from betty's therapy sessions that when she began dating don he was a poor lowly copy writer who got betty because he bought her the perfect object that she wanted and made sense for her (the coat she was modeling). this thoughtful attentive and ambitious don is very similar to henry. maybe she is trying to recapture the beginning of their courtship.

this is my favorite episode besides "the wheel." there was just so much going on on the surface and beneath.


Fucking AWESOME episode.

Random thoughts.
My dad had a wooden box he made just like Don's to shine his shoes.
I didn't even miss Joan, til I realized the episode was over and she wasn't referenced.
That was one blistering attack from Don to Peggy. She barely contained her tears; I would have run sobbing from the room. And DUCK? duck? Never.saw.that.coming.NEVER. Ohh, baby (hope not), what will this lead to next?
I KNEW Bobby was going to screw up hanging up the phone. They haven't showed teaching that kid anything in three seasons.

Don has done a lot of stupid things, but this one may have topped them all. He was so pissed there was no thinking straight. Those pills could have been anything. I immediately thought those kids would not be what they seemed. Played him like a violin, or best yet a fiddle, with the hillbilly daddy showing up with the nasty (but funny, I DID LOL) joke. And the song was soooo perfect to end the episode. Interesting thoughts from Liz on that.

So much and more happened that it really set up the rest of the season's stories. This series is on fire by now. I almost predict it will continue in a crescendo and end with the screen shot of Kennedy in Dallas, just before...


I too was going, "Yay, Betty!" during that scene. And I loved her new look in that scene too--very 'mod' 60s and away from her Grace Kelly, 50s style--a signal that she's getting more independent.


Loved Peggy when Pete grabbed her Hermes scarf and she quips, "I hope yours is a different color."

And she apparently enjoyed getting ducked enough to have another go in the morning.

Hoping this is just another notch in her chastity belt and not a sign of bad things to come, but this being Mad Men, I doubt it.


First time commenting. Is anyone going to say Don was just the ultimate prick in this episode? He didn't elicit any sympathy--he came across as a self-satisfied jerk. The Bert thing was perfect about just who was signing the contract anyway since he knows Don Draper is an impostor.


Great episode.

And it came after I had finally watched the previous week's epsiode earlier in the day. Almost fell off the couch watching that one. The foot incident was banner TV. For me it goes right up there with great TV moment like Roz Shays and the elevator shaft on L.A. Law and the last epsiode of Newhart. So unexpected. So insane. So perfect.

The episode title, "Seven Twenty Three," pointed to the importance of the date that Don signed the contract and lost some of his freedom and/or perhaps lost some of Dick Whitman. But I started wondering if there was even more signifigance. Then Connie Hilton mentioned the Bible. So I had to Google.

I know you can read just about anything into random Bible quotes (and gosh knows people do). And Chapter 7, verse 23 from any number of books of the Bible proved no exception.

Gensis 7:23 - Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Out with the the dinosaurs of Sterling Cooper and in with the new?

Daniel 7:23 - He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.

An allusion to the media as the Fourth Estate and it's increasing dominance in life?

or my favorite, 1 Corinthians 7:23 - You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

Oh, Don. You certainly have been bought. Will you become a slave to men?

Okay - way too much with the Bible stuff. But a show that can get a happily lapsed Catholic like myself back to the Bible rooting around for clues/answers...

Don's dressing down of Peggy will only make her stronger and more independent. I loved it.

Betty - something's coming. Not sure what. But I can't wait.

And I was just obsessed after watching Don sign the contract and seeing the Draper address and phone number. Been dying to call their house all day and see if Betty answers. 914-944-8032.

I put it in my cell phone under Draper, Don.

I think I need help.


I was blown away by the final scene with Bert and Don in Don's office. It was almost gratifying to see Don have to capitulate and sign that contract. Robert Morse played that scene with such finesse...he's so good at being Bert Cooper that you forget all about Robert Morse.
There was so much to digest in this episode. I'll have to watch it several more times to get all the little nuances. Great recap, TLo. You guys have enriched my "Mad Men" experience exponentially.


I think the Miss Farrell story line is coming on like a freight train.

First she is drunkenly calling the Drapers at night (after their parent/teacher conference), now she is accusing Don of inproprieties when he's just making small talk. Can we say "bipolar"?

Perhaps she will be the first woman that Don can't "manage." I predict that she will make some kind of advance to him soon, and Don, being Don, will will give her a "go-round" (to use Duck's euphemism -- love that!).

Don's crazy + Miz Farrell's crazy = I can't wait for that episode.


Amazing post as always, fellas. I am so in love with this episode I can't even give it its due because I'd be writing all night and still wouldn't do it justice. I think between last week's and last night's I've seen my favorite two episodes to date. It was almost a kalaidascope of pacing, plot movement, aha moments, it was dizzying and splendid and I can't wait to watch it again.

Some favorite moments:

Burt - sufficiently eccentric and lasissez-fare to shrug off Don's secret background for years, using it as blackmail with razor-sharp precision the moment SC's bottom line's at stake.

Miss Farrell - psycho-bitch, soothsayer or both? I'm still not convinced they are going to have a fling, but she is clearly a recurring character representing freedom, nature, all of Don's deepest yearnings. Interesting it's in such a neurotic package...

Betty - Anthropology? Really?

Peggy - I know Duck's using her, but the girl really did need to get some grown-up sex. She might ace it (whatever IT turns out to be), just like she aces everything else in her own inimicable fashion.

Don - realizing the more shellaqued his "Don Draper" armor becomes the more his world spirals out of his control. I am beginning to suspect that while dinosaurs like Roger will struggle with the impending chaos of the era, Don is going to find a place where he and Dick Whitman can co-exist. I think the 60's are going to set Don free in ways we're only now glimpsing. To be continued indeed...


Favorite line of the night was Peggy telling Pete in her office to "stop coming in here and infecting me with your anxiety!"


Joanie said Henry says something to Betty about "the master"...and later, he covers her eyes, as if he protecting something valuable of his.

He said "his master's voice", referring to the old RCA Victor advertisement, in the context of why he needed to get back to Albany. He had to obey his master, Nelson Rockefeller. He wasn't referring to himself that way.


EEK/STL said Betty - Anthropology? Really?

Sure, why not? She's not stupid. She went to Bryn Mawr. You can't be stupid and be accepted there. You have to have brains.


Excellent episode! This one will definitely go down as one of my all time favorites. Great re-cap, TLo. Lot's of themes and issues I hadn't noticed or really thought about.

Two small things that I did notice with this episode gave me reason to post. The issue of "time" seemed to play a strong role and weaved it's way through many of the episodes storylines. I noticed it with the opening sequence in particular and how the events were tied together. I've felt that this season more than any other has a strong sense of the surreal and plays tricks with our sense of both spatial and temporal time. Another thing I noticed was how the writers once again used the device of
having characters repeat dialogue, (i.e., terms, phrases, etc.). For example, I noticed that quite a few characters either exclaimed or reponded to others by remarking, "What do you want from me?" It's a simple technique, but does tie all of those seemingly incongruent storylines together. Both issues definitely are at the heart of Don's story, but seem to connect him to other characters as well.

P.S. The "wardrobe mistress" did an excellent job with everyone's clothing and accessories. I, too, would die for Betty's closet --- even Peggy looked darned near fabulousness in some scenes.


I'm pretty sure "freeze" was used in gangster movies in the thirties and forties.

I knew it was Duck in bed with Peggy as soon as I saw her. Who else could it be? Who else is wooing her? Oh, Peggy, you should have just taken the scarf.

My favorite chuckle was when Bert put his sock-feet up on the coffee table and commented on how Hilton is a bit eccentric. The guys' reaction was great. And Don's secretary's "oh please, like I don't know that" face when he told her to hold his calls.


I recall that in your commentary of the first episode of season 3, you said the sixties were definitely in full swing this season. I think this theory is best shown when the hitchhikers give Don the drugs, after which he agrees to take two, he promptly throws his cocktail out the car window, causing it to crash on the pavement as his car speeds away. I know you both mentioned Peggy's hair and Betty's new living room as indications it was now the swinging sixties, but I really think this small moment in the episode really cements this message. As Don Draper gives up his old vices for new strange ones, like draft dodgers and barbituals, the rest of America follows.


I thought Roger and Bert just made up the part about Conrad Hilton wanting Don to have a contract just to force Don into signing one. After all Bert said something to the effect of, "Well we want you to have a contract."


"Now, who do I have to sleep with to get that dress that Betty wore to meet Henry?"

The costume designer. :)


Didn't you catch how Cooper made a comment about the contract, how could it really matter what name was on it? He knows that Don is really Dick Whitman. It makes sense he would have hired a detective to find out about someone with "no people".


Lilithcat: Sure, why not? She's not stupid. She went to Bryn Mawr. You can't be stupid and be accepted there. You have to have brains."

Lilithcat, I'm not doubting her brainpower. The 'really?' was impressed incredulity, not the SNL/Seth Myers version of the word. Betty has clearly mastered the tropes of suburban, upper middle class culture, and clearly has profound insights into her husband's character; I hope she will have the opportunity to expand her horizons to include her children, and most of all, herself.


Cooper didn't have to hire a detective. He's known about Dick Whitman since season one, when Pete told him.


That was one ugly ass fainting couch.


I loved that after Betty said "Don't know where you going to be in three years?" and after Don walked out, we heard Gene start crying. I thought it was a great contrast. Betty certainly knows where she's going to be for the next 3 years (times 6).


jana said: ... Is anyone going to say Don was just the ultimate prick in this episode? He didn't elicit any sympathy--he came across as a self-satisfied jerk. . .

I had a different reaction to Don during/after this episode. Yes, he's being an nth degree jerk, but he is also starting to come apart -- de-evolving more with each perceived threat.

Last night's episode showed Dick Whitman's neurosis bleeding through the cracks of Don Draper's facade. I did/do feel for Don. He's a self-made man built on a mud-jacked piece-of-crap foundation.

I heard an interview with John Hamm & Matthew Weiner on NPR recently. Matthew Weiner said he told AMC that he would not do Mad Men without Hamm as the lead actor, even though Hamm was not widely known at the time.

Thanks for sticking to your guns, Michael. John Hamm's performance as Don Draper is so good it needs a new vocabulary. Superlatives don't go that high.


Anonymous
9/28/09 3:29 PM typed Betty's major was anthropolgy (study of things buried in the past)... and she married a man with a buried past. Hmmm.

Yeah, except you've described archaology, not anthropology. Anthropology is the study of human behaviors and societies.

I should know... gots me two minors in the blasted things :-)

I also loved how Betty and AlbanyGuy were going to 'hike' up to the site and she shows up dressed to the nines for a lunch at a local diner and he didn't look like he was going anywhere remotely muddy, either.


I am hoping for an elaborate "duck, duck, goose" joke from the writers that is so clever and witty, it makes up for letting Duck Phillips touch, let alone fuck, our Peggy Olsen. OMG. TWICE. NO, PEGGY! NO! *weeps* NO NO NO!


Someone above asked about AMC reruns of Mad Men. Check your listings for Sunday. Yesterday they ran the 6 previous episodes starting at 10 a.m. ET.


Coco Channel said...
I thought Roger and Bert just made up the part about Conrad Hilton wanting Don to have a contract just to force Don into signing one. After all Bert said something to the effect of, "Well we want you to have a contract
================
When discussing the contract, Lane brings up that while they're fine with the business, "the lawyers at Hilton" want assuredness that Don will be there.

Do responds by saying that Connie only wants what he can't have. Lane, Roger and Bert don't buy it.


Archeology is the study of things in the past - Anthropology is the study of other cultures...


One of my favorite episodes to date.

Everyone's mentioned mostly everything I loved and gasped at in this episode, but I couldn't stop laughing at the decorator's reaction to the fainting sofa.

"If you want to keep it, PLEASE do not tell people I did this!"

AWESOME.

And the tiny exchange between Peggy and Don the morning after made me want to cry... It was such a small moment, but filled with so much tension.

Thanks for the great recap! I have NO idea what the next episode is gonna be like...


Does anyone know what kind of sunglasses Betty is wearing? They're awesome and I want them!


I wasn't paying close attention last night, but upon rewatching, Burt confronting Don about the Hilton contract seems like the direct cause of Don dressing Peggy down; her approach and even her words are a close parallel to Burt's and Don's anger toward her is powered by the anger he felt in the earlier scene. And the confrontation with Don sends Peggy straight to Duck; she tells Pete that she's keeping the scarf, but goes to meet Duck anyway.

About Peggy and Duck: I suspect Peggy is trying to exploit Duck as much as he is trying to get something (revenge against Don as well as sex) from her. What's been interesting to me this season is how Peggy is acting like a classic fallen woman. Looking back, the scenes with Father Gill at the end of last season and with her mother and sister earlier in season 3 look as if she's saying "goodbye to all that" and setting out to explore the sinful world, quite intentionally. Sometimes labeling oneself as an unforgivable sinner can be amazingly liberating.

About "freeze:" what, you people never played freeze tag when you were kids? It was a moment of relief, for me: Betty doesn't strike Bobby or use abusive language, as she too often has in the past, but rather uses a play trope to get the behavior she needs. The question becomes: is she growing up, a little, now that her parents are both dead, or was she happy and excited about the call from Henry and reacting playfully because of that?


Was Peggy using sex as a weapon, or was Duck? I'm thinking it's Duck. Peggy may be screwed, in more ways than one. I don't think Duck is stable enough to give Peggy everything she wants, both in business and in her personal life. Notice that we still haven't seen Duck at his office at Gray? I am wondering if he even actually works there. I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't trying to take Sterling Coopers employees away just for revenge. Or maybe he can't get a job at Gray on his own, so he thinks if he brings in Peggy and Pete, that will ensure him a spot. One way or the other, this is going to end badly.


This episode was so good, I almost didn't notice Joan wasn't in it...almost.

I really can't wait what's gonna happen next. I'm hoping Peggy quits and Don has to find a way to beg her to come back... well of course he wont beg, but in his own way.

And I need my Joan back, please.


Amazing episode. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but didn't Betty say something to the Junior Leaguers about the baby not coming on schedule? Wondering if the baby really is the child of her barroom lover.


Anonymous 5:26 said...
Maybe I'm reading too much into it but didn't Betty say something to the Junior Leaguers about the baby not coming on schedule? Wondering if the baby really is the child of her barroom lover.

Hmm... didn't she find out she was pregnant before her tryst? Can't remember now. If not, this makes a lot of sense.


Yes, Betty was already pregnant when she had sex with the guy in the bar. I re-watched that episode recently.


she did find out before she had sex with the guy at the bar. not on schedule could easily have meant earlier than planned.


"hardcore objectivist Randian"

Boys, I fucking love you.


maybe.sparrow

Maybe I'm reading too much into it but didn't Betty say something to the Junior Leaguers about the baby not coming on schedule? Wondering if the baby really is the child of her barroom lover.

I took it to mean that Betty had planned more for the room redo than for getting pregnant (at that particular time, anyway). Like maybe the redecorating was planned and scheduled for months (even before Betty got pregnant?), and was something that she took a lot of pride in. But the baby was a complete surprise and more like an imposition than a joyous occasion for Betty. It was not "on schedule" in the sense that it didn't fit into her "perfect family" timeline.


I have never watched a single episode of Mad Men 'cuz I have cheap cable, but I have read ALL of your recaps. TLo, you write like a dream and I'm caught up in the intrigue and drama of this show. Hope it is as good as you say, when I eventually get the DVDs!


Insightful recap as usual, thoughtful comments by everyone, as usual.

This show has so many fantastic story lines going on my head is spinning. Last night's episode needed to last another three hours or so. I'll just focus on one relationship --

Don and Roger.

Yikes! Bert just tried to get the two of them back together last week by sending them to the barber, but now that Roger has sunk to new depths by calling Betty, Don wants the man dead.

I know Roger has no real role in SC going forward, (he wasn't even on the job chart on the overhead projector), but you can't have the principals of a company despising each other so openly without a bad end.

Bert masterfully played the ace up his sleeve and forced Don to sign the contract, but he's got no way to make the two men like or respect each other as colleagues ever again. This is going to get NASTY.

One last aside; Peggy - oh no! Duck is a master manipulator with a drinking problem. There is no way she is wise enough to handle him to her advantage. Maybe in 10 years, after she's been dumped on and screwed over both personally and professionally, will she have the experience to play that scenario to her advantage. She's smart, but not that smart, yet.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!

--Itsjustme


I don't know which shocked me more: learning Betty went to Bryn Mawr (my alma mater) or seeing Peggy in bed with Duck.

For one thing,a Bryn Mawr girl would recognize a fainting couch because many of the rest rooms on campus were (and maybe still are) equiped with one for the indisposed scholar.

And then the Ducking: the writers have been portraying Peggy as a woman who likes and wants sex, but . . . DUCK??? Talk about a career-limiting move. I can only attribute Peggy's bad judgment to some serious Daddy issues.

Or maybe she found out how much a Hermes scarf costs.

I detect some Daddy issues in Betty's attraction to the grey-haired Henry, too. He's the understanding, solicitous male presence that she's been missing.


I have to watch this episode again. I was so spaced out on decongestants I thought I saw Peggy in bed with Duck.


i'm not dorothy gale

My head is STILL spinning. I wanted to scream "Nooooooooooo Peggy! He dumped his DOG!"

The women's clothes were especially wonderful, particularly Betty's dress at the coffee shop. With her new-found moxie I'm hoping she slides into the Age of Aquarius in a way that will shock the crap out of Don.


Most of the thoughts I've had have been posted already, but I just love this blog so much.

I wouldn't say that I felt no sympathy for Don last night. He is becoming more human as we see his neuroses, age and past start to emerge. I like this side of him. Maybe not the a-hole side (his berating of Peggy, his vanity in the mirror) but as people have said--as so many things start to look up for him at work, he's losing control of who he is as a person. This could be a great turning point for Don. Someone said that he may start to co-exist as both Don and Dick. This idea is not a bad one. When he laughs and lets his guard down for a moment, it makes me happy. His moment with Joan last week was unbelievably warm.

People have already tackled the real meaning of "anthropology" (thank you), the fact that Bert knows about Don/Dick because Pete ran tattling to him, and a few other key points.

Re: school in summer--I didn't really take it as an oversight or odd. Just figured it was a summer program since they were outside doing a fun thing.

I chuckled at Bert, of all people, saying Connie Hilton is eccentric. Great moment.


Ok, I can say it now... I''m a Betty Draper fan, have been all along (probably b/c I have quite a bit of Betty Draper in me). She has been totally ignored from her husband for such a long time we've seen her raw and at her lowest and she's coming out of it stronger,if Don doesn't give her what she needs, she can find it elsewhere- you can sense the feminist movement evolving.In her defense even though she is into appearnaces, shallow, etc... I have always thought that she was just playing her cultural role quite well. That was the woman's role in the 50's/60's - make sure everyone is dressed and looks nice, same about the house - I was downright offended by Don calling her selfish, like the pot calling the kettle black. Don, Don, Don... I don't like you anymore. You've lost your charm and people don't buy your elusive auro... looking forward to you changing your game plan.
The teacher confuses me... I remember Don touvhing grass watching her dance and talking with her about Sally/her drunk dial - have there been other interactions between them? If not, why do we assume Don likes her? I don't think that he does, I think that she is coming on to him and he is genuinely not interested... and the fact that he isn't interested is a point of growth for him - he's actually been pretty faithful to Betty this season (minus 1st episode), he has to drop that ball soon, huh?
I think it's so funny when people try to predict what's going to happen on this show b/c you just have no idea!


Really?! Really? This is your opinion of Betty? Live her life for a month and then see what you would do. Yes, she's a cast iron bitch and a bad mother. But how could she be any other way?

And Betty *never* gets what she wants.


I'm not so worried about Peggy with Duck. We're getting into the era of free love. Perhaps Peggy's just getting into the, ahem, swing of things.

I just have to say that Robert Morse is perfect. Such a fine actor, who's long been a personal favorite. (Saw him onstage in How to Succeed and, later, in Tru). I'm delighted to see him in my favorite drama.


I'm really surprised that everyone thinks the teacher is crazy after that moment. I didn't think she was crazy at all; I think she was completely aware of the way that all of the fathers look at her (Francine's husband was voicing it right before that and Don didn't disagree; he just seemed to disapprove of being so gleefully out-loud about it) because she's dealt with it so much. Her reaction seemed to be a pre-emptive defense, not craziness. But that doesn't mean she's not interested, either. Maybe she's just suppressing it because she is attracted to Don but doesn't want to get involved with a married man, or something like that.


I didn't think the teacher was crazy at all! Strangely, I seem to be in the minority; my husband and our friend both thought she was. I think she's a little low-boundary, maybe, but mainly I think she's the only honest person in her milieu - and of course, they're not really her milieu. They're her employers. But you know what I mean. Every other woman in the world of Mad Men wears a social mask, as do the men. She doesn't, for whatever reason. Some people can't. I'm sure a lot of people here can relate. The world is about to see a lot more people like her, and far fewer people like Betty.

I don't get the Betty-as-Second-Waver theory, either. But I was totally applauding her last night, for fighting back. In that moment, it didn't matter that they're both actually rather horrendous people. It mattered that she stood up for herself to someone very difficult to stand up to.

A fantastic, kind of jaw-dropping episode. And...Robert Morse was Finch?! I didn't know!


Yes, Leela. Robert Morse created the role of J. Pierpont Finch for the original production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. He was delightful. Later, he starred in the movie. You might be able to get the DVD through Netflix.


It's slowly happening for me. I'm finally getting to a point where I look at Peggy and I don't see "Zoey Bartlett" the president's daughter. What I'm starting to see instead is a woman who makes calculated moves to get what she wants. She didn't just sleep with Ducky, she DECIDED to sleep with Ducky. When he made his move, she waited a beat, asked what he wanted from her, appraised the situation and went for it (which, truth told, made me want to puke in my mouth a little). "Just so you know," Ducky says, "That's what opportunity looks like."

I can totally envision her doing whatever it takes to get to the top or at least to the midlevel. After all, a man would do it and she can do anything a man can do, but better. She'd see it as simply using her power to gain more power. She's bright and capable so today's decisions are just the means to tomorrow's end. If having Ducky remove her clothes with his teeth and give her "go-round" like she's never had, I guess that's a bonus. (Though I'd personally rather imagine a carton full of dead puppies.)

Btw, I loved the way Don handled her. I thought it was perfection (and good advice).


Nice recap as always, gentlemen! Many thanks!

Wow, I'm the daughter of a retired college drama instructor, so I just have to kudo some performances from last night.

January Jones just keeps getting better and better. All of her scenes were dead on.

Elisabeth Moss was on fire, too. In her scene with Don where he is reaming her a new one, I kept my eyes on hers the entire time and you could just SEE him breaking her. Then, it was kinda the same reaction from her when she asked Duck what was it he wanted from her. She is so fragile right now, underneath it all.

And, what can I say but that what we saw last night is exactly why Bobby Morse is a living legend on Broadway. Claude Rains himself couldn't do blackmail any better. What I loved about his last line, paraphrasing, "After all, who really is signing that contract?" was the icing on the force cake but also Burt's comforting way of suggesting to Don he could at least look at it that he wasn't really signing it. Or, whoever in there that's pissed about signing it can pretend he didn't. Yes, I agree, Morse plays Burt so well you forget it is Morse.

Okay, my drama instructor father said that last night's episode reminded him of writer James M. Cain, the way the tension builds, the starkness, the focus on the character's *significant needs* and how that gets the better of them. Hollywood made "Double Indemnity", Mildred Pierce", and "The Postman Always Rings Twice" from Cain's novels.


Sex with Duck, ewwww! Double-ewwww! The actor and the writers really get that whole alcholic slimeyness down with Duck. Duck's a weak, needy guy and there's no way Peggy's romp will come to a good end. Ewwww, ewwww and ewwww.

So any time Don harshes on her, she goes and sleeps with a guy--if Don wanted to sleep with her, she wouldn't say no.

Favorite bit of camera work--Robert Morse's goatee is emphasized and his face lit so that he looks a bit like the Devil when he cordially blackmails Don into signing with the devil. Subtle, but quite deliberate, I think.

Interesting, too, how Bert is the only one who reads Don correctly--he ignores Lane, Roger and Betty just make him defiant, but Bert makes him acquiesce--but privately, so no one sees it--and with pointed politeness.

It was Bert, wasn't it, who advised Don in S. 1 to keep Pete on because Pete would, in a sense, be indebted to him. So Don lashes out about Roger, even though it's Bert who's holding his feet to the fire.

Wonder if Don is going to manage to force out Roger? Roger's certainly vulnerable.

And, eh, I still like Don. He's being a jerk, but I kind of sympathize with the restlessness of wanting there to be something more.

As for his reaming out Peggy--struck me as real--but I've worked for some real assholes.

Can't get on the Betty wagon--not cuz she's a lousy mother. I understand that, but because she's so rigid. Spontaneous moments of compassion or humore are so rare with her.


Foie Gras is a tasty treat. Go Peggy! Gettin down with the down!


I just saw the Junior League meeting scene again for the 4th time and listened intently to Betty's first line, so to answer the question about it, she says "It wasn't the baby who couldn't keep a schedule." She could have enunciated better, but that is definately what she said. The baby's timing was not off. Hope that helps.


I'm not sure if it's been mentioned in the other posts (too lazy, i'll admit), but the use of eclipse is just right. Considered astrologically, they are pivot points for fateful events or turning points. Love how this falls right in the middle of the season! And each character seems to be making a fateful turn.

Notice how the previous episode seemed like it was going to be an epic upheaval, then nothing. Everyone was wrong about everything in that ep; all perceptions were inverse to reality. Now this one sneaks up and sucker punches just like the dodger and his date rapping "ol' caddilac" right on his noggin.

Sticking to my guns on the "Bye Bye Birdie" interpretation: it's Don singing to Betty. He's going to lose her.


seriously, i come right here to read your recaps after i watch an episode. bra fuckin vo dudes.


I think it's interesting that Betty is using a reservoir to get to someone who is also in the growing bullshit business and the graphic for this season of Mad Men shows Don sitting in a chair with water rising. Plus, I think Roger knows about Don Draper's identity because he made a comment to Don about seeing his name "up there" with Sterling Cooper (and then something about it needing to be last). Names are powerful things.


This season feels/looks so Hitchcockian to me. The angles, the icy blonde, the way tension builds and recedes.

Bill--I thought of the LA elevator shaft with the John Deere moment, too.

We were at our county fair last week and those John Deere tractors suddenly seemed so unpredictable...


Anonymous 3:29 wrote: "Betty's major was anthropolgy (study of things buried in the past)... and she married a man with a buried past. Hmmm."

You're thinking of archeology. Anthropology is the study of cultures and human social behavior.


EEK/STL -

Sorry I misunderstood your comment! One of the tough things about communicating in writing is that it's sometimes hard to catch tone.

Mea culpa!


Great recaps, guys, as usual. This was my favorite episode.


Anonymous 7:09 AM wrote: "I think Roger knows about Don Draper's identity because he made a comment to Don about seeing his name "up there" with Sterling Cooper (and then something about it needing to be last). Names are powerful things."

I don't believe Roger knows that Don is actually Dick (tho at this point I'm sure he thinks Don is A dick); he simply meant if Don played his cards right his name could be added to the masthead albeit last: Sterling Cooper Draper. Should Putnam, Powell and Lowe gents might want a piece of that, perhaps PPL/Sterling Cooper (Draper). This is how Madison Avenue acronyms are born!


Lilithcat: NO WORRIES! I realize I should have extrapolated a bit more...I was pretty cryptic on that one ;-).


Back when I was a rising young early 20's career girl like Peggy, I would have slept with Duck too. I personally thought the scene was hot. She will not have any emotional attachment to him, just like Don doesn't attach to women he sleeps with. She's smarter than that. You will see. After all, Don slept with Bobbie Barrett and she was just as nauseating as Duck.


This episode had a completely different vibe for me. I liked it.

Did anyone else feel that Peggy is becoming sort of pathetic? Sometimes I feel all "you go girl!" towards her, and other times I'm wondering what the hell is she doing??


I haven't seen any comments regarding the fact that both Peggy and Don returned to work wearing the same clothing they'd worn on the previous day. While this may not have been particularly unusual for a man, I am sure that Peggy would have 'called in sick' in order to avoid this.


Say what you will about Duck, but if Bert Cooper had said to me "I want to take you to that bedroom, lock the door, take your clothes off with my teeth, throw you on the bed, and give you a go-round like you've never had." I'd have had a hard time saying no.

Great Line. (The delivery of the line didn't hurt.)


This is the first time I've commented, and let me say that this blog is a God-send to me! I missed the first 2 seasons of this series. But since season 3 began, Mad Men has become the highlight of my week, even if I'm not totally up to speed on the characters just yet. Again, thank you!

Ever get the feeling that a TV show, movie or whatever is speaking to you personally? I often feel that way about Mad Men. For example, "Grandpa Gene" reminded me a great deal of my old man. And my father's name is also Gene, so he's "Grandpa Gene" to my 2 kids.

I agree that Miss Farrell made a fool of herself w/Don while the kids had boxes on their heads viewing the eclipse. However, I love it that the July 1963 eclipse was featured. Again, I feel this series is speaking right to me. One of my cousins was killed in a freak accident during this eclipse (he was hit by a train). I was only 3 at the time, so I don't remember much about when it actually happened. I do remember how my Grandmother blamed his death on the eclipse, & freaked out every time we had one after that.

With this in mind, I'd love to know exactly where in Illinois Dick & his family had the farm they lost. I grew up there, so I'm familiar w/the state.

Thanks again, guys - this blog is the best!


Anon 9/29 10:07 said: I haven't seen any comments regarding the fact that both Peggy and Don returned to work wearing the same clothing they'd worn on the previous day. While this may not have been particularly unusual for a man, I am sure that Peggy would have 'called in sick' in order to avoid this.

I thought about this when it aired and realized that under normal circumstances (whatever they may be), Peggy would have found a way to race home and change--but I believe she stayed in those clothes JUST FOR DON TO SEE and hopefully make him think, "See? I can play your game, too." Subtle? Maybe not. Don usually observes more in 5 seconds than anyone else in that show does for 5 hours, but with everything going on around him and to him in this episode, he may not have picked up on Peggy's not-so-subtle message.


I thought the best line of the episode was when Connie chided Don for being late and not having a Bible or family pics in his office. Don shot back with "How do you know that I'm not late because I was home reading the Bible with my family?' It was priceless, but just a little too facile and caustic for Connie, apparently. It is the comment that I believe set up the forced contract scenario. Connie apparently doesn't get mad; he gets even.

Besides being incredibly gripping, this may have been one of the most important episodes in the whole Mad Men iconography thus far to my mind. The over arching theme seemed to be Father Figures. First and foremost, there was Don and the intense power struggles with his father figures (Connie, the Hillbilly spector, Roger and Bert); Peggy once more being rejected by her father figure Don then becoming intimate with Duck to both secretly flip off Don and embrace Duck as the new Good Daddy; Sally's school teacher angrily dissing all the philandering fathers that hit on her and how they all wore the same shirt; and, last but not least, Betty surreptitiously looking for a Sugar Daddy just in case the recalcitrant Don Draper doesn't sign the contract and she might have to curtail buying any more egregiously self-indulgent pieces of furniture. Roger Sterling calling Betty was also a behavior not unlike that of her deceased father's habit of calling and constantly warning her about Don's liabilities. Unfortunately, Roger underestimated the complexity of the relationships Betty has had with both her own father and Don and that misperception has now completely alienated him from his 'son' Don.

There was even the visual of the writers standing at attention out in front of Don's office, like little boys waiting for their Dad out in front of the house to deliver the exciting news about an important visitor that has arrived unexpectedly. Their spontaneous applause once they see Don smile as he is walking back speaks volumes about the hero worship that Don has come to expect. On 7-23, everything changed forever in Don's life. How will he deal with being a mere mortal and no longer master of his secret Universe?


I hated Don and Betty on this episode. They're so dysfunctional. It's hard to watch. I missed Joan! Thanks for the fabulous post, Tlo!


Because this is still the early sixties, and we see the opulent "carefree" life that Betty enjoys juxtaposed with the hard work and low social status that Peggy gets from her job, maybe Peggy just reacted to Don's abuse by jumping to the most logical conclusion at the time - you can marry more money in a minute than you can make in your entire life. I think when Duck propositions her, she's flirting with what life would be like if she married a rich, weak man like Duck and just threw in the towel on trying to get ahead in a man's world. I don't think she'll ultimately do it, and I think Duck was mostly trying to pretend he was like Don Draper with his fancy hotel room and "suave" moves, but they're both lonely, awkward people and they both got an ego boost out of their romp. It's not totally out of character for Peggy who's still sometimes torn between her Catholic past and her career-girl present.


The use of time/eclipse/light-play themes were beautifully repeated throughout the episode.

Don's office chair has historically been very important to his character. In this episode he literally lost his seat. His place in the world was taken away. He is back to being an emotional and literal drifter. He has no place and, while he has some power he doesn't know what it is, or how to keep it from blowing up in his face.

The scene with Burt Cooper at the end was brilliant. In the last episode Cooper asked Sterling the secret to being a good account man, answered his own question "it's about letting things go so you can get what you want." Well, isn't that what Cooper has done all along with the knowlege of Don's secret identity? There are many obvious reasons to have this conversation secretly, namely the fact that Draper is worth a lot less to SC if he's actually some hillbilly who stole a dead guy's identity.

I think Peggy, while nervous, is aware of what she's doing with Duck. She is ready for a "big girl" romance. Enough with the school boys. She knows this is her time and is more afraid of letting it pass her by than of falling flat. For Peggy "I'm high, damn it" Olson, fear of not taking the risk and then ending up like her mother/sister is her worst nightmare. She got a glimpse with Duck of what it must feel like to be Joan for a night, and a morning after. Good for her for enjoying it and the Hermes scarf. What does it mean for SC? Can't wait to find out.

The scene with Hilton: I agree with the above-post's insignt that Hilton wanted to hire Whitman, not slick Draper, because that's who he met at the bar. We'll see how this relationship plays out; my guess is the Hilton account is going to wreck havoc on SC. Hotels are important to the show: Sal's triste; Don & Betty's Valentine's date falling flat; the end of Roger & Joan's affair; and on & on.

Sweet Jesus, I could go on & on. Why didn't I major in Mad Men?


Why didn't I major in Mad Men?

I have a feeling there will soon be college courses on the show popping up all over the country.


Wow, Tom and Lorenzo. You guys "get it". I love that you mentioned Betty's involvement with the Junior League and touched on how, although given bad stereotypes, it's a great organization that has started and funded many non-profit organizations around the country. I'm a Junior League member in my city and I thought that was really great that you said that. You guys seem to always be on target with your opinions.


Sorry Guys, did not like this episode at all.The last two episodes were great. This week, The goofy teacher, Peggy tarting it up, Don being Don, and Betty (who just had a baby) with the white gloves at the pie shop...yuck. I'm a fan, but there was just nothing in any character for me to bite in to.

...I miss Joan...

Did anyone think it was odd that they did not say anything about the guy who lost his foot?


I keep fast-forwarding to Peggy, circa 1990. She's successful but hardened after struggling for every promotion, every crumb tossed her way. Somewhere in the 1970s, she will have had an epiphany and realized just how much shit she tolerated during her young years.
I've known women like her, worked for some of them, and endured some of the same crap they went through. It's the Peggys who made it possible for us to progress. Thanks, girl!


Roger's wildly inappropriate move calling Betty to help pursuade Don to sign the contract appears to be the final nail in not only Roger's relationship with Don but his relationship with his own agency. The Brits envisioned no place for Roger within their flowchart, and now Don's warning Bert he wants no further contact with Roger while simultaneously signing the contract securing his own power at SC. Obviously Roger still has great wealth, but clearly a counter-move is inevitable. I wonder if a Roger/Duck alliance is in the works?


I know several have commented that it was odd that the strange events of the last episode weren't mentioned in this one. Twenty days elapsed between the two episodes, so it would be expected that the staff would have gotten over an incident that involved someone that was just coming in from London.


PJ said: last but not least, Betty surreptitiously looking for a Sugar Daddy just in case the recalcitrant Don Draper doesn't sign the contract and she might have to curtail buying any more egregiously self-indulgent pieces of furniture.

I agree with everything else you said, PJ, but I disagree with this. I think Betty wants someone who will listen to her, actually talk to her, and, most important, tell her the truth. Henry told her the truth when he said he couldn't help her (and implicitly told her why he was really there), and told her that he used to move furniture. Does she know that Don used to park cars? I would bet not.

Anyway, Henry won't be too much of a sugar daddy, certainly not compared to Don.

I like all your other examples of father figures. And the picture of all the chipmunks standing outside Don's office like a bunch of 8-year-olds gives me a big laugh, especially terminally hip Paul.


Anyone think that maybe Peggy slept with Duck because Pete is so opposed to him, not necessarily because of Don? Or perhaps it was because both men are opposed to Duck and it was her way of acting out against two of the most important men in her life.


I still can't figure out WHAT Don wanted. I understand he liked the power of not being under contract. But once he realized that wasn't possible, I was left wondering what he was holding out for. Did he want to be made partner? Why didn't he make any demands? Very curious.


Eric3000, nobody puts Don Draper in a corner.

I don't think Don knows what he wants, but he knows what he doesn't want. He doesn't want anyone telling him what to do. And everyone was telling him what to do. Even those punks did, by knocking him out.


I think Peggy knows just exactly what Duck is doing, and she doesn't care. She just wants the hot sex, and if professional validation goes along with it, so much the better.


As an anthropology major myself, I have to correct the statement that it's the study of things buried in the past.

That's archeology. Anthropology is the study of human culture, i.e. the study of "man."


A query about the weird Seven Sisters in-crowdism: did we not already know that Betty went to Bryn Mawr? I perhaps am concocting a memory of an exchange with the risque Ossining divorcee (working on JFK's campaign) from season 1, in the episode with the disastrous birthday party for Sally. The major in Anthro WAS news, however; is Betty signalling that there's more to decipher in her own social encounters (including, particularly, *that* one)? If so, I think that Henry didn't get it. Like Don, Betty wears her sunglasses for the eclipse, risking both blindness and illumination. She reacted to Henry's paternalism when he covered her eyes (she's treated here like the schoolchildren, who also were warned and protected) with a strange ambivalence. Does she recognize and long-for the daddy-like caretaking, but resent the condescension? In the bakery, Henry tried to be cloddishly witty by quoting the line "his master's voice" quote from RCA ads (with the dog, right?). She didn't laugh: it wasn't funny. Like an idiot used to women bolstering his ego, he decides her lack of amusement is due to the fact that she didn't get his joke, so he generously explains the reference. Stonily irritated, Betty responds, "I know what it is." She's just told him she went to a good school (and graduated? How many people, much less women, were college graduates in the early 60's?), and majored in Anthropology, not the "feminine" or "M.R.S." disciplines like Sociology or Communication or Etc. Unlike what she little-girl moaned from the delivery bed/ table, she's *not* "just a housewife." Or, more to the point, maybe no housewife is...? Perhaps Betty wants to both have her cake and eat it, but she's SUCH an interesting character! Thanks to the Bryn Mawr alum for the tidbit about fainting couches in the powder rooms: how perfect! Perhaps this was part of the very complex, ambivalent reference. She desires both Henry and a return to her homosocial sorority queen-bee successes? In any case, Betty's theater of mid-century feminine disappointment certainly has taken center stage at the "soul" of their home!


"How typical that Betty later turned the "soul of her home" into a showplace for a ridiculous and self indulgent item that doesn't belong there."

Who cares whether it belonged there or not? Betty was making a statement with that chaise lounge. SHE is the heart and soul of the family hearth and she's going to damn well do what she wants with it, intead of kowtowing to Don or her decorator.

And since Henry Francis was the first person to point it out to her, I bet she was more than eager to buy the lounge . . . as a reminder of HIM. Didn't you catch the way she was caressing herself, while lying down? Or were you too busy condemning her for her?


Peggy and Duck? It's about time Peggy had sex with someone who could really make her toes curl. I'm sure that she is suspicious that he wants her to leave Sterling Cooper, so that he can have his revenge against Don. But why should she care? She can't depend upon Don forever, as these past episodes have proven. Frankly, I think she has made the mistake of not accepting Duck's offer.


Betty - Anthropology? Really?


Yes . . . really. Betty first mentioned this in a Season One episode. Since when did women have to look like Plain Janes in order to major in science in college? Good grief!!


You know, Rush Blog, Betty's not real. She doesn't need to be defended.





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