The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011
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Mad Men S3E13: Shut the Door. Have a Seat.

"I want to work. I want to build something of my own."


We got a phone call at 11:02 last night from someone who wanted to eagerly discuss the incredible episode we both just saw. "Did you think it would turn out this way?" she asked. "Not exactly," we said. "But it's like they gave every one of our favorite characters their best-case scenario."

Last night's episode wasn't just a culmination of the entire season; it was a culmination of the entire series to this point. Leave it to the creators of this show. Two weeks before the season finale they gave us an episode as shocking as any season finale and now for the actual season finale, they give us an episode that feels like a coda to the whole series. Every action taken by every character made complete and total sense for that character based on their experiences. Every story felt like it had naturally flowed to this place. They could have just titled the episode "Of Course." It was an incredibly satisfying payoff wherein each character got to have a character-defining scene and various relationships were re-defined and re-affirmed while others were ended.

When things are ending, it gives license to truth and much truth was spoken this episode. The series could be easily dismissed as endless scenes of subtext piled upon subtext, but last night's episode was all text, all the time.

"Young men love risk because they can't imagine the consequences."

"And you old men love building golden tombs and sealing the rest of us in with you."

"I wanna see what you look like with your tail between your legs."

"You sold your birthright so you could marry that trollop!"

"You're not good at relationships because you don't value them."

"I don't want to make a career out of being there so you can kick me when you fail."

Suddenly, everything's out on the table and nobody is holding back. And even though the events could have played out in a doom-laden catastrophic manner, it all felt like a breath of fresh air. At the end, every character was exactly where they were supposed to be.

As the title of the episode indicated, the show was literally composed of scenes of people shutting the door and having a seat and yet great drama was wrung out of these remarkably repetitive scenes over and over again. They've spent the last three seasons setting these characters up (and in some cases, knocking them down) to get to this point. This episode was all about playing all the riffs on the relationships they've spent three years constructing to get to this moment. Like Peggy's "Really?" to the news that Pete brought Clearasil on as a client. Two syllables that address the history of the two characters and also implied a highly functioning partnership on the part of the Campbells. In fact, to our intense delight, Trudy looks to have become a fairly prominent character in the new status quo, but we'll get to that in a minute.

You're going to have to forgive a little bit of fragmentation in this post. We're just gonna spew and hope it wraps itself up in the end somehow.

The episode opens with Don waking up coughing in Gene's/Baby Gene's/I Don't Love You Anymore's room. Contrast that with the Don of just 3 episodes ago in a tuxedo accepting an award. We said back then that it felt like Don was heading toward a downfall and he certainly rarely looked as beaten down as he does here.

Betty, on the other hand, is moving forward, jaw set. "Maybe you should see a doctor. A good one," says Don to the news that Betty's consulted a divorce lawyer, desperately trying to regain control in the old Don Draper manner. "Because I'd have to be sick to want out of this?" she shoots back. It's not gonna work anymore, Don.

To be honest, we just wanted to see the Draper marriage end. We really hope there isn't a planned reconciliation for these two characters in season 4. It's done and we'll repeat what we said about them during season 2: "The Draper family seems irrevocably broken and we can't help thinking that everyone involved would be better off if they just all went their separate ways." And we said that BEFORE she threw him out of the house the first time. It's been three full seasons of misery in Ossining. A good marriage might have survived the year that they had, but they clearly never had a good marriage.

In other news, Connie calls Don in for another meeting and drops a bomb on him, which gives him license to speak the truth and call Connie out on his games and bullshit. "You called me son. I get it, Connie." But Connie unwittingly throws down a gauntlet to Don: Are you the type of man who whines about his fate or does something about it? Don chooses option B because taking charge of his career is the only thing he has left in the face of his disintegrating home life.

Just like in last season's finale, when every character had to come face to face with the end of something (although last year's Cuban Missile Crisis-inspired "end of civilization" was a little bit more dire), the status quo got upended and all bets were off. As Don appealed first to Bert and then with Bert to Roger, he had the zeal of a man with a mission and the desperation to go around with hat in hand (literally) to convince others to climb on board.

Roger, like Pete and Peggy and Betty this episode, wants his pound of flesh from Don and before he can even think of throwing in with him, he had to get a few things off his chest, not the least of which was his brutally honest assessment that Don doesn't value relationships in any form. A hobo down to his soul. It's interesting to note that for all Don's attempt at privacy, the people around him have known him long enough and been at the mercy of his demons enough that they all tend to know him pretty well, much to his chagrin. This episode was in many ways a chance for many of the characters to tell Don exactly what they think of him.

We loved the scene where the four future partners of Sterling Cooper Draper Price sit down in Don's office and discover to their delight that they can actually get out of this untenable situation. It only made us wish we could have seen more of the business drama this season because they really shine when they focus on it. "Well, gentlemen. I suppose you're fired." Lane is awesome. Have we said that enough? We're really looking forward to seeing more of him next season and wondering how his bitchy wife is going to take to her permanent residence in New York.

Two things of note here:

The first: The lack of technology, the fact that you could only set this story in this particular time period, when a message to London won't even be read for 3 days, is what allows the entire caper to be successfully pulled off. We appreciate that from the writers because the show works best when they really make good use of that specific brief period of time to set stories in motion. That short window when the business world was operating globally but didn't have the technology that would come along in a short while to facilitate it.

It's also notable that Don gives an emphatic "No" to the idea of Connie as a client for the newly formed firm. While it's true that Connie had ended things and Don gave him a little mouth on the way out, Don could conceivably have pitched him on the merits of SCD&P. That he chose not to is evidence of his need for control in this moment. He had the energy of a newly formed evangelical. He had found his purpose and he didn't have time for idiosyncratic clients who like to play head games.

So Don and Roger are off to see Pouting Pete. Don finally said to Pete everything Pete needed to hear from him, and the beauty of it was that all of it was absolutely true. A complete validation for the character.

Can we just take a moment here to once again declare our love for Trudy Campbell, setting out the chip and dip and wearing a kicky little dress for company? Her perky little, "I'm going to change the sheets," was treat enough, but her tense, eavesdropping-inspired "Peter, may I speak to you for a moment?" had us rolling. Best line of the night. Once again, we see the total teamwork in the Campbell marriage as Pete tells her to get the rolodex out from under the bed, where he threw it (a great throwaway line illustrating Pete's childishness) and pose as his secretary in order to set up a meeting with a client. At the end of the episode, we see Trudy breezing into the new "office" with lunch for everyone and we realize, she is in a new position to become the alpha wife in this scenario. Don, Roger, Lane and Bert do not have willing partners to play the hostess and the arm candy as a firm like this would definitely require. Her willingness to be a partner to her husband could be a great asset not only to the Campbells, but to the newly formed company.

Roger and Don still don't love each other, but they're back to sitting in a bar together, something we haven't seen them do all season. They each seem to have realized the other's worth and they've reached enough of a detente that it can survive Roger blurting out Betty's rumored infidelity to him. Our mouths dropped when he said the name of Henry Francis to Don. A great scene and a plot twist we didn't see coming.

Again, revelations and endings lead to spoken truths. After calling her a "spoiled main line brat," Don says to Betty, "You never forgave me." "Forgave what?" she spits out. "That I've never been enough?" And if these truths weren't enough, when Don calls her the very worst name Don Draper could ever call someone, "whore," they've reached the point of no return. The marriage effectively ends at that moment. And didn't we all want it to? We don't hate either character or blame either character for the demise of the marriage; we just want it to be over. They're more miserable than they've ever been (and that's really saying something) and it's time to just rip off the band-aid and get it over with. So they do.

"Is it because I lost your cufflinks?" asks Bobby at the news. It's a heartbreaking line that reveals beautifully what goes on in the head of a child when divorce becomes real to them. "You made him stay in Gene's room and it's scary in there!" accused Sally. Children processing adult events in child-like terms. It was a tear-your-heart out scene, beautifully written and perfectly acted by all four of them. But even this didn't change our minds about the divorce. As painful as it was for the kids, they'd only have a lifetime of tense and uncomfortable scenes ahead of them if they tried to keep the family together.

The ending of the primary relationship in Don's life has him running around trying to shore up all the secondary relationships and none were better than the scenes where he tries to keep Peggy from leaving him. But she's no more likely to fall for the old Don Draper moves than Betty is. "Beg me?" she says when it's her turn to collect her pound of flesh, "You didn't even ask me."

Later, in her adorably messy new apartment (in the DVD bonus commentaries for season 2, Matthew Weiner gleefully mentions the fact that Peggy is a bit of a slob as one of his favorite character bits several times) Don laid it all out to her. We watched this scene three times and each time we thought, "Why does Don look so good here?" It wasn't just the beautiful lighting. On the third viewing we finally figured it out. It's because Don is looking up at Peggy, who's in a superior position. A pleading Don with his hat literally in his hands, the sun streaming through the windows and lighting his face up like a joyous convert, is a completely human and vulnerable Don. A far cry from the swaggering Don who shoved his hands up the skirts of women to get them to do his bidding. And then something else occurred to us. This scene is a romance. There isn't a chance in hell of Peggy and Don ever having a literal romantic relationship (or of even wanting one) but this scene is nevertheless a declaration of love, a grand gesture in the face of a breakup. "I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you." It's literally one of the most romantic things Don has ever said. That's as firm a declaration of love and need as Don has ever uttered. And Peggy, because how could she not? Completely accepted it. She is finally where she needed to be: her worth is known and valued.

After that, it's just a matter of setting events into motion. With the addition of one last-minute, yet nonetheless major player.When Roger stood up and said he was making a phone call we knew our Joannie was on her way back. "Joan. What a good idea," says Don appreciatively, and we could NOT agree more. From that point on, we just sat back with huge grins on our faces and watched it all unfold.

"Peggy, can you get me some coffee?"
"No."

Okay, no. THAT was the best line of the night. Of the SERIES. The old ways are OVER. We said this about Don after Betty found out the truth about him, but now it applies to all of them: they could literally go anywhere they want to with these new core characters. The possibilities for what season 4 could even be about are so wide open that we're not even going to attempt to make predictions.

Joan. We just can't say how happy we are regarding Joan's role in this turn of events. "Furnished?" she asks Don, at his request for a new apartment, followed by the most incredibly discreet "I'm sorry," as she folds the paper and files it away in her robot brain. SCD&P didn't feel like a real possibility until she came on board and we can't wait to see where this takes her.

With a newfound control exerted over his life and his immediate goals met and immediate future wide open, Don ends what needs to end. "I'm not gonna fight you," he says to Betty and for a moment she looks a little hurt to hear that he won't. But it's really over. "You will always be their father." That's as final as final gets and Don knows it.

So Betty is off to Reno with Henry and little Gene while Carla sits in the den in Ossining with poor Sally and Bobby. It would be easy to vilify Betty for running off with another man and leaving her two children weeks before Christmas but that's as much an admonishment against the draconian divorce laws of the times as it is a strike against her. We guess she could have waited until after the holidays but why? Why leave the family in limbo? For good or for ill, she's fallen for someone else and wants to get her family out of an untenable situation. Is she going to find happiness with Henry? Who knows? Sure, there are some warning signs there, but say what you will about him, the guy follows through. She's got a better chance with Henry than she ever did with Don.

And Don is living in the city- where he belongs? After all, Don always was attracted to either the cosmopolitan (Rachel and Bobbie) or the bohemian (Midge and Suzanne). His mistake was taking the educated, world traveling, Italian-speaking model he fell in love with and trying to turn her into a suburban housewife. We suspect Don's immediate focus is his career at the moment and another relationship is not on his agenda right now but you never can tell with this show and a divorced Don doesn't necessarily mean he's suddenly conquered his impulse control issues when it comes to women. Although really, anything is possible right now with these characters and that suddenly makes the show feel more energized. For once, all of these characters are out in front of change instead of unprepared for it or worse, passive to it, like they usually are. The future really is wide open to them.


[Pictures courtesy of amctv.com]



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267 comments:
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now THAT was the best episode of the show. totally satisfying, and yet not deflating like the episode where the guy and the girl who've been flirting for 5 seasons finally get married. exciting -- because don's past and marriage aren't going to be the story anymore, because the office dynamics are about to change completely, and because, well, everything's new.

time warp me to august 2010!


I'm been waiting all day for this. Thank you! And I completely agree with the Peggy/Roger coffee line being the best of the series. I totally lost it when she said, "No."


Last night's episode was a gift, perfectly wrapped with an immaculately written bow.

Perfection.


Great summary, great observations. Know what worries me? If real-life contract negotiations fall through, of if the writers suddenly develop writers' block, the loose ends are, if not completely tied up, at least laid out neatly enough that all concerned with the show could walk away knowing their job was done.

I HATE that.


i'm not dorothy gale

How is the MM season finale like the movie "The Sixth Sense"?

Both use the color red to subconsciously tell the viewer of things to come. In "The Sixth Sense", the red was subtlely used in scenes of paranormal activity - a scarf, a doorknob. In "Mad Men" the fire colors hint at a conflagration that will both destroy and renew. From Bert Cooper's red suspenders (in front of the "hot" Rothko) to a red light outside the window when the Brit talks about the takeover, from Peggy's bright red sweater when Don visits to Joan's subtle scarf and coat, from the eye-grabbing orange sofa and roses in the scene with Don, Betty and the children to the red t-shirt Don's son wears as he sobs, this episode is brilliant in not just in writing, acting, but also in set decoration and costuming.

Watching the encore with an eye to "fire", I was enchanted by the final "burst of flame", Trudy dressed in bright scarlet, bringing sustenance to the group who represents the phoenix, rising from the ashes of Sterling Cooper.


What fascinates me about the structure of the latter half of this season is the way that up until now, we've just watched things get worse and worse and more uncomfortable for everyone -- and then, for the finale, they pull off this utterly graceful heist and leave everyone with a cliffhanger that isn't so much "OMG NO what's going to happen" as "Wow, I can't wait to see what's going to happen now." It was positively uplifting, which I think the series needed.

Until Season 4, I'm going to miss y'all's commentary on the episodes just as much as I'm going to miss "Mad Men" itself.


So glad I watch this show alone because I kept jumping up and saying plot spoilers, like "Roger's going to call Joan"... the only time I was wrong was I thought for sure they'd pull Sal back in. Poor Sal...

Another thing that would NEVER happen today is looting a business like that... they'd be sued so fast for taking files, art direction work, etc... it wouldn't even be funny. But it was hella fun to watch!


I am so glad I read this. My feelings exactly.


A stunningly good episode that will be better the second time. Can't wait for season four.


Great description of a fantastic episode.

There's always a single shot that calls up a whole episode for me; here it's Pete and Trudy pulling in for a quick kiss before parting to get ready for the evening meeting. The movement of that bit calls up the charleston they danced together in "Old Kentucky Home."

But also a small second glimpse: Burt Cooper reverting to a fussy old man chiding the movers about washing their hands after spending most of the episode sharp as a knife and just as ruthless.


Fantastic recap and agreed, so satisfying! One quibble:

"But it's like they gave every one of our favorite characters their best-case scenario."

Every one? No Sal! While it may be unrealistic to have him back on at the new "office", it was a bit of a bummer he was left out.

Other than that, it was awesome to see Lane gleefully get "sacked" and I loved his heart-broken "I enjoyed it here" at the beginning when he thought he was done for.

Betty running to Reno reminded me of "The Women" (The original, not the awful remake) and how much I loved it.

Peggy - "I will not make it my career to be kicked when you fail." OUCH.

Great season, fellas!


Yes a wonderful epsiode.

On another board someone said the line "Joan. Of course" would make the perfect t-shirt

Someone also compared this epsiode as Don's Xmad Carol. Where he gets the wake up call to change his life

Peggy in her big scene w/Don looked radiant, confident and no bangs. She was a woman to be respected.

The one part that really gave me pause for thought was Trudy. or rather the Pete/Trudy dynamic vs the Don/Betty one.

Trudy is so much like Betty on paper. Respectable family and upbringing. Good pedigree and all that. But Trudy's role as a corporate wife is so different from Betty's.

Betty seemed more like glorified trophy wife to be trotted out at company functions, throw elegant dinner parties or charm a client. Trudy seems to do so much more. She's actively involved in Pete's career and how to handle it. She gives her opinions and input and Pete doesn't discourage her from it. In fact he seems to rely on it and openly involves her in career track choices.

I wonder what the Draper marriage would have been like if Betty tried to be like that or if Don involved her in those decisions.

Frank


I loved the little Whedon-esque foreshadowing when Don's secretary showed the guys into Don's office by saying, "Your company's here." Your company, indeed! How are we going to wait a whole year to see what this new company will be up to?

Great recap, as always, TLo.


I'm dying to know both when the new season starts and whether/how far into the future they'll jump.

And of all the happy reunions, I was happiest to see Joan reunited with her pendant pencil. THAT's when I knew SCD&P would succeed. Pendant Pencil will not allow failure.

Also, I want Trudy's red hat.

Also, I hope Henry dies of a heart attack after the divorce is finalized but before he has the chance to marry Betty. Because I don't like it when Betty gets what she (thinks she) wants.


Watching the encore with an eye to "fire", I was enchanted by the final "burst of flame", Trudy dressed in bright scarlet, bringing sustenance to the group who represents the phoenix, rising from the ashes of Sterling Cooper.

yeah, either that or christmas is right around the corner.


Superb analysis and recap. This seems to be my weekly redundant comment, but the truth's the truth.

And, YES, Peggy's "No." was the best line of last night. It was the one that had me exclaiming spontaneously, "YES!" in wholehearted agreement and sisterhood. She said it matter-of-factedly, but it was the equivalent of the Feminist Movement's manifesto and first shot across the bow of nascent SCD&P for women's parity. Peggy will be formidable in the new agency.

Just looked at the Advertising Age June 23, 2008 homage to "Mad Men," and enjoyed it immensely. http://www.adage-360media.com/adage360/madmen/ Interesting, though, as the 'interview' with Don Draper seems to be set in 1960 and has Draper's age being given as 36. If that were the case, Don would have been born in 1924 or so, yet the interview quotes Don as saying he was "born" in the Depression, rather than that he grew up during the Depression. A minor point. Certainly the flashback footage last night of Dick with his father and his step-mother was set in the depths of those dark years. What a horrifying experience for a young boy, well captured in the flashback and in Don's unbidden memory.

All the best,

NDC


Who thought that when they encountered the locked door to art department that Sal was going to be called in -- ah, I guess we gotta wait to open some presents on Christmas. Suzanne's gonna be pissed Don didn't call sooner!


Thought Sal was coming back when they needed a key to the art department...but guess Don took care of that. Who will be doing the SCD&P art? Maybe a chance for Sal to come back or be a viscous competitor. Will Joan take on a larger role than office manager next season? Love all the possibilities!!! Thanks for wonderful recaps all season guys. Sad it's over...now I'll have to rewatch all the episodes with the director and cast commentary.


To me, the portrayal of the relationship between Pete and Trudy, and the concomitant change in the way we view them as individuals, demonstrate the brilliance of this show.

These two exemplify the saying that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What a team! Trudy has really come into her own.

The one thing I hated about this episode is that it's the last of the season. What am I going to do with my Sunday nights?


The whole office caper, with the smooth handsome man assembling the troops had me thinking "Don Draper = Danny Oceans", and I LOVE it.


Forgot to mention

It made sense they would pick Pete over Ken. No matter how charming and easy going Ken is and how immature Pete is, Pete is the more forward thinking guy.

And let's not forget Paul's reaction. Like the guy ain't insecure enough as it is. It must have been galling that both Harry and Peggy get recruited but not him. The fact that Don didn't even consider Paul says something

Frank


Insightful comments, as always! The lawyer part of me blurted out, "bad advice!" when Henry talked Betty into giving up her rights to property, child support, etc. In most cases, I would think this was a set-up for a tragic twist, where Henry dies after Betty gets her divorce and Betty's left without a means of support. But the Mad Men writers don't seem that obvious. Alta


Why would anyone think Sal would still have a key to the art department?


Amy Sez..
Awesome episode. Lane is my new fave! Love him! If only Sal could come back too, but they brought Lucky Strike so that can't happen.

Only complaint...the whole Henry/Betty thing still seems so unbelievable..that a guy would propose to a woman that he barely knows (they met 2-3 times and wrote a few notes and had a couple kisses) that has 3 kids including an infant. My husband said "I guess thats what guys had to do back then to get laid."


Best. Episode. Ever. I watched it twice and will likely watch it twice more.


Peggy! Joannie! Trudy! I'm so happy! I betcha if Roger has still been with Mona she would have done the sandwich thing that Trudy did (god, that was great).

Lane was fabulous, wasn't he? I LOVE how Don acknowledged his (and Peter, and Peggy, and Joan's) strengths. And hopefully this is the door opening for Sal to return, of course!

And Don attacking Betty for being a crummy mother - I thought that was more stabbing to Betty than the whore word because it is so true. Man, if I were Betty, I wouldn't jump into a relationship with her newest knight in shining armor — that is a man with control issues who likes to win and knows how to win . . . I think his manipulation potential would put Don to shame. I think Don needs to find a Peggy, a Joan, or a Trudy and that would become a true force to be reckoned with.

Loved watching the new Don and Roger relationship developing again — I hope it becomes richer and interesting . . . the fighting was no fun.

Aaack, work calls

Donna in Seattle


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

I agree with you guys about the corporate intrigue in this episode - it was done to perfection, and could hold any viewer's attention without resorting to over-the-top antics.

I also enjoyed how Layne went from being a potential obstacle to full partner:'Can YOU do what he does?' Priceless. It should be interesting to see how they flesh out that character even more, and I'm sure Jared Harris will do wonders with the role.

I understand why they took Harry with them, but I'm a bit wary of Harry's instinct to call his wife when the big decision came. Couple that with how Harry handled the situation with Sal, I don't have a lot of confidence in that character. Hire another secretary and get Joan going on those soap opera scripts again!

I also loooved Paul's reaction after he opened the door to Peggy's empty office. No falling back on Peggy to rescue the Western Union and other accounts now, is there?

For me, the highlight of the night WAS when Roger went to make that phone call. I was almost doing a happy dance around the living room. And seeing Joan with her pendant necklace in the new makeshift office made me a giddy little girl. Our Joan is back, but possibly with a chance for promotion.

I can't wait to see what directions all these characters will go. I'm so glad the writers ended the season with this instead of the assassination of JFK, like your typical drama would.

Loved it, and can't WAIT for next season!


I've watched the episode twice, and I love the small touches- like Pete taking his gun with him from the office, and Lane leaving his bowler hat behind. What will Mrs. Pryce say when she finds out they're not going back to England?
Thanks for the best, most thoughtful recaps out there!


"Your company is here." Oh, thanks Peaches -- I thought that sounded so wierd -- I didn't pick up on that!


Loved it the first time. Loved the encore. And thank you, TLo, for all your MM posts. The depth and wisdom you provide make a fabulous show even better. Such a well-written show deserves a well-written analysis and you deliver one each and every episode. You guys are the best.


I wonder how many times your blog was refreshed on how many computers this morning? Thank you so much for blogging about this show, gentlemen. I wouldn't have watched it if it weren't for your enthusiasm, and it feels wonderful to have a place to go after watching last night's episode.

First thing I said to my mom, with whom I now have "Mad Men Night", is, "Next episode won't be until August." Mom was HORRIFIED. She's in denial now.

A pleading Don with his hat literally in his hands, the sun streaming through the windows and lighting his face up like a joyous convert, is a completely human and vulnerable Don.
I was thinking that we're seeing more Dick Whitman than Don Draper now. Don wouldn't let go of Betty. Don wouldn't go to Cooper, or attempt to reconcile with Sterling, or go back to Peggy and admit he was wrong (and how much he needs her). Dick Whitman, the man who fled home, who went to war, who took on a corpse's identity, would. He's not going to change entirely, but I have a feeling the era of Don Draper is over in everything but name: we're now starting the Dick Whitman years. Finally. (I hope.)


I love it when series end the season with, not a cliffhanger, but this overwhelming sense of excitement of what is to come.


Awesome episode but I could not get past the divorce, looking at the kids. Don's not going to try to stay close and he's abandoning them to an emotionally cold mother plus a stepfather of unknown parenting abilities. Thank goodness that Carla's still around.


Oh, what an awesome episode and a lovely recap. My favorite line came courtesy of Lane Price: "Very good. Happy Christmas!" I loved how they had been building up his dissatisfaction with the big bosses back in the UK all season, to finally culminate in his defection. Awesome.


Thanks for this, y'all are the best!!!

Clueless Harry and his, "Really?! Are you kidding?" to Roger was great because it allowed yet another droll Roger-ism--"Why yes, yes we are--Happy Birthday!" (*NOT exact quotes*) Then later gentle Joan sighing and directing Harry to their suite...


Count me in as another who was saddened when Sal wasn't brought in as part of the SCD&P team. Maybe Lucky Strike will bail and they can call him then? I suppose it would have been a bit too neat-with-a-bow (or Shakespearean) to have all our faves reunited at the end.

One nit-pick (sorry guys): I love Pete and Trudy too (especially Trudy), but why does everyone seem to conveniently forget or forgive his rape of the nanny -- especially when Dr. Greg is so vilified for raping his fiancee? Well, of course, that time it was our beloved Joanie, but still. It bothers me when I find myself warming to Pete and Trudy when he his such a reprehensible character.

Fab recap, as always, gentlemen. How many days until season 4???
xoxox


Wow, at one stroke Sterling Cooper (now SCDP), which looked like it would be the dinosaur of the advertising world in the years ahead now seems posed to be on the cutting edge, a rag-tag group in temporary digs, winging it. I think it's great also that Kinsey didn't make the cut. Don was a genius in knowing that it was Peggy and Pete who he needed going forward into the future. As much as the beatniks influenced those that followed, they'll still be passe, and anyway Kinsey is more a poser than a visionary. He's much too self-satisfied in his identity to be able to get a pulse of the times. Peggy and Pete have no stable identity; they're ready to change day to day.

So Don leaves his plush offices and suburban marriage without missing a beat (and I do fear that despite being a pretty good father and his good intentions, his children are going to get short shrift). I wonder what his preferred cocktail will be next season? I don't see him drinking old-fashioneds!


My favourite line was Roger's "So you do want to be in advertising". And I loved the subtle hint of tension when Trudy brought sandwiches and we got just a brief glimpse of Peggy looking at her.


The scene where Don watches, then curls up with Sally in the spare room was incredubly touching and made me tear up a little. I just can't hate Don after that.


LOVED this episode. I audibly gasped when Roger said he had to make a call, and when my boyfriend confusedly looked over at me, I actually squealed, "JOAN!" (I am not a habitual squealer.) Then we fairly danced about with glee. :)

To me, this was the perfect season finale. It tied up enough loose ends to leave me satisfied, but it left me with a sense of excitement at the possibilities of where it might go next. I went to bed last night feeling oddly rejuvenated, which is truly the sign of a great show--it felt like an event in my own life.

And Peaches, thanks for pointing out the "company" thing--I totally didn't pick up on that. Love it!


Am I the only one who went back to the "It's Tawdry" thing with "you're so good" Betty? A Reno D.I.V.O.R.C.E? How is that NOT Tawdry and with her new "benefactor" in the seat next to her with the kids in Carla's far more competent care. And with that point, in memory of Churchill's line, the negotiations on Betty's price is over. Don was at fault for the marriage falling apart with his house of cards, but his assessment of her was right on. Harsh but dead on.


I had to stop the DVR last night (thank the good lord for that technology) so I could take the time to cheer what I saw Don was starting with Cooper, Sterling, and–hooray!–Pryce. It just felt so right.

"Joan. What a good idea."
Yes, indeed, Don.
(Another DVR pause to cheer when Roger left to make the call, and yet another when Don said that.)

One of my favorite character moments with Lane Pryce was his laugh at Roger's quip at Harry. Would Lane have laughed before? I don't think he has, but I think he's really getting to show his appreciation for these bold-hearted and daring Americans. "Can you do what he does?" Lane was just glowing. "You're fired for bad character!" Lane was practically laughing in St. John's ear. Oh, how glorious. I've really enjoyed Lane's character arc this season.


I'm not so generous to Betty. A few weeks before christmas, she takes off to Reno for a quickie divorce, leaving her kids with a sitter? How distraught and traumatized are those kids? She is incredibly selfish. Those kids are going to hate her and not allow a smooth transition to Henry at all, and why should they.

I think Betty's journey is going to have to be whether she will grow up? She stood up to Don, but for what? Will she simply seek to be adored? To be spoiled by a man?

I see intense drama with the kids coming. And Betty will have to deal with social stigma. She won't be "perfect". that could be interesting.

And how will Don navigate being a divorced dad? He's such a cut and run type of guy, and as Roger said, relationships don't matter t him. But I think the writers have shown that those kids matter to him, a lot. They way he comforted his son, while Betty said "let her go" when Sally ran out of the room! Heartbreaking. It's the best side of Don and I wonder how that will play out.

Great episode and I didn't see any of it coming. I love that!


His mistake was taking the educated, world traveling, Italian-speaking model he fell in love with and trying to turn her into a suburban housewife.

That pretty much sums up the way I have felt about their relationship for a long time.
At one point Betty was all he seemed to want in women, but they got bogged down in what was expected of them instead of doing what might have been in the best interest of their relationship.
I have a feeling in the end Betty is still going to feel like there is something missing no matter how wonderful Henry may be to her.
I am glad the Drapers are done for, time to move on.

BTW. I do hope that when we see the new agency up and running next season that Sal is running their Art Department.

Looks like Paul Kinsey is gonna be one sad puppy dog. I wonder if next season we'll see him begging Peggy for a good word on a job?
I hope so.


Maybe it is because I am a mom, but the last scene with Sally and Bobby broke my heart. Those poor kids. Betty is officially the worst mom ever.


I too was waiting for Sal...what a tease that moment outside the art department was! But that would have been too obvious on the part of the writers.

The scene where Don hauls Betty up off the bed was so disturbing. I wanted her to spit in his face. His sarcastic "You're so good, and everyone else is bad" reminded me so much of my worst ex-boyfriend whenever he felt cornered. But something else I noted in that scene: in that time period, women didn't work out, am I correct? If my husband tried to pull me up out of bed in anger (which would never EVER happen, but for the sake of discussion..), he wouldn't be able to do it without resistance from me; I'm too strong. A much larger man than me could throw me around, but not someone average-sized. It's scary to think about what it would feel like to be that un-exercised - it would make me feel very vulnerable (I'm also reminded of the first scene in the novel "The Lovely Bones", set a decade or so later, where the narrator says, "No one did aerobics back then", to explain why she had no hope of getting away from her attacker).

I do wonder when we'll see Sal again. I feel quite sure that they haven't written him off, but that might just be wishful thinking. But how could they? They can't get rid of Sal! Brian Batt is so great! He has to come back! And, too much happens in that decade for gay people - he's necessary.

When Roger commanded Peggy to make him coffee, I was totally shocked - all that and he still can't see the writing on the wall? Contrast that with the working-over-the-weekend scene earlier in the season, where she grudgingly does make coffee for the jerks she works with.

And of course, JOAN! I'm dense, I didn't see that coming when Roger went to make a phone call.


When we got close to the end of this episode, my husband said wistfully, "I guess there isn't a chance this is going to be a special 2 hour season finale . . . ?"

Which pretty much says it all for me, too. Just, sorry to see it end.


[I'm sorry I'm taking up so much thread, but this post was long, and Blogger told me to break it up.]

I think Trudy is taking on Pete's career as her baby with him. What she would have put into their offspring, genetic or adopted, she's putting into his career, for which, I believe, she'd fight just as fiercely. This may hold true for the newborn Sterling Cooper Draper Price.

Thank you for making note of Peggy's "Really?" when Pete mentions Clearasil. Another Pete-Peggy moment I thought was just lovely and "Mad Men"-understated was that moment when Trudy brought in lunch, and she, Pete, and Peggy were at the same table. I can't recall the exact words Peggy and Trudy exchanged, but more important was the look Peggy gave Trudy then Pete. So lovely and complicated and glowing and perfect. I got the feeling she saw the relationship her willingness to give Pete (and their baby) up had saved.

Speaking of Peggy, her No to Sterling's request for coffee was so great, my mom cheered, had me rewind the scene so she could watch it again, and then cheered some more. HOORAY, PEGGY!


Oh, what an awesome episode and a lovely recap. My favorite line came courtesy of Lane Price: "Very good. Happy Christmas!"

It was just so very British of him.
I remember when his wife accused him of loving NY and he agreed because no one asks where you went to school. I'd say Lane was tired of the class social structure of the post-war UK and is glad to finally be able to be as successful as he can be without his lack of upper class pedigree holding him back.
I love his character and am glad that he will (hopefully) be around next season.


I don't think we should assume that we won't see more of Sal and Paul and others from SC. For this caper, Draper's Eight had to go with the people they could trust the most in the shortest amount of time. More will follow, I'm sure.


I knew Betty adn Don were done when she winced when Don told her who Dick Whitman's mother was. Nearly the only emotion she showed clearly that scene, and the only one which was fully honest. It made him calling her a whore that much worse, for her unspoken retort, "son of a whore," rang between them.

I think Don was never closer to being his jackass of a father than the moment he attacked Betty physically and verbally like that.

And I'm glad he was able to man up and let her go.

The scene with Sally and Bobby broke my heart, and I hope....

Well, I've half-siblings from my mother's previous marriage. Their parents divorced at about the same time. I can only hope that Don doesn't disappear from Sally and Bobby's lives like my siblings' father did from theirs. Apparently, that was far more common than the father staying in touch back then. Here's hoping Don continues not to be like his father.


Last night's episode was all about family. Don's flashback to his first family provided a structure for what took place in 'real time.'

Families have breadwinners. Breadwinners can have their own motivations that move them to think differently, as Archie did in defying the cooperative. However, Archie's vision met the stone reality of his wife declaring that the family had no money. And after that, the family was at the mercy of Archie's poor judgement. Breadwinners can't win bread when they are dead.

So every step that Don took had to be careful and calculated. He had to save his home family-- at first by trying to convince Betty to stay. When he met her stone wall reality, he had to change tacks. Unlike Archie, he didn't pull the pin on the entire relationship. He ended the marriage to save the family.

Now comes the interesting part--what happens when Harry disagrees with Don's parenting styles and vice versa?

And why do I see Harry and Don sidling next to each other at a bar sometime in the future, casting knowing looks at each other. "So she gave you the cold shoulder when Rocky gave you the axe, eh?"

And then, there was Don's work family. Rather than see it dissolved into a morass of mergers and acquisitions, he engineered a "professional divorce" in order to save the family of individuals who were really the driving force behind Sterling-Cooper.

At one point, Roger says to Don, "So you really want to be in advertising after all?" To me, that statement said it all. Up until know, it was all "just business." But over the course of the episode, Don began to realize his place in the profession.

"I'm not an accounts man."
"We need you to keep us looking forward."
"I don't think I can do this without you."

He helped craft a family. A professional family. It has its dysfunctions, but all-in-all, it's a group of talented people at the top of their game, giving it their all, making each other better.

It's the cooperative that Archie wished he had had. "We asked you to negotiate a decent price."

This time, Archie's son gets a decent Pryce. Not bad, second time out.

Now we can fast forward to the 1964Surgeon General's report on Smoking and Health! Woo hoo!


Oh, and how WONDERFUL was Kinsey's reaction when he realized Don had taken Peggy (and Peggy only) with him when he absconded?

Hee.


Sublime episode.
Sublime recap.
Sublime analysis.

Love to you boys.

G


Like most everyone, I loved this ep, and am begrudging the long wait 'til the next. I always read both Sepinwall and TLo's reviews and love the commenters on both.

Just wanted to add my two cents. I, like so many others, have come to really respect Trudy. I thought that it was when she came in with moral and nutritional support that Don made the decision to not fight the divorce. He seemed to have a moment of "Oh, THAT'S how a good partner/wife acts! I have a spoiled brat at home who would NEVER do that." It seems like he is ready for a whole new mindset with this new venture. Not that he will change completely, or at least I hope he wont. For all his faults (and Pete's, and Roger's, etc.), I love these characters the way they are; it's who they are that make them so compelling.


A beautiful recap TLo, for such a satisfying finale.

You and your astute readers have already mentioned many of the details that made this episode so perfect. But I have just a few to add:

What was Connie's reasoning behind not being able to work with Don at McCann Erickson? Was that Hilton's previous agency? We couldn't remember.

I'm surprised that Don could get past Peter's attempted blackmail of him and recognize his business strengths. Or was that Don just being practical, looking at who had more accounts to bring to the new agency? Pete has been a little weasel on so many occasions.

It was great to see a little fire in the eyes of Bert Cooper, who must have been one hell of an ad man in his heyday.

We finally know, after three seasons, how D/D's father died. That scene really completed the circle, filling in the last unknown piece of Dick's young life.

In the makeshift office at the end of the show, I loved how Joan was standing, giving orders and directions, while all of the seated partners and execs looked up to her. It was exhilarating!

I wonder how Duck will feel about all of this? Will Peggy end her affair with him because she's made this career choice? Now that she is with SCD&L, will Duck dump her first? We may never know, as August 2010 is a long way away.

Thanks everybody for making this season such a delight. The show was fantastic, the blog was so rewarding, and the comments were terrific. I am going to miss it so.

--Itsjustme


A beautiful recap TLo, for such a satisfying finale.

You and your astute readers have already mentioned many of the details that made this episode so perfect. But I have just a few to add:

What was Connie's reasoning behind not being able to work with Don at McCann Erickson? Was that Hilton's previous agency? We couldn't remember.

I'm surprised that Don could get past Peter's attempted blackmail of him and recognize his business strengths. Or was that Don just being practical, looking at who had more accounts to bring to the new agency? Pete has been a little weasel on so many occasions.

It was great to see a little fire in the eyes of Bert Cooper, who must have been one hell of an ad man in his heyday.

We finally know, after three seasons, how D/D's father died. That scene really completed the circle, filling in the last unknown piece of Dick's young life.

In the makeshift office at the end of the show, I loved how Joan was standing, giving orders and directions, while all of the seated partners and execs looked up to her. It was exhilarating!

I wonder how Duck will feel about all of this? Will Peggy end her affair with him because she's made this career choice? Now that she is with SCD&L, will Duck dump her first? We may never know, as August 2010 is a long way away.

Thanks everybody for making this season such a delight. The show was fantastic, the blog was so rewarding, and the comments were terrific. I am going to miss it so.

--Itsjustme


Leela said in that time period, women didn't work out, am I correct?

Depends what you mean by "work out". If you mean, did they go to gyms and lift weights, no, they didn't. But they did exercise. I recall there was a Royal Canadian Air Force exercise program that was extremely popular back then.


Linda from Chicago

It is great watching and discussing a great TV show with an intelligent group of people.

Your interpretation, as usual, TLo, is right-on. I felt excited and satisfied at the ending . . . though I was disappointed that Sal was not in the group at the end. As a "new woman," Peggy is there. Don't you think a "new gay" would also be a good idea? Not that Sal is a "new gay" but he could be working toward it, especially if he's sought out and re-hired by a straight man who fired him over his sexual orientation. Maybe he would actually have enough confidence to leave his wife and find a lover.


A few things... First, am I the only one who saw that the Art Dept door was locked and momentarily hoped that they'd have to bring Sal back on board to open it? I miss him! Then Don kicked the door in, popping that little hope bubble. I hope so much they bring his character back in some way next season.

Second, it's easy to say that Betty has fallen for another man. But frankly it's so hard to tell with her. Admittedly, I don't understand her character at all, but it looks to me like she just needs to jump ship and Henry is her willing life raft. I don't see any light in her eyes when she looks at him, only a kind of feral haste to get OUT of her marriage with Don.

Third, for all that Peggy got her pound of flesh, what concrete appreciation came with it? Yes it was an emotional scene, but Pete got made partner for crissakes. What is Peggy getting? Love is nice, but it's hard to imagine her character not negotiating brass tacks as much as Pete did, if not more so. That girl's focus is razor sharp.

Finally, yay Joan! Someone tweeted last night that it felt like the whole episode was an elaborate setup to bring her back on. Maybe it's not true... but it not only feels true, but totally justifiable.

Can't wait for S4! Actually that's not true. I'm happy to bask in this season ender for a few months. Thank you, as always, for the excellent debrief TLo.


I think this is the 7th time today I checked for this. I didn't really expect it this soon but I kept hoping.

It was such a great episode - even better than when Betty confronted Don. I really, really loved it.

A couple points/questions:

1. Why did they have the two flashbacks? I guess the first one, where Don's father's farm cooperative breaks down, could be a parallel to the dissolution of Sterling Cooper but that seems a little off base. As for the probable death of his father by horse, I'm lost on the significance of that.

2. As Julie T. said it's tough reconciling this cool, hip, fun Pete with the guy who forced the German au pair down the hall to have sex with him. I realize we're talking about a time period far different than ours but someone who can do that is fundamentally a bad person. I don't know what the writers were trying to say with that interlude since nothing else Pete has done is even close to that type of behavior.


" MercyX said...

Third, for all that Peggy got her pound of flesh, what concrete appreciation came with it? Yes it was an emotional scene, but Pete got made partner for crissakes. What is Peggy getting? Love is nice, but it's hard to imagine her character not negotiating brass tacks as much as Pete did, if not more so. That girl's focus is razor sharp."


They literally wouldn't have a company without Pete bringing along at least seven million in accounts. He's in way more position to be a partner than Peggy is.


Julie T - If Lucky Strike takes its business elsewhere, SCD&P will be in a world of non-carcinogenic hurt, as Lucky is the primary account in terms of billings. What a conundrum for the new agency.

Leela - the 1960s were well before the unisex fitness era, though Betty might have had some arm strength if she were a tennis player. Suzanne's jogging earlier in the season was by far the rare exception rather than the norm.

As to the upstart SCD&P, I'm thinking that this bunch of renegades who have joined forces just as 1964 and the British Invasion are about to start may well become the irreverant, swingin' '60s ad agency prototype, even if it takes some attitude adjusting from the "older" members of the team. And by that I mean Bert, Layne, Roger and Don. Pete's youthful vision, finally acknowledged openly by Don, is going to be the path the firm travels next season. And Don, at age 36/7/8? is just a wee bit old in the face of the youthquake.


It's hard for me to understand why they took clueless Harry along with them but perhaps it can be explained in two words: comic relief. And don't we all know people who somehow succeed at business without really trying, and continue to be promoted despite incompetence?


Two more things: ;)

1. Right up there with Peggy's "No" to Roger was Joan calling Don, "Don" (not "Mr. Draper") in the new office, in front of all the other partners.

2. The song over the closing credits ("Shahadaroba"/Roy Orbison) was so perfect! It sealed that feeling of excited anticipation and -- dare I say it? -- hopefulness that I feel looking towards S4. Here are the lyrics:

Where the Nile flows
And the moon glows
On the silent sand
Of an ancient land

When a dream dies
And the heart cries

Shahadaroba
Is the word they whisper low

Shahadaroba, Shahadaroba
Means the future is much better than the past
Shahadaroba, Shahadaroba
In the future you will find a love that lasts

So when tears flow
And you don't know
What on earth to do
And your world is blue

When your dream dies
And your heart cries

Shahadaroba
Fate knows what's best for you

Shahadaroba, Shahadaroba
Face the future and forget about the past
Shahadaroba, Shahadaroba
In the future you will find a love that lasts


The scene between Peggy and Don ("Beg me? You didn't even ask me...") was great. I turned to the wife and said "I never realized that he actually loves her. Not romantically, but sort of like a father." It was a stunning scene but made it clear that Don, regardless of how poorly he's treated Peggy, respects her and wants her to do well. The criticism has always just been how he pushes her to be better than she knows. It all came together for me in that scene.

What a great TV show...


Awesome episode, awesome recap! I almost felt sorry for Paul and Ken not getting invited to the party. I'm liking Lane Pryce more and more...he's really good. And seeing Joan back in the saddle, calling the shots and taking care of business...how great was that?!Now if they'd just bring back Sal. Oh,and using Roy Orbison's recording of "Shahdaroba" for the closing scenes was absolute perfection. I can't wait for Season 4!


I believe it was great that they took Harry. SC was so clueless about the relatively new medium of television that their TV department had one guy: Harry. But Harry got TV and the impact it would have on how people bought things, he wasn't clueless, he was an afterthought.

TV will not be an afterthought in this new agency.


I love your blog, but today I have to say I think you're a little off about the Betty and Peggy.

First Betty. Fallen for someone else? A better chance with Henry? I'd say out of the frying pan and into the fire. She knows nothing about Henry, just like she knew nothing about Don when she married him, and the last image of these two unspeaking strangers flying off together with baby Gene left me thinking Betty was either back in the same position or in a worse position than she was in with Don. And when Henry told her to give up Don's money, my only thought was "square one." She wants to be treated like a child and she seems to have found another daddy to make her decisions for her.

On the other hand is Peggy. She demands to be the equal of the others at SCDP, and only when Don finally comes to her apartment and engages her as an equal can she join him. I don't think it's romance but I think it's love. When they show Don smiling at his newly created "family" in the hotel suite, they're all in the best relationships in their lives. This work unit is better than everyone's "home" life - Roger/ Jane, Don/Betty, Joan/Dr. Douche, Peggy/Duck, Harry/his goofy wife, Pryce/his snooty wife, PeteTrudy/their sterile home They're all at home at work and out of their element at home. Peggy, the same as the rest of them, is her best self at work, and that's why the scene with Don means so much to her.


THANK YOU FOR BEING AS EXCITED AS I AM ABOUT THIS SHOW!


I've been waiting for this post and can see by all the comments at 12noon I wasn't alone.

Thank you for making this excellent series even more fun with your brilliant descriptions and analysis on why this show is the BEST! I love that you guys continue to put into words what I can't seem to.

P.S. How glorious that Joan is back! I thought they (the writers) couldn't/wouldn't let her go but was still a little nervous.

P.P.S I just realized now they can bring Sal back, too!


suzq - Thank you so much! I really needed someone to tie the Archie flashbacks in for me, and you did so beautifully.

All I was seeing was how little Archie valued his relationships - work and family. He was so stubborn about the worth of his work/wheat that everything else became worthless. And then he died. What a sharp contrast with Don this episode, throwing his energy into pulling people together and saving what he could. Energizing indeed.


I don't care, I'm still blindlessly hopeful that Sal is hired for SCD&P. They mentioned twice that there's no one in the Art dept. at Sterling Cooper, and I'm hopeful that Don will make the same realization for Sal that he made with Peggy... it just might take him a while. =/ HE'S STILL LISTED IN THE OPENING CREDITS, DAMMIT, THEY MUST BE BRINGING HIM BACK!

God, I sound like Sally Draper.


I have not looked at any of the previous comments to TLo's post. I hope what I write is not repetitive...

---

First, YES the masks were down last night. TRUTHS were told. Amen brothas and sistahs...

2nd, WRONG! Mark me words gentlemen (Tom & Lorenzo): Peggy and Don will end up together romantically and possibly married. I think they were made for one another... Peggy is SO not Betty. Score!

---

In regards to the episode. Hot damn! This felt like a SERIES finale not just a season finale. Twas so satisfying like a good long shag... Yeah... Hand me a cigarette...

---

I watched this ep twice in a row. The first time, praise all that is holy I had a box of tissues nearby. I cried like a baby! The second time I watched the ep I only cried during the Peggy/Don scene when she teared up after he made peace with her. Beautifully acted.

---

Favorite line:

A very perky Trudy, "I think I'll go change the sheets!" HA! Brilliant...

---

Okay, Connie said "Happy Holidays" to Don. Come on. It was 1963. That was a little TOO P.C. for those times... He should have said 'Merry Christmas'.

Then when Pete put out his hand to Don and Roger to solidify their deal and said, "I'm not sick." Yes, he's giving them the truth of why he was really home but would men NOT shake hands in 1963 because one of them is supposedly sick? That's 2009 thing with the H1N1 epidemic...

---

I need another cigarette...


TLo, thank you for your brilliant and insightful recaps, for this and every other season. Monday's been all the better for it.

“Joan. What a good idea.” is my new mantra.

Last night marked the perfect ending to a brilliant season. The “Let’s put on a show!” levity which marked the naissance of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce after weeks of almost claustrophobic heaviness was most welcome, both to the viewer and no doubt the characters as well. They all seemed happier than they had in months. It was so important for everyone to feel the energy, excitement and hope of this new enterprise – and what a sweetly naive American notion that the missteps and disappointments of one’s personal life fade away if you just get to work and build something!

Elisabeth Moss was sublime. Her scenes with Hamm were incredibly acted and well-written (“Everyone thinks you do all my work. Even you."). Most notable, as you mentioned, was the scene in her apartment, one of the finest of this or any other season. I also find I love Roger all over again, and Lane is fast becoming a favorite. His “Very good! Happy Christmas!” after St. John fired him made me downright chortle.

While I was shocked at the rapidity with which the plug was pulled on the Draper marriage, it was, as you said, fitting and the natural conclusion of years of pain and suffering. Don's lifetime of bad choices, emotional distance and failed father issues have come back to bite him, yet where he’s excelled in the past miraculously lies before him again, shiny and new. Betty, as emotionally stunted as ever but with a hard-won clarity, leaves a failed white knight for a newer model she hardly knows. Betty finally taking steps towards independence with Henry Francis leading her by the hand like the child she remains to a large extent was both priceless and sad.

Throughout the season I found myself rooting for Don and Betty to stay married, but now I am forced to ask myself why? This is hardly a typical television drama where the central marriage needs to remain intact in order for the story to work. There is nowhere else to go with these two that hasn’t already been played out. They couldn’t put a Band-Aid on the knife wound if they wanted to at this point. Where and how this will play out in Season 4 is a delicious mystery. Don finally has the total freedom he’s always craved – in all things. It will be most interesting to see what he’ll create for himself or whether he’s learned anything from his past mistakes. Can Betty’s starring role in “Lost in the Suburbs II: The Henry Francis Years” actually give her what she wants, or will she realize the fire is just as unsatisfying as the frying pan?

August 2010 has never seemed so far away.


I think they'll bring Sal back, just so Don can validate and apologize to him as well, bringing his mea culpas full circle. And remember how Don freaked about needing an art director; they don't have one. Sal will be one of the first pieces of business next season. And that will force a confrontation with the Lucky Strike guy, showing that this new company has the balls the old one didn't have.

What a wonderful, exciting, GREAT way to end the season! Now I'm looking forward to seeing how other shows are influenced by Mad Men. :)


Pantone20: I disagree a bit about Don's response when seeing Trudy come in with lunch

I think his reaction is "I'll never have that with Betty" not "Betty would never do that for me"

Trudy does these things because Pete involves her in his business and his professional life. He is open to her opinion and her presence.

Don has always compartmentalized Betty and his home life from his business unless it was necessary like company functions. That's been a factor for the failure of their marriage. The whole issue with him being pressurred to sign a contract was proof of that. You would think a husband would discuss such a big matter with his wife. The fact he didn't even bother to tell Betty what was going on with his defection is further proof how disfunctional they had become.

While the marriage may be over betty would still want to know Don was making such a radical change in his life.

Frank


Great recap, great insights, great comments, everyone. But no one has yet mentioned my favorite laugh line:
Bobby: "What did we do?"
Betty: "Nothing."
Bobby: "Then why are we in the living room?"

Who's started the countdown clock to next season?

-- dr. j


(Apologies for the horrendous English in my many prior comments; desperately wish there were some way to edit.)

I'm VERY glad to see I'm not the only one hoping Joan will get her chance to shine now; it looks obvious to me that Harry is the weak link in that office, and not destined to hold his position for long. Oh, how I hope that happens. Hope hope hope.


Great commentary all around, so just a few quick comments:

Say what you will about the Duck/Peggy thing, but does anyone think she reacts to Don and Roger in the way she does without it? Sometimes knowing someone else wants you makes a huge difference.

Don't sell Harry short. This is a guy who benchmarked other agencies to see what they were doing and create dhis own job. He may not be visionary, but he's very competent.

I think Betty will be very content with Henry for awhile, anyway. And I love my husband a great deal for reacting with horror when I reminded him that Betty needed to be in Reno for 6 weeks - and for mentioning that that kids will probably be way better off with Carla for that long.

I can live with little to no Betty next season, but I hope Sally moves in with Don.

I think Paul and Ken are gone for good.

Looking forward to AUGUST 2010?? are they kidding making us wait that long?

Ms_flyover


@Frank-
Ok, your wording is a little better than mine, but the idea is the same- that's when he decides that it is best to not fight the divorce, because they don't have a good marriage.


To Linda from Chicago, Sal wasn't fired because he was gay, he was fired because he turned down a very important client's advances. Don was the only one who even knew and if I recall, it was Roger who fired him.
My take on all of this is that Don is showing some actual growth as a person but I don't think Betty is. I just get the feeling that she is jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Of course, that is my 21st century perspective possibly coloring my view, but some of the other female characters, even though they are also products of their era, seem to be a little bit more evolved than Betty.


Great episode. I love the comparison of Don to Danny Ocean and his band of thieves. I wanted to stand up and cheer when they all realized how they could pull off the caper....and yes Lane was perfect and is going to be a great asset and he will grow in America to something he couldn't be in the UK.

I think Henry is a mistake for Betty. He provides the quick out and his pushing forced her to make the decision she needed to make but I hated seeing him run the discussion with the lawyer he got Betty. He may not be a politician but he works for one and that isn't good.

Sal will definitely be back. I think the kicking in of the art department door was a symbol of breaking down the old way of doing things and the fact that it was the door to Sal's office means that it includes bringing him on board as an equal.


This was a fabulous episode! I loved the musical scoring of this one. Despite all the 'relationships' disolving (Don & Betty, Don & COnnie, the whole agency) there was still an upbeat feel to it and it was exciting! I loved howed pissed Paul was when he realized Peggy was gone but he wasn't 'chosen.'

I didn't watch season 1 or 2 so i can catch up until August!!!


@Itsjustme: We finally know, after three seasons, how D/D's father died.

Yeah. By being a horse's ass.

"Only a drunken idiot would stand behind a horse during a thunderstorm," said my mom. "Got exactly what he deserved."


I love this show!

I was worried that we might not see Trudy much longer since the actress is on the new sitcom, "Community". Good for her, though.


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i went to bed electrified after watching this! (didn't sleep much) i too was hoping for the return of Sal but then i realized with Lucky Strike around, it's unlikely. :( As much as i wish the new SCD&P attitude would tell Lee Garner Jr to put up or shut up, it's just not plausible.

My favorite moments, besides the ones already mentioned, were that when Paul checked in Peggy's office it was much more thrashed than Don's, like she took special delight in ripping it apart. Also when she walked in to SC for the late night session she waved gleefully. (i just love Peggy and didn't get enough of her this season.) Also loved Don curling up with Sally on Gene's bed- showed the care and affection he didn't have with Betty. What else.... Pete and Peggy sharing a desk! Love it. Lane Price not giving two sh!ts about what will happen to Hooker (the toad), love it. Great finale.

Thank you TLo, for providing such fantastic insight into this season. Truly, your reviews are beyond better than any others and this clueless Gen Y kid especially appreciates your cultural/ historical perspective. Your sense of story is lovely and is the perfect compliment to this marvelous show. i always feel smarter after reading your insight. Blessings to you.


There were so many times during the show in which I nearly screamed aloud for joy. The return of Joan. Lane Price plotting the timing of the firings. Peggy's simply but clear "no" to Roger's request for coffee. It wrapped up so many character storylines.

And did anyone notice that when, the remainder of the office realized that they were left behind, our faux-Bohemian ran into Peggy's office and was incensed to find that it had been ransacked as well; thus letting him know that she was picked to follow our players and he was not.

The only thing I found lacking was Sal. When they realized they didn't have the key to the Art Room, I thought for sure they would call Sal. I hope they bring him back next season.


Ok, Sal fans.

Sal was there last night. Didn't you see him?

Sal was the locked door to the Art Department.

Lane hadn't let Don hire behind Sal, so of course, the door to the Art Department was locked.

Don spoke for all of us when he kicked the door in last night.

And anyway, in my Mad Men world, the Surgeon General hires whatever firm hired Sal to promote the findings of their 1964 report. And Sal gets to exact his revenge.


I thanked you before TLo, and I thank you again for turning me on to the only show worth my limited time. Some other awesome stuff in this episode was: the perfect background music during the plotting-the-revolution scenes; Pete handling the elevator when Harry comes in (given Pete's condescending attempt to relate to the elevator guy); and now there is a new agency for a new era. A revolution in the office along with a social revolution. How many more (quality) could we have reasonably hoped for. But now! Now, a new firm is a new TV show! Oh, and Bobby! My husband, whose parents split up when he was 6 or 7, does not follow the show, but when he overheard Bobby ask about the cufflinks, he let out an "awwwwww" and sighed; it hit him right in the heart. But the absolute best, I think we all agree, was Roger and Peggy: "No."


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@Anonymous 11/9/09 3:21 PM:

You're right about Betty falling for a man she doesn't know. She's getting a quickie, out-of-state divorce with a man whose grown daughter she didn't recognize (at the wedding) and, as far as I could tell, still hadn't met. Maybe it'll work out, but I agree with you: this smells of disaster. Yet again, Betty is going for the image of a man (and how she thinks he sees her) rather than the reality.

Somehow, I don't think Gene would've been much happier with Henry than he was with Don.

You're an idiot, Betty. An idiot, and a craptacular mother.


There was one more loose end I thought they'd tie up - where is the missing credenza??


Anon 3:03

"They literally wouldn't have a company without Pete bringing along at least seven million in accounts. He's in way more position to be a partner than Peggy is."

Of course, but it's not about being made partner, it's about whether Don's emotional plea would be enough for her. I tend to think that she would want and need something more concrete than simply knowing that Don values her. In the past, every time we've seen her move up - getting the office, getting a secretary of her own, getting a job as copy writer and discussing salary - she's been very focused on concrete "deliverables," so to speak. The show has always been clear that she measures her worth at work in the same way as a man would have at that time. It just surprises me that she didn't demand details this time, in contrast to Pete. But maybe such is the strength of the bond between her and Don that she trusts him to fill in the blanks in a satisfactory way? After all, she is sharing a desk with Pete, a partner in this new arrangement. Hmmm...


her tense, eavesdropping-inspired "Peter, may I speak to you for a moment?" had us rolling

Me too! Trudy is the best thing to ever happen to Pete.

And thank you both, Tom & Lorenzo, for teaching me how to watch this show. I've loved Mad Men from the beginning, but I often came away from an episode with the nagging feeling that their were layers undiscovered by me. You've helped me see the show with TLo eyes!


I LOVE this show!

I agree Scott, I nearly DIED when Trudy and Peggy came face to face! I don't think they've ever shared a scene. I wonder what was going through Pete's head, seeing his infertile wife and the mother of child together. Maybe they'll become BFF's!

Can't wait for next season! Thanks for the great blog and everyone's insightful comments.


i think there is a chance for a romance between don and peggy. let's wait and see.


I want to know if Kurt is still going to cut Peggy's hair.


i'm not dorothy gale

I share everyone's gratitude to TLo for creating a MM blog that is so intriguing and accessible. It's been enlightening to read all the responses and to revisit scenes through different eyes.

Let's start that countdown!


"Betty finally taking steps towards independence with Henry Francis leading her by the hand like the child she remains to a large extent was both priceless and sad."

Independence? Well as much independence as a porcelain doll (finishing school grad), be the kept woman of her husband or the kept woman of someone who she hopes will be her husband...

As for all the people suddenly starting to like Pryce. What's with you folks? I liked him all along. He was the contrast against Moneypenny, and the rest of the Brits, including his wife. You could tell he hated his job as hatchet man, he disliked Moneypenny and the rest of the PPLs... He was the SC's ally through this whether they realized it or not. And now he's a happy partner. One that's sleeping on the couch right now, but a partner none the less.


In tears right now over having to wait for the next season to start (when?). I could not love the season finale (or the episodes from the last two weeks) more.

I see continued misery for Betty next season. I personally think Henry Francis is the rebound relationship she is having...with her recently deceased dad. The fact that he is a much older man, with a daughter who's barely younger than Betty, a man who takes her to the divorce lawyer, a man who has the means and promises to care for her and her children, this is the Daddy figure into whose arms Betty is fleeing.

But to have that dynamic work in a relationship, she has to become even more of the repressed, submissive housewife than she was with Don. And Betty chafes at that.

Henry Francis is going to become quickly disillusioned with this Goddess he put on a pedestal. Betty is very needy, demanding, selfish, and childish. Henry is going to be as brutal a workaholic as Don. And he's going to need to travel a lot more. He'll find out Betty will carry her unhappiness with Don over to their relationship.

Not that I'm a Betty hater. She has put up with a lot more than most women today would. I just wish she hadn't jumped from her Daddy's house to Don's house and now to Henry's house. Take a page from her divorced neighbor and go it alone.

Can anyone break down what Don's meaning was when he was trying to explain to Peggy why McCann was not where she wanted to be?

MHB


Bravo Gentlemen- well done on the recap and INSIGHTFUL commentary on both the dialogue and the art direction. I would love to have read an indepth episode by episode companion/guide written by both of you for the sopranos.


potty mouth princess

Happy Christmas, all!

PS: We have tea. :)

Lane and Roger rocked. Glad to see that they will have bigger roles next season.

I hope Henry keels over dead the first time he and Betty do the dirty deed. She deserves nothing less. Sally and Bobby are doomed, especially Sally, whom I predicted earlier this season when Gene died, would end up at Woodstock (likely as a runaway).

That said, best.episode.ever. Arguably the best episode of series television ever.


@Damon

Ooh, good idea! TLo books - you gentlemen must have half a dozen offers on the table by now right? Let those publishers know that we'll all buy and show up at the signings like giddy schoolgirls.


"Can anyone break down what Don's meaning was when he was trying to explain to Peggy why McCann was not where she wanted to be? "

Based on what we can assume from everyone in that episode (from Connie onward) and from earlier ones, McCann is an ad mill. Their profit margin is not based on clever ad campaigns but VOOOOLLLLUUUUMMMME! They may also in effect be a sweatshop. Everyone who was in the know about McCann-Erickson wrinkled their noses at the thought of working for them.

Connie won't go there, the Mad Men won't go there, Pryce suddenly saw the attraction of going on a limb with SC&D pre-P when he found out the 411 on PP&L rather than being left to their mercy.

Presumably if good talent like Peggy and Pete were to go there they'd be grey suited into making lame Ginger Ale commercials for the rest of their miserable lives.


I think they didn't bring Sal on because it would have to neatly wrapping up the loose ends of the plot. As it was, it strained credibility just a bit to have SC reform as a boutique agency with both Bert and Roger on board *and* Joan back. They were pushing it as it was. So, yes, I think they'll pull Sal back in somehow, but they need a little space.

In real life, Bert Cooper wouldn't have been along. It does make total sense for Don to bolt with some young ones. They worked Roger in well with Lucky Strike.

As for Harry--the purpose of Harry is to have a character who's just sort of insanely lucky--he floats upward almost by accident by being in the right place at the right time. Cosgrove's also a bit like that, but Harry's a more entertaining character. They gave Cosgrove very little to do this season.

But, boy, would a way to do a reset--no Lois! No Paul!

I assume that Betty's going to be moving a bit to the background. I wonder if we'll see more of Mrs. Pryce--after all, she's being played by a pretty high-profile actress for a small part.

I don't think there's zero chance of Don and Peggy getting together. I think if it happens that it's a ways off--but there's a very real rapport there and the generation gap isn't that huge. So, next season? No. 1970? Why not?

Henry Francis is a political operative--he's done a very nice job of reading Betty and undoing her marriage pretty damn quick. No, I don't think he's a great guy--great guys don't break up the marriages where there are three young children involved. Henry Francis has the same sense of entitlement as do characters like Roger Sterling.

It's pretty guaranteed that Betty will get bit in the ass. And you know the kids are going to be acting out early and often.

Betty's misery on the plane flight is pretty much the foreshadowing of all that. I hope, frankly, they don't do another reconciliation--though it would be believable. Don Draper is still Don Draper--and when he quits trying to be good, the charisma comes out.


Regarding McCann, Anonymous: In the wake of the Kennedy assassination (a sea change in America), Peggy didn't just watch, she acted (coming in to work to fix Aqua Net). I think Don was saying that the establishment (represented by McCann) wouldn't reward a forward thinker who challenged the established way of doing things. Don and Peggy knew that the world had changed, and McCann had an interest in trying to kep things the way they had always been.


Anonymous wrote: I want to know if Kurt is still going to cut Peggy's hair.

____

God, I hope not.

I recall reading somewhere that Matt Weiner doesn't allow the actresses to do any exercise that tones their arms, so that they'll look authentic to the time. Yet another smart detail!


I am so excited for season 4 because you're right, they can literally go ANYWHERE with the new company, and it's all just so new and exciting and Joan is back and probably Sal because they need an art dude, and ommgggggg


I've been sneaking back to my laptop all day to read your comments (when I should be working because I'm so up to my neck). But, I have to say one thing:
I HATE BETTY.

That's was my overarching reaction to last night's episode. I HATE HER!!! I've never hated her until now and now I really hate her.

Would it *kill* her to show some understanding, empathy, AFFECTION to her poor kids?

Last night, my husband made the comment that it seemed completely plausible to him that one could tell the Draper's story in a way that would make him sympathetic to Betty (b/c Don has been a jerk) - but, the way she treats her kids (barking at them to go upstairs like she just wants them to disappear, never offering them any kindness, never giving them any affection) makes it nearly impossible to sympathize with her. I know Don has been a bastard - but if I were one of their kids, I would be devastated at his loss from my life. He is the parent that connects with the kids - not Betty.

The scene with Sally sleeping in "scary" Grampa Gene's room so that her dad wouldn't be alone in there (that is the way I interpreted her presence in the room), broke my heart.

If the Draper kid's are more unhappy now with Henry - I will hate Betty even more.

God lord - I am responding to this fictional marriage breakup entirely from the point of view of the kids. (sheepish shaking of head)


um - that should be "good lord"


McCann is the Advert. guru who gave us this little ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8H5263jCGg


I certainly hope that Don and Peggy don't turn into a romantic thing. I would really like to see at least one relationship on TV between a man and a woman that is just an equal respectful friendship. On the other hand, I would love to see Joanie and Roger get together again, though Roger's dogged devotion for poor dippy Jane is pretty sweet.


"Betty's misery on the plane flight is pretty much the foreshadowing of all that."

Well, she also could have been reacting to the fact that she just walked out on her marriage and the father of her children. Even someone as cold as Betty would have to feel SOMEthing.

As for Sal, I'm no story-teller but it seems a little too pat for these writers to tie up that story line in such a neat little bow. I lean toward another suggestion in this blog, that Sal winds up at competitive agency and becomes a formidable adversary, exacting professional revenge. Or something like that.

All that said, I only saw part of the show and plan on watching it a couple of times in its entirety tonight.

I'll miss you guys. See you in August 2010


His mistake was taking the educated, world traveling, Italian-speaking model he fell in love with and trying to turn her into a suburban housewife.

I agree with this to a certain extent, but my quibble is that it's not entirely his doing. I remember when Betty got involved with the Junior League and was (supposedly) excited to have "won" on the water issue, Don seemed genuinely happy for her. He was ok with her getting involved in politics and holding fundraisers on her own. Given that, I think Don would have been fine with Betty doing her own thing and taking the reins of her own life.

Of course, in a roundabout way, she was doing just that because those things were just a cover for her "life raft" named Henry Francis, but her raft was not a real life of her own. It was a life as someone else's trophy.

After all this, Betty still doesn't realize that she's not going to be happy as a suburban housewife, no matter who the husband is. She can't move forward with the new furniture; she's desperately trying to be an antique that obviously doesn't go.


The other thing I was going to say was the scene on the plane with Betty and Henry reminded me a little of the final scene in the Graduate with Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Whatsername looking silently awkward even though they're running off together.


One note--it's "Main Line brat," from this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Main_Line.


I seriously screamed when Roger got up to call someone cause I know it was gonna be Joan.

Although I'm a little disappointed cause I thought they we're gonna bring in Sal too, especially when they couldn't get in the art room... sigh.

Hopefully they do eventually.


If one is refreshing one's browser for the MM post, one could always click the "Donate" button while waiting, yes? If the post is that important.


I too noted Roger's comment: "We have tea." And how about his line about four guys who had just shot off their own legs?


Loved the episode. Can't wait for next season.
But what struck me was the way the women took charge of their lives. And learned to say "no."
Peggy's response to the request for coffee was a great line in itself and also because the question of who got coffee for whom and women's refusal to do it came to epitomize the changing role of women in the office.
From beginning to end of the episode, there was a very definite shift of control from the men to the women that came to a head when they realized they couldn't figure out what they needed to take without Joan.
And I loved the scene where Joan stands there dictating what they need while all the men sit there and take notes.
Even Trudy is more acting partner than trophy wife.
I suspect that new male/female roles will have a major impact on next season. The men may be too caught up in the rush of starting a new business to realize now how much has changed, but after the dust settles, it's going to get interesting.


TLo: I'm gonna say it one more time, thanks for turning me on to this show via your recaps. xoxo
Also, to the person who said "Happy Holidays" was too PC for back then. He said "Happy Cmas" which is a brit thing; see the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song :)

Dr Sparkles


For those who don't like Betty, don't worry. Betty will get what's coming. Henry Francis will end up being a wife beater or worse. (Why did he get divorced? Certainly Betty knows nothing about him, just as he knows little about her.)

And can you imagine leaving your kids for SIX WEEKS, including Christmas? Something tragic will happen and she'll end up without means AND without her family.


Maybe I'm mistaken, but doesn't anyone bother about the LEGAL CONSEQUENCES of some 'former employees' stealing a companies property?

While bringing up divorce attourneys, no one even mentions that taking those account files would be a crime, even (or especially) at these times?

Maybe I did't get that legal perspective right, but I guess that this could be a plot on its own, don't you think?

Besides that - great review as always, I really love to get to this site after enjoying an episode!


Only one word for this finale: Mindblowing.


Unfortunately, I heard from someone in the television industry who actually got to interview Matthew Weiner about the finale (since screeners were not sent to entertainment reporting outlets like all the other episodes) that Sal (Bryan Batt) will never be returning to the show. I find this heartbreaking, as his storyline gave great insight into gay history, and how far we've (hopefully) come. But, who knows, another gay storyline may be coming in the future...the writers never seem to disappoint!

-WishIWasJoan


Roland, I'm an intellectual property attorney (as I mentioned last week in connection with the TLounge postings), and I can assure you that there was trade secret misappropriation going on with the looting of Old Sterling Cooper and removal of actual files and materials. Indeed, if I were the parent company, PPL? (what is Saint John's company's name), I'd be filing TROs to enjoin the use of the name Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce on the grounds of trade name infringement, likelihood of confusion and unfair competition. The "Sterling Cooper" name is part of what is being sold to McCann-Erickson, after all. All very appropriate causes of action that would have to be litigated in the the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

I'd like to take a peek at the hypothetical contracts that everyone had to sign when they became employed at Sterling Cooper. An agency of that size probably had boilerplate statements in those contracts that may have covered what one could and couldn't do upon departure from the agency, whether voluntary or otherwise. It probably forbade poaching clients or taking proprietary files.

I truly wouldn't be surprised if there is some kerfuffle or worse about the client poaching + files removal.

The IP lawyer in me will wait to see how many of my bretheren and sister-en comment on this elsewhere.

All the best,

NDC


Okay, next fantasy. Joan and Harry become the media department together and Trudy becomes the new Joan (although I don't think Pete is evolved enough for that). BTW, everyone who keeps saying Pete and Trudy have a great relationship and that Pete is so much better at accepting . . . . are you forgetting Pete's stubborness with listening to Trudy for the first two seasons. I give Trudy all the credit there; she has trained him well. And just because Pete has some unusual and progressive marketing insights, he still needs some growing up to do.

Donna in Seattle


Glammy wrote: "I think they didn't bring Sal on because it would have to neatly wrapping up the loose ends of the plot."

They couldn't bring Sal on, because Lucky Strike is SCD&P's largest account and there is no way that Lee Garner would stand for it after insisting on Sal's termination earlier in the season. Knowing the genius of the writers hopefully they will find a way to integrate Sal into the proceedings in S4.


Your recaps are the best. So insightful.

There were so many favourite moments in this episode, but I particularly enjoyed Lane getting fired: "Very well. Happy Christmas!" Almost as good as Peggy's "no" to Roger.

This is, hands down, my favourite episode of the series to date.


Excellent summary & analysis, TLo. Terrific and insightful posts, too. It's nice to feel satisfied and excited over a season finale for a change. I didn't know what to expect from this episode, but MM writers, directors and cast always bring it and then some.

i'm not dorothy gale said....

"Both use the color red to subconsciously tell the viewer of things to come. In "The Sixth Sense", the red was subtlely used in scenes of paranormal activity - a scarf, a doorknob. In "Mad Men" the fire colors hint at a conflagration that will both destroy and renew..."

Great observation, not dorothy.
I recall the same technique was used very effectively in Schlinder's List. Other significant splashes of red were seen in the big ol' hoofprint on Don's father's face after his accident in the barn, the ashtray used during the meeting of S/C/D when they try to convince Lane to join them (btw: my mother owns the same ashtray --- with a matching vase and refuses to part with it since I've expressed interest!), also lots and lots of red neckties & scarves.

In short, BEST EPISODE EVER. I don't know what I'll do with my Sunday nights because they really helped buffer the trauma of beginning another work week. Alas, I'll just have to suffice on re-reading old TLo's recaps
ans swooning over screenshots and fan pics of JH.

- edina -


V: For your information, I would donate money to TLo but I am collecting Unemployment right now which barely paying my rent much less the bills.

---

SPARKLESS: Connie said to Don, "Happy Holidays." That brit guy said "Happy Christmas" to his former PPL boss.


I meant, "Schindler's List."


@Roland: The contents of the files belong to the clients, and the purchasing firm can't make the clients stay if they choose to jump ship with Don, et al. Whatever has been created for the client can't be used for another campaign, so the files aren't any use to PPL/McCann without the clients. Their only value would be as leverage because SCDP needs the files to transition the accounts to their new firm without skipping a beat in their delivery of service, which is the reason they had to rush to get everything out before PPL caught wind of what they were up to. By Monday morning, when the Brits discover their duplicity, the clients have been hijacked, and the files are worth no more in the hands of PPL than the proverbial paper on which they're printed. As Roger and the other Accounts men well know (and Don is just learning), relationships matter in this business, and clients will follow the guys they know and trust. Once they're gone, there's no point in holding their papers hostage.

The legal issue that jumped out at me is that apparently neither Don, Roger, nor Bert had a non-compete clause in his employment contract, which makes me question the competence of PPL's legal team. They had to know that Don, especially, would be itching to strike out on his own the minute his 3-year indenture expired, and considering his hot-shot status in the industry, the last thing they would want is to have him doing...well, just what he did: walking away with a good deal of their business.


I believe Connie said "Have a good holiday." Not really PC or out of place, just a closing salutation. (And since "holiday" was singular, it probably meant Christmas.)


I thought that if Don had wanted to save his marriage - if it was worth saving - he would have said to Betty what he said to Peggy in her apartment.


@ Katenik,

That's the first thing I thought about in terms of the contracts, that there would have to be non-compete clauses. And I don't know, but I swear that was mentioned in the contract signing episode. I thought when Cooper handed Don the contract he said something to the effect that it's the usual stuff, non-compete clause, etc., etc. That would seem awfully hard to get around.


What else I really loved--and I don't know if anyone touched on this yet (didn't read all the comments)--is how they've set the show up to also reflect the cultural changes that are coming. Don told Pete he's forward-thinking and mentioned "Teens" as a market force. Aren't the Beatles right around the corner? And the Women's Liberation Movement is on its way: reflected in the futures of Peggy, Joan, and I like to think even Betty (what'll it mean to her new marriage?). And television, of course--THAT dept is going to grow at SCDP!


@Mary Ellen: I still have 723 on my DVR, and your recollection is correct: Lane told Don that his contract contained a non-compete clause. I suppose the only plausible answer is that the severing of the contract by PPL (Lane) didn't trigger it. But, then, why have one?


Regarding the non-compete clauses: it seems like these would be void if the employees were fired. Which of course, they all were.

Who in their right mind would sign a contract that stated that if fired, s/he would not only be out of a job but also have to change careers?


Thanks Tom and Lorenzo for another flawless recap.

Or nearly flawless....The best line of the night was Trudy's "Peter may I see you for a moment". She knows just how to handle her husband and make him shine.

Betty Draper is a terrible mother but January Jones is an incredible actress....counting down the days until MM season 4.

Suz


"McCann is the Advert. guru who gave us this little ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8H5263jCGg"

Even WORSE than the Canada Dry "Jaw Jacking and Wise Cracking, the thirst, the others for kicks..."

No wonder they ran faster than kids from the Joan Crawford Daycare Center.


Best episode ever! From Peggy saying no to getting the coffee to the return of Joan to the office caper. I agree it was a show about family. Betty takes a great deal of heat on the blog and deserves some of it, but I do feel sorry for her. I read comments about her not being maternal but think of the times. Did she even want these kids? They said before that she got pregnant with Sally when they were engaged. Women did not have any choices then. She only came back to Don because she was pregnant. As for running away with the other guy, she just had a baby (that she really did not want) and found out that her husband who had cheated on her has also lied to her about who he was. Throw in that her father just died and she only has that brother left..easy to see how her decision process could be flawed. I thought it showed how desperate she was (when she was counseled that she could very well get nothing). Oh, and speaking as a Main Line brat (with about 15 more years on her then Betty) myself, anyone who called me a whore... better run!

Don's new family was the business...

The real sad part is for us because now all these great actors are going to want huge paychecks and we may not be looking at a new season for a long, long time.

Thanks for the great insights guys!


In regard to the non-compete clause, I wondered about that myself. But did some Googling and it looks like New York State was very anti-non-compete clauses back then and still is.
It would be interesting to see the history on that and anti-trust as it was being applied in the 1960s. The MM writers are usually so accurate with what they do, it's surprising they would miss that.


Well, it turns out AMC has Don's contract on its site. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be anything about non-competition despite what Lane said. But it does say that either party can terminate the contract, but the employee would have to give three months prior written notice and the agency would have to give six. By summarily firing them without written notice, the agency (Lane, who has authority to act for the agency) breaches the contract. Of course, they're not going to sue for breach of contract since they wanted to be fired. The contracts just become null and void. So I guess even if there was a non-compete clause, it wouldn't have mattered. Nice trick to get the "Agency" (i.e., Lane) to break your contracts for you!


If McCann is out millions of dollars as a result of their actions, it's hard to believe that they would just say, "Oh, well" and let it go without a fight of some sort.


Having never actually watched this series, I have been toying with the idea of purchasing it. What say you?


Upon my third viewing, I noticed that when the renegade Sterling Cooperites were leaving after packing up, Pete was carrying the shotgun he traded for the chip'n dip he and Trudy got as a wedding present in Season One. It's little touches like that that make me love this show even more!


OMG - BEST SHOW EVER!!!

i was literally screaming at the tv & cheering the whole way through! XD

joan - JOAN!!!!!! <3<3<3<3

ugh - the most perfect way to bring her back in & once they did, all the pieces fit together. she is perfection personified.

peggy's new-found self-worth, don's validation of everyone around him, pete & trudy adorableness, roger & don tag teaming, burt's negotiating jujitsu, layne landing the suckerpunch on mr sheffield, and even the end of the draper marriage saga.... it's a full rebirth! I CANNOT WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON!

the only piece missing from the SCDP is the fart department & the only other beloved cast member that didnt get his moment last night is sal. we need SAL!!! that is my one request for next season. well that & the demise of doctor rapeface + the reunion of roger & joan.

other than that, i will just sit back, relax & wait for the british invasion, muhammed ali, malcom x, nasa rocket launches, the new york world's fair, vietnam protests, the civil rights act, the rolling stones, race riots in philly, james bond, johnson's landslide victory, che guvara at the UN, MLK getting the nobel peace prize & every other amazing event that took place in 1964 that can shape the future of these characters. now they are free of their self-imposed bubbles & are open to a world of possibilities - squeeeee! XD


LOVED it and your analysis - couldn't have said it better myself!

Gotta say - I was starting to kind of feel a teeny bit sorry for Don in the last few episodes, but when he assaults Betty about Henry Francis, all his infidelity came roaring back into my memory and I so desperately wanted Betty to slap him in the face with it. I get the sense that she still hasn't officially broken the vows of her marriage (slept with Henry) yet.

Also loved all of Betty's lines this episode - I found myself going "WERK!" a lot. Especially after her first interaction with Don.

Yay Joannie! Methinks I see the dawn of Sal on the horizon as well. With how its all going, I wouldn't be surprised! I love how it all came together - and so unexpectedly so.


that was the most satisfying hour of television.
i loved it when roger asks 'how long do you think it will take to have a place like this again', and don says 'i never really saw myself working at a place like this'...makes me want to fast forward to see how the new firm will be different.


Wow. What a mind-blowingly great episode. I can't think of a single hour of television that good in the past... well, ever.

Two random comments: the final scene of Don arriving at his new Manhattan apartment/brownstone was a reverse image of the end of the first episode of season 1, when we're surprised that this man-about-town we've seen gallivanting around the city all day actually lives in the suburbs and has a wife. We're just as surprised now three years later to see Don arriving home...in Manhattan.

Also, the scene of Henry and Betty on the plane to Reno reminded me of nothing so much as the final scene of that seminal sixties film The Graduate, when Ben and Elaine are in the back of the bus, having run away from her wedding. The same kind of vacant looks and "We did it, now what, oh sh*t" feeling.

The whole ep was brilliant, just brilliant.


No one said "Happy holidays," which would have been out of place. Connie said, "Have a nice holiday," which is what Christmas was, then and now, a holiday, singular. Lane said, "Happy Christmas," which is what British people said and still do say (though they say "Merry Christmas" too, although "merry" has connotations of drunkeness in the UK, so Queen Elizabeth prefers "Happy Christmas.")

I forgot what else I was going to say...oh yes, I agree with this: this show can go anywhere it wants now. Flash forward to 1965 and this merry gang of pranksters, the core of this fabulous show, is set up somewhere cutting edge, pushing the boundaries of advertising, with a few new characters on board.

How did Matt Weiner do this brilliant thing so effortlessly? He rebooted his entire show!


Mary Ellen -

One page of the contract is on AMC's website. We know it's not the entire contract because there are no signatures. And we saw Don sign it. So we don't know what's on the pages AMC isn't showing us.


Thank you, TLo for a wonderful Mad Men season. The recap and the comments always enhance my enjoyment of this amazing piece of fiction.

Trudy and Pete seem like the anti-Drapers at this point. Every challenge seems to make their marriage stronger--but this could still end in tears. Trudy comes dangerously close to mothering Pete.

The flashbacks brought home more strongly than ever how far Don has come in half a life span. From a place undoubtably without indoor plumbing, where "going to Chicago" meant getting out the horses, to a world of phones, tvs, Cadillacs and the Pierre Hotel.

I loved this episode, too and wanted Sal back, but with Lucky Strikes paying 75% of the freight, how can that happen?


Just watched it again - how's this for a hidden gem?

Pete: "I have to look sick."

Trudy: (reassuringly) "You do!"


toodles: "Pete did not rape the nanny. He made a pass at her, she gave in, they had sex. She was all upset because she knew she effed a married man. She felt used. End of that story..."

Sorry, you don't get to decide for everyone else what happened in that scene. And rape does not always involve obvious force, nor does the victim always fight back... if you know it's going to happen anyway and there is nothing you can do to stop it, what is the point of doing anything other than giving in and hoping it's somehow less bad that way?

As for someone else who said above that Pete raping the nanny means he is a bad guy, it isn't that cut and dry. Nice guys do bad things; nice guys rape, often because they have been taught that they are entitled to sex under particular circumstances, just as Pete seemed to assume. I know lots of women who were raped or nearly raped by friends of theirs, and the guy still thought they were friends afterwards because he just assumed that she wanted it too...

I don't understand all of the animosity towards Betty. The idea that being maternal is always about being lovey-dovey or whatever just doesn't make sense to me. There is a lot more to love, especially motherly love, than hugging your kids all the time. Not to mention, if I was stuck at home with small children all day, no matter how much I liked them, I would lose patience with them. You can love your children without wanting to be with them all the time or kiss all their boo-boos. My grandma was a lot like Betty - very no-nonsense, not really physically or emotionally affectionate, etc. - but I never doubted that she loved me. I think it's pretty sad that even in this day and age, women are expected to act in a very strict way in order to be considered "good mothers".

I also thought her refusal to lie to her children was very maternal. When Don tried to lie to them and she shook her head at him, that wasn't selfish. She wanted her children to know the truth, because the truth would hurt them a lot less than a perpetual lie. I don't think her staying home over Christmas would have been a good idea either - can you imagine how awkward that would be??


Also, I fell in love with someone when I was in a very hard position and miserable. We knew the moment we first spoke that we were in love; we got married 7 months after that. Six and a half years later, we're still very happily married. While I think in the context of the show, Betty and Henry will have some major problems, I don't think their relationship is inevitably going to fall apart, either.


Great episode and thanks for the recapt. Am I the only one who fist-pumped several times? One of my favorite lines, so far unmentioned, is Roger (of course) saying 'don't bother' when Don goes to lock the doors after they loot the office!

Re: Connie Hilton saying Happy Holidays (if he did use the plural), I believe in that time period it was intended to mean Xmas and New Years. The phrase then got appropriated later for diversity and political correctness.

One quick comment on non-competes - I do expect PPL to consider a lawsuit, or maybe it should be Mcann who initiates action (unless they cancel the sale). However, a lawsuite is more likely to be a nuisance for both parties and drag on.

The clients will remain where they (the clientts) want to be and a judge can't change that. Also, I've been in non-competes over the years which were not enforced. I've been told (don't know firsthand and I do not play a lawyer on TV) that the courts are very reluctant to take away an individual's livelihood so they tend to give leeway to the employee. Especially here where the principals involved were 'fired'.

Also, do you think the attitude of the times/industry is that a PPL/McCann legal threat is seen as whining sujbect to disdain like Connie Hilton's reaction in the first scene? In other words, are you gonna cry or are you gonna fight in the only arena that matters?

Jenna


Apologies for the typos, I'm not good with the laptop keyboard...

Jenna


For me the best line was Sally saying "You promised you'd always come home." Kiernan Shipka seems to be becoming a better and better actress as the show goes on. As a child of divorce in the 80s, I know exactly how she feels. Betty and Don are both selfish and flawed people in their own ways and I hate to see kids, even fictional ones, paying the price for their parents' mistakes. But Don's efforts at reconciliation were pretty pitiful, so it's hard for me to hate Betty. Really, though, in this kind of situation one hopes that people would have the sense not to bring three kids into a relationship this horrible. Unfortunately I don't think people have gotten much more sense about these things over the last 47 years.
On a side note, shouldn't the take-away lesson for Betty be not to get married to a guy she barely knows? I mean, isn't the whole Henry thing starting out just like her relationship with Don--some mysterious, sexy older guy sweeps her off her feet?


Does anyone remember... where did Duck have his meetings and rendez-vous with Peggy? Wasn't it at the PIerre as well?


"Betty, you're not yourself." THAT'S the line of the series. Don, give me a fucking break. Did you just SAY that to your wife?


We had a MM dinner tonight (one day late, praise God for Tivo).

Drinks- Scotch Old Fashioned.

Appetizer- Sourdough bread with butter and parmesean cheese, broiled at 450 for five. Scary good.

Dinner- Beef Stroganoff. Need I say more?

Dessert- Strawberry Jello.


That was the best hour of TV, EVER. When the credits came on, I realized I had been staring at the TV unblinking with my mouth open.

Betty is a product of her times. My mother was born in 1924, making her the same age as Don. As kids, we were expected to be off playing by ourselves and we were not involved in anything. Family gatherings and holidays were were at the kiddie table and then off to the the basement to play until it was time to go home. My parents even went on a trip and left us with their house keeper. When I was little I didn't think much of it because all adults were like that. Also, kids were often not wanted or planned. I heard my whole life that only the oldest two of my five siblings were wanted.

When I watch Betty I cringe and I am a much different and better mother, but I get her. The episode when Betty gave birth explained so much. I could never understand how my mom had babies while she was "out the whole time." Which BTW didn't phase her at all. "Why would I want to be awake for that and remember the pain?"

On a a lighter note. Thanks SFDukeXXIX for the link to the 1971 Coke commercial. I LOVED that commercial when I was little. Cool bit of trivia that it was McCann.


"Because there are people out there who buy things, people like you and me. Then something happened... something terrible. And the way that they saw themselves... is gone. And nobody understands that. But you do. And that's very valuable."

What is Don talking about here when he says this to Peggy? I didn't understand.


The folks of the newly minted SCDP did several illegal things, some of which no one has yet mentioned.

1) They stole company assets. Cut and dry, but if the clients want to leave, there’s no real reason to continue with the litigation for the theft of company assets and customer lists.

2)The folks at SCDP probably don’t have the rights to use the name Sterling Cooper Draper Price.because it is essentially the same as Sterling Cooper. When the firm was sold, the partners (including the namesakes) probably had to include the name of the firm as one of the assets. No one would buy the firm without getting the ‘brand’ name included.

3) Lane Pryce breached his fiduciary duty to serve the London firm and its interests. Even though he had technical authority to fire Draper, Sterling, Cooper, etc…his actions would be considered null and void because he was not acting in the best interest of his employers to whom he has a legal obligation to put their interests first and foremost.

4) While non-competes are still rarely enforced, it is unlikely the London firm will just let it slide. They can go after lost profits due to the breach of contract, and if it’s indeed millions of pounds like the London dweeb said, they’re not going to forget about it anytime soon.

I will be an incredulous viewer next season if none of these legal issues are brought up. There are just so many outstanding legal pitfalls for the SCDP crew that it seems implausible that none of them rear their ugly head.

On a different note, why are the Canada Dry ads so freaking stupid? Does anyone think they are good? And what is with that terrible yellow in the Expedia ads. Seriously, some of the actual ads in Mad Men are shamefully bad.


No one has really mentioned this outright but did anyone catch the scrolled "f" in front of the word "art" on the locked art department door? Just a little zany thing some arty person in the dept. put on the door. Cracked me up. The "fArt Department". Ha!

Another thing: Did anyone else notice the wooden plaque on the table behind Don's desk had a golden horse shoe on it? It was an award he had won but the parallel of his father having been kicked and left with a horse shoe impression on his face when he was killed was just another one of those little things that just catch you off guard. Particularly in this episode with Dick/Don's flashback and seeing the actual event. It's these details that just nail this show's excellence.

Lastly, when Paul opens Peggy's office door to see her things are gone he is holding a red, rounded man's lunch box. Another red thing to add to the list.


Such a great episode . . . such a great season. I can't wait until it is available on DVD to get to hear all the commentaries on each episode.

One of the wonderful things about this episode is that in it Don was the most consistently authentic throughout that we've ever seen him to be. In every conversation that he had, he was speaking from his heart. For someone like him, who has spent much of his life playing everything close to the vest and hiding his real feelings and thoughts from others, being able to openly tell the people closest to him what he genuinely thinks about them and what he truly wants to do must have felt so liberating. He was being open about himself in ways that he had never been before.

As for the legal wrongs committed in this episode, one aspect that we haven't discussed is that the sale with McCann hadn't actually taken place yet, and now may either fall through or will be for a LOT less money. Therefore, the British company that owns PPL and Sterling Cooper might also have grounds for suing Pryce and the other Sterling 3 for interference with that sale.


To annrr: Yes, you got it right. In that era, kids were expected to be seen and not heard. They lived in their own world, separate from that of adults. There was little of the concern for their feelings, "self-esteem", personal growth, etc. etc. that parents have today. Parents in that era fulfilled their own needs primarily: that was the reward for becoming an adult and having adult responsibilities.

My own parents were as clueless when it came to thinking about their children's feelings, at least at a slightly earlier time. To illustrate: one Christmas before I was born, sometime in the 1940s, my parents went to my mother's family for the holiday. Some driving was involved, and they decided to postpone their family Christmas until they got back home again, not bringing any presents or even Christmas stockings for the kids. Why bother to pack all that and try to keep the Santa stuff hidden when it was just a matter of waiting one day?

In a rare moment of empathy, my mother said years later that, on second thought, maybe this efficient plan wasn't such a good idea after all, only realizing this as she watched her children's faces while their cousins opened presents and they themselves had nothing from Santa or Mom and Dad.

I could give many, many other examples, most of which my parents never realized were breathtakingly thoughtless and which my siblings and I still discuss bemusedly today.

(Too long: see next post, I guess...)


(Continued from above...)

"Benign neglect" is what I call it, and it's how kids were brought up in the 30s, 40s, and even 50s (postwar baby-boomer me). Maids functioning like Carla as the real, literal housewife and often the de facto mother; lots of social activities for parents only, kids separated if present at all; the whole point of of adulthood being your chance to live your own dreams finally, with little concern as to how that affected children (unless having children and catering to them was both parents' dream -- not often the case in my memory).

There were childhood "activities", though: ballet, piano lessons, Brownies/Scouts, camp, sports for boys when they got older -- but none requiring much involvement from Mom and Dad. You got shipped off to camp; sports and other things stayed at school; the piano/art/French teacher came to your house. Whatever: my mother would never have missed one of her social events in order to, let's say, spend hours every week driving me to soccer pracyice. There were no "soccer moms" (or their equivalent) in those days. (My father was a Naval officer and literally wasn't there most of the time.)

So Betty's detached mothering style is very familiar, although most mothers fortunately were not really as cold and distant as she is.

In "Establishing Mad Men", a backgrounder film that's on the DVD, someone remarks how it's amazing the way Matt Weiner "gets" that time period, especially when he wasn't even alive then!

Sorry for the length of the post -- I just wanted to comment on the anachronistic indignation so many people seem to feel on behalf of Sally and Bobby, living so distant (emotionally and even physically) from each parent. That was really how things were then.

As for Betty: she's the product of her time and to be pitied as well, but I still hate her and see her as a horrible mother. As clueless and unconcerned as my own mother could be, she was still able to show love and warmth if you could convince her you really needed it. She was no Betty: I never felt that she wished me away (as it's clear Betty does with her kids).

What stays with me from last night's episode is Betty's empty face as she and Henry are on the plane to Reno. She looks down once at baby Gene, but there's no smile, no caress. She and Henry don't even look at each other. They are about as far from an eloping couple as I can imagine. Nothing good can come from this beginning.

And yes: Sally and Bobby will make sure their parents reap the rewards of their selfish behavior in a few years. Because the sheer size of their generation made their grievances something to reckon with. The children of the WWI years, of the Depression, of WWII, all had other things to deal with when they came of age, and didn't have the numbers to overwhelm the older generation the way the children of Sally and Bobby's era did anyway. Of course there's more to it than that, but it's another post.


What a great season finale with countless memorable lines and scenes! Left me satisfied yet filled with a sense of greater adventure. Can't wait for Season 4.

Highlights for me:

a. Don with hat in hand at Peggy's apartment was the most sincere Don has been - Don is being Dick and pleading his cause. If he had used the same words back home with Betty, the outcome might have been more favorable.

Perhaps these words were meant for Betty before he knew about Henry Francis. And to hear that your wife is seeing another men from the grapevine (ouch!). Now Don, you know how it hurts.

b. Peggy saying no to Roger (yay!!!)

c. Joan coming back (bigger yay!!) Now this is the heist girl and she never looked better even with scarf round her head.

Some things that I disliked (mainly about how Betty sought to secure her "future")

Betty just sat passively while her new beau laid down the divorce terms on her behalf. No alimony, no child support, can't believe it!!!

Now, if I were Betty, I would see Milton (the lawyer who advised her about her inheritance) so that I would assured that he would look out for me. Why did she consult a lawyer with Henry Francis? I mean, he is not even family! Henry's "I don't want you to owe him anything." doesn't make sense. Come on, you are talking about his kids - Sally, Bobby and Eugene Draper. This is not about taking a sum of money from a stranger, it is about Don's obligation as a parent to provide.

Now I don't hate Betty, rather I think she's an intelligent person with plenty of self-control. If Don were like Pete, she could be the corporate wife like Trudy. But Don chose to treat her like a trophy much like what Henry IMO would do to her.

The poor kids. Sigh, they are not only losing their father, they will also lose Carla their trusty nanny when they move in with Uncle Henry.


I think Betty is seriously depressed, and has been since last season. So I think we need to weigh this into our analysis of Betty's personality. I think her depression is one reason that she doesn't interact with her children more or more warmly and why she gives in so quickly to Henry's decisions about her divorce and seems so sad and withdrawn on the plane trip to Reno, although there are other factors as well (including child rearing norms of the times and her somewhat cold and aloof personality).


EHR:

I was speaking for MYSELF bub, not anyone else on this blog. I am right. You are incorrect. But in peace and fairness, we will agree to disagree.

Fuckin'A, I need more coffee...


After a season where almost every episode was grim and bleak this was a bright, hopeful gift to the viewers. I can't wait to see what happens next. Note to Matthew Weiner: viewers need some levity interspersed with the gloom and doom or it just becomes too painful to watch.

The breakup of the Draper marriage deserves its own post but here are my random thoughts about everything else:

- Even in the 60's there would be serious legal ramifications for the new agency. Will they follow up on that or just drop it?

- Pete has been one of the most interesting characters to me. Yes, he's a smarmy guy who forced himself on the nanny, but he's also the only man in the Sterling Cooper universe who seems able to treat a woman as an equal in a relationship. His interactions with Peggy showed a willingness to be open, to expose himself, and to value her and relate to her as his equal in a way that was almost shocking. And now his marriage with Trudy has evolved into a real partnership. I had sort of hoped that he and Peggy would end up getting together since I think there's a real connection there but he and Trudy have become really good together so I hope they survive. And I do see Trudy taking on an unofficial but important role within the company. Today, someone like Trudy would have an MBA from Harvard and would be running her own show. We tend to think of the 60's as being especially liberating for women and gays and minorities but it will open lots of doors for white WASP aristocrats as well. They can step out of their self-imposed boxes, if they choose. I can see the childless Campbells getting into the swing of 60's Manhattan. Trudy will be a great hostess, they'll be out and about. Pete has always been the most forward thinking person at Sterling and now he's going to have opportunities to follow through on that.

- Roger's a cad but oh so charming. He had so many great lines! Instead of more cowbell, more Roger, please!

- I've always loathed Paul Kinsey so I'm glad that his pretentious ass got left behind.

- So glad that Lane will be sticking around. Very good, happy Christmas indeed! But I'm confused - who did his job prior to PPL buying SC?

Thanks, TLo, for providing us with this gathering spot.


I wonder if some of this coldness towards children that a few people here have referenced (in the real world of the past) might also have some roots in culture. Jewish families are pretty physically demonstrative, even the unhappy ones. Little kids are always being swept up into some tanta's arms and kissed and cuddled.

My parents are a little older than Sally, and I was born in the early 70's. I was given a huge amount of love, attention, and affection, but also taught about adult time and needs. There's no need to go to one extreme or the other - either kids are not part of your world at all, or they're the center at all times. I had working parents who made time with me and my brother a priority, and hugged us a lot, and listened to our opinions (yikes), and also let us know that they were adults with creative pursuits and need for downtime. I don't think this is the least bit cold. Cold is not giving a crap at all, which sometimes seems to be where Betty is, and at other times, she seems to do her job. I loved the head shake.

But, did you guys notice that neither Betty nor Don said the word "divorce" once in that entire conversation? I bet that was very realistic.


Anon, 9:44 - I'm not sure the 60's were exactly liberating for women, gays, and minorities. Liberation movements for all of the above took off in that decade, but at different rates and times. It was a huge struggle in every case, from what I've read. Small example: I read an account of a hippie political rally where, when a woman went to the podium to speak, men in the audience began yelling, "Take her off the stage and fuck her!" It wasn't like suddenly everyone's rights were considered. From the histories I've read, those struggles continued - and in some cases didn't even begin in earnest - until the 70's. Some of those still continue today. Look at the fight for marriage equality, or even for the right to call a hate crime against a gay person what it is; look at the anti-choice provision in the health care reform act that just passed in the House, a gross act of paternalism worthy of Don Draper's "You're not yourself" thinking.

Back to the show: Henry and Betty weren't speaking on the plane because Henry was asleep.


I'm a little shocked at how many people seem to hate Betty and wish her ill. I love Don Draper and always want him to succeed and be happy but I never forget what a damaged POS he is. Let's just review his treatment of Betty:

-He has been chronically, pathologically unfaithful, screwing anything he can get his hands on.

- He disappeared for three weeks last season, with his family not knowing where the hell he was or if he was ever coming back.

- He has lied to Betty about everything, including his very identity. This puts his family at risk, because there might be legal ramifications (even jail) if his actions ever come to light.

- He has hidden away a small fortune from Betty and his kids.

- He has shut Betty out of every aspect of his life, not even telling her about something as basic as his contract negotiations.

- His typical response to Betty whenever she's upset about anything is to tell her to take a pill and go lie down.

When he pulled her out of bed I was hoping she'd do a Joan - find a heavy object and whack that bastard on the head with it. I hope she takes him for every penny, and contrary to Henry's request that he doesn't want her to be beholden to Don, I think she'll get what's coming to her. I think this experience with all the lawyers and everyone else pointing out how few rights she really has has driven home the point that she's got to get whatever financial security she can.

Will Henry Francis be a good idea? I don't know but I think people are looking at this relationship from a modern perspective. The whole point of the last several episodes has been to show how few options Betty really has. And even today, raising three kids by yourself is no picnic. Henry is besotted with her and Betty needs that. Perhaps their relationship will be in big trouble once he realizes her limitations as a person but I think he's already aware of a lot of that. In their limited interactions he has been more open with her than Don ever was and he's also not been afraid to confront her. He even asked her if she could imagine living a different way. I'm not sure what that means to him but I think there's so much more potential for her with Henry than with Don. So I hope they make it.

And kudos to the earlier poster who made it clear that Betty's parenting style, crappy though it is, was pretty much the norm for her time, place and social class. Again, too many people are looking at this with modern eyes.


Sterling, Cooper and Draper were willing to buy back their company at more than they sold it for, however they were rebuffed so, if there are any legal actions, they may be able to settle out of court. Maybe.

Regarding child rearing practices in the 60s (and 50s): Children, left to their own devices, can have wonderfully full lives (as I remember it). I often (very often) feel sorry for children nowadays who are so over-booked with every kind of organized activity and whose parents are overly involved in every aspect of their lives. Of course, being part of the post-war baby boom meant that there were more schools within walking distance of homes, wonderful after-school programs, etc. The world seemed safer and smaller then too, and children could wander around unsupervised all day. Actually, since all the mothers were home, the neighborhoods were actually very supervised and news of any misbehaving traveled fast. We would just come home for meals, and sitting at a "kid table" at big events was actually a lot of fun.


Back again-- Regarding Betty leaving the kids for a quickie divorce: it is precisely because I am happily married with kids that I think Betty's Reno plan is absolutely the right and responsible thing to do. From what Betty knows, Don is awful, and she doesn't know nearly as much as the audience does! On the surface, it is tragic that the kids will be spending six weeks and Christmas without their mom. But Betty is attempting to quickly move her (and by extension them) on to a better, honest, and happier life. In the long run, the kids will be better off. Of course she does not know Henry well enough to make a life with him just yet, but he sure as heck seems far better than Don. Yea, Henry moved on a married woman, but she gave him the green light.


Anon. 10:12: Amen to that - I loved being left alone a lot as a kid, to draw and read and play, the last alone or with friends. And that was in the 70's and 80's, in Manhattan, in apartments. No moms home. Wandering Riverside Park, rock-hunting, exploring. But I still see that among my friends' kids...probably because none of us are in that upper class who are overscheduling their poor kids. A little afterschool is fine, but every damn second? Let the kids' brains breathe!

We also always had a kids' table at bar mitzvahs and weddings. They were great, because we were left alone to consume as much sugar as possible and go apeshit without the grownups noticing until it was too late.

Still, I think that's different from the way these characters are living - they're not setting any standards for their children, because their own lives are careening around so much. Which is, of course, great storytelling!


Incredible episode,incredible analysis. The focus returning to the business at the end was the perfect touch. The disintegration of the Draper marriage finally coming to a head was a relief. However I really hope that in the coming season with Don in the city and Betty in the burbs with Henry does not make her long for Don since it seems she wanted that city life. The assertion that Don forced Betty to be a suburban housewife seems a little heavy handed; Betty seems to have passively accepted and perhaps thought she wanted that role. She did try and do some things, recall her trying to go back into modeling, but like many other ventures did not take full ownership, and really she was not raised that way. However contrast that with Trudy- remember how she wanted to live in the city, her involvement and voicing her opinions and even now her actions. Betty is smart, intelligent but relied on superficiality. Not sure it was the cheating that made her hate Don- rather the public humiliation (like when the comedian mentioned it to her) and of course the lies. Each came into the marriage with the view of what the other could provide to them- they did not think about what they could provide to their partner. Poor Betty just never learned how to take control to get what she wants. The children were the only good thing to come out of that marriage. At least they made Don have some humanity. Betty could be a good mom but her needs are too primary right now.


I have come to love all the 'Rogerisms'. My favorite of his this week?


Harry: Are you kidding me?
Roger: Yes. Yes, we are. Happy birthday.

Delivered dead pan without even looking up and never missing a beat. Ha!


Leela,

The difference between parenting styles of parents who were born in, say, 1925, and those born in, say, 1950, are immense. I was also born in the early 70s, and I grew up with the Free to Be... You and Me soundtrack, a Montessori pre-school in which one teacher usually wore a dashiki, a sex-ed book from my mom at a tender age, and basically all the artifacts and attitudes that came from being a kid only after society had already completely gone through the swift and choppy Rube Goldberg mechanism known as the late 1960s and early 1970s. In other words, your childhood and mine may be interesting to others, but they are childhoods dissimilar to Sally's childhood (and her generation's childhood) in very profound ways and for very good reasons, even if Sally is only, say, 16 years older than me.


Despite some people's hopes for Don and Peggy to get together, I don't think that will ever happen. For one thing, even though he had shagged a couple of clients and apparently one or two women from other companies - Random House was mentioned - he has never shown any interest in the women at Sterling Cooper. He knows that it is unwise to foul your own nest, and his self-compartmentalization allows him to work when he is at work, and stray when he is not.


I just hope they bring Sal back too!


Anon. 11: 03: So true! And, your childhood sounds just like mine...the book wasn't "Where Did I Come From", was it?

I'm fascinated by the childhoods depicted on Mad Men. I keep trying to figure out if they were anything like my parents'. I don't think so, although there were probably some superficial similarities, like, certain things were probably not said aloud in front of children. Again, I wonder if some of the differences come down to ethnicity/culture. My mom is the child of Holocaust survivors, so the things that went unsaid were huge, and the emotional life of the family was definitely not like her American friends.

I think we've all known a Betty or two - people who, for whatever reason, couldn't make their ambitions reality past a certain point, or wouldn't. I know people like that, and they aren't stupid, they've just made certain choices, or run away from the act of making a choice. Not everyone has intense drive, and some people carry strong imprinting, like Betty does, to "accept", "submit", or other concepts. All in the service of interesting characters, right? I've grown to love the way Betty has been written lately - so steely and unwilling to submit to Don's ridiculous flailing attempts to keep the status quo.


>Leela said in that time period, women didn't work out, am I correct?

Well, we saw earlier that Betty does ride horses which does require physical exertion.


In the early 60's women didn't work out for the sake of working out, though stretching/toning exercises were popular to keep you in shape. Also a lot of women played sports like tennis. Strength per se was not expected.


I love this show! Thank you, TLo, for your thoughtful take on every episode.

Since so many of your loyal minions are weighing in on the Draper children, I'd like to say that my husband and I are basically Baby Gene's age (born in '62). My husband's family had just that kind of formal living room, into which they weren't allowed without special dispensation. And there was definitely that division between adult activities and children's; we too got told to go (play/watch TV/outside/to bed) when parents needed grown-up time without us.

Betty may be an extreme, but she's not unbelievable. In fact, my husband thinks part of Betty's issue is mental illness: borderline personality disorder with a narcissistic overlay. Everything IS all about her; she truly cannot empathize or understand others don't feel exactly as she does. She just assumed since she no longer loves or wants to live with Don, her kids wouldn't either. So she had no idea they'd be so upset about her kicking him out.

Yes, the family busting up will be hard on these kids, but I for one do NOT want to see Don and Betty back together, and I do NOT want next season to be all about their changed relationship.

I want it to be all about the new shop and the "family" Don has created. The scenes that focus on the ad biz and the office relationships have always been my favorites.

And that Joan. Woo hoo! In a few more years, she and Peggy could start their own agency and be the perfect pair of Chief Managing Officer and Chief Creative Officer. (Mary Wells Lawrence founded Wells Rich Greene in 1966.) You go, girls!


Re parenting styles of pre- vs. post-60s: I am in the unusual position of having been raised during the 50s & 60s by a 30s-style grandma while my ahead-of-her-time divorced [now called single] mom worked at building a business.

Mom and Grandma definitely clashed on how I should be raised. My mother was permissive for the time [she loved Dr. Spock], which horrified Grandma. I both enjoyed and suffered from benign neglect because my mother worked 12-16 hour days, six or seven days a week. i loved the freedom yet resented the loss of my mother to her work.

I had my own first child in 1966 and regrettably bought into the older generation's parenting advice about not spoiling kids with too much attention. I see a lot of my immature, very young self in Betty, and find it hard to condemn her. I think she is depressed, as was I. My son, now 43, has had a difficult life thanks in part to my choices then. I wish I could change it, but all I could do was apologize and do differently with my second son, born 22 [!] years later. I learned a lot in the meantime and made much better choices.

So I have experience, as either child or parent, with the parenting styles of four generations. I'd say there is good and bad in all of them. Too bad we can't figure out a way to keep the good and get rid of the bad.


Thought I'd break this comment in two because it's about different subjects.

I've been thinking a lot about what makes Mad Men so different from other shows. It's not just the immaculate attention to period and detail, or even the great writing. I think the biggest difference is that the writers refuse to tell us what to think. There are no 'meaningful' closeups to make sure we get the point. It's up to us to figure it out, and that's what makes the show so fascinating and addictive, and why there's an explosion of discussion about it all over the web. You don't see this kind of analysis about any other show.

I'm really excited to see how this aspect of Mad Men will influence future writers and shows.


Thanks you guys for a season of FANTASTIC posts.

As someone who recently started a business, I watched this episode even more glued-to-the-screen than usual. I could relate to SO MUCH of it. I posted a little bit about this on my blog--and gave you guys props as THE BEST Mad Men blog out there. See http://www.smallbizdaily.com/2009/11/10/462/.

(Now, how am I gonna survive with Project Runway ending too???)


No one has mentioned the immigration difficulties Pryce might face working for himself in the USA and staying for an indefinite period. But even that is probably realistic: prior to the 1965 immigration reform, preference was given on the basis of national origin, with the British as the cream of the crop. While the early 60s was a low-immigration period (the last one we'll probably ever see), part of a lull between two high-immigration eras, I don't think it would really be all that difficult for a well-educated UK citizen to establish permanent residency. Probably a matter of filing a few forms.


TLo, you totally rock! Thank you so much for your wonderful insights.

Women of this time just did not have toned muscles or fitness routines. Opportunities to participate in sports other than tennis or horseback riding were very limited. My all-girls high school (I graduated in the late '60s) had only basketball and cheerleading teams for a student body of about 1600 girls.

In 1972, Title IX of the Equal Opportunity in Education Act forced schools and colleges to, among other things, provide equal access to (and funding for) sports for girls and boys. As more girls got involved in more sports, they became more interested in strength training, and the demand for this gradually increased. But it didn't happen overnight, and women who finished school before the early 70s missed out, for the most part.

I did read that Matt Weiner was very specific about not casting actresses with noticeably toned bodies for MM; he wanted that softer look.

And, btw, women squeezed into the unforgiving fashions of the day (straight skirts, tiny waists, fitted bodices) by means of longline bras and panty girdles (ugh).


P.S. I tried to find a photo of a top U.S. tennis player from the '60s to compare with, say, the Williams sisters as far as arm and shoulder musculature. No luck so far . . .


There has been a lot of speculation as to the future of the Betty/Henry storyline-
I, for one, would be happy to see the end of them, and Suzanne as well- off camera updates would be perfectly fine.
Starting a new company is enough drama without the intrusion of the suburban soap opera.


I appreciate the real world contributions from IP people (having had dealings with IP lawyers) but let's not forget: If Boston Legal's writers know diddly about the law, from the Federal, State to the decision tendencies of the Supremes, I can't expect the great writers of Mad Men (a far better show) to have a clue about IP and contract law.


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