Recap: Dark Shadows

 Posted by on May 14, 2012 at 12:40 am  Season 5
May 142012

I’m thankful that I have everything I want, and that no one else has anything better.

Mad Men-Dark Shadows-BettyBetty can’t just be happy. She can’t just have what she wants. Having what she wants doesn’t feel good. Instead, what feels good is having what she wants at the expense of others. It’s a mean-spirited way to live, and no amount of window-dressing can make it sound nicer. “Selfish” would be an improvement. She lacks self-awareness to such an extent that she can say the above as a sincere expression of gratitude at Thanksgiving. The Internet is full of Betty haters, and I don’t consider myself one of their number, but this aspect of her cannot be explained away, softened, or justified. It’s just nasty.

I know what you’re thinking. You thought I’d open with the “Every man for himself” quote. Clearly, that’s the/a theme of Mad Men Episode 5.09: Dark Shadows, and it’s also something that Matt Weiner has been talking about in the media. Because Weiner is so secretive about what’s to come on the show, when he releases a quote or a theme, it spreads like wildfire. Everyone has published these two quotes: “Every man for himself” and “When is everything going to get back to normal?”

Yet “Every man for himself” only takes us halfway on our journey. Don could have pushed hard for himself without ditching Ginsberg’s work in the cab. Betty could work to lose weight and be a supportive wife without trying to destroy Don’s new marriage. Pete could pursue Beth Dawes without taking a shot at her husband.

So, it’s every man for himself, sure, but it’s also about crushing the other guy in the process, and the notion that success just isn’t as much fun unless someone is under your bootheel. I don’t think many fans love Jane Sterling, but her plaintive realization that she’s been defeated by Roger touched me: “You get everything you want, and you still had to do this.” That, as much as Betty’s Thanksgiving gratitude, is the real point: Winning in this show’s world is hollow unless someone else loses.

What are the major plot lines this episode? First is Betty: Her weight struggle, and her competitiveness with Megan. Then comes Don and his competitiveness with Ginsberg. Then there’s Roger, who is competing with Pete for business and with Jane for a sense of ownership. Others are swept up into various competitions: Peggy versus Ginsberg, Pete versus Howard, Julia versus Megan. These people compete not only for themselves, but because they specifically and pointedly resent what others have.

I doubt fans will love this episode. There is, first of all, the Betty backlash to contend with. I think her character was absolutely compelling this week, but she usually sets off an Internet Comment Shitstorm. You heard it here first. It was also kind of a difficult episode. It didn’t have a lot of BANG WOW moments: I mean, sure, Megan in a bra, Beth in nothing at all, but no hand jobs or blow jobs or fisticuffs in sight, so maybe people will feel shortchanged. I also think seeing this kind of nastiness can be wearing; it feels petty and so you come away from it like Sally at the end of last episode; “Dirty.” The “killer smog” at the end of the episode really happened, and it also serves as a symbol for the creeping toxicity of these cutthroat shenanigans. It makes it hard to breathe for all of us, and I suspect some portion of the audience might react negatively.

A second, connected theme is secrecy, and people being outed. This is threaded throughout Dark Shadows: Secrets and the ability to expose secrets represent power, and power is what our characters compete for. Nothing is more insidious than Betty’s “sweetly” mentioning Anna Draper to Sally.

In Betty’s version of self-revelation at her Weight Watchers’ meeting, she’s so vague as to border on meaningless: She says merely that she experienced something that upset her. What upset her was another person’s happiness. Don and Megan have a magnificent apartment, and Megan has a young, beautiful body. Betty can barely contain how awful this makes her feel. Inadvertently finding a love note from Don to Megan puts her over the edge: It’s simply not okay for them to be in love, for Don to be sweet to Megan, for the Draper apartment to be more beautiful than the Francis house. (By the way, Megan is wrong about the distance; it’s 25 miles from Rye to 73rd and Park.)

Betty setting up Sally to ask just the right question to create havoc reminds me so much of Betty setting up Sara Beth in the Season 2 episode Six Month Leave (Betty has an Episode 9 pattern, I guess). She manages her feelings by making others suffer, this time in an episode where the Weight Watchers leader talks about stuffing the feelings you can’t express using food. Bettywants to feel differently; swallowing the mouthful of canned whipped cream and then spitting it out is a perfect encapsulation of that YES NO YES NO feeling; wanting and not wanting, stuffing and letting it out. She offers just the right kind of support and wisdom to Henry even while spreading her poison.

So, Betty tries to use outing someone’s secret as a weapon, and we get a sense of that with Jane and Ginsberg, too: Jewishness is a secret you have to keep in Roger’s social circles, a secret Roger required Jane to keep. Now he expresses power over her by pushing that secret out of the shadows. Roger wants Ginsberg to keep a secret and he says no; Peggy kept a secret for Roger, and each was paid for it (although Peggy was paid a lot more). Whoever holds the reins to a secret is ahead in this “doggy dog world.”

Some additional thoughts:

  • Henry wonders if he “bet on the wrong horse” for nothing. It seems like Betty is wondering the same, and Henry is that horse.
  • It looks like a senility plot might be in Bert Cooper’s future. Correcting “hip” for “hep” makes him seem amusingly out of touch, but not knowing that Roger and Jane are divorcing could be a bad sign.
  • Betty really enjoys food this episode: Whether it’s her meager breakfast, or a bit of steak, or a tiny bit of Thanksgiving dinner, she chews with gusto. In past seasons, when thin, she barely ate at all. Allowing herself or not allowing herself to experience pleasure is a whole motif with this character. At least chewing is some kind of start.
  • On the other hand, I feel like the chin appliance gets in the way of January Jones’s ability to use her face expressively.
  • Okay, fine, I said I wouldn’t, but I’ll give quote of the week to this: Peggy: “You are not loyal. You only think about yourself.” Roger: “Were we married? Because you’re thinking about yourself too. That’s the way it is, it’s every man for himself.”

This piece was originally published at IndieWire Press Play.


  338 Responses to “Recap: Dark Shadows”

  1. In my opinion a weak episode – by MM’s high standards, you understand.

    Very soap-ish.

    • My thought too. I was a little depressed after watching it. It seemed like just a high-class soap. Not a work of art anymore. I’m not looking forward to it now with great anticipation. It’s gotten kind of, meh.

    • Loved this one. A fresh air from the too megan sentric episodes.

    • What this episode did imho was to re-affirm the story lines of each character that have been developed in season five except with one twist. Don again is singled out for being competitive and improving his position. Betty is still overweight and unhappy, Megan is again reminded she abandoned “the struggle”, Roger is leveraging his LSD trip to become more serious about work, Sally is again reminded of her status “of having two families”, Pete cannot let Beth go, Peggy continues to back Don and act like him by drinking at work, Henry continues to think he understands Betty but he does not, Ginsberg is still a genius but an obnoxious genius, Stan is Stan, and Jane is still bitter towards Roger. And Bert Cooper is “there.” What more can you say about him?

      Joan had only one scene with Don reminding him of the firm’s creative talent. Hard to tell what is happening with her.

      But was this episode simply a regurgitation of the past 8 episodes? Not at all. If anything episode 9 provides the audience more evidence that except for Don, the remaining main characters of Mad Men are essentially dug in and that remaining 4 episodes will show the ramifications and consequences of their previous actions and decisions. :Let’s see where the imagination of the MM writers take us.

    • Loved this episode! So many characters, so much humor, so much sarcasm!!

  2. Wow, Deborah, you are FAST!

    • This is my record. It’s also the record of the great team at Indiewire Press Play, who have to put together their end of it before I can post. 🙂

  3. Great recap as always. My thoughts at the end of the show were more along the lines of the older crew being displaced by the younger crew. Betty who was always the young pretty wife being replaced by the newer version, Roger in his on going battle with Pete and his sense of being replaced by a younger man by Jane, and Don and his newer 2.0 version of himself, Ginzo. And one of the great lines of all times by Jane; “I’ve already had them” and she wasn’t talking about food. A passage of time and a handing off to a new group or person, not always the easiest thing to handle, even if you are secure in yourself which none of these people are, Roger being the notable exception. And even Roger realized his Alpha Male act caused someone grief. Rather sad and drifting, like the fog outside.

  4. “I forgot about you, and then I saw you in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.”

    This quote may sum up the whole episode. And what an episode it was! I loved the character exploration. This was far more satisfying than the season’s been in awhile. It was wonderful to have Betty back, and I love the Ginsburg-Don rivalry.

  5. This one will take a while for me to enjoy. Some really disquieting character moments.

    I don’t like Sally getting that spiteful streak. Bother her mother and father have it so she comes by it natural, I just don’t like it.

    Most awful/selfish/I-wish-they-didn’t-do-that-moments:
    Betty – telling Sally about Anna
    Don – looking slightly desperate by choosing his own idea
    Roger – pushing the issue with Jane when she told him she wanted a fresh start
    Pete – laying it on too thick regarding not needing an interview w/ Don (I’m fine w/ him being a dick about Don not being “present”– that’s truth)
    Ginsberg – praising his own work
    Peggy – man in the desert wasn’t strong compared to Don/Ginsberg

    Best moments (for me):
    Betty – she spit out the whip cream– good girl
    Don – verbal smackdown of Ginsberg – yay
    Roger – “Fiddler on the Roof, are we talking cast or audience?” Hee Second: we’re not married!
    Pete – At least he got contacted by the NYT, even if they blew him off (runner up the fantasy, but I think I’m the wrong demographic for that particular scene)
    Ginsberg – telling Roger he couldn’t keep a secret
    Peggy – standing up for herself that she’s more than just a niche area

    And yes Don, you hosed Peggy w/ beans.

    • Roger’s lines always slay me, but the Fiddler on the Roof one definitely makes my top 5. Other entries?

      • Sally asking Megan if shes going to go do some fake crying in her room!!!!!

        =-O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • What about Roger’s almost throw-away anti-Semitic aside when talking to Ginsberg: “They make wine for Jews. It’s cheap– surprise– and now they’re making one they want to sell to normal people.”
        The way he threw off that “It’s cheap– surprise…” made me do a double take!

    • Sally’s thirteen – typical snarky sass at that age (says mother of two and sibling to eight.)

  6. I think Ginsberg’s good work helps Don get his mojo back. I don’t think Don is desperate. I think. in an earlier scene when he sees the work laid out on the table and says to Joan that Peggy really got tied up with Heinz, he sees what Peggy was trying to tell him in an earlier episode, what Bert said as well, that he’s not pulling his weight. And now, with Megan gone from the office, he can get back in the game, and does.

    I think he weighed both pitches in the taxi on the way to the pitch, and selected the one he thought was stronger — his. Not to say he doesn’t feel threatened as well, but he’s a businessman first and has the sale uppermost in his mind at that moment.

    Loved Harry in the scene after that telling Ginsberg matter-of-factly that Don left the other boards in the car and that they nailed the sale and that’s the point.

    Also loved the moment with Don and Megan sitting side-by-side on the bed after their argument, apologizing to each other. Very nicely done.

    Thanks for the great recap and so soon! Very nicely done. :>

    • I completely agree with all of this, GoodSally!

    • That exchange was one of the most underrated moments of this episode. Sexual passion is one thing but when a couple is on the same wavelength out of bed, and really care about each other, they begin to see life from the other’s point of view. Prior to meeting Megan, Don was rarely
      interested in seeing anything from his sexual partner’s point of view and never this tender,

      We saw the old Don for about 30-45 seconds but the new Don suddenly realized what was happening and backed off. Betty was trying to stir up a hornet’s nest with Megan seeing through her right away.

      • I thought that scene was a very subtle way of showing how their relationship had deepened and from reviews I read, it wasn’t mentioned. The fact that Don could stop reacting and listen to Megan’s comments (‘she’s poisoning us from 50 miles away), process them, and then that they could both recognize that they were both in overreacting-mode was quite different from Betty’s mechanical support of Henry at the kitchen table.

        I really don’t know, even though there have been changes, if this relationship between Don and Megan will last. Jon Hamm, in the Actor’s Studio interview, said that Don is modeled on his own father, a hard-charging executive, widowed twice, who always had an air of sadness to him. I don’t think Hamm was forecasting but it did make me wonder.

        In any case, I’ve often thought that the women in MM were changing, and not the men but this episode makes me think that we’re seeing an evolution in some of the male characters, too.

  7. “I’m thankful that I have everything I want, and that no one else has anything better.”


  8. Betty could work to lose weight and be a supportive wife without trying to destroy Don’s new marriage.

    Actually, she can’t. Diets make people insane. She got less to eat at Thanksgiving than her 3-year-old son, and she’s already plateaued.

    • Meowser, I’ve done the diet insanity and it’s a good point, but Betty isn’t showing new or different personality traits than we’ve ever seen at any other time.

      • Yeah, but being hungry all the time probably isn’t helping her keep it together when she has to read Don’s mash note to Megan about frigging light bulbs, the likes of which she probably never got from him even at her trophy-wifiest. You can tell she’s trying really, really hard not to be an asshole, but being semi-starved for months on end can make anyone irrational (or in Betty’s case, unlock irrationality that already exists under the surface).

        • “Trophy-wifiest.” Love it!

        • Well, now that you say it, yes, Don’s note was soo cheesy!! 😀

        • Just my opinion here but I believe Betty could be peri-menopausal AND clinically depressed. With hormones gone crazy to match her mental state, nothing will ever make her happy and the grass will always be greener elsewhere. Those factors will diffinitely amplify her inner-bitch and the more she starves herself the worse each factor becomes. No one likes the ‘you made your bed-now lay in it’ eye-opening that I think is screaming at her as she sees what she walked away from becomes another woman’s life. Doesn’t matter if she was happy or not, it’s not hers anymore.
          I was wondering if this is prep for a future diet pill addiction, like my mother and her friends all had in the ’60s. But depression was such a ‘not talked about’ thing back then. This could be a fabulously dramtic ‘decent’ for January Jones to make Emmy-worthy as Betty tries to bring everyone to their knees only to succeed in alienation and the realization of her unpleasant ugliness.
          I just hope whatever the writers are aiming for with Betty that it’s layered complexity and not simply making her a whiney and aging spoiled brat.

    • Diets don’t make you mean. Speaking form personal experience, second marriages can affect first wives beyond belief. Being on a receiving end of a “Betty with less class” for years now, I can tell you it’s just pure evil, with every word and action geared toward creating discontent… and using the children is par for the course.

    • She’s actually making it worse by undereating. Her body’s metabolism will slow and hang onto every calorie for dear life because it thinks she’s starving (which, in a manner of speaking, she is.) She would have been much better off eating a great big salad and a slice or two of turkey with a wee bit of gravy.

      • Diets were formulated quite differently then — even WW was different, they didn’t have points yet.

        • Yes, in those days WW made you weigh and measure everything precisely, which meant no eating away from home ever, made you eat fish five nights a week (hence Henry’s comment), and — the capper — once a week liver. That was their CYA move; if you hated liver and refused to eat it and didn’t lose all your weight, they could say, “Well, did you have liver every week?”

          And oh, man, the recipes. Anyone who wants a hilarious trip back to Diet Nightmare Memory Lane needs to check these out, Wendy McClure’s riffs on real WW recipe cards from the 1970s. Prepare to snorf whatever is currently in your mouth.

  9. Was this “The Suitcase” or “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.”? No, but I thought this was a very good episode and continues the setup for what I am hoping to be a killer story arc to end Season 5. Maybe my opinion is overly swayed by Megan not being the center of everything and by “Pete’s Dream” (My, my Rory how you’ve grown up!).

    Deborah, I find your ability to create such an insightful and cogent essay so soon after the airing of the episode amazing. Please keep up the great work. Are you certain you don’t get an advance peek (just kidding)?

    • Didn’t think Rory was a great actress on GG, and dont think she is good now on MM.

      • I think for a young actress she was good. And maybe it is hard to create a character like Rory.

  10. Of the episodes so far in S-5, Dark Shadows had the feel, pacing, intrigue and interpersonal character and plot line interplay that have been missing for many viewers this season. It’s also nice to again see the focus be on life in the agency and the struggle to win new clients. I understand that things in life (and on TV dramas) change, and Matt has noted the theme of change this year, but I found this episode to be quite satisfying.

    I’m not a “Betty hater,” but she has frustrated me in previous seasons. I was actually glad to see more of her this week — that is, until she manipulated Sally with the secret about Anna Draper. She really needs to grow up.

    Sally gets the Line of the Week Award for how she handled the topic of Anna, in the kitchen with Betty:

    Betty: You asked her (Megan) about Anna?

    Sally: Yes. Daddy showed me pictures and they spoke very fondly of her.

    • This episode had the tempo and quick scene changes that were more common in previous seasons, yes.

    • And how long do you think it will be before Sally makes a trip to the library and asks the librarian, “Are there any laws that would make you have to get married even if you didn’t want to?” Maybe the librarian will tell her, “Maybe someone would have to get married if he was from another country and needed to get married in order to stay in America.” Or maybe the librarian will look at her like she just sprouted four-foot fangs, and the eau de rat will only get stronger.

  11. Who are these divorced folks you all know who are unselfish and magnanimous and never have hurt feelings about their former spouses? Can I replace my parents with them? Betty and Don seem to be acting exactly like divorced, remarried people, little digs at each other via the kids. You can want the best for your ex-husband and still wince to see a love note written to his new wife, that doesn’t make you a monster.

    • Very, very true. It seems like everything Betty does is seen through a “Betty is a horrible person” lens and on top of that is used as more evidence to prove that she’s irredeemably bad.

      • And Megan is put up to be a saint too.

        • Megan’s bad side is overlooked. That was a horrible comment megan said to Betty about the apratment “I am sure you’ve seen most of it.” Betty wouldn’t have had to circle the block waiting, have stress with Henry, go up to the apartment at all if Don and Megan were behaving responsibly. If Megan were in Betty’s shoes, she would be curious about the apartment. And since the children live there, Betty actually has every right to see what it is like. At any rate, Don and Megan forced Betty to have to go up to the apartment by their rude, inconsiderate behavior.

          • Wow, I didn’t consider that remark rude. She could have said something much stronger. Even if Betty and Henry had to wait, even if Betty had to come upstairs, it was clear, by her hesitation at first, that Betty knew she was trespassing by walking through the apartment, which is what she did.

            I wondered why Megan was changing clothes just then (other than it was an opportunity for the writers to give us that shot of Betty seeing Megan dressing). Maybe she was putting on nicer clothes to take the kids down to the lobby in case she saw Betty?

          • I disagree. Betty has NO right to see what it is like. do you this Mr Francis would like Don walking around their house? He didnt even like that Don, the father of his wife’s children, knew about the cancer scare. Betty was snooping. We do not know what the pick up arrangements were but even if Megan was supposed to meet them in the lobby but she didnt because she lost track of time, Betty had no right to walk around. And she never called out to Megan to let her know she was there

          • “I am sure you’ve seen most of it.” – I took that to be a metaphorical reference to Betty’s seeing Megan in her bra.

            Similar to Sally’s desrciption of the City – “it’s dirty” (a metaphor for witnessing Mrs. Calvet and Roger at the Codfish Ball.

            After all, Betty surprised Megan – who was taken aback.

          • I liked that scene: Henry sending Betty up to get the kids, Betty hesitant but curious, unwilling to stand outside the apartment but not exactly invited in. Then walking in anyway, stranger-in-a-strange-land style.

            What made it work was the surprise meeting of the two women: very well-mannered people who absolutely do not want to run into each other but end up doing just that, and have to say something. JJ and JP captured the awkward civility of such a meeting beautifully.

            I wouldn’t give too much weight to what either of them says in that scene. I’ve been in a situation that was a bit like that, and you are never at your best. It would be tough for anyone.

          • I didn’t find it rude – I thought Megan meant it literally. It was an open floor plan and there’s nothing more to see except bedrooms and bathrooms.

            • Brenda, that’s what I thought as well. Also, “Please don’t think I’m giving you a tour–this is awkward enough as it is.”

          • yeah, I didn’t think it was rude either, she was just saying that what you see now is it, you can see most of it now. It was her attempt to maybe downplay the size of the apartment.

          • To me, it was Megan’s face that said clearly she thought Betty was out of line. Betty did point out that the doorman buzzed.

            I don’t see Betty as intruding, it’s an open floor plan- she walked around the one room. I would have thought it more rude if she went peeking behind doors or if she marched into the kids room to get them to go.

            I had the same question about Megan changing clothes, why?

          • I understand that Betty was curious about the apartment but I hate that she looked around. In my opinion she’s has enough hurt feelings to deal with without taking in new information to process and release. I agree with those of you who don’t see why Megan had to change clothes with the door open while her step kids were in that open floor plan. Too bad Betty caught that glimps but she should have stood at the door.

      • I think the Betty character is penalized by January Jones’ inability to act. Stuff comes off as overly dark because she can’t portray normal human dimension.

        Great episode, though. Totally riveted, hated when it was over. Only problems for me were Don leaving the work in the cab and the reveal on Pete’s dream, both needlessly soapy. Moratorium on dreams/fantasies/flashbacks being revealed after the fact would be good at this point.

        Scene with Ginsberg and Sterling was so killer.

        • I do not understand this JJ-hate, I think she is brilliant as the introverted, isolated and passionate Betty Draper.

        • I don’t get this, Gary Middleton. I predict January Jones wins the Emmy this year!

      • Exactly! And everything don does bad swept away. No one would be able to recover the from the years of horrid, incessant abuse that don put Betty through, not even a well adjusted together person. Given that Betty arrived to the Don-Betty marriage already damaged by her abusive parents (and perhaps also by society), it would be ridiculous to not expect some unfortunate side effects. Now Don can do all sorts of evil to his first wife, his children, his own brother, etc., but because he is dashing and handsome, it is washed over. Don and Megan can carry on with an air of contempt for Betty which the children of course pick up on and start to take on as there own, and that is fine because “evil Betty” supposedly deserves it.

        • I should say no one would be able to recover that quickly without self awareness and probably some counseling of some sort. I am hoping MW does some good with Betty using the WW meetings.

        • Yes! I have a soft spot for Betty as well.

        • I totally agree. People forget that Don often says nasty things about Betty in front of the kids.

          • Too true. He made a huge dig at Betty when explaining Anna to Sally.

            Also, I am under the impression that Don actually called Betty ‘fat’ to Megan while discussing Betty telling Sally about Anna. I know ‘sticking your nose in someone else’s business’ is one of those sayings that gets passed around, but Don used the word FAT in front and that stuck out to me.

            This all gets back to Betty’s cancer scare and her fear that the kids would never hear a kind word about her again (at this rate, judging by last night, I would say that she is right).

            I also found Megan a bit rude to Betty when she came in, and then there was that facial expression after Betty left with the kids which I read to say (how fat is she???) lol

      • Brooklyn Jan:

        Seen by Weiner and the writers as a horrible person, or seen by a majority of Mad Men fans as a horrible person?

        One of the fundamental pillars of the Betty Francis character, the way she’s been created and developed in Mad Men, is not that she’s a horrible person (she isn’t), but that her upbringing, life expectations, and social milieu have left her dramatically underequipped for all the horrible things she’s been put through. She’s wounded at a very deep core level, much like Katherine Olson. She can’t express or stand up for something/someone good without expressing bitterness/frustration/meanness/dislike toward another individual. That’s what pain does, and Betty’s parents — combined with the ethos of the late 1950s (when she married Don) — did not give her the tools needed to deal with pain in a psychologically healthy way.

    • Competely agree. Betty was just being human. What about Don’s line to Sally about how her mother doesn’t mind hurting her just to make trouble for him and Megan ? Was that better quality parenting?

      • No, that is of the same quality as Don calling Betty, the mother of his children, a whore when he confronted Betty about Henry Francis. And the same quality as making Betty and Henry a laughingstock in front of his children such as by referring to them as Lurch and Morticia. And also the same quality as Don’s explanation to Sally about Anna. Don, if he were less evil, would have explained to Sally a version closer to the truth. Don would have said, Sally, Anna was my first wife. It is something that upsets your Mom because I lied to your Mom and didn’t tell her about Anna for years. or something like that. So Sally could see that while Betty should not have told that, Betty is not evil out to destroy Don and Megan while don and Megan are beyond perfect the way Don presented it, but rather that it is an unfortuante situation. A situation that don alone caused but that Betty alone pays for.

      • I don’t think Don’s line was comparable at all; Don was just pointing out the truth to Sally that her mother was trying to sow seeds of discontent between Sally and Don, and Don/Megan. Say what you want about Don, but he’s a great father and it would’ve be a shame to see Sally turned against him.

        • So all of a sudden Don is a great father? Since when? Is this the same father who left his daughter’s birthday party to get her cake and never came back? Is this the same father who stayed away from home most of his children’s waking time, out whoring and committing adultery? Is this the same father who lied to their mother and to THEM about his name, his history? Is this the same father who always put work first? Is this the same father who couldn’t be bothered forming relationships with any of them or stand to spend more than a more minutes at a time with them ever?

          Don a “great” father? I don’t think there is ANY evidence of that. A couple of months of 2 weekends a month playing every other weekend daddy with his new, young wife doing most of the parenting does NOT make Don a great father!

          • Yeah, and Don never even got the colored pencils Sally wanted!

          • Brooklyn Jan, how old are you? Not a jab or rhetorical question, just wondering if you are old enough to remember the period in person or not. I am. Don was not an unusual father for the period. In fact he is more engaged with his kids than many fathers of the time. Children were their mother’s purview. He didn’t beat his kids as he was beaten by Archie; he didn’t verbally abuse them as he was by Abigail. Fathers were not your friend or confidant then, They were your fathers. (And confidentially, they often were not missed. They were off doing their mysterious “work” or traveling on business or fixing something in their workshop or golfing on the weekend.) They meted out punishment and allowances – and occasionally took you out for a treat. Fathers did not hang out with their children.

          • Floretta, you are describing a subset of fathers in the sixties. It depends on where you lived, and what your station in life was. My dad (Don’s age) was the kind of dad you mention, often absent, and a stern authoritarian when present. I was afraid of him and loved him madly. Many friends my age have a totally different experience, though, with dads who were very present and warm. And there are all kinds of other experiences, across the ethnic, geographic, social, and cultural spectrum.

          • Absolutely! Don has been slacking at work for months and needs to go in on a weekend when he has the kids and leave them with Megan. Don disappeared for 3 weeks.

          • That must be the first time I have ever heard don draper described as a good father! and betty is a wonderful actress. she is a product of her times. but did they have to make her look so frumpy for contrast last night?

          • For being born in the 20s and being a parent in the 50s and 60s, Don is indeed an excellent father. He isn’t a father of the 90s or aughts, so he should not be judged through a modern lense. His time with his children now, in 1966, is subject to the family code — it isn’t possible that he would get them more than he already does unless their mother died or something like that.

          • I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and there is no way Don would have been considered a good father back then let alone a great father. Don has had tender moments, but that is about it.

        • I strongly dispute Don being a “great dad”.

          • Cheers to this. I don’t see Don as the ideal father, though it is easy for him to play the role now that he sees the kids every other week or so.

            While married to Betty Don was rarely home with the kids (he admitted this to clients, I think it was Hilton). He was also short-tempered, and not respectful to their mother (in too many ways to count).

        • The kids love him and love being with him. Sally has always begged to live with him, which says a lot about both Don and Betty. He has never hit them, unlike Betty (nor has he threatened to cut their fingers off). Not being around due to work doesn’t make him a bad dad. I would rather have a kind father who isn’t around a lot than an ever-present abusive one.

          As for the birthday, he ended up bringing them home a dog, which Sally loved.

          You know, Don reminds me of the dad speaking in that Chrysler ad that runs during Mad Man commercial breaks…” I worked long hours and I didn’t see Steven much…”

          • but I let him sit on my lap and watch me gamble with my friends, an activity I did make time for. 🙂

          • “But now that Steven has made something of himself, I’m here to take full credit. He’s a chip off the ol’ block, I tell ya” 😀

          • Dad’s bringing home dogs without consulting their wives is a classic bad husband move. She is the one who winds up taking care of the dog

          • Whatever happened to Polly?

          • When you destroy the marriage to the mother of your children by consistently lying and sleeping around, I don’t know if you’ll be up for any Dad of the Year awards. Say what you will about Betty, but she’s less at fault for her kids being the children of a divorce than Don is. In fact, I’d like to think even Don would own up to that.

            That said, the Don/Betty marriage had become so toxic that the children are better off under two stable roofs than a single, unstable one. Well, unless Grandma Francis is around to tell stories of abuse and serial killers.

        • It’s very easy to be a “great father” when you only see the kids every other weekend.

    • Let’s remember folks, Betty and Don were far from Ward and June Cleaver when they were together. Getting a divorce does not make you acquire good parenting skills that you did not have before. Don has all kinds of relationship issues, and Betty (bless her heart)….. at times it has been difficult to tell, particularly with Sally, who is the parent and who is the child.

    • yes, yes, yes…. All the comments here are right on. Betty is such an easy target for folks but you all have categorized the truth behind ALL the bad behavior, ala the Anna Draper mess – Sally gets a nod here, too, as she was awful to Megan.. I wanted to say, too, that Betty’s comment at dinner was almost a “did i say that out loud kind of comment.” Betty doesn’t honestly believe that she she has it better than everyone else, in fact, she is simply trying to make herself feel better, ala Francine – “You have everything to lose.” Betty is hurt because Don is giving Megan everything that Betty wanted from him and it hurts to see him be able to give it to someone else. Betty was crazy about Don. Betty wanted to be his partner, to know him better, to have his undivided attention… I don’t think Betty is unredeemable. She knows exactly what she wants – she wants Don back. PS. January Jones played this perfectly, too.

      • I think January Jones is a fantastic actress in the role of Betty.

      • I have to admit…seeing all of the happiness between Don and Megan through Betty’s eyes/lens made me want to see Don’s marriage fail too. Betty isnt an angel and I know Don is our main character but Don does not deserve a happy marriage after putting Betty through a shitty one. I get that hes happy but I do not like him this season, especially how he is at work.

      • When the other person in your failed relationship becomes Superman in his new one it is very painful. Though you know intellectually that different pairings cause different behaviours, you cannot help but to feel as though you were nothing but a Lab Rat. I don’t think there was anything wrong with what Betty said at Thanksgiving. If she says it to herself often enough, she might really believe it and then will be free of the pain bit by bit.

      • Eh, I’m not sure about that. I don’t think Betty wants to go back to the way things were. I think it’s more that she envies Megan and Don’s childfree (all but four days a month), glamorous, big-city existence, complete with uxurious mash notes, constant lovemaking, swanky penthouse, and creative fulfillment — the very thing Betty would have loved to have for herself but wouldn’t have dared ask for, much less demand, because she didn’t even think it was possible. And there’s no way in the world Don would have given it to her back in 1953, either.

  12. Lot of Megan and Ginsberg lately. At least Don actually made up an advertisement this episode.

    Pound for pound, I feel like Kiernan Shipka might be doing the best work on this show.

    That whiny redhead was too hard on Dark Shadows, but I admit it started slow. It went crazy after a while and became highly watchable, but I don’t think it was quite there at the time this Mad Men episode was set.

    • You are correct about DS. I, like so many at the time (I was 10), became hooked when the Barnabas Collins character was introduced about a year into the show’s run. It was running on fumes at that time and if it would have been on any network but woeful ABC(known then as the Almost Broadcasting Company), it would have probably been cancelled. Barnabas became nearly as popular as Batman… Jonathan Frid who played him was all over the teen magazines although he was in his forties.

      • Didn’t the “The Man from Uncle” and “Star Trek” premiere in the fall of 1966. I’ve been waiting for references to it.

        • Star Trek… Yes. The Man from UNCLE… No. I believe it premired in 1964. If you recall Sally and her sleepover friend were watching an episode of it when Sally was discovered to be doing something, “good girls don’t do”.

          • Thanks, you are right. I just Googled it and it premiered in the fall of the 1964. Man, I was a junior in high school — how could I have forgotten? Hehehehe, must be getting old.

  13. [Betty] manages her feelings by making others suffer …

    True. She does. We’ve seen her do it before. But in this episode, one of the people she makes suffer is her own daughter.

    I struggle to like Betty, but even I can’t like this.

    • Hi Anne … there is a beautiful essay written by Taffy Brodesser-Akner entitled “How I Met My Mother” on today — I mention it because it may aide your struggle to understand Betty, a character with many traits similar to my own mother. I was thinking as I read Taffy’s essay this morning, that it could be written by Sally in 30 years time. Hope it helps, Betty is a complex character.

      I personally viewed her “outing” of Don’s true identity to his daughter as an act of love, motivated by despair not jealousy. She needed to spare Sally the devastation of learning her father has secrets and can lie about them without hesitation or seeming morality. Don’s lie to her about his own identity was such a violation to the dignity of her ego that it still haunts her day-dreams — she is broken open. Did she act intuitively knowing that the longer she allowed Don to keep these same secrets from their child, the harder the rug, when pulled out from under her, would feel. Sure, her execution was wobbly, but I wonder deep down if her motivation was loving. Motherhood is not for sissies.

      Warmly, Jody

      • And how did you see Betty’s petulant sweeping of things on the table onto the floor when Sally reported back how “kind” and honest Megan had been in her explanation of Anna, then? If the intent had been loving, what was Betty annoyed about?

        • I dunno. “Petulant” is a good word to describe it … I don’t want to admit it, but one time I kicked my dog. I was frustrated that my carefully orchestrated life was playing out as a cacophony instead of a symphony and I knew the problem started with not knowing where the middle C was.

        • I thought it was telling that what Betty knocked to the floor, once she was finally alone in that kitchen, was the celery: her own food.

          The person Betty hurts most is herself.

          • Or maybe she just hates celery. Who can blame her.

          • The person Betty hurts most is Sally. Betty is hurting, no doubt. Betty is selfish and self-loathing. She acts out in ways she ultimately regrets, but she has no tools to adequately make things right. As mothers, most of us could admit (at least to ourselves) that we’ve said or done some terrible things we wish we could take back. I like Betty despite her faults. I feel so sorry for her. I do think she’s growing though.

        • I personally read it as partly the same old tragically childish Betty, not getting her way, BUT with a new hint of anger at herself because she is gaining a smidge of self-awareness and knows she hurt her daughter. For nothing.

      • Even if I agree with your premise of Betty having the best of intentions, I think you would have to agree if the scenario of Don phoning Betty to scream at her for mentioning Anna had played out and had been carried to its ultimate conclusion, Don would have been upset at Betty, also upset at Megan and finally upset at Sally for bringing it up at all.

        And that could have caused an estrangement between Don and Sally and a bone of contention between Don and Megan to arise and thereby weakening their marital bond.

        In other words, regardless of Betty’s intentions, the results would have been the same. But the reason the scenario did not play out was because Megan was perceptive enough to understand what was going on.

        • I didn’t mean to imply she had best of intentions, just the suggestion that she maybe was motivated as much by love as any notion of jealousy. Her experience of Don’s shame was overwhelming and she figured he would continue to lie, sin of omission style, until forced to be honest. Her action was instinctive and impulsive, not calculated. She didn’t stop to consider the consequences. She just was not willing to be a party to his lies — by not telling Sally her true family tree.

          If she did not tell Sally … she would have been the one dishonest with her daughter. Play that consequence out a decade or two later “Mother — you knew all along and didn’t tell me? Who can I trust?”

          • Betty protected the children from don’s abuse for most of their upbringing. Don skipping out on Sally’s birthday party without a thought to his kids. Then coming home with Polly the dog. Betty accepting the dog and quietly saying to don “I don’t knowwhat to say.” but letting the kids rejoice over the dog. In the life is unfair department, Betty protected the kids from Don’s abuse of them, and put Don in the best light. Don teaches his kids to disrespect and laugh at their mother and her new husband. But let Betty make human mistakes, and that is all the internet will focus on. I really want MW to show more dimension to Betty and emphasize the good with the bad.

        • How many baskerteers believe that Don has told everything re Dick Whitman to Megan? And, if not everything, what has he held back?

          The true, complete origin of the wedding ring?
          How he rejected Adam? How that rejection likely led to Adam’s suicide?
          That he is a deserter?
          That he was often ready to desert his wife and children ( e.g. with Rachael )?
          That he kept those secrets from Betty?
          That he had a history with Sally’s teacher and was ready to desert his family for her?
          More ?

          • Great questions, Alex! I don’t believe Don has told ANY of these things to Megan. He’s more likely fluffed over the top, giving her the PG version and leaving out all the hard stuff. He CERTAINLY has not told her of his mental, emotional or verbal abuse of Betty, or his active neglect by absence of his children since their births.

            Megan just thinks she knows about Don. She’s in for a big surprise if she ever finds out the full story. Not that this full story will ever come from Liar Don.

          • I don’t think Don has told everything to Megan. No way, no how.

            I think that come season 7 (1969/1970), Don will tell Sally everything.

            Perhaps in season 6, for all I know. It will be explosive, and it will mark the next particularly pivotal moment for both Sally and Betty. (Glenn could quite possibly be thrown into the mix.)

          • I believe Don has chosen his words carefully when he told Megan about certain things.

          • I agree with you all–I don’t believe Don has told Megan everything. To this day, we see he is perfectly capable of doing and saying things that are various shades of “dishonest” (leaving the ad in the cab, for example. Telling the madame that he was raised in a brothel, which sounded a more romantic than the whole truth: that he was raised in an oppressively poor, frontier-esque home by an abusive, dishonest man who didn’t even earn the respect of hobos. And so on.)

            Don’s reaction to Megan’s Zou Bisou Bisou performance reminded me of his reaction to Betty the day after the fashion show, when she had on that stunning yellow swimsuit-and-coverup outfit. Remember? He was disgusted; he said it made her look “desperate”. There is a Puritanical streak in Don, born of his oppressive upbringing, that raises its ugly head despite his efforts to seem Continental (notice how, when in Rome, he quickly learned that European men will light a woman’s cigarette for her, something he’d never done previously but would always do thereafter). I say all this because I see Don as someone who only reveals as much as he feels he needs to reveal.

            I call that lying by omission. He did it Big Time with Betty–he omitted his whole identity!–and he’s done it to a certain extent with Megan. We don’t know exactly what he’s told her about Dick’s past, but you can be certain it isn’t anything close to the whole truth.

            • Two things: First, on second viewing, it is clear that Don did not dishonestly leave the ad in the cab. The first time I watched, I thought he pretended to forget. On second viewing, you can hear him say “We’re not showing two” to the other guys and pointedly leaving it. Which isn’t nice by any stretch, but is at least honest.

              Second, I feel he told Megan as much as he possibly could. I’m sure he left out that he purposely switched the dog tags, and I’m sure he left out that the explosion was his own fault–those are the things beyond the pale, that he’s never been able to tell. But I think he gave her as complete a story as he was capable of giving. I think he decided to really try not to fuck up this marriage, and as bad as his habits are, I think he’s giving that his all, and that means as much truth as he knows how to give.

        • Is there any evidence that Henry Francis knows about Don’s true identiy? Does anyone know? If Don had confronted Betty for telling Sally, that blow-out would have been too huge to hide from Henry. What then?

      • Someone else said it best, we are seeing the toxic consequences of Don’s behavior hurt everyone he has abused, lied to, etc., including Betty, his children, and even Megan who has already gotten some abuse from Don. Don may genuinely grow and change, I ahven’t seen yet whether he has or not, but it is at the expense of his first wife and his children. Again, I hope MW gives Betty more humanity rather than less.

        • I do not like how this seems to portray Betty as a helpless victim. Don was emotionally abusive and abandoning, and in some ways, so was Betty. There were two people in that marriage. The ‘poor Betty she was fine until Don got to her’ concept doesn’t work for me.

          • It is not a poor Betty she was fine until Don got to her concept. There was abuse of Betty in her upbringing before Don ever appeared on the scene. They are both flawed. But what we seem to see are Betty’s flaws magnified and Betty demonized, while at the same time no matter how evil Don’s behavior, he is painted as the “good” guy. At least that is how I see it. Betty doesn’t (in my opinion) even see what is possible with herself. I hope she does. I am hoping that the WW therapy, such that it is, is the catalyst for that with the Betty character.

          • You are right Deborah. I’m not a Betty hater; but we must be honest. She is a fifteen year old going around in a thirty-something body. I believe her biggest problem with Glen and Sally’s relationship was that she was jealous of Sally, and her reaction to Henry about Don doing something or other, “He doesn’t get to__________”. The reaction of a petulant child.

          • There were two people in their marriage, Deborah. And imo the far worst of the two was/is Don. There is no comparison, again imo. He was not only emotionally abusive and abandoning; Don was also mentally and verbally abusive. He also, from the very first episode of MM and throughout four seasons, constantly and consistently cheated on her and lied to her about it, then ridiculed her when she brought it up. Let’s not even mention the whole horrific months-long situation with the psychiatrist. That piece alone is vomit inducing.

            • No question. I hope I’ve never suggested otherwise. But some of the sympathy to Betty really feels like she was a saintly victim, and I can’t support that. There are no saints.

    • Betty was clearly wrong in the way that she told Sally about Anna. What strikes me is how Don and Megan lie about to Sally telling Sally that don and Anna got married to help each other thus putting something Don did wrong in a light that casts Don as a good guy who married someone to help her out. Don and Anna didn’t get married to help each other out. Don stole another man’s identity and Anna saved Don by not turning Don in. Don (Dick) and Anna never got married. Anna and the real Don’s marriage just stayed ongoing until Anna granted fake Don the divorce to allow him to marry Betty. Similar to Sally talking to Glen on the phone when she probably wasn’t supposed to be, letting the phone cord lie in the hall in a dangerous way thus tripping the grandmother and then Sally spinning it, lying that it was baby Gene’s toy that caused the trip and that Sally did good and saved the day. Makes me wonder how much if at all Don realizes how his actions contributed to the current problems of everyone since he spins the story in such as way the he looks like a savior. Don and Megan could have explained the Anna past in an age appropriate way that didn’t through Betty under the bus and that allowed that while Betty was wrong to bring it up in this way, it is understandable based on the history.

      • Really, really good points, Marylou. It was another BIG LIE from Don that HE married Anna at all! How could we have forgotten that?! DICK (who this man really is) did NOT marry Anna — Don the man DIck stole his identity from, did. So Don perpetuates the BIG LIE while supposedly coming clean with his daughter and sh*tting on Betty once again in the process.

        And it is interesting to see that Megan, before Don once again lied, jumped right in and lied for him. Makes me wonder even more what version of the BIG LIE Don actually told Megan. And if Megan knows the full truth about Don/Dick and she STILL LIED to Sally, then Don has probably met his match in the lying department. Two peas in a pod for sure in that event.

        • So given that Betty told her daughter that Don was married to Anna, what should Don and Megan have said instead? You are stating that they told a big lie to Sally. So what should Don and Megan have told Sally instead that would have been age appropriate? “You’re mother was lying. Your father never got married to Anna.” I think what they told Sally was as good as it could have been. And shame on Betty. If Betty said it with love or any consideration of her daughter, she would have given an explanation to Sally rather than saying ask Megan. Shameful. Spiteful.

          • We can look at it from the perspective of let’s point out how horrible a person Betty is and ignore the full picture. Or we can look at the full picture and what is really happening.

          • You didnt answer the question. Given that Betty started this, what should Don and Megan told Sally instead that was not a HUGE lie but which a 12 year old could handle? The full picture is that Betty said something out of spite triggered by the love note she saw accidentally (which no doubt she deserved to get when she was married to Don but did not), and instead of explaining it she told a 12 year old to go ask the second wife, not even her father, but the 2nd wife.

          • That’s a good question, and of course, I don’t have any answer. MW created a situation here, genius really, that there was no good way Don could have gotten himself out of this one. Of course, Betty should not have told Sally about Anna. I do get why she did. MW is really a genius in the way he set this whole scene up.

        • so true about don not having married Anna. I thought Megan may have just been clumsy putting it into words but now I really wonder what she does know. Don is so used to lying I think it’s automatic.

      • I believe (and have taught my children) that to be kind is better to be “honest”.

        Certainly, Don (and Megan as his betrothed) have selfish reasons to shade the “truth” about Anna and Dick, however, I thought they played it about right with Sally.

        Sally has enough to contend with with four parents and whatever baggage they choose to saddle her with. Detailed knowledge about (working backwards) meeting Betty, divorcing Anna, buying her a house, Anna catching up to Dick, desertion, the stolen Draper identity, etc. amounts to much too much information.

        Telling Sally that dad and Anna did not live together, did not have children, and married because of “a law”, not only addresses Sally’s probable concern about other siblings and the pre-divorce state of the Betty/Don union, but also shuts off (at least deflects or postpones) further interrogation.

        I would bet that Don did show Sally whatever pictures he might have of Anna (and was careful to “lie” by omitting others).

        When it serves to kindly limit damage, lying is sometimes the BEST policy.

        • It is not the best policy when it is done in a way that throws the mother under the bus casting her in a wrong worst light while making yourself appear as a saint. Of course Don should not have told Sally everything. He should have come clean as much as reasonable in a way the gave Sally a true picture. Don’s contempt and disprespect hurt Betty and the children when they were married, Don’s contempt and disrespect and alienation of the chidlren against the mother (Morticia and Lurch, referring to Betty’s fat face, poisoning Sally by telling Sally that Betty doesn’t care about hurting her that all your mother wants to do is hurt me and Megan) and continue to cause harm now. Except Don gets to paint a fantasy version where he is nearly perfect and demonize Betty.

          • You have made so many good points, Marylou. I agree with your take on it.

          • I think most of us will stipulate that Don is no model of male parenting, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts how much more of the “truth” would serve Sally?

            I tend to agree that casting Betty in a bad light does not serve Sally, with the possible salutary side effect that Sally may take her mother’s future comments about Don and his past with a lump of salt.

        • Unfortunate, but true.

      • Actually they did help each other out – Anna didn’t turn him in and he provided for her financially, buying her the beach house. Eventually they became what you might call best friends, she supporting him when he was upset and confused, him there for her – as far as she would let him – when she was ill, backing off only when her sister told him to. She gladly granted him the “divorce” he needed to marry Betty.

        btw, what’s all the fuss about Don refering to Henry and Betty as Morticia and Lurch (should be Morticia and Gomez, but whatever)? Sorry, I find it funny, not awful. I grew up wth relatives referring to each other with much less kind names but – hello? – I’m not scarred for life. In fact hardly anyone in my dad’s generation didn’t have a nickname – you still see them in obits e.g. Joe “Knuckles” Smith. In fact a local writer did an entire column on “can you match the person with the nickname?” for the local paper – and it ran nearly 100 names (I got about two-thirds right, lol.) Some of them were: Jitch Walsh; Pearshape Hickey; Zinc LaDouce; Moe DeChick; Kiki Raymond; Cy Leide; Zeke Secaur; Red Martin; Spider Ganey; Monk Curtin; Sandy Marullo; Ace Collins; Rocky Vivenzio; Duke McGrath; Ebby Boyle; Zip Kromer; Tojo Netti; Duck Hughes; Renny Renahan; Curly Gangarosa etc. The contest was to see how many real first names you could get right.

        • btw “Jitch” Walsh is John Walsh’s uncle (from America’s Most Wanted – nice family.)

        • Yes, it is funny to have nicknames, but not in front of the children. Children of divorce are scrambled enough in the head without having secret jokes about their parents. The kids can do that with eachother but it is not appropriate IMO for the ex’s to initiate that kind of humor.

        • I also thought the “Morticia and Lurch” comment was funny. For all we know, it could be a family joke about them living in the Addams Family house. We don’t know. Take it for what it is.

  14. Don feels threatened by Ginsberg. Fun to see and listen to his passive aggressiveness when Gins stood up for him self and his work in the elevator.

    • I liked the comparison with Roger loosing his standing to Pete and Don loosing his place to Ginsburg.

      • Thank you.

        But I feel that we soon will see that the “eldest are oldest” and some true mojo work from Bert and that today was just a “dark (for)shadow. 😉

      • I think Don needed the competition and will be back to his game. He wasn’t just a good ad man, he could sell the ideas to clients. Ginsberg isn’t smooth enough to do that.

  15. A really nice episode, with a great variety of characters involved, lots of scene changes, good writing etc. Also, it’s nice to finally see Betty (and Cooper!) again.

  16. For me Dark Shadows was primarily about the dynamic that exists underneath the surface between Betty and Megan on so many levels. Here are the areas which it explored:

    a) The quick note Don left Megan on the back of the drawing:

    In Season one episode 6 Babylon, we find out that Betty will NOT have sex with Don with the lights on (tells Don to turn bedside lamp off) while here we have Don going out to a buy a light bulb to see Megan better. Clearly Don is attracted to Megan’s body sexually and the note also represents that Don really loves Megan. Betty would love to see Don miserable in his marriage but so far, so good. And it must disturb her to no end that Don probably is NOT cheating on Megan. No man who is cheating on his wife writes her that kind of love note.

    b) Betty told Don to hit the road and that she did not love him any more and was in fact repulsed by him after he told her about Dick Whitman while Megan has accepted Don for who he is and loves him despite the fact she knows about DW. Betty may be thinking now, if only I had not rejected my husband and been more compassionate, he may have come back to me.

    c) And Betty may be pissed off that Don kept the secret so long and lied to her for over 10 years but told Megan about it before they got married. That really isn’t fair, is it?

    d) Betty tells the world that she has everything she wants and no one has anything better while she is jealous of Megan after she did her own walk-through of the Draper swanky apartment and imagined their lifestyle and why didn’t she get that kind of elegance from Don while they were married.

    e) Seeing Megan’s lithe body would have enraged Betty who now has a weight problem. And Betty furthermore may blame Don for her weight gain because of the stress from the divorce.

    f) And in the very first episode Don expressed to Midge how he worries about someone younger than him replacing him one day. Betty is in the same position now as she watches a younger woman replace her. Most wives may NOT admit it but they know if they let themselves go, the chances of their husband divorcing them in favor of a younger model goes up.

    g) Betty is clearly jealous how well behaved the 3 kids are with Megan and they get along with her so well, and then when Megan kisses Bobby and Gene before leaving that is simply too much too take. Not only had Megan taken her ex-husband from her, she is also competing with Betty for the hearts and minds of her children. I really don’t think this was something Betty expected. Instead she expected the evil or wicked stepmother to play out with her kids coming back and telling her how awful Megan was as it played out with Gloria who married her father after he became a widower.

    h) Do you remember in episode 3 Tea Leaves after Don told Megan at the end of the episode that Betty did not have cancer that Megan said to Don, “She just needed to call you about something”? Megan has been on to Betty from the get-go. It simply wasn’t natural for Betty to spend so much time on the phone with Don on this subject. After all she does have a husband. And when Don phoned to inquire later, Henry told Don there was nothing wrong and he as well didn’t feel it was appropriate either that Betty confided in Don.

    And Megan knew that Betty was trying to start trouble in the Draper marriage by telling Sally about Anna. Megan would be forced to admit to Anna’s existence to Sally which in turn would make Don mad at her for doing so. And as we saw Don initially bought into this scenario and was about to phone Betty and it took all the persuasive skills of a loving wife to convince him it was not in his best interests to do so.

    Instead later Don became proactive, told Sally about Anna and showed pictures of her to Sally and Don and Megan spoke fondly of her according to Sally. In other words Megan defused a potential blow-up between her and Don, Don and Betty and Don and Sally. She should be a diplomat. She was absolutely brilliant here.

    And by shoving the groceries off the counter, Betty showed the audience that she realized she was dealing with a female foe who was not stupid and that Don also was not the same volatile Don as she had been married to.

    i) Compare the two scenes where the spouses of Don sat beside him on the bed. With Betty, it was when Don told her about his mother being a 22 year old prostitute and his background and acted like she did not want to be close to him at that moment. I am NOT blaming Betty for her reaction but simply stating my interpretation of the scene in season 3 episode 11 The Gypsy and the Hobo.

    In contrast we have Megan standing before Don and then sitting beside him on the bed reminding Don of Betty’s plan to disrupt their marriage. She says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what else to do.” And then Don remarkably says, “I’m sorry about that” (chewing her out) and then holds her hand. Would the old Don have done that? No way. Around Megan, Don’s heart is now tender. And another byproduct of his marriage to Megan is he is now more rational than he has ever been. Episode 6 Far Away Places really scared Don and you are now seeing the aftermath of Don grabbing Megan and holding onto her for dear life at the end of that episode. Don almost lost Megan and he’s not about to do something stupid again, like losing his temper and acting crazy.

    j) Megan’s last line of the episode to Don regarding keeping “toxic air” out of her apartment was symbolic of her knowledge that she and Don must remain eternally vigilant because this will not be Betty’s first salvo against them. They cannot rest of their laurels. Repelling the invaders once doesn’t mean they won’t be back sometime in the near or distant future.

    • I think it was worse than that: I don’t think that Betty had a clue that Don had turned over a new leaf and had been honest with Megan from the beginning. Betty didn’t think that Megan would already know about Anna, and she was trying to use Sally to open the Dick Whitman box in Don’s new marriage.

      • Yes, I thought of that. But Betty did seem to insist that Megan knew about Anna. Perhaps she was trying to get Sally to approach Megan with Megan denying all knowledge of the Don Draper-Anna Draper supposed marriage with Sally then having to approach Don.

        But if Megan did not know about Dick Whitman and Betty knew or thought that, why did Betty herself not seek to tell Megan about Don’s real identity for the purpose of blowing up the Don-Megan marriage? Why use Sally as a go-between?

        But if Megan did know about Dick Whitman, then Betty’s logic of employing Sally to drive a wedge between Don and Megan makes more sense, I think.

        • I thought it was interesting to see Betty’s disapointment when sally said that Don and Megan spoke so openly about Ana.

          makes me think she was trying to stir the pot when she brought ana up to sally

        • Betty thought Megan didn’t know. She manipulated Sally to “innocently” ask Megan about her to cause trouble between Megan and Don. If Betty had told Megan herself, it would have been seen as an attack and Megan wouldn’t have trusted the information as much–it would have caused less trouble.

          • I guess I see it in terms of who do you trust?

            If it were me in Betty’s shoes, I would have approached Megan myself and taken personal pleasure in setting in motion the disintegration of the Don-Megan marriage. I would have made my case in such a way that Megan would have no alternative to confront Don.

            I would NOT leave something so important to a child of 12. Too much could go wrong. And we know it did.

            As for Megan not trusting the info, Megan is NOT stupid. She would have certainly asked Don about Betty’s allegations despite defending Don to Betty. It’s one thing for an ex-wife to bad-mouth her ex-husband with criticisms about his personality, habits or previous actions (not provable) but it is entirely a different matter to claim your ex-husband was married before and that his real name is Dick Whitman.

            And finally did Don consider the possibility this might happen one day and took steps before he married Megan to stop it from being a reason their marriage eventually broke up? It has always been assumed by many viewers that Don told Megan because as he told Faye Miller “that he was tired of running” implying he wanted to get it off his chest, but is it that unreasonable to assume Don was also looking after his own interests when he told Megan about DW?

            But Deborah, if you what you say is true, Betty definitely used the wrong tactics against Don and Megan. A child of 12 is not going to destroy their marriage. As Betty once told Don, “Your a gifted storyteller.’ Obviously she had forgotten.

    • No, we saw how Don dealt with Sally about Anna: a fairly short, bare-bones, age-appropriate explanation. No photos. The only “speaking highly” of Anna was Don somewhat wistfully telling Sally “I wish you’d known her.” Recall Sally actually met Anna.

      Sally’s story to Betty was a lie, her way of paying Betty back for using her to cause trouble between Don and Megan.

      • Sally did tell Betty that her father had shown her pictures of Anna (remember the one Don kept on his desk at work before The Suitcase) and they (Don/Megan) had spoken fondly of her.

        Unlike you, I did NOT interpret this comment by Sally that she was lying or exaggerating. Remember Sally was very angry at both Megan and Don for not explaining to her who Anna was. Why would Sally then make a 180 degree turn and speak highly of Don’s relationship with Anna if Don had not done a really good job of explaining who Anna was to him. And as they say a picture is worth a thousand words?

        And finally Don did take Sally and Bobby to Anna’s house and they saw “Dick and Anna 1964.” For Don to deny the relationship once Sally knew about it would have been foolhardy. So instead Don went proactive and told Sally his version of the truth which he was able to sell to her as her father who is a gifted storyteller as Betty once referred to Don.

        In other words Sally at 12 I think was being honest with her mother. She had now accepted that her father was married before Betty as a fact. Time for Sally to move on.

      • “Recall Sally actually met Anna.” No, she did not. Anna had been dead for some time. Sally met Anna’s niece in Anna’s house and asked about the “Anna + Dick 1964” painted on the wall. Don had wanted to bring the lids to meet Anna, but didn’t make it in time.

      • Doubtful Don has told Megan the full truths about Don/Dick; Only what was necessary, age and new wife appropriate.
        The question about which Don does not know ( and because of his smitten love for Megan fears ) is whether Megan can handle the truths!

        For other truths see my reply in 13, above in this thread.

      • Sally did not meet Anna. Sally met Stephanie.

  17. I love Don’s insight about youth because it shows us why he is a perennial survivor and what Don is prepared to do to keep youth from destroying his position at SCDP.

    Again in an exchange with Roger Sterling in Season 2 episode 1 For Those Who Think Young:

    Don: “Young campaigns don’t necessarily come from young people.”

    Roger: “The clients like the thrill of young talent.”

    Don: “Clients need to understand their success is based on standing out, not fitting in. It’s a fad.”

    Roger: “Isn’t it possible the recently weaned have some unique perspective–joy, enthusiasm?”

    Don: “You’re talking as if they’re some fresh version of us; they’re not. Young people don’t know anything, especially that they’re young.”

    Don is not a stick-in-the-mud or defender of the status quo except he will always defend his status quo as the creative director of SCDP. If that means stealing or usurping ideas or employing younger creative talent like Ginsberg to make him look good he will do it. And finally he is not shy about using wife Megan as a sounding board when trying to understand the Zeitgeist of the 1960’s.

    Instead not only is Don’s motto to always MOVE FORWARD, Don is also a forward thinker. And no matter how old Don is, he will always be numero uno at the firm barring a major collapse of health. Don wants to be on the cutting edge and he will do whatever it takes to maintain his presence there.

    Don is a superstar and creative genius. He’s back in the saddle again despite what we learned at the end of episode 7 At the Codfish Bowl that the Fortune 500 wanted nothing to do with him because of The Letter.

  18. I think people read Betty wrong, she’s supposed to be the quintessential bored housewife of the 1950s era,she’s petty because she’s bored and unchallenged by the minutia that is her life. She is the educated,upper crust housewife that Betty Friedan wrote about in The Feminie Mystique. Her world is too small and hence she strikes out at women (and men) who don’t feel compelled to live as she does. She’s hyper critical of others because she’s upset that her own life is without meaning.

    • I don’t think what you’re saying is anything others don’t see. But Betty is vindictive because of her unhappiness. Other people–better people–choose other, better responses to unhappiness.

      • “. Other people–better people–choose other, better responses to unhappiness.”
        While that may be true, it would make very boring television.Especially for a TV show that is attempting to explain the complexities of an era and what led to societal change in the coming years.

        • Sue,

          cc: Deborah

          In many ways, Mad Men is precisely about how people respond to unhappiness (and why it exists to such a profound degree in their internal lives).

        • Your question, though, was why people dislike Betty, not whether or not this is good storytelling.

          • I didn’t question why people dislike Betty. I said that I think people don’t really understand the reason Betty’s character reacts the way she does, or why her character is written to be rather petty and unsympathetic.

            • Perhaps it’s when you get into the “people don’t understand” thing that is problematic. Our policy here is to discuss the show, not the other commenters.

      • I think we wish that other people, better people, did so, but I think many people respond more like Betty.

    • Henry could be the ideal husband for Betty but for one thing, his profession is politics. If you are an introvert like Betty, politics is the last thing you want to be engaged in. First you are exposed in public as being awkward while socializing with politicians and their wives and secondly you are exposed for not being intellectually attuned to the issues of the day and intellectually inadequate to discuss them with any sort of credibility.

      Pauline called Betty “a silly woman.” That description is seldom used to describe a political wife of a politician or a backroom boy like Henry is. Frankly I think Henry was deceived by Betty that she was really interested in politics.Remember how they first met. If I were to make a list of the many attributes a political wife should possess I would give Betty very low marks.

      Instead Betty should have married a low-profile man, a man with few hobbies except perhaps horseback riding, a man who devoted himself to her and helped her to become more happy and more confident. But having said that Don did his part to “damage” the sensitive Betty. Betty may NOT be ever to more on from Don while Don has had little problem moving on from Betty.

      Betty is certainly “messed up”. I expect future episodes of erratic, unpredictable behavior from her. She could become the female version of Pete Campbell.

    • Some time ago, one of our talented posters here (sorry, I wish I could rememeber who) wrote a very moving post about how Betty isn’t going to get better. We’ve marked how Peggy, and more recently Joan, have moved forward with the times, learning lessons and widening their views (The male characters are a harder read, but never mind that now). But however much some have expected or hoped for Betty to pick up a copy of The Feminine Mystique and begin to understand her problems, it’s just not going to happen. She’s going to be the one The Sixties leave behind, uncomprehending. That one startling moment last night when Betty had mature words for Henry about how they would manage were so short-lived: By the next scene she was back to being childishly spiteful. Her selfishness and lack of self-awareness are so vast as to evoke a weird kind of pathos. It’s practically a tragic flaw.

      • Very well put,Melville.

      • It was Gene who blamed himself for how he raised Betty, implying he had sheltered her from the world too much and why she married someone like Don who in Gene’s words “had no people and could not be trusted.”

        And Betty also made the comment to Henry that Don was the first man she had ever had sex with and thus she was a virgin before she met Don. And don’t forget the Drapers married in 1953. If you think 1966 is way different than 2012, 1953 was just as different from 1966 than 1966 is from 2012 imho. Betty would not have been the only woman in America who got married in 1953 who was a virgin before she met her husband.

        I think that the one aspect of marriage that is hard to fathom in 2012 is the concept of ownership and possession in terms of spousal relationships which resided in the back of the minds of husband and wives in the early 1950’s because of the religious component of marriage. And then when you add in that divorce was not as common in 1953, you might be able to understand why Betty is exhibiting the signs of future shock. Betty fully expected to be married to Don forever.

        Betty is clearly a fish out of water but what makes it worse for her is she possesses the values of the 1930’s and 1940’s when she grew up and does not have the skills or desire to adapt to the emerging 1960’s Zeitgeist as Don and Megan are doing. And once she moves into the 1970’s it will even be worse for her in all probability.

        • Agree Techno, I think Betty’s character in Mad Men is a lot like Sal,put there to show us that underneath all the glitz and glamor of the late 50’s ,early 60’s,was a soul killing conformity that crippled many.

      • Melville: Saddest comment about Betty ever. But true.

  19. I’m always a day behind in watching, I won’t actually see the episode until tonight but I cannot stay away from your great recaps. And yeay for more Betty it would seem 🙂

  20. For me contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe Don is that hard to understand. If I could summarize Don: He doesn’t believe in or countenance BS and in turn he will do what he has to do to move forward and survive.

    As for Roger, I really don’t know how to take him. He tells Don after his LSD experience that “life is beautiful” signifying his break from Jane. Now separated from Jane and paying her alimony, he feels the need to have sex with her which it turns out makes her even more antagonistic towards him. Of course, one can make the argument he was trying to win her back and he never expected her to act this way in the afterglow by telling him “you have ruined everything” implying she no longer wants to live in her newly purchased apartment now it has been contaminated by Roger.

    And why would Roger do something like this without weighing the possibilities of Jane telling the Jewish clients that they were separated and that Roger is a fraud? Why get her pissed off?

    It’s almost like Roger has a death wish, the premise Don rejected in the first episode of the series as not true or appropriate in advertising. Is Roger that haunted by what happened in WWII or his 20 years of “shore leave”? I know it is the hot topic to speculate that Pete Campbell may off himself but for me I do wonder about Roger’s life path after taking LSD. Is he really a changed man? And how can we forget his hook-up with Marie Calvet?

    The problem with Roger: he is too cynical. And the problem Roger has–he attracts cynical women. Even Joan is a bit cynical. And Jane is now twice as cynical about life than she was before. And we already know Mona is cynical.

    I really would like to see a super-optimistic Roger Sterling. It would be a miracle worthy of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus if it did happen.

    • Techno,

      The complexity with Don – and it’s considerable – is not in his survival skills. To that extent, your assessment of him is accurate.

      The complexity with Don is what he views as SURVIVING, what he thinks it MEANS to survive. What is it that Don wants to keep alive within himself (or his life)? THAT is where/how/why Don is an extraordinarily complex character.

    • I thought one theme of the episode was how people try to control others. In the Roger/Jane sex scene, Rogers uses Jane to enhance the client dinner; Jane uses him to get the new apartment. Roger then uses Jane for sex. The next morning, Jane controls Roger by telling him “he ruined everything.” Roger then disarms her by agreeing, and pretending to “feel terrible.”

      Many may disagree, but this episode was great. It explored deep, deep themes in so many ways…I’m going to have to watch it 5-6 more times to get a handle on it all.

      But Satan himself reared his ugly head!! There have been a lot of subtle Satanic references in past episodes, but now the Dark Prince is right there in our faces!

      Wonderful writing.

      • Yes, Satan did rear his head. I just viewed the episode again. When Don was in the cab reviewing the ads, the drawing of Satan –“This could change everythingk” — was a dead ringer of Don with mustache and horns.

      • I think Roger was truly sorry about tarnishing Jane’s fresh start.

        • I don’t think he was. I think they were both being manipulative. Jane isn’t so sensitive about the whole thing to care about him just being in her apartment. She still needs to assert herself but remember she had forgotten the divorce when they woke up from the LSD trip. She may have reconsidered about being alone

      • Excellent points … a perspective I didn’t see until you shined a light on it … now … how satanic is this … is Satan cast or audience?

    • An optimistic Roger would be as fake as Megan the Magic Negros is. Endless projectile vomiting.

      • tilden, it feels very uncomfortable to me for you to use that phrase, “Magic Negro,” in reference to a white person. I’m sure someone as creative and articulate as you can come up with something more apropos.

        • Never want to offend. Snow White, Mary Poppins, The Virgin Queen have no irony. My apologies.

          • Speaking of virgins, or in this case non-virgins, I wonder if we’ll ever get a glimpse into Megan’s sexual past prior to Don. One has to imagine she had a boyfriend or two before Don — she was every bit the sexual aggressor that Bobbie Barrett was (and interestingly enough, both seduced Don in his office). It was obviously not her first time knocking boots.

            Anyway, was never really an issue with Bets because we met her and Don well after she would have dated anyone, but Megan could have an ex-boyfriend only a year or two removed from the present (1966).

          • I have to think Megan has been pretty open with Don about her sexual past. After all, it was she who seduced him that first night in the office, when she also implied that there were no strings attached.

            Also, in Mystery Date, when she was upset with Don after the encounter with Andrea in the elevator and said something about “running into some of the people I used to ‘work with’.”

            Both of them have had plenty of fun. I don’t worry about our girl. 🙂

  21. I liked the episode and agree it seemed paced quicker – like seasons past.
    I have a hard time with Betty’s obvious self medication with food. I know there were episodes in past seasons where it was been mentioned that Betty’s mother watched her weight as a child when she was “chubby” and when Betty worried about Sally’s weight, but the sudden abuse of food seems wrong to me.
    As someone who has battled and researched food addiction, it is general just doesn’t “happen”, it’s normally something you fight throughout your life. I don’t mind the story line because it’s a reality, but I wish over the years we would have seen Betty deal with it more so it would seem more integrated into the current story line.
    It’s obviously a personal thing with me so perhaps I notice it more than others.

    • I see Betty’s problem with food the way I see Don’s problem with “Dick Whitman”: a long-term, shameful thing, once kept secret, but now somewhat more public.

      I think we’ve always seen that Betty had a problem with food. We’d see her prepare it, arrange for its preparation, describe it, even sit in front of it (smoking, typically): but she almost never actually ate it. From her eldest child’s birthday party and NYC dinners with Don, to her reluctance to eat while pregnant with her third child, we have seen Betty take an approach to food that ranged from hesitant to flat-out disordered.

      I think now about how she hid her Melba toast behind other food during her pregnancy, and got mad when someone else found it. This is not something that people do when they see food as pleasure, or fuel, or anything similarly benign. That’s the action of someone with an active fear of food. I think that we saw this last night with the scale, the big plates, the small portions: visible on camera for the first time as Betty’s Food. Dragged into the light. Tiny, but terrifying.

      • I see Betty developing an eating disorder (most likely bulimia at this point, but I don’t know if that term was coined then). Betty eats when she’s upset or starving and would release it out (vomit) because she wants the weight gone. Maybe that would be her way of having her ice cream without feeling guilty.

      • Yes!!! Very articulate statement about Betty’s eating. I agree that we have seen this unfolding all along. I have had a close eye on it from Season 1; I actually kind of thought it was a given that her character was meant to be seen as anorexic. I am in recovery from anorexia myself, which swung right into compulsive eating after a traumatic experience, and her behavior seems so familiar! There is great subtlety with which it was written and portrayed in the character, which to me very much reflects the subtle way an e.d. can become normalized in a persons life, those around her, and the culture at large. Betty’s unhealthy eating habits had become so normalized to herself and everyone around her, but now just like you say,in a new form, they are right out in the open, to the other characters, and to us as viewers. Our culture can be amazing at getting us to normalize the unhealthfuly thin while demonizing and spotlighting the slightest hint of the overweight (whatever that even means), sometimes not even recognizing that they are often two sides of the same coin. The way MW is reflecting this larger cultural framework while also portraying the specific factors contributing to Betty’s personal struggle is brilliant to me.
        I should clarify that I don’t in any way feel any of the comments or posts here have normalized OR demonized any eating disorders/struggles/issues/characters–just making a statement about how once again MM is capturing a very human, relatable issue on so many levels.

        • Calling Betty a fat harpooned whale (1ST response to the post Megans Role) is one trivial example of the demonizing.

          • Wow. I meant I hadn’t seen any demonizing here that was specific to the weight issue. I hadn’t seen that and that’s a very unfortunate example.

          • Ok, went back and looked (somehow skimmed right over it when I read the post). It was a joke mocking the demonizing of Betty, thank goodness.

  22. I’ve never understood why many are so critical of January Jones’ acting abilities: I think she portrays her character very good. Is it because she seems stiff or “without expression”? But to me THIS is exactly the perfect way for a character like Betty, who always tries to appear, you know, imperturbable and perfectly at ease as if nothing could alter her perfect looks or the image of her as the perfect wife/mother/person etc. Obviously we know things are really different, but she always conceals all her frustrations and failures and wears her face like a “mask”.
    So, I think that January Jones is really good at showing this! Or, at least, that’s what she conveys to me.

    • How else would you expect the wife of Henry Francis to act in public? This is 1966 and not 2012. There were no rehab clinics then for depressed housewives.

      Clearly Betty is NOT a happy person but she doesn’t come across in public as neurotic. Just because she doesn’t possess the skills of a political wife doesn’t means she is totally inept. Notice her meet and greet when she caught Megan by surprise she commented on the apartment layout and acted fairly normal in picking up the kids.

      It is only when Betty is by herself do we see the real Betty and think about it, one of the most demanding jobs for any actress is to perform when you are alone on stage–who do you talk to, how should you act etc?

      Betty is clearly at loose ends and does not handle change well. I think that comes through loud and clear when we watch Ms. Jones’ performance.

    • I agree, Chiara. I don’t see January Jones when I watch Mad Men; I see Betty Draper Francis, and I follow her with a sharp eye, because she fascinates me in several ways.

    • I think January Jones is fantastic. She plays Betty just as Betty is. Remember the scene back when Betty was involved in that watershed project and they won a continuance? Betty was happy about that, but her little “we won, we won, we won” dance to Don was so controlled. Betty was joyful for a minute but she expressed it the way she was raised. not too much. JJ does a great job. People love to hate JJ/Betty.

      • I’ve seen January Jones in some of her early work playing totally different roles and convincing in each one. I really loved her as Emma Frost in X-Men.

        • I liked her in the second movie of the Love Comes Softly Series. 🙂 I find it a shame that she was only in one film – Hallmark kept recasting her character (Missy).

      • Thank you! I’m so over the Betty/January hate. Other characters can behave like a total douche and nobody even thinks about blaming it on the actor.


      The character is deeply troubled, and January Jones does a brilliant job of portraying said character. YES!

      • I particularly think the episode in season 1 where Betty goes back to the psychiatrist after discovering that Don was talking to him all along shows the brilliance of January Jones’ acting. In that scene, Betty knows EXACTLY what she is doing, and JJ plays it perfectly and with amazing nuance; this is evident not only in the dialog (actually a monolog with this doc), but also in her mannerisms and subtle body language.

      • I agree she was great last night. I think Betty is changing and that January is being subtle in her portrayal. When Betty told Henry they would get through things together he was stunned and happy. Betty is talking about her feelings a bit in her Weight Watchers class and she seemed genuinely supportive of the other women. The Thanksgiving Dinner was the first time she ever looked happy to be with her kids. Change is slow. She went through years of neglect and deceit with Don. Plenty of divorced parents act out in those situations. Megan was rude when Betty came to the apartment.

    • Chiara, I completely agree with your assessment of Betty and how January plays her — I think it’s a brillliant portrayal of this repressed but rage-filled character who has been taught that women must look beautiful and happy and never, never notice or complain about what the men around them are doing. That would invoke rage in me, too.

  23. Great recap! Some additional thoughts:
    1. Given how surprisingly (at least to me!) Ginz and Peg are comfortable shouting at the senior partners, I thought the Ginz’s quote from Ozymandias was very appropriate. This is about no matter how mighty leaders may be at one time, they eventual are fallen. Is this an omen (dark shadow) for Roger and Don and maybe even Pete?
    2. I loved how Pete felt more powerful because he was the only one being interviewed by the NY Times and when his name is not mentioned in the article, he whines to Don on a Sunday. This tying into Don telling Sally he does not like whiners. And this also highlighted how each partner handles adversity. When Pete doesnt get his way, he whines in this ep and to Henry in the last ep. When Don and Roger dont get their way they act out very differently.
    3. The Draper residence has air conditioning! When Don found out that Betty let the air conditioning salesman in the house, Betty not only got reamed for letting him inside but Don did not buy air conditioning and did not speak to Betty for a while. So I wonder if in addition to seeing Megan’s slim body and the beautiful home and Don’s note, the air conditioning just put her over the edge!
    4. I kept on thinking the quote “Be careful what you wish for”. Betty wanted the divorce and is now jealous. Don wanted to hire Ginz but now may have regrets, etc.

    • No matter what Pete does now, he falls flat or misses the mark. You could say Pete is in a slump but he better climb out of it soon; a temporary slump can easily become permanent. Ask any successful golfer who was once on top of his game and now can’t hit the fairway.

    • Stan warned Peggy against hiring someone talented. Now I think Peggy is hurt because Roger went to Gins for extra help instead of her. peggy does not know it is because Gins was asked because he is jewish. I wonder if Peggy is scared that she might have hired her replacement.

      I also wonder if Betty thought Don would be lost without her and she sees now that he is doing better than ever.

      • I think it can be more. Gins can not hold on to a secret so Rogers games can come to an end if Pete got to know about it and the entire office is more or less against Pete and with that “pro” Roger.

  24. When I saw the title to the episode, I wondered if Johnny Depp was the special guest star.

    Jealousy, envy and the associated feeling of inadequacy can be powerful motivators.

    Ginsberg’s was the better idea. SnoBall was a product for kids and he created an idea with the impact of a Batman episode. Don’s idea was good, just not better than Michael’s. Don’s idea was both ironic and subtle, and completely wrong for the intended audience, but correct for the executives of the company who bought the ad. What was interesting was the reaction when Don pitched his idea: all were surprised that Don had an idea, then were shocked to realize it was a good one. Michael was the one who basically said, Wow, I didn’t know you could still do that. Good to know. One sentence that crystallized how Don is now viewed by his coworkers. Don and Michael’s exchange in the elevator was priceless. So reminiscent of “The Suitcase” – “That’s What The Money Is For!”, but then Don tries to put Michael in his place by telling him he doesn’t think of him at all. A line straight out of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”. But clearly he does think of Michael and now Michael knows it. Michael 1 / Don 0 in the SCDP creative war. Will this little exchange challenge Don to be more involved in the creative process going forward ? I hope so, because Don is still capable of producing great copy. While Don’s scribbled love note to Megan showed his level of caring for Megan, and caused Betty no end of grief, it also showed how good Don is at writing good copy. The talent is still there, it just needs to be brought back to the surface.

    What is the opposite of love ? It’s not hate, it is indifference. Don and Betty still know how to affect each other, even from 25 or 50 miles away. When Betty sees the life Don now has and how her children seem to regard Megan, she snaps. Her vindictive actions are shocking for both their pettiness and cruelty. But ultimately, the impact of what she did was blunted by Megan who immediately saw her actions for what they were, as does Don after Megan points it out. Props to Don though, because Megan not only knows about Anna, but knows the context of their relationship. His 3rd marriage is a new beginning for him. The unfortunate casualty is Sally. She is learning from both mom and step mom how to be mean, petty, vindictive and manipulative.

    Roger is still Roger, and once again shows that he is at his best when in a social/client entertainment environment. I understand his (and Bert’s) desire to keep quiet the cultivation of Manischewitz, but in reality he could have openly approached Peggy’s group with the need for a few ideas prior to the dinner. Going after business is what the company is trying to do after all. In the context of what happened, I think Roger was correct to approach Ginsberg because he more than Peggy understood what it meant to be a Jew trying to succeed in a non-Jewish world. “We’re all the same underneath”. Peggy didn’t see it that way of course and bristled at the thought that a good copywriter has natural product niche strengths and weaknesses.

    Roger and Jane still care for each other, and maybe Roger regrets the dissolution of their marriage. Jane is still a child at her core. How can she have a fresh start in an apartment paid for by Roger ? How can the apartment now be sullied by Roger’s seduction, when it takes 2 to tango so to speak ?

    Is Megan perfect ? I don’t think so. First a very snide comment to Betty (to her credit, the comment came after Betty walked into the apartment uninvited), then her acting classmate points out her privileged station and Megan is forced to admit that she is lucky to be perched at 72nd and Park. At several points in the season we have seen her ability to manipulate Don; she knows how to control him and ultimately, I don’t think she is good for him.

    Only 4 episodes left…how far into 1967 will we go ?

    • I agree with everything you say except your point that Megan is not good for Don. Compared to whom? Dr. Faye Miller, Bethany Van Nuys, Alison, or even Betty.

      And compare the old Don to the new Don. What’s not to like? Sure the new Don might be a bit boring, he doesn’t cheat on his wife, doesn’t smoke or drink as much and appears a lot happier as compared to season four. Could Megan’s influence have something to do with it?

      • yes, yes, I have been saying the same thing. Sigh. So many people want the mad, bad, cad version of Don – sorry we had that for 3+ seasons. He has been growing, on his own and with considerable help from Megan. She IS good for him. A happy Don does not mean a mojo-less Don. He just needs to return his focus to his work – as Bert pointedly observed.

      • Where is the internal struggle with ‘new’ Don? Not boring—he’s completely boring.

      • While Don has reached a point of relative happiness thanks to Megan, I don’t think she is good for him. At his core, Don is emotionally unstable, prone to violence and equates sex with degradation and shame. Megan on the other hand seems to be stable, but is also attracted to the intersection of sex and violence. She uses Don’s inner demons to manipulate him into doing what she wants. One day she will go too far, with catastrophic results. At the end of Ep2 she set up their violent confrontation and at the end of Ep6 she knew to expect a violent reconciliation. Recall that earlier in Ep6 she made a biting comment regarding Don’s mother which set him off. She knows which buttons to push.

  25. Did anyone get a close up view of the whale that Bobby drew? It was spouting something other than water. It looked like bows? What was it and what is the significance?

    • I thought they looked like three palm trees, and what went through my head, frankly, was that they represented the three kids, and Mommy was the big whale (as seen through Bobby’s eyes).

      • I agree with you that the whale is Betty and the 3 harpoons are her kids. That’s why Betty says the whale shouldn’t be smiling.

      • Dancewosleeping,

        I like your idea that the whale is Betty. Perhaps the drawing is symbolic. One harpoon is seeing Don’s trendy new apartment. The second is seeing Megan’s thinness. The third comes when she reads Don’s note on the back of the paper. And then, “There she blows!”

      • That seems far too deep for Bobby. I mean, Betty might feel that way, but I don’t think Bobby would make fun of her. That doesn’t seem like the sort of barb a little boy would make at his mother.

        • I agree…that’s what I interpreted the symbolism of drawing…altho I like Celina’s view of it as much!

        • I agree, Bobby’s always struck me as a nice little boy who is rather sweet based on the little we’ve seen of him (aside from his little problem with fibbing for awhile, which seemed very natural and age appropriate). I think, despite her slight aloofness, he loves his Mommy very much and would not compare her to a whale. Now whether Betty might think of herself in those terms is another story.

    • My first thought was that it was Moby Dick with harpoons stuck in him (a natural reflex on my part when you look at the name I use 🙂 ). But why would Bobby be drawing Moby Dick? An interesting response from Betty, though: “I don’t think he should be smiling.”

      On the Open thread, someone suggested it might be the Carvel ice cream cake, Fudgie the Whale. Bobby might draw that.

    • They appeared to be arrows or spears. I imagine Bobby was drawing something about whaling or whalers, which was still an okay adventure-oriented fantasy at the time.

  26. Don is also his usual irresponsible and inconsiderate self when it comes to the children. leaving them with step mom and then no one having the kids ready on time forcing Betty and Henry to have to circle the block on a busy city street while cars are beeping at them, etc., and forcing Betty to have to go up to the apartment to pick up the children. Perhaps Megan’s way of getting to show Betty all megan now has including the bit about getting dressed with an open door that the kids and unfortunately Betty had to see. It is astonishing that Don is viewed as a good parent.

    • I will concede Don is the not the best parent imaginable but like all things in his life, he has been able to enlist the aid of other talented individuals to help him survive whatever role he is playing at a given time.

      Don chose Megan as his wife knowing he would have be perform better as a parent having limited access to his kids and that she would help him to be more responsible and considerate. Sure Don always has ulterior motives in his moves but can you really see Dr. Faye doing what Megan is doing? No way.

      I know a lot of people feel Don doesn’t deserve to have his life so much in balance now and apparently in order and fairly stable. Season four should have continued for the rest of Don’s life. But in Don’s own words when explaining the Letter: “I knew what I needed to do to move forward.” And that’s not BS.

      Finally, do you notice there is little or no chaos in the apartment when the children are there? If Don is not the solution he is also not part of the problem either.

      • I have never met anyone who wishes that S4 should’ve been the way Don’s life deserved to go on forever. No one. I’m Don’s biggest fan, and I still admit he’s a huge asshole.
        This man is desperate for ‘happiness’ and has deluded himself into thinking so with flawless Megan. It is forced, and very unnatural. New persona, for now.
        Just wait.

        • Perhaps the word I should have chosen is indifferent. How many viewers would have been extremely unhappy if in season 5 Don had continued his downward spiral?

          How many viewers actually expressed anger at Don’s story line of season four? Imho, not too many until the surprise proposal to Megan.

          The majority of viewers don’t like Don happy.

          • I think, in a way, MW and company wrote themselves into a corner with Don. They’re pretty adamant about not repeating stuff they’ve already done, and we’ve had a lot of years with Don the drunk and Don the liar and Don the womanizer, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think that he’s better behaved with his second (real) wife simply because the last thing he wants is another divorce, this one bound to be much more expensive than the last one. (He got off cheap with Betty because she remarried immediately; Megan is much more independent and probably wouldn’t do that.) And yeah, maybe he learned something from Betty, Faye, and maybe even Allison. Maybe even from poor Doris the waitress.

            Unfortunately, what they seem to have written for him is a series ending, with Don having found bliss in Megan’s arms, with at least two years still to go. Sure, it’s not perfect bliss, and frankly, he terrorized her in Far Away Places and probably deserved to be dumped over that. But what’s at stake for him now? No matter what, he’s not going to be out on the street with no job, even if he never has another great idea as long as he lives. And Megan’s probably not going to dump him, either; if she doesn’t know he switched the dog tags and caused the explosion that killed Real!Don!, she does know everything else, so what more is there for her to know? He doesn’t have to be miserable, but some actual potential consequences would be nice, if he’s going to occupy the same amount of screen time.

          • Meowser you are so money. Don has nothing at stake. Draper Daniels the ad man whom Don is modeled after had a second marriage that turned his life right side up. What if MW decided that art should imitate life?
            We are left with an unconflicted Don and a boring show.
            Maybe they have to have Don go through grief instead of a drinkin-ana-whorin. So……….Her flawlessness Megan has to die.

    • Megan did not leave her bedroom door open when she was dressing. Betty looked through the sliding glass doors and through the master bedroom window which faces onto the balcony. There were curtains there as well. The writers wanted you to see Betty see Megan undressed, and this was a way to do it. I don’t think Megan was consciously being inconsiderate or thoughtless.

      • Just like Megan was not being inconsiderate or thoughtless when she slept nude in bed with her very young stepchildren in the apartment?

        I don’t think there is ANYTHING that Megan does that is not planned or thought out in advance, and to her advantage.

        • That might be a reach. I am not saying she definitely should sleep in the nude, but I am also sure that she and Don keep their bedroom door closed. I don’t think the children just come in the room unannounced (unless it was an emergency), and I’m sure that if she was to step out to go the kitchen, she would put some clothes on.

          I also don’t think it would be an “advantage” for her to have the children see her unclothed.

    • I am always surprised by the enourmous credit thrown at Don’s questionable parenting as opposed to the harsh judgement of Betty’s.
      As a whole, he’s a “worse” person than Betty, but being a man he gets more slack.

      • I know. Betty is Snidely Whiplash and Don is “human.” Megan is supposed “perfection.”

    • What’s difficult about this debate is not the final answer, but the nuances one must wrestle with to get there.

      Don is clearly not a good parent. A good parent would be faithful to his spouse and model what it means to be loving and honest, which Don wasn’t in his relationship with Betty. A good parent would also be there for his kids, but from the first episodes of Season One (when Don skips out on Sally’s birthday party), Don is away from home far too often. That’s a horrible parent.

      However…. on the occasions when Don is and has been at home with his kids – in the early years with Betty and even this past Sunday in the episode we’ve just watched – he is tender, kind, mostly honest, and relatively straightforward. He has not been violent with his kids, mindful of what Archie put him through. He respected Sally’s independence more than Betty ever did, and was rather courageous when he stood his ground against Gene to prevent Bobby from wearing a dead German soldier’s helmet.

      He’s a bad parent because he’s not there for his kids and because he was a horrible husband who broke up his family.

      The notion that “When Don is in front of his kids, he’s a great parent” is reflective of Don’s enormous flaws and mistakes, but it weirdly shows that when Don puts his mind to parenting, he can be really good.

      In season five, he’s certainly gotten better, thanks in large part to Megan. Right now, he’s not the ugly parent he so clearly was through the first four seasons. He’s not this magically cured “good parent,” but he’s steadily improving in that regard.

      • The kids cannot–ever–count on Don to be there (the thing about the pencils subtly, or not so, underscores this point) when they need him. An unreliable parent can be just as damaging as a more obviously abusive one…

        • Phooey. I never counted on my father to pick up school supplies. It wasn’t expected of any father of the period to do that. That was MY job (they had a school “store” where you bought school supplies.) Maybe, if it was something unusual, my mom’s job. Fathers did not run errands for their kids. Someone posted on the open thread, I think, that there was a stationers’ 3 blocks from the apartment where Sally could have stopped on her way home from school to buy the pencils she needed.

          • But Don said he would do it, and he didn’t. That was the point: a dad saying he would do something and then not following through.

            • Don wasn’t yet home–he expected to be and got caught up in doing the Sno Ball work. The idea was, he’d go into the office and come home with some office supplies for Sally.

          • He wasn’t “picking up” school supplies, he was bringing them home from the office. That’s something I remember from having a white collar father and step-father.

          • Deborah, my father always brought home the school supplies, and they also came straight from his office. 🙂 I guess we were lucky he was the office manager.

            And Floretta, I think it was you who asked me upthread how old I was? Suffice it to say, as I’ve posted a couple of times recently, the 50’s and 60’s were the years I was a child and then a young adult. So yes, my views on Don’s negligence as a father come from the point of view of my own experience and those of friends and neighbors. There was no ONE type of father then, as there isn’t now. GoodSally’s reply to you was right on.

          • Is it off topic to mention how fabulous Mr. Hamm looked in his weekend work attire. He looked particularly yummy to me!

      • A good parent would be faithful to his spouse

        No, that’s a good husband. I think the conversation is meaningless unless we are capable of separating the two.

        • The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. You can’t separate the two and say it doens’t affect the children how the father is treating the mother.

          • But beeing a good spouse is a role, and that part you can play without loving anyone.

          • Sorry, but I think that’s bullshit. You’re basically saying there’s no way for divorced parents to be good parents. My ex and I divorced in 1998 and he was a wonderful father.

          • I have to disagree. The best thing a father can do for his children is love and support his children–REGARDLESS of how he feels for their mother. ESPECIALLY when there’s no love there anymore.

          • Faithful. Uhh………….what does that even mean?

        • Children are forever. A marriage is just a friendship that’s recognized by the police. 🙂

  27. Beautiful recap, as always. I need to rewatch, but what stuck with me on first viewing was the look on Don’s face as he left the elevator after facing Ginzo. Jeez, what an actor. I saw embarrasment, shame, pride, defiance and finally, doom. He has alienated Ginsberg, and as a result may not get the best out of him in the future. Or, possibly lose him to a competitor. The Ginz is young and egocentric and does not seem to get the whole “intellectual property” thing. A “that’s what the money’s for” realization, that he is paid for his ideas whether they are used or not. But I guess some more maturity via milage will help Ginsberg arrive at this. Many years ago I worked for a new struggling silk- screen t- shirt co. and was paid to come up with promotional art when we didn’t have an actual client. As far as I know, they were not used. Some of my best ideas are probably still sitting in a file or a landfill, and I could not take them with me when I left, because I was paid for them, so they weren’t mine to take. It’s tough to put your creative ego aside and let your bon mots go unused and unappreciated for whatever reason, but that’s life in the big city.
    On the Betty front, she has been sitting on this little nuggett for quite a while now and I am not surprised that she chose to use it in this way. Dissapointed, but not surprised. It would make her infinately more happy to know that Don is miserable.
    I am beginning to really like Stan. What the hell is wrong with me?
    Ginz is so cute I want to squeeze him till he pops.

    • When you are working on a research team at a company or university, it is the same. Amazing to read a journal article years after the fact and realize it was your research but your name is nowhere to be found! That was what the money was for, hard lesson to learn

    • The big thing with the Don-Ginsberg showdown is that when Ginsberg overstepped his bounds on the shoe pitch a few episodes earlier in season five ( this was AFTER THE SALE WAS CLOSED, INSTRUCTIVELY…), Ken Cosgrove told Ginsberg that Don came very close to firing him. Ginsberg flatly said Ken was wrong.

      This episode shows: No, Ginsberg, Don really did almost fire you. Who’s in charge? Don’s in charge. (Even though he asserted his power and authority in a very nasty and underhanded way.)

      • It’s interesting because after Don blasted him at the bar, Ginzo actually said to Ken, “He’s such a decent guy.” Wonder if he still thinks so.

      • twice, Ginsburg’s work was not used. The first time Gins was able to bring up the cinderella idea because he was in the meeting. the second time, Gins was not around when his work was left in a cab.

        Poor Don, the clients are afraid he will turn on them and Don is being out done creativly by Gins…this is 2 blows.

      • the theme in this episode is not “every man for him self” but more about how “threatened” the established people feel by the young and talented.

  28. Anybody else digging Jay Ferguson as Stan? He seems to have seriously grown up. I love his facial expressions when he listens to Don’s thoughts. He’s really trying to catch himself, but he doubts the Draper Mojo maybe even more than Ginsberg does. And I loved how he threw Ginzo’s quote of Shelley’s Ozymandias right back in his face! Perfection. “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” Yes, Ozymandias, the king of kings said this, as the broken statue half-sunken in the empty desert reveals, and yet what is left of Ozymandias’s works but an endless stretch of sand! Who knew that Rizzo was hiding a poet’s soul behind that crude bluff?

    • I see Stan as a male chauvinist who has a healthy respect for alpha males like Don. I think Stan and Don have always gotten along. Stan doesn’t complain or get in Don’s way or vice versa.

    • I love Stan. Also loved the reference to Ozymandias and was reminded that this was a time when people still read widely and read the classics (or were taught them in school — often we had to memorize those poems). For Stan to know the poem is probably right for the time-and-place. I love that we see characters reading on MM.

      • I love that we see many people reading books on MM also, GoodSally. I adore that we hear them quoting poems and prose occasionally! Oh how I remember high school in the early 60s and memorizing dozens and dozens of stanzas of hundreds of poems, sonnets and odes, and omg, Shakespeare. I remember many still. Sounds like you do too!

      • Stan is turning out to be a Renaissance man. Who knew that the man who loved “girlie mags” could also be well informed by reading a large dossier on Cool Whip and then know Ozymandias so well that he could correct Ginz who was quoting it out of context.

    • I have liked Stan a lot since Peggy tamed him and he stopped posing and got down to work.

      Don’t you just love how the writers can say so much about Stan with just that one line?

      • Yes! There have been other great, telling lines for Stan as well. We know Stan, and yet we haven’t followed him home like we have Ginsberg. That’s good writing… and acting. Jay R. Ferguson embodies Stan so well, right down to owning the wardrobe. Loved the saggy white sock (with the striped ribs!) in the scene in Don’s office where they discussed the SnoBall pitch.

      • So well said, Jahn Ghalt!

        Stan doesn’t get a lot of lines, and yet one can see some subtle yet rich transformations in the person he’s become. He’s growing in the workplace as he learns more about – and works with – his colleagues. I don’t think he is (or was ever portrayed as being) as prodigiously talented as Ginsberg, but his basic attitude and approach are reflective of a good teammate, and of the maturity of an adult. Ginsberg, for all his natural abilities, made no pretense about his different identity/appearance/behavior from day one of his introduction to the show, and at least up to now, he has shown zero inclination to want to modify his behavior for anyone else’s peace of mind. He and Stan reveal divergent paths.

    • Yes, definitely Stan is being written much better this season than last. (IMO) I saw glimpses of it last year too, and I think it started after the whole Peggy-nude scene (a scene which I found rather silly at the time). Original Stan was presented as a very huff-and-puff, arrogant guy who didn’t feel he had to answer to anyone else. Some arrogance is still there, but he does seem, to quote you, a lot more “grown-up” this season.

  29. The scene between Henry and Betty in the kitchen was touching.
    I saw more marital intimacy and caring in those few minutes than I’d ever witnessed between Betty and Dapper Don.
    Most men of that era would have demanded that their dieting wives make two dinners-fish for her and steak for him- but Henry sneaks down to the kitchen to cook.
    I really like him and think he and Betts can make it; she’s just going to have let go of love’s young dream.

    • Yes! Henry is presented as a great guy. Why betty would want Don back is puzzling if not ridiculous and just points to the need for Betty to get some self awareness of her own value and of the reality and consequences of being gaslighted by Don for their entire marriage. Betty’s comment “and no one has anything better” is being repeated as proof of Betty’s vile nature. In reality, others may have it as good, but the comment is right. No one is perfect, but Henry seems to be a great person who genuinely cares about Betty. Betty could find some happiness and contentment in a life with Henry. She needs to let go of the dream of Don and young love, which was only facade and actually toxic underneath.

      • I’m reminded of the scene from sex and the city with Carrie when her ex marries a younger prettier woman, and she hypothesises that he’s only able to marry her because she broke him in. Betty took so much crap from Don, and he didn’t change his ways till after she was gone, so now Megan gets the better Don, and Betty is left with the unhappiness, and, probably, the underneath feeling that she wasn’t good enough.

        So yeah, Betty wants this Don, who is kind and thoughtful, but can’t quite see she already has that in Henry. They were connecting for a minute. Don never says to her what he said to Roger about how HE made Betty bitter, and doesn’t want Megan to be the same. All Betty hears and sees is the happiness, no one tells her how tense and fragile their marriage is. Don never tells her how much he regrets the way he behaved.

        • I think it is a case of “I can move on, but my ex should’nt”. It is hard to see an old love move on and wonder why could’nt he have been this way with me?

          • Conversely we have Roger thinking the same thing about his wife at dinner. It was obvious that Young Manischewitz put the moves on Jane. Jane didn’t seem interested and told Roger so in the cab. Roger got Jane up to her new apartment and wouldn’t take no for an answer. “I can move on, but…” cad.

        • The world is full of people benefiting from someone else breaking in their partners. I break in a guy, some other woman benefits. Some other woman breaks in a different guy, I benefit. It’s not fair but in the end it comes out more or less even.

      • I thought what was interesting was in the last episode of Tomorrowland when Betty is fixing her face in the kitchen as if she was expecting someone, Don shows up and she tells him she had forgotten about his appointment with a real estate agent to sell the house. In other words Betty’s actions did not match her words.

        And notice how crestfallen Betty was when she found out Don was engaged. By the look on her face she was saying, “You have to be kidding me. Who would want to marry a man whose mother was a 22 year old prostitute and cheated on his previous wife very often?” Or why would Don ever think of getting married again with the lifestyle he was leading in season four? And finally when she found out he was marrying his secretary who was much younger than Don she probably thought, this is not possible. I thought I knew this man.

        I really think Betty was shocked when she saw Megan for the first time. And the love note on the back of the drawing added insulted to injury. On a visceral level, I think Betty is pissed off at making the decision to fire Carla because she knows if it were not for Carla not being available and Don not being forced into drafting Megan to look after his kids in CA, they may have never gotten together. Betty played Cupid and she will have to live with that for the rest of her life. Betty’s intentions may have been to make Don’s life miserable but instead she threw Don and Megan together and as they say the rest is history.

        • ……..And if Don hadn’t forced Betty to go to Roger’s bratty daughter’s wedding, she wouldn’t have seen Henry again. They reignited, etc., etc.
          One hand washes the other.

      • I totally understand Betty in this instance. Don is, if nothing else, sexy, smart and very well off. She is competitive enough to want the best of the best and that is how she see’s Don. Henry is a good guy. And kind to the kids but let’s be honest, you don’t always want the good kind guy, you want the sexy devil. As you get older and more aware of how “life really is” you can appreciate those qualities. Pete is another sad soul who is throwing out a good and supportive spouse. Not to imply Don was a good and supportive spouse, that is Henry’s role.

  30. What makes me laugh about Don’s comeback to Ginsberg ‘I don’t think about you at all’ is that i’m sure we’ve heard it before. Drop the Casablanca thing, Don. You’re so passe.

    • Didn’t he say something similar about Joey? Or Peg to Joey? “He doesn’t even know who you are”?

      • Peggy said that to Joey. She said he was fired, and he said he’d have to talk to Don about that. She said, “Don doesn’t even know who you are,” (not true, of course,) and she said it in a way that made him realize he wouldn’t be able to escape the firing.

        • P.S. Don’s comment in A Little Kiss, Part Two, “You don’t know her at all,” (which he said to Peggy, about Megan, after she told him she thought Megan was upset because she had gone home early), was similarly cutting.

          He’s a pretty cold guy at times.

    • It’s a line of dialogue from “The Fountainhead”. Howard Roark to Ellsworth Toohey.

    • Didn’t Peggy say the same thing (or something very much like it) to Ginsberg earlier in the episode?

    • He said something similar last season when the New York Times reporter called asking him to comment on Teddy Chaough saying CGC took the Clearasil account. The reporter asked for a comment and Don said, “On the record?” The reporter said yes and Don said, “I’ve never heard of him.”

      • Don knows everything about everyone, unless he really wants to hurt that person.

        If hurt is his intent, that person does not exist. “I don’t think about you at all.” We knew that was a lie, but Ginsberg did not. And Ginsberg alone would care.

        Remember: the goal of the bully is to eliminate the target. Don, a narcissistic bully, would know how to do this with perfect finesse.

  31. I liked this episode in that it covered several characters of a series of days. It included much of the ad business too. I immediately thought, uh oh, Betty is Alexis Carrington and Megan is sweet, innocent Crystal Carrington. Rather soapy. Will Betty really become the villain-ness of the show? I don’t hate Betty. I don’t like how she’s written. (ok, which obviously is intentional–but I blame writers not the character). I want her to be more dynamic. Come out of your shell Betty! I don’t want to see the show end with her sunk in an abyss of her own making, engulfed in misery and self-loathing, while the rest of the characters move forward happily.

    I guess they weren’t promoting exercise much along with dieting back then. A little walking each day would do Betty some good, physically and mentally. The best revenge (if that’s what she must have) is to become the knock-out she once was. I think Don and Betty were once what Don and Megan were like, happily in love that is, but Don highly controlled and restricted Betty–just what Betty was used to.

    • I have a feeling Betty is going to make a comeback in 1968.
      She”ll lose weight, wear miniskirts instead of those damn crinolines and grow her beautiful hair long with bangs.
      Next season, Betty will look ten years younger than she does now.

      • Sounds great! Good for her! I want to see her end up happy and satisfied with life. And pretty again!

        On another issue, I love how Peggy doesn’t take Roger’s bull hockey. Good on her! Their interaction is very fascinating. I would have never thought last season that they’d talk directly one on one like they do. Peggy’s come a long way from that mousey plain girl of S1!

        • She’s gorgeous right now! Really!

        • “In the other building we had an executive elevator”. HAH!

          Remember, Peggy has a bit of experience working Roger. She got Freddy’s vacant office (and his bar) back in the pre-PPL days.

          Peggy’s not the only one Roger has tried to manipulate. Despite Peggy keeping Roger’s “secret” ($400 hush money will do that), Ginz worked ol’ Roger pretty well, too – without keeping the same secret.

        • I have loved watching Peggy’s character change. Betty’s bitterness and cruelty have always stemmed from being a depressed, angry person. She could learn to be different. Betty had gone to college and lived in Italy yet she seemed to have so little inner resources.

  32. Something else I noticed about last night: the agency is busier than ever. That scene where Don walks in in the morning (after telling off Ginsberg in the elevator) — lots of people, lots of movement, lots of noise. They’ve hired people. They’re doing better.

    So, in terms of competitiveness as a theme, there’s also the idea that the firm itself is again becoming competitive — or is it? Joan urges Don to put the “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco” letter into the advertising materials for the Times article — they obviously put lots of thought into the package — and then they aren’t even mentioned.

    Jealous, competition, secrets, yes. And maybe, by putting the tobacco letter into the package for the Times, Don is revealing the secret (which isn’t a secret really) that this was indeed a stunt, an ad, and a play for new business as they lost Lucky Strike.

  33. Interesting side note of yours on a potential Bert Cooper senility plot in the works. It may have been a throwaway line, but I wonder if we will look back at Sterling’s little quip about “Sterling Campbell Draper Pryce” as foreshadowing by season’s end.

    • I was wondering the same thing when he acted confused as to who Roger was married to (or rather, getting divorced from), but then he did the looking-at-his-watch bit and I cracked up. We’ll never be able to tell with Yodabert. He’s been using the whole ‘they think I’m a dotty old coot’ act since we met him.

      • I thought Bert was honestly out of the loop on Roger’s divorce. But then they’ve got so mcuh water under the bridge, it seems unlikely that Roger wouldn’t have told him. It’s been two months since Roger-in-Wonderland.

      • I agree w Melville. Bert’s still sharp. Just look at his scene with Don, telling him he’s been on love leave. I wish he’d get an office. Speaking of an office, and that not-really second floor, why did Don get off the elevator at least a floor before Ginsberg did?

        • Possibly becasuse Ginzo’s knees were locked, frozen to the spot after a confrontation with his boss.

        • I wondered the same thing. Was Gins to upset and forgot to get off?

      • I get the sense that Roger didn’t tell Bert about the divorce to avoid the inevitable “I-told-ya-so.” But he assumes Bert has heard through other channels. Note that he says, “How did you not know?” He DOESN’T say, “Remember that conversation we had five weeks ago?”

        I think it’s possible Bert DID know and just played dumb, because he wanted Roger to use Jane as arm candy. It would be tactless to say, “Hey…would you mind using your recently-wrecked marriage to help us with a business opportunity?” But by acting clueless, he can ask the favor in complete innocence, and he knows Roger will probably find a way to make it work. Senile? Senile like a FOX.

  34. I am curious if Betty’s bomb dropping about Anna was just the beginning. She is still unhappy and fat, imprisoned in Rye, while she imagines Don and Megan leading the cosmopolitan life she so badly wanted to experience after their Roman Holiday in season 3. I do wonder how far she’ll go to get everything she wants. Megan may know as much as she does, but Betty saw Don’s terror and she knows that all that Dick Whitman information is damaging. Whereas, Megan probably thinks it’s nothing *that* serious. In the end, I don’t feel that Betty deserves the punishment she gets or the attitude from Don or Megan (who was unusually rude to her in that apartment scene). Afterall, Don treated her like crap in Ossining when all she really wanted was to be loved by him. I’m giving her a pass, and besides, Don played into the nasty divorced parent thing just as easily when he spoke with Sally about her mother wanting to hurt them.

    • I predict right now that this attack of the first wife thing will become a habit with Betty and will become continual and on going for the rest of her life. She just can’t resist doing it.

  35. I think Ginsberg said it for many of us – it’s “good to know” that Don can still write after so many months (more months than Ginzo has been there watching Don on love leave – making up for arriving late by leaving early). I actually like having people like Ginz around – open, occasionally disruptive, but honest, not a game-player – a nice foil for Don. I hope Peggy continues to champion him in her self-confident way.

    By the way, have we ever seen Don dramatize anything quite as comic as his “devil” – twice! I don’t think we’ve ever seen him professionally playful like that.

    Roger is showing some interesting new facets – for instance he said “I feel terrible” when Jane made him understand how he had tainted her new digs by seducing her. This is considerably less self-involved than pretty much anything he has said to Joan. I also really like his self-assured cultivation of new clients – just like the account man we never saw pre-Mad Men. How unlike Pete he was when he gave the credit for the brilliant Manishewitz-ad-on-the-bus idea to the firm’s creative team (cheap at 200 bucks, by the way).

  36. SCHADENFREUDE: Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. This German word is used as a loanword in English and some other languages.

    Maybe Betty inherited a keen sense of shadenfreude from her German ancestors.

    • We have it in norwgian too: “skadefryd”.

      It is said to be the only tru joy (fryd).

  37. I don’t know if anyone else has commented on this (I apologize if you have!)…Ginsburg’s concept of throwing a “snowball” at hated authority figures started with his brainstorming idea of throwing one at Hitler. Even though Hitler was probably hated by many, we know he has special meaning for our Ginsburg.

    BTW Does anyone know if it’s Ginsburg or Ginsberg?

    • DWOS, it’s Ginsberg. It’s Ginsberg in every post I’ve written. It’s in the credits. It’s on AMC. It’s on IMDb. It appeared on-screen about EIGHT times this episode. Yet people still spell it Ginsburg. Drives. Me. Nuts.

    • Ginsberg first talked of a snowball hitting a police officer and then a pig (which he implied was just a random animal, didn’t know why it struck people as funny). When did pig become slang for a cop? I remember it around the mid-60s.

      • Since there is hidden meaning in everything, I have been thinking about the pig. The pig was also shown when Don was looking at Ginz’s folder of work on the weekend and it made him laugh. This might be a huge stretch but in Animal Famr the pig’s name was Snowball. This character I believe was based on Trotsky and he tried to help the farm and animals but was overtaken by another animal (boar, maybe? it has been a while since i read this). This book came out well before the 60s so I dont know if this is relevant or not. If I reread the book I am sure I could assign animals to the MadMen characters.

  38. Poor Betty. She just can’t seem to be happy. I have one friend who was very outraged by her weight gain and cancer scare and who accused the writers of always being horrible to her character but I see if differently. It makes her very human, it is something that happens to lots of people in “middle age”; your health isn’t what it was, it is easy to put on the pounds and not as easy to take off. She can be kind of scheming and manipulative at times, but I really think that underneath it all she is a basically decent person, who is, all things aside, is reasonably nice and usually doesn’t set out to be mean, but given her circumstances and how she was raised, she has a hard time showing that at times and she comes off cold when I just think she feels awkward and doesn’t always know what to do. That said, she can be mean and vindictive at times, but no one is perfect, and her behavior has never been over the top or ridiculous and not rooted in something.

    It seems like some times viewers tend to want to throw the baby out with the bath water, and either Betty is totally bad, or a poor abused misunderstood rich girl, or Megan is St. Megan and boring or up to no good and manipulative, and so on with other characters. What I think is though that every character on this show is very well depicted by the actors and very well drawn by the writers, so no one is all good or all bad, it just isn’t that type of show. Sometimes, I’ve really rooted for and felt sympathy for characters who I generally dislike (like Pete Campbell) and other times I’ve been very upset and disappointed with characters I really like (like Peggy, Don and Betty). That is the sign of a good show, and something you don’t always get in tv. I watch some shows where there are good characters and bad characters and that is pretty much it, but what makes this show (to me) so sublimely good and rich is that no one is really a “good guy” or a “bad guy” some people are generally more “bad” than others and some are generally more “good” than others but you get to see all sides of everyone. The light and the dark (or the shadows if you will).

    And also, like life, things don’t get resolved in a week, so even though he’s been better with Megan, Don still has some anger issues, Betty didn’t lose all the weight even after being absent for a few weeks and she is still sad and angry about her split with Don. The only reason why I think Don seems, for now, to be in a better place is because after their split, he had some time on his own to work on himself, and though he went pretty low he wasn’t immediately in another long-term committed relationship; he dated several people and though he married fairly quickly, unlike Betty it wasn’t immediately after the split. If Betty had left Don, dated Henry but not married him right away, maybe even dated some other men, and just had it be her and the kids for awhile, she might have been in a little bit further along with moving on from the marriage because she’d have had some time to herself to mourn her loss. By trying to paper it over and marrying Henry right away, she really hobbled herself, and though I’d have thought it would have been alcohol and maybe “Mother’s Little Helper” rather than food, I had feared she might just have to use something to self-medicate for this situation. I really hope they can show her turn this around, and not just by losing the weight but some of the other baggage that is weighing her down far more than the extra 20 or so pounds she put on.

    • Betty having a substance abuse problem might have been a better choice. I think Weiner keeps wanting to talk about women and their weight, but he muddles it with other issues. He wanted Peggy to put on all that weight in season 1 to react to being sexualized but then it turned she was pregnant and (putting on weight as a result of being sexed). I don’t know too many women with completely healthy attitudes toward food, and it is an important story to tell, and we know that Betty’s identity is bound up in her beauty. It’s hard not to think he’s doing this arc because of January Jones’ pregnancy.

  39. Nice recap as always. I have no idea how you digest things so quickly.

    The back half of the season can be a bit of let down. In the first half, the show has enough room to do brilliantly themed little short stories. No show in the history of television has ever touched what MAD MEN does in those episodes. After the mid-point, the season long plot requirements build up and the show becomes a bit soapier. It is still great TV, but it more on par with other great TV. The threads are being laid down for the finale and not ends in themselves. “Dark Shadows” was solidly in that second category.

    Still, it was a pretty darn good episode.

    First, it was the best Betty episode since “The Gypsy and The Hobo”. Limiting January Jones involvement has forced putting all the different shades of Betty into every episode. Betty Francis is a truly amazing anti-hero and maybe the first truly great female anti-hero in American culture. Betty does evil things, but we have seem women do evil things before. The difference is that Betty does evil things for reasons with which we sympathize.

    Henry Francis is remarkably dull (especially given his creepy introduction and decor), but he doesn’t give any excuses for her bad behavior. Betty has to be accountable for her own actions. It has made her more mature, but not any nicer.

    The Don-Ginsberg rivalry was nicely set-up, but it didn’t feel remotely resolved. For of us who have been waiting for Don to get his mojo back, here it is. Don Draper was never an effortless natural. He was a guy that worked tirelessly to appear like an effortless natural. The first time we saw him, he was sweating bullets over a campaign. His creative peak in “The Wheel” was fear-driven. This is a guy who spends whole weekends polishing shoes when left to his own devices. Ginsberg with his effortless (and unpredictable) talent is a genuine threat. Let’s hope that it brings out the best in Don, because it has already brought out his worst.

    At this point, you have to wonder where all this “Roger throws an absurd amount of money at small problem” stuff is going. It has yielded a lot of funny moments this season, but it is a lot of set-up. I hope that it pays off with something more interesting than “Roger runs out of money and is sad”.

    • So I liked how you worded your comment about Betty. I mentioned in a comment down below how much I felt for Betty during those Megan scenes last night (the apartment and her seeing her skinny figure and the love note from Don). Seriously painful to watch those scenes. And the more I think about it, the more I think it’s because her reaction is probably one that a lot of people might have if put in the same situation. I am no saint, and prone to jealousy just as much as the next person, who knows how I would have reacted, as awful as Betty’s reaction was. I just feel so bad for her this season, it’s similar to how I think most people felt in Season 1.

      I too am curious about the Roger and money thing. Two alimonies, paying off employees to get a leg up on Pete, and his comment on this episode to Ginsberg that he’s “bankrolling the firm”. From the little snippets on AMC’s website for next week though it looks like we will finally find out what the deal is with Lane’s money troubles in the pilot. Next Sunday cannot come fast enough!

  40. “I’m thankful that I have everything I want, and that no one else has anything better.”

    Oh, Betty, Betty, Betty.

    The first part says”more more more for me,” and the last part says “less less less for you.”


    • There is a certain sub set of people that just are this way. Their kids may do well, but is also a requirement that someone else’s children must do poorly because it makes their kid or so much more special. So sad to see in action, and speaks to a total lack of generosity of spirit.

  41. Do you think there is any connection between last week”s Kool Whip pitch and Betty’s Kool Whip moment: a spitter and not a swallower?

  42. This is my first time commenting. And thanks for always providing me with WONDERFUL recaps and insightful comments. I miss so much until I come here and my Monday’s are filled with analyzing what everyone is saying. I am a bit of a “Mad Men Addict”.

    So last night’s episode I thought was good, but also really really sad and at times painful to watch as it explored some very heavy feelings of the main characters, particularly Betty. For some reason when Betty saw Megan at the apartment and then the note, I felt so bad for her (good acting on January Jones’s part!). I am not a big Megan fan and it’s for a silly reason, to me, I think Don Draper happy makes for boring TV, and this season she has gotten a lot of air time. I used to feel sorry for Betty, then she became a little too “Mommie Dearest” in seasons 2-4, but now I feel sorry for her again. I think especially last night because as people have said earlier she never got sweet letters like that from Don, and he was pretty rotten to her during their marriage. It must be hard for her to see him as the perfect husband now to Megan. But something I haven’t seen mentioned yet that should be noted is that Don and Megan are newlyweds and who knows how Don and Betty’s marriage started out. Maybe it was all lovey dovey with little notes, etc. and as kids came along it got to the point of what we’ve seen on Mad Men. I am so curious to see where this season leaves off.

    • I should have put “perfect” in quotations when describing Don as the perfect husband to Megan. I meant it must seem that way to Betty that they have it all together, I guess kind of like she portrayed her and Henry in Season 4, but then at that last scene in the kitchen came clean over… “things aren’t always perfect”.

      And also, I really do wonder how much Megan knows about Don’s past. Based on her snippy comments here and there about Betty, she must not know that Don kept Anna a secret from her for their WHOLE marriage. I would think that is something had Megan known, she would have some sympathy with Betty over. Interesting stuff…

      • I thought Megan’s comments to Don in the first episode that “no one loves Dick Whitman” were strange. If he had really told her about his past then why would she say that about someone whose childhood was as rotten as hi?

        • I took “nobody loves Dick Whitman” as wheedling him out of feeling sorry for himself– as in “you poor poor thing, you feel unloved” – and of course Dick Whitman rightfully felt unloved.

          And then she reassures him “But I love YOU.”

          In the end, it was the writers’ way of letting us know that Don had told her that Don Draper is not his birth name. We still don’t know how much he revealed to her about how he assumed the name.

          • ruthie, exactly. It has astonished me how many people read the statement differently, but they obviously do. I read it exactly as you do.

    • Welcome to the site, Jodie!

    • This is a really good point Jodie. In the flashback episode of the Mountain King I think, when Don visits Ana and is telling her about Betty, he is clearly smitten with Betty. If he WAS the same with Betty as he was with Megan, it still must have hurt Betty to realize he still had it in him and simply stopped with her.

      • I totally agree! And do recall thinking at the time I watched that episode what a weird thing for her to say. Kind of insensitive (assuming she knew the whole Dick Whitman story). It would seem that Don would prefer to explain the Dick/Don thing once to her and then NEVER have it mentioned again. And of course the Adam thing, does Megan know he had a brother and all that went down in episode “5G”? Ahhh… so many questions and only 3 episodes left for Season 5!

  43. I actually like Betty and it is hard to explian why I like her–I think somehow she is a pawn and I feel sorry for pawns.

    I feel like she could never do anything very evil unlike most of the rest of the cast!

    • I’d like to see more of her with women friends. It seems she is making some new ones in the Rye area. We used to see her a lot with Francine, of course. She got bored with Francine sometimes, and of course she was not very nice to poor Sarabeth.

      I do remember first season though how sweet she was to Helen Bishop when the other women (Francine, etc.), were catty and judgmental. Betty was the only one who didn’t seem to criticize. (“It should be Christmas every day”–I loved that!)

  44. I LOVE reading everyone’s comments each week and finally have the nerve to submit my own:

    Don, Betty, and Roger got a chance to see themselves in the dark shadows that they cast. Sally is becoming Betty. She doesn’t realize Betty is using her until she hears the argument between Don and Megan. But,Sally gets back at Betty by telling her how wonderfully pleasant the conversation was between her, Megan, and Don to the point that pictures were shared. And the comment Sally makes at the Thanksgiving dinner table, “She wants to eat”, is mean. She knows the “dirty” things that grownups do to each other and now that she’s “growing up”, she’s joining the club.

    Megan points out to Don that Betty’s shadow is trying to poison their relationship from 50 miles away.

    Jane can barely breathe in Roger’s shadow and it seems impossible for her to break free of him. Roger is playing life for laughs, but he finally realizes that the weak are really hurt by him.

    Then there’s the shadow of work. It’s a pretend family, not a real life, and in the pretend family, it’s every man for himself.

    One last note, I love Ginsberg. He speaks the truth in his sarcasm and it’s great. You want to hug him, but you know as soon as you open your arms to him, he’ll say something that makes you want to slap him. He is an adorable brat. And if he only knew that Don thinks about him all the time (at least in the office). Don used Ginsberg’s work as a base to develop his own. Ginsberg is growing up quickly in the pretend family. It will be fun to see how he develops.

    Welcome back Don, you are the real Barnabas Collins – sneaking around in the dark, stealing your colleague’s blood, I mean work.

    • “Welcome back Don, you are the real Barnabas Collins – sneaking around in the dark, stealing your colleague’s blood, I mean work.”

      Well done! And welcome, Writer!

  45. Deborah, your recaps are dynamite and I love how you jump in to the commentary stream. Not sure if this has been raised before but Betty’s weight gain seems totally incongrous to me. I could buy Betty having an eating disorder (bulemia anyone?) but not sitting around stuffing Bugles in her mouth or shooting Ready Whip. Also having a difficult time watching Don attacked by his employees two weeks running and not reacting in Don fashion. While I can buy Don letting Peggy’s “Shut up!” pass, I would expect Don to fire Ginsberg on the spot for his elevator comment. While lots of Betty haters have posted today, am I the only person who wants to see Ginsberg ousted? I had a sense that Don pushed himself to develop a SnoBall ad so that Peggy didn’t fall further behind Ginsberg in the client count. I picked up Don giving his liquor supply a glance as he dictated his SnoBall notes. For anyone who has relied on a crutch to assist the mood/creative process, doing without the crutch is tough. In spite of all the apparent buzz of phones and typewriters, all is not well at SCDP? By the way, where is Price? LOVE the thought of Bert and Roger making a big splash before season end.

    • I would have no problem saying goodbye to Ginsberg.

      I, too thought it was very unrealistic that he spoke that way to Don in the elevator. He’s a young, new kid. Don is the boss and has a short fuse at that. He should have at least been in for a dressing-down.

  46. Roger Sterling to Peggy Olson in Dark Shadows:

    “It’s every man for himself.”

    Well the main theme of season five according to Matt Weiner finally is unveiled in an episode. But how true is it? As we all know the saying can be interpreted in a variety of ways. So imho here are the main characters of Mad Men and in which episode it became noticeable that it applied to each of them.

    Harry Crane:

    Episode 1 & 2 A Little Kiss

    Harry not showing up with Jennifer at Don’s surprise birthday party and Jennifer not being on the show for over 2 seasons. Apparently Jennifer is NOT a part of Harry’s work life. It could also extend to his personal life as well. He may be rowing the boat alone.

    Episode 3 Tea Leaves

    Betty Draper struggling with a weight problem. Like every over-eater, she must solve her problem on her own despite Weight Watchers. In 1966 I don’t think there were liposuction operations.

    Episode 4 Mystery Date

    Peggy reminds Dawn of her struggle to make it in a man’s world and that nobody handed her anything. A follow up of what she told Abe in the bar in season 4.

    Dawn tells Peggy of her fears as a Black she on a daily basis has to contend with a hostile environment (white-black relations, powerlessness of Black women)

    Joan kicks Greg out for good and becomes a single parent.

    Episode 5 Signal 30

    Pete’s precipitate downfall began in this episode and it has not stopped since. Pete has no friends; his colleagues at work hate him, Lane knocked him down in a boxing match, and Don does not commiserate with him after he cheats on Trudy. And Pete tells Don, “I have nothing.” Pete has a wife and child and should be nowhere close to feeling this way. But he does.

    Lane Pryce is shown to be a fish out of water at SCDP because he is not actively involved in sales. Thus he is not a part of any team. Lane’s job as a financial wizard at SCDP has come to define him.

    Ken Cosgrove was told in this episode by Roger Sterling to take his work at SCDP seriously and to abandon his pursuit of fictional writing. By continuing to pursue writing under a different pen name, and with writing being a lonely pursuit anyway, Ken realizes he is on his own.

    Episode 6 Far Away Places

    Michael Ginsberg tells Peggy is was born in a Nazi concentration camp and a displaced person. He feels alone because he does not feel a part of any community.

    Episode 7 At the Codfish Bowl

    Sally realizes she has to fend herself in an adult world and being only 12, she must find a way to cope with what Matt Weiner calls the dirtiness or the gross nature of this world. Nobody is there to take Sally by the hand and “take her down the yellow brick road”

    Before episode 9, in episode 7 after a LSD trip we see a re-invigorated Roger Sterling, who has decided to chart a new path in his personal life (divorce from Jane) and in his business life not seeking the cooperation of his fellow partners.

    Episode 8 Lady Lazurus

    A valid argument imho can be made that episode that in Far Away Places when Don abandoned Megan in the Howard Johnson parking lot that this was an example of Megan being on her own and having to fend for herself. That would have been my choice if not for this episode.

    In Lady Lazurus, Megan voluntarily breaks away from the pack and decides to go off on her own. In addition acting is like writing, a very lonely profession where you survive on your wits and your abilities and talents and get a lot of rejection.. Nobody hands you anything. It can become very lonely on the island.

    Episode 9

    We see Jane remaining bitter towards Roger at the end of the episode and in a preview of what she told Roger earlier she will choose to remain unmarried. Thus “every man for himself” for Jane is a strategy to soak as much money from Roger as she can in the way of alimony.

    For Henry Francis, he realizes he has backed the wrong horse (John Lindsey for President) and should have jumped ship awhile back. In politics everything is sweetness and light when the “horse” you back wins office, but should your “horse’ fail to win the race or doesn’t even enter it, you are left out in the cold as a political operative. There is no support group for failed politicians or their operatives.

    And Don, the ultimate survivor returns to his roots as a creative person. He has never forgotten that his entire life can be encompassed the “its every man for himself.” He understands Darwin (actually Spencer) very well–survival of the fittest.

    The one thing which I think also should pointed out is that the dark period Don Draper went through virtually on his own in season four is basically what all the other characters are going through in season five, but of course the circumstances are completely different and the character’s reactions of coming to realize it’s every man for himself have been different.

    Don Draper hit rock bottom in season four. He knows how unhappy he was. It takes one to know one in the sense Don can spot someone going through the same situation as he did, and knowing how lonely they can feel or how that loneliness can trigger negative behavior patterns.

    But Don survived, didn’t he? How will the other characters do feeling the same way he did? Are their survivor skills as developed as Don’s are?

  47. Since this episode is Betty-centric, I don’t think it is inappropriate to go back and look at the defining point of Mad Men or game changer that has had the effect to change the dynamics of SCDP as well as the focus of the series. This could be the equivalent of the starting QB being injured and replacing him with the back-up QB who fundamentally changes how the team’s offense plays the game and also brings his team back to win the game.

    Without this one fateful decision by Betty, the fates of Don and Megan would have in all likelihood been different and would not now be married.

    It happened in Tomorrowland, the last episode of season four.

    The decision: Betty’s impulsive decision to fire Carla, the kids’ nanny after she has provided years of good service to her.

    In case you have forgotten, Carla was supposed to accompany Don and the 3 kids to CA to visit Disneyland.

    When Don inquired whether Carla would still be available for the trip, Betty doubled down and told Don she would not permit him to use her services, leaving Don in the lurch and desperate to find someone to look after the kids.

    Megan checked into childcare but this is 1966 and she told Don that it was basically inadequate. Although Don had slept with Megan in Chinese Wall, he had no intention of taking her to CA with him. But Don suddenly had a brain wave brought about by his desperation–take Megan with him to look after the kids.

    How often does a man get to audition his kids’ future stepmother?

    How often does a promiscuous man like Don find true love following the path of serendipity?

    It was Betty who played Cupid for Don and Megan and she will blame herself forever for what she unwittingly did.

    And after seeing the young, sexy Megan it all became so real and terrifying for Betty: Don now happily married, Megan a great step-mother, and both so happy while Betty is wallowing in unhappiness and deep regret that she was so stupid to fire Carla.

    And in Betty’s mind Don and Megan must be destroyed. It’s either that or go crazy.

    If only humans could go back and rewrite history.

    • Bravo, bravo for your take on Betty, teckno! Wow, I had not thought of the role she played in pushing Don into Megan’s arms. I know Betty made some awful mistakes and is still so childish and self-centered, but I really do feel sorry for her. I don’t get the feeling that she has told Henry (or anyone for that matter) about Don’s big secret. Imagine how much of a burden that is to carry around, especially mixed with all the hostility she feels toward Don in so many other areas. No – she should not have tried to use Sally to hurt Don and Megan. She lashed out reflexively and I have to believe she knew immediately that it was wrong. She does not have the tools to correct a mess like that. I guess we are lucky Betty is not the one who is contemplating drinking Draino this season. So much guilt and pain……..

      • What I have noticed that some of the most important scenes in terms of plot development are a lot shorter than you would expect. The scene with Betty and Carla is no exception to that rule.

  48. I very much enjoyed this episode. For me, this one felt more like season 4. None of the pyrotechnics of “Mystery Date” or “Far Away Places”, and I like the quiet drama and the more subtle subtext.

    January Jones’ performance was heartbreaking, her pain nuanced.

  49. Hi Debb, I was curious about your reaction to Mo Ryan’s article on Huffington Post blasting Betty (I guess more specifically how the writers portray her)…?

    • I read Mo every week, she’s a great writer, but she’s always blasted Betty. I don’t fully agree. There are a lot of great writers on this show who have different takes.

      • Sure, I love reading all the different perspectives. I’m really enjoying your write-ups.

        I am interested in Betty’s character. She reminds me of my grandmother and her lost dreams- (although my grandmother thankfully doesn’t have that mean streak).

        However little Betty seems to evolve…well, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? Not every human evolves in a productive healthy way.
        It is sadly poignant watching Betty having to function in a certain role/identity.

  50. It just dawned on me that this Thanksgiving marked a major departure for the Francis family…no big family gathering this year. Did I miss any reference to why they didn’t join Mama Pauline and the rest of the Francis gang? And whatever became of his daughter? I feel that Henry and Betty are just a tad bit less creepy together than Joan and Greg.

  51. There has been much posting about Betty’s jealousy and It really coming out after seeing Don’s apartment, wife and love note. I think this jealousy began in season 4. Maybe someone else will remember the actual ep but I recall her being in her old kitchen ranting that life was very unfair because Don was having the time of his life when in fact he was in the middle of a downward spiral. I think she has been simmering for sometime that Don has somehow gotten the better end of the deal.

    • That was episode 8 The Summer Man:

      Here is the actual quote from Betty to her friend Francine:

      “He’s living the life, let me tell you…He doesn’t get to have this family and THAT (his casual sex life).”

      And this is Francine’s response:

      “Be careful. Don has nothing to lose and you have everything.”

      And this is from episode 5 The Chrysanthemum and the Sword from Betty:

      “I want him dead.” (ref to Don bringing Sally home after she cut her hair)

      Absolutely right on about your comment about her feelings towards Don but these negative feelings imho picked up at the end of the very last episode (Tomorrowland) in season four after Don told Betty he was engaged to his secretary. But it’s one thing to imagine what Don and Megan’s love nest looked like and what Megan looked like and how Don felt about Megan but it’s another thing to see it in the raw. And now there is no turning back for Betty now that Don and Megan turned the Anna Draper issue against her by convincing Sally it was no big deal.

  52. The show’s title “Dark Shadows” made me wonder if there would be any references to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

    Here’s a very piecemeal summary of PAC. Let’s say there are people who have spent their whole lives in a dim cave, forced to only see one wall. Their captors have lit a fire behind them which they use to make shadows on that wall. Since the captives have never seen anything else, they think the shadows are real. So they think the “shadow tree” is a real tree, and so on. And their captors are intentionally trying to “fake them out,” in other words the captors want the captives to believe the shadows are the real deal.
    One day one of the captives leaves the cave. At first his eyes cannot adjust to the sunlight. But slowly they do adjust and he begins to see things clearly. And he realizes that the tree he sees outside is a real tree and the one in the cave was fake, it was just a shadow. In PAC the Sun symbolizes reality and truth. There’s more but I’ll end here. For a summary

    Or for a very funny, very vulgar, but very clear version, here.

    Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is referenced often in MM. In the scenes leading up to the Wheel pitch and the pitch itself, there are heavy references to Plato’s Cave. Harry walks out of his office with his trash can on fire. Then Harry talks about the caves at Lascaux and the paintings on the wall.
    The pitch itself is pure Cave. There is a fire (the lightbulb in the projector) and the shadows on the wall (the images of the slides). As Don speaks, he quotes a Greek man named Teddy. And then he bases the pitch on the fact that nostalgia is a Greek word and its meaning in Greek.

    In Babylon, Betty says, “Did you know Michelangelo was painting the Sistine ceiling when those people (Pygmies) were still living in caves discovering fire?” The “living in caves” and “discovering fire” part could be a symbolic reference to PAC. Also, Michelangelo’s paintings are in a way shadows on a dome.

    Also, Basketcase Anna B. wrote an amazing post on “723” and PAC.

    As I was watching Dark Shadows, I was looking for the usual “markers” of PAC, the cave, a fire, shadows. But as the episode went along I saw nothing. And then Don read the NYT article.

    Pete said that the article compared the profiled agencies to philosophers. And the first one listed was a “Platonist,” complete with a profile drawing of Plato. So basically a straight up reference to Plato.

    Also, there’s Don’s note to Megan where he says, “I went to buy a light bulb. When I get back I’ll see you better.” So there’s clearly the idea of needing light to see things clearly (perhaps Megan is faking Don out and he needs to see her more clearly?).

    And at the end of DS, the sun in obscured by the toxic smog, perhaps indicating that Don is in a type of cave and/or that the truth is being obscured.

    The idea of the truth being obscured and the notion of people trying to fake others out permeate the episode. DS begins w/Megan teaching Sally how to fake people out by crying on cue. Betty pretends that her dropping of Anna’s name was just a way to help Sally w/her homework. Roger fakes out the Manischewitz people that he’s still married to Jane. Don tries to fake out Ginsberg that he went with his own idea because it was better and going in w/two pitches looked weak, rather than the fact that Don was jealous of Ginsberg and wanted to sabotage him. The NYT writer fakes out Pete by pretending that he’ll write about SCDP.

    In the end, Sally realizes that Betty is faking her out through her talk w/Megan, overhearing Megan and Don’s argument about Betty, and finally Don telling her about Anna. Ginsberg isn’t faked out by Don for a moment, he calls him out as soon as he sees him. Pete realizes that he was faked out when he reads the NYT article. Only Roger gets away with it, at least so far.

    In addition, Sally’s family tree is a sort of fake/shadow tree, it’s not real. Don’s parents are listed as “Archibald Draper” and “Abigail Draper” (the latter being a multifaceted can of worms). There’s no Adam or Uncle Mack. And of course no Anna initially.

    What also struck me about DS is its links to previous episodes that used PAC. In “The Wheel” Don is at the top of his game. In DS, Don is at the bottom.

    Moreover, there are a plethora of references to “Babylon.” In “Babylon” Don has the Israeli tourism account and goes to Rachel Menken for information about being Jewish. In DS, Roger is trying to land an account with a Jewish wine company and uses his Jewish wife as an asset. In “Babylon” Sal jokes about “Ethel Rosenberg” pink lipstick and says something along the lines of “what you wear while going to the chair.” And during the brainstorming session Pete asks when they’re going to turn the electricity on in the chairs (a reference to the one way mirror also used in executions). In DS, the Manischewitz owners are the Rosenbergs and wife basically says it’s a good thing that all Rosenberg’s aren’t related, a reference to the executed Rosenbergs. In “Babylon” Peggy is discovered and Don actively mentors and champions her. In DS, Don fully sees Ginsberg’s talent while leafing through his folder and instead sabotages him.

    So if the sun/truth is obscured at the end of “Dark Shadows,” that could bode interesting things for the rest of the season.

  53. To add on to my previous post, in the NYT article the last agency is referred to as “The Aburdists.” This could mean Sartre, Camus, Ionesco, and so on. But I’m going with Sartre as per Basketcase “WC’s” catch that Emile Calvet is made to look like Sartre.

    Also, one of the first things Emile says in “Codfish Ball” is “Absurd!” (referring to Don carrying the luggage). So the combination of Emile’s appearance and the “Absurd!” quote lead me to believe that “The Absurdists” refer to Sartre within the context of MM.

    This is what I wrote in response to “WC’s” post

    What really struck me w/Sartre and MM are the plays “No Exit” and “The Flies.” In “No Exit,” three people are trapped with one another in an afterlife from which there is no exit, not even death since they are already dead. “The Flies” is a reworking of “The Oresteia” based on the myth of Orestes and his sister Electra. The basic plot is that Orestes and Electra’s father has been killed by their mother Clytemnestra and their father’s brother Aegisthus, who has begun an affair with Clytemnestra. The siblings plan to murder their mother and uncle in revenge, which Orestes eventually does. In Sartre’s version, the focus is more on accepting the consequences of one’s actions without remorse. The flies represent the original crime of the father’s murder and they become the Furies after the murders of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.

    As I was thinking about this, I remembered something. The fly trapped in the ceiling light during the series pilot. So, “The Flies” + “No Exit” = the fly trapped in the ceiling light. This theme is reiterated during “The Suitcase” when Don tries to catch a mouse (another type of vermin) and realizes “there’s another way out of here.”

    So what could be the possible meanings? For Don, the Orestes myth could relate to his father/Abigail/Uncle Mack. There’s been a lot of speculation that Abigail and Mack started their affair before Archie died and that Adam is Mack’s son passed off as Archie’s. A 10 year old Don would not have understood the birds and the bees. But a 17 year old Don might have noticed how Adam looked like Mack and then did the math. Since Don gave Peggy a box of his father’s favorite violet candies, Don may have had more fondness of his father than he has previously mentioned. Perhaps realizing that his father’s friend betrayed his father by sleeping with his stepmother could have started the end of Don’s relationship with his family.

    Another meaning could have to do w/Peggy since Don sees her face after his “post fly trapped in light” nap and Peggy is integral to “The Suitcase.” Perhaps they are each trapped in their own boxes from which they can find no exit. For Peggy it could go back to the psychological implications of the Electra myth. Peggy lost her father at 12 in a graphic way. She seems almost stunted at that age and is looking for a father figure. Don fills that role from S1 and especially after he finds her in the hospital. But it’s a rocky relationship until Don meets Peggy in her apartment in “Shut the Door.” I’ve found Don’s “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to hire you” as a way of cementing their adopted daughter/father relationship, that their relationship is permanent.

    Perhaps as a result, in S4 we see a Peggy who has finally grown up, she’s dressing like an adult and is full of confidence. In “The Suitcase” Peggy sees Don cry, something men of that era would only do in front of someone they considered like family. So Peggy might have finally found her exit out of her search for a father figure.

    For Don, the “No Exit” scenarios could be multiple. Perhaps he’s trapped in relationships with women that are sexually fulfilling but not emotionally so. And his strong non sexual relationship with Peggy gets him out of that box. Or there’s the original wound of being rejected by his adoptive mother. Perhaps by taking on Peggy as an adopted daughter of sorts Don is healing that wound and getting out of that box of pain. Whatever it may be, the fact that Don asks Peggy to leave the door open at the end of “The Suitcase,” thus giving himself an exit, could be of significance.

    So that’s it. I didn’t think much about Sartre until the final scene of “Dark Shadows” when Don wants to open the porch door while calling the apartment hotter than, well, the place where “No Exit” is situated. But Don cannot open the door, he’s stuck, there’s no exit. And that’s basically what the protagonist of “No Exit,” Garcin, tries to do, he opens a door but he cannot leave. In NE there are three people stuck in a room. In the apartment Don’s there, so is Megan, and Julia is about to arrive, which makes three. Which does not bode well for Don/Megan. Also, with the “Absurdist” agency, there are three people, just like in NE.

    The “No Exit” theme is repeated with the multiple elevator scenes. An elevator is basically a closed box w/no exit. The episode starts w/the elevator ride w/Cooper, Roger, Don, and Pete. Then there’s Peggy and Roger. And then Don and Ginsberg.

    As for “The Flies” aspect of “Dark Shadows,” “The Flies” is a family generational story which could relate to Sally’s family tree. Also, in “The Flies” the hero hates his mother. Which could go with both Don (regarding Abigail) and Sally (realizing that Betty is a manipulator and then turning on her).

  54. On what must have been her first visit to Don and Megan’s Manhattan apartment, she spies an airy, spacious, modern, beautifully appointed home – with nary a single fainting couch on the premises. It must have compounded the misery she felt, on the long drive back to Rye, to her dreary, Addams Family-like abode.

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