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Mad Men Open Thread: The Gypsy and the Hobo

Mad_men_episode_311_don_3 Whoa. So things really came to a head last night, eh? I'll be honest. Despite Betty discovering Don's secrets, I honestly expected them to drag out their confrontation for at least another season. The fact that they didn't kind of gives me a newfound respect for the story arc. And for Betty.

Mad_men_episode_311_don_2 Betty, in a rather sour mood after discovering that her husband of 10 years has a secret identity and an ex-wife and some property in California, takes the kids to her parents' house to discuss the sale of the house with her brother, William, and their lawyer. Her brother is all huffy because their father essentially left the house to Betty because she has the financial ability to buy his half. And just maybe, their father "essentially" left the house to Betty because William's a total brat. Anyway, while William is off throwing a tantrum, Betty asks their lawyer for advice about what to do about Don. The lawyer gives her the same brand of "advice" that her doctor gave her when she found out she was pregnant ("Hey, he makes a good living and he doesn't beat you! Why are you whining?"), though he does illustrate that getting a divorce during that time was damn near impossible. This seems to inspire Betty to finally have that come-to-Jesus talk that they've been needing for about three seasons now.

Mad_men_episode_311_don_betty_1 I was downright impressed with Betty's reserve during their confrontation. She confronted him not as a simpering victim, but as a wife who was wronged and knew that she didn't deserve it. She was justifiably angry, and did a really good job of pointing out to Don how it was wrong and how it affected her and their marriage. Did you notice how Don seemed to have contracted Betty's nervous hands condition? Dropping his cigarettes and being all trembly? His facial expressions really seemed to change when he was explaining everything to her. He looked totally vulnerable and profoundly sorry. And even though he didn't tell her the WHOLE truth (he conveniently forgot that his mistress was waiting outside), he told her the parts that really mattered. Seeing him break down into tears, echoing baby Gene's wailing, and seeing Betty soften as he explained his roots, was just...terrible and wonderful.

Mad_men_episode_311_don_betty_2 After that, Don and Betty seemed to look at each other and address each other with a newfound tenderness, one that they nudged at during their trip to Italy, but wasn't quite right yet. I think maybe they're ready to start over, even though I don't think that they're fully out of the woods yet. But I think they're ready to start trusting and respecting each other.

Mad_men_episode_311_don_suzanne_1 So, maybe I'm a total asshole, but I kept cracking up thinking of Miss Farrell sitting in Don's car waiting for him to come out so that they could go on their little escapade, all, "I'm so excited to get away with him! I'm sure he'll have all of his stuff together soon...Probably had to feed the dog and take the garbage out first, because fruit flies are a total drag...Any minute now...Aaaany minute now. Yep. Any minute now." I was half-afraid that she was just going to bust into the house in the middle of Don and Betty's talk. I'm really glad she didn't though because that would have been sooo...Flavor of Love or something. If Betty and Miss Farrell would have gotten into a slapfight, I would have had to stop watching the show altogether. Mad_men_episode_311_suzanne_1 And as much as I disliked Miss Farrell, and as much as I thought she was going to turn into a psycho hosebeast (though the season's not over yet, so who knows, and Don still presumably has ties with her brother), I thought she handled their "break up" really well. She was sad, of course, but accepting and I have to respect her for that. Also, what do you think about Miss Farrell asking if Don is okay and Don responding, "Only you would ask about me right now?" I really couldn't tell what he was getting at. Was he just remarking on how sweet she is? Or was he having a little pity party for himself? Gah. Stupid ambiguous lines.

Mad_men_episode_311_drapers_2 I also cracked up a little at Don's reaction to Francine's husband's unintentionally loaded question of, "What are you supposed to be?" while the Drapers, all of them, were trick-or-treating, Bobby and Sally in their costumes, Don and Betty in their "costumes." In real life, Don's dumbfounded expression and silence would have prompted Carlton to nervously chuckle and be like, "Uh, it's not the Spanish Inquisition, buddy. I'm just asking, joking around. Um, anyway. Here. Have a Hershey bar. Poker next week, maybe? Could you please quit staring at me like that?" Also, the kids' costumes (and the episode title) were obviously dripping with metaphor, but what exactly? Don is a gypsy and a hobo? You'll have to help me out with that one.

Joan and Greg's marriage continues to be icky. Greg is so...ugh. How he could sit there and stupidly accuse Joan of not understanding what it's like to want something your whole life and just not get it, was incredible. And while I don't advocate violence, I can kind of understand why she felt the need to break that vase over her head. With Greg joining the army, it's obvious that he will be taking his stellar surgical skills to Vietnam (lucky troops!). This will not end well. Greg could be injured or killed, leaving Joan no better off now that she's apparently committed to moving forward with being a full-fledged housewife. Also, Greg doesn't seem like he has the best stress-handling skills, so that foreshadow of him being even more abusive is hardcore lurking now. Plus, his exposition of some very ugly times growing up don't bode well, either.

Joan's interactions with Greg the Douchebag were especially sad compared to her phone conversation with Roger. Though I would never go so far as to say that they had a healthy relationship, they really liked each other and Roger obviously thinks the world of her because he sees that she is a really remarkable person. Whereas Greg just sees a trophy wife who looks good to his colleagues, and he maybe has a hint that she is way out of his league.

And what to make of Roger's little non-fling with Annabelle, the dog food heiress? It was impressive to see him be virtuous for once and to let the past stay the past, but...what was the point, really? Perhaps it served to frame the coming storm that will rain down on Sterling Cooper. As we know (though I don't think Roger and Bert do yet), it's for sale, and Roger brushing off Annabelle's fury over their suggestion that they change the name of their dog food will perhaps be referenced when a buyer wants to change their name. 

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Suzy Q

I thought Miss Farrell handled the situation well. She eventually figured out something was up inside the house and quietly went away. She waited for Don to call and seemed concerned about her job, as well as for him. It could have been much worse.

It will be interesting to see how Betty and Don go forward in their marriage with all that's been revealed.

Joan and Greg - ugh. Let's hope he gets himself killed in basic training. I loved it when she smashed him with the vase, but I was worried about retribution.

That whole thing with Roger and Annabelle seemed like show padding to me. Not terribly interesting and ultimately pointless.

I have to say, there is NO WAY Don and Betty would have accompanied their kids trick-or-treating. Kids went alone (i.e., without any parents) back in the '60s, as I can attest. I don't think it even occurred to parents to do that back then. I mean, what for? That would have taken time away from all the drinking and smoking!


I kind of thought the Roger's non-fling was to point out that his true love is Joan, and he regrets letting her get away.

Also loved Betty this episode.

Deb on the Rocks

This was the best episode ever! I think you are right about the name-changing foreshadowing for the agency. The horsemeat/dog food name change discussion was all about Don too. He said he had eaten horse, reminding us of the roots he's tried to escape by changing his name.

Agree with Devon--Annabelle and the bad Dr. drama were there to show that Roger and Joan belong together.

I thought the hobo and gypsy were over the top. When Don/Dick was young, the hobo who worked on his farm and then was ripped off by his dad taught him the hobo code of marking a house as good or bad as a signal to the next hobo. Gypsies are similarly rootless and look for signs for the future. I think the writers are telling us Don is not much about fixing the past and is about to pick up with tent poles and move on.


I have been watching this show since the beginning, patiently dealing with our DVR and not running through DVDs in one fell swoop. And WOW, the payoff for 2+ years of patience worth of tension-building was nice, real fucking nice.

I was so blown away that Don told Betty nearly everything - even about Adam. Don only left out the fact that he switched the dog tags, that was no accident as he claimed with Betty. But hey, I can forgive that.

I am utterly fascinated with where Don and Betty will go next. I do not think necessarily the marriage will ever be a happy one - I am not the first to say this, but Betty is simply the woman that Don has idealized all these years. I don't think she makes him happy or fulfilled in the ways that Midge, Rachel and Suzanne have - he is so relaxed with them and just different, somehow. Eh, maybe he can get that way with Betty but after all these years, who really knows? She is not a strong, confident woman like the other three who have captivated Don n the past.

And Roger Sterling? Those were some great scenes and it was nice to have some more backstory on him. I don't think Roger and Joan were destined to be together and Joan will always be the one that got away. I think Roger realizes that his marriage with Jane is IT and that he better not fuck it up. He's no spring chicken.

Joan, oh Joan. I am still not sure what to think about Dr. Rapist enlisting, surely he will be headed for Vietnam now, married or not. One thing that keeps me spellbound with the scenes with Joan is watching her go in and out of her Calm, Cool, Collected Mode. She can turn on the charm at the drop of a hat and try to smooth his ruffled feathers, but even she cannot keep up the pretense ALL the time.

That was an amazing episode. Truly.


I am sooooooooo sad that I'm behind on the episodes (life) so I can't read or comment here....just wanted to say hello and I wish I could join you....Weep, weep!


I thought Sterling turned down Mrs. Horsemeat because "it's different with this girl" to indicate to us that there actually is something special about Jane. Because I just don't see it and haven't been able to get interested in her story.

Pete Campbell has been totally missing from the last two episodes. I can't stand him, but I do kind of expect him.

Washington "Trick or Treat"  Cube

The hobo and gypsy were obvious. Those were what kids went as for Halloween...no fancy store bought costumes. Either sex, you got Mom's eyebrow pencil smeared on you...the gypsy would get a beauty mark...a red lipstick hobo nose...lipstick on the gypsy...a bandana on either head or Daddy's old hat for the hobo....done. Get lost kids, Mom's got a buzz on.


I LOVED this episode. John Hamm deserves the emmy for this performance. The facial expressions alone were outstanding, and it was absolutely chilling and heartwarming at the same time to see the facade fall.

So good!!


This episode was so good!!! I love Joan and am waiting on pins and needles to see what happens to Dr. Asshat when he goes to basic training. I'm thinking he'll either get killed in some bizarre training accident or get shipped off to war and she'll be married but on her own.

Roger's encounter with the dog food heiress seemed to be there to contrast with his interaction with Joan. With Dog Food lady he was in charge but with Joan he's at her mercy. With new wife he seems to be just there.

This was such a good episode. I can't wait to see the rest of the season!!

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