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Mad Men Open Thread: The Grown-Ups

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_assassination_1 Ever since we got a glance at Margaret's wedding invitation, listing the wedding date as the day after the assassination of JFK, I've been bracing myself for this episode. And as soon as I saw Harry turn down the TV in his office to discuss Pete's relatively unimportant career angst, I knew it was upon us.

There have been countless portrayals of that day in popular culture, but I have to say that I think this was one of the best ones. The shock and grief weren't too melodramatic and the ways that people struggled, for better or worse, to ensure that life went on were expertly written.

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_betty_1 So, Betty went ahead and just had herself a big ol' meltdown, didn't she? I can't blame her, obviously. She was still reeling from Don's revelations, then there was the assassination, then she had to go to that wedding where she bumped into Henry Francis, then she had the misfortune of seeing Lee Harvey Oswald get shot live on TV, then Henry laid it out that he wants to marry her. I think it was pretty apparent that when she stood up and shouted, "What is going on?!?!?" she wasn't just talking about the assassination and the related events. Absolutely nothing made sense anymore. And Don's classic Draper reassurances that everything would be fine were no longer welcome or adequate.

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_don_betty_2 However, I don't have much faith in the Henry Francis situation. If Betty's unhappy with Don, I don't think they should stay married, but I just don't think Henry is it for her. Something about him seems...off. I'm trying to think if, when they met in that parking log and he said that he wanted to marry her, that he even told her he loved her. I don't know.

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_don_betty_3 I know that Don is sort of the bad guy here, but I really feel for him. As misguided and wrong as his control of his life and persona were, seeing him completely lose everything, his "life," his marriage, his country as he knew it, was pretty sad. He just...he couldn't control the shitty hand that life dealt him, so he worked to control everything else and when he realized how completely he had failed at that, all that he could do was sit in his bedroom and then get up and go to work the next day. I also really felt for Sally and Bobby when he left for work and he and Betty shared an icy moment. I think Don wanted so badly for Betty just to look at him and maybe reconsider her declaration that she no longer loved him. She didn't, though, and the kids noticed. Ugh.

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_paul_peggy_1 At the office, only Don and Peggy have come in to work on the national day of mourning. Peggy is working on the Aqua Net campaign, which features their commercial in the car. Perhaps I should have groaned, but I cracked up seeing the storyboards. They don't want to feel what everyone else is feeling, so Peggy immerses herself in work while Don immerses himself in "work" (read: drinking in his office, since the bars are closed). 

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_harry_pete_1 Pete is also having a hell of an existential crisis. After hearing the news that Ken passed him over for the official head of accounts position, and having the assassination piled on top, he donned a turtleneck (!) and began to really consider leaving Sterling Cooper. How that will play out now that Duck and Peggy seem to be a regular, though covert, item remains to be seen. I'm guessing that Peggy remains uninterested in Duck professionally, but given her extremely awkward romantic history with Pete, things could get weird.

Mad_men_season_3_episode_12_roger_margaret_1 Roger and Joan's phone conversation made me ache. I never really gave much thought to their relationship, besides Roger oh-so-romantically telling her that she was the best piece of ass ever. But now that they're both in crappy marriages, they seem to be realizing that they really care for each other and were really suited for each other. Now I'm hoping for some miracle that will bring them together.

And as bratty as Margaret was being, I really felt bad for her that her wedding had to happen on such an unfortunate date. Poor kid.

I noticed that there was no real preview for next week's finale, which indicates that shit will be bananas. I'm guessing the sale of Sterling Cooper will be front and center and I'm predicting that heads will roll.







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Comments

Lori

That was such a good episode! I was thinking that the way they all heard about and lived through the assasination was probably pretty accurately portrayed.

A few thoughts have been rolling around in my head today:
-Betty's meltdown was LONG in coming but I wonder what will happen next. I can't see the parking lot guy (name escapes me) being IT in the long term.
-I was wondering how Don would feel if/when Peggy's secret relationship with Duck comes to light. She's sort of Don's pet project in a way and Duck is his nemesis.
-I keep thinking that the Sale will somehow involve Duck's firm and then things will get even more complicated. Especially if Pete defects before the sale.
-I kept thinking last night that if Betty leaves Don she's not really going to want the kids. She has such a distant relationship with them all.
-Roger's relationship with Jane is FAR more rocky and icky than I thought it was. When she all but stomped her foot and ran into the bathroom I kept thinking it was like some twisted father/daughter thing. And then I made myself sick a bit. I love Joan though and the fact that they are still close gives me hope for her being more on the show next season.

I can't believe there's only one episode left this year! The lack of a preview for next week had me feeling all giddy and excited for all the big things that could be. EE!!

MamaKaren

I noticed the lack of preview, too. It was all clips from throughout the season, not actual preview, so I have no idea what to expect next week. One thing that struck me is what a lousy drunk Jane is. I don't recall ever seeing any character as blotto as she was after the wedding- even when Don and Betty were too drunk to get undressed after the awards dinner in "5 G," they were both able to make it to the bed to collapse under their own power, not having to be carried.

Fairly Odd Mother

This was a great episode. I too felt so sad for Don, especially in that scene where he sits in the dark of his bedroom in the dark.

Betty going to Henry is a bad idea. She's going to believe a politician? I wish she could've told Don off without the "cushion" of Henry to back her up.

LOVED that moment between Roger and Joan. Jane is way too much like his spoiled daughter.

And, icky Pete---I bet he starts all sorts of conspiracy theories and goes way off the deep end with the JFK murder.

Condo Blues

I thought Duck's sorta of proposal to Betty was odd too. Also notice that he was ready to give up politics for her? Why? She hasn't been lovey dovey over him.

This episode again makes me say that Sally draper seriously needs her parents to start her a Therapy Fund instead of a College Fund. Or Sally's going to be that hippie chick in the 70's living in a van doing every drug invented.

helenel

I thought that they obviously can't use the Aquanet commercial as it's been envisioned because of the convertible, and it being so reminiscent of the assassination.
I liked the genuine affection that still exists between Roger and Mona.
Betty is such a cold fish. I don't know if she really belongs with anyone.
Pete - he makes me angry because sometimes he can be sweet and decent- the dress thing, thanking his secretary for the chocolate/apologizing for beign rude - and then he ruins it all by being a jerk/rapist/a-hole 90% of the time.

Mrs. D

Roger Sterling really shined this episode. He took charge of the awfulness... he handled his bratty daughter and his bratty wife... he made that kind speech about his ex at the wedding. It really made me like him again.

As others have mentioned, I loved the moment Roger shared with Joan. It would be delightful if they somehow found each other... but that seems such a remote possibility. They both seem so anxious to preserve this picture-perfect image of their lives.

Can't wait for the finale.

norm

Huh. I wonder if Mad Men will take note of my birth, in one month's time (in their universe).

TasterSpoon

I kind of think that Roger and Joan are not meant to be a couple, but that they're the rare, genuine deep male-female friendship. I can't figure out what he sees in Jane, but I've got to believe there's a reason he married her and is being true to her.

I also had dueling emotions: satisfaction that Don's chickens finally came home to roost (did he really think his continuing disrespect had no consequences?), but also feeling bad for him - he's been stepping up lately, but it was too little, too late. I can't imagine the show continuing with him as a single parent - it would be a different show entirely.

Is Sal gone for good? He was in the recap. I wonder how his wife is faring.

Agree that there is something not quite right about Harry. I kind of don't care what happens to Betty, though. She's exhausting. Though I did feel sorry for her when she made her speech and Don was like, "take a pill and go to bed." She's put up with a lot.




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