Mad Men
Commissions And Fees

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Couch Baron: A+ | 7 USERS: A+
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Birth and Death In The Same Episode

(I set myself up for a joke there and then I couldn't go through with it. This is only going to get tougher.)

Apparently the Francis household is going away for the weekend on a ski trip and I wonder if any of the hobgoblins that haunt the place will be tagging along. Sally, however, does not appreciate being made to wear used boots and while that may be understandable, the bratty way she expresses it is so typically teenage that I find myself drifting toward Betty's side in the argument. Or as close to Betty's side in an argument with Sally as I get, which isn't very close -- but you still get the point. Betty snaps that Sally is coming and she's not going to sit in the lodge and read a book either, but Sally shoots right back that she doesn't need to go and watch the rest of them "laugh your heads off," and she's old enough to stay home by herself. And I'd agree with her, if we weren't going to be witness to a particularly graphic argument against. Sally asks to go to Don's and when Betty inquires as to whether he and Megan ever take her on vacation, Sally snits that they took her to Disneyland "where it's warm." She doesn't add that it's the place where fathers meet wives they actually like, but Betty must know what she's getting at and she seethes that sure, Sally can go hang out with her, because she lets Sally do whatever she wants. Sally: "She lets me eat whatever I want." Betty takes in this slam on her weight gain and adds it to the knife-twisting about Don and Sally's deft conversational brattiness...

...and we cut to Don's intercom buzzing. Hee. Betty loudly asks Don if he'd have any problem with her strangling Sally and I love her obvious, petulant attempt to create a bond with Don over the issue, but while Don is willing to play along to a degree ("Do you think we should have this conversation on the phone?"), he's not too thrilled when Betty goes on to inform him that she's dropping Sally off and by the way, "it's your child bride she wants to spend time with." However, Betty will brook no dissent and Bertram has showed up to talk to Don anyway, so the phone call comes to an end before one or both receivers melt from the vitriol. Bertram, whom you'll remember has accused Don of being cynical, craven, and lacking the stomach for a partnership, tells Don that he went over the books in an attempt to evaluate the pros and cons of the proposed change in billing and in doing so he found "this canceled check" -- he tosses it onto Don's desk -- "in an unopened statement." Don, of course, has no idea about it and takes in the fact that Lane endorsed it as Bertram obliviously goes on that he thought they agreed there would be no bonuses and Don agrees that's true and says he'll take care of it. Don's reasonably evident surprise and his failure to offer any defense of his ostensible decision should appear odd, especially when you consider that Lane being the only person involved is simpler in many ways than Don and Lane conspiring together. But Bertram would have to credit Lane with having committed more than one felony and he'd rather stick with his image of Don: "You can't keep being the good little boy while the adults run this business!" If this is a shot at Don's attempts to shield Joan last week, it's pretty low even as a tit-for-tat for Don's comment in the meeting just now. Don silently takes being upbraided for something with which he had nothing to do and doesn't even look like he wants to slap Bertram that hard. When the old coot is gone though, Don immediately buzzes for Dawn to get Lane in there and then goes to his bar to make a plan in what little time he has. And, amazingly, we stay with the scene without a break, but I'm going to take one regardless because this is going to be almost as tough for me as it is for these two.

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