Mad Men
Mystery Date

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 4 USERS: A+
Mystery Date which point we cross-fade into Pauline, asleep on the couch the next morning, still in her nightgown with the TV on. Betty and Henry arrive, and Henry tries to wake Pauline up, but she won't be stirred because she didn't let the other half of that pill go to waste. Betty, with Gene in her arms (and looking significantly thinner to me), asks where Sally is and runs off to search the Rye Town Francis Spookhouse, which means she won't be back for an hour, which is too bad since, as a camera pan right and down shows us, Sally is asleep under the couch, just like the surviving victim of the Chicago massacre, except with a protector over her. I'm going to be the one who needs a sleeping pill after this episode.

It's also daytime once again in the Draper apartment, and Don's awoken by the bedroom door opening. He focuses to see Megan with a tray of food and a glass of juice; pleased that he's awake, she opens the curtains and asks how he's feeling. Hilariously, he looks over the side of the bed for dead legs, but not seeing any, asks Megan where she was, as he was waiting for her. His tone pretty much suggests that he felt unsafe without her, which manages to be both endearing and, given what we saw, unsettling, but she of course does not know anything about fever dreams both adulterous and murderous, and as such tells him she was home, but he was a mess and she was worried. I'm surprised she didn't call a doctor if he was in that bad shape, but that line is just so he can tell her, "You don't have to worry about me," which as double-meaning segues go is fairly clunky for this show. But the subject of the previous day is apparently still on Megan's mind, as she smiles and tells him okay, and then she gets up, hopefully to get the tray, and Don watches her, still dazed from more than just the fever.

Joan emerges from the bedroom to find Greg already at the table in uniform, and Gail, who tells her she's got breakfast. Joan, however, just wants coffee, adding that she barely slept, and without further preamble, she tells Greg that she's been thinking, and she wants him to go. Gail politely retires to the kitchen so the two of them can talk, and Greg's delighted, but Joan disabuses him of any notion she's taking any more of his insecurity-fueled bullshit: "I want you to go, and never come back." Greg tries to tell her they need him, but she's worked it all out in her mind: "Well, then, it works out, because we don't." And that's really the truth, isn't it? Greg grabs her hand, not without roughness, and tells her he's important there, he's got twenty doctors over there who rely on him, and look to him for his skill and leadership, not realizing, of course, that he's saying, almost without subtext, that he values and needs that approval and sense of importance more than he needs or feels any obligation to her and Kevin. But why should I talk when I can quote Joan: "I'm glad the Army makes you feel like a man. Because I'm sick of trying to do it." Greg makes his last mistake in glowering that the Army makes him feel like a good man, but she tells him he isn't -- he never was, not even before they were married. "And you know what I'm talking about." I can believe there were times she thought Greg loved her, and that she even convinced herself he was devoted to her -- after all, as stated earlier, this episode is definitely showing how little you may know what a person is thinking, even a person you're very close to. But whatever compromises and rationalizations she may have made for this relationship, I'm glad she got to get that out in the open, in the end. Him returning to Vietnam is in keeping with the episode theme, but it's the callback to the rape that really resonates on that level. Joan yanks her hand away for good measure, and Greg angrily grabs some of his stuff before threatening that if he walks out that door, that's it. And Joan has had some hellacious lines this conversation, but what she does here is even more powerful: She shrugs her shoulders, not without some sadness, and simply replies, "That's it." When Greg's gone, Gail emerges, and it's kind of inexpressibly dear that she's still holding the coffee pot in her hand; she stands uncertainly, waiting for a signal from Joan, who looks at her and tells her simply that it's over. Gail wordlessly sits, thinking about what this will mean for her, her daughter and her grandson, and it's another moment that's made ten times more powerful by the silence.

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