Mad Men
Mystery Date

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | 4 USERS: A+
Mystery Date

Probably recalling her sessions with Dr. Edna, Sally busts out some Junior Psych and asks if Pauline's mother was strict, and Pauline is all too happy to tell her that her father was, and she's a better person because of it. Sally tries to tell Pauline that she may not agree, but she's a good person, but Pauline neither agrees nor disagrees, instead opining that someone needs to discipline Sally so she'll start acting like an adult. She recalls a wonderful childhood memory in which she walked by the couch on which her father was sleeping, and out of nowhere, he kicked her so hard that she actually flew across the room and hit a piece of furniture; after that, he told her, "That's for nothing, so look out." Sally becomes the presumptive favorite for the 1966 Understatement of the Year when she offers, "That's not very nice," and Pauline muses that that's true. "But it was valuable advice." This is like the time early in the first season of Veronica Mars when you found out Logan's father whipped him with a belt. It may not make me love Pauline, but it's hard to hate her quite as much.

In an Italian restaurant (checkered tablecloths and all!) Joan, Greg (in uniform), and Gail (holding Kevin) are sitting with Greg's parents, and soon the New York Italian-accented waiter joins them and asks, "How we startin'?" Badly, if the way Greg's mother is sucking a lemon is any indication. Joan orders a gin fizz, and Greg tells him everyone else will have wine, but he needs a second to decide. Another serviceman appears, and when his eyes meet Greg's, they salute and exchange a greeting, it being clear from the other's deference that Greg is the ranking officer. By the time the other soldier leaves, the waiter is practically looking at his watch, but when he asks if Greg would like him to come back, as he has a lot of tables, Greg's like, why don't you recommend a wine, and I'll recommend that you show some respect, given that YOUR LITTLE BROTHER IS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF AFGHANISTAN! (Well, not quite, but that's the idea.) Either cowed or simply trying to rescue his tip, the waiter apologizes, and Mama Greg looks impressed in spite of herself. However, once the wine is ordered, she announces that what they're doing is a "painful charade," and everyone else is trying to come home. Joan tries to intervene on Greg's behalf, but this quickly leads to the revelation that Greg wasn't conscripted for this second year -- he volunteered. Joan, faced with so many unpleasant revelations at once, decides to forego even discussing the fact that he told his parents but hid the truth from her, but is still aghast that he's going back of his own accord. Greg, however, tells her they need him, and Joan doesn't even bother lowering herself to point out that she needs him too. Which is good, because another waiter decides to interrupt the silence by playing "Santa Lucia" on an accordion, and I've never heard the death knell of a relationship coming from that particular instrument, but given their history with it, there's no other conclusion to be drawn. Joan looks at Greg with unerring rage even as he lights her cigarette, and then Gail barks over the music, "You know, Joanie plays the accordion!" Gail and Ginzo should get together and practice reading a room.

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Mad Men




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