Mad Men

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Couch Baron: A | 2 USERS: C-
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Bertram is Evil. Evil!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
We start the episode with a series of seemingly disconnected images. Peggy is lying asleep in bed in what looks like a hotel room or some other place that doesn't belong to her, an unknown man next to her facing away from the camera. Betty lies languidly on a large chaise longue. In a motel room in morning, the remnants of a small party in evidence, the camera pans over to show Don lying face down on the floor. He comes to and sits up against one of the beds, and we see dried blood all over his nose and upper lip. And while that looks unpleasant, it's hard to be too sympathetic in the wake of the foot-ectomy we witnessed last week. At least Don will still be able to golf again. He massages his throat, and the close-up of his neck area...

...gives way to one from sometime earlier, it seems reasonable to conclude, as he's getting ready for work, no marks of unsavory origin visible on his face. When he gets downstairs, Betty calls his name from offscreen, and we see her in the living room, accompanied by an older woman who warns Betty that he may take a moment to accustom himself. "I told you, men don't like change." Embroider that on a throw pillow so we don't forget it later in the episode. Don makes a pointed comment about the price possibly affecting his opinion, but the woman ignores that in order to show off her handiwork, which includes some chinoiserie, "a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, and a classic Drexel end table." I can see why she didn't want to mention the price. Betty notes an open space in front of the fireplace, and the decorator tells her it's the hearth, the soul of her home. "People gather around a fire even if there isn't one." Hmm. That sounds like the makings of a koan to me. Betty presses Don to give an opinion, so he takes a look and counsels her to move the end table and lamp to the other end of the couch. He then gives her a kiss and heads out, and when he's gone, the decorator's like, "I think he's right." I knew that was coming and it was still the funniest moment of the episode. Hee.

Don's already on the elevator at SC when Roger joins him, and wow, I don't know if he's trying to show solidarity with Bronzo, but he's working one hell of a fake tan at the moment. Has he looked this way since he got back from Greece and I just didn't notice? Probably, given this show's attention to detail. Anyway, speaking of Bronzo, Roger tells Don that he too got the galleys for Ogilvy's book, as they want a quote from him. Given the lines he regularly delivers on this show, I can see why. He sighs, "Advertising's already up there with lawyers as the most reviled. This is not going to help." Don opines that it'll help Ogilvy...

...and we cut to them walking into the office, with Roger continuing that the book is titled Confessions Of An Ad Man, but it should be called "A Thousand Reasons I'm So Great." Heh. Don asks who's publishing it, and Roger tells him he'll send it over to him. "I don't want you to buy it." If these two really stop talking to each other permanently, my job is going to be a lot less fun.

When Don gets to his desk, he finds Pete, Sal, Harry, and Paul waiting for him, and seriously, they look like they're under a love spell, so intensely is the adulation for Don beaming out of them. I mean, they're kind of like that most of the time anyway, but this is extreme. Don starts to chide Allison, his girl (thanks to everyone that emailed me to supply the name) about letting them "hover" there, but she interrupts to tell him the reason they're smiling so beatifically: Conrad Hilton is in his office at that very moment. Don, betraying a little nervousness at the prospect, tells the boys to return in twenty minutes. Paul suggests he take as long as he needs, but Harry demurs: "He wants to look busy!" Heh. They're such a cheerleading section right now. Don opens the door to his office and then tells Allison to hold all his calls, earning him a hilarious "Duh" face from her, which kind of rules. Inside, Don finds Connie sitting in his chair and shakes his hand as he says seeing him is a great way to start the day. Connie: "Nine-thirty? That's practically lunch." Between that comment and the fact that Connie continues to make no move to give up Don's chair, Don is rather hilariously thrown by the whole encounter, but he gets himself together and takes one of the seats across from Connie. Before getting into the reason for his visit, though, Connie grandly announces that he finds it disturbing that Don has neither a Bible nor any family photos on his desk, and if he's really looking for a God-fearing family man to do his ads, he might do better to investigate other options. Like, as Bronzo would say, O'Gilvy. Don casually says he doesn't have those things because he's easily distracted, lighting a cigarette perhaps to punctuate that remark, but Connie thinks they're important: "They'll make you feel better about what you do." He tells Don to show up on time, earning him the rejoinder that maybe he was late because he was reading the Bible with his family. However, Connie isn't as easily charmed as, say, everyone else in the world, and he asks if Don's nervous. "I'm finding you hard to talk to." I'd get used to it. When Don points out that Connie obviously caught him by surprise, though, Connie quits grilling him and chuckles heartily before using a metaphor about cheating to imply that he'd like Don to do some advertising work for him. He also mentions that since Don's married, he'll "have to use [his] imagination" to catch his drift, but if Don's fazed that Connie's expecting him to be not only religious and family-loving but faithful as well, he doesn't show it. Those heathens are so good at lying. Anyway, Connie tells Don he'd like to give him the Waldorf, the New York Hilton, and the Statler Hilton. "It's just New York, but my eye has definitely started to wander." If Connie weren't such a God-fearing family man I'd be wondering if this metaphor was chosen to let Don know just how, um, alluring he finds him. Anyway, Don's on board, so they stand up, and Connie tells him that their lawyers will work out the retainer and other legal matters (ahem), but their other business will be conducted in communications much like they just had. On the way to the elevator, Connie warns Don that having him in his life will change things, and when Don says he looks forward to it, Connie replies, "They always say that." Words to be heeded, Don. They pass the boys from earlier, who don't seem to have given their goofy smiles a break, prompting Connie to note that they're a "happy bunch." Heh. Before they part company, Connie and Don shake hands again, and Connie tells him, "It's not much to start with, but I look forward to sharing my dreams with you. As long as you sign over your freedom in blood." Whoops, got ahead of myself there. Don turns back to a rousing round of applause, which he might as well enjoy while he can.

In the new gracious living room, Betty's laid out some tea for her company, which consists of Francine (awesome, but I wish they'd get her back for more than a random scene here and there) and two other women. Long story short, the women are from the local chapter of the Junior League, and they're meeting with Betty because she's expressed interest in replacing Francine as their Secretary. One of the women says she's joining at a crucial time, because there's a three-million-gallon water tank proposed to be constructed in their area, which she says will drain the Pleasantville reservoir and "blemish the natural and financial health of our community." Francine compliments her on her turn of phrase, and given that she's still taking the minutes I wonder if kissing up is part of the Secretary's job

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