Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A | 2 USERS: C-
Bertram is Evil. Evil!
ason he's the ad man. Pryce is another one who's incapable of containing his goofy smile, but Roger, less positively, asks exactly how Don (as opposed to an Accounts man, like Roger) managed this feat. Don replies that he and Hilton travel in the same circles, and it's a nice haughty comeback to Roger's snotty tone, but it's still hilarious that what really happened is that they were both desperately digging around for the same type of booze. Actually, even funnier is that the two of them wouldn't have met if Don weren't so anxious to escape Roger's blackface act. Bertram says there is a bit of a sticky situation having to do with the contract, and Don reasonably doesn't get it at first, thinking he's referring to the agreement between SC and Hilton, but that's not it -- for Hilton to do business with them, it's a necessity that all the principals of the firm be, as Pryce puts it, "secured." Don, already uncomfortable, says he'll give Hilton his word, presumably that anything he works on will be proprietary, but Pryce says that while Hilton would agree to that, his lawyers won't, and he produces a draft of a contract for Don to look over. He adds that Don will of course want to share it with his attorney, but he mentions the basic idea -- three years, non-compete clause, and a healthy raise. Don says he'll think about it, which is clearly not an acceptable answer, and Pryce tries the tack of saying how generous it is -- a three-year guarantee with a five-thousand-dollar signing bonus. Well, it's true that the bonus is quite significant, but given that Don pulled in half a million on the merger Pryce has to know Don clearly doesn't need it. Bertram, however, says that they want to take care of Don, but now that I know how the episode ends, behind his fatherly smile all I can see is the face of a crocodile. Run, Don, run! He doesn't listen to me, instead saying that he knows Hilton a bit now, and he's sure he tends to want what he can't have. "And you should tell him it matters to me." This is Don's best argument in theory and worst in practice, because it's certainly true that Connie commands enough power and intimidation to make even his high-priced lawyers back off. Unfortunately, since Bertram in particular has decided to use the opportunity to force Don to commit to SC, appealing to them to represent his interests is futile. Bertram basically tells him as much, although through a sunny smile that's sending newfound chills up my spine, so Don finally backs down and agrees to look over the contract. Satisfied with that answer for the moment, Bertram says he met Hilton once. "He's a bit of an eccentric, isn't he?" Pryce and Roger take a hilarious beat in response that translates both to "Don't ask us" and "Look who's talking," so Don, with a small smile for the humor of the moment, agrees.

We return to whenever it is Don is in that motel, and as he staggers to his feet, the way he runs his fingers through the hair on the back of his head suggests he got hit there as well. We then cut to Betty, still lying on that chaise longue and now stretching her hands down her body, possibly hitting some naughty places on the way...

...and then she's showing up to the bakery for her meeting with Francis. He's already seated at a table, and she comes over and greets him with a handshake. After they both lie about attempting to bring chaperones to the meeting (keeping up appearances is important), they sit and talk about Ossining for a bit, and then Francis happens to mention that he was once married. Not sure if he's a widower or if the Governor merely wanted not to be the only divorcé in the office. They talk about the reservoir and how Francis did jackknives into it as a child, and Betty scolds him: "We drink that water!" Heh. He then breaks the news that he looked into the project, and it's already started, but perhaps if she knew someone with some clout? Basically, the way he plays this is to keep her hopes up while simultaneously letting her know just how difficult the task she's asked him to complete is, so I'm not surprised when "strategist" is one of the things he lists when she asks him what he does. Not that she's not interested in playing along, I hasten to add. He goes on to mention that he's also a lawyer, but he rarely needs to be, and she in turn says she majored in anthropology in college. "We all have skills we don't use." For example, Betty also once was a stand-up comic. (Can you picture her telling a Catskills audience to try the veal? I may have to take a break here.) After Francis then orders some apple pie, he tells Betty he's not sure what he can do about the water tank, but then encourages her not to give up so easily, which: See above.

Meanwhile, Don is not home to wonder where Betty is because he's out with Sally. Turns out that there's a solar eclipse happening that day, and Sally's class is meeting with her teacher so they can each make a camera obscura out of a cardboard box. Don chats with Carlton, and when the latter complains that he could be golfing, Don offers to take his daughter home if he wants to duck out. Surprisingly, Carlton doesn't take him up on the offer, instead telling Don that Francine was a schoolteacher when they met, and he used to love seeing her "standing in the middle of all those little kids, like a telephone pole." Heh. Don offers that Sally has a crush on the teacher, and then Carlton asks why you can't look at an eclipse. "What's it gonna do, really?" Other than make for an egregiously bad two-part episode of Heroes, I'm not really sure myself. Carlton mentions that he goes running in the mornings by the high-school track, which could explain why he's not nearly as tubby as the last time we saw him, and says he sees the teacher sometimes, but he never talks to her as a point of etiquette. He adds that that's one of the things he really likes about the run -- the quiet and the sense of being alone, which are difficult to come by. You'd think Don wouldn't be hard pressed to agree, but at the moment he's staring at the teacher so hard that any thoughts of being alone seem to be far from his mind. Well, except possibly one.

Back at the bakery, Francis tells Betty he's got to get going to Albany, and makes a joke about the old His Master's Voice ad in reference to his own situation with the Governor, a bit of levity that seems to go over Betty's head until he starts to explain and she says she's aware of what it is. Yes, Henry, once you've known her a bit you'll learn that just because she didn't laugh doesn't mean she doesn't get the reference. Actually, her pause before that declaration could be interpreted as her covering the fact that she actually didn't get it, but I find that difficult to believe, married as she is to a prolific ad man. I mean, I know Don doesn't share a lot about his work, but that ad wasn't exactly obscure, so I think the pause was just her dealing with the disappointment of Francis leaving so soon. Anyway, they head out to find a waitress and some guy using a "contraption" to look indirectly at the eclipse, whereupon Betty stares straight up into the sky until Francis covers her eyes. Honey, I know you're enjoying his attentions, but blinding yourself to get them seems a little extreme. After Betty takes a moment to recover, they start walking, and she somewhat reproachfully observes that he must have known he wouldn't have time to go to the reservoir. Well, he might have if he hadn't ordered that apple pie. She's probably more upset about missing the chance to go somewhere more secluded with him than she is about her civic mission, but regardless, he changes the subject as t

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Mad Men




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