Mad Men
Tea Leaves

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B+ | 3 USERS: A-
YOU GRADE IT
Growing Concerns

In the Rye Town Francis Estate (that daytime exterior shot showed it to be even bigger than I thought; it looks four times the size of the old place in Ossining), Henry's busy with work or a crossword or something as Betty sits nervously; Henry then gets a call in which he calls "Romney" a clown (George, the Michigan governor and Mitt's father, but still funny). It's no joke though, when the other phone rings and Henry hastily gets off his call as Betty answers. She takes whatever news is given impassively and thanks the caller for getting back, and then she takes a moment to process before telling Henry that the tumor is benign. He holds her and tells her how happy he is and she does laugh, but any euphoria is short-lived as she opines that she's back to just being fat. He points out that she's exhausted and tells her he doesn't see her that way, but she points out that his mother is obese. Shockingly, he doesn't love that assessment, but doesn't dwell on it, saying he feels like he got a Scrooge-like glimpse at a terrible eventuality that now won't come to pass and as she breaks down in tears, he holds her again. I don't often agree with Henry, Betty, but maybe a nap would do you good?

At SCDP, Pete has gathered everyone by the main entrance and he pulls a cloth off a model of a Mohawk airplane as he grandly announces that the company is returning to them. After all the applause, Pete goes on how happy he was to be able to sign them, a statement to which Roger gives a serious "Girl, you DIDN'T" look, but he sure did and he even goes on that he's hired a new copywriter. "And of course, Mr. Sterling will be handling the day-to-day, but rest assured -- everything he knows, I'll know." DAMN. The private little war they've been fighting is one thing, but to render Roger irrelevant in front of the whole company is another. Like I said, the kid came to play. Pete uncorks some champagne as Roger bitterly tells Peggy to forget everything he said before; gesturing Pete's way, he seethes, "That's the last guy I hired." I can't quite see Michael being as successful at climbing the ladder as Pete while insisting on wearing those jackets, but Peggy should still probably heed the advice. Roger stomps off, but Don chases after him...

...and the two of them end up in Don's office, wherein Don makes them both a drink and agrees that what Pete just pulled was disrespectful, but he's grown up. "What did you expect?" Roger says he's tired of trying to prove he has any value and if I weren't so close to the end here I'd discuss several ways I take issue with calling what he's been doing "trying," but he's obviously feeling sorry for himself in the extreme, so Don decides to take this conversation in a different direction, telling Roger that Betty has cancer -- maybe. Even Roger is not so self-centered to be unaffected by this news and he offers to make a call, but Don tells him Betty's probably got the results already. "I'm the one that has to call." Interesting that he feels he's the one that should call -- I was surprised on first viewing that Betty didn't call him, but if he's not expecting it, I guess I shouldn't either. Roger listens as Don goes on that he's afraid that the kids might grow up without a mother and while Megan would try her best, it wouldn't be the same. Interesting that even with his somewhat ugly divorce, the rocky relationship between Betty and Sally, and the fact that part of his attraction to Megan was her ability with kids, he still recognizes how destabilizing it would be to lose Betty. Roger has no answers only, as he leaves, this question: "When is everything gonna get back to normal?" The question reflects Roger's obvious wish, given the state of his life, that time would reverse itself. But Don, also sensing the seasonal theme, knows full well that it won't and decides to face whatever's coming by picking up the phone...

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