Mad Men

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Couch Baron: B+ | 1 USERS: A
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Betty…Whitman?

Peggy comes into Paul's office and tells him Don's expecting them, but Paul, staring out the window, says he's got nothing. Peggy tries for some camaraderie by saying hers is "garbage too," but Paul laments that he had something, but he didn't write it down and now it's gone. Peggy's obviously been there before and is sympathetic, especially when Paul opines that it was probably the best idea he ever had. And it's not that I feel nothing for him, but let's remember that all we have to go on about this amazingly wonderful idea that would have changed the way we think of telegraphs is Paul's own heavily-drunken assessment of it. He's not exactly Ogilvy even when he's sober, you know? Paul then quotes a Chinese proverb appropriate to the situation -- "the faintest ink is better than the best memory" -- and he doesn't know it yet, but if he didn't just pull his feet out of the fire, he at least put the rope around them so that someone else can do it. Peggy tells him they've failed before, so they might as well go in...

...which they do. Peggy's ideas flop, as she expected, but when Don turns to Paul, Peggy encourages him to come clean about what happened, and when he does, Don is startlingly sympathetic: "I hate when that happens." Peggy then mentions the proverb Paul just quoted and proposes they use that idea, playing on the permanence of a telegram as opposed to a phone call. Paul stares at Peggy with more wonder than jealousy as she and Don tweak the idea until it's just right, and as Peggy and Don smile at each other (he does not hate you, hon, not with that expression on his face) Paul can't help but murmur, "My God!" Kinsey, the world needs its setup men. Might as well learn to accept that truth. Don tells them to keep working on the concept they just came up with, and when Peggy asks when he wants it, he tells her Monday. They get up to go, but Don brightly tells Paul, "See? It all works out." Paul can't manage a smile, but he's aware enough of when a good thing has happened to leave before he can fuck it up.

In her gala outfit, Betty sits on her bathtub, honestly looking like her head is still spinning from everything she saw in the box. Don calls to her, and wow, the kids look adorable in their little outfits. Betty emerges, and when Don sees her, he tells the kids, "Look how pretty Mommy is." Betty manages a smile that looks like she's hiding the fact that someone close to her died, and when Don turns away, her expression changes to make it seem like that might actually be true soon enough, particularly if there happen to be steak knives on the table.

Hee hee. Roger and Jane are in the back seat of a town car with Roger's ancient mother, and Roger has to remind her that the Waldorf is no longer on Fifth Avenue. Considering it moved in 1931, I'd make fun of her for being so off the ball if said lack of awareness weren't momentarily going to lead to hilarity. For Mrs. Sterling then turns to Jane and addresses her as "Margaret," Roger's daughter, and when Roger corrects her on the mistake and says that Jane's his wife, Mrs. Sterling asks, "Does Mona know?" HA! Jane, hilariously over it before this ride even began, assures her that she is in fact aware of this change. Hee.

In another car, Mrs. Pryce tells her husband that he seems surprised there's traffic. "There's always traffic." Unlike in, say, London. But at least the cabs over there are big enough to take naps in. Pryce takes the opportunity to tell his wife about the possible sale of SC, which of course is wonderful news to her: "I know you hate uncertainty. But take comfort in the fact that we'll return to England!" Were it sunny out, I'm guessing Pryce would be seeing a red sky...

...but someone who doesn't need any help seeing red is Betty, who's continuing to fume as Don obliviously looks over the note cards he's prepared for his speech...

...and then we're at the dinner, where Roger is giving a lengthy, eloquent, and warm introduction for Don (including a mention of being decorated for "his" service in Korea) as Betty quite understandably sucks a lemon and Don genuinely basks in the glow. It's very blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but even people who weren't in the episode, like Pete, are there, so I'm glad they were able to work something out for realism's sake, given that I know they don't have any of the regulars except, I think, Hamm and Jones for all the episodes. I also see Alice Cooper, Powell and, I'm assuming, his wife, and Harry and Jennifer. Betty does not manage to smile even when the applause for Don reaches somewhat deafening levels, and as he tries to calm the crowd down, Betty stares once more at this man she married, whom everyone loves and she now once again has reason to hate. Credits.

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Mad Men

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