Mad Men

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Couch Baron: B- | 2 USERS: A-
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It's a Gi…Boy!

Back in the delivery room, the nurse is telling Betty to push, but Betty, doped up and not really loving it, groggily says she can't. The nurse snaps, "Either you can do it or we will. But it's gonna come out some way!" That's the kind of homespun wisdom against which it's hard to mount an effective argument, and rather than try, Betty heads off into another dream...

...in which she's walking down the hallway of the hospital, still in her gown, and then...she's back in normal clothes, walking into her kitchen. Hmm, not sure I get why the transition was necessary there, especially since they clued us in with the Soothing Music Of Drug-Fueled Dream Sequences, but this is why I'm a producer and not a director. Anyway, she finds the "mystery" man in the janitor's outfit mopping the floor with his back to her, and he stays turned away from her for a while until he turns to reveal he's...her father. Well, that was worth our time, especially since Ryan Cutrona was billed as a guest star. She girlishly asks if he misses her, and he tells her of course before cautioning her that no one knows he's there. We then see that he's mopping blood or strawberry jam up from the floor, which prompts Betty to ask if she's dying. Gene replies, "Ask your mother," and calls off screen, "Tell her, Ruthie!" We cut to the corner, where a brunette woman I wouldn't have picked for Betty's mother based on my memory of the painting we saw of her tells her to shut her mouth. "You'll catch flies." Ruth is standing over a seated black man whose eyes are closed, which made me vaguely think at first we had stepped into David Lynch territory, but when I notice there's blood on his collar and Ruth goes on to add, holding out a blood-soaked rag, "See what happens to people who speak up?" I realize that this is probably meant to be the earlier-mentioned Medgar Evers, who I'm sure would be tickled pink to know that his death served to make a point in a show about white people and their petty dramas forty-five years later. Ruth counsels her to be happy with what she has, and Gene adds that she's a housecat. "You're very important, and you have little to do." When both your parents are dead and yet they're still meeting up to tag-team your self-esteem, it's time to get back into therapy, I think.

After a dreamily cinematic shot of the light changing in a room that's meant to signal the passage of an indeterminate amount of time, Betty comes to in daylight and finds her baby in her arms. She murmurs, "She's beautiful," but, as Don points out, the child is actually a boy. This could be meant to underscore the idea that Betty's been out of touch, or that the child is going to teach her to be more open-minded, but like many other things in this episode I think it's a bit of a stretch to read too much into her getting a one in two shot wrong. Betty tells Don he looks terrible, which I think is meant to be funny, because January Jones looks like she just emerged from a long stay in a sleep- and shower-deprivation chamber, while Jon Hamm looks like...Jon Hamm. Betty then murmurs that she wants to name the baby Eugene, and when Don tells her she doesn't have to decide that now, she repeats the name with no uncertainty. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he wants her to have a clear head before she names the child after someone toward whom she had such mixed feelings...

...although that might be a mistake, because after Don gets in to the office the next day and finds a shower of baby-related presents waiting for him, he gets a call from Roger and quickly has occasion to say they don't have a name yet. This is making it seem more about Don's feelings toward Gene, which (a) isn't really all that consistent, since even with their issues they had some recent moments of understanding and even enjoyment, and (b) the man just died, so GET OVER IT. Don then inquires why Roger is calling him from the art department, and Roger confesses that he was needed, since the place basically ground to a halt without Don there to give his approval on a bunch of decisions. Don exasperatedly points out that he was gone for half a day, surely thinking that this doesn't bode well for his future ability to run off to California for weeks at a time, and after Roger offers that Pryce is "a tick," Don barks at his girl for some much-needed coffee...

...which is not what Peggy's drinking, as in a restaurant, she's sipping a Bloody Mary, although whether she asked them to hold the vodka is for you to decide. When we pan back, we get a surprise, however, as she's sitting with Duck, who's dressed rather more casually than we're used to seeing from him -- sport jacket over turtleneck, the latter of which Peggy compliments. Also, he's drinking coffee, which is easier to do when you're surrounded by Jewish people instead of Englishmen on a daily basis. Pete then enters, and his face and Peggy's collapse like two tragic soufflés upon seeing each other. Duck tells him to relax and have a nosh, and Pete disbelievingly asks, "Two months at Grey and you're already having a 'nosh'"? Heh. In a year he'll be talking about all the mishegoss he observed at SC. Pete sits, and Peggy offers that she didn't know until she got there. Pete, of course, is silent in response, so Duck reveals the reason behind the setup: Pete and Peggy have a secret relationship. As the two of them blanch, he goes on that they handled the Freddy Rumsen situation in such a way that Peggy would move up, and "that kind of focused ambition is rare in advertising." I...am not sure what he's basing that opinion on, to be honest. Sure, it sounds good on the surface in the sense that SC has always seemed like a company of bumblers, but it doesn't really hold up on examination; Harry Crane is a good example of someone who's moved up using just that combination. Even Ken, who seemed on the surface like a slacker, is hustling these days. I'll give Duck Paul Kinsey, though. Gladly. Anyway, Duck says he wants to take both of them to Grey, saying their talents will be appreciated and given room to grow, but Pete says he's not going anywhere. Peggy's question in response is "Do we have to go together?" and the "I didn't see that coming" look on Pete's face isn't doing a whole lot for this image of extreme competence Duck apparently sees in him. Anyway, Pete was never going to consider this offer rationally with Peggy involved, so he stands and sniffs, "If you want to woo me, you'll have to buy me my own lunch." He couldn't have made that exit less masculine if he'd accessorized it with a parasol. Peggy thinks maybe she should leave too, but Duck tells her she should seize the moment -- she's got no mortgage or kids to worry about, so as a "career gal" now's the time to take a risk and see just how far her talent can take her. Peggy's flustered by the unbridled enthusiasm for her skills, and given her confused mental state I can't believe she's got most of that Bloody Mary left.

Pete gets on the elevator, and after the door closes, he looks to his left at Hollis and gets a Crafty Idea. This could be extremely embarrassing for all concerned, which is not necessarily a knock on the development. Pete peppers Hollis with questions about his choice of TV (an RCA) in a manner that, as I mentioned in the recaplet, is like Don asking that waiter in the show's first scene ever about his preferred cigarette. Of course, you have to replace Don's suave charm with Pete's bull-in-a-china-shop way of doing things, which explains the disparity in result. After the two extras in the elevator wisely and thankfully have departed, Pete goes on that "a lot of Negroes" prefer Admiral. "I've done research." The image of Pete going door-to-door in Newark just popped into my head, and

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