Mad Men

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The Short Goodbye

Joan arrives home and finds Greg with his coat on and some leftover chicken in his hand, obviously on his way to work. He greets her happily, but when she goes to heat up the chicken for him, they discuss their vacation plans, and when he hears that she can't get those days off she wanted, he tells her he definitely has to work on New Year's. He then suggests she take the days off anyway, which doesn't go over very well, especially when she asserts that he's going to Vietnam after he finishes basic training. Not wanting to hear that, he tells her that's not definite, but the stress of not knowing anything about their future is obviously tearing her apart, and he's not ready to deal with that. Referring to his training, I think, she blurts that he doesn't even know when he's going, but the last thing he says on his way out the door is "Soon." When I was so jazzed about the prospect of him leaving, I guess I didn't consider the possibility that I'd actually have to see it.

Stephanie gets the episode title in telling some war story about her roommate becoming born-again or whatever; and then after throwing Don some good-natured shade about his chosen profession, she saunters somewhat unsteadily to the restroom, leaving Don to ask Anna how she'd feel about him bringing the kids out there in the spring. Hoo boy, the fight with Betty that would require. I'm sad I won't get to see it. Anna, of course, is thrilled at the prospect, but when Don brings up his ex, Anna says she'll understand. I know she hasn't met Betty, but still: Anna Draper, ladies and gentlemen! I mean, honestly. Don is pretty much of the same mind, saying he doesn't think Betty will ever understand, and Anna points out it was logical to expect her to feel hurt by the bombshell he dropped on her. Don admits once he told her, he felt relieved, as the act of lying itself had gotten bigger than the secret it was masking, but he knew once she saw who he was, she'd never want to look at him again, and that eventuality was well-deserved. I think it's entirely consistent for him to feel this way, and it's not like I'm falling over myself to defend Betty, but I do think if Don had been faithful to her he would have had a much better shot at keeping her. Anyway, Stephanie returns, and as she and Don dance to "Old Cape Cod," Don opines that the singer is inviting us to a beautiful place, and while he's never been there, "every time I hear this song, I want to go." It never ceases to amaze me how the sparse dialogue on this show conveys everything you need to know. Don's got a massive romantic side - it's where his talent for advertising comes from - but his own self-esteem issues, his feeling that he doesn't deserve happiness, prevents him from indulging it for long. Anyway...

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