Mad Men

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Couch Baron: A | Grade It Now!
The Short Goodbye

When he gets back, Anna is of course asleep on the couch, and he gathers her in his arms and takes her off to bed. After presumably carefully depositing her, he returns to the couch and lights a cigarette as unusually (if appropriate) heavy and mournful strings play on the soundtrack. We stay with him, sitting motionless in the same position, as night cinematically turns into day...

...and then he's stripped down to boxers and T-shirt to tackle that painting job. Anna hobbles out and is surprised; she "woke up in a panic" because she thought she might have missed him, but he's obviously not ready to go. He confirms that, saying he thought he'd extend his sojourn a bit if it's okay, and she happily invites him to stay as long as he likes. She then indulges in a wake and bake while babbling about the large number of nearby airplanes and seeing UFOs, and then tells him he doesn't have to do the painting, but he says he wants to. Anna: "I'm not going to fight watching Dick Whitman paint my living room in his shorts." I was afraid she had stopped making sense permanently, but that's obviously not the case. She talks about how seeing a UFO made her question her belief system, but when he opines that he hasn't needed a UFO to make that happen, she takes his hand: "I know everything about you. And I still love you." Yeah, as much of a wreck he is about her dying and all, I'm thinking he'd feel worse if he'd boffed her niece last night. She lightens things up by cracking on his paint job, and then Patty enters with some groceries and righteous indignation about the pot-smoking. She then seethes that Don obviously can't keep his pants on before stomping out, but Don quickly gets dressed, and not just to prove her wrong...

...because he catches up with her outside and says he needs to talk to her. She says she heard his car pull up at 2:30 and bites out that Stephanie's half his age, but Don doesn't bother with that, asking instead what the plan is. "Just gonna let her wake up one day in agony and you tell her it's over?" Patty opts for guilty silence, and I hope that doesn't mean she was going to pawn off the bad-news-bearing onto her daughter. Emboldened, Don says he assumes that she's done everything within her "limited means," but he's there now, and Anna's going to see some real doctors and not live in the dark. Patty counters that they showed the X-rays to a number of specialists and they all say the same thing - it's too far advanced to do anything. Don wonders, if that's the case, how it's possible that Anna doesn't suspect anything, but Patty reminds him that she had polio as a child, and as such has been going to doctors regularly her entire life, and besides, she hasn't let on, "so this is the way it's gonna be." Don tells her how important Anna is to him, but Patty sharply informs him he has no say in this decision. "You're just a man in a room with a checkbook. I'm sorry." Given that Don has been paying for love lately, that comment is even harsher than it was meant to be, and that's a fairly narrow target to hit. Softening the blow, Patty gives him one more bag of groceries to take in and earnestly asks him to do the decent thing. "The longer you're here, the more likely you are to say something." Don looks, as you might expect, lost and alone...

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Mad Men




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