Mad Men

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Couch Baron: A- | 1 USERS: A+
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California, Here I Come…

In his room at the Roosevelt, Don's reading some papers that appear work-related and looking kind of sleepy when the phone rings. It's Betty, who tells him that her brother William called, and her father had a stroke. Don sits up, and Betty goes on that his new wife Gloria didn't even call her, and while she said he's up and around and talking (presumably Betty called her after she heard from William), she wouldn't put him on the phone. Don says he's going to come get her, but Betty says she doesn't want to wake the kids (it's ten PM; at least she knows where they are), so Don says he'll be over in the morning. Betty: "God, you know I've been dreaming about a suitcase?" Seemingly taking this as the admission that she's been worried about her father for a while that it seems, Don tells her everything will be okay. Betty: "Sure. Everything's perfect." Don, probably less sure of how Betty feels about him than ever before, doesn't know how to react to that, so he settles for saying he'll be by at eight.

We do not see any of the car ride down, which I choose to believe means that not one word was uttered the entire way, instead cutting to Gloria opening her front door for Betty and Don. Gloria takes Betty's hand and assures her that the doctor says it isn't serious, and then Don offers that he and Betty can get a room down the road, by which he of course means "two rooms," because the Roosevelt has comfortable beds, and sleeping on the floor will be, as it were, a step down. Betty anxiously asks if she can see her father, and Gloria tells her he's just getting dressed. "They said he should do things on his own." After bidding them to sit and to keep the lights low ("We're supposed to keep it dim; I don't know why"), she goes to fetch Gene as William shows up (he was Corporal James Chaffin on Generation Kill, if that means anything to you) and greets them, telling Betty that Gene doesn't seem too bad and his wife Judy will be by later. Gene then appears and jovially greets Betty with "it's an angel," and manages to get in a dig about how the two of them never visit not ten seconds in. The part of the brain that controls parental guilt is always the last to go. William tells Gene about Don's new car, and Gene is duly impressed. Gloria then informs everyone that when she rode with Gene in the ambulance, they were halfway to the hospital before she realized she was in her nightgown. "A woman my age should not travel that way." No doubt she's being self-deprecating, but the implication seems to be that it would be socially acceptable for a younger woman to leave the house in a state of undress. Maidenform will be thrilled to hear it. After William gets in a dig at New York, letting us know that the resentment toward Betty for not staying local doesn't end with their dad, Gene then confuses Betty with her mother Ruth, an occurrence that Betty and Gloria both handle with admirable aplomb but still drives everyone into the sweet, turns-awkward-into-funny arms of alcohol. I have to tell you, though, in a season where she has already rocked it in every way, January Jones gives me my favorite moment of the episode when Don asks Betty if she wants a drink and she responds with a wordless "Girl, please" look. Betty is then angered to learn that this isn't the first stroke Gene has suffered, and casts an accusing look at Gloria over having been kept in the dark, but Gene tells her not to be mad, and it's no big deal. Gloria smiles at him like nothing in the world is wrong, and somewhere, Ruth is looking down and conceding, "She's good."

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Mad Men

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