Nothing is perfect. People lie. Even the honest ones make mistakes. Bodies have freckles and flaws. Individuals go through growth spurts. Art is flawed. Nothing is perfect, and neither is this series. I think what audience memebers have witnessed this season is Mad Men with it’s freckles, flaws, lies, and growth spurts. When I started writing the recaps for Mad Men it came after a slightly disappointing season premiere but also after one of their strongest episodes ever, “A Kentucky Home.” Since that episode, I felt that the series was starting to rest on its laurels. Thank goodness for Sunday’s episode. It was a return to art.
Sunday night was night for the ladies. We last saw Betty looking disgusted at the praise Don had garnered. Not willing to let the discovery of his secret life go, she cut a vacation short and in the process ruined Don’s mini-vacation with his girlfriend. She takes him into his study and tells him to open the drawer. Don still believes he has the upper hand and tells her to respect his privacy. She pulls out the key and tells him that she could have had a locksmith come in at any time but she didn’t. She respected his privacy long enough. Now she wants him to open the drawer. She pulls out the box filled with all his secrets and the look on Don’s face is one that we haven’t seen before. He is breathless, desperate, and scared all at the same time. There are no words to convey that look on his face. He tells Betty he can explain everything and very sharply she replies by saying that she knows he can tell a story, his whole life is telling stories. Their exchange is a reversal of roles. Betty has all the power here and Don is weak. He tells her the truth and Betty looks at him with sorrow. She finds it in herself to pat him on the back but it is the most awkward pat I’ve ever seen. It’s as if she doesn’t know what to do to him. The next morning she’s still there and it’s as if they are once again committed to each other.
Lets not forget that Don was going away for the weekend with his mistress and she had been waiting in the car for Don for a long time. Don calls her the next morning and with all her childhood empathy, asks him if he’s okay. Don said that the issue he’s dealing with is bigger than the affair and that he can’t see her anymore. I would love to see Ms. Crazy come back sometime. If only because there has to be something wrong with her.
The sub-plots were amazing as well. Roger’s old flame comes into town and we realize that she was the love of his life. She is the reason he was never happy with Mona. The dialogue between the two open up a nice expostion on Roger and I’m glad that we got to know the real him. Joan has a nice story of her own and I won’t go into it too much. I will say that she picked up a vase and smacked her husband across the head with it. Possible the greatest scene ever to take place in this series. Only two more episodes left, knowing Mad Men they won’t disappoint.