Monday, October 26, 2009

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 11 The Gypsy and the Hobo

Watching Don unravel was probably the highlight of the season. Season 3 put much less focus on the advertising, instead showing Don's evolving home life and the general breakdown of it. I've seen many complaints during the course of the season, but as we approach the final two episodes, there is a direction with an open-ended conclusion.

The most shocking part of the episode was Betty confronting Don and Don actually telling her everything. And it wasn't even at the end of the episode! This is season finale material, but the writers decided to have it in episode 11. Can they top this?

I don't really have to recap this portion of the episode (unless you haven't watched it). From John Hamm to the writing, it was truly an unforgettable scene. Don tells Betty every last detail (that's in the box) and starts crying. While there's still a lot to get through, Betty has come to a greater understanding of Don in those few minutes than she had through their entire marriage. By telling the truth without trying to elicit sympathy, Don is able to garner Betty's sympathy. This is probably the most genuine thing he's ever done, but the real test will be if he can repeat it.

As sad as it may sound, their marriage up until now was a sham with the skeletons Don had in his closet. With all the cards of the table (the affairs are unimportant), their marriage may have been saved by Betty's insistence for the truth, no matter what her motivations were.

The next day, Betty does not yell at Don, call the authorities, or The look on her face shows an uneasiness, but her actions show she is not ready to give up.

The funny thing was that all the while, Miss Farrell is sitting out in Don's car. She takes her bags and walks off, unsure of anything. Don calls her the next day and for now they won't see each other. Temporarily, Miss Farrell is out of the picture, but I feel her story is unresolved. She accepted the fact that whatever is currently going on with Don doesn't involve her, but there are plenty of ways the writers could bring to in to stir up trouble.

I also had an unintended laugh in my head when Betty asked Don if he saw his wife while in California. If only Betty knew what crazy things Don did. Don can explain away everything in the box -- they were never about infidelity -- but if Betty learned all that happened through these three seasons (I'm sure he did other things before the show started) she would be absolutely crushed and I'm not sure they would ever recover. There are just some things best kept secret and for Don, there's lots.

I love how the episode ended. The Drapers go trick-or-treating, and Carlton (Francine's husband) opens the door and says "Look at this, we got a gyspy and a hobo." Then he looks at Don and says "And who are you supposed to be?" Is he Dick Whitman, the guy who grew up poor? Is he Don Draper, the slick adman? Or is he someone else -- a murky, ambiguous man, neither Dick nor Don, ruled by incongruous external and internal forces.

Joan's douche husband Greg had a few more brilliant ideas. First he wants to become a psychiatrist which I fails at miserably, and then he came up with one last genius idea that made me double take. Greg's going to join the Army. Wow... When Joan smashed him in the head with the vase, I cheered. The only letdown was that she didn't beat him into a senseless pulp. Joan also calls Sterling for help getting a job and he makes some calls for her. Joan is such a great character and she better get back to Sterling-Cooper soon.

Roger had an interesting story as the dog food client, Anabelle, came in. They used to have a thing which she equated to Casablanca and they seem to still have an affinity for one another. Whether both really feel that way is another story.

Two episodes left. JFK's assassination, Sterling-Cooper battle, and probably a whole lot more. I'm really excited for the next two weeks.

Score: 9.8/10


Anonymous said...

I have fallen for your 'full review' declarations on various madmen blogs. . . I can understand wanting to draw traffic. . .but the stuff you write is no where near a 'full review'. You write shallow, grossly incomplete comments and in no way do you present a 'review' . . you make a few comments. Learn how to write a review. I won't fall for your trail of breadcrumbs again.

Anonymous said...

Is that you, Allison Waldman?

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