Mad Men: “Shut the Door. Have a Seat”

Can this really be the end of season 3? Sadly, it is. But this was one hell of a season finale! Let’s get right into it, shall we?

This episode begins with Don waking up… on the twin bed in Gene’s old room. He wakes up and coughs several times. We then see him walking in to a meeting with Conrad Hilton, where the hotel magnate drops a bomb: McCann Erickson, a large ad agency, is buying Putnam Powell and Lowe (and therefore, Sterling Cooper). Hilton further states that he’ll have to drop Sterling Cooper as a conflict of interest. Don then says that they’ll all be fired. Hilton says that Cooper is definitely gone, that he’s unsure about Sterling’s future, and that Don is a “prize pig”, and that he’ll get more stock and money from the deal. Don calls McCann a “sausage factory”, and tells Connie that he turned down a job offer from them three years ago. Hilton says that it’s “just business”. Don then says that Hilton “doesn’t give a crap that my future is tied up in this mess because of you.”  Conrad says that he got everything he has on his own, and that’s made him immune to people that cry because they can’t. He then says that he didn’t take Don to be one of those people. Conrad and Don then agree to “try again” one day.

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We then see Don walking in to Sterling Cooper. He’s in a daze, and he slowly looks around the office. When one of the office girls crushes a piece of paper into a ball, he has a flashback: the price of wheat has collapsed, and Archibald Whitman is bucking the wishes of his co-op by refusing to sell for 69¢ a bushel. A young Dick Whitman looks on as his father tells the other members of the co-op that he’s prepared to build a silo and store the grain until winter, when he can get a better price. The others wonder how he’ll pay his mortgage without selling the wheat now. Archibald then orders the other farmers to leave his kitchen.

We then see Don walking in to Bert’s office (Bert wonders what’s so important that Don had to wake him up!). Don says the he has met with Hilton and that he said that PPL (and thus, Sterling Cooper) are being sold. Bert doesn’t look too surprised at the news. Don initially thinks that Bert knew about the sale; Bert says that he didn’t, but that all the cost-cutting now makes sense to him. Don then asks what they can do. Bert says “nothing”, because they’re all under contract. Don asks if it bothers him that he’s losing his business; Bert says that he lost it the year before in the PPL sale. Don then tells him to do something. He then asks why he, Bert and Roger just can’t buy Sterling Cooper back from PPL.

BERT: “Young men love risk because they can’t imagine the consequences.”
DON: “And you old men love building golden tombs and sealing the rest of us in with you.”

Don and Bert argue about the future of Sterling Cooper, with Bert finally asking why Don cares. He says that he’s tired of being “battered around like a ping pong ball”, and he then asks who’s in charge of the agency – “accountants trying to make $1.00 into $1.10”. He says that he wants to work and to build something of his own – just as Cooper had 40 years ago. Bert looks at him thoughtfully and says that he’s not sure that Don has the stomach for it. “Try me,” Don says. Bert then puts together an outline of the “new” Sterling Cooper. He says that they’ll need American Tobacco – the agency’s biggest client – which is a client because of Roger. Bert then asks when the sale is going down, and after Don tells him that it’s New Year’s Day, Bert says that they really need Roger in on this. Don, still pissy about Roger, tells Bert to talk to him. Bert asks whether he really wants to do this nor not.

Don and Bert then go to Roger’s office. Roger is on the phone with Jane, who is still upset about President Kennedy’s assassination. After he gets her off the phone, he looks at the two men. Bert simply tells him, without fanfare, that McCann is buying PPL and Sterling Cooper. After Roger gets off a couple of choice lines, Bert says that he and Don are working on a plan to buy the agency back from PPL. Roger asks why, and Don says that they don’t want to go to McCann. Roger then looks at Don and says, as he lights a cigarette, that they (Bert and Don) only really want him because he has a “golden pork chop” (American Tobacco) danging around his neck. Don says that it’s more than that and that Bert is now “done for”. Roger then takes Don to task for bringing Bert into it. Bert then angrily tells him that he sold his birthright so he could marry that trollop (Jane). Roger then objects to their “pitch”, then tells them to “move along”. Don then asks if Roger wants to work for McCann; Roger says that they won’t value him any less than Don does. Don says that he was wrong, that Hilton taught him that he is not an account man. Roger says he’s not good with relationships because he doesn’t value them. Don says that he values his relationship with Roger. “Now?” Roger asks. Yes, Don says. Roger then says that he has a big pile of money, and that if he gets fired in the sale, so be it: “there’s a deck chair somewhere with my name on it”. Bert then stands up and agrees with Roger that if he’s lost his appetite then he should retire. He then hints that Roger will be dead in three years if he retires. “Join or die?” Roger asks. “Jesus Bert, [Don] was doing better”. Don then says that they have to try. Roger then realizes that Don wants to be in advertising after all.

That night, Don arrives home. Betty orders the kids upstairs and tells Don to sit down. She tells him that she made an appointment with a divorce attorney, and she advises him to make one of his own. Don says that she “hasn’t been herself” and wonders if she needs to see a doctor. Don says that she, along with everyone else, has had a tough couple of weeks. Betty says that she’s had a tough year. She then says that she’s telling him this now as a courtesy, so that he wouldn’t find out via a phone call at work. Don says that he won’t let her break up the family; Betty reminds him that she wasn’t the one who broke up the family.

The next morning, Bert, Roger, and Don invite Lane into Bert’s office. After he closes the door and takes a seat, Roger matter of factly tells him that they know that McCann is buying PPL, and that that makes Sterling Cooper “chattel”. Lane asks how they found out about it, and Don says that it was someone outside the building. Lane says that they’re wrong; Roger tells Lane that they’ve worked together for a year, and to not treat them like strangers. Lane sighs and says that their information is only partially correct. He says that only Sterling Cooper is up for sale. Bert says that that won’t change their plans, and that they’ll offer PPL a 12% premium over the price they paid for the agency the year before. Lane gives a half laugh and says that the agency is worth more than that now. When Roger asks how much PPL got for the agency, Lane refuses to say. He then apologizes that Bert, Roger and Don had to find out that way. Lane then says that he “quite enjoyed it here” before turning and leaving the room.

We then see Betty and Henry talking to a divorce attorney, who tells them that the only grounds for divorce in New York State are absence of a spouse, incurable insanity, life imprisonment or adultery. Betty says that Don hasn’t been faithful, but that she doesn’t have any witnesses or other evidence of his affairs. The attorney then suggests that they have an affair, because that would cause a “no fault” divorce. Henry objects to this, as such headlines would hurt his employer, Governor  Rockefeller, in the upcoming election. The attorney then suggests that the couple go to Reno, where divorces are “painless”. All they will have to do is move there for six weeks to establish residency, and that all they’ll need is Don’s consent – he won’t even have to go there. The attorney then asks about a settlement, and Betty says that she only wants what she’s entitled to. Henry then asks if he can have a moment with Betty. He tells her that he can provide for her and the children, and that he doesn’t want Betty to “owe” Don anything. Henry then turns to the attorney and says that they want it taken take of as soon as possible,

Back at Sterling Cooper, Lane calls Saint John Powell to tell him that Bert, Roger and Don know about the sale. When Powell asks what they know about it, Lane says that they are under the impression that PPL is for sale as well. Powell asks what he told them, Lane says he told them that they were wrong. He then says that Cooper, Sterling and Draper wanted to offer 12% over PPL’s purchase price. Powell then apologizes for telling him this way, but that PPL is also for sale. When Lane asks why he wasn’t told of PPL’s sale, Powell says that it “didn’t seem pertinent”, and that it was hard enough keeping PPL calm without making Sterling Cooper nervous as well. Lane then asks what his place will be, and Powell flippantly says “with McCann, I suppose”. Powell then suggests that Lane will work with McCann during the transition, and that that will be the time for him to became “irreplaceable” to the new management. Powell then says that he’ll put in a good word for Lane. Lane slams the phone down in anger.

Don comes home and finds Sally sleeping in his bed in Gene’s room. He stares at her and has another flashback: Don’s adoptive mother says that the people from the bank had come to the house today, and she shows Archie an almost empty tin with a few dollars in it. Archibald says that winter will be there in a month, and that the bank won’t sell the house before then. She says that they have nothing, and they’re about to have less. Archibald stands up and tells her that he’ll sell his wheat crop. He tells Dick to come with him. Mom asks what he’s doing, and Archibald says that he’s driving to Chicago that night. “You’re drunk,” she says. Out in the barn, Dick helps his dad get a horse ready while thunder threatens overhead. Archie gives Don a swig from his moonshine jug, then picks up a saddle to put on the horse. But he’s drunk, and drops it, and just at that moment a loud clap of thunder makes the horse kick, knocking Archie in the head and killing him instantly. We’re then taken back to teh present time, where Don gently gets in bed with Sally and curls up next to her.

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The next morning, Bert, Roger and Lane meet in Roger’s office. The three asks what the meeting is for, and Don says that he couldn’t sleep, and had the idea of going to McCann directly. Lane says that they deal is done. Don then asks Lane if he even bothered asking; Lane says that he did ask, and that PPL is, in fact, for sale, along with Sterling Cooper. Don angrily tells Lane that all he wanted was a price. Lane, taking no crap from Don, says that he should fire Don for wanting him to take part in this conspiracy. “Go ahead,” Don yells. “It’s the only thing you did well here!” Lane says that he did many things at Sterling Cooper. Roger then sarcastically tells Don to have another drink, as it’s only 9:30 in the morning. But in the pause, Don has had an idea: Lane can fire all of them by voiding their contracts. He then tells Lane to fire the three of them. When Lane asks why he should do that, Don says that once the sale is done, Lane will be “thrown overboard”. Lane says that nothing good ever came from seeking revenge, but then Bert offers to make him a partner. Lane says that his actions should be worth more than that. Don then realizes that they are negotiating. He approaches Lane, smiling, and offers to put his name on the door. When Roger objects, Don asks if he knows how to do Lane’s job. Bert volunteers that he doesn’t. Lane says that it could be done, but that getting the partners out isn’t the difficult part, that they’ll need to take some accounts with them. Roger asks about Lucky Strike, and Lane says that they’ll need additional clients for cash flow. Roger looks at Don and asks about Hilton; Don declines. Lane asks about any other accounts. Roger says that they’ll get them. Lane then says that if he sent a telegram to London informing them of the firings, it would not arrive at Putnam Powell and Lowe until after close of business, and it wouldn’t be noticed until start of business the following Monday – 2:00AM New York time. This gives them only a few days to get all the accounts and assemble a crew, Lane says. He further states that anyone they approach must be trusted, as they don’t need word of this to leak out. Don then asks if they should vote on the matter; all involved raise their hands.

We then see Don walking out of his office, asking Allison to write a memo to the entire company, saying that all work will cease over the weekend due to carpet cleaning. He then asks for Pete, but Allison said that he called in sick that morning. He tells her to call him at home, that it’s important. He then barks for Peggy to come to his office. Peggy begins talking about routine business, but Don interrupts her with news of the sale. He then tells her to come to the office on Sunday night to collect her things. Peggy asks who else is coming, saying that it’s important. Don says that he can’t tell her. He tells her that they’re being bought by McCann, and he asks her if she knows what that means. Peggy says that he just assumes that she’ll do whatever he says. Don says that he’s not going to beg her. “Beg me? You didn’t even ask me,” she says. Don then formally asks her, but Peggy says that she’s had other offers, offers  that included a sales pitch that included words like opportunity. She says that everyone assumes that Don does Peggy’s work, even Don himself. She says that she doesn’t want to make a career out of being Don’s whipping girl. Don then says that he’ll have to talk to Kurt and Smitty. “I guess so,” Peggy says as she leaves his office.

Trudy makes a plate of snacks while Pete desperately looks for his pajamas. Pete tells Trudy that he called in sick to have an interview with Ogilvy, and that he has to look the part for Don and Roger. The doorbell rings. Trudy answers it. She offers to take their coats, but Don declines. Trudy then excuses herself so that the men can talk. Roger says that McCann bought PPL and Sterling Cooper. Don says they’re not firing him, but Pete says that he has “other plans” (Trudy, from the other room, then asks for a moment with Pete; she’s ignored). Don then says that they’re starting a new agency. Pete, incredulous, asks if they really let them go. Roger says that he’s taking American Tobacco with them, but that they need another $7-10 million for cash flow purposes. He then asks Pete what accounts he has. Pete acts innocent, so Don says that he doesn’t blame Pete for wanting out. Pete says that Ken must have turned them down. Roger says that they haven’t spoken to him (yet), but not only do they want Pete’s accounts, they want him, too. Pete says that he wants to hear from Don why they want him. Don says that he’s been ahead of the game – “aeronautics, teenagers, the Negro market” – and that they need him to keep the agency looking forward. Pete demands to be made partner and have him name in the lobby; Don says that there’s no “lobby” at the moment. They make a deal – Pete will be made partner if he can deliver $8 million worth of accounts by Sunday. Pete agrees to the deal. “What if I come up short?” he asks. Don says that it’s “not an option”. The second Don and Roger leave, Pete begins asking Trudy to get people on the phone.

At a bar, Roger and Don muse over Pete’s aborted departure. Don then laments the picture of JFK still up on the bar’s wall; Roger says that they’re not going to put a picture of LBJ up on the wall. Roger says that he feels like he built Sterling Cooper his whole life, but only now he realizes that he inherited it. Don then says that he needs an attorney, that Betty is divorcing him. “So it’s true, huh?” Roger asks. Don wants to know how he knows. Roger says that he’s heard rumors about Betty and Henry Francis from Margaret, who is friends with Francis’ daughter. Don asks if they’re sleeping together. Roger says that the information came from the daughter, that he talks about her a lot, and that it sounds serious. “I’m sorry I told you,” Roger says.

Later that night, a drunken Don comes home and roughly shoves a sleeping Betty, demanding that she wake up. When Betty tells him to keep quiet because Eugene is sleeping, Don says that he doesn’t care. When then asks who the hell Henry Francis is. When Betty says “no one”, Don roughly grabs her and pulls her out of bed. He asks her again who Henry is, and Betty asks why he cares. Don sarcastically says “because you’re good… and everyone else in the world is bad

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Betty says that he’s drunk; Don says that she’s “sooooo hurt, soooo brave with your little white nose in the air, all along you’ve been building a life raft”. Betty tells him to get out. Don says that Betty never forgave him. “Forgave what? That I’ve never been enough”, she asks. Don says that she’s had everything she ever wanted, and now he’s not good enough for some “spoiled Mainline brat”. “That’s right,” Betty says. Don then says that he won’t give her a nickel and that he’ll take the kids (“God knows they’ll be better off”). Betty says that she’s going to Reno, and that he will consent, and that will be the end of it. She also tells Don not to threaten her, that she “knows all about” him. Don grabs her, calls her a whore, and asks if she knows that she’s a whore. Just at that moment, Eugene starts crying. Don shoves her away. Betty walks over to the crib and picks up Eugene. She then turns to Don and says that she wants him out of the house.

The next morning, we see Pete in the elevator. Off-screen, Harry calls for him to hold it. Once inside, he asks Pete if they called him in too. Pete says that they did. Pete then admits to Harry that he’s “a little scared”. Harry, oblivious to what Pete’s talking about, asks him to clarify. Pete, realizing that Harry doesn’t know, says nothing. A couple minutes pass, and the two walk through the doors of Sterling Cooper to see Bert, Roger and Lane huddled over a table. Harry, confused, asks what’s going on. Bert says that PPL has been sold to McCann, that they’re starting a new agency, and that they’d like him to join the new company as “Head of Media”. Harry looks stunned, and asks if they’re kidding. “Yes. Yes we are”, Roger quips. Bert then says that they need an answer from Harry now. Harry says that he should really call his wife. Bert says that the matter is secret and time-sensitive, and that if he turns down their offer to “become a mid-level cog at McCann” that they’ll have to lock him in the store room until morning. Harry seems frozen with indecision. To break the silence, Lane hands Pete a folder and ask if he knows where the related paperwork is. Pete says that he has no idea, so he hands the folder to Harry. He asks Bert if they’re just going to steal all the information. Bert smiles, and Lane says that they would, but no one has any idea of where anything is or how the day to day operations work. Roger then says that he can make a phone call and fix it. Lane begs him not to add “any more conspirators”, but Roger promises to be discreet. Pete then asks where Don is.

Don is at home, where he and Betty are breaking the news of the divorce to the children. Betty tells them that Don is moving out, that they’ll still live there, and that Don will come and visit. Bobby then asks why he’s leaving. “Because…” Betty says, but she can’t finish the sentence. Don says that it’s only temporary, like when he lived in the hotel. Betty says that it will be different. Bobby asks if it’s because he lost Don’s cuff links. Don says that it isn’t, that it has nothing do to with him. Don tells the kids that he loves them both. “Then why are you going?” Sally asks. Don says that he’s not “going”, that he’ll just be “living elsewhere”. Sally says that that is “going”. and that Don says things that he doesn’t mean and that he just can’t do that. Don walks over to her. Sally said that Don promised to “always come home”. Don sighs and promises that he will. Bobby asks if he’ll come home for Christmas. Betty says that the kids will have two Christmases, but Sally says that she only wants one. She then looks at Betty and asks if she’s making Don leave. Betty says that they made the decision together. Sally says that Betty made him sleep in Gene’s old room, and that it’s “scary in there”. Don interrupts, telling the kids that he’ll be there, that they can call him any time and he will answer. Sally gets up and walks away. Don stands up to follow her, but Betty tells him to let her go. Meanwhile Bobby stands up, and hugs Don around the waist, begging him not to go. Betty covers her eyes while Don bends down so that he and Bobby can hug properly. Don hugs his son tightly, and says that no one wants to do this, and that he needs Bobby to “be a big boy”.

Later that day, Don knocks on the door of Peggy’s apartment. “You look awful,” she says, answering the door. He asks if he can come in, and the two walk into the living room, where Don takes a seat on the sofa. Peggy asks if he wants anything, and Don says that he does. Don says that she was right, and that he has been taking her for granted. He says that he did this because he sees her as an extension of himself, and she is not. Peggy thanks him for stopping by, but Don begs her to take a seat. She does, and Don asks if she knows why he doesn’t want to work for McCann. “Because you don’t want to work for anyone else,” she says. Don says no. He says that there are people out there who buy things – “people like you and me” – and something happened, something terrible, and the way they saw themselves is gone, and that no one understands that… but Peggy does, and that’s very valuable. “Is it?” she asks. Don says that he’s moving on with or without Peggy, but he doesn’t know if he can do it alone. He asks if she will help him. Peggy wavers,almost in tears, and says that if she says no, Don will never speak to her again. Don, delivering the knockout punch, says that instead he would spend the rest of his life trying to hire her. Peggy looks at her lap and smiles.

Back at Sterling Cooper, the men are still hopelessly looking through a gigantic pile of papers… when Roger’s secret weapon appears:

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Joan has already started a list and hired movers. Harry hands her a list and asks if she knows where those things are. She does, and mentions a tons of things that they’ll need that the men hadn’t even considered. Roger points at her and says “there you go!”. A relieved Bert then says he can start packing his office. Don, apologizing for being late, then walks in with Peggy, who says hi to everyone. Don looks at Joan and says “what a great idea” (to hire her). He asks Pete which clients he brought with him. “I made it”, Pete says. Roger asks where they should start. Joan says that they should start in the art department, but Harry says that the door is locked.

We then see Don walking to the door of the art department. When his key doesn’t work, he simply takes a couple steps back and kicks the door in. He says that he’ll start in his office, leaving Harry and Pete to empty out the art department. Meanwhile, Roger, Joan and Peggy go through a gigantic pile of papers. Roger says that he’s tired, and asks Peggy to get him some coffee. She refuses. We then see movers taking everything away (Bert asks if they washed their hands!). Don, Roger and Joan are the last to leave, and Don asks her to find him an apartment. She agrees, then walks out towards the elevator, leaving Roger and Don alone in the office. The two look at the empty office with melancholy, and Roger asks how long it will take them to have an office like this again. Don says that he never saw himself working in a place like that to begin with. The two of them then walk out, and Don bends down to lock the door, but Roger tells him not to bother.

Monday morning rolls around, and Allison mindlessly walks into Don’s office while going through his mail in her hand. She looks up, sees a ransacked office, and screams that they’ve been robbed. Lane walks into his office, led by John Hooker, who says that Saint John Powell is on the phone, and that Powell has called twice already that morning. Lane picks up the phone and cheerfully greets Saint John, who asks what in God’s name is going on at Sterling Cooper. Lane, smiling, says that it should be obvious. Powell then tells Lane that he’s fired for costing his parent company millions of pounds, fired for insubordination, and fired for lack of character. “Very good. Happy Christmas,” Lane says, putting the phone down. Lane calls John into his office, tells him that he’s been fired, then asks him to have his things put in storage. When John asks what’s going on, Lane says that he’s a smart boy and that he’ll figure iy out.

At The Pierre Hotel, Joan divides up a suite into sections for everyone, then tells everyone not to have meetings in this “office”. The phone rings, and she answers it: “Good Morning, Sterling Cooper Draper Price, how may I help you?” She then gets a disappointed look on her face when she finds out that it’s Harry, who has forgotten their room number.

Back at the (old) Sterling Cooper, a group of worried employees gather around Allison, who is crying. Ken walks up and says that he’s heard from John Deere, and that Pete tried to poach them on Saturday. Paul walks over to Peggy’s office and finds it empty. “Dammit,” he swears, knowing that Don picked her over him.

Back at The Pierre, Pete is on the phone convincing a client that their services will not be interrupted while Roger reads the newspaper. There’s a knock on the door – it’s Trudy, who has brought everyone lunch. “Isn’t this exciting?” she asks. All agree, and thank her for bringing them sandwiches. Don looks sideways, as if he’s thinking about something. He opens the door to the “media room” and tells Harry that lunch has arrived. “Thank God,” Harry says, and takes off to eat. Don closes the door to the room and calls Betty. He says that he won’t fight her, and that he hopes she gets what she wants. “You will always be their father,” she says. Don says good-bye and hangs up. He opens the door and walks back into the main room, and sees everyone enjoying lunch:

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He asks Lane how his morning went. “Very productive,” is the reply. Don smiles.

We then see Betty and Eugene on a plane to Reno with Henry.

The other Draper kids sit and watch TV while Carla brings them glasses of milk and joins them on the sofa.

When then see Don, alone and suitcases in hand, getting out of a taxi and walking towards an apartment building in Greenwich Village.

NOTES

McCann Erickson is one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, with offices in over 130 countries. The agency was responsibe for such memorable ads as “I’d Like to Buy The World a Coke”, “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard”, the “Army Strong” campaign for the United States Army and the Rice-a-Roni jingle.

– Does anyone else understand Hilton’s alleged “conflict of interest”? Wasn’t he already a McCann client? So what’s the problem if McCann ends up owning Sterling Cooper?

– The Sterling Cooper “coup” happened on Friday, December 13, 1963.

– When Don refers to Betty as a “spoiled Main Line brat”, he’s referring to her wealthy Philadelphia upbringing. The Pennsylvania Main Line railway was one of the first rail lines to a suburban location in the United States. It allowed Philadelphia’s super rich to have large, sprawling homes on large lots, yet still commute to work on a daily basis. “Main line” can also be used as a descriptor or derogatory term for people who live there. “She won’t date you… she’s a Main Line girl”, for example.

– USELESS TRIVIA: In 1694, William Penn sold the land the Main Line runs through to a group of Welsh Quakers for ten cents an acre. For this reason, many of the cities on the Main Line have Welsh names, like Lower Merion, Upper Merion, Bala Cynwyd, Berwyn, Radnor, Haverford Township, Tredyffrin, Uwchlan, Gladwyne, and Bryn Mawr.

Loved the crazy look on Don’s face when he tells Betty that he’s keeping the kids:

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– This is just a beautiful shot, is it not?

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– Hey, we FINALLY got to see what Peggy’s apartment looks like!

– “Mrs. Harris… what a pleasure to see you!” HELL YEAH! That just might be the best seven words ever uttered on Mad Men. Praise the Lord and pass the popcorn… Joan is back!

– Remember when you were a kid watching Star Wars in the theatre, and you’d just about jump up and down in your seat during some scenes? I did the same thing when Joan came on the screen. True story!

– Loved seeing Pete carrying the rifle on his shoulder on the way out of the office.

– Sterling Cooper Draper Price is (temporarily) located in room 435 of The Pierre Hotel, the hotel where Duck and Peggy initially hook up in episode “Seven Twenty Three”.

– A completely superficial thought: why is Allison Brie so hot in these sixties clothes on Mad Men, but so… pedestrian in modern wear in Community? On that show, she’s just another female actress to me, but on Mad Men, I think she’s kinda hot. Weird.

MY THOUGHTS

Wow – what a season finale! I was expecting drama-drama-drama-drama and we certainly got that with Don and Betty’s storyline. But what I wasn’t expecting was to laugh so much and (as mentioned above) hoot and holler at the screen like a kid watching Star Wars. Roger has some hilarious lines in this episode, and watching Lane gleefully get fried from PPL just made my day. And what a nice way to bring Joan back – we all knew it was going to happen, I just had no idea Matt Weiner would do it this way. Kudos to you, sir, for such a wonderful end of season 3.

One big question: was Don sincere in his talks with Pete and Peggy? I think so, although moreso with Peggy the Pete, IMHO.

But it’s not all laughter. As one of the few defenders of the Betty Draper character out there, I was hugely disappointed in her the past couple of episodes. Don’s right – she is acting like a spoiled brat – but here’s the thing: does anyone out there actually think that Betty will be any happier with Henry than she was with Don? Betty is a woman in transition – she’s too educated and feels too liberated to be an “average housewife”, but she’s not entirely sure what she should be doing otherwise. Maybe she really loves Henry (which I doubt), or maybe she has visions of Jackie Kennedy in her future: the wife of a high-powered politico. Maybe she even feels that she deserves such a future, given her upbringing. Whatever the case may be, the past two episodes have really made me rethink her character. As of right now, I just can’t stand her. I wish she’d die in a fire – were Eugene not with her, I’d be happy if her plane to Reno crashed into the side of a mountain. And I haven’t even mentioned her ditching the kids at Christmas time to be with her lover and get a divorce. I’ve mentioned her lacking parenting skills in the past, but this just does it: in my mind, Betty Draper is the worst non-abusive parent in TV history. She may not slap her kids across teh face with a belt physically, but she certainly is emotionally.

Also, Henry was really quick to say that he’d support her and the kids, wasn’t he? Is he doing this out of the goodness of his heart, or does he really just have that big a hard-on for Betty… or does this make her easier to control? Will it be sweet love between the two of them, or is she just being transferred from Draper prison to Francis prison? Only time will tell.

I’ve read many reviews and message board threads about this episode, and one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is Lane’s relationship with Rebecca. We all know that his wife was desperately homesick, and was looking forward to the Sterling Cooper sale so she could go back to London. How ill she react now that they’re staying in New York? Should Don keep the number for that divorce lawyer handy?

As for the core employees that Cooper, Sterling and Draper took with them to the new agency, I think they made pretty good choices. We don’t know if Ken Cosgove and Paul Kinsey are gone for good, or if they’ll be at the new agency by the time the new season comes around. Still, I’m happy with the group they have so far. While I’d miss Paul, I certainly won’t miss Ken, Lois, Hildy, Olive or most anyone else from the old agency.

I love how this episode subtly reset all the relationships between the partners at the new agency. Don and Roger weren’t talking to each other at the beginning of the episode, and now they’re back in the saddle again. Cooper is suddenly relevant again. Peggy made it perfectly clear to Roger that she’s no longer an “office girl”. And the rest of the gang has a new respect for Lane and what he does, and everyone missed Joan terribly.

Also, I’m guessing that Duck is out of the picture permanently now that Pete and Peggy have made their minds to join Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce? Lord knows I hope so. Duck gives me the willies, and the thought of Peggy sleeping with him makes my skin crawl. There’s always the possibility that Duck and Peggy could continue knocking boots… but God I hope they don’t.

Speaking of, how about Suzanne? Will Don go back to her now that Betty is more or less out of the picture? There always seemed to be something more than sex between Don and Suzanne, and I’m one of the few people that actually liked her character. But I won’t shed any tears if she’s gone, and frankly, I don’t know how it would work, with Don being in the city and she being out in the suburbs. Still, Don is a persuasive cat, and I can imagine him sweet talking her into coming to work in the city at some private school or as a tutor. It’s not like he needs her money anyway, right?

Having said all that, you’d think that Don would be in heaven right now – off the hook from Betty and alone in Manhattan with millions of girls he could get into bed. But will he take advantage of it all? It seems like Don needs a wife, an anchor out the suburbs to give his life stability. Will we seen Don and Suzanne living happily together? Or will be see Don waking up with a stranger every morning, surrounded by empty whiskey bottles, his job on the line. Will this upcoming season be the true fall of Don Draper?

Only time will tell.

On a personal note, let me thank the folks that read these recaps on a regular basis. I know from my server logs that the recaps are pretty popular, but only folks like SteveM seem to comment on them on a regular basis. Thanks for reading these recaps! I can’t say that I won’t miss them in the off-season though: writing 5500+ words every week is taking a toll on my creativity!

6 Replies to “Mad Men: “Shut the Door. Have a Seat””

  1. Since it began, I’ve been obsessively following Mad Men and blog recaps/reviews thereof, but today — a week after the season 3 finale — is the first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog. Your recaps are great (I’m still catching up!), so thank you for them. I’ve poked around your site, and while it seems that we would not agree on a whole hell of a lot of issues, where it counts — Mad Men and the Jam! — we’re on the same page. Lots of interesting stuff throughout and I look forward to stopping by often.

  2. Thanks for the fantastic recap again! I shed a tear this past Sunday night-seeing no “Mad Men” in the schedule. I think you’ll continue to get new fans reading here too. I see you’ve posted like crazy this past week-cannibalism in Russia, 80’s music, that will keep me checking back!

    I’ve worked in advertising (even McCann!) many years as a freelancer-this episode was especially thrilling to me when they decided to form their own agency and take clients with them. It happens more often than you would think, and Mad Men captured that danger and thrill perfectly.

  3. Just finished Season 3. I found your blog on a Google search after hearing better giving her phone number with the word “Wilson” in it, which baffled me. I read your blog after every episode since. I don’t really read the recaps; I just read the notes.

    Also I love Betty Draper. Don is a jerk.

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