Monday, August 17, 2009

Mad Men “Out of Town” Boils Over

The third season of Mad Men titled “Out Of Town” returned, taking viewers farther down the timeline than when we last left the series in season 2. And like the milk that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is heating for his wife Betty (January Jones), things heat up and boil over quickly. It seems that things haven’t changed much – Don Draper is still a philanderer, Pete Campbell is still a spoiled brat, Peggy is still fighting to be treated as an equal to the guys. There is still drinking and smoking, and great period fashion – although in one scene I detected breasts having a modern-day enhanced appearance along with the 1960s underwear. The episode did not disappoint, providing drama in both the boardroom and the bedroom. Sal secret was exposed, but luckily only to Don, who has plenty of secrets of his own and who seems to have no desire in outing anyone.

The episode begins with Don Draper daydreaming – or night dreaming since it happens at night – over warming some milk for his wife to help her sleep. Betty is now very pregnant. He’s thinking about his mother, who just had a miscarriage, and a woman who I assume was a midwife saying God will give her another child. The woman’s husband makes a heartless comment about her killing another one. Later, he imagines a young man who resembles a young Don offering a woman $.85 for a roll in the hay She tells him is he gets her in trouble she is going to cut off his dick and boil it in hog fat. Of course, she does get “in trouble” and as she is in labor having the baby, she repeats her comment that she is going to cut his dick off and boil it in hog fat.

Meanwhile, the milk is boiling over.

Later, this midwife drops off this baby to the woman who is Don’t mother, reminding her that she told her God would give her a child. She says the baby’s name is Dick, after a wish that his mother should have lived to see. And this is how Dick Whitman – who we know as Don Draper, came to be.

Don takes the milk in to Betty in an attempt to help her sleep, her advanced pregnancy causing the sleeplessness. She tells him she packed his suitcase but alerts him to the fact that their daughter Sally took a hammer to it, “like a little lesbian.” Don cuddles to Betty and tells her to imagine herself on a beach in hopes to get her to relax.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) is in her office, trying to raise her secretary Lola on the intercom. She steps outside her office and sees that John Hooker (Ryan Cartwright) the secretary to Mr. Price (Jared Harris) is flirting with her. Peggy is not happy at this and lets Lola know it.

Meanwhile, Mr. Price, who I believe is the new CFO representing the new British parent company to Sterling-Cooper, is in Bert Cooper’s (Robert Morse) office admiring a rather suggesting painting. He is there with Cooper and Don walks in. The have a brief discussion about the London Fog account, with Price saying there was no fog, just coal dust from the industrial age. It seems the reason they are gathered there to fire Burt Peterson (Michael Gaston) who is the head of accounts. With Roger Sterling (John Slattery) late for the meeting, they go ahead with it anyway, with Don saying how hard it is to fire Burt. They give Burt a severance check, and say they held off on the action because they knew his wife was undergoing radiation. Roger enters the party late, saying how hard this is. But Burt gets upset and says they will regret losing him and his Rolodex (meaning his list of accounts).

After Burt leaves the office, his rage gets control of him and he begins to yell loudly and knocks things off of desks, and tells price’s secretary John Hooker to drop dead, referring to him as a limey son of a bitch. Pete Campbell’s (Vincent Kartheiser) secretary tell him Mr. Price wants to see him, and Pete gets rattled.

Joan Holloway (Christine Hendricks) tries to placate Hooker after the name calling, but he laces into her about the lack of respect her is getting, saying that he is Price’s right arm, not his “secretary” or typist like the other women.

Pete goes to Price’s office, and his discomfort and nervousness is obvious. He doesn’t sit down, and after trying to make nice talk with Price, Price tells him that he is making Pete the head of accounts but to keep quiet about it. Pete leaves Prices office and calls his wife Trudy (Alison Brie), giving her the happy news. Pete realizes he never asked Price if this meant a raise.

But shortly thereafter, Price has called Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) into his office, and Ken sits right down and makes himself at home. Price offers him the same job he just offered Pete, and Ken accepts it gladly, outwardly happy. Price shakes his head as Ken leaves, likely thinking about how both people reacted to the news of their new job.

Elsewhere, Don and Sal (Bryan Batt) are on a plane to Baltimore for the London Fog account. A stewardess comes on to Don. She tells him she saw his name on his luggage as Mr. Hofstat, and then tells them where they are staying, which happens to be the same place as Don and Sal, so you know she wants to hook up. Don does not let on to his real name, but tells Sal that a relative borrowed his luggage and left his name on it.

Back at the office, Ken and Pete ride down in the elevator together, complementing each other, thinking that they were going to be the other’s boss, not realizing that Price has something else in mind.

Back in Baltimore, the stewardesses flirt with Don and Sal, and the pilot is also there. They think Don and Sal are accountants and Don implies they are working for the feds. Later, while Don and Sal head to their rooms in the elevator, Shelly the stewardess is there, and a bellhop also enters and leaves the elevator. Sal gets off on a lower floor, but Don and Shelly continue to go up, and Shelly follows Don to his room. She pulls him to her and they kiss, with Don not seeming to respond at first. But of course he succumbs, and while in his room, he watches her slowly undress, and she is wearing typical 1960s underwear – although her breasts have a modern day implant look to them.

Meanwhile, Sal has flopped onto his bed, and then goes to turn on the air conditioning, which doesn’t seem to be working. He calls the front desk, and they send up the bellhop. After the bellhop fixes the air conditioner, he makes move on Sal, much to his surprise. As Sal succumbs to the turn of events, the fire alarm rings, and the bellhop tells them to get out of the room. As they scramble to get dressed, Don, who is running down the fire escape with Shelly, runs past Sal’s room and looks into the window, and yells for Sal to “come out.” But he then sees the bellhop running around getting his clothes. Sal gets a look of worry that his secret may be out. While they stand on the street. Don looks at Sal and Sal looks concerned.

Back at Sterling Cooper, Peggy runs into Joan at the elevator and makes small talk about Joan’s engagement ring. But Peggy complains about Lola and her flirting with "Moneypenny” – meaning Hooker – and when Joan says he doesn’t like to be called that, Peggy is surprised Joan is defending him. But Joan tells her Hooker is repellent and she can’t wait until she gets out of there (meaning getting married and then quitting).

When Pete’s secretary congratulates him and tells him there is a meeting for the “heads” of accounting, he gets confused, and she clarifies it is a meeting with him and Ken. He gets visibly upset.

Back in Baltimore, Don and Sal meet with the London Fog people, and realize that the owner has concerns about the continued viability of the line. But Don reminds them that London Fog is a 40 year old brand and that there will be good years and bad, but there will always be rain.

Back at the accounts meeting, Joan is reading off the list of accounts as they are being split. Ken takes notes; Pete sits there and stares. Price reminds them they are each getting half the company and hopes one of them will distinguish themselves. When they leave the office, Pete asks Ken if he is upset and just hiding it. He then insults Ken by asking him why he even took the job because he’s no good. But Ken says the bosses want them to hate each other and he just won’t participate in that.

As Sal and Don are on their return flight, Sal is still clearly unconformable with what Don saw. But Don leans over and says he is going to ask Sal something, and he wants Sal to be honest. Sal looks worried, but Don instead lays out an ad scenario for London Fog, saying, "London Fog, it's a subway car and there's a commuter looking up, there's a girl with her back to us, she's wearing one of those short tan ones but it's open, her legs are bare, we know what he's seeing. 'Limit your exposure.'" Sal says, "That's it." Don looks back at him, pauses and says "good." Sal sits back and begins to relax. Of course, Don has managed to get a sublte warning in to Sal to watch himself so his secret is not exposed.

Back at the office, Joan brings Hooker to Burt Peterson’s office and suggests they use it for visitors but that Hooker can use it in the meantime. She also says she will get him a secretary. He’s very happy about this. Later, though, when Hooker takes credit for the idea with Mr. Price, Price indicates his displeasure with Hooker using the office and tells him he wants Hooker sitting outside the office, not in it, citing the fact that he just fired quite a few people in the office.

Trudy decides to pay a visit to Pete, who is still fuming about the split responsibilities. Trudy brings him back down to earth, telling him not to sour this amazing opportunity. She tells him they don’t want his outrage, they want his good work.

Later, when Sal is showing Kinsey (Michael Gladis) and Harry (Rich Sommer) the ad, they all like it. The only problem is that the person wearing the London Fog coat looks like a flasher. They ask Sal how it was in Baltimore with Don, and Sal says it was just two old married men and there was a fire, too.

Don is in his office, typing. Roger walks in with some Stoli and cigars. They talk about Ken Cosgrove and Pete Campbell, and Roger says he thought it was a joke at first but thinks it comes from the home office. When Pete comes in to speak with Don, he sees Roger and changes his approach, saying he's honored by the promotion. Bert Cooper comes in and says that a local politician is looking for some help and Pete says it would be his pleasure..

When Don gets home, Betty is in the bedroom and she calls Sally in to confess about the suitcase. Don tells her she will take the costs out of her allowance. When she says she. s she doesn't have an allowance, Don tells her not to break things then. Sally says she did not want him to leave. He says she will always be his girl, and he kisses her on the head. While Sally starts to go through the suitcase, she finds stewardess wings and asks if they are for her. Don looks a bit surprised to see them in there, but says they were for her. Betty puts them on her, and Sally asks if she was really once “in there”, meaning in Betty’s pregnant belly. Betty says yes, and Sally asks to hear about the day she was born. But while Don starts to speak of it, he falls asleep and Betty finishes the story.

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