Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mad About the Men: The Arrangements

Spoiler Alert. Season 3, Episode 4:

Several carefully planned story arcs came to fruition this week and still the paternal theme that’s hung like a shadow over the season so far, reigned supreme.

In the Draper household Grandpa Gene continued to show Sally the only bit of attention and affection she ever seems to get, though when he started putting salt on his ice cream we knew the time bomb in his head must surely be ticking. He started the episode by sharing his last wishes with a sulky and vitriolic Betty, and ended it dead – leaving poor little Sally once again, alone. In the meantime he taught Sally to drive and had little Bobby wielding knives and playing dress-up in his war trophies. Nice.

At the office, the ludicrous aspirations of the client looking to make Jai-Alai, “as big as baseball,” gave Don an opportunity to flex his philosophers muscles once again, giving the son of a cold, disappointed father a chance to salvage his money and run before embarking on what everyone knew would be a fool’s mission. But Don is a man who once scorned, doesn’t give you a second chance. He warned the upstart, the upstart didn’t listen and so Draper happily took the three million dollars with his conscience clear. (Great little moment when he sent the ball through the ant farm and later we saw Joan killing all the ants – metaphor? Maybe, maybe not)

In Betty news… she’s still a cold, heartless bitch. She continues to drink and smoke her way through pregnancy and ignore her children. We learnt, from Grandpa Gene, that she was a fat child – no surprises there (remember in the first episode this season when Don tells her to eat something?) and she stamped her feet like a bratty kid when her father tried to share his funeral plans with her, protesting “I’m your little girl!” The Betty Draper Snow Queen Award for this episode, however, went to the moment when she left Sally on the steps in her tutu, distraught after the death of Grandpa Gene.

The rise and rise of Peggy “I am one of those girls” Olsen continues as the Patio pitch came full-circle and everyone realized the Bye Bye Birdie ad was a pile of shite. Best moment of the episode was Peggy’s smug little grin in the conference room when the clients said they hated it – that’s right, you told ‘em so Peggy. She knows it, and most importantly Don knows it, you can bet some reference to that maypole dancing woman from episode 2 is going to be brought back into play soon enough.

There was also some general Joan frivolity - which I always enjoy - when she out-copy-writer-ed Peggy and told her how to craft a roommate ad that would really get noticed. Though those two are like two cats prowling round each other, Peggy knows a good thing when she hears it. This little scenario also gave Joan the best line of the episode, when she read Peggy’s original ad and said, “It reads like the stage directions from an Ibsen play.”

Finally, it would be wrong to overlook the slow, painful penny dropping in Sal’s wife’s head as he gave that thoroughly convincing rendition of the Bye Bye Birdie number in their bedroom – far more excited by that than any potential action with her between the sheets. It was all pretty tragic.

Line of the week: (second to Joan) Don to Bobby: “Bobby, it’s a dead man’s hat. Take it off.”
Next week: Looks like Sally Draper’s about to go off the rails and someone at SC has been cooking the books.

Diligently construed by E. Nolan
Photo by Carin Baer

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