Mad Men: Six Month Leave
Mad Men proved this week why it’s an Emmy Award-winning series for best drama and writing. Don is ensconced at the Roosevelt Hotel now that Betty has decided she’s through with his cheating ways. Her meltdown is in full force as she lounges in bed, drinks midday and lets Carla deal with the kids.
When Sarah Beth arrives to borrow a dress, Betty says she’s sick and listens as Sarah Beth tells Betty about her dreams of Arthur Case. She sighs and says how bored she is and that Betty is lucky because Don’s “perfect.” Betty wavers and almost tells her but catches herself and tells Sarah Beth she is really sick. Betty finds herself manipulating a meeting between Sarah Beth and Arthur while she struggles to hold herself together.
At Sterling Cooper, the news of Marilyn Monroe’s death hits hard for the women and even Jane, Don’s secretary, is struggling to keep it together. Joan takes it the hardest and when Sterling finds her on his sofa, crying, he mocks her. “Not you, too.” She tells him, “One day you’ll lose someone who’s important to you. You’ll see. It’s very painful.
Jane struggles to keep it together, but tells Don that she got a call from his daughter about his business trip. Don tells her, “I don’t know you at all and this is personal.”
When he returns home with the kids, he tells Betty that if she’s not going to change her mind, he’s not going to make her. Betty says, “I thought you can talk anyone into anything.”
During a run-through for Samsonite, a drunken Freddy pees his pants and then passes out. A disgusted Pete tells Peggy to fill in. Peggy nails the presentation but Freddy’s “accident” has dire consequences.
Pete and Duck confront Sterling (without Don’s knowledge) and it’s decided Freddy will be given six months leave, which basically means a nice shove out the door. Don isn’t happy with this decision and when he hears Cosgrove and the other men making a mockery of Freddy, he reacts and tells them to stop gossiping “like teenage girls.”
At an NY watering hole, Don and Sterling break the news to a stunned Freddy, who talks of how much clients like him and his great copywriting skills. But Sterling’s not budging. “Let’s make a night of it,” he tells him.
And they do. More drinks and some illegal gambling and then Don clocks an unsuspecting Jimmy, who’s turned up at the same spot. After hurrying out of the club and some heartfelt goodbyes, they put Freddy in a cab and head off for a last nightcap. With Sterling’s relentless prying about his crumbling marriage, a reluctant Don says he doesn’t even feel bad about it, he’s mostly relieved.
At the office, the next day, Peggy gets an unexpected promotion, taking Freddy’s plum spot. Don’s not happy that she didn’t tell him about Freddy earlier and Peggy’s equally as angry with Pete for tattling. As usual, Pete feels no regret for his actions and says Peggy should be thanking him for getting her the opportunity.
As Don sits in his office, Mona Sterling barges in to give Don a peace of her mind. Sterling’s leaving her for “a secretary” and Mona’s holding Don responsible. Mona storms out and Jane bursts into tears as Sterling rushes to comfort Jane, not Mona. A stunned Don says, “I want her off my desk.”
Seven days feels like a long time to wait to see what happens next but knowing the writers, it’s bound to keep us all surprised.
Season 2, Episode 9: Six Month Leave (originally aired September 28, 2008)
Sundays at 10PM/9C, AMC
Photographs courtesy of AMC