Mad Men Chat, Episode Ten

This is not a recap: you want that, try here. Think of this as a roundtable discussion, a podcast for your eyes, on the latest episode of Mad Men. To read the previous chats, click here.

Mark: This episode really swing for the fences right out of the gate: Lane’s dad is coming to New York to bring him back to London; Don got Beatles tickets for Sally; Joan is preggers, probably with Roger’s baby; Don’s past is getting checked out by the US Military-Industrial Complex. I can’t think of an episode that loaded so much stuff at the front – I’m starting to wonder if they’re setting us up for a huge cliffhanger at the end of the season.

First: Lane and his pop. Technically, his marriage is over, isn’t it? I’m positive he and his wife called it off around the night Don and him hit the town (when Lane got trashed and watched Godzilla). So why does his dad care so much? I’m guessing it’s the Proper thing to do, in the classic British sense, but I’m wondering if it has more of a class struggle angle to it. Lane is basically becoming American: he’s got the baseball pennant, he’s dating a black girl and hanging out in clubs, even his accent seems to be slipping. Is it possible his dad is mad because Lane is losing his upper crust Britishness?

Heather: I think his father feels shamed by him. They’re obviously a class issue along with the old view of sticking by your decision to marry and supporting your family (also by being with them). His marriage is totally over (I was watching an old episode the other day and remembered I really didn’t like his wife). Lane wants this change so badly, but his father obviously has a very strong hold on him. After being cracked in the head by his father’s cane and then being stepped on and forced to say he would go home with him like a five year old child, it really shows what kind of relationship he has with the family. Lane, obviously, is a giant push over. Now that he’s in America he’s starting to make his own decisions (whether they be right or wrong) and he feels free.

At least, that’s what I’m getting from it. His father decided to come out and put an abrupt stop to all of that. I am curious as to where this will lead. I’m pretty sure Lane will eventually put up an epic fight. Not right away, though. Unless they’re getting rid of his character, which would make me sad.

Jenn: I would love for this to end with Lane standing up to his father, saying “Dude I’m like 40, I can live my own life”, telling his bitch ex-wife to fuck of and continue his joyous New York existence getting drunk at movies with Don and dating black waitresses, but that’s probably not going to happen. A lifetime of abuse and control from his father combined with the British “stiff upper lip” way of life lead me to believe he’ll just let things revert to how they once were instead of fighting for is freedom.

Mark: Could it be something racial? Last week, we saw Fillmore Auto Parts and their boycott – which Lane didn’t really feel any which way about. But he’s dating a black girl – why didn’t he care more? Is it possible he’s just using her to try and drive his dad – and wife – away? I certainly got that impression, especially in the way he was carrying on with her in front of his dad.

Heather: It certainly seemed that way, didn’t it? I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in Lane’s mind, but I think it’s closer to rebellion than anything else. He’s trying to drive the Brit right out of him and everything that came with it.

Jenn: I’m sure he genuinely cares for the girl, but yeah he was obviously trying to stick it to the man when he was showing her off. A poor, misguided sense of proving he was is own man now.

Mark: To Joan now. First, is it actually Roger’s baby? Did they hook up again after their thing in the alley – I don’t remember it actually being more then just a makeout session, although I could be wrong. And I think it’s wise to remember that if she’ll cheat WITH you, she’ll cheat ON you, too. Sentimentally, I want it to be Roger’s kid, but I’m honestly not even close to sure.

Heather: I’m pretty sure they bumped uglies in the alley. I could be wrong, though. I also hope that it’s Roger’s baby. I’m not exactly sure if Joan is a cheater. She tried her hardest not to betray her husband with Roger for a very long time. Joan and Roger have an extensive history, but I’m thinking it’s more based on lust. Roger is obviously no longer happy with his b*tchprincess of a wife (which we really have no idea what is happening with) and his eyes have wandered back to Joan. Joan’s husband is an asshole. I’m not surprised she is started to become confused. (That old episode I watched also included her smoking him in the head with that vase. Remember how awesome that was? Oh, so triumphant.)

Jenn: I’m almost positive the alley scene was more than a makeout. It’s a baby Roger. Joan obviously wanted to make things work with her rapist husband (athough I’ll never understand why) so I doubt she was running around sleeping with anyone else. She and Roger just have their past and their chemistry, I can’t imagine there being any other guy in her life.

Mark: Did she actually get the abortion? We didn’t see her go in, she was in a rather stoic mood the next day… and she really seemed like she wanted the kid to me. I think it’s actually pretty close to 50/50 if she did or didn’t – and wouldn’t that be a hell of a cliffhanger, too?

Jenn: I’m torn. She obviously wants the baby, so I’d be happy for her, but it just seems a little to soap-y for Mad Men.

Heather: Part of me thinks she’s kept the baby. If she has, shit is going to hit the fan when the husband comes home.

Mark: Speaking of shit hitting fans, Don and his past came up again. It really tore him apart; this has been a rough season for him, what with all the puking and darkness and all. It does seem he’s learning from his past, though: he told Dr. Faye right from the get-go; there wasn’t any hiding like he did with Betty. I rather liked this, it’s another sign that Don’s trying to turn his life around.

Heather: I am really glad he opened up to her. At least he can be himself around someone again. “I’m tired of running,” shit, I would be, too. It’s caught up with him and they managed to nip it before it got worse, but I don’t think that’s the end of it. He was flagged, remember?

Mark: One thing I’m still wondering was why Betty covered for him. I was actually rather surprised that she did, since she’s been so hard on Don all season. Does she still feel something for him? Does she not want her life to get ruined too (after all, she lived with him for something like a decade)? Is she kind of rewarding Don for giving Sally Beatles tickets (she did smile around Don for the first time all season)? Maybe it’s a combination of all the above. I do like how she told Henry she doesn’t want any secrets in her house right after lying to him; if Don has learned, she certainly hasn’t.

Jenn: I was so glad she did. I think she genuinely felt bad for him at that moment. As much she hates Don, she doesn’t necessarily want him in trouble with National Security. She covered for him, and she called him and warned him. I hope that’s a sign of their relationship growing again to a place where they can almost be friends? Or at least be civil to each other. I think that would go a long way in the best interest’s of the kids, too. but of course this is Mad Men so they’ll probably just sleep together again and fuck their lives up even more.

Heather: Betty definitely still feels something for Don, but I think it’s more of a fantasy related kind of thing. He’s been put up on a pedestal, as much as she portrays her dislike for him, he still is the father of her children and I can’t imagine her wanting to take that away from them. She’s mean, but I don’t think she’s that mean. It would eat her up inside. Also, now she’s withholding information, right? That must mean bad news for her, too. Dun-dun-dunnn.

Mark: Betty wasn’t the only person who stuck their neck out for Don: Pete Campbell did too, losing a four million dollar contract and felt the biggest blast of fury I remember ever seeing in Mad Men – when Roger swore, it hit like a truck – and what did he get for it? Don kind of stood up for him, but still, knowing Pete I feel like he has something planned. He’s like Roger; he’ll do something for you, but he wants something in return. And he may be a shitheel, but in this case, I think he actually deserves something, doesn’t he?

Heather: Totally. I liked the moment he had with his wife. He didn’t tell her, but he was angry that the honest people are left to pick up the pieces for the dishonest people. He may have something else planned, but it’s not quite something that came to me right away. I think, as much as he wanted that contract, he knows Don has his reasons for this – I think he may ask Don why and to come clean, and I hope Don does something for him in return.

Jenn: I kind of chuckled at that scene. The “honest people”? Really Pete, you’re throwing yourself in that category? Despite the love child and the raping of a German nanny, neither of which your wife know about? Oh, okay. You’re actually doing something good this episode, I guess that makes all that go away. You’re the honest one.

Mark: Last one: Lee Garner Jr. is a piece of shit and made Roger beg for a month to get things into order. Can anybody save the account, and by extension, SCDP? Will Don let the bombshell about Sal and him drop? I think he has to, since Pete will play his hand and force Don to do something to save the company. He has to.

Heather: Roger might as well have been licking the bottom of Lee Garner Jr.’s shoes in that scene. Man, was I ever pissed. Roger is going to have a mental break down. Or maybe another heart attack. Shit is about to hit the fan, I’m sure of it.

Jenn: Good riddance Lucky Strike! Bring back Sal!


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