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episode 10: hands and knees

It's Sunday so that means it's tome for another episode of Mad Men.

Episode 10: Hands and Knees
An unannounced visitor at the Francis home rattles Betty.

(I'm hoping this episode is better than I anticipate. Expectations are low since Betty annoys me.)

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
tomfoolery815
Sep. 27th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
I thought this was the season finale. Not sure why. Happy to be wrong.

AMC's shows like using the word "fucked" once in a while, but AMC doesn't like them using it. (They did it on Breaking Bad, too.)

I found it interesting that Don pushed Pete over the top by suggesting Pete would have to run the agency without him. The "OK! OK! I'll do it!" response from Pete suggests that he feels he still needs Don. It's the only reason he'd take such abuse from Roger on Don's behalf.

Were you wondering, as I was, how much crap Don was going to let Pete take? It's the first time I've ever felt sorry for Pete.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 27th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Sepinwall suggested that, after last night, it's no longer a slam dunk that Jon Hamm submits "The Suitcase" for the Emmys next season. He might be right, because Hamm was pretty amazing in this one. I don't think we've seen Don quite this petrified. Did you guys see the button go flying when he ripped his shirt off?

It's touching that he confided in Faye. Obviously he has strong feelings for her.

Betty even covered for Don. Betty. I think, im that moment in the foyer, she realized that it would be terrible for her children to have Don exposed, and thus decided to answer the agents' questions ... skillfully. Which, if I'm right, would make it her best act of parenting. Ever.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 27th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
When, at the clinic, Joan said her daughter was 15? Whoa. Was she saying that to make the mom feel better? Was she seizing an opportunity to not be identified as a woman about to have an abortion? Or -- and this is a longshot -- is 15 how old her child would be if she hadn't had her first abortion? (I know that, in a previous episode she was talking to her ob-gyn, and the time period of her first two abortions came up. That's the foundation of my latter speculation.)

Joan carries an awful lot, doesn't she? There she is, back at the office, saying "I feel good." Maybe she does, actually. She doesn't seem to be one burdened by regret, one to let regret interfere with the order of her world.

More from me after you guys get here.
flippet
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
Or -- and this is a longshot -- is 15 how old her child would be if she hadn't had her first abortion?

This is my guess. Or close to it - she could just be echoing the other mother (with 15) for a way to not get deeper into the conversation. (Does that make sense? Like, if she'd given a different age, it almost invites more conversation, but by agreeing to a point of similarity, you get a head nod and silence?)
marymary
Sep. 27th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Betty even covered for Don. Betty. I think, im that moment in the foyer, she realized that it would be terrible for her children to have Don exposed, and thus decided to answer the agents' questions ... skillfully.

You might be right that the kids played into it. Though I wasn't surprised at all that she covered for him. I think their feelings for each other are complex. To back up a sec, think about their conversation on the Beatles tickets. When he called, she was in a sort of neutral posture -- then she was delighted for Sally and amused/grateful toward Don. During the conversation about the defense dept. interview, he calls her "Bets" without thinking...

She's often furious at him, and she snaps at him, and she hates him for all the years of cheating, etc. But, just IMO, I don't think she even considered exposing him. Both because that would require whole nother level of hatred (which I don't think she has) and because it's just in her nature to be discreet.

Joan carries an awful lot, doesn't she? There she is, back at the office, saying "I feel good." Maybe she does, actually. She doesn't seem to be one burdened by regret, one to let regret interfere with the order of her world.


Good point, Tom. I don't always like Joan, but you have to admire her. She's a real survivor. I think that's partly what prompts the harsh behavior we see once in awhile -- she loses patience with people who she sees as weak or stupid or who don't have her nerves of steel.
amycurl
Sep. 27th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Pete suggests that he feels he still needs Don.
Ah, irony. The only reason Pete *has* this information was because he felt he could use it to get rid of Don. Now that the perfect situation has come up that would mean Don leaving, that's the *last* thing that he wants. HAH!

As Hamm reported in his Fresh Air interview, Weiner is big on "actions have consequences." We've just seen the consequence of Pete's actions in the first season...it's a slow burn. ;-)

Also, interesting that those in the 60s believed that they were acting in a more-or-less "consequence-free environment" (to quote Austin Powers.) How much those consequences are apparent to 2010 watchers.
marymary
Sep. 27th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Was she seizing an opportunity to not be identified as a woman about to have an abortion?

That's what I think it was. I think she was embarrassed to be lumped in with a teenager, who might be excused as stupid or careless.

Interesting thought about the baby age thing. I hadn't thoguht of that. How old is Joan? I think she turned 30 in season 1 or 2. So are we 4 years out now? So maybe...and I don't remember the conversation with her doctor well enough to figure out whether the first abortion could have been that long ago.

Wow, I felt so bad for Lane! He was so sweet with his girlfriend, and trying to do the right thing by presenting her to his father. And he's essentially losing his son. :(

Yes, Tom, interesting that Don told Faye about his identity. I think he's right that he can trust her. She's too good for him -- hopefully he won't screw that up.

I also thought it was interesting how they set up some near misses before Don told Faye. We wondered whether Betty would tell the feds, then whether Betty would tell Henry, then whether Pete would tell Trudy...in the end it was Don who spilled his own beans to someone.
amycurl
Sep. 27th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I was actually surprised by Betty's happy reaction to the Beatles tickets...that's how low my expectations of her behavior have gone. I was expecting a much more peevish, "But I have plans for her...blahblahblahwhinycakes."

It was nice to see her actually smile and be happy for her daughter, for once, wasn't it? :)

And I *loved* Roger in this episode. Being just the right amount of supportive of Joan, helping her think through the options, making it clear that he would support her however she wanted him to. I dunno, I thought he acted pretty classy.

I took Joan's comment about the age of her daughter to mean that she didn't want the other woman to be embarrassed by her gaffe. She said 15 because she wanted her "daughter" to be the same age as the woman was when she had hers. My two cents.

At the partners' meeting, I was struck by the fact that out of all of them there, Cooper was the only one whose life was not in crisis. So calm.

And Price's lifetime of physical abuse from his father explains a lot, doesn't it?
amycurl
Sep. 28th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
http://gawker.com/5648783/mad-men-the-rise-and-fall-of-sterling-cooper-draper-pryce

Could it be that Joan kept the baby? I didn't get that *at all,* but it's certainly an intriguing possibility...
marymary
Sep. 28th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link, a! Very interesting.

Could it be that Joan kept the baby? I didn't get that *at all,* but it's certainly an intriguing possibility...

I didn't get that either. I thought her stiff upper lip and quick recovery were very much in line with her character, so I got no tip-off that she might have kept the baby. If she DID, I find it very hard to believe she wouldn't just go to Roger and tell him, and explain how things were going to be :)

Then again, I saw a few things differently than that blogger. Betty not telling Henry about Don was "playing dirty?" Wow, I don't agree with that at all.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
Could it be that Joan kept the baby? I didn't get that *at all,* but it's certainly an intriguing possibility...
See I was wondering about it for many of the reasons that the article mentioned. We actually chatted about this at work. Joan really wants to have a baby and has had two "procedures" before. She's in her early/mid 30s. It would be a bit risky for her to have another and then try to conceive when her husband is back. Plus, her husbands now gone for a minimum of 2yrs. There weren't a lot of women having their first babies in their mid/late 30s back then.

My coworker mentioned that she knew a woman who had one in the 60s and she didn't seem to bounce back that evening/the next day.


Was she seizing an opportunity to not be identified as a woman about to have an abortion?
That's exactly what I took it to be. Look at her. She's older and married. I think the woman would have had a completely different reaction to that. She and her daughter were both teenagers and felt that there was no real choice. That's not necessarily the case with Joan now.

I also wondered about the age thing. My first thought was that it was 15 years since her first procedure.
flippet
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Could it be that Joan kept the baby? I didn't get that *at all,* but it's certainly an intriguing possibility...
See I was wondering about it for many of the reasons that the article mentioned.


I thought it could very well be, too, for the reasons you stated.

We've seen that she wants to have a baby. We've seen that she's had two abortions before - and with her current problems getting pregnant, she regrets it to a point. (Not that she regrets having the abortions exactly, just that it sucks to give up something that you want eventually, only to find that you can't have it.) I think that it may also be running through her mind that if she's pregnant now - that it's her husband that has problems with his swimmers. If she wants a baby, this may be her last/only chance.

And, her husband will never know. The timing is close enough, and he won't be around to count months and days. And he's off to war - he might never come back. Joan didn't look particularly horrified when Roger mentioned that possibility. Which doesn't mean she wants that either, but I think it's crossed her mind enough to not be shocked at the mention.

My coworker mentioned that she knew a woman who had one in the 60s and she didn't seem to bounce back that evening/the next day.

And then there's that. She seemed far too chipper, yet not a 'forced' chipper. And she was moving around much too easily and comfortably. She's tough, but that would be extraordinary, and I think we'd be allowed to see some small chink in her armor, even if the office isn't.


Edited at 2010-09-29 02:11 pm (UTC)
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Were you wondering, as I was, how much crap Don was going to let Pete take? It's the first time I've ever felt sorry for Pete.
Yeah, I was wondering about that. Because it looked as though Don felt sort of guilty and was about to say something with Cooper jumped in.

I really felt bad for Pete until he did that whole liars speech with Trudy. Um, hello Pete... you haven't exactly been honest with Trudy regarding your affair with Peggy. And granted he didn't know about the baby when it initially happened. He certainly knows about it now.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Betty even covered for Don. Betty. I think, im that moment in the foyer, she realized that it would be terrible for her children to have Don exposed, and thus decided to answer the agents' questions ... skillfully.

But, just IMO, I don't think she even considered exposing him. Both because that would require whole nother level of hatred (which I don't think she has) and because it's just in her nature to be discreet.
I agree with both of you but I have to admit, like Amy was a bit surprised just because this is Betty and I tend to expect the worst from her.

I think the kids played a big part in her covering up. Especially because she's seen Don be a such a good parent (coming to the birthday party) and taking Sally to the Beatles lately.

But my other thought was one that got mentioned in that article that Amy linked to. I wonder if it was also about protecting herself. Would you want to admit that the man you had been with for over 10 years wasn't who you thought he was? Doesn't that reflect a little poorly on her? Wouldn't people naturally wonder, 'how did she not know?'.

Though, I completely disagree with the article with regard to Henry. Very poor phrasing used there. She wasn't playing dirty at all.

tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
But, just IMO, I don't think she even considered exposing him. Both because that would require whole nother level of hatred (which I don't think she has) and because it's just in her nature to be discreet.
Sounds about right, Mary.

Joan ... loses patience with people who she sees as weak or stupid or who don't have her nerves of steel.
Ditto. :)

interesting that Don told Faye about his identity. I think he's right that he can trust her. She's too good for him -- hopefully he won't screw that up.
Yes, and speaking of not screwing it up with Faye, what was with the closing Don-POV shot of Megan? Jessica Pare is strikingly beautiful, but ... no, Don, no.

(Meanwhile, someone pointed out that Megan's quick thinking when Sally did her face plant suggests that she could be a Joan in training.)
flippet
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
what was with the closing Don-POV shot of Megan? Jessica Pare is strikingly beautiful, but ... no, Don, no.

Yeah, I was confused about that, too. Especially with it coming right after looking at the Beatles tickets.

Is he thinking youth, freshness, back to a time before all this mess, and she represents that?

Is he perhaps still thinking of bolting, except he'd promised Sally the concert...and maybe since Megan had good rapport with her, he'd have Megan take Sally? (That's a super-long shot, I know, just taking my brain out for a walk.)
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
I wonder if it was also about protecting herself. Would you want to admit that the man you had been with for over 10 years wasn't who you thought he was? Doesn't that reflect a little poorly on her? Wouldn't people naturally wonder, 'how did she not know?'.
Good point, Gatzy. That was my other thought, that it was a little bit about Betty protecting herself.

I was actually surprised by Betty's happy reaction to the Beatles tickets...that's how low my expectations of her behavior have gone. I was expecting a much more peevish, "But I have plans for her...blahblahblahwhinycakes." It was nice to see her actually smile and be happy for her daughter, for once, wasn't it? :)
Right, Amy. She was a grown-up about Don's arrival at Gene's birthday party, really handled it well. But the bar has been set rather close to the ground.
marymary
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
really felt bad for Pete until he did that whole liars speech with Trudy

Yeah, it was interesting how Pete was all, "I'm so sick of all the liars" and Betty tells Henry "No secrets." As they're lying and keeping secrets.

Though I completely disagree with the article with regard to Henry. Very poor phrasing used there. She wasn't playing dirty at all.

Right, can you imagine how we'd all be ripping Betty apart if she'd told Henry about Don's secret? Though she's been hurt deeply by Don's secret, it's certainly not hers to tell. Henry can absolutely not be trusted with that.

Anyway, I'm not a believer that when you marry someone you have to open your brain and dump everything out on the bed. So I don't consider her dishonest for keeping it from Henry, I just don't think she should enact some "no secrets" policy.

gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
Wow, I felt so bad for Lane! He was so sweet with his girlfriend, and trying to do the right thing by presenting her to his father.
Exactly. Poor, poor Lane.

The thing that I found most striking about that storyline is that it's the first time time I remember seeing Lane seemingly lose control outside of his night on the town with Don. He can't help but touch her when they are at the Playboy Club. And he jumps out of his chair to go home to finalize things.

It was refreshing to see him not so stiff.

I found his line about the firm was in good financial health so amusing. Oh Lane, had you stuck around you would have realized that things are not as good as you think.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
I really felt bad for Pete until he did that whole liars speech with Trudy. Um, hello Pete... you haven't exactly been honest with Trudy regarding your affair with Peggy.
I had the same thought, Gatz. Pete's got a huge secret of his own as he sits there with Trudy, claiming the high road.

Speaking of Trudy, this is from Alison Brie:
Glad people had a good chuckle at Trudy's nightie's expense last night. Most common comparison: giant puffy cupcake. Thanks, guys. ;)
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
It's touching that he confided in Faye. Obviously he has strong feelings for her.

I think he's right that he can trust her. She's too good for him -- hopefully he won't screw that up.
Yes. He can trust her. He has a completely different relationship with her that he ever had with any of the other women. He has never really had a relationship with a smart woman who is more of an equal before. Rachel came close but that was an affair.

The thing that really disturbed me was that long look at Megan. That spelled trouble to me.

I hope this doesn't mean he is going to sabotage this relationship with Faye.
marymary
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
I found his line about the firm was in good financial health so amusing. Oh Lane, had you stuck around you would have realized that things are not as good as you think.

That partner's meeting was so interesting. Roger doesn't know Pete didn't really lose the client, Don did. Don, Pete and Lane don't know Roger is losing it because he's just lost Lucky Strike. No one knows Lane's personal life is a horror and no one knows Mrs. Harris has just aborted a little Sterling.

OR HAS SHE?

Anyway, I think this whole episode was about everybody keeping secrets.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
I think this whole episode was about everybody keeping secrets.
And that's the awful thing. You know this is just going to come crashing down at some point. Because right now its like a a game of Jinga. One bad move and SCDP is going to crash and burn.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
The thing that really disturbed me was that long look at Megan.
Was that just a red herring, maybe? There's no history of that with this show, right? AMC might mislead us in the previews, but Weiner doesn't seem inclined toward misdirection.

But still ... why show it to us, then?
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
OR HAS SHE?
We didn't see her go into the examining room, and she gives vague reassurance to Roger.

Joan really wants to have a baby and has had two "procedures" before. She's in her early/mid 30s. It would be a bit risky for her to have another and then try to conceive when her husband is back. Plus, her husbands now gone for a minimum of 2yrs. There weren't a lot of women having their first babies in their mid/late 30s back then.
Plus there's this from Gatzy and her co-workers. All valid, thought-provoking points.

Anyway, I think this whole episode was about everybody keeping secrets.
Srsly. This show does do a truckload of that.
gatsbyfan
Sep. 28th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
Was that just a red herring, maybe? There's no history of that with this show, right? AMC might mislead us in the previews, but Weiner doesn't seem inclined toward misdirection.
That's why it really bugged me. They don't tend to misdirect. They lay groundwork and come back and connect the dots.

I'm really hoping that it isn't going to be a case of Don not wanting to be with Faye because she saw him at one of his weakest moments if not the weakest moment in his life.

Because his breakdown in front of Faye was much different than his needing Peggy that night that when Anna was dying.
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC)
They don't tend to misdirect. They lay groundwork and come back and connect the dots.
Right. That is what they do.

I'm glad we have three more episodes this season to find out. (As the episode was going on, I was thinking "This doesn't have that season finale feel ...")
tomfoolery815
Sep. 28th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
And Price's lifetime of physical abuse from his father explains a lot, doesn't it?
That was so sad, Lane and Mr. Pryce. Especially after seeing how sweet Lane was with his girlfriend. His chocolate bunny.
flippet
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
And Price's lifetime of physical abuse from his father explains a lot, doesn't it?
That was so sad, Lane and Mr. Pryce. Especially after seeing how sweet Lane was with his girlfriend. His chocolate bunny.



There was something that felt very forced, though, about Lane's interactions with (yow, did we ever get her name?). While I'm sure he thinks she's nice, and vice versa, I think it was a specific selection designed to shock, to prove how 'cool' and 'progressive' and 'independent' Lane is. That he can make his own choices, which are not the choices others, especially his father, would make or approve of. (And yet, he still wanted that approval.)

Poor Lane. I was actually shocked at his father whacking him to the ground - I gasped out loud. So unexpected. And how old is he? For a full-grown man with an important job, across an ocean from his home, to still essentially 'take' that kind of treatment. Astonishing.

And yeah - now so much Lane does makes sense. He's been utterly stunted.
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