Monday, October 26, 2009

Don's Night of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11

Well, Betty finally brings it all up to Don on Mad Men 3.11 last night, in an evening's confrontation that puts her in the superior, stronger position, and may well change everything in the series.

With Suzanne waiting in the car outside for a week away with Don - Betty doesn't know this - Betty at last confronts Don about the secret life he left behind. Don tells her who Dick Whitman was, how he came to be Don, and most wrenchingly and even pathetically, about his brother - the little boy in the photographs Don had kept out of his life and in his locked drawer.

January Jones was superb, Jon Hamm was unbelievable, in his best performance in the series. I know he had this coming, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. This complex state was rendered perfectly by Hamm.

What will happen from now on? Don's back at the office the next day. He clearly still has strong feelings for Suzanne, but tells her he can't see her for the time being. I don't think she's out of the picture just yet, but it's also obvious that things will never be the same in Don's life.

Betty is a different person, too. She is finally out of her shell and Don's dominance, and won't be going back. This was cleansing, for her and us. I don't think she's likely to leave Don, but their marriage will be something else, far more equal in power distribution, from now on.

Last night had some good scenes with Roger and an early love and client, too. She ostensibly is shopping for an ad firm to help with the dog food business she inherited - "I'll tell you what I am telling the Avenue," she says to Sterling Cooper, which is, she's looking for the best ad company - but what she's really looking for is the company of Roger, and even a more lasting reunion. But Roger, either out of loyalty to his young wife, or because he prefers his women young, or both, says no. In either case, it was a great performance by John Slattery.

Two more episodes to go this season. And with Halloween over, we're knocking on the door of November 1963.

5-min podcast review of Mad Men

See also: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

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