Mad Men: We All Have Epilepsy

Gabe Delahaye | October 19, 2009 - 10:59 am

Is it just me, or is there a lot of night driving in this season? I guess season 2 did have the car accident, and there was the scene in which Betty puked her faithful guts out, but Don spends an awful lot of his time these days driving people around at night. Anyway, he comes home and Betty asks if he’s going to be sleeping at home tonight, and he very casually says no. So that is how it is, huh? What a complicated arrangement these two have. She tells him that he is working too hard, and again, as often happens on this show, you are reminded for a fleeting moment that this is a program about middle-management advertising executives. It’s just like, huh? Is Don really working that hard where he never spends a night in his own bed? I mean, I know that in reality it is because he is raw-dogging the teacher, but he’s raw-dogging her under the guise of a man who is doing a socially recognized amount of work for his position in a particular industry. You can just picture the contemporary equivalent. Some 32-year-old riding into his loft on a razor scooter. “Are you sleeping here tonight,” his common-law partner asks. “No,” he says. “This Mountain Dew Code Black viral video isn’t going to film itself in a handheld docu-realistic style.”

And then Don goes and bangs that teacher.

But they are interrupted! By a knock on the door! A knock on the door? At this time of night/point in American history? Who could it be? What could it mean? It is the teacher’s brother, and she wants Don to meet him. Uh, there is absolutely no reason for that to happen. In a preview for next week’s episode there is a clip in which the teacher says that she doesn’t want to talk about the future because she holds no illusions about their relationship, she knows what it is, and she walked into it with both eyes open. Did she? Then why does she want to introduce her bruised-face brother to the married man she is secretly sexing? To what benefit? Anyway, Don meets him and it is awkward and he is not a junkie, OK? He has epilepsy, duh. Later, the teacher finds him a job as a groundskeeper at a hospital. Haha, that ought to work. That’s like telling a mouse that you got him a cheese-eating job in a mousetrap. Don says that he wants to drive the brother to the hospital. Huh? Why do you want to do that, married man hanging on to the only life he knows by a thread? Anyway, he drives him part way and then the brother explains that he is not going to the hospital because he knows what is waiting for him there and he would rather be roaming the streets. Don has to let him run away, because Don knows all about making the best life you can for yourself despite what other people might think of your methods. Don knows all about escaping into the night!

How else would you explain the locked drawer full of CASH MONEY?

Betty finds the secret keys to Don’s secret drawer in the pocket of his secret robe. She finds the CASH MONEY, and also the box of photos from Don’s secret life. Betty waits up all night for Don to come home so that she can confront him, but Don does not come home because he is too busy getting it wet. You know how he does! (Also, there is a call to the house with no one on the other end, and both Don and Betty think that the phone call is from their respective extra-marital relationships. Yikes, you guys. You should cryogenically freeze yourselves for 20 years until Couples Therapy is invented.) So eventually she puts the secret photos back in the secret drawer, and puts the secret keys back in the secret pocket of Don’s secret robe and she goes to secret bed. But now Betty holds a burning core of dark anger in her heart.

Meanwhile, Peggy is the best? Because Matthew Weiner obviously wanted this episode to touch upon the universal experience of the artist in which a breakthrough idea is found only to be lost when the creator fails to write it down. Kinsey and Peggy are in head-to-head competition to come up with a new campaign for Western Union, and Kinsey is gunning or Peggy’s FACE because he thinks that she always steals his thunder by…being a woman? Basically. He struggles for awhile, Kinsey-style.

But then he comes up with THE BIG IDEA. But he is drunk, so he also comes up with the BIG PASSING OUT ON THE COUCH. Kinsey is so embarrassed by this lapse, that he wants to just pretend that he didn’t think of anything, but Peggy insists that he tell Don the truth. And there is a sudden softening in Don. “I hate when that happens,” he says. WE ARE ALL ARTISTS HERE. And by we I of course mean the writers of this show. But anyway, then Peggy just goes right ahead and steals Kinsey’s thunder right back with her impromptu killer idea? Because the other point the writers want to drive home as they stroke the Emmys that they keep in the bathroom (it’s a conversation piece!) is that some people are just better than other people.

Oh, and the British people want to go home. So go! England. Phooey! (Although I suppose in the midst of my patriotic disgust, I should point out that they probably will be going home soon because the British are going to be selling Sterling Cooper to the highest bidder. Uh oh. And right when the ink dried on Don’s employment contract. ENTER THE WAIST HIGH OFFICE WATER!)

In the end, Don is given an award. For being the guy everyone hates the most right now. Congratulations, Don.