mad Men S03E12: Take A Pill And Lie Down

Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Oh that’s right, you were 14,000 years from being born. But that is what this week’s episode is all about, where people were when the 9/11 of the 60s happened. Kind of. It’s also about a lot of other things, like how marriages are compromises to a point, and then sometimes the compromise is no longer worth it. And how the world as we know it hangs on the fragilest of strings, always, and the slightest wind can bring it crashing down. (Magic bullet wind, in this case. Also secret sex wind. And also shoebox full of mysterious photos wind. There are a lot of crazy winds at work here.) It was also about how there are Malcolm Gladewell’s Tipping Points in life, past which there may very well be no return, and we have to sit in a dark room and drink our whiskey and consider our own role in what has happened to us, because we are not innocent, and some of us are less innocent than others. It was also about thwarted ambition. And the need to be part of something larger than yourself. The point is that this episode was about a lot of things, and it was great.

The heat is off in the Sterling Cooper building. Pete’s secretary brings him the hot cocoa he asked for. Haha, Pete Campbell. Even better: he complains about the hot cocoa! He likes his hot cocoa to be made with milk, not hot water! Well, to be fair, we all like that. But some of us are man enough to KEEP OUR TINY BABY LADY MOUTHS SHUT ABOUT IT. Maybe if Pete Campbell had spent a little more time worrying about his job and a little less time deciding which treat the prince would enjoy, he might not have lost the Head of Accounts position to Ken Cosgrove. (Although, Pete Campbell never really stood a chance did he? Look at Ken Cosgrove’s face, we are told.) On the plus side, now he will have plenty of time to fetch his own hot chocolate, and it will be made just the way the little king likes it.

Pete Campbell goes to complain to Harry Crane, and that is when it happens. John F. Kennedy is shot. So Pete Campbell can always say: “I remember where I was on that historic day when I heard the news: in someone else’s office, mid-whine.” And where was everyone else? Well, Peggy was busy F-ing Duck Phillips, so that’s gross. “Tell us the story of where you were when you heard about JFK again, Grandma!” You know how grandkids always want to hear about the JFK assassination’s affect on average American citizens going about their business. And Don was wandering around all angry, like “where is everyone, I’m kind of unbearable these days!” Eventually, though, everyone was doing the same thing, in the same place, watching Walter Cronkite (R.I.P.) on TV.

Except for Peggy, of course, who was still in bed with Duck Phillips. Yuck, Peggy.

The important question is: what will all of this mean for Roger Sterling’s daughter’s wedding?! She is such a crybaby! She should marry Pete Campbell. (Who is not going to the wedding supposedly because no one at work respects him but really because he doesn’t want to see his sniveling soul-mate married off to another man. Probably!) In any case, the wedding proceeds according to plan, sort of, except that half of the wedding guests don’t show up, and the other half watch TV in the banquet hall kitchen. The good news is that everyone gets to have the prime rib AND the skate. Yum! This horrifying national tragedy is DELICIOUS.

Of course, then Henry Francis shows up and Betty is all like “I’m excited, no, I’m mad, no, I’m excited, no, I’m mad.” Don, of course, puts nothing together? He thinks that she is just sad about JFK or something? Well done, Don. For someone who is so perceptive and good at identifying human desire, he is not very perceptive and not very good at identifying Betty’s desires! He kisses her and SPOILER ALERT she feels nothing.

Then Lee Harvey Oswald is assassinated, and now Betty is really losing it. Even Don seems incapable of blandly assuring everyone with deep masculine confidence that everything is going to be OK. The world seems to be falling apart at the seams. These girls know how Betty feels. She needs some fresh air. YEAH, I BET. She goes and meets Henry Francis in a parking lot and Henry Francis says that he wants to marry her? Whoa, relax, Henry Francis. We’re all feeling a little crazy about the whole JFK thing, but you have spent, like, 45 minutes with Betty. And she’s kind of a drag? A beautiful drag, but a drag nonetheless. “I could make you happy,” Henry Francis says. Well could you make her less boring and less grouchy all the time? I doubt it.

Betty goes home and tells Don that she doesn’t love him anymore. Don ignores her. OR DOES HE?! Well, he does. But HE ALSO DOESN’T! He goes upstairs into the darkness and he sits alone and he thinks about his life. And the next morning he wakes up and he goes to work and he drinks alone in his office. Suddenly, a pipe bursts and the office begins to fill with water. Don just sits there, drinking and staring into the middle distance. Now the water is up to his knees, and still Don does not move. Now the water is up to his waist, and Don lights a cigarette. Now the water is up to the middle of his torso and rising fast. Careful, Don, you are going to drown.

Get it? You get it.

Also: all season AMC has been posting photos from the latest episode on their website, along with one or two teaser photos of the next week’s episode, and this is their teaser photo for the season finale?

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for the season finale, but judging by this photo maybe I should be able to wait for the season finale because how it’s just going to be Don Draper looking cool and mostly unbothered?! No, I can’t wait, though. I just can’t!