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Mad Men recap: Down Easter

Over the course of three Sundays in Lent, Peggy’s sister tells her secret, Sterling Cooper fails to land the big airline account, and Don is forced to tell Betty a truth about his past

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Mad Men

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss

We open to a scene of Peggy at the Church of the Holy Innocents, sitting next to what looks like a younger version of Don and Pete, the two most important men in her life. It’s April 8, 1962, Passion Sunday, and she’s forced to endure a sermon about the flesh lusting against the spirit. Oh, I do love this terribly sad, terrifically wicked show.

In the suburbs, Don woke up randy from a great dream — about a brunette, I’m guessing, standing on a deck wearing nothing but a Mencken’s scarf billowing in the breeze — and he nuzzled himself on top of Betty. They were about to erase the memory of Valentine’s night when Sally and Bobby bounded into the room. Sally stared long and hard at her sandwiched parents, locking in yet another visual that she can one day share with her therapist, in between tearful sessions about Mommy’s coldness and Daddy’s drinking problem. It was a rare day of tenuous, alcohol-fueled bliss at the Draper household. Don and Betty got hammered in the living room — Betty reading the F. Scott Fitzgerald book her horse buddy recommended, Don thanking Sally Jeeves for another round of drinks — and then danced to a tune that made Betty melt back in high school. They got so smashed that Betty forgot dinner and the family ended up piled on the bed. Bobby jumped up and down and broke the bed, Betty snapped, and they all trudged downstairs for some suburban grilled cheese.

Back in Brooklyn, the young, guitar-playing priest Father Gill (played by Colin Hanks, who looks and sounds uncannily like his dad) made Sunday lunch slightly more bearable for poor Peg. He smoked and enjoyed a good drink, telling the table he didn’t want to drink alone. Peggy offered to get the sherry and scooted up on the counter to get to the top shelf. (I’m guessing that she snuck more than the occasional nip back in high school.) Good Father Gill took a shine to Peggy and asked her for advice on how to really sell the Palm Sunday sermon. ”I don’t know that I’m your audience,” she said demurely, before telling him to speak in simpler language and focus on one person out there in the pews.

At the office, Don went to battle once more with the lascivious Bobbie Barrett. (The click of his office door’s lock prompted a knowing smirk from Joan.) Sex between these two is a largely joyless, power-shifting affair. Bobbie pounced, and Don tried to hold her off, insisting that he had, no, not a wife but work to do. Don always receives her advances with a grimace, as if she were his office version of a droning Bill Lumbergh draped over his cubicle. “Unh, yea-ahhhhhh, Don, I’m going to need you to rip my nylons and bend me over your Eames chair, mmmmkay?” Escaping her clutches, he returned home only to find Betty in the foyer giving him a scolding once-over before pronouncing, “Some people weren’t so good today.”

That Sunday the agency rallied together to prepare for the American Airlines pitch, and more importantly to give us all an eyeful of their favored weekend wear. (Oh, Pete, your thighs.) Joan, who couldn’t get a break this episode, got stuck with the ignoble task of keeping an eye on Sally Draper, who proceeded to leave gum on the floor that got stuck on the boss’ argyle sock, ask Kinsey if the picture on his desk was of his maid, bother Joan about her big ones, and get so sloshed that she passed out on the sofa. Meanwhile, the big kids, in their various examples of weekend dress, tried to forget their troubled prospective client’s past and train their vision on what 1963 might look like.

NEXT: Confessing another’s sins


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