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Mad Men recap: Identity Crisis

It’s time for Don to fess up to Betty about the truly intimate details of his life, while Roger also takes a look at his past

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Mad Men

Mad Men

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

Where to start?! The most breathtaking moment of this ridiculously rich and full episode was when Don was caught, found out by his wife who had respected his privacy for too long. Betty stood there, brow furrowed, eyes looking into and through him. His hand holding those dastardly keys fell to the desk with a thud. All the artifice had been shot out of him. Then that same hand — loosening his tie as he wobbled into the kitchen like a man on the brink of a heart attack, palming water into his dry mouth, fumbling for a cigarette. I felt flooded with such enormous feeling for the riveting last 20 minutes. An Emmy for Jon Hamm’s hands!

The show started with Betty packing up for Philadelphia. After last week’s revelations, and her ice-eyed assassination of Don Draper up there at the podium, she was running home. In the kitchen, the couple shared a cold goodbye. Betty, who saw the mint her husband keeps in his drawer, says she needs more money. Don gives her the fish-eye, assures her the $200 in her checking account is suitable cashflow. ”Take care,” he says, sending her on her miserable way. For all those (including me last week) who’ve been clamoring for their divorce, her Pop’s lawyer Milton reminded us just how badly women back then could find themselves stuck. Could she prove adultery? Ha! She’d still be left with nothing and he could take the children. The man doesn’t beat her and she’s got a nice new living room. Go home, Milton urges, and make it work.

At the office we finally met Roger’s match. The man was rendered speechless when he took that stunner Annabel’s hand. Great chemistry between these two! The woman was a new widow (”lung cancer,” she said, as a cloud of smoke mushroomed around Don’s face) and was now in charge of her Dad’s dog food business. She teased Roger over his teenager wife and then demanded an intimate reunion over French food. Their entire meal, from Roger ordering her one of those lovely wines to their drunken memories over Hemingway and peanut butter, was great TV. She wanted Roger, and tried to repaint the death of their relationship in Casablanca colors. Roger rebuffed her at the end of the night — not unkindly and so all the more cruelly.

Roger said he finally had a beautiful, carefree girl unconcerned about the future. I say that the man has been burned, badly, and that his attacked heart isn’t up for love anymore. When he talks about Jane he does it ironically, as if he’s in on the joke. Nothing like the genuinely affectionate and respectful tone he takes on when discussing, say, Joan to a possible employer. Joan is really going to need that job. (At Gray’s, perhaps?) Her husband is joining the Army. Dr. Cut-Up, who flopped his psychiatry interviews, whose head was still bruised from Joan’s magnificent clobbering with a vase, thought he’d stumbled upon the golden ticket. He can be a surgeon for the troops. He’ll just have to endure a brief rotation in ”West Germany or Vietnam if that’s still going on.” Uh oh, said Joan’s worried eyes. Annabel isn’t going to be the only widow on this show.

NEXT: Roger’s big decision


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