Mad Men Watch: Season 6, Episode 9 - The Better Half

Mad Men lights an old flame, extinguishes another and can't quite ignite a couple others.

Love is in the air this week and it was both coming and going. The most shocking turn of events has to be Mrs. Betty Francis ending back up in bed with Don Draper. On a weekend visit to see Bobby at sleep-away camp, the two re-spark their flame for a one night stand with a number of interesting implications. Jon Hamm and January Jones are incendiary on the screen together and I won't lie that there wasn't a feeling of comfort seeing these two back together and happy; if even for a night. The dialogue is also fantastic between the two as we get a couple of excellent reveals as well. Don's proclamation of, "The rest of it, doesn't mean that much to me," when it comes to sex is both surprising and, I think, genuine. It makes you rethink all of his relationships up until now and coupled with the knowing line from Betty, “then they decay,” says everything. We have always known that Don enjoys the game as much or more than the relationship, but hearing the show talk about it so openly seems refreshingly honest. And poor Megan. Don has a couple of decent husband moments with her as she stresses about work and their relationship, but I don't know how entirely genuine his words are. Hopefully Don learned a little something from Betty about being able to move on and still be a decent - occasionally-cheating - spouse and can maybe finally be a better husband to his new wife; we know now that her little sex games aren't really doing anything for him. Don would rather cuddle.

The extinguished flame this week is unfortunately that between Abe and Peggy who just don't seem to gel as well anymore, especially in their hell hole of a neighborhood. Abe is stabbed by either a black, a Puerto Rican or white guy on the subway, but it's when he gets stabbed by Peggy, on accident, that he finally gets the guts to call things off. The couple seemed like they were going to salvage things for a minute there when Abe agrees to sell the place, but it's the breakup speech that sends Peggy down towards bottom. Besides being called “the enemy” by Abe, her getting turned down by a once lustful Ted seems to hurt almost just as much. It's almost that Ted's attraction washes away once it isn't as forbidden as he would like as a new week has seemed to erase any and all feelings for her. Poor Peggy, she looks terrible at the end of this episode, but those final shots of her, miserable between her two revived men at SCD-whatever made me laugh quite a bit. She is stuck trying not to play favorites and neither of them seem to need her a whole lot at the end of the episode. She just wants to be loved!

Some Long Notes

-Joan pops up and we get a bit of the old and her new (Bob could still be in the friend zone) love life as Roger drops in to play Dad after getting ousted by his daughter. It's nice to see these two together again, but it isn't the great scene we tend to get from Hendricks and Slattery. The potential of a Bob and Joan relationship is still incredible potential I feel though, fingers crossed on that one.

-Poor Pete. I know a lot of you can't sympathize with him anymore, but I can't help but feel sorry for the guy. He has no one, except Bob in a very sweet scene at the end offering his father's nurse, and he feels alienated at the company as well. Harry's assumption that he is going to make partner soon only worries Pete further and him turning to sad old Duck Phillips as a headhunter isn't a great boost of confidence for Pete's future. Duck is probably playing the long con to get back at Don, even if he is done drinking, and all of this tension around Pete is bound to boil over soon enough. Can't wait to see what happens.

-Arlene's lesbian antics can't be ignored either this week as I feel like they are building up to something here as well for these final four episodes. This is the third time or so that they have alluded to her trying hook up with Megan and I feel like Megan might be progressive enough to act on it if all of Don's skeleton's come pouring out of the closet. Color me intrigued, and not in a pervy way.

-What the hell was up with them really letting the sirens blare every time Don and Megan talked, it was too obvious not to be an accident.

A change of pace for Mad Men this week as it really runs with the characters and their relationships instead of comedy an antics. I love that comedy and antics, but this was a nice change of pace as the show positions itself for the final run of episodes here. Everything is still up in the air on the show as our beloved characters continue to ebb and flow and I can't wait to see where Weiner is taking us.

Random Notes:

-"We're the '27 Yankees."

-Jessica Pare is great at soap acting and a French accent.

-"You should try it sometime, it's what professionals do." Burn.

-"You're both pigheaded, you're the same person sometimes."

-"He doesn't know you."

-Damn, Betty's looking good.

-That's back to back weeks with f-bombs, I like that they aren't afraid to use it.

-"I'll tell you mine later."

-Oh, snap, Betty!

-Ted, put it on ice buddy.

-"I'm Bobby 5."

-"Is that possible?"

-"Then we went in the woods and made Sally."

-"I think she's a lot like you."

-Oh man, here they go.

-"That you were as beautiful as they day I met you."

-Oh man! Arlene is going for it.

-"A scene a child could understand."

-"Fine." Ha.

-"This happened a long time ago."

-"Then they decay."

-"She doesn't know that loving you is the worst way to get to you."

-"Maybe we aren't cut out to be pioneers," Abe is such a good guy.

-"Don Draper, father of the year."

-"We might have to get rid of the dog he is so afraid of fur."

-And just like that they are a restaurant apart.

-Bob and Joan! He still has two cups of coffee.

-Hahahahahahahahahaha, "Oh, hello Roger." "It's me Bob Benson, from the office."

-Bob sees through the history?

-The paramedic shrug might be the laugh of the night.

-No, Abe. "You'll always be the enemy."

-There's that damn siren again.

-"You're right, I haven't been here."

-"But I want to."

-"Bob Bunson," ha.

-Oh no Bob, what are you going to say. Ok, I guess this Ok.

-Oh no, Peggy, don't go for it.

-"Abe got stabbed." She rewrote history.

-Brilliant music cue.