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Mad Men Recap: Episode Eight, "A Night to Remember"

Mad Men Rundown: Episode Eight, "A Night to Remember"

Last night's episode of Mad Men shall henceforth be known as "that time Betty totally melted down," despite its official title. I've been hoping for a while now that she would finally let some of the air out of the repressed tension by confronting Don about his lies and this week I was granted this wish. More on that after the jump.

Meanwhile, Joan gets a taste of making a contribution to the business beyond her secretarial duties — and she likes it! We also see more of her fiance, who certainly has some strong beliefs about male-female roles. Finally, Peggy and her priest friend continue to bond as he works to gain her trust and talk about the deep secrets he knows she harbors (thanks to her lovely sister).

Yes, this week it's all about the ladies and some of the men who do crappy things to them. Ready to chat about it all? Just


Betty Draper: Oh man, poor Betty! It started out with Jimmy blindsiding both Drapers last week which made Betty throw up all over the new car. I was suspicious that Betty physically ridding her body of that nastiness would be the only expression of her shock upon learning of Don's infidelity, but thankfully I was wrong about that. I just wanted to scream or kick or cry for her last night. She confronts Don about his affair with Bobbie Barrett, spitting at him "You think you know me? Well, I know what kind of man you are." In return, Don continues to look her straight in the eye and deny, deny, deny. It's the kind of thing that makes a person feel completely insane and that's exactly what happens to Betty. She searches his clothes, his desk, looking for any sign that could confirm what she knows to be true. Later things get even sadder with Betty telling Don that she would "never do that" to him, and asking him, "Do you hate me?" Totally heartbreaking. I'm not at all sure where the Draper marriage goes from here.

Peggy Olson: Peggy is asked by the priest (played by Colin Hanks who is totally impressive in this role) to create a poster for the church dance. Unfortunately, her mock-up does not allow enough "room for the holy ghost" and the church ladies are displeased. My boyfriend glided through the living room around this time and assumed that the priest was flirting with Peggy, which I sort of didn't want to acknowledge even though deep down I think it seems that way, too. At the office he pushes her to talk about what's goin' on and asks if she feels like she doesn't deserve God's love. Oh, and then Father Gill rocks out on the guitar.

Joan Holloway: Joan's storyline was totally unexpected and awesome. I love how naturally she helps out in the "TV department," openly sharing her insights about the scripts. But ugh, her fiance rubs me the wrong way. He expresses surprise that she likes to read, and tells her his impression of her role at the office: "You just walk around with people staring at you." Lovely. In the end, of course, a little nerdy guy takes Joan's spot even after she impressed clients, earning statements like, "I love what she says and I love the way she says it." She's obviously hurt and disappointed by being replaced, as was I. I really want her to keep using her real talents!

Some more thoughts:

  • The product integration department on this show outdid themselves. It's obvious Heineken is one of the show's sponsors (since we're treated to those little bits of trivia during commercial breaks, which, admittedly, I find really interesting), but this week the beer actually plays a real role. It was overt, but somehow not as obnoxious as some of the product placement in other shows.
  • Betty smashing the chair! Eerie and poignant. I think that's one of the creepiest moments of the show for me.
  • Also, how'd you like Betty's "trip around the world" menu? I know that women were expected to be good housewives and entertainers but I forget just how elaborate those requirements could be. Nowadays you can throw a dinner party for colleagues by ordering sushi, thank goodness.
  • For some reason the wasted lady at the Draper dinner party made me laugh. She walks straight into a wall!
  • Another funny moment is Father Gill hanging over the printer, marveling at its magical printing abilities.
  • I found this line from Betty really interesting: "How could you? She's so old." It's clear that this is all very confusing for her. She's given these requirements to fulfill: Be young, be beautiful, be a hostess with the mostest, raise the children, be perfect. And even when she accomplishes all that her husband still steps out on her with a not-so-perfect lady.

Were you stirred by last night's episode? Did you have to watch something happier before going to bed like I did? What purpose do you think Father Gill serves in the grander scheme of the show? What's next for Don and Betty? Will she have a revenge affair? Will he become violent?

Photos courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
fionamcbree fionamcbree 8 years
Arienne, Awesome explanation re: Joan's clothing/image! Thx. I don't see Betty actually "leaving" Don (where would she go?) but I do see her becoming more vocal and functioning more outside of his world. Time will tell...
jduffey jduffey 8 years
Loved this edpisode!!! Betty looked so pretty even without make up and without having her hair done.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
caramel latte - You're interpretation of the commercial is so interesting! I think he says in the commercial something like, "Am I crazy? I don't think so..." I took it as Betty receiving a sign from the universe that she's not nuts and her husband's the jerk.
caramel-latte caramel-latte 8 years
God, I LOVE this show so much. And I've been thinking about the significance of the commercial at the end, especially in how it seemed to cement Betty's decision to tell Don not to come home (and at first I really thought the commercial was making her think that she was wrong to suspect Don...thank goodness that wasn't the case). I've been turning it over and over in my head, and I have a theory: I think Betty was watching Jimmy do his silly schtick and realized that he's nothing if not himself -- just honestly blurting out his thoughts all the time, for better or worse. A lot of those thoughts are mean or inappropriate, but he doesn't seem to be a liar. I wonder if watching him erased any doubts about whether to believe Jimmy or Don, since here's a guy who doesn't seem to have a filter and doesn't seem to feel the need to hide anything. As opposed to Don... Just a thought. :)
er593395 er593395 8 years
yes I am also confused as to the significance of the commercial at the end.
lylpookie lylpookie 8 years
Fireyelectra, I don't think it was at Sterling's request...I just think it was assumed that it would be a male that was hired...and that Joan would go back to her secretarial duties.
kimsy kimsy 8 years
Nimue, I agree with you that Joan needs to stand up to the guys like Peggy does. I think that is why she resents Peggy so much. I used to really hate Joan, but I am starting to have a lot of sympathy for her. I just wonder if Don will ever come clean to Betty about his entire past and the fact that he isn't who he says he is. I thought one of the most disgusting things he ever did is turn his back on his brother like he did. And, is anyone else just a little bit disappointed that they didn't continue the Joan vs. Don's new girl (I forget her name) drama? I get a kick out of that girl and the way she acts toward Joan.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 8 years
The end sequence of this episode really struck me as it echoed the "getting dressed" sequence to The Decemberists "La Infanta" a couple of weeks ago. This was a winding down of a day, and a winding down of a story arc. I loved seeing Father Gill rock out as he devests, Joan wearily rubbing her shoulders and Peggy taking a bath in a sort of baptismal scene, while Don hangs out at the office, drinking his imported beer from Holland. My favorite part of this episode, although I am quickly becoming a fan of any episode with Father Gill, was Joan's storyline. I want to punch Harry Crane in the face for screwing her over. She's used her looks to get ahead for so long, but was finally able to prove that she's a smart lady with a real sense about the business in which she works. (I'm sure her looks help with the clients, too, though.) And Harry replaces her with some geek kid who doesn't even watch daytime television. Question: was this at Roger Sterling's request? I noticed he said "he" specifically when talking about the person Harry could hire to help out, even though Harry admitted that Joan had been the person doing the job all along. Boo Harry and Roger Sterling. Joan totally could have rocked this job. On another note, I want Betty's party dress. So badly.
Dana18 Dana18 8 years
I really Like this show. This was the first episode I ever watched. I just don't understand why Betty told Dan not to come home after she saw his commercial?
Taadie Taadie 8 years
I think Don has no idea how to have a healthy family life. In the first few episodes of this season when he is cheating with Bobbie you see him saying no and wanting to resist and he just gives in. All she has to do is make a comment so that he feels morally inferior and he folds like a card table. Every time he came home to Betty and she had dinner ready and the kids in bed and her face etched with worry, you just saw him falling apart inside. Probably wondering why he cant just be happy. He has a whole secret identity, a terrible loveless childhood and a fear of anyone getting too close to him. Even his own children. He's so effed up its ridiculous, just look at the episode from 2 weeks ago where he almost had his own breakdown in the bathroom. I don't know what Betty is going to do but I sure hope girlfriend figures it out quick. I can absolutely see her taking Don back because as hurt and confused as this makes her, I don't think she will be able to function without the image of her carefully constructed perfect marriage. She takes the most pleasure from compliments from her girlfriends and Dons coworkers and clients about what a pretty perfect wife she is. She has no identity outside of that and I think soon she will want the comfort of that security blanket. But I could be wrong. Father Gill freaks me out, I cant put my finger on what he wants from Peggy. I want Joan to become a bad ass female executive, partly because she is awesome and partly because I know Peggy will have a fit. Those are two women I wouldn't mind seeing go toe to toe.
lylpookie lylpookie 8 years
ilanac13, I also work in advertising (and have worked in the law industry as well) and agree that it's very much still a boys club around there. I wanted so badly to scream at Don for what he put Betty through this episode. It was so tragic and so sad, and although I was initially happy that she finally kicked him to the curb and stood up for herself, it still doesn't justify anything. You know Don's going to find a way to weasel his way back into her life. They both need so desperately to have that "perfect" life...and can't accomplish it with a divorce (as evidenced by Helen last season.) I'm interested to see what happens with the Joan. I felt awful for her when she was replaced...and I hope that she is able to reclaim that or at least find something similar to show the others how capable and vital she really is to the operation. Father Gil, I think he somehow relates to Peggy. His comment about how he wasn't always a priest...and I think that he's tired of the old ladies fussing over him. She's someone his age that he can relate to and he wants to be able to help her.
Allinds33 Allinds33 8 years
this is one of the bset shows ever. my boss and i rehash every monday... no matter how busy we are we can't work before we have our Mad Men chat!! Lol. anyways i dont have anything new to say that hasn't already been said. i just wanted to give it some love.
nimue nimue 8 years
ohh arienne that's very insightful of you regarding joan's bra strap marks and i totally agree. She needs to stand up to them like Peggy did in order for her worth to be noticed. Oh Betty's situation breaks my heart especially since she is pretty much the perfect housewife, she's don't her part but still her husband cheats on her and doesn't have the balls to tell her. Were men really like that back then or is it just the show's portrayal? It makes me question Don's love for her--> or perhaps he realizes his mistakes and doesn't want them to ruin his perfect life all of sexist things that occur in this show make me realize how lucky I am to be living in today's society.
arienne arienne 8 years
FutureKravitz - I think showing Joan's bra staps marks at the end was symbolic of how her clothes have hurt her. She has used her beauty, and her curves, to get where she is. Unfortunately, she has gotten as far as that can take her and it isn't far enough. Now the beautiful image she has created is holding her back. The men won't take her seriously because they don't see past her beauty. It's interesting that she has encouraged Peggy to change the way she dresses to get the men's attention. Maybe Joan is slowly realizing that it hasn't worked as well as she thought it has. There seemed to be lots of symbolism with clothes on this episode. Betty wore her party dress through her breakdown. Then she finally goes to Don with wet hair, no makeup, white robe - as if to say this is the real me I need to talk to the real you. It was heartbreaking when Don doesn't (and we don't see him out of a suit the entire episode).
fionamcbree fionamcbree 8 years
FINALLY, an episode re: the women. YAY! I also think Father Gil wants Peggy to fess up so he can feel like a good priest. Joan's usually so forcefull, I thought she would tell the "TV Dept." to go screw themselves when asked to explain things to the new admittely "green" guy. Does anybody else see Joan ditching her fiance and becoming head of the TV Dept.--with a staff? or Am I thinking too 2008? Lol! Poor Betty, it's 1962--tossing your hubby and being stuck w/no job & 2 kids isn't exactly seen as noble (so to speak) or easy. This was totally not in her life-plan so it's great that she's slowly trying to figure out next steps. When she told Don NOT to come home, and he didn', she must've felt like a warrior! It may all go to pieces and she has a nervous breakdown, cheats, etc but Im thinking that Don's going to see her in a different light, as somebody who just might leave his cheating a** and as we all know he doesn't want to end up like "Mr. Solo" at the dinner party. What was the "symbolism" with them showing Joan's shoulder at the end?
Molly Molly 8 years
LOVED this episode. January Jones is so great!
lynettes lynettes 8 years
Wow, this episode was totally intense! I usually watch TV with one eye on my computer, but less then 15 minutes in I had my laptop shut. I think Father Gill does have a bit of a "crush" on Peggy, I think maybe he sees & even shares her loneliness. Maybe they both need someone to talk to. Hopefully he will be the catalyst to know more about Peggy, what happened in the hospital, where she gets her drive, etc. Don & Betty looked like a train wreck this episode. You really get an idea of how these housewives were just thrown into this role without any sort of care for who they were. I think poor Betty is just getting more and more fragile, the smashing of the chair was just sad, and in a way is reflective of how Betty sees herself, she's just a wobbly chair waiting to be smashed/thrown away. I don't blame her for telling Don not to come home. I do see her having an affair of some sort with the horse guy or (ick) the comedian, Don would have no right to get angry, but we all know he will. I thought the story line with Joan was great, I don't think she thought she had it in her when she was asked to help. Yet, she then found something that she was good at and interested her. Her fiance was a surprise, some how I thought she would be with someone a little more modern, as she is, but for her fiance to ask about the reading, the table setting & the water, she is being set up to be in a very unhappy marriage. This show just keeps getting better and better!
mme-sky mme-sky 8 years
I loved all the dresses at the dinner party! And I feel sorry for the guy who showed up "stag". His line about his wife hating "odd numbers". Poor guy! I agree that I loved seeing pete left out:) Can't wait till next week!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
you know, i never paid much attention to this show when it first came out but i've been watching a few of the episodes and it's really interesting to see. i work in advertising and a lot of what they lived through and did in the industry back then is the same way that it is here. it's still very much so the 'boys club' and this week's episode showed that it was a major thing back then. i don't know if i would have put up with nearly as much as the women did
zcoral zcoral 8 years
I love love loved Betty's dress! Her character is just so intriguing and she plays the role perfectly.
hooligan hooligan 8 years
I loved this episode! I can't tell if Father Gill is judging her or has a crush on her, or is determined to save her soul! I also loved Joan's realization that she is smart and is capable of so much more. Maybe she'll go to Roger and ask for more challenging assignments. Also, I noticed in the previews that they only show one character, and you can't see who they are talking with. I have a feeling that Don will eventually go home; but maybe will sleep on the couch! I love Don & Betty's headboard - but after a second glance, I noticed that the bed looks too small for two angry people to sleep in!
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 8 years
This is the third week in a row that I've read the recaps before watching the show. I really can't wait to find out what happens, I guess. I thought all along the priest was trying to get in Peggy's pants, but after he found out about the baby, I thought he got turned off. think they will definitely hook up.
buckley9383 buckley9383 8 years
I've been waiting all day for this recap which was excellent as always- thank you Buzz! This episode was awesome! I loved the end when Betty told Don NOT to come home... She's finally standing up to him and it's so exciting to watch! Another fav part of this episode is when Duck is standing in Don's office talking about the dinner party, then walks out to reveal Pete Campbell standing there looking so pathetic wanting SOOO badly to be invited to the cool-kid party. I can't wait for next week's episode!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I have this feeling that Father Gill is spending so much time with Peggy, not because he secretly likes her, but because as one of his flock, she has chosen not to confide in him and that irks him. He is trying to gain her trust, get into her life more (the pro bono dance poster fiasco)so that she confesses to him finally. Betty's dinner party, with that "around the world" menu reminds me of all the old cookbooks my grandmother and mother have passed down to me, you should see the "themes" and the elaborate menus those women used to put together! makes my one pan lasagna look pathetic. Betty's meltdown, her trying to find evidence for what she already knows is true was very sad. we all know she is mentally unstable, and this is just her worst nightmare really. The chair breaking was symbolic to me of how this show ended. The chair was wobbly so she just broke it, Her marriage is wobbling so she just did a drastic thing and told Don not to come home.
bushra bushra 8 years
wow, just finished watching this. i am so impressed with this season, it's like season 1 set the scene, all these people in their professional and domestic bliss, only for it all to unravel in season 2. poor Betty with the line about Bobbie's age. it does suggest an inability to deal with her husband's infidelity, aside from throwing up she hasn't really lost it with him yet, has she? she was pretty dumbfounded and quite weak to me. i absolutely hated how Don asked for evidence. men! i was of the impression that Father Gill didn't approve of Peggy's past and seemed to be judging her on it, so i was surprised with his efforts with her this episode. i expect he will get her to open up more thus giving us more insight in what happened in that hospital. a great episode and a terrific show! only just found those Twitter fan fics and I'm loving them!
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