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Mad Men Recap: Episode Four, "Three Sundays"

Mad Men Rundown: Episode Four, "Three Sundays"

After last week's episode of Mad Men, there has been lots of discussion about that scene in the restaurant between Don and Bobbie (you know, That Scene) and what it means for Don's character. My feeling was that this was the beginning of Don becoming dangerously unhinged, and after this week's episode I'm even more convinced. I would not be shocked if he became increasingly violent as this season progresses.

But Don's not the only one whose world is unraveling; it seems that many people in the Sterling Cooper universe are reaching their own breaking points. With the slow and deliberate pace of Mad Men, I find myself becoming more and more on edge with each episode, as though watching a storm slowly gather, and waiting for lightning to strike.

To talk about the chilling, funny and interesting new developments from this week's episode,


Don Draper: I think Don's unraveling is two-fold. Firstly, men like Don and Roger Sterling are a dying breed, and as this dramatic decade rolls on, I think they will feel more and more obsolete. This is tough for men who pride themselves and have entire careers riding on the fact that they are in touch with what Americans want and need. Earlier episodes this season that hinted at Don's age and things like his not being charmed by Jacqueline Kennedy, support this point. Secondly, Don is having an increasingly difficult time reconciling his troubled, secret past and his present life. This week, he struggles mightily to not repeat the sins of his father, only to explode and shove Betty. More and more we're seeing the scary side of Don.

Betty Draper: Poor Betty is clearly feeling trapped, and conflicted about this life that she thinks is supposed to make her happy. The scenes between Don and Betty this week are unsettling. Earlier episodes this season hinted at her sexual dissatisfaction with Don, testing the waters elsewhere to feel attractive and sexy. She has a lot of anger pent up, and her outbursts signal that she's becoming discontent and overwhelmed by raising their children, feeling like she's stuck at home all day and "outnumbered" by the kids.

Peggy Olson: Peggy's family hosts a young priest from their congregation (guest star Colin Hanks looking very grown up!) and he quickly takes a shine to Peggy. Her sister can't help but be a little disgusted by all the praise heaped on Peggy — despite her recent transgressions. The constraints on women at the time aside (and I know we don't know the entire story yet), I am still weirded out by Peggy's odd state of denial. So, even though ratting Peggy out in confession to the priest was not very nice, I can sympathize with her sister's frustration.

Some more thoughts:

  • Scariest line of the night goes to Don: "You want me to bring home what I got at the office today? I'll put you through that window." Yikes.
  • Also someone should just sign Sally Draper up for AA meetings right now. After fixing her dad stiff drinks and getting wasted at the office, I think it's safe to say the girl's going to have issues. And by "issues" I mean hopping on that free love revolution train and heading to San Francisco, to Don's horror.
  • Pete's short shorts are amazing. I am still intrigued by him, and would like more Pete next episode.
  • Does anyone else find the kid playing Bobby Draper a little creepy? I know he's just a kid, but onscreen he just seems utterly lifeless.
  • I really enjoyed the scene between Roger Sterling and his daughter. Let the generation clashes begin as the daughter has her own ideas about what a wedding means to her. Then it swiftly turns sad as Roger's wife romantically reminisces about their wedding, followed a few scenes later by Roger's interactions with Vicky.
  • High-priced hookers are popping up quite a bit on Mad Men (remember Betty's old roommate, the "party girl"?). Do you think this was more common/classier than it is today? Perhaps more overt? At any rate, as much as I enjoy the life Roger injects into the series, he also strikes me as pathetic when it comes to the ladies. And I can't help thinking about his poor wife.

What do you think? Are you feeling a little uneasy about Don? Do you relate to Sally's trip to the office with her dad at all? Is Father Gil a positive force? Are you liking this season's stronger focus on the home life, instead of being as office-centric as the first season?

Photos courtesy of AMC

Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
There are a lot of allowances being made for both Don and Bobby here. Almost like the "boys will be boys" argument that just drives me insane. I understand that Don's trying to fight against his dark side, yes, and that he doesn't hit Bobby even though he was abused, etc. etc. So that makes him such a hero. But giving him points for "trying not to cheat on Betty"? Um, he's not trying that hard. He is constantly unfaithful to his wife. He is a hard-nosed businessman who consistently cheats on his spouse. Bobbi is extremely similar to that and yet people call her "trash." The double standard there is ridiculous. Also, there's no praise whatsoever for Betty who was tempted to cheat and actually showed some restraint, in contrast to her husband's actions. Because I guess that's just what women are supposed to do? And let's all give Don a big medal for trying not to sleep with Bobbi, by sitting there and letting her have sex with him? So noble! And Bobby (the boy) is not exactly an angel. Of course he picks up on the tension in his house, but he's also a compulsive liar. Nobody seems to care about that, though, or hold him accountable for his actions. There's only praise for Don for not hitting him.
Kerri1 Kerri1 9 years
The something big that everyone is sure the show is heading toward is the sexual revolution folks. I wonder which of our sad little creatures will crack first. My guess is Betty, she's going to haul off and dump Don and go find free love in Haight-Ashbury! But seriously, I wonder too what they have in store us. This show makes me nervous, the characters all seem to know something that I don't. That's what keeps me crawling back, the need to wait with the whole world for the other shoe to drop!
katinka14 katinka14 9 years
Great recap! I couldn't have said it better! :-) (And yes, that young Draper kid DOES look kinda creepy.)
lylpookie lylpookie 9 years
I'm not saying I agree with hitting your kid...but during the time, it's natural and common to hit a child when he/she is bad. I'm sure Betty was hit as a child when she misbehaved and sees that as something you do in raising children. She's not asking Don to beat the child, she's asking him to hit him to show him "who's boss." Don, however, doesn't want to even open that door and go down the slippery slope that his dad did. Additionally, Bobby is like the only family that Don really has let into his life. He doesn't want to alienate him, because he's all he has. Sure, Betty's his wife, but he doesn't accept her family and doesn't truly open up to her...and the same goes with Sally. Bobby's the one he said, "I will never lie to you." and you see him talking to him about his dad for the first time.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
WHOA... I just realized that at the same time, Bobby & Bobbi are causing him issues with his wife. (Ok, maybe everyone else caught this earlier & I am just slow.)
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
and Bobbi- the women is just cheap trash. Can't stand her.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
She isn't blaming him, she is attributing positive aspects of his personality to any discipline as a child. - Don (on the inside because he doesn't answer) knows better. And he probably doesn't want to be anything like his own father. Hence, at the end Bobby has those random questions....
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
She isn't blaming him, she is attributing positive aspects of his personality to any discipline as a child. - She has no clue why Don won't hit Bobby and doesn't realize how extreme and irrational she is being in asking that of him. Don compares Bobby to himself...he wasn't half as well behaved as Bobby, when he was a boy.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 9 years
What?!?! No comments on how Don & Betty got drunk on Sunday (or was it Saturday?), the day the bed broke. That was weird in my opinion! With Sally fixing the Bloody Mary's and giving him #2!
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
I am too tired to go all out but I also disagree (w/Buzz), Bobby isn't creepy. He is a bit quieter than his sister and he is having harder time because it's apparent that Betty is harder on him than on his sis. Betty has been on Don about being more involved (in many ways) but as a parent...she asked rhetorically, "would you be the man you are today if your father didn't whip/discipline you." She isn't blaming him, she is attributing positive aspects of his personality to any discipline as a child. It's clear by now that Don did not have an ideal childhood and that he shares very little about his family and past with Betty. So of course, he thinks differently. He just doesn't answer her. ...then at the end of the episode he has had it with her. At night they are unable to have a full conversation and of course they have all their marriage issues on top of all this but he defends Bobby and opens up...his father beat him all the time and it just filled him with anger basically. There is no question that Bobby probably feels the tension in his fam, like all kids. But his is an very good, well behaved boy... He is really a foil for his parents.
sylviamcdanyel sylviamcdanyel 9 years
I disagree on a few of points. First of all, while Don might be showing a darker side, I also see where he is clearly fighting against it. I feel like he is trying to be a better family man in that he spent the whole day with his family, which is something we haven't seen before. I also see that he is trying not to cheat on Betty. As for the kid, I think his portrayal of the "Stepford Son" is perfect. The kids try to act so perfect because the way they are treated by Don and Betty. They get chastised for acting like children so they always seem quiet and afraid to make their parents upset. As for the shorts - I actually gasped! Pete really weirds me out! Just my two cents!
lylpookie lylpookie 9 years
I kind of think that they are bringing the priest in there so that he will be the one who will get Peggy to open up about what happened. We'll finally get to see what happened through their interaction together as she, hopefully, opens up and talks about it and deals with the whole situation. And yeah...Don is definitely starting to show his dark side. It's going to push Betty over the edge and she's finally going to crack that pretty exterior of hers.
thatchigirl thatchigirl 9 years
pete wore the shorts because everyone was called into the office last minute and i assume he was playing tennis when he received his phone call. sally is a hoot, but Joan was a little standoffish when dealing with her. and the scene at the end when the little baby is wobbling towards the egg and some big kid swoops in and takes it was adorable. as for peggy's sister that move was petty. it took me a while to figure out that this was peggy's sister and not her aunt or something so it makes a bit more sense why she would act out like that. as for bobbie i find her annoying, and im hoping that one day don will stand up and say no to her firmly and mean it. betty is a good wife and i would like her to call him out for his cheating.
bookwritinmama bookwritinmama 9 years
With all due respect, it's "lightning," not "lightening," which would mean you were waiting for hair coloring to strike!
cpreynolds cpreynolds 9 years
Great episode. Very good recap also. I'm like you in that I feel like things are building to something big.
supertramp supertramp 9 years
i loved this episode so much. i was so scared 4 betty i thought don was gonna beat her because she was being so annoying. and did anyone else think that was a harsh burn when the preist gave the egg 2 peggy and said "For the little one." OMG! I litterally gasped and Buzz i'm glad u mentioned the short shorts although i'm puzzled as to why he wore them in the first place.And i agree Sally draper is gonna have her share of problems some day. I have to say that was a really great episode, i loved it.
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