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Mad Men Recap: Episode Seven, "The Gold Violin"

Mad Men Rundown: Episode Seven, "The Gold Violin"

Last night's Mad Men ended on a totally shocking and gross note that rendered me unable to finish a piece of pizza. Just last week I was wondering when any of these men were going to get called out on their cheating ways (especially Don), and finally it kind-of, sort-of happened! I've also been wondering when we'd get back to some of the peripheral characters, like Ken Cosgrove (remember, he's a published writer of fiction?) and art director Salvatore Romano (remember, he's tormented by his sexual orientation?), and was happy to see the show pick up with those folks where we left off.

And then there was the Joan/new girl smackdown (totally awesome) and more flashbacks to Don's strange and mysterious past, including a little about how he got his start. He's come a long way, that Draper, but that only means he has farther to fall. To get chatting about the episode,

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Don Draper: The episode opens with Don shopping for a lovely new Coupe de Ville when we flash back in time to his beginnings as a used-car salesman who's loving life until a strange woman (an actress with a seriously creepy face) shows up at his work and tells him she knows he's not Don Draper. His face registers the same look of terror we've seen several times now when his true identity is threatened to be revealed. Back in real time, though, Don is doing quite well at work. He lands a new account, is invited to join a board of a philanthropy, and is informed by Mr. Cooper that "There are few people who get to decide what happens in our world. You have been invited to join them. Pull back the curtain and take your seat." Don's moving up in the world!

Betty Draper: When Jimmy Barrett called Betty at home to flirt with her invite her to his party, I first thought that he was beginning to cross some lines and hit on her and maybe later she'd slap him and/or sleep with him. But it turns out he was just using her to stick the knife in Don, who he knows is sleeping with his wife, Bobbie. When Jimmy's eyes darken and he gets in both Drapers' faces separately at the party, rendering them stunned, I felt very, very frightened of that man. I was glad to see someone finally say something on the matter of infidelity rather than just suppressing emotions. However, we saw what getting stuff like that out in the open does to Betty: It made her barf all over her pretty dress in the brand new car. Shoot.

Salvatore Romano: There have been subtle hints in the past about Sal's sexuality even though he is in fact married to a nice woman named Kitty. He reads young Ken's story and invites him over for dinner, where one of the most awkward dinner table scenes ever ensues. It becomes painfully clear that Sal has a crush on Ken and is far more interested in conversation with him during dinner than Kitty. It's hard to say whether Kitty suspects something is off or if she was truly just upset that she was ignored at the table. I'm enjoying the way this delicate subplot is being unraveled — the actor who plays Sal smolders with longing, and it's pretty powerful.

Some more thoughts:

  • How gorgeous was that family portrait of the Drapers out on the lawn enjoying a picnic with the new car radio playing tunes in the background? The colors, the outfits — divine! Until, of course, Don smashes his beer can and chucks it out into the park and Betty leaves their trash on the lawn. I guess thinking about the environment was a ways off.
  • I really get a kick out of the new young and hip Sterling Cooper "kids," aka Smith & Smith, telling Don what people their age want out of life. They informed Don that their generation doesn't "want to be told what to do or how to act. We just want to be." Yeah, man! Yeah!
  • Joan vs. Jane was so amazing, don't you think? I seriously think you could have a whole series based just on the secretaries. Round one goes to Jane who is much, much more conniving than I (or Joan for that matter) initially gave her credit for. Jane lives on the edge and has dirty old man Roger on her side now, so Joan better watch out.
  • I really like Kitty and feel sorry for her. I hope we see more of home life with her and Sal. I was shocked by Sal's crush on Ken, though. Did not see that coming.

What did you think of last night? Did the end scene make you jump/scream? It kind of caught me by surprise! Who do you think the mystery lady in Don's flashback is? I'm so curious how she's no longer an "issue" in Don's life — could he murder someone who knows his secret? OK, I know that's pretty far-fetched, but still, one can hope.

Photos courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
bushra bushra 8 years
OMG!!! the woman in the car showroom! i think she was the real don draper's wife/relative!
bushra bushra 8 years
sorry for missing the boat on this: when ken approached sal the day after he mentioned how he would like to have such a domestic setting in his life - i may have been naive in thinking this was ken's way of letting sal down gently? jimmy barrett is scary scary. can't wait to see jane get her comeuppance, whether by joan or by her own undoing.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 8 years
Jane, backbone? HELLLLLLO!!! She's a pathological liar. She lies her way out of situations to cover her ass! I can't stand her. ::Team Joan:: ;)
arienne arienne 8 years
What I thought was really interesting was Sal's reaction when he realized how hurt Kitty was. I think his appology was sincere and he genuinely felt bad. I don't think the straight men on the show care nearly as much about their wives feelings.
lylpookie lylpookie 8 years
My boyfriend said the same thing about Ken possibly being gay. He said that he wouldn't be surprised...either way, I think it's going to be a disaster if Sal comes out to Ken. Even if Ken is gay..he's going to act the same way that Sal did to the Belle Jolie guy "I don't know what you're talking about...you must have the wrong idea. GASP!"
Katikins Katikins 8 years
I've not watched the ep. yet, but had to read this! :) My 2 cents on Sal and Ken...don't be too shocked that Ken might actually be gay. Remember the times...men and women who were gay went to great pains to appear straight. Especially men with all the flirting and bachelor stuff, and to me Ken could be putting up a big front so people don't suspect how he might really be. Sal is in denial of his sexuality we saw that in the first season with the cosmetics company (Belle Jolie?) guy. They even had a little by-play between those two in one of the first eps. of this season. Stay tuned to that story line! So I can't wait to watch this episode. My husband and I just watched the episode from the week before and I was just furious at Don's cheating and said I hoped he got found out. Good to know he is! And yeah, I could totally see Don killing someone - he definitely has it in him...I just love this show!
fireyelectra fireyelectra 8 years
I loved this episode. I loved that we got to see more deeply into Sal and Ken, and Sal's newfound crush on Ken. I think it surfaced with the Rothko painting because Ken, the total lout that he has for being the man in control of the company's escort policy, actually has something behind his lechery. He's a smart man, deep inside. Someone who understands art. As an artist in an ad agency, having someone around who understands art is something Salvatore longs for. I see why he likes Ken so much after the Rothko conversation. But I also think that, by the end of the meal, Sal is a little less in love with Ken, because of how disappointed he sounds when Ken admits that writing is "just a hobby." Sal lives for his art, even if he's doing it at someone else's beck and call. Ken, a talented writer published in Atlantic Monthly (much to Paul Kinsey's chagrin) should be practicing his art first and foremost, in Sal's eyes, not swilling booze, dailing up hookers and managing accounts for Sterling Cooper. As far as Kitty is concerned, I think part of her knows that she's just Sal's beard. But she and Sal do love each other, that's clear. They seem to be close like siblings, or best friends. So I'm not surprised at how hurt she was when her best friend puts her down for some guy's benefit. I loved the Jimmy Barrett arc in this episode, especially because every time I look at that actor, I see the diner scene in Mullholland Drive where he's describing the monster who lives in the back alley outside. I felt his confrontation with Betty was appropriately menacing. Amazing episode. Amazing.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
angelfromlsu —I agree I laughed when he chucked the beer can and then when Betty just dumped the trash and left it I was in awe of how that just does not fly anymore.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
I simply could not stop laughing at the trashing the park scene. I was gasping at the throwing the beer can part and my boyfriend was telling me to look away because it's about to get even worst! Haha...how the times have changed!
johnsonkm20 johnsonkm20 8 years
I felt bad for Betty finding out that Don was cheating on her still, but I'm very interested to see how she reacts to this. Maybe she'll take things a bit further with Judge R.? My fave scene last night was Don throwing his beer can out into the idyllic picnic area and then Betty leaving behind all their trash. Ummm... I guess they couldn't be bothered to find a trash can?! Totally wasn't expecting Sal to develop a crush on Ken. Very interesting but knowing Mad Men it might take a while before Sal actually comes onto Ken with disastrous results. Poor Kitty, she could definitely tell that something is very wrong at the dinner - no one wants to be a beard. I liked seeing the everwood girl again though!
lylpookie lylpookie 8 years
I, too, am glad that Don finally was ratted out...but it was pretty awful how Jimmy cornered Betty like that. Butter her all up and then slam her like that. I think what really got her is that she thought he stopped. She knew he had in the past, but I don't think she thought he started up again...that's what got her, I think. Sal, didn't think that he'd pick Ken, but when he said he'd read the story, you knew it would happen. I wonder if Kitty realizes that Sal's unlike any other guy. I can't imagine Don, Pete, or anyone else telling their wives to go put their feet up and they'll take care of the kitchen. Also loved the secretary smack-down. I really don't like Jane...and it bugged me to no end that she ran straight to Roger. Oh he's totally going to cash in on the fact that he knows where she lives...but I don't think she realizes that ultimately, Joan's got Roger in her pocket.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 8 years
I also felt horrible for Kitty and found that dinner awkward. I remember feeling the same way about Betty, not to mention that she went along with Don's hyper obsessiveness about the new car only to throw up in it! That's what he gets. I feel bad for him (being called trash by Jimmy in that way was intense and must of hurt, and the fact that he realized that Jimmy holds no punches and probably realized that he may had had something to do with Betty feeling "sick") but at the same time he is no saint he should know better. I picked up on the picnic thing as well, not surprised by it. True to the times, even though environmental issues were picking up as an issue it was a smart thing to point out...not directly about the environment, but it just said something other.
kluster86 kluster86 8 years
Ok, so every monday i have come to popsugar and read the review and comments of all the mad men episodes. After last nights episode i decided that i HAD to make an account and speak my piece. Sal is soooo gay, but i dont think Ken is going to go for it. For one, I dont even think Ken gets that Sal is really interested, and for two, even if he did know i dont think Ken would do it. The times that they are in, and the person that Ken is (flirt, bachelor, etc) tells me that he would never do something out of his sexual element. With that being said, the best part of the episode had to be Jimmy telling Betty about Don and his wife, and the reaction it got out of Betty. Dont get me worng, im glad someone finally stood up to Don and called him on his bullshit, but I'm glad Betty finally got some truth. I knw that she knows Don has cheated on her, but for her to hear it from an outside party was just priceless. I felt so bad for her, when i was watching it i was just thinking, "I would feel so sick if my husband cheated on me" and then she threw up. I really felt her pain, and i hope that she speakes her mind now and doesnt let Don get away with all the crap he has been doing.
supertramp supertramp 8 years
I really enjoyed "The Secretary Smackdown:Part 1." Hahah. But the battle has begun and as much as I'd love to see Joan win this one, she can't have them all. I was feeling like I might be the only one who saw the tension that Sal had with Ken, but I'm so relieved that I'm not. It was awkward and his wife felt so left out so it was kinda sad. I also hope that Betty doesn't choose to ignore the fact that Don is cheating, it wouldn't be right.
Taadie Taadie 8 years
During the last scene right before Betty gave up the ghost and they were just staring out the window I was thinkinng to myself 'If I just found that out I would be feeling so sad and nauseous. I would want to throw up.' Mad Men read my mind. I saw that Sal thing coming a mile away. The minute he said he would read that story I knew he was getting the butterflies about Ken Cosgrove. What I didnt see coming was Jane and Joan. Holy smokes! I hope Joan lays the smackdown on her. Shes just so conniving. I can get on board with Peggy, I see where her heads at. But Jane, she just seems...off.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
I loved how they incorporated that Rothko piece. I feel like this episode got back into the 60s details which has been missing in the last few. I too couldn't believe they left their trash in the park! I mean, I could beleive it, but it seems like such a foreign concept. And I loved the demo on disposable diapers! Salvatore: "For 10 cents you think you really should use them twice!" I'm very excited for the episode where Betty finally cracks... its got to be coming!
CocoChic CocoChic 8 years
I didn't see Sal's crush on Ken coming either but I'm not surprised. It's funny that it didn't surface until Ken showed a little bit of deep thinking with the Rothko. How could you not mention the Rothko? I thought that whole thing was hilarious. Jimmy is a little disturbing but I'm so glad he called out Don on his cheating. Joan needs to smackdown Jane in the next eppisode. I can't stand that girl! I bet Joan is a leetle bit mad about her running to Sterling and what he said about her. I thought the leaving the trash in the park was interesting. It kinda shows how we got to where we are today. The last scene had me cracking up. Hello random!
chibarosa chibarosa 8 years
I'm not caught up on season 1 yet, but throughout the current season I've often wondered if Don was capable of murder.... I actually liked Jimmy Barrett last night. Yay for him for sticking it to Don! It's about time someone did. I just feel so bad for Betty. Will she just suppress this and act like it never happened? And yay JANE! It's great to see a woman in the secretarial pool with a backbone and independent spirit. And about the final scene - I loved the look on Don's face!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
There have been more than subtle hints at Sals sexuality in past shows! I have a feeling that he will slip up at some point and hit on Ken, and Ken will freak the F Out. I cant stand Jane, she is too big for her britches her idea to break into coopers office than whining "they made me" to Joan, I am happy she went to Roger, because she thinks she is in control of that situation? Please, Roger has the upper hand now AND knows where you live sweetie, expect him to come for payment. I love that Jimmy called Don out, Just as Bobby told don he has a reputation, Jimmy reinforced the fact that Don isnt good at hiding much for long. Ha Ha about the puke in his car! Nobody from that generation gave a rip about littering hence the 70's crying indian advertisements. Love the Coffee Jingle (that coffee company was bought and absorbed by Tetley)"exotic giiiiirrrrrl, exotic Breeeeeeewwwww"
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