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Review and Recap of Mad Men Episode "The Grown Ups"

Mad Men, "The Grown Ups": This Week's 5 Maddest Moments

Did you hear it? That was the sound of the Mad Men implosion, as the death of JFK on November 22, 1963, rocked the country and the lives of the show's characters. This season has been building up to the events of this episode, which felt more intense, more important, than next week's finale can possibly be. If there's an episode that has defined the third season so thoroughly, it's this one, "The Grown Ups."

Ready to talk? See this week's five maddest moments when you


  • Death of a President: The timeline of the show has made it clear that John F. Kennedy's assassination is coming, but like those who experienced it, there was no way to prepare for it emotionally. So where is everyone when JFK is shot? Peggy is having a "nooner" with Duck, Betty is at home, Pete and Harry are talking work, and Roger's daughter Margaret is having a fitting on the eve of her wedding.
  • One wedding and a funeral: The show must go on, Roger decides, and Margaret's wedding still happens on Saturday night, with far fewer guests in attendance. I understand why they didn't cancel it, but as Joan remarks, "Poor thing." Margaret overcomes her marriage jitters and fit over Jane's extravagant gift and presence in her life, only to agree to be married the day after the President's shooting. That's pretty rough.
  • Downgrade: Pete is demoted so thoroughly at Sterling Cooper that he leaves work and tells Trudie he's been fired at first. Like Betty, the fact that he's already going through something jarring when JFK is shot only escalates his personal situation, and he stays at home with Trudie instead of going to Margaret's wedding. Shaken as well, Trudie tells Pete to start gathering his clients in preparation to leave the company. Pete seems shattered, and again, I enjoyed Vincent Kartheiser's nuanced performance of one of the show's most complicated characters.
  • Where's the love: A wedding and a violent event prompt everyone to re-evaluate their romantic relationships; particularly Don and Betty (their kiss at the wedding proves to be only passionate from one side) and Joan and Roger. That Roger calls Joan, just happy that she's home, says so much about his feelings for her.
  • The Proposal: "What is going on?" Betty asks both Don and Henry, distraught about the country's events, but that's exactly how I felt when Henry tells her in her car that he'll marry her if she leaves Don. Last week, when she got advice against divorcing him, I thought there was no way they'd split up, but now that Betty has this viable option, I'm actually scared they may divorce. As screwed up as their marriage is, their being together is one of the show's fixtures. Their separation would be like Sterling Cooper going out of business. But Betty sees things as having "no point" now, and she tells Don that she no longer loves him. I don't know what to think! Is it a coincidence that she was wearing a pink twinset like Jackie the day JFK is shot? Hadn't she just "lost" her husband in last week's episode when she discovers that Don is really Dick Whitman? In any case, it's completely disconcerting to see Don, sitting in his bedroom at the end, broken by Betty's dramatic disclosure of her lack of feelings for him.

Everyone keeps saying variations on how everything will be fine, it will all be OK, but we know from experience with this show that nothing is going to be fine. Whatever is to come, I'm so impressed by this episode; in the future, this will be the episode that you remember when you think of this season.

What do you think will happen with Pete, Roger and Joan, the Drapers? Will Betty take Henry up on his offer? And to talk more about the show later, join the Mad Men group in the community.

Photo courtesy of AMC

Join The Conversation
retailslore retailslore 7 years
This episode was incredible and I can't wait for next weeks. They usually have a clip or 2 on the but nada so far which is stressing me out! I love Don and Betty. I don't care how jacked up their relationship is. When Betty told him that she didn't love him I teared up. They can't get a divorce!!!! @Studio16 I like Pete too! I wouldn't call him sexy per se but he definitely is precious! I'm so over Jane! It would make my day if Joan and Roger somehow became an item again. Her hubby is a snore!
Studio16 Studio16 7 years
I'm bizarrely attracted to Pete Campbell. No matter what he does I find him sexy. I'm thinking that Don and Betty will be divorcing soon or she's just gonna leave with the kids.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
I HATE PETE CAMPBELL. anyway, this episode was awesome. i also got goosebumps. i was so excited when roger called joan. so exciting! i am so curious as to how the season will end. my guess is, it will be with a ton o'cliffhangers.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 7 years
Maybe I'm being naive, but I really thought that Betty and Don's marriage had a shot after the truth came out last week. I thought they could build a solid foundation based on who they actually were. I'm sorry, but I don't see any real sparks between Henry and Betty.
gradschooldiva09 gradschooldiva09 7 years
Amybdk, you make a great point. Just to tag onto what you said, I found it interesting that Peggy found solace at work.
amybdk amybdk 7 years
I thought it was so interesting to see who each of the characters turned to. Duck turned to his children; Don turned to his family; Roger turned to Joan; Pete turned to Trudy; Betty turned to Harry. I'm just blown away that Harry is ready to marry a woman whom he barely knows! Betty has been (rightfully so) extremely unhappy for quite some time, I'll be interested to see WHO time makes her choose. Maybe it is best that Betty and Don split up; the only time I really saw them "into" each other was their trip to Italy. That's the only time I really saw sparks fly. I've grown to like Roger more and more. His tribute to Mona in his toast was really something. I was proud of him. I just don't see his marriage to Jane lasting much longer, but I don't see Joan taking an interest in him again. I wonder how the Season finale will end. I was so happy to see so many of the characters starring in this episode. I had a huge smile as soon as the show started and we saw Pete freezing his ass off! And once Joan was called by Roger, I was even more excited!
Whitfield517 Whitfield517 7 years
This was a great show. I think that the fact that Betty told Don she did not love him only after Henry told her he would marry her is childish. Betty needs to grow up and stop looking for someone else to take care of her and make her happy. She is the worst mom I think I have ever seen on TV. I love that the characters on the show are just as mixed up and crazy as people in the real world. In the end I think Betty will confess to Don about Henry and they will have to work it out.
allym311 allym311 7 years
I love this show. I was too young to experience firsthand the loss of President Kennedy and how the country felt, but watching this episode made me have a small inkling of what the country went through. I was in New York during the World Trade Center attack and I can now say that the feeling was probably the same. This episode and it's actors, writers and director should win every award there is. Bravo!!!
buckley9383 buckley9383 7 years
This was such an amazing episode... So dark, and so perfectly acted. I continue to be impressed by the pacing of this show- nothing is rushed, it all just fits perfectly. I'm excited about the finale, but I know it's going to leave a lot of unanswered questions which has me looking forward to next season already!
Briandiesel Briandiesel 7 years
Lilkimbo, my thoughts exactly. I was just blown away by this episode. I'm honestly excited for the season to be over so I can go buy the dvd's and then get caught up since this is the first season I've watched- What an amazing show. I honestly feel bad for people that dont watch it! ha
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
This episode gave me goosebumps and made me tear up. It was amazing. I thought last week's episode was great, but, in my eyes, this one topped it. And I think January Jones' work just gets better and better. I can't believe this season is almost over already!
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