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MAD MEN Season 3 Premiere: “Out of Town”

August 17, 2009


The episode begins with Don Draper’s feet, and we fade up to him making breakfast or something.  Hmmm, not the way I would have guessed the new season would start. We hear crying. Then it cuts to a flashback of Don/ Dick’s step-mom.  She just had a stillbirth, and it’s not her first.  Then we cut to the night of Don/ Dick’s conception.  As we know, Don/ Dick’s birth-mom was a prostitute, and Don’s dad was one of her Johns.  Then she is giving birth, and it is NOT going well.  This opening is a bit confusing, but I did catch Don’s mom muttering about cutting his dad’s dick off and boiling it in hog fat.  Seriously. And that is how Dick got his name.  Seriously.  I am not making this stuff up.  If I was dying from childbirth, and the guy didn’t even pay full price, I’d be pissed too.  The midwife brings baby Dick to his step-mom’s door.  We all know how that will turn out.

Don brings the food up to Betty. She is still pregnant, and is now showing–so not much of a time jump from season 2 (5-6 months or so?).  Betty, referring to her daughter, quips:”She’s taking to your tools like a little lesbian.” She continues, “I just want everything to be perfect.” Oh, I know you do. Don tells her to close her eyes, and tells her that she’s on a warm sandy beach … at which point, Betty interjects : “Because I’m a whale!”  Hee.  Betty is hilarious this episode.

Cut to Peggy being all professional and in charge. She has a secretary, but the woman won’t answer the phone when Peggy calls.  Instead, a familiar British guy, whom we later learn is named John Hooker, is keeping the pretty secretary busy.  Familiar British guy was an intern on Bones.

We cut to Bert Cooper in his shoeless office, sitting with an unknown guy in glasses.  Unknown guy in glasses is named Mr. Lane, and he is one of the new British bosses.  The two are admiring a new piece of art. Another guy named Bert comes in, and ALL OF A SUDDEN I JUST REMEMBERED THE MERGER.  Wow, I can’t believe that I forgot about that.  Bert is being let go and is pissed (Naming both firer and firee Bert makes things confusing.  Checked IMDB, and the fired one’s name is spelled B-u-r-t, so slightly different.).  Burt is played by Michael Gaston, who was that wannabe mayor on Jericho, who eventually became mayor.  I hated his character until the last few episodes.

Burt does not take his firing well.  He comes downstairs to the main offices and flips out.  Harry, Hildy, Pete, and Kinsey all look on as Burt destroys some office property.  Joan defends poor fired Burt’s behavior to new young pompous British guy. Pompous British guy corrects her, saying, “I’m not John, I’m Mr. Hooker.” Joan is so awesome in this scene that I forgot to write notes about the rest of the dialogue.  I foresee that this may be a problem in my recapping of future Mad Men episodes.

Pete is called into a meeting with new British boss Mr. Lane.  Pete is very nervous, Mr. Lane likes him, for reasons beyond my understanding.  Pete: “You just removed the head of my department and you’re now offering me a chair.”  Hee.  Pete is made Head of Accounts. Seriously? This is Pete’s dream come true, second only to ruling the entire world, so he is the happiest that we have probably ever seen him.  As he goes into his office, he quips to his secretary, “Well it turns out that things are splendid.” He calls his wife to boast, and is surprisingly nice to her. He should get a promotion every day.  Not that he deserves it, but it makes him so much more pleasant (until later … wait for it).

Ken goes in to meet with Mr. Lane as well.  He’s being made Head of Accounts too. What?!?! Hmmm. Is this like the Wolfram & Hart partners pitting Lilah and Lindsay against each other in Angel?  Competition does foster better work.  I get all my business knowledge from TV, sorry.

Cut to Sal (yay, Sal!) and Don on a plane, living it up. Don flirts with the stewardess and they make dinner plans.  Oh Don!  Did you learn nothing from last season?

Ken and Pete, newly appointed Heads of Accounts, but ignorant of the fact that the promotion is shared, wait together at the elevator. Hilarious. They proceed to flatter each other with insincere compliments.  Their entire conversation on the elevator just killed me.

Meanwhile, Don and Sal are at dinner with the two stewardesses and a pilot. The pilot criticizes their professions–they’re pretending to be accountants.  Don explains that “There are accountants, and then there are ACCOUNTANTS.”  He makes up a story about being an accountant for James Hoffa.  Pilot: “So you’re a couple of G-Men.”  Don: “No we’re accountants.”  Classic.

On the elevator back to the hotel, the bell-boy makes very subtle eyes at Sal (important later). Sal says goodbye to “Bill” and Shelly, and gets off the lift.  He proceeds to his room to crash.  When the elevator stops at Don’s floor, Shelly wants to “see if his floor looks different.”  Geez.  We cut back and forth between Don and Sal’s nights.  Sal wakes up in his hotel room, and calls the front desk because the air conditioner isn’t working. Shelly begins undressing for Don, and acts very silly.  She reveals that she is engaged, and Don tells her that he’s married, but this does not stop either.  Meanwhile, when the bellboy comes up to fix the air conditioner, he and Sal get it on. Sal is a mixture of terrified and elated, as I’m pretty sure that this is the first time that he has acted on his homosexuality. Cue the fire alarm!  Oh, contrived plot device, you don’t belong on this show.  As Don makes his way down the fire escape, he sees Sal and bellboy together.  Uh oh.

The next day, back in New York, Joan and Peggy have a fun interchange.  I adore every scene that Christina Hendricks and Elizabeth Moss share, as they are just amazing together.  I was so carried away with enjoyment that I forgot to take notes, but I do recall that Peggy complimented Joan’s outfit and was amazed that she could wear that on the subway.  Joan pointedly explains, “I don’t ride the subway.” The both complain about “vile” Mr. Hooker, and as Joan walks away she says something about how glad she will be to get out of there.  No, Joan! Don’t go!  How will the office survive without you?

In Sterling & Cooper, Hildy tells Pete that the new boss has called a meeting for both him and Ken.  Pete is a little confused about this.

Meanwhile, Don and Sal go to a meeting with the London Fog people, which is the whole point of the trip.  The familiar persuasion game is played, in which Don manages to convince the ignorant client with his suave genius.

At the meeting in New York, all the accounts are divided between Pete and Ken.  Pete is just pissed during the whole meeting, despite the fact that he gets some of the largest accounts.  After the meeting, he confronts Ken.  Ken takes the moral high ground, which is never hard to do with Pete.  Pete continues to be an asshole, and whine (and whine and whine and whine).

Cut to Sal and Don on the plane home. Sal looks very concerned.  Don leans towards Sal, and wants to ask Sal a question, and it seems that maybe he will bring up what he saw the other night.  Instead, he asks Sal about a London Fog ad idea, and Sal is visibly relieved.  Clearly, Don is not going to say anything.  As a man with many secrets of his own, he understands.

Back in New York, Joan is still trying to deal with Mr. Hooker, and manages to get an office for him.  The way she handles the whole situation is just genius.  Later, Mr. Hooker is reprimanded by his boss for using the office, and told to sit out front.  At some point Mr. Hooker (I just love saying that name) refers to the office as a “Joan-ocracy.”  Best line ever. Apparently, he said “gynocracy,” which means a government or society ruled by women.  Almost as funny, but not quite. (See Maureen Ryan’s post on the subject: The Watcher)

Trudy comes into the office to visit Pete, but now that he didn’t get exactly what he wanted he is a total jerk to her.  Such a complaining jerk—I can barely handle it.  Vincent Kartheiser is a genius at making me hate his character.

Sal arrives back in the office and plays down the trip to his colleagues: “We’re two married men.” Um hum, like that stops you boys.

Roger Sterling comes into Don’s office. I was surprisingly thrilled to see Roger.  I shouldn’t like his character, but I totally do.  He brings up the promotion of Pete and Ken.  “Is Cooper playing God or Darwin?”  Exactly.  Hee.  Pete comes in, and wants to talk to Don.  He sees Roger in there, and hesitates.  Then Bert Cooper comes in!  He asks for Brandy. It is probably like 10 am, but whatever.

Then we cut to Don at home, at the end of the day.  Sally apologizes for breaking his suitcase. She explains that she didn’t want him to go.  Awww.  She knows how to get off the hook 😉  He tells her that he always will come home.  I would like to believe that, but I just don’t know.  Sally asks about the day she was born. This story is much more pleasant than the day Don was born.  Nice way to book-end the episode, with two “birthday” tales.

Thoughts? Comments? Post below.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2009 7:41 am

    This was a great premiere! I was just as elated to see Roger in the episode as you were! He may be an utter tool, but he’s got this endearing quality about him! And I love the new boss sticking it to Pete where it counts! I can’t stand his character at all, and I almost wished that he had shot himself in that office with the shotgun. But, a girl can dream!

    Nice recap! I’ll be sure to add a link to your blog on mine!! Mad Men fans unite!

    • heroine_tv permalink
      August 18, 2009 8:18 am

      Thanks! I found your blog through Twitter, and I just love the name and your avatar 🙂

      Agreed about Pete. Ugh. Vincent Kartheiser has a history of playing characters I despise, as I really didn’t like Connor on Angel. But I suppose that means he’s super talented to elicit such a response.

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