Monday, October 26, 2009

At the Mountains of Madness- Part Eleven: "The Gypsy and the Hobo"

As you're no doubt aware, the title of this week's episode is a reference to such timeless rock standards featuring dualities as Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" ("said the joker to the thief") and more importantly Hüsker Dü's classic "the Tooth Fairy and the Princess" off of Zen Arcade. I fully expect more Hüsker Dü presudo-references to spring up as the show's timeline creeps closer and closer to the 1980's. That or the title refers to what Sally and Bobby dressed up as for Halloween 1963, but I think this show is a little more subtle than that, don't you? Also, second Mad Men episode with "hobo" in the title.

A big secret's out this week so pour yourself a big bowl of Caldecott Farms dog food (it's made from ponies, and it's delicious!) and jump ahead.

Our first plotline this week concerns our man Roger Sterling and his foibles with old flame/dog food heiress Annabelle Mathis. The recently widowed Mathis has come back to Sterling Cooper after years of absence seeking a revamp of her company, Caldecott Farms' image. You see, it's recently been revealed that dog food is made from horses and Annabelle wants the boys and girl at S-C to find a way to make people comfortable with that. She wants a "beef" or "pork" word for horse meat, Don seems to think that she would be better off scuttling the brand name and coming up with a new one that isn't "poison" to consumers. No matter what you call it, the product remains the same, just like a certain veteran of the Korean War we know and love. Annabelle is awfully flirty with newlywed Roger and seeks to rekindle their Lost Generation romance. We learn a lot about Roger here, namely that he was an amateur pugilist in inter-war Paris. Sweet! I really thought this would be the straw that broke the camel's back and that Roger would finally drop this goody-two-shoes act that he's been putting on since the end of Season Two but alas, Roger seems to really mean it when he says he loves Jane and turns Annabelle away. Eegads! He's a changed man! On the other hand, he had a pretty emotionally loaded phone conversation with Joanie...

Everyone's favorite redhead is still unhappily married to Greg Harris, failed surgeon and successful rapist. Greg's trying to begin a new career and fulfill his "dream" of becoming a psychiatrist due to the fact that he's let far too many patients die under the knife. Joan's doing her best to find herself a job to support the two of them during this awkward transition period, mainly due to the fact that Greg spends most of his time bitching and moaning about how entitled he is. This of course leads Joan to do what every viewer has been begging her to do since Greg raped her in Don's office last year: she bashes him over the head with a vase. Somehow, this jars him into enlisting in the Army as a surgeon. So now Dr. Rape will become Cpt. Rape. Congratulations, Mad Men viewers, you have your first Vietnam casualty.

And of course, here's the big one: Betty confronts Don about the Shoebox of Damocles. After consulting with the family lawyer about possible divorce options on a visit to brother William's family (the "Fall of the House of Hofstadt" saga continues!), Betty corners Don and drills him about the mysterious pictures, Anna Draper divorce papers, and deed for a house in California. Don spills the beans on everything and even cries (for those of you playing the Mad Men Drinking Game at home, finish your Old Fashioned). In the end, it seems like an equilibrium has been found in the Draper household and it's agreed that Don's Big Secret will never be spoken of again. Don even breaks it off with Miss Farrell for the time being, whose possible exposure in the car was one of the most tense sequences I've ever endured while watching television. I suspect she'll show up in the next two episodes to torment Don for breaking her heart, Fatal Attraction-style. But that's just my opinion, remember she's got an epileptic brother with few scruples!