'Mad Men' Recap: The Good News
S4:E3 The scene on Mad Men we’d all been waiting for these past three seasons finally happened last night --- we FINALLY saw Joan at the gynecologist! Last night’s episode began in the widely explored but secretive space between Joan’s legs, where many men have ventured but few have emerged the same. After her doctor examined her, Joan explained she and her husband were going to try and have a baby before he left for Vietnam (it seemed like he wasn’t drafted, but was choosing to go). Also, we learned Joan had two abortions in the past. This was not surprising. If Peggy got pregnant, it means Joan Halloway probably invented pregnancy.
At the office, in an attempt to convince Lane she deserved an extra two days off after the new year so she and her husband could try for a baby, Joan waltzed on over to his office and asked if he was interested in fried chicken for lunch. Lane saw right through her brown-nosing technique and denied her the chance to be with her husband.
Don planned to spend New Years in Acapulco but was scheduled to go see Anna, the real Don Draper’s wife, in Los Angeles. Once he arrived at her house, he noticed she had broken her leg… she claimed by making eggs. Her sister Patty and her daughter Stephanie had been helping her with things around the house until her leg healed, but once they saw Don’s surprise visit, they knew things were going to get a little more difficult for them. To pass the time, Don, Anna, and Stephanie went to a bar where they talked politics and drank. Don participated in conversation only occasionally, because he was quite busy staring at the California sun and waves of the ocean in Stephanie’s hair. Don asked if he could bring his kids out to see Anna in the spring, and she said that would be delightful. Then they talked about Betty and how she left Don after she found out he was sleeping with other women, AND that “Don” was not his real name. He said, “I could tell the minute she saw who I was, she never wanted to look at me again.” WOMP WOMP.
When Don was driving Stephanie home to her mother, Stephanie told Don that Anna actually broke her leg because she had cancer all over her body and in her bones. She said Anna didn’t know she was sick, and that the doctors told them she didn’t have long to live so there was no point in telling her she was sick. Patty, Anna’s sister, had been keeping the entire thing a big secret, and this greatly upset Don. So much, in fact, that he sat in the dark and smoked more cigarettes than a cigarette manufacturer.
He spent the next morning painting a wall in Anna’s living room while she smoked a joint. Patty came over to drop some groceries off and yelled at Don for bringing Stephanie home at 2:30 AM. Don, of course, wasn’t going to take any crap because Anna was the one lying to her sister about her health. Don told her things were going to change regarding Anna’s health care, and then Patty, who must not have working eyes or a working nose that’s capable of detecting Don’s handsomeness, called him “just a man with a checkbook,” and said he had no say in family matters (Carl Winslow shout out!). Don figured out Patty was right, told Anna he had to leave because the longer he stayed in Los Angeles, the more at risk he was of telling Anna she had cancer.
Back at the office, Joan got a bunch of roses from who she thought was her husband, but turned out to be from Lane. The card read, “Darling, I’ve been an ass. Kisses, Lane.” She ran into Lane’s office and threw the roses at him. Lane sputtered to explain he’d really sent that batch to his wife, but that meant his wife got Joan’s flowers…which read “Joan, Please forgive me. Lane.” Joan fired Lane’s secretary, and Lane realized his wife was going to be so upset with him that it probably wasn’t even worth going home to England anymore. Bad news bears. What’s the lesson here? If you have two bouquets to send, use different companies because the arrangers do not care which bouquet goes to who. They just care what goes next to the baby’s breath – not the manner by which they ruin your life.
Don decided against going to Acapulco knowing that he wasn’t going to see Anna again before she died. Instead, he flew back to New York and headed straight to the office where he found Lane, who also decided not to go to London because of the flowers incident. The two of them went to a movie and a steakhouse on New Year’s Eve to do some manly bonding over how much women are like women and not men. Lane told Don that after a series of arguments, he tried to send his wife flowers, but the “Joan” on the card didn’t sit well with her at all and she told him she was never coming back to New York. Don told Lane he was going to have a “lady” come hang out with him later, and asked if Lane wanted to have her bring a friend. He thanked Don and told him that yes, he would like to be in the company of someone who is pretty and paid by the hour and the act.
Back at Don’s apartment, each man enjoyed their lady’s presence and the next morning, Lane gave Don a whopping $25 ($25! THAT’S ALMOST HOW MUCH SENDING A PICTURE OF THE OSCAR WEINER MOBILE IN A TEXT MESSAGE COSTS!) for hooking him up with someone that looked better in a green dress than his wife did. When both men went to the office that day, their eyes barely met but you could tell the air between them had changed, in a way that that big poster in your office would describe as “unsportsmanlike” or “inappropriate.” But it was the 60s, and the 70s had to have gotten the idea from somewhere.