Mad Men Episodes

2007, TV Show

Mad Men Episode: "The Gypsy and the Hobo"

Season 3, Episode 11
Episode Synopsis: Sterling Cooper welcomes back a prodigal client; Betty and the children take a trip; Joan and Greg make plans for their future.
Original Air Date: Oct 25, 2009
Guest Cast Samuel Page: Greg Harris
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 3, Episode 11
Subscription | Netflix
Length: 47:32
Aired: 10/25/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
play more info

Mad Men Episode Recap: "The Gypsy and the Hobo" Season 3, Episode 11

"And who are you supposed to be?" — Carlton Hanson
Sally and Bobby Draper may have been dressed as this episode's titular gypsy and hobo for Halloween, but they certainly are not the only characters hiding behind a costume, a mask of lies. Greg Harris hopes that pretending to be interested in psychiatry might get him a job he couldn't care less about. Suzanne tries to fool herself into believing that she hasn't become too attached to the married man she'll never be able to take to dinner in Little Italy. Annabelle Mathis — a former Sterling Cooper client and Roger Sterling lover — wants the agency to mask that her dog food is made from horses, and she wants to pretend she's not the girl who let "the one" get away. And while Roger tells Annabelle that she has indeed lost him, I'm not so quick to believe that his "happily married" act is any more sincere than his platitude-laden introduction of Don in last week's episode.

But Dick Whitman's mask, which has lasted years longer than the Minnie Mouse costume Sally wants ever will, is now just as worthless as the plastic crap sold at Woolworth's. Maybe the only person not play-acting in the episode is Betty, who, despite becoming a master of the craft of make-believe, refuses to ignore the lie that is the foundation on which her entire life sits any longer. "You don't get to ask any questions," she hisses at Don, who responds with the truthful, painful answers Betty seeks — because that's all he can do now that he's been unmasked.

"Stop acting like you know everything.... You don't know. You don't know what it's like to want something your whole life, and to plan for it and count it and not get it." — Greg Harris
Add "stupid" to the growing list of ways to describe the pathetic scumbag that is Dr. Harris. He's blind (or more likely just doesn't care) if he actually believes the words quoted above, which he speaks as he pouts about being forced to change specialties. He deserved to have that vase broken over his head long ago, but Joan, who most certainly hasn't gotten what she's always wanted, has finally had enough. Like Betty, Joan knows her place is supposed to be beside her man, for better or for worse. And she tries, giving Greg interview tips and remaining supportive even when Dr. Horrible inevitably screws up again. But she can't pretend that selling dresses at Bonwit Teller is the future she always imagined for herself.

So how does Greg fix the problem? He joins the Army. (Another stupid move, but admittedly, we can only say so because we have the advantage of hindsight, knowing that his statement about going to Vietnam -- "if that's still going on" -- is ridiculous.) Greg has found a way to get Joan out of the dress department, but if it's possible she really does love this slimeball, I fear he is only setting her up for more heartbreak. If he doesn't go and get himself killed, I shudder to think how many soldiers might die on Greg's table, and how long he'll pretend it's just their battlefield injuries causing the deaths. His captain's uniform is just another costume to cover up his continued failure.

"It's unfair, but it's over." — Roger Sterling
I find it particularly telling that Joan, before hearing Greg's "good news," calls Roger Sterling for help getting a job at another office. I've never been convinced that Joan ever truly got over Roger, and I'm almost certain Roger doesn't ever go long without thinking of their time together. "You want to be on some people's minds," he says.

Roger, however, wasn't planning on being on the mind of Annabelle Mathis (Mary Page Keller), an old flame who is prowling Madison Avenue looking for someone to invent a word for horsemeat. Recently widowed, Annabelle now runs Caldecott Farms, a dog food manufacturer that has suffered a PR crisis and disastrous sales after the John Huston film The Misfits, starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, informed the public that puppy chow is made from ponies. Don, who apparently has enjoyed the delicacy that is horsemeat, is up for the challenge, but he's ultimately unable to convince Annabelle to change the name of the company. Roger, saying the line quoted above, agrees.

In truth, business isn't Annabelle's true reason for returning to Sterling Cooper. After losing her husband, Annabelle decides to swoop in and sweep Roger off his feet again. Their "business" dinner reveals that she and Roger spent their time together in France, a time she romanticizes with her comparisons to Casablanca. Roger's neither buying it ("That woman got on a plane with a man who was going to end World War II, not run her father's dog food company," Roger quips) nor is he planning to rekindle the flame. He (truly to my surprise) turns down her drunken advances.

And in another "it's unfair, but it's over" moment, Roger tells Annabelle that he's glad she realizes the mistake she made by breaking his heart, but it's a mistake that can't be undone. "When I was burying this man, all I thought was I would have rather had my heart broken every day by you. You were the one," Annabelle says. "You weren't," Roger says coldly, again playing his newlywed trump card.  But here's where I get crazy: Roger may use his marriage to carefree Jane as his excuse to refuse Annabelle, but methinks he's got Joan on the brain. She was the one, and Jane was the next best version of her when Roger's heart attack gave Joan the time to move on. Disagree? Tell me about it in the comments. But don't forget that Roger made that phone call to his buddy Bob on Joan's behalf. And even the sound of Roger's voice when he told Bob that Joan was important to him gave Bob reason to ask how Roger's marriage was going.

"I just wanted more than I thought I would want. But it will pass." — Suzanne Farrell
Don's mistress has gotten so used to Don coming over that she leaves the lights on for him when she's not home. She wants to cook him her favorite meal, but she is saddened to realize she can never take him to the restaurant at which she first ate it. She promises Don that she's not trying to think about their future, that her eyes are wide open. But she can't help but think that she's got what he's been missing. "I look at your life, and even If I remove myself from the picture, I see a man who's not happy," she says.

Don tries to give her the relationship outside of her apartment that she wants. They plan a weeklong getaway while Betty heads to Philly to sort out her father's estate. But when Betty comes back early, before the lovebirds can leave town, Suzanne is removed from the picture of Don's life altogether. Or is she? I want to believe that Don is on the road to honesty with Betty, but when Suzanne suggests that she won't be seeing Don anymore, he says only, "Not right now." I have to believe that we haven't seen the last of Suzanne, because those crazy eyes she's been throwing around all season can't go that quietly into that good night, can they?

"Are you thinking of what to say or are you just looking at that door?" — Betty Draper
"I'm not going anywhere." — Don Draper
There are a million things to say about the brilliant scene between Betty and Don. But since that would probably turn into a running string of quotes from the showdown that was three seasons in the making, I'll focus simply on Don/Dick's decision to stay put and take his beating like a man. For three seasons, we've seen Don run when threatened. He begged Rachel Menken to flee with him when Pete was prepared to reveal the secrets Betty has just uncovered. When Don couldn't deal with sleeping at the office and giving up control to Duck Phillips' vision, he headed for the solace of the Pacific Ocean. But in this moment, when Betty almost dares Don to disappear again, he stops running.

Don tells Betty the truth — about his prostitute mother, about his impoverished upbringing, about his time in Korea, and about his first wife, who was the first obstacle in his adopting the personality of Donald L. Draper. "I found out it was easier to be him than to start over," Don says. Betty's concerns are all valid: Dick/Don broke the law, and he has lied to her since Day 1. But she is wrong on one account. Betty and the kids are the only family Dick/Don has left. Betty may not be able to understand why Don felt he had to keep these secrets, but she can see his heart breaking when he tells her of Adam's suicide, the pain and loss he endured to preserve the lie. "I couldn't risk all of this," Don says before breaking down.

But when the morning sun rises on Halloween, Don is relieved to see Betty and the kids in the kitchen. He may have lost one family by trying to preserve his secrets, but maybe revealing his past will still save the one he's created since. When the sun sets, the entire Draper family goes trick-or-treating. And when Carlton asks Don who he's supposed to be, I think it's a safe bet that Don doesn't have that figured out yet. But whoever he becomes after this ordeal, I don't think he will be hiding behind a mask or running from life.

A few other thoughts:
• How many times have we seen Don gazing into mirrors, perhaps looking for answers in his own face? But not on this night. Instead, Don stares directly into his bathroom sink, maybe watching his Don Draper façade go down the drain for good.

Mad Men has conditioned me to not expect to see what I want to see right away, so I was pleasantly surprised when Betty, against her attorney's advice, went straight at Don with his shoebox of secrets. But how do you think Betty will continue to deal with all of this? She still has to feel like she doesn't know her own husband, and I am not convinced Don will ever love Betty enough not to cheat on her. Then again, it could be argued that Don has always cheated to keep Betty at a certain distance from his secrets. Now that they are revealed, might this become a more healthy marriage? (Again, Don told Suzanne "not right now.")

• Line of the night belongs to Roger Sterling, who upon informing Joan that Mr. Hooker has arranged the secretaries alphabetically (by cup size, Joan quips) says: "I know where you'd be sitting."

• We didn't see much of Peggy, but she cracked me up when she innocently informed Don that she couldn't "turn off" the live focus group.

• Finally, my fedora is off to Jon Hamm, who was absolutely stunning. We haven't seen Don this vulnerable... maybe ever, but certainly not since he was with Rachel. He completely unraveled in front of us on the screen, and I was transfixed.

What did you think of the episode?

Watch our 60-second recap of the episode:

show less

"And who are you supposed to be?" — Carlton Hanson
Sally and Bobby Draper may have been dressed as this episode's titular gypsy and hobo for Halloween, but they certainly are not the only characters hiding behind a costume, a mask of lies. Greg Harris hopes that pretending to be interested in psychiatry might get him a job he couldn't care less about. Suzanne tries to fool herself into believing that she hasn't become too attached to the married man she'll never be able to take to dinner in Little Italy. Annabelle Mathis — a former Sterling Cooper client and Roger Sterling lover — wants the agency to mask that her dog food is made from horses, and she wants to pretend she's not the girl who let "the one" get away. And while Roger tells Annabelle that she has indeed lost him, I'm not so quick to believe that his "happily married" act is any more sincere than his platitude-laden introduction of Don in last week's episode.

But Dick Whitman's mask, which has lasted years longer than the Minnie Mouse costume Sally wants ever will, is now just as worthless as the plastic crap sold at Woolworth's. Maybe the only person not play-acting in the episode is Betty, who, despite becoming a master of the craft of make-believe, refuses to ignore the lie that is the foundation on which her entire life sits any longer. "You don't get to ask any questions," she hisses at Don, who responds with the truthful, painful answers Betty seeks — because that's all he can do now that he's been unmasked. read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Mad Men
Tags:
AMC, Breaking News

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: July 19, 2007, on AMC
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (1,142 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A look at the high-powered world of advertising in 1960s New York City, from the boardroom to the bedroom.

Cast

Shop

Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1
Buy Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1 from Amazon.com
From LIONSGATE (DVD)
Not yet released
Buy New: $28.59 (as of 09/15/14 9:43 PM EST - more info)
Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad
Buy Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad from Amazon.com
From Penguin Books (Paperback)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $13.30 (as of 09/15/14 9:43 PM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular