'Mad Men' recap: Blowing Smoke

madmen12.jpg
Have you noticed how the penultimate episode of the season is usually depressing as hell? If not, consider yourself sufficiently prepared. Don runs into Midge (Midge!), and after they trade catch-up stories, she invites him to dinner to meet her husband of convenience, "Harry," whom she calls a "playwright" but is actually kind of a pimp, as Don quickly deduces that Midge only tracked him down to try to sell him some of her art, and that Harry would gladly see Midge throw in some sex to seal the deal. Also, Harry and Midge are both heroin addicts, and Don pityingly buys a painting from her for all the cash he's got on him. Fun subplot number one. 

Sally is making a real effort to get along with Betty, even though in private, she tells Dr. Edna that Betty doesn't care what the truth is as long as Sally does what she says, and Dr. Edna expresses her pride that Sally is managing to behave despite all the anger she feels, and adds that Sally hasn't done anything wrong. Dr. Edna tells Betty that Sally is doing well enough that she feels comfortable reducing her sessions to once a week, and then, after Betty bi***es about Henry for a bit, once again tries to get her to start therapy of her own, with the same negative results. Things go downhill when Betty catches Sally with Glen, whom she's been seeing platonically but regularly, and when she tells Henry she's ready for the family to move out of the neighborhood as a power play against Sally, Sally breaks down. Fun subplot number two. 

Don surreptitiously meets with a Heinz guy, but he's let down in a big way when the guy won't commit now because he's afraid SCDP won't be around in six months. Despite all the brouhaha about professional ethics last week, the SCDP higher-ups meet with Faye's boss (from the Christmas party episode), who strongly urges them to find a cigarette company to replace Lucky Strike - specifically, Phillip Morris, who's rolling out a new brand for young women and with whom he can arrange a meeting. Everyone's all smiles in public, but later we get a montage of everyone panicking, with Pryce even saying that they've only got a month before they won't be able to afford everyone's full payroll. Things go from bad to worse when Faye's boss shows up with the news that the meeting has been canceled, and adds insult to injury by unwittingly parroting the "maybe in six months" line the Heinz guy gave to Don.

>>Read The Full Recap on Television Without Pity