'Mad Men' Season 5 Episode 509 'Dark Shadows': Betty's big fail

mad-men-509-january-jones-jessica-pare.jpgAfter seeing everything that the new Mrs. Draper has -- a beautiful apartment, an hourglass figure, a tender love Don never showed her -- Betty Francis' ( January Jones') knee-jerk reaction was to spray Reddi-Wip right into her mouth -- then spit it out. After she gave things a little more thought, she came up with a better idea.

Sunday's (May 13) episode of "Mad Men" was mostly about people -- Betty, Don, Megan, Michael, Peggy, Pete -- not getting what they want. A fittingly ironic theme for the show as the timeline rolled through Thanksgiving 1966.

Betty's better idea was to drop a bomb -- more of a grenade -- on daughter Sally ( Kiernan Shipka); one that she thought would blow up in Megan and Don's happy faces. But Betty -- like husband Henry, who backed the wrong horse in his political career -- miscalculated. Megan, as we viewers know, already knew about Anna Draper -- Don's "first wife" -- and so it was that Betty Francis' bomb blew up in her own face. Or, as Don would put it, under her own "fat nose."

"I'm thankful that I have everything I want and nobody else has anything better," says Betty at the Thanksgiving table, trying to convince herself it's true. Bam a lam.

So who else didn't get what he or she wanted?

Megan: She helped a friend run lines for a "Dark Shadows" (also the title of this episode) audition. Even though Megan goofs on the melodramatic material, she admits she'd kill for the opportunity to try out for the part.

Michael Ginsberg: The poor sap may be the biggest creative talent at SCDP, but thanks to an inopportune peek at his portfolio from Don, he becomes a hurdle in Don's devilish race to prove to himself that he still has the creative juice to land an account. Don does, but in the process he also loses any respect Ginsberg may have had for him. "I feel bad for you," Ginsberg says to Don in an elevator after confronting him about not presenting his creative to the Sno-Ball folks. "I don't think about you at all," replies Don.

( Note: The episode actually had a few great dialogue-driven elevator scenes.)

Peggy: She's still screaming for respect. This time around, she's annoyed that Roger Sterling asked Micheal, instead of her, to do a little under-the-table work for Manischewitz Wine. This leads to another fabulous elevator scene -- this time between Peggy and Roger, aka The Bickersons.

Pete: He dreamed that a NYT profile would bring Alexis Bledel to his office clad only in lingerie and a fur coat. "I forgot you, then I saw you in the New York Times Sunday magazine," she purrs in his dream. Right. ( Note: The irony of Pete chastising Bledel's husband for having a squeeze on the side is duly noted. -- Team Trudy)

Roger: He thought he got what he wanted when he makes a conquest of Jane, his soon-to-be-ex-wife, in her new apartment. Wait -- maybe he did. So much for the enlightened post-acid trip Roger Sterling.

Questions...

So was the air really toxic -- as Megan states -- on Thanksgiving Day 1966?
Yes -- in fact, the "killer smog" (pictured below) was credited for killing 169 people. A year after 9/11, the New York Times ran this article about New York's three worst smog events.

mad-men-manhattan-smog-1966.jpg What poem was Ginsberg quoting when he was bragging about his Sno-Ball work?
The line was, "Look on my works, ye mighty and despair," and Stan Rizzo advises Ginsberg to "read the rest of the poem, you boob." We did. It's "Ozymandias," written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1818. If Ginsberg had read on, he'd have realized that Ozymandias' words were hollow -- an epitaph on a broken statue surrounded by a barren waste. ( Note: Ozymandias is also the name of an ambiguously villainous character in Alan Moore's super awesome graphic Novel "Watchmen." -- Future Bobby Draper)

What was that song at the end, with the great line, "If you want happiness just help yourself to some?"
Megan Draper (neé Calvet) might have recognized it as Maurice Chevalier's "Sweepin' the Smog Clouds Away":



Photo/Video credit: AMC/The New York Times