Better late than never, right? …

Um. Anyone still there?

Just in case, here goes:

Strangely, we didn't see Pete this week, and hardly any Peggy. Maybe those crazy kids were off somewhere making more big-headed bastard babies.

Instead, the somewhat unlikely mad man at the center of this week's ep is Harry Crane, the office "nice guy" who's usually no more than a tertiary character.

When he's delivered Ken Cosgrove's paycheck by mistake, Harry can't resist the siren song of a nearby letter opener, and discovers that Ken makes $100 more a week (that's $37 million in today's dollars – look it up) than he does. Harry phones his knocked up wife to let her know he's an underpaid weenie, which seems like the sort of information you'd be ashamed to tell your spouse. He goes on to question his role at the agency, and even ponders peacing out completely before the missus jumps in front of the wah-mbulance by telling him to nut up and ask for a raise.

Instead, a miracle opportunity arises from a fictional fetus. (Turns out they're handy for more than just tricking boyfriends into sticking around.) Harry phones a friend at CBS and asks if there are any jobs available at the network. There aren't, but his buddy does take a second to bitch about a big TV show of theirs losing sponsors over the topic of abortion. In a rare display of testicular fortitude, Harry takes the courtroom drama to cosmetics company (and Sterling Cooper client since Season 1) Belle Jolie to sell them on sponsoring it. They pass, but the ballsy move and eloquent pitch alone earn Harry a raise from Roger. (See, Republicans? Abortions are good for capitalism.) Meanwhile, on the way out, the Belle Jolie exec who made a pass at Sal last season delivers his failed conquest a knowing glance, making Sal visibly uncomfortable and possibly hard.

Elsewhere (chronologically) at a commercial shoot for Utz potato chips, an inebriated insult comic named Jimmy Barrett (think a skinny Don Rickles with the grey-winged hair of "The Venture Brothers'" Professor Impossible) goes a little too far with a string of fat jokes aimed at the CEO's wife, who just walked in. When it's revealed that Don wasn't there to keep the Utzes off set, he's tasked with arranging a dinner to smooth things over. The reason for Don's midday absence, you ask? A Bohemian brunette? A wealthy Jewess? Try flying solo at the movies. What the hell, Don.

He makes arrangements with Jimmy's wife/manager, who responds by making arrangements to sit on Don's erection. Yeah – that happened. Just when it seemed time to break out the Geritol, Don broke out something else instead, and (somewhat reluctantly) slipped it to the comedian's wife while sitting in a car parked RIGHT ON THE STREET… because who walks down Madison Avenue. Afterward, she agrees to get Jimmy to apologize to the Utzes, and dinner, unlike her underwear, is on.

Betty, meanwhile, is at the stables where her fellow equestrian hobbyist Arthur Case makes it clear that he wants her to try riding something a little less horse-y. His methods of seduction are kind of strange (they consist of telling Betty repeatedly how "profoundly sad" she looks), and her unreceptiveness doesn't stop him from lunging in for a kiss. Surprisingly, considering her behavior back in episiode one, Betty keeps him at bay, but I'm guessing this isn't the last time these two get close.

It's later that night, and dinner so far = Don and Betty and the Utzes. Jimmy and his whore wife are late, and when they finally show, the comic is far more interested in flattering Betty than casting a glace toward the walking whale he's supposed to be saying sorry to.

Sensing the Utzes' growing frustration, Don follows Barrett's wife to the bathroom, where she informs him that Jimmy has changed his mind about that whole apology thing. Don then changes his mind about not grabbing her by the vagina.


In the strangest assertion of dominance since Richie Aprile held a gun to Janice Soprano's head during sex, Don coerces Mrs. Barrett into rethinking Jimmy's decision by pulling her hair with one hand and GRABBING HER SNIZZ WITH THE OTHER. Well played? Apparently so, because it works wonders. Back from the bathroom, she promps the unfunny funnyman to deliver a halfhearted mea culpa, which seems to be enough for Mrs. Utz. She knew insults were his style, she says, but just "doesn't have the stomach" to hear them herself. Jimmy eats his fist to avoid saying something else.

On the way home, Betty spontaneously breaks into tears. When Don asks why she's having such a strange, ridiculously unprovoked emotion (weird that he still sees the novelty in it), she says they're tears of joy - because she and Don make such a good team.

Other thoughts:
- So after all that build-up depicting Don's new Daddy Dearest persona amid Betty flirtation with the dark side, the writers pull a big fast one on us (and on Mrs. Barrett) by having exactly the opposite happen. Don's tryst, however, seems to be solely business-based this time around, which is really good timing, considering his reputation at Sterling-Coop has seen better days.

- The many nuances of Betty's neuroses are endlessly compelling. Numb, shaky hands, bizarre diatribes about her children, uncomfortable sexual tension with the most random people, and now this sudden crying jag… I can't wait to see what she does next. Any psych majors want to venture a guess at some kind of bigger picture here?

Best line:
Betty, after Arthur Case accuses her of looking "profoundly sad."
"No, my people are just Nordic."