Mad Men, there's a reason I don't go to church on Sundays. I'd rather worship you. (Also if I walk inside one I burst into flames.) Nevertheless, you chose to open this week's episode at Catholic mass, where Peggy is busy not listening to the priest deliver a pretty applicable sermon about bearing one's own cross (infant child). Feeling nauseous (again, Peggy?), she ducks out the back and runs into the church's new priest: Father Gil, played by Colin Hanks. He tells Peggy that her sister has invited him over for family dinner, then Catholic-guilts her back to her seat.
Meanwhile Don and Betty are in bed, and Betty's on the phone about some barbeque they're supposed to attend. Remembering that he enjoys family gatherings even less than sex with Betty, Don urges his wife to cancel. "Don's not feeling well," Betty says, which is code for "Don is pathetically rubbing his half erect penis on my leg." Suddenly the kids run in, and Don barks at them to get out so he can pretend mommy is another woman for about 15 minutes.
Later, and downstairs, Don's daughter/bartender Sally pours her old man a ridiculously strong drink while Betty fusses at little Bobby for messing with the stereo. Bobby lies and says he wasn't, which has become a growing problem, according to Betty's crazy rant a few weeks ago. (Come on, Bets, it's not like he's lying about anything important, like his name, or who he is, or where he came from, or that he loves you.)
At the Olsen house, Father Gil arrives for supper and continues to entertain a flirtatious interest in Peggy, revealing that his many talents, in addition to speaking Latin and wearing collars with a little white square in the middle, include playing soccer and the mandolin. After dinner, he offers to give Peggy a ride, and because of his profession is only slightly less likely than the average guy to assume this favor will be returned with road head. All he really wants, though, is a little Madison Avenue-style help with his first sermon. Peggy offers him a few pointers, like to be prepared (which she stole from the Boy Scouts), and to find someone in the audience to focus on. "I'd like to focus on your pointy bosoms, if that's OK," Gil considers replying.
Elsewhere, Roger's looking drunk and surly at dinner with his wife, his daughter and her new fiancee, Brooks. Turns out the son-in-law to be is a spineless little shell of a guy who needs permission to order dinner or take his next breath. Roger clearly misses boning Joan and avoiding the shit out of his miserable family, and you can read it all over his face. So later, when he runs into Pete and Ken at another table with a client and his wife, Roger looks genuinely flattered at the woman's open advances that is, until he asks the boys about her the next day. "There IS a Mrs. Hasslebeck," Pete says. "And that is NOT her." The woman at dinner, it seems, was on the clock at the time. Roger is bummed that the interest wasn't sincere. "I've got her number if you want it. I've got lots of numbers," says Ken, oddly candid about his apparent love of hookers.
Mrs. Barrett drops by Don's office, clearly not satisfied with last week's surreal vagina-clutching encounter. She has an idea for a Candid Camera-style TV show hosted by her hacky husband Jimmy, and wants Don to sell the Utzes on the idea. Then she locks the door behind her (which Joan, filling in for the hilariously fired Lois, hears), and tries to get Don's kung fu grip back on her Bermuda Triangle. But alas, he stops her cold. "Bobbi," he says, "I have work." And by "work" he means "a flaccid penis."
At the Draper house, Betty is super pissed. Bobby has apparently been on a Tazmanian Devil-like warpath lately, breaking shit everywhere and lying about it later. Betty urges Don to spank him, but Don resists, using words instead. "You think you'd be the man you are today if your father didn't hit you?" Betty asks him. Actually no, Betty, he would in fact be an entirely different person.
As if you needed any more reasons to hate him, Duck calls Don into work on a Sunday morning. American Airlines has decided to move up their presentation, and everyone needs to report to Sterling-Cooper immediately. Don's attention is diverted, however, by the sound of his son's flesh roasting on the stove he decided to touch. Don tasks Betty with taking the boy to the hospital, but in doing so is forced to cart Sally to the office with him. Sally claps like an excited circus seal.
The only one who won't be showing up this Sunday is Roger Sterling, who I guess decided to grab those digits from Cosgrove after all. He's in a hotel room with the call girl from that restaurant, trying to recapture the magic he once had with a certain redheaded secretary. Roger tries to keep things as far from "I'm totally paying for this" territory as possible by getting the woman to do un-hooker-like things such as kissing him on the lips and going on a date with him afterward.
At the office, everyone is in a mad panic over the American Airlines account, and Don gets different factions working on three separate pitches a catch-all approach that will ostensibly cover any potential misgivings that may arise among the AA execs. Sally, meanwhile, spends the day wandering around her daddy's office, saying the darndest things about Joan's giant boobs and Paul's black girlfriend before passing out on a sofa somewhere (possibly sedated by Joan).
Then, a bombshell hits. The AA exec who hired Sterling-Coop has been ousted. And worse yet, faced with no hope of keeping them on as a client, Draper and Co. must still present their now-useless pitches a fate Don equates to delivering "a stillborn baby." To their credit, the AA honchos at least feign interest before departing, and Don is left questioning Duck's unquestionably questionable judgment. "We hired him to bring in new business, not lose old business," he tells Roger, back from paying for lots of sex.
On the Olsen front, Peggy's increasingly jealous sister goes to confession where, without any pretense of subtlety, she lets Father Gill know that her big-time copywriter sibling birthed a baby out of wedlock and "seduced a married man." The next time Gill sees Peggy (on the last of the titular "Three Sundays"), he pays her for her advice on his sermon, knowingly assuring her that the compensation is "for the little one." Peggy is left stunned, possibly because she forgot she had a child.
At the Draper dinner table, Betty is still up-in-arms over Don's stern refusal to physically admonish their son. Don responds by breaking some shit of his own (think Kevin Spacy in "American Beauty") and storming upstairs. Bobby immediately comes up and apologizes. He soon begins to ask Don about his own father, questions that Don answers with surprising candor. Bobby asks if he died, to which Don replies that he did, a long time ago. "We have to find you a new daddy," Bobby says. Awwwwww.
- I used to hate Morning Afters where the recapper summed things up by saying "not much happened this week," and yet here I am, wanting to type that exact same phrase. This week's ep seemed to be more groundwork than anything, with Roger once again risking his barely beating heart to romp with a woman many years his junior. Look for Joan to catch wind of this next week, as shown on the preview.
- Another development, of course, was the sudden loss of American Airlines' business, which gave Don a welcome opportunity to scream "I told you so!" about Mohawk and, by extension, Duck. Unfortunately, Roger was still bathing in the afterglow of dirty hotel sex to pay much attention.
- I don't really care to see any more of the whole "Bobby is a little liar" storyline. We get it: Don won't strike his child because of the way he was once treated by his own father, and feels hypocritical reprimanding the boy for dishonesty since the kid's last name belongs to a guy who got his face blown off in Korea. Nevertheless, those points have been made, and I'd rather have seen this time devoted to Pete, who has now gone two straight weeks with nothing to do.
Sally to Paul, after seeing a picture of his (black) girlfriend:
"Is that your maid?"
Joan, looking down at a passed out Sally:
"She's here on a Sunday and I respect that, but she's earning more than all of us."
One final note: I did, in fact, write a column last week. On, like, Wednesday. So if you're still looking for a recap of last week's ep, read it here.