Mad Men, Season 3

Week 11: Enter JFK?
Talking television.
Oct. 26 2009 4:31 PM

Mad Men, Season 3

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Week 11: Enter JFK?

John, I'm sorry to hear you found Joan's vase-smack over-the-top. New York magazine has posted this amazing animated gif that allows you to watch the crucial moment over and over and over. Try looking at it for a minute straight and tell me it doesn't grow on you.

Patrick, I think the question you pose—Where does the series go from here?—is critical. The stakes for Don will never again be as high as they were last night. But I'm looking forward to the change, because I think it will give us a chance to see both Don and Betty in new modes. We've talked a lot this season about how Don is a competent grownup and Betty a cosseted child. This week, the roles were reversed: Don was incapacitated, and Betty had to take care of him, directing him as he told his story, patting his back and pouring his drink. This take-chargeness does not come naturally for her, but she executes it brilliantly, and I wonder whether part of what keeps her present and tender at the end of the episode is a new sense of pride about what she's pulled off. (Like you, John, I thought January Jones was incredible as usual in this sequence; I think Benjamin Schwarz's critique of her acting is utterly wrong-headed.) Betty has liked being Don's dependent because she's never had the chance to be his equal. Now that she's asserted herself, I'm eager to see how their marriage changes.

Advertisement

As for Dick Whitman, Betty's not the only one who must decide whether she likes having him around: Don, too, must figure out how much of his old self to incorporate into his life. Will he continue to keep his secret from his friends and colleagues? Will he start making more references to eating dog food at meetings? I'm eager to see how easily Don slips back into his old Draperian persona now that he's laid himself bare.

Finally, I think it's time to revisit the terms of a wager I offered at the very beginning of our TV Club: I bet you both an old-fashioned that the season would close with the assassination of JFK. John, you let me wriggle out of the offer, citing an interview in which Weiner pledged not to dramatize the event. But come on. Weiner is notoriously cagey. He's planted references to Dallas throughout this season, and last week—as astute Frayster MayanSwimsuitCalendar observed—the Aquanet pitch showed four people seated in a convertible as the guy in the rear right had trouble keeping his hairdo intact. I missed these echoes of the Kennedy motorcade, but they must have been deliberate. Given these cues and the way the season has unfurled, there's no way the assassination doesn't happen—off-screen, perhaps, but still happen—sometime in the next two episodes. Any takers? I'll even raise the stakes to two old-fashioneds and bet you it happens this week.

Sportingly,
Julia

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?