Mad Men: The Gypsy and the Hobo

Yes, I know Mad Men is not a scifi  show (unless you consider the early ’60s a fantasy, with “Camelot” and all). But there is a connection, however precarious it may be.

My second favorite Supernatural writer, Cathryn Humphris, is now a writer (and executive story editor) on Mad Men. (Raelle Tucker, my favorite Supernatural writer, is now on True Blood.) And while I miss them on Supernatural, I’m thrilled both of them are working on more popular (and critically acclaimed) shows.

Last night I saw Catheryn’s name in the opening credits (sandwiched between two other writers), so I was hoping it would be a good episode. Oh my goodness, it was amazing! The best show of the year, maybe even the entire series.  (If you’ve never seen Mad Men, this probably won’t make a lick of sense, so I’ll put it behind a cut.)

The awesome Joan Harris and her annoying husband Greg.  (Vase in back and to Joan's left.)The awesome Joan Harris nee Holloway was back, although not at the office. She was helping her self-absorbed husband interview for a psychiatry position. When it didn’t go well and he whined about it (left), she hit him over the head with a vase of flowers. You go, Joan!

Betty and the kids went off (to one of the Carolinas?) to sort out her father’s estate. Don was going to use the time to go off with Suzanne for the week. However, when he stopped by his house to pick up some clothes, he found Betty had returned home. You see, Betty had opened Don’s Drawer of Secrets (™TWoP) last week, finding, among other things, a shoebox of pictures, Army dog tags for Donald Draper and Dick Whitman, a divorce decree from Anna Draper, and a shit load of cash.

We were about half-way through the episode when Betty confronted Don about the drawer, so I knew we’d be in for a rocky ride. Of course, Don was furious when Betty ordered him to open the drawer. He refused, saying it was his desk and private. Betty produced the key she’d found in his bathrobe the preceding week, saying “If you don’t open it, I will.” Don still refused. The kicker was her line “You know I know what’s in there.”

I fully expected Don to go off his rocker. Instead, Jon Hamm was glorious as Don fought to maintain his composure while visibly unnerved. Even though it was subtle, you could see Don’s world crashing around him.

January Jones was marvelous as Betty showed a steely strength I’m not sure we’ve seen before. While sitting at the kitchen table, Don told Betty how Dick Whitman became Don Draper, how Anna Draper was a surprise that came with the package, and, in the process, expressing his love for Betty. Still, Betty was unmoved.

Later, Don took the shoebox of photos up to the bedroom. Sitting on the bed, he told Betty about his father, his mother, “Uncle Mac,” and most importantly, Adam. I suspected Don wouild hold something back regarding Adam, but he didn’t. He told her how Adam had tracked him down, wanting to reconnect with his big brother, but Don had dismissed him, and that Adam subsequently hung himself.

It was one of the most intense and well done scenes I’ve ever seen.   If Jon Hamm doesn’t win an Emmy next year, we’ll know there are shenanigans going on.

So thank you, Cathryn Humphris.  You did not disappoint!


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