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This episode was called The Milk and Honey Route.
Finally! An episode worthy of Mad Men!
Of course, there is only one thing to talk about and that's Betty.
Betty dying of cancer in this episode is truly brilliant. Betty, especially in the beginning of the series, really stood out to me as an example of my grandmother and mother. Betty so represents women of that age. Bored, lonely, chain smokers, not a part of the new movement to get jobs -- just stuck in this time warp. I fell in love with the show because of Betty. Watching Betty, staring off into space while smoking at the kitchen table was the epitome of my mom when I was younger. Place my mom in my grandma's kitchen and you have Betty.
Then there is the relationship between Sally and Betty.
I commented on it a few weeks ago, Sally and Betty sitting at the table together, having found a bit of common ground. I said, those are the moments you remember, after your mom is gone. The little ones. The small instances where Betty was actually nice to her daughter. You hold onto it, and you miss it.
Plus, for all of us who have lost parents when we were younger, you ache for Sally and Betty for the loss of their future relationship. As you get older, you forgive your parents for some of their past transgressions. You move past it and forge new relationships with them. Sally and Betty will never get that chance and that's a tragedy we all learn too late.
The part that really got me was the great shot of Birdie as she is walking the stairs at school. You want to take a mental picture of her as she smiles at the young man that walks by her. In an instant you see the grace and beauty of Betty. The smile, the light ... the briefest of moments of what made this woman so beautiful, so hopeful in her youth. The smile so quick to light up her face ... highlights the tragedy of her youthful demise. So much to live for, now so senselessly gone from the world. That was great storyboarding and great cinematography. Whomever wrote that scene deserves an Emmy. It was brilliantly done.
As for Don, I don't know. He finally lets loose and tells people about really happened, trying to free himself from his past. He's been doing that for awhile. I'm not entirely sure his storyline can end in a fashion that I care about.
For as much as I have hated this whole season, I loved this episode. Plus, it only highlights the writers really can put out good television in the Mad Men world. It kind of, in a way, now that I'm putting my thoughts down, makes it kind of worse that the last few episodes have been so severely wasted.
I want to know about Peggy, Roger, Sally (although I guess we kind of already know), and Don. That's a lot to put into one episode. Especially with all the nuance that I am used to from a good Mad Men episode.
Until next week!
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