“Mad Men”: Episode 3, “The Benefactor”

Posted by Kathy Lyford

Cynthia’s comments after the jump.

Img_9914 The distance between Don and Betty may be growing but at least they have one thing in common – they both spend the better part of the episode fending off unwanted advances, one more successfully than the other.

After Don Rickles-like comedian Jimmy Barrett (not a real person) manages to insult the folks from Utz potato chips (a real product), Don goes into overdrive to fix things. Poor Lois gets caught in the crossfire and gets fired – setting up something I’ve been wishing for since the show began: Joan is now Don’s secretary, at least until a suitable replacement can be found. Oh, the mind reels at the storylines that could emerge from that pairing.

Unfortunately, while trying to convince the comedian’s wife/manager to apologize to the clients, Don falls back into his old ways and before getting down to business with Mrs. Barrett, he gets busy with her. In his defense, she did throw herself at him. But, for the first time we see genuine guilt from Don. Credit Jon Hamm, once again proving himself worthy of an Emmy, for wordlessly saying so much in the scene at the Draper’s kitchen table.

Img_7685 Don finally wrangles an apology out of the Jimmy Barrett (pictured left, played by Patrick Fischler), by nearly getting violent with Mrs. Barrett. This makes me wonder what else we may eventually discover about Don’s past… and his relationship with Betty. Remember after the incident in season one with a drunken Roger when Betty asked Don if he wanted to bounce her off the walls? Hmm.

Poor lost Betty. Arthur may not know much about riding horses, but he certainly seemed to have Betty pegged when he called her “profoundly sad.” 

Oh and let’s not forget Harry, who finally found his spine (with the help of his wife). While putting out feelers for a job at CBS, Harry stumbles on a great idea and pitches Belle Jolie lipstick a sponsorship on a controversial episode of “The Defenders.” (In a nice touch, “The Defenders” episode in question is titled “The Benefactor,” which is also the title of this “Mad Men” episode.) Belle Jolie takes a pass, but Harry lands himself a raise and a promotion. Sterling Cooper is taking on television, folks.

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  1. E.Nowak says:

    I’m very surprised that you characterize a man forcibly pulling a woman’s head back by by her hair and shoving his hand up a woman’s vagina as, “nearly getting violent with Mrs. Barrett.” People should call that rape. This is why men think that women enjoy rape. Because women don’t see rape when it happens to other women.

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