“Mad Men”: Episode 9, “Six Month Leave”


After all the rip-snorting plot developments in the previous Mad Men episode, “A Night to Remember,” we take time in this week’s seg for a few then-and-now reflections on American culture — capped by a blast of plot-thickening in the closing minutes.

Before we dive in to episode-dissection, a hearty congratulations go out to Matthew Weiner, Scott Hornbacher, Robin Veith, the ensemble cast extraordinaire and to everyone else involved with the show for last Sunday’s Emmy win for best drama series. Well done and well deserved. (Trivia question: In which category did “Mad Men” win its first Emmy? Answer at the end of the post.)

So let’s start at the end of tonight’s episode, “Six Month Leave.” (Quit reading now if you haven’t seen it yet.)

As our hearts and minds are so focused on Betty and Don’s travails, we’re thrown for a loop by the news that Roger has left his wife Mona (played by John Slattery’s wife Talia Balsam) for “a secretary” in this episode, written by Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton and Matthew Weiner and helmed by Michael Uppendahl.

Specifically, Jane, Don Draper’s new-ish secretary who seems predisposed to rub everyone at Sterling Cooper but Roger the wrong way — most of all her boss. Given Don’s angry reaction to this news, I guess the big question is whether this is enough of a jolt to force him to try to repair his own marriage. He sure didn’t seem to be leaning that way earlier in the episode.