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September 1, 2015

Mad Men: Wee Small Hours

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 12th 2009 2:40AM
Sal_Mad_Men(S03E09) Nobody was getting any sleep, or so it seemed, and many people were acting like babies who wanted what they wanted when they wanted it.

Conrad Hilton has become more of a headache to Don, and the way he's being played, he's very Howard Hughes-like to me. Eccentric, powerful, demanding and hard to read. For a master player like Don, it has been unnerving to have Connie pull his strings. Don doesn't like being a marionette.

Don wasn't the only one having his strings yanked. Lucky Strike, in the form of client Lee Garner, Jr., pushed Pete and Harry around, but it was Sal who suffered. And Henry discovered that Betty was more complicated than any Ossining housewife he ever knew. More after the jump.

Connie has Don jumping through hoops, calling Don in the wee small hours of the morning (like the Sinatra song) to come share some moonshine and ramble on about God and communism. "I remember this," said Don, tasting his childhood with a sip of the corn liquor. Hilton wanted Hilton ads to reflect goodness and confidence, and when Connie talked of putting a Hilton hotel on the moon, Don laughed. Big mistake.

In a brilliant Draper client pitch, Don presented, "The thrill of international travel with the comforts of home -- Hilton." Don thought he'd hit a home run, but Connie wanted more. He wanted the moon. Literally. He refused to give Don approbation. It was a real slap in Don's face, especially after Don had reacted to Connie's line about Don being like a son to him with gratitude. Connie had played him.

Unable to get what he wanted from Connie, Don decided to take what he could by pursuing Miss Farrell. After failing to connect with her when fate brought them together -- she was jogging, he was driving into the city -- Don lied to Betty -- using Hilton as a cover to leave the house. The teacher tried to stop him, pointing out that you shouldn't crap where you live, but Don proved that when it comes to wanting, he's a pig. He wants what he wants.

Lee Garner didn't get what he wanted, a quickie with Sal, so he used his power with Sterling Cooper to banish him. Despite the fact that Sal was following Don's advice, being discreet -- limit your exposure -- Sal was the victim. He would have liked a little something with Lee. His reaction was proof of that. Yet Sal's reward for denying himself was getting fired.

Lee ordered Harry to fire Sal, but Harry fumbled and it was a nasty Roger that axed him. Don sealed the deal, and how nasty was Don referring to Sal as "you people," denigrating homosexuals for promiscuity when Don's the king of promiscuity. It doesn't matter to Don that Sal didn't do anything -- he doesn't believe Sal anyway. Sal was fired because of Garner's inability to accept rejection. Sal wound up cruising, looking for something he wanted, hoping it will make him feel better about being out at SC.

Then there was Betty. After a dream involving Henry fondling her on the fainting couch, she began writing him. Very Bronte of her, but Henry showing up unannounced was dangerous.

Carla knows so much more than she let on. She knows Betty's a liar. Betty followed through with the fundraiser, but was angry when Henry sent a female surrogate. Confronting Francis in his office, Betty was a petulant child. She wanted what she wanted until she realized it was too tawdry. Henry had no idea at that point what Betty wanted. He was as confused by her as Don was by Hilton.

Other points of interest

-- Amid the lack of sleep and craven wanting, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have A Dream" speech. His dream was noble and pure compared to the greed of Hilton's hotels on the moon and Betty's desire to have sex on the fainting couch.

-- Roger put Don on notice about being in over his head. Those two are heading for a blow up.

-- Despite his screw ups, Harry keeps his job. How?

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I think Sal will be allright...he is a waiter in Grandview now.

October 17 2009 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Until this episode I took the same attitude of Don as Peggy did "I never expect him to be anything other than what he is." But this time I was disappointed in him, both the inexplicable Miss Farrell thing, and for his cruelty to Sal. I get that they are showing Don progressively getting sloppy,sleep deprived, and not reading people as well as usual (his missing Connie's intent on the ad campaign) etc. But Miss Farrell lives close to his home, anyone might see his car outside, or see him coming or going. Don has flirted before with blowing up his life, but I don't see any recent events that would cause him to be so stupid. Just doesn't seem right. The Sal thing is easier to see, but still disappointing.

October 14 2009 at 9:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two of my favorite Mad Men characters, Joan and Sal, gone! Matt Weiner, please BRING THEM BACK!

October 14 2009 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show is starting to turn me off, after being a huge fan. Perhaps i wanted to see some growth from characters, but most are more unlikable now than they were last season. As another commenter wrote, I want to like SOMEONE on the show or why bother watching?

October 13 2009 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this show is so much better when everyone is having at least a little fun and not all on the down swing

October 13 2009 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think part of the Sal issue is related to the Hilton events. Don is already frustrated that he's bending over backwards to do whatever Hilton wants, running all over town (and the world) at all hours of the night. So when Sal didn't do exactly what the client wanted, Don got angry about it.

October 13 2009 at 9:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Everything seems to be burning all around Don and all he can do is runaway to another woman. Obviously what Don did to Sal was wrong on a human level, but I wonder if Hilton had not pushed him so much in the episode if he would have attempted at least to save Sal. Full review of the episode.


October 12 2009 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yme Sandelmann

The show has pushed the character Don Draper to a point where I really don't sympathize with him. He has been unfaithful to Betty all the time, but I somehow thought he had learned from before (and Betty banning him from the house). Not to forget how awful he is to his colleagues (Peggy, Sal, even Roger). Hilton has surely pushed his buttons. I'm curious how they will turn that around. Because I cannot imagine a show where I do not root for the main character...

October 12 2009 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don Draper's self-confidence--close as you can get to arrogance--has utterly vanished in his new role as Connie Hilton's lackey. Being wakened in the middle of the night
repeatedly and acquiescing with nary a murmur is letting
yourself be screwed. When the stakes are high enough,
that's what you do, is the message. You become a whore.

The relationship Don develops with Miss Farrell is unsettling to me because the schoolteacher has been
presented in contradictory ways, and they don't ring true.
First, the incredibly sensitive and concerned teacher in
her meeting with Betty and Don. Second, the tipsy
seductress, in her call to Don. And third, the voice of
reason which issues contempt to Don as he pursues her.
Although everyone contains contradictory aspects, this
hodge-podge is simply confusing, and wrong-headed
character development.

October 12 2009 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Don believed Sal that he didn't do anything w/ the client. He said he didn't understand "you people" b/c he doesn't understand why Sal wouldn't do this (after all, its not like Don has any trouble getting it on whenever). It seemed to me like Don was advocating Sal use his sexuality to do whatever the client wants (hence why Sal was at the park later on, getting some practice in).

October 12 2009 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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