Mad Men Airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC
Episode: “Six Month Leave” (Season 2, Episode 9)
Synopsis: Marilyn Monroe’s death sparks a reaction from the women at Sterling/Cooper, while the woman at Don Draper’s house, Betty, still won’t let him come home. Freddy Rumsen’s alcoholism catches up with him at work, forcing Pete Campbell and Peggy to take action with a client. Don has to tell HS (Hot Secretary) that he’s staying at the Roosevelt Hotel in case there’s any emergencies.
Review: PETE CAMPBELL SIGHTING. Early on in the episode, Pete has to take charge of an account when Freddy Rumsen pisses his pants and passes out at his desk. He shows some fast-thinking ability and leadership under fire, but also tells everybody around the office about the incident, provoking Roger and Don to let Freddy go. Unfortunately, this scene along with another one in which Peggy bursts in to his office to bitch him out (for being his chief characteristic — cold) are the only time we get Pete in this episode. Freddy is one of those characters at Sterling/Cooper who never gets much screen time, except for the occasional joke at a meeting and a brief mention of his alcoholism in a previous episode. Here, with Don and Roger, he gets to stretch his acting chops as the two guys take him out for a night of drinking and underground gambling. John Slattery (Roger Sterling) is absolutely brilliant in this episode as he continues to pull back Roger’s many layers. He’s also, as usual, hilarious, as evidenced in the scene with the casino bouncer (“Is it ‘Milwaukee?'” “Yes.” “Sonofabitch.”).
The death of Marilyn Monroe looms over the episode in a number of ways. It makes the good-looking women at Sterling/Cooper, notably Joan and HS, depressed. What I found interesting about the Monroe reaction was how deeply it affected Joan, inciting her to open up to Roger, proclaiming “this world destroyed her.” She also points out that one day he’ll know what it feels like to “lose someone.” It’s interesting that these women idolized Marilyn Monroe so much, because when you look at it, all they are going to miss is the “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” aspect of the actress. That’s what these women are. They serve the powerful men at Sterling/Cooper and pride themselves of being beautiful and being rewarded for that beauty. Meanwhile, Betty is struggling to keep her family together and tell her kids the truth about what’s going on between her and Don, and Peggy (who is the only female character on the show who can hold her own with the men) sees Marilyn Monroe’s death only in terms as to how it effects business. The strong women of Mad Men are Betty and Peggy, because they are the ones showing that a woman is more than what a man gives her. At the end of the day, Marilyn Monroe was a woman who perceived as a woman
Next Week: “The Inheritence” – Betty visits her ailing father. Paul’s girlfriend Sheila tries to convince him to prioritize his civic duties. Pete’s mother disapproves of an idea that Pete and Trudy are considering.
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