Mad Men Season 3 Episode 13 Recap

Well now. I can’t imagine many people were disappointed with how this one went. While last week was about disaster, this week was about break ups, new beginnings, and trying to change what appears unchangeable. The satisfaction Don feels at starting off anew juxtaposed with the end of his marriage.

-Of course Don finds out about McCann buying PPL from Hilton. And while the new agency would seem like an opportunity to get more of Hilton’s business, that doesn’t appear in the cards. We’ll see next year.

-Speaking of next year, what’s your guess on how long down the road the season starts? I bet Sterling Cooper Draper Price will have moved into an office and is more of a viable business. That would mean that we see nothing for the Draper divorce, though.

-Speaking of the Draper divorce, what will Betty’s role be next year? I’ve voiced displeasure with her character before, but I can’t imagine her being completely jettisoned the way Sal was.

-Speaking of Sal, interesting that they threw a bone to all the people who miss him with the momentary trouble of the art department being locked. How many of you thought that’d be his ticket back until Don kicked that door down? Or maybe he really is done on the show. One way to come back could be working for McCann, now that they don’t have Lucky Strike. Kenny and his Haircut and Kinsey will also need to pop up from time to time.

-With Pete and Peggy ostensibly re-energized is that it for Duck? I’m still curious what Peggy sees in him, but her track record with guys is pretty awful, so I suppose she just has bad taste.

-“We can put everything back the way it was.” Don’s talking about a new agency, but at this point, he hasn’t tried for the last time to convince Betty to stay, so there might be some of that, too. Still, I think he knows it’s over and this is how he’s moving on. The agency is what he will be married to for a while. (Excuse the cliche.) There was an energy to the scheming scenes that we’ve only seen in the client meetings, so that was nice. In one of the last scenes Don realizes the agency is for real, and is finally able to let Betsy move on, and maybe move on himself.

-“You’re not good at relationships because you don’t value them.” Roger and Don appear to be back on good terms, partly because Don gave Roger what he’d been looking for this season, an acknowledgment that Don DID need him. Roger’s quote by the way speaks volumes, doesn’t it? He didn’t value Betty enough to tell her the truth about Dick Whitman (whether she would have understood is something else), and he lost her. Don only got Pete on board when he showed that he valued him. Same, and more obviously, with Peggy.

-Roger Sterling flat killed it this episode. He had great lines and delivered them perfectly. Speaking of Roger Sterling lines, I wonder where New York Magazine got the idea for this?

-Did you notice in the episode where Don and Betty went to Rome, Don said something like “I like this side of the bed.” In the next episode, he was sleeping on that side of the bed back at home. Then after getting confronted by Betty, he was back on his side. Tonight, when Don angrily confronted Betty about Henry Francis, she was asleep on Don’s original side. Get it straight!

-There were a lot of references to agreements/contracts (and getting out of them) in this episode. Betty hiring and speaking to a divorce lawyer, who told her the way to get out of her marriage was to establish residency in Reno. Hilton telling Don he would be moving to another agency, and Don realizing he’d be stuck at McCann for 3 years. Don coming up with the scheme to have Lane fire the 3 partners, thus freeing them from their obligations. And finally, Arch turning his back on the grain coop because of the price they had negotiated for their crops. This was obviously the most revealing, as it showed where Don gets it from.

-Now that we’ve seen Arch’s death on screen, does that mean the flashbacks won’t be a part of the show anymore? That should be a rule, right? Or, is that what happens to people who back out of agreements? Who knows…

-There’s something to the idea that Don learns of the PPL sale from Hilton and about Henry Francis from Roger. I’m struggling with that, though. Father figures? Complicated relationships

-“I hope you get what you always wanted.” Betty won’t, though, because I don’t think she knows what she wants. Which has been a theme on the show before, because Don usually doesn’t know what he wants either. Didn’t Roger say this to Joan a couple weeks ago?

-“You say things and you don’t mean them.” Sally channeled her inner Betty with this line, or this is Betty speaking through her daughter. This has always been the knock on Don, though. He’s great with his words, but doesn’t stand behind them. This will probably continue to play out next year.

So! Don, Roger, Bert, Peggy, Pete, Joanie together again, with a little Lane and Harry thrown in there as well. Of the 3 seasons, this had the most breathtakingly strong episodes, but also a few clunkers as well. While it wasn’t as consistently strong, there were definitely moments. Were you happy with how this all came together? Was it too perfect? Let’s discuss!

Mad Men Season 3 Episode 13 Recap

0 thoughts on “Mad Men Season 3 Episode 13 Recap

  1. CarolSD says:

    Loved this finale. Moved rapidly, took us to the unexpected. The one thing that bothered my was Betty flying off for the quick divorce to Reno with the Henry and the two older kids are left behind with the housekeeper — while Don is put up in NYC in hotel? He could still travel home at night–plus, no fighting…Mom’s away! Loved the team they put together on the fly…but missed Sal. Something tells me he’ll be back in Season 4, and he’ll make ’em pay!


  2. Mad Men has been a love/hate series for me since season 2. The finale of season 3 was good no doubt and left most of us craving for more, but I was just wondering how much longer I could keep on watchning these picture perfect people drink and smoke in their picture perfect offices. Hopefully the ending is also a message from the writers that they’ll search out new and creative territory in the next season.


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