Mad Men Season 2 Episode 9 "Six Month's Leave" Review


As we begin Sunday night's episode of Mad Men we learn of the death of a legend; Marilyn Monroe has just been found dead and a stunned office at Sterling Cooper finds themselves sorrowfully affected by the her passing. Women huddle in corners weeping. Enter Peggy and Don who exchange their disbelief in polite elevator conversation; to which Hoss utters a most teasingly insightful phrase "some people hide right in front of everyone". Don is rather speechless at that. But Peggy goes on to impress Don by saying it's a good thing Playtex didn't sign on for the Jackie/Marilyn pitch.


GOOD NEWS, Pete was back today! Oh and I sure do like his sneaky, slimy self-interested brand of villainy. In this episode, Peggy, Pete, Sal and Frank are getting ready to pitch an idea to Samsonite. While practicing their run-through, the inebriated Frank stops for a moment and starring out the office window proceeds to loose control of his urinary tract. Peggy is mortified, Sal laughs, and Pete begins to belittle Frank. Thankfully, Peggy steps up and takes Frank's part in the presentation while Pete makes excuses to the client. Frank takes a nap on the couch. When he wakes up, we presume hours later, he gathers his things and leaves the office for the day, his shoes squeaking in every step.


While Peggy is poised to keep Frank's secret, Pete and Duck tattle on Frank to Sterling. Don is blind-sided and has to acquiesce to a "six months leave" after which Frank will not return to the company. Peggy is handed lead Copywrite of all Frank's accounts and Don talks sternly to her about his need to know what is going on in the future. Peggy confronts Pete for doing Frank in, who shrugs off her criticism by telling her she's getting a promotion out of it and should be happy. Frank, a legend whom Roger Sterling's father worshiped, has been retired.


So Betty is really really depressed in this episode...just barely able to pull herself up out of bed, obsessing over small projects like lining the drawers with shelf paper...however, she does start to interfere with other happy people around her. I don't know if this is her attempt at finding miserable company, or if she really has lost it. Which ever, she has started playing with other peoples lives. Nothing good every came from such callousness. Don is also getting a little impatient with Betty as their argument is now impacting the children. When he confronts her saying he wants to come home, she of course can't agree.


While at an underground casino and send-off for Frank, Roger admits he knows about Don and Betty. The two try to make sense out of their failures in marriage and decided, it's better to be free and who you are than uphold the commitment. While they'd spoken it, they both aren't sure it's true. Thankfully Jimmy Barrett's face is there at the casino to give Don's fist something to hit.


Finally, we learn that Roger has left his wife, Mona, for Don's secretary, Jane. Will the gloves come off when Joan finds out? These characters are all so greatly disillusioned. This apathy in their lives and for where they've ended up as a result is reminiscent of a Hemingway or Salinger pseudo hero. The Post WWII search for the meaning of life which led to great prosperity at the bank certainly has left each hollow inside, wanting of something, anything that will make them feel again.

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