Mad Men Season 3, Episode 11: "The Gypsy and the Hobo" - Recap

"And who are you supposed to be?" - Carlton Hanson

Sally and Bobby Draper may have been dressed as this episode's titular gypsy and hobo for Halloween, but they certainly are not the only characters hiding behind a costume, a mask of lies. Greg Harris hopes that pretending to be interested in psychiatry might get him a job he couldn't care less about. Suzanne tries to fool herself into believing that she hasn't become too attached to the married man she'll never be able to take to dinner in Little Italy. Annabelle Mathis - a former Sterling Cooper client and Roger Sterling lover - wants the agency to mask that her dog food is made from horses, and she wants to pretend she's not the girl who let "the one" get away. And while Roger tells Annabelle that she has indeed lost him, I'm not so quick to believe that his "happily married" act is any more sincere than his platitude-laden introduction of Don in last week's episode.

But Dick Whitman's mask, which has lasted years longer than the Minnie Mouse costume Sally wants ever will, is now just as worthless as the plastic crap sold at Woolworth's. Maybe the only person not play-acting in the episode is Betty, who, despite becoming a master of the craft of make-believe, refuses to ignore the lie that is the foundation on which her entire life sits any longer. "You don't get to ask any questions," she hisses at Don, who responds with the truthful, painful answers Betty seeks - because that's all he can do now that he's been unmasked.

"Stop acting like you know everything.... You don't know. You don't know what it's like to want something your whole life, and to plan for it and count it and not get it." - Greg Harris

Add "stupid" to the growing list of ways to describe the pathetic scumbag that is Dr. Harris. He's blind (or more likely just doesn't care) if he actually believes the words quoted above, which he speaks as he pouts about being forced to change specialties. He deserved to have that vase broken over his head long ago, but Joan, who most certainly hasn't gotten what she's always wanted, has finally had enough. Like Betty, Joan knows her place is supposed to be beside her man, for better or for worse. And she tries, giving Greg interview tips and remaining supportive even when Dr. Horrible inevitably screws up again. But she can't pretend that selling dresses at Bonwit Teller is the future she always imagined for herself.

So how does Greg fix the problem? He joins the Army. (Another stupid move, but admittedly, we can only say so because we have the advantage of hindsight, knowing that his statement about going to Vietnam -- "if that's still going on" -- is ridiculous.) Greg has found a way to get Joan out of the dress department, but if it's possible she really does love this slimeball, I fear he is only setting her up for more heartbreak. If he doesn't go and get himself killed, I shudder to think how many soldiers might die on Greg's table, and how long he'll pretend it's just their battlefield injuries causing the deaths. His captain's uniform is just another costume to cover up his continued failure.

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