Mar 25, 2015

Mad Cap: "The Better Half"

Jessica Pare
Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 6, Episodes 9
"The Better Half"

"Why is sex the definition of 
being close to someone?"
- Don Draper (Jon Hamm)


Peggy Olsen continues to see Abe Drexler (Charlie Hofheimer), who wants to write about her for a story. He becomes unruly with law enforcement. Meanwhile, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) gets in trouble for taking his daughter's son to see Planet of the Apes despite finding no reasonable objections to it. Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) spends some quality time with her co-stars and discovers that maybe she isn't as gifted as she'd like. Pete Campbell is still having trouble with his mother and is taking it out on work. Peggy tries to ignore her feelings for Ted Chaough (Kevin Rahm). Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) decides to go to the beach with Bob Benson (James Wolk), though their trip is cut short when Sterling pops up while trying to get back with her. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) runs into Betty Francis (January Jones) and Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) on their vacation. He gets back together with Betty and feels happy for the first time in awhile. Peggy accidentally stabs Abe after she wakes up to figure out a late night rumbling outside, after which they break up. Don comes home to Megan, who is grateful to see him. Bob decides to help Pete with his mother issues by offering up a friend who could help.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

James Wolk
Bob Benson (James Wolk)

I have been looking for a reason to notice Bob since he first began popping up on the show. As eclectic as the cast has gotten, there is something charming about Bob. He is loyal and a hard worker. He doesn't seem to have an ounce of cynicism in him and can help solve people's personal problems. Bob is a hero of sorts. In this episode, he almost saves everyone's emotional status when he keeps Joan from dating Sterling and gives Pete the chance to get away from his nagging mother. Bob has been great in small doses and it's about time that he got a bigger notice. While the world around him fell apart, he remained the glue that held everything together. Bravo.

Left to right: Jon Hamm and January Jones
Best Scene

If there's one reason to care about this episode (beyond Megan's theory-creating shirt), it's that the original couple of Mad Men gets back together, if just for a night. They seem so happy together as they drink and have sex. However, there's a sense that it can't last. If it does, it will only go down the same toxic rabbit hole. Though it does attribute from Don's currently lull in life and desire to recapture his past. Still, no moment quite rings more profound in the episode than when he talks in a post-sex conversation with Betty about how he feels that the definitions of love aren't the greatest and that sex shouldn't define a couple. It is a brief moment of clarity from Don and a tragic look into why these two are perfect for each other, though they're not right.

UP NEXT: "A Tale of Two Cities"

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