Blogging Mad Men: Season 4, Ep. 10 “F-Bombs, Bitch Slaps & A Chocolate Bunny.”

This week’s recap is by Kristy Wright, who works in public relations in Atlanta. Check out her photography at Shot By Kristy.

Bucking the PB tradition, I have a different title for the Mad Men Episode 10 recap. This recap shall be titled “F-Bombs, Bitch Slaps & A Chocolate Bunny.” Follow me.

When an episode starts with a “WOW!” moment like Joan announcing she’s knocked-up by Roger, you accept the gob smack and prepare for a bumpy episodic ride dealing with the inevitable fallout. Well, true to form, Mad Men’s writers make Joan’s announcement, and subsequent abortion, the first of several shocking moments the characters and viewers have to confront, the most wide-reaching being Don Draper’s identity theft and desertion finally catching up with him.

Pete finally beds North American Aviation (NAA) after a three-year courtship and it looks like SCDP is finally getting a big budget client to offset Lucky Strike’s hold on their finances.  But with a government-affiliated client, certain security clearances and background checks are necessary for those on the account. Uh-oh.

Enter the G-Men at Betty Francis’ doorstep.  After being questioned about her ex-husband’s past, reading habits and loyalty to America, she calls Don to chide him, but lets him know she covered his ass. Watching the cooler-than-a-polar-bears-toenails Draper shift from zero-to-panic-attack in a matter of minutes was entertaining, but this wasn’t the story arc I found most intriguing.

Can we talk about Lane Pryce falling head-over-heels in love with the Black Bunny, played by Naturi Naughton, at the iconic New York Playboy Club? Naughton’s Toni Charles was a welcome bit of brown in the sea of White actresses who make up the cast, but it seemed a very random turn of events for the seemingly buttoned-up Lane. Perhaps his foray into hooker-dom with Don set the stage for him becoming smitten over the “Chocolate Bunny?”  Lane’s getting turned out by the big city!

Even more random was Lane’s using Toni as his reasoning for staying in New York City and not returning to London to attend to his marriage. But the most random moment of the night had to be when Daddy Pryce, sent to New York to bring naughty Lane back to the UK, cold cocks Lane in the head with his cane, drawing blood and then steps on his son’s hand until he submits, agreeing to return to the UK with a pained “Yes sir.” He went, in a flash, from progressive, unashamed lover boy to poster boy for how you can indeed go back after you go Black. (I do appreciate how their relationship was less about race than about Lane being a douche and needing to handle his family affairs properly.)

But it gets better, friends! To keep his shady life in the shade, Don demands that Pete drop NAA as a client, subsequently making his background check unnecessary. Pete reluctantly agrees, considering the company and his growing family in his decision.  Unbeknownst to Don and Pete, Roger’s cash cow Lucky Strike in ending their relationship with SCDP, leaving the Agency in quite a financial pickle. When Pete takes the blame for losing NAA at a staff meeting, Roger rips him a new one and drops the F-bomb (which AMC bleeped), causing the usually unaffected Cooper to demand an apology on Pete’s behalf. Meanwhile, Don says nothing, giving that signature Draper “yes-I-know-I’m-the-asshole” face.

Perhaps “Hands and Knees” was a perfect title for this episode. It seems life and unforeseen circumstances have every character on their knees in a “come to Jesus” moment, hands out seeking redemption. The question is who will receive it and who will have to pay for their sins?

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  • My only quibble about this episode is Joan’s pregnancy. What are the odds that Pete knocks up Peggy the first time they sleep together AND Don knocks up Betty right before she’s on the verge of leaving him AND Roger knocks up Joan during their indiscretion after she’s married?

    Guilt, thy name is conception!

    • I may have misread this, but i don’t think Joan went through with terminating the pregnancy.

      “we avoided a tragedy.” we know she’s been trying to have a child for some time, and it just seems like it would be too neat for the show.

      • Oh, I think she kept it too. I just was annoyed that she GOT pregnant after sleeping with Roger that one time.

        • That happens more often than you think. Trust.

      • Wait, I’m confused. I totally thought she went through with it.

  • Also, was I the only one really happy that after everything that happened, Don still ended up with the Beatles’ tickets for Sally? All these crazy things were happening and in the back of the mind, all I was thinking was, “Please don’t let this end up crushing Sally again?”

    • Scipio Africanus

      Me too, lol. And then I really enjoyed the instrumental version of “Listen, Do You Want To Know A Secret” (of all the Beatles songs to build a theme around, interesting they chose an early George Harrison one, not Paul or John), at the end. I’m guessing AMC couldn’t clear the regular version of the song with EMI.

    • after all the shit that went down in this episode, i was super happy that it ended with at least one thing turning out ok.

    • Yes! I was totally worried that the tickets wouldn’t come through because we had to hear Don remind folks about them too much. In an episode where everyone was sort of a let down, I just knew poor little Sally wasn’t going to be spared. Glad she’ll get to squeal at the Beatles tho… or will she? LOL

    • Nicole

      That was my thought too- Sally’s been through enough.

    • LBG

      i don’t know if Sally ended up at that concert with Don after the way he glanced at his latest secretary…

  • Scipio Africanus

    “Watching the cooler-than-a-polar-bears-toenails Draper shift from zero-to-panic-attack in a matter of minutes was entertaining”

    This was actually slightly terriying for me because I’m almost certain I’ve been through this at least once, maybe twice, in my life. He did an excellent job of portraying what it’s like. The only thing that wasn’t captured was the immediate sense of chills you have and feeling like you’re not even inside your own body at that moment.

  • Temi

    I like how they brought us back to Don’s identity being an issue. Since Betty, Pete and Cooper already knew and Mrs Draper in Cali died it was beginning to seem unimportant. Even though this got resolved it just showed that he will always have to worry about it.

    I don’t think Joan went through with it either. The scene with her comforting the mother in the waiting room was heartbreaking.

  • Nichole

    Let’s not get too excited about Sally seeing the beatles. Don’t forget the look on don’s face as he looked at Megan, his acting secretary, as she was putting on lipstick, getting ready to leave.

    A friend wondered if this will be how Sal comes back. Will don pimp him out to the lucky strikes guy in order to keep the account?

    And nah, Joan didn’t go through with it. Once that lady asked the age of her daughter, driving home the idea that abortions are for the young & uneducated, I knew she’d keep the baby.

    • “Once that lady asked the age of her daughter, driving home the idea that abortions are for the young & uneducated, I knew she’d keep the baby.”

      excellent point. plus she looked strikingly calm during her bus ride home.

  • LJ

    I wondered that too Nichole, if they will use our man Sal as the sufficient blackmail to get old Lee Garner Jr in line. That was right where my mind went

    Also, Don did say something about Roger’s outburst. It took a minute but he said something like “hey, hey that’s out of line” or something.

    I also don’t believe Joan had that abortion either.

    Oh and didn’t Pete Campbell have some nerve going off to his wife about the “honest people having to clean up the bad people’s messes?” Didn’t his ass knock Peggy up and rape a nanny and not tell his wife about it?!! Honest my ass.

  • Okay, apparently the consensus is that Joan did not have the abortion. I suppose I underestimated how much she wants a child. It seems out of character. I figured that Joan, who likes to be in control and maintain an image of propriety, wouldn’t do something that, IMO, is illogical. I suppose her desire for a baby could override her need for control.

    Also, I felt ill watching Lane’s dad bust him in the head with his cane. Cold. blooded. And how did he summon the energy to go all Billy Bad A** when he normally has to *walk with a cane?!* I’m hoping that Lane is going to London to finalize his divorce. Apparently, Naturi Naughton’s Toni (aka Chocolate Bunny…O_o) is in multiple episodes. I’m still not sure how I feel about that whole storyline.

    @LJ: Pete Campbell is still smarmy, slimy snake in my book. I get tired of his whole “put upon” schtick…even though he is actually doing his job. It’s hard to like him.

    • If Joan went through with it, it would have been her 3rd abortion. I don’t think Joan necessarily has an issue with having the procedure… I just think she’s ready to move towards having a family. I don’t think she wants to be the next Mrs. Blankenship in the office. The thing that got me was that Joan had been on the pill. She only stopped because she was trying to get preggers before her husband shipped out. Unfortunately, old ass Roger’s sperm did the job first. Although Joan’s husband has been gone a while, I think she can still get away with saying it’s his baby. Even if people suspect the truth, they’ll go along with the lie because it’s the proper thing to do.

      • @Kia, JD: Good point re: Joan not wanting to meet Mrs. Blankenship’s fate. However, all of her plans (meet a wealthy/good man, get him to marry you, live happy life) have not worked out as expected. She thinks having this baby-and having to pass if off as Greg’s-is going to be the exception? You’re right…she does have some wiggle room around the timing of the pregnancy. I thought that as soon as she told Roger how late she was. And, regardless, everyone will except it. That’s how it was (and sometimes still is) done.

    • Scipio Africanus

      Lane’s father is almost certainly an old World War I guy (just like Gene). That makes him gangster, on a certain level.

  • See, I think Joan went ahead with the abortion. As much as she wanted to have a child, and even with the conversation with Roger about passing the child off as her husband’s, I think Joan’s sense of discretion and propriety (namely that she despises being the topic of office talk–which some math- and gestation-savvy person will definitely make the pregnancy if s/he figures out when Joan conceive and by whom–and she loves being the standard of professional womanhood both at Sterling-Cooper and at SCDP) would lead her to get the procedure done. No pregnancy, no questions, no gossip. And, as @Kia JD stated, Joan has not expressed any qualms getting an abortion. I also think that she told the mom the lie about having a 13-year-old daughter because, her being as secretive as she is, Joan wasn’t trying to hear some “you’re-too-old-to-be-so-careless” flak about her being at an abortion clinic from a stranger.

    Lane and Toni: I didn’t get the idea that Lane is a progressive for loving Toni (interracial dating doesn’t magically make a person a progressive) so much that he simply adored her, unlike Paul and Sheila. I also don’t think his liking Toni is random, either. From the conversation between Toni, Don, Daddy Pryce, and him, Lane’s been visiting that Playboy club for a while, enough to meet, charm, and court Toni. (Lane, according to Toni, is probably one of her few customers, probably at his insistence.) It was random to us viewers b/c we didn’t see that build-up built into his storyline. But I was shocked to see the physical assault and verbal coercion from Daddy Pryce to get Lane to go back to England to rectify his marriage. It spoke volumes of what Lane may have gone through–and never got over–in his relationship with his father.

    • The violence Crazy Daddy Pryce inflicted on Lane really disturbed me. Lane is a grown man and is still being terrorized by his father. That made me so sad.

      I don’t know. As I mentioned upthread, I think Lane may actually end his marriage and come back to be with Toni. It was just surprising and odd how their relationship was presented…it came out of left field. Then again, Lane hasn’t had much screen time since he and Don had their guys’ night out some episodes ago.

      I do hope that they portray the relationship Toni and Lane’s in a respectful, loving way (vs. Lane and the Chocolate Bunny jump-off). I would hate for her to disappear in the way Shelia did.