Friday, August 15, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1/Ep9, “Shoot”

Matthew Weiner once said “Mad Men” is “about the conflicting desires in the American male, and the people who pay the price for that—the women.” Consider “Shoot” Exhibit A of that concept. Though the plot of this episode revolves around Don being courted by a much larger agency, it’s really about Betty’s self-respect and self-worth, or lack thereof. This is one of the series’ best episodes focusing on Betty, as it shows all sides of a character that is much deeper than people give her credit for—both the people on the show and those watching at home.

Best Scene: Certainly the final shot of the episode is the most famous—Betty firing a pellet gun at the neighbor’s pigeons with a cigarette dangling from her mouth, teeth bared like a feral lioness. But for me, the scene that steals the show comes right before, when Don and Betty sit down to dinner—after she’s been let go from the fake modeling job at the rival agency—and Don affirms for her how important her role is as a mother to their two children. I’ve watched this scene maybe a half-dozen times, and I still can’t decide whether Don’s being genuine … or if he’s just making a pitch to a client who wants to hear what he’s selling. Maybe he doesn’t even know.

Best Line: Betty to Don, about Sally: “Did you see those big tears? I really want to get a picture of her crying one day.” The way she says it—all happy and proud—is super-creepy.

Grade: B+

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