Thursday, March 19, 2015

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S3/Ep8, “Souvenir”

Call this the last hurrah of Don and Betty Draper—one last fleeting taste of happiness with a romp to Rome before it all falls apart. It’s also an episode about denial and keeping up appearances. Whether it’s Joan upset that Pete discovers her working in a department store, or Trudy trying to act like she’s come to terms with Pete’s indiscretion with the neighbor’s au pair. Or, in the most obvious example, Don and Betty acting like a couple in love while in Rome; as soon as they return home, real life slaps Betty in the face and she snaps back into her bitter, mean self (the person Don helped create).

Best Scene: After arriving in Rome and taking a refreshing nap, Betty walks out of the hotel like a vision of pure beauty. She sits down at a table, alone, and flirts with a couple men at the next table. And then Don walks over like he doesn’t know her, and they play their little game on the men. It’s a strange thing to do, and perhaps speaks to how their marriage is built on nothing but surface things, but it’s also charming and memorable. It’s sad to see the chemistry and spark these two once had, but lost.  

Best Line: Betty (having kissed Henry Francis for the first time earlier in the episode) to Sally: “The first kiss is very special. … You’re going to have a lot of first kisses. You’re going to want it to be special, so you remember. It’s where you go from being a stranger to knowing someone. And every kiss with them after that is a shadow of that kiss. Do you understand?”

Grade: C+