Thursday, March 19, 2015

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S3/Ep9, “Wee Small Hours”

This episode focuses on the unmentionables, and what people try and hide from one another. It breaks down into three story arcs: Lee Garner Jr. makes a pass at Sal, which Sal rejects and eventually leads to him abruptly leaving Sterling Cooper; Betty ramps up her flirtations with Henry Francis, only to ultimately reject him; and Don and Conrad Hilton draw closer together in a father/son relationship, which makes Hilton’s rejection of Don’s proposed campaign all the more painful for Don. Roger accuses Don of being in over his head, so Don seeks solace in the only way he’s ever known: the bed of another woman.

Best Scenes: Hilton appears in three scenes, spread throughout the episode, that tell his own little story arc within the broader framework of the show. The first scene opens the show, with Hilton calling Don in the middle of the night and sharing some ideas with him. The second scene is also at night, when he summons Don back to NYC for a drink; here he speaks to Don on a personal level, calling him more than a son. The final scene, in the broad daylight of the Sterling Cooper conference room, sees the enigmatic Hilton reject Don’s campaign for reasons Don doesn’t fully understand—some nonsense about wanting Hilton hotels on the moon. Don clearly misjudged their relationship, as he is personally devastated by Hilton’s rejection, in the way a son would be crushed by the disapproval of his father. Conrad Hilton is one of the best side characters to ever appear on “Mad Men”—every single scene he appears in is gold.

Best Lines: Hilton: “It sounds like pride, but I want Hiltons all over the world, like missions. I want a Hilton on the moon—that’s where we’re headed. … America is wherever we look. Wherever we’re going to be.”

Hilton: “It’s my purpose in life to bring America to the world—whether they like it or not.”

Hilton to Don: “You’re my angel, you know that? You’re like a son. In fact, sometimes you’re more than a son to me. Because you didn’t have what they had, and you understand.”

Hilton to Don: “What do you want from me, love? Your work is good. But when I say I want the moon, I expect the moon.”

Grade: A-