Mad Men recap: “You’re nothing but a liar. An aging, sloppy, selfish liar.” Ouch!

Mad Men recap, Season 7, Episode 9 “New Business” (original air date April 12, 2015)

Mad_Men-Don_DraperMad Men Episode 9 New Business opens with a Don and Betty 2.0 moment — he’s in the Francis kitchen making milkshakes for their sons when she returns late from a function (some distant Rockefeller) and they discuss her evening. She’s enrolling at a university in fall, pursuing a master’s in psychology. “I know it’s beyond your experience, but people love to talk to me. They seek me out to share their confidences.” Don jokes that it should be fascinating for everyone involved, and they seem like a couple again. Then Henry appears. Don hurries away, but looks back at a warm nuclear family scene that could have included him.

Don and Megan clash over cash — she’s tired of asking for allowance and wants the divorce settlement finalized. Don blames her aggressive lawyer and the mess the McCann deal made of his finances, but Megan’s no longer starry-eyed. “You were a millionaire when I met you,” she scoffs. Don deflects blame to the lawyers – for now.

Harry Crane wants Don’s permission to “help” Megan get a new agent – by which he means meeting her for lunch then suggesting they go to his hotel room to make some phone calls (wink, wink). When Megan turns him down, he suggests she’s not getting jobs because she won’t play the casting couch game. Then he races back to the office to do damage control. She’s “unbalanced,” and he can’t help her, he tells Don. Right. There’s a reason no one likes you, Harry.

MadMen_waitressDon can’t forget the waitress from the diner, but she no longer works there. He gets a tip from her former coworker and shows up at her new gig. She’s not happy about it. He admits he was looking for her and leaves his card. She declines his dinner invitation, but calls him after her shift — and some booze. She had to go home to Racine, Wis., to get divorced. Don says he’s in the same boat. He invites her over; she says no but arrives at his door, declines a drink and plays coy. “It’s three in the morning. You know why you’re here.” Don’s new-found honesty unnerves her.

These two could save each other. They ask important questions and actually listen to the answers. There are parallels large and small. She flipped a coin between San Francisco and New York. “I always wanted to live here,” Don replies. She says his apartment looks like something in Architectural Digest; he says he came to NYC to see all the things from the magazines. They’ve both run away from previous selves and lives.

In the morning Diana find Sally’s room. I lied to you, she says. “Already?” he asks. Oh, Don. She tells him that she had a daughter who died of the flu. As they sit holding each other, we see how it could work – and how it won’t.

Cinzano Vermouth is Peggy’s account, and Stan is chafing because she chose Pima Ryan rather than him to shoot the photos. At the shoot, Pima projects control and artistic mystique, and Stan, though outwardly surly, is gaga. Pima plays him, offering honest critique of his photography as an excuse to get into SC’s dark room and develop her own images. Trysting ensues, and Stan’s on top of the world, planning future work with Pima. But Pima’s tried her seduction routine on Peggy, too. She’s a hustler, Peggy tells Stan, and won’t be working for SC in the future.

You must sit out there all the time, Diana tells Don, gazing at the balcony. I want to see where you live, he says. But when he arrives at her place, it’s eerily like the hotel room where Adam hung himself. He’s brought her a gift – a guide to New York – but she rebuffs him, confessing to having another daughter still living in Racine with her ex-husband. Don sees that she’s pushing him away to punish herself. He leaves her to her vodka and guilt, gently placing the New York guide on her bed on the way out.

Mad_Men_MeganMegan’s in New York to collect her things from the apartment, maman et sa sœur along for moral support – and a swanky hotel stay at Don’s expense. While Megan is wrangling with Harry, Marie bullies the movers into taking all of Don’s furniture, and Roger into coming and paying the movers for hauling extra cargo. A shaken Megan arrives at the bare apartment to find Marie and Roger hastily dressing after sex.

Pete continues his insightful streak as he drives Don to a client golf outing, waxing philosophical about divorce and elusive second chances. “You think you’re going to begin your life over and do it right,” Pete frets. “But what if you never get past the beginning again?” Don tells him to watch the road. (And we all glance over our shoulders at Matt Weiner.)

A disillusioned Megan isn’t pulling her punches as she and Don wait for an attorney. “You’re nothing but a liar. An aging, sloppy, selfish liar.” Don reaches for his checkbook and gives her $1M. “I know it’s not real. Nothing about you is,” she says. But it is real, and despite saying she wants nothing of his, she pockets the check and leaves Anna Draper’s ring on the table.

Don at last arrives home to find the apartment empty of furniture and the cynical “C’est Si Bon” takes us into the credits. All art is selling something, Pima tells Stan at the photo shoot. Weiner and Co. are selling, as the song says, “these little thrills that are worth more than a million.” And it’s so very, very good.

Season 7B Recaps / Episode 8 /