Mid-Week Mad Men: The Milk & Honey Route

What a lovely name for this episode, huh? Well, my sadness is real that there is only ONE episode left of this amazing show. For the first time in forever, I watched this episode as it aired, up way past my bedtime on a Sunday night. I’m glad I did. This episode focuses on two families– Pete Campbell’s and Don Draper’s.

For Pete, opportunity knocks. He is pretty much the only SC&P guy doing well at McCann. He’s poised to be a player on Coca Cola. On the personal side of things, we’ve been seeing a lot more of his ex-wife Trudy and their adorable daughter Tammi. We’ve seen some very successful co-parenting, and Pete at least is sure their relationship has healed. We get sparks of remembrance of the bad times from Trudy, but only when her nosy friend reminds her of such. Duck Phillips basically tricks Pete into a job interview with Learjet. At first, Pete is insulted. Over dinner with his philandering brother, who also took the example from his father, he thinks of why they’re always searching for something better. It’s the Learjet offer, though, that inspires him. Maybe it’s too good to turn down, but maybe it’s just the right move. He drives straight to Trudy and tells her all the things she wanted him to years before. He wants to be a family again and he wants Trudy and Tammi to move to Wichita with him. As Trudy accepts, I can’t help but think Pete is going to have a happy ending. He’s come such a long way!

Betty Draper Francis is not going to have a happy ending. She collapses on the steps at Fairfield and learns that she has aggressive lung cancer and probably less than a year to live. Henry wants her to fight in her last year of life, but Betty’s not having it. Against her wishes, Henry drives out to Sally’s school and tells her the news. She covers her ears as he breaks it to her. “It’s okay to cry,” he tells Sally before breaking down into tears. He brings Sally home to convince her mother to get treatment. This infuriates Betty.

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“He doesn’t know you won’t get treatment because you love the tragedy,” says Sally. Though I agree with this assessment of Betty, I think she’s right in her response that it’s a gift to know when to give up. She’s not going to win this fight. She gives Sally a letter for her to read when she dies. I’m glad Sally read it ahead of time because I wanted to know what it said! “Sally, I always worried about you, because you march to the beat of your own drum,” Sally reads, “But know that’s good. I know your life will be an adventure.” Sally cries and I cry too.

And finally, Don, who is far away with no idea what it going on in the home in which he once resided– Don does speak with Sally at the beginning of the episode before the news, talking of his road trip across America. Yeah he’s not going back. For me, this is not the compelling storyline. There are small town folks eager to abuse Don’s big city deep pockets. A young con man steals money and everyone blames it on Don, the stranger. At the end, Don recovers the money and gives the young con a new opportunity– he leaves him his car and waits for the next bus in Oklahoma.

How will this all end? The unfinished tales are really Peggy’s and Don’s, unless we have more to hear from our other beloved characters. What are you all thinking?!

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