‘Mad Men’ Recap: ‘Tea Leaves’ [PHOTOS]
Betty doesn’t know why she has gained weight and her mother-in-law tells her to get diet pills to keep her husband Henry Francis happy. When she goes to the doctor however, he informs her that she has a lump on her thyroid and it could be cancerous. When she gets home and Henry isn’t there to comfort her, she immediately calls Don. This interlude shows that despite all that these two have been through they still care very much for the other person and make up a large part of each others identities.
The Heinz guy wants Don to get The Rolling Stones to do a commercial for them because his teenage daughter in into the band. Don and Megan meet with the Heinz couple at dinner and everyone seems to notice that Megan relates more to teenagers than she does to them. Don also catches onto this when he goes to the Stones concert with Harry Crane and begins talking to the teenage groupies. This, along with Betty’s possible illness puts Don in yet another existential funk. And he does what we’ve predicted all along, he begins to alienate Megan. The honey moon is over folks!
Roger Sterling is also having quite a hard time as he realizes that his place in the office is essentially unnecessary. Before he was relevant due to his connections, but once SCDP split off on their own to start anew he just hasn’t had it the same. Now Pete Campbell is taking over and making Roger look like a drunken old fool, which he often seems to be. Last episode he paid Crane to switch offices with Campbell, showing that he has no power, control, or persuasion like he used to and is grasping to keep his status. His marriage to Jane is also looking ugly.
Don and Roger have a conversation about this after Pete unveils the company’s reconnection with the Mohawk Airline. He takes credit for hiring a new male copy writer, which was actually Peggy’s doing. Roger previously advised her to hire someone without complaint, but after he is embarrassed by Pete he tells Peggy to look out for herself.
Betty becomes extremely distraught over her bleak future. In terms of what Betty has to offer the world, she isn’t anything more than a pretty face to people and she knows that. Somewhere along the line we learned that she got a degree in Anthropology and had a short modeling career, but outside of that Betty has never had a job or done anything outside of looking beautiful. Even motherhood seemed like too much for her and not something she chose to do because she wanted it, but rather because it was expected of her. She has a psychic reading over tea with her old neighborhood girlfriend and the vague prediction makes her cry. Then she starts having terrible dreams about leaving her kids.
In the end, the prognosis is negative and the tumor is benign. But as Betty sits in the kitchen with Sally eating ice cream, we realize that perhaps it has helped change her perspective to go through this event. Before she would be angry with Sally for eating junk food, but as the little girl leaves the room she finishes her daughter’s ice cream happily. This seems to signify that Betty is starting to value being a mother over her place as the beautiful trophy wife.
However, we know from experience that people rarely change in Mad Men. In fact, they keep falling back into their old habits, continually rehashing their old selves and from the previews of next week’s episode we can denote that Don can’t say no to a beautiful woman.