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Episode 3: Marriage of Figaro

Mad Men episode 103 main

Pete returns from his honeymoon, excited about his new marriage, but conflicted about his past encounter with Peggy. After his business relationship with Rachel takes an unforeseen turn, Don attends a party which further illuminates his increasing dissatisfaction with his present life. Read more...

Don, flipping through the latest issue of Life Magazine, happens upon the latest Volkswagen ad: a black and white photograph of the car with the word "Lemon" in bold letters. A tap on the shoulder interrupts his train reading. "Hey Dick," says a portly man named Larry Krizinksy as if the two were old friends. "Old Dick Whitman, what are the chances?"

Don awkwardly smiles, and without ever correcting the name, makes small talk until Larry's stop. Only then does Don breathe a sigh of relief and return to his magazine.

The morning rush on Madison Avenue is evident by the crowded elevators. Just before the doors to an elevator close, Pete sneaks in, back from his long honeymoon. All the way upstairs, through the bullpen and toward Pete's office, the men all ask for salacious details and everyone else gives him a warmer welcome than expected.

"When did this place get so friendly," he asks as he opens his door. In his office, he finds a Chinese man, woman and an elderly woman eating as chickens run about aimlessly. The entire office erupts in laughter. They paid the family to be there.

Once the practical joking subsides, Pete approaches Peggy to get in on a meeting with the creative team. Before joining Harry, Paul and Salvatore in Don's office he pauses to tell Peggy that he's married now. Lowering her voice, she says she understands, despite her look of disappointment.

Although the meeting was to discuss Secor laxatives, constipation, oddly enough, isn't on their minds. The Volkswagen ad, however, is. The men debate whether the copy was a brilliant piece of advertising or whether the ad detracted from the product. "Love it or hate it, the fact is, we've been talking about it for the last 15 minutes," Don says.

Over at the coffee cart, Joan returns a tattered copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover to Marge, one of the switchboard ladies. The book, a 1928 novel that was banned for its explicit sex scenes and four-letter words, sparks Peggy's interest. With some prodding, she borrows it.

A bit later, the conference room fills with Don, Pete, an executive from the research department and Rachel Menken, the Jewish department store owner. While the researcher presents a report on top competitors such as Saks, Don's cuff link falls off and slides toward Rachel. Without missing a beat, she flicks it back. They smile and lock eyes. Pete notices. The researcher then gives his recommendations, including having a personal shopping service and designer collections, both of which are current staples of Rachel's company. No one from Sterling Cooper bothered to come into her store, and Don promised to correct the oversight.

"Don't try to convince me you were ever unloved," Don says as he takes her hand in his. He lifts her face up and kisses her deeply. She kisses back. When their lips part, Don pulls her close and quietly admits that he's married.

Shocked, Rachel asks if he does this all the time. Before he can answer, she tries to maintain her professionalism -- she'll keep the account with Sterling Cooper, but she wants someone else on it.

The next morning, Don wakes up to his 6-year-old daughter Sally: "It's my birthday!" Betty, already dressed, begins preparing for the party they'll be throwing and instructs Don to build the "P-L-A-Y-H-O-U-S-E."

Soon, the guests arrive, including Francine and her husband Carlton, Janet and Henry Darling, Nancy and Chet Wallace and Jack and Marilyn Farrelly. Betty admits to inviting new neighbor Helen, much to Francine's chagrin. When Helen arrives with her son Glen, she offers a gift in Christmas wrapping.

The children play around the house as the men share jokes in the living room and whisper about Helen's car choice -- a Volkswagen -- and the women talk about their honeymoons in the kitchen -- not-so-delicately bringing up Helen's single status. All the while, Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" plays on the radio in the background. Don, filming the goings-on with his new 8mm camera, even catches Carlton volunteering his paternal skills to an unamused Helen. He also happens upon Janet and Henry in a passionate kiss identical to his with Rachel.

Flustered, Don leaves to pick up the cake. Nearly an hour later, Don still hasn't returned and Betty begins to worry. As the Farrellys begin to leave, Helen saves the day with a Sara Lee cheesecake which she takes out of her freezer.

Meanwhile, Don's car is parked alongside the railroad tracks. He sits inside and drinks, lost in his own thoughts. When he arrives back at home, Betty -- unable to remove her kitchen gloves -- walks into the living room to find him playing with the children and Sally's birthday gift - a young golden retriever. Betty can only comment, "I don't even know what to say." She turns and walks away. Don kisses Sally, rolls onto his back and closes his eyes once more.

Mad Men Season 1

View photos from Episode 103, "Marriage of Figaro"

Guest stars:
Roger Sterling - John Slattery
George Pelham - Alastair Duncan
Carlton Hanson - Kristoffer Polaha
Francine Hanson - Anne Dudek
Helen Bishop - Darby Stanchfield
Chet Wallace - Drew Wicks
Marilyn Farrelly - Jeanne Simpson
Joyce Darling - Adria Tennor
Jack Farrelly - Price Carson
Ernie Hanson - Josiah Polhemus
Glen Bishop - Marten Holden Weiner
Andy Darling - Jonathan Nail
Nancy Wallace - Kate Connor
Sally Draper - Kiernan Shipka
Robert Draper - Maxwell Huckabee
Allison - Alexa Alemanni
Hildy - Julie McNiven
Judy - Jennifer Fitzgerald
Carol - Lauren Hackman
Chinese Man - Michael David Cheng
Conductor - Kent Kasper

Writer: Tom Palmer

Director: Ed Bianchi

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Next Episode: New Amsterdam

Mad Men episode 104 main

Pete's professional and personal lives become more complicated as he struggles to assert power in both. While facing pressure from his wife regarding a new apartment, he further alienates Don and endangers his own position at Sterling Cooper.

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