Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wee Small Hours – Mad Men Episode Summary 3.9

Lee Garner Jr. makes a pass at Salvatore RomanoSynopsis: Conrad Hilton has made it a habit to call Don Draper in the wee small hours of the morning. Finding the need to please the client, Don kowtows to the legendary businessman. Lee Garner Jr. makes a curious demand to Harry Crane putting him in a precarious position where his misjudgment might cost Sterling Cooper the Lucky Strike account. Meanwhile, Betty Draper gives in the urge to resume contact with Henry Francis knowing very well that this could lead to an affair.

Episode Summary: In the wee small hours of the morning, Betty Draper dreams of being caressed by Henry Francis when a ringing telephone awakened her, her husband, and their newborn child. On the other line is Conrad Hilton claiming to have a revelation. He wants Don Draper to wow him with ideas for his international business, but the man will not hand it to him on a silver platter. Conrad Hilton wants Don Draper to earn it. Unable to get back to sleep, Don decides to go to work. Continue reading...

The sun was not yet up when Don Draper drove to work. He catches sight of Suzanne Farrell jogging in the middle of the night. Don offers to bring her home defeating the purpose of her jog, but she rides with him anyway. Don asks her to have coffee with him, but she turns him down.

During a shoot for a Lucky Strike commercial, Lee Garner Jr. forces Pete Campbell to smoke a cigarette despite his reluctance to do so. Unwilling to disappoint the client, Pete takes a drag, and ends up coughing his lungs out the rest of the shoot. Lee then critiques Sal’s direction, and insists that he make the change. He asks Harry Crane for his opinion, which did not help Sal’s cause for the cowardly man took the side of the client declaring that they are to do what the client asks. Sal agrees to Lee’s changes gaining favor with the client.

Don Draper once again drives in the wee small hours of the morning hoping to catch Suzanne on her jog, but does not see her. Later that day, Betty Draper receives a letter from the mail from Henry Francis responding to the note she wrote to him asking if anyone else reads his letters. She learns that Henry had put a stop to other people reading his mail, and this put a smile on her face. Moreover, he gives her another mailing address.

Lee Garner Jr. is again hanging around with Salvatore Romano curious about the process of putting together a commercial. Left alone in the editing room as Sal was reviewing the cut, Lee makes a pass at him. This alarms Sal who politely fends off his advances, and asks him to leave in the least offensive way. As though embarrassed at another man seeing through his sexuality, Sal expresses his rage soon after Lee left.

Betty begins writing to Henry, and admits to looking forward to getting his letters in the mail. In her short correspondence, Betty was able to convey her boredom, and frustration for having no outlet to express her thoughts. Moreover, she shows her willingness to getting to know him better.

Harry Crane is at the office with Paul Kinsey watching Perry Mason, but only to make sure that all their commercials run on the spots they have purchased. It was then when he received the call from Lee Garner Jr. asking him to fire Salvatore Romano. Harry argues that only the account team can fulfill his request, but Lee insists that he be the one to do the deed. Moreover, he asks that they keep the matter between the two of them. Paul falling witness to the call asks what the man wanted, and Harry informs him of Lee’s request. Harry believing Lee to be drunk as a skunk when he made the call decides to ignore his demands.

Don Draper was lying on his bed wide-awake when he receives yet another middle of the night call from Conrad Hilton. He was already expecting it, but was surprised when Connie asked to join him for a drink that instant. Don meets Hilton for a drink at his place to listen to the man’s thoughts. Connie believes that it is his mission to bring America to the world. He believes America to be a force of good, because Americans believe in God, while the communist’s strongest belief is the opposite. He makes a reference to The Marshall Plan, and declares that everyone who saw the American way wanted to be like Americans. He remembers that of all the criticisms thrown at Nikita Khrushchev, the man had a meltdown at the news of him being barred entry to Disneyland. Despite his strong political views, Hilton detests mixing politics in any of his campaigns. However, he asks for goodness and confidence. The nutty, lonesome Conrad Hilton is grateful to have Don listen to his thoughts, and confesses to seeing him as more than a son. He has great respect for Don for he did not have what his sons have, and he understands.

Henry drops by the Draper’s house unable to fight the urge to see Betty. This delights and frightens Betty who knows that Carla will be back at the house soon. True enough, the helper arrives at the house. Betty introduces the man as somebody who works for Governor Rockefeller, and Henry pretends to have dropped by to see if they could have the fundraiser at the Draper’s. Carla is no fool.

The time has come for the screening of the new Lucky Strike commercial. Both Sal and Harry are on the edge annoying Roger Sterling. Pete Campbell arrives with Lee Garner Jr. in high spirits. His mood quickly changed at seeing Sal in the room. He looks at Harry with great disappointment, and walks out of the room leaving both Pete and Roger confounded. Pete runs after Lee, while Roger tries to make sense of things. Harry finally relays the request Lee had asked of him, and his reasons for not acting on it. Although stunned at the demand, and the channels their client went through, Roger wastes no time to act on it. Roger Sterling fires Salvatore Romano. Pete, unable to get Lee to speak, returns only to fall witness to Sal’s termination. Roger orders Harry to have Don fix the mess despite not being involved with the Lucky Strike account.

Harry Crane does as he is told. He walks to Don’s office followed by Sal. Harry informs Don of the incident, and Roger’s orders to have him fix the mess that might cause them to lose the $25 million dollar account if they haven’t already. Don orders Harry to leave the office, and pries from Sal what truly happened. Sal tells Don about the incident in the editing room, but did not find sympathy from the creative director. Don expected him to do the client’s bidding, and had in a subtle way expressed his disgust at people like Sal. Don makes Sal’s termination official.

Don arrives home, and Betty could see the unease in Carla. To hide the maliciousness of Henry’s visit, she decides to inform Don of the impromptu meeting in front of her making a story of Francine Hanson sending him over to ask to use their house for a fundraiser claiming that hers is not big enough. Don couldn’t care less, but both women knew what truly is going on.

Betty gives Henry a call in Don’s earshot to inform him that her husband has agreed to hold the fundraiser at their house. This surprised Henry who knew very well that the fundraiser was an alibi meant to mask his reasons for paying Betty a visit. Betty sets the date surprising Henry even more, but explains that she has to keep up with pretenses to corroborate their alibi.

Don Draper pitches campaign ideas for Hilton’s international business to Conrad Hilton. His whole campaign revolves around the idea that Hilton can provide the American traveler the luxuries one enjoys at home. Don is delighted to see the man pleased with the pitch. All was well until Connie expressed his disappointment at not seeing an ad about the moon. Dismissing Hilton’s chatter about the moon, Don did not realize that the man was serious about it, and expected him to indulge him. Conrad Hilton leaves Sterling Cooper greatly disappointed with Don Draper.

Betty Draper throws the fundraiser for Rockefeller on the agreed date, and could not help but be disappointed to learn that Henry Francis will not be attending the fundraiser. He had sent on his behalf his colleague Elsa Kittridge. The following day, a livid Betty Draper drives to the office of Henry Francis. Betty, infuriated with the man for having her wait for him only to learn that he will not come, throws the lockbox with the donations from the fundraiser at him. Henry explains that he did what he did to lure her into coming to him. It was the only way for them to see each other given Betty’s marital status. Henry kisses Betty passionately, and she returns accordingly. He locks the door of his office. As though being awakened from a trance, Betty realizes the inappropriateness of their rendezvous. She puts a stop to their affair, and says goodbye.

Roger Sterling drops by Don’s office to scold him. Hearing of the news of Hilton leaving the meeting upset, Roger sees an opportunity to kick the man while he’s down. He claims that Don has put all his efforts into pleasing Conrad Hilton that the creative director has ignored his other responsibilities indirectly blaming him for the incident with Lucky Strike.

Carla was solemnly listening to Martin Luther King’s eulogy for the martyred children on the radio when Betty arrived. She immediately switches the station. Betty informs her that she did not have to do that, and asks what she was listening to. Carla tells Betty that it was the funeral service for the victims of the Birmingham tragedy. Betty, although tolerant, did convey to Carla about her reservations on civil rights. Carla was taken aback by this revelation, but says nothing.

Don wakes Betty to tell her that Hilton called, and he must go to the office. It was a lie. Unable to fight the urge, Don knocks on Suzanne’s door. The woman has been flirting with him for months, and the time has come to act on it. Suzanne who knows very well what is at stake tries to fight the urge to carry on an affair with her student’s father. Don could not care less. Suzanne and Don begin their affair.

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