Tuesday, July 27, 2010

'Mad Men' -- Signs of Strain in Betty's New Marriage?

*Warning, spoilers ahead from the recently aired episode of Mad Men.*

While Don Draper stewed in what used to be his living room, sitting on what used to be his sofa, waiting in the dark for the woman who used to be his wife to return home with her new husband – she was late, intentionally, it appears – after he’d put his and her children to bed, Don informed his ex that she and her new spouse had to vacate the house immediately, per their divorce agreement.

When the new hubby, Henry Francis said that their living in the house was temporarily, Don responded, “Believe me Henry, everyone thinks this is temporary.”

The bloom appears to be off the rose when it comes to “newlyweds” Betty and Henry Francis. During the season four premiere, "Public Relations," Henry was seen grimacing as Betty reprimanded Sally and shoved sweet potato into her mouth during Thanksgiving dinner at Henry's mother's house. Later that night, he gently rebuffed Betty’s physical advances in bed, then they heard Sally fumbling in the hallway as she was trying to call Don on the phone.

The one time we saw glimmers of the season three Henry -- the white knight who was going to rescue Betty, take care of her, not take anything from Don, not owe him a thing -- was right after Don had picked up Bobby and Sally. Henry, who’s now the man of that house having “bested” the handsome Don, made the moves on Betty in the front seat of the car while it was parked in the garage, as, some commentators have noted, he did when he was courting her the previous year.

Throw in the fact that Henry seems cowed by his mother, who loathes Betty and disapproves of the marriage (asking him how he can “live in that man’s dirt?”), and I’m surprised by how fast things appear to have gone from promising to not so great. They haven’t even been married a year yet.

Meanwhile, Don's blind date with a younger version of his ex-wife -- whose name even sounded similar to Betty’s (Bethany) -- makes one wonder if Don would ever attempt to woo Betty back, or whether he’s just floundering around trying to figure out how to get back to where he was, a success at work and a success at home. I just hope that he seeks out a partner who's intelligent and insightful and not just young, blond, arm candy.

By the way, was it just me, or did Betty seem to dress -- hair and clothing-wise -- much older than she's seemed in previous seasons? She looked almost matronly to me, which was quite a stark contrast to her get-up in the "Souvenir" episode last season in Italy.

Image credit: Michael Yarish/AMC.


Cooley Horner said...

"I’m surprised by how fast things appear to have gone from promising to not so great..."

Ack, no. I never thought that relationship was promising. Henry and Betty (Benry?) have had disaster written all over them from day one, and for some reason, I felt some satisfaction watching it fall apart. Don was right--Henry is Betty's life raft--and I'm hoping she'll learn how to be strong on her own this season.

Bill said...

Definitely not surprising. Not certain what Henry saw in Betty, exactly... but she saw a way out, and that was it. His mom's right - Betty's a child. Henry seems serious. Doomed from the beginning.

I think Betty may be dressing for Henry - he's older, stuffier.

Bill said...

I didn't notice the Bethany/Betty similarity... all too true.