'Mad Men' Review: "Tea Leaves"

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Fat Betty!  ‘Mad Men’ Season 5 pours out its second (technically, third) episode of the year, as Betty Francis (January Jones)  faces the reality of a health scare, while Peggy picks out a new copywriter and Harry works with Don to recruit The Rolling Stones for a commercial!

Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode “A Little Kiss” saw everyone settling into their new roles, though nothing compared to Megan Draper's sexy little dance number,  so what will the latest episode bring?  More singing and dancing?  Nope, but how about Fat Betty?!

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ episode two “Tea Leaves!”

Henry Francis calls out to Betty that a car has arrived to take them to an event, while Sally Draper desperately tries to zip up a newly fat Betty!  Unable to feel comfortable in her wardrobe, Betty opts not to accompany her husband.  Elsewhere, the ultra-svelte Megan Draper dresses up to impress Heinz at a dinner meeting with Don.  The meeting goes well, until the client suggest Don try to recruit The Rolling Stones for a beans ad.  Not even Megan Draper's bodacious bod could make that one happen.

Back at the office, Pete announces that Mohawk airlines is indeed returning to the firm, while Roger will take them on as clients.  For that purpose, Roger insists they hire a new copywriter to take on Mohawk full-time.  After Don revels in the good news, Harry informs him that he has a way to talk to the Rolling Stones backstage at a show, though Don would prefer not to spend much time with Harry.

Back at her home, Betty receives a visit from Henry’s mother Pauline, telling her that she knows why Betty doesn’t go out, and recommends diet pills as a way to jump-start her weight loss.  After all, she says, it’ll be easy for a pretty young thing like Betty.  Betty then heads to her doctor to be tested for pills, but before he’ll prescribe anything, he finds a lump on her thyroid gland.  Betty flips and calls Don, updating that she’ll need to take tests, but secretly just wanting to hear him say that everything will be alright.  Ain’t that sweet?

With the task having fallen to her, Peggy finds a potential copywriter she likes from a folder emblazoned with “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged,” and against advice she meets with the eager young man, Michael Ginsburg.  Rude to her in spite of his good work, and seemingly desperate only to talk to Don, Peggy quickly ushers him out, but later begrudgingly allows him to meet with Don, provided he doesn’t act as rude or strange.  Meanwhile, even denying her own husband from seeing her naked when she gets out of the tub, Betty heads into the city to take her test, running into her old friend Joyce, who also seems to need treatment.  The two catch up over lunch and muse over the idea of dying from cancer, and how it would affect their children, when a psychic drops by offering to read their tea leaves.  The reader gives Betty an upbeat message, but understandably the woman can’t keep from crying.  Aww, Fat Betty tears.

Later, Roger orders Peggy to give Ginsburg another chance if only to placate Mohawk airlines, assuring her of her worth to the company, as Don and Harry attempt to meet the Stone backstage, and find  themselves turned away from the private area. Clearly uncomfortable, they chat up some young groupies, with Harry typically boasting of his Hollywood connections.  Don tries to get to the heart of what the younger girl identifies with about The Rolling Stones, concluding they make her feel romantic.

At home in bed, Fat Betty pulls Henry in for some overdue squeaky-time, and later that night dreams of the family dressed in black in her household kitchen, clearly mourning her passing.  Sally gets up from the sullen table, and overturns Betty’s chair.  Oo, symbolism!

Don continues chatting with the young girl, Harry and her friend having supposedly made it to talk with the band, and emerging to declare the Stones on board.  Except…the real Stones arrive by helicopter elsewhere, and everyone rushes out in the other direction.  Harry takes his frustration out on a bag of burgers in Don’s car, as they plot out what to tell Heinz about their failure. The night clearly over, Don less than politely rebuffs Harry’s friendly conversation, and kicks him out of the car.

For the fourth of July, Don explains to Megan what's going on with Betty, while the woman herself enjoys a quiet evening with her children at the Francis household.  Flash-forward a few days, and Peggy introduces the wily Ginsburg to Don, who mostly likes his work.  Ginsburg displays an almost alien personality to what came before, singing the praises of wanting to work at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which irritates Peggy, though she and Don agree to give the lad the job.

At home, Betty finally receives the call that her tumor is benign, and chastises herself for simply being fat.  Back at SDCP, Pete unveils to the entire office that Mohawk Airlines is indeed returning to the firm, though in the process he downplays Roger’s involvement with the client.  Don consoles Roger afterward, who’s grown tired of Pete and having to defend his worth to the company.  Don then takes the moment to explain that (as far as he knows) Betty has cancer, and the two muse about Don’s kids growing up with Megan for a mother.  After Roger leaves, Don calls the Francis household, and Henry relays Betty’s good prognosis, though he declines to let Betty know that Don called.

Later, Ginsburg returns home to his crappy apartment, where his father suggests they celebrate the job offer  by getting prostitutes!  Because that’s not weird.

The next day, Betty and Sally share ice cream sundaes, and when Sally declines to finish hers, Betty goes to town on her daughter's ice cream in her wake.  Aww, Fat Betty.

Come on, how much do you love Fat Betty?  Viewers are always quick to jump on January Jones for her character's horrible demeanor and action, but Fat Betty is just so darn adorable that we can't not look past it!  And poor Roger, who's really getting railroaded by Pete.  And what's up with this Ginsburg weirdo?  It's nice to have 'Mad Men' back now, and while it's still early, we definitely like the direction things are heading in.  I mean, come on!  Fat Betty!

Did you get your fill of swingin’ ‘Mad Men’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Mad Men’s latest effort “Mystery Date” on AMC!

Filed Under: AMC, Mad Men
Categories: TV News, TV Reviews
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