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Mad Men Round Table: "The Summer Man"

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Has Don Draper turned a sober corner? Does Betty still crush on her ex-husband? And whose side do you take in the latest Joan v. Peggy feud?

All these question and more are posed below, as our staff analyzes "The Summer Man" in a new edition of the Mad Men Round Table. As always, reader feedback is encouraged...

Did you enjoy the narrative approach of Don's voiceover?
M.L. House: Not really. It was a little too obvious. The show is typically adept at subtle messages and underlying implications. I would have hoped it could have given us a look at a new and improved Don Draper without smashing us over the head with journal entries that placed us squarely inside his brain.

Quiet Pool: Absolutely.  Like I said in my review, it gave me crazy Wonder Years flashbacks.  It was a nice change for Mad Men, which went nicely with all of Don's changes this week.

LJ Gibbs: Yes. It's a different Don, so why not give us a different way to view him?

Mad Men RT

Does Betty still have feelings for Don?
M.L. House: Not positive feelings, no. I think she pitied him in the closing scene. She realized that her neighbor's advice was correct and she was actually the one with the happy home and family life. An overgrown child, Betty can only be happy when she wins an argument. This felt like a victory, hence the smile.

Quiet Pool: Who doesn't have feelings for Don Draper?  But, no, Betty's smile towards Don was a smile of victory.  With the help of Anne Dudek she has realized that she has a much better life than Don and is happy about it.

LJ Gibbs: Yes. For all of Don's vices, this is a man with a magnetic personality. If he can truly overcome his demons and be a loyal, loving father, Betty must be imagining what kind of husband he would make in such a renewed state.

Who should Don end up with, Bethany or Dr. Frye?
M.L. House: I think it depends on how you want Don to end up. If you'd like to this see character actually evolve, you hope he chooses the latter, a woman on par with him intellectually and who would clearly be a more than mere arm candy.

Quiet Pool: Can't it be both?  At least for a while anyway.  In the end, I guess he should be with Dr. Faye, but only because Bethany needs to get back to Steve and the Fellowship of the Sun.

LJ Gibbs: Bethany. You did see that scene in the back of the cab, right?

Choose a side in their feud: Team Joan or Team Peggy.
M.L. House: Team Good Storytelling. This was an example of quality writing that presented two sides to an issue, both of which a viewer could reasonably take. I think Joan was actually correct in the end, but that doesn't mean I fault Peggy for taking the action she did.

Quiet Pool: If you were to ask me to choose between anyone and Peggy in the first three seasons, the answer would have been anyone, but things have changed. I'm Team Peggy all the way on this one. Joan should go cry about not having any friends at the office.

LJ Gibbs: Team Joan. She needs someone to be on her side, considering all she actually has is a self-involved rapist of a husband.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Joan likes power, she's never liked that Peggy has a higher position. She's made that clear from the start. She's also tired of people feeling sorry for her. She's used to being the hierarchy of the office. She's dealt with a million Jimmys before and she'll keep on dealing with them. What Peggy did was sweet but naive. She knows Joan pretty well, she might have realized that Joan would have taken the gesture in the wrong way. I like the Joan and Peggy dynamic, its complicated.

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I think Betty thinks its victory. When really she's starting to realize that Don really does love his kids. He hardly knows Gene because Betty has kept him away from him, hoping that Gene will just attach himself to Henry instead. She wants the perfect family soooo badly that she's having trouble realizing that it doesn't work that way. She may still have feelings for Don but they may be more a regret then love. She may regret that she didn't give him a chance. Everyone hates Don for the way he treated Betty, but really all men cheated back then. Even Harry Crane, the most loyal of the husbands. Don wouldn't have seen it as being disloyal to his family. Betty and Don are products of a very different era.

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So here's my question. Joan is obviously upset because she has no friends at the office. Although she may disagree with how Peggy handled the situation, Peggy is a possible 'friend' and Joan curtly dismisses her just as easily as she has in the past. Seems a strange action for someone desperate to make a connection.

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That was not a smile of victory from Betty. She saw the man she hoped Don could be.What will she do now? Her body language as she leaned out the window of the car,the only way she could distance herself from her current husband. After he admonished her and refused to agree with anything she said shows the difficult decision she might have to make. Go back to Don or stay where she is.This is going to get GOOD.

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I really don't think that was a smile of victory on Betty's part. I think she actually is seeing Don become the caring father and man she wanted him to be while with her.

Mad Men Season 4 Episode 8 Quotes

I should've finished high school. Everything could have been different.

Don

They say as soon you have to cut down on your drinking, you have a drinking problem.

Don
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