Mad Men - 5x2 - “Tea Leaves” Review
Normally the news of a Betty centric episode would produce a groan from most Mad Men fans, myself included, because while the former Mrs. Draper is an interesting character damn it’s hard at times to like her. The same could be said for most of the characters on the show Roger’s a racist, Don is/was a man whore, Pete can be a little shit but with Betty it’s always hard to get past her flaws because we rarely see anything but them.
This however was one of Betty’s most likable episodes, granted the thing that made her likable her possible impending death but still it’s a step in the right direction. So now we know to make Betty likable just threaten her life in every episode, problem solved.
Seriously though seeing Betty have to confront her death was a very interesting place to take the character and it kind of showed (to me at least) that Betty is a little bit more self-aware then I thought. She seems to know that she tends to not be the nicest person, dealing with her husband or kids, as she talked to her friend saying if she died the kids “would never hear another nice word about her” and that she Henry is her “second husband”. This could just be Betty having a pity party for herself and blaming others but I hope this experience leads to a gentler Betty. Although that hope is very dim considering as she found out she was fine she went immediately into horrible Betty mode calling Henry’s mother fat.
Speaking of Henry however as hard as it is to root for Betty, it’s even harder to root for Henry. I have yet to see a very likable moment out of Henry and the phone call with Don really topped the cake. I understand that Henry would not like Don and I’m asking them to be buds but the fact that he gets upset at Don because Betty told him that she might have cancer is really aggravating. I know we are supposed to think that Henry believes that Betty might still have feelings for Don (which I think she does) but it’s not Don’s fault and I feel like Henry has a tendency to blame Don for his marriage to Betty failing when it’s not Don’s fault. Don Draper is at fault for a lot of things but the fact that Betty and Henry’s marriage is a mess is not one of them. A lot of this does have to do with the fact that Henry who could afford a mansion apparently was living in Don’s house for a year!
And following the getting old sucks storyline we had Roger still dealing with Pete. If you had to ask me who I like better between Pete and Roger, of course it would be Roger but you can’t deny that Pete is better at his job. I hope that Roger realizes that it’s not because Pete is younger that he is stealing his job its because Roger hasn’t been doing his job for years. I think Roger is on the brink of that discovery but I feel like something major has to happen with Roger to really discover that and realize what he is doing wrong. I hope he figures it out soon because I don’t want to the Sterling in SDCP to be replaced fully by Campbell.