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Tea Leaves

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Tea Leaves
TeaLeaves5x3
Production
Season 5 Episode 3
Air date 1 April 2012
Written by Erin Levy
Matthew Weiner
Directed by Jon Hamm

Previous
A Little Kiss, Part 2
Next
Mystery Date

Sypnosis

As Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce tries to build upon its current business. Don and Harry indulge a client, while coming face to face with the younger generation. Betty has a health scare. Peggy is given new responsibility of hiring a new copywriter and Roger and Pete go head to head.

Detail

Betty has gained weight over the past few months, causing her self-confidence to drop significantly and her sex life with Henry to flatline. This prompts an intervention of sorts from Henry's mother, Pauline, who suggests diet pills. When Betty goes to the doctor's office in an attempt to attain diet pills, the doctor refuses. After a routine examination, he finds a possible cancerous lump in Betty's throat.

Betty in tea leaves

Betty getting ready, in Tea Leaves.

Don in tea leaves

Don backstage at the Rolling Stones, in Tea Leaves.

Betty returns home in a hysteric fever. She decides not to tell Henry anything about her visit with the doctor and calls Don instead, who reassures her that everything will be alright. Betty begins to confront the legacy of her life and the effect her death would have on her loved ones. Several days later, the doctor calls back to tell her the tumor is benign. Henry holds a despondent Betty in his arms. She ponders her life as simply a sad, fat housewife.

The Heinz executive speaks with Don about his daughters' obsession with The Rolling Stones, and floats an idea about getting The Rolling Stones to do a commercial for Heinz. Don agrees, though he is unimpressed with the idea. Harry and Don make a Saturday night trip to a Rolling Stones concert to meet with Stones manager Allen Klein. They end up making conversation backstage with two pot-smoking female fans. When Harry leaves with one of the girls to talk with Klein, Don waxes poetic with one over her love for the band. She makes an insulting comment about the older generation, but Don responds that the older generation is simply worried for youth. Harry fails miserably at his attempt to meet with The Rolling Stones, but Don is indifferent.

Back at home, Don ls awoken by Megan who is ready for them to leave for a meet up with her friends at Fire Island. Don tells her that Betty may have cancer. Megan is concerned but Don keeps her involvement at a distance. Meagn is supportive, and relutantly he leaves with her to go out. 

Pete is in talks with Mohawk Airlines for their return to the agency, but the arrangement calls for Roger to handle the day-to-day business, much to the disappointment of Pete.

Peggy and ginsberg in tea leaves

Peggy telling Ginsberg he got the job. Episode: Tea Leaves.

Roger puts Peggy in charge of hiring a new male copywriter for Mohawk. Stan advises her to hire a mediocre employee to make her competition lighter. Peggy, however, chooses to interview a talented young Jewish man named Michael Ginsberg, whose work impresses her. When Peggy interviews Michael, he is over-the-top in his disposition. However, Roger forces her to bring Michael to Don for a second interview. During his interview with Don, Michael is more upstanding and professional, which puzzles Peggy, and Michael is hired.

Pete in tea leaves

Pete giving a speech in Tea Leaves.

At the end of the work day, Pete makes an exuberant speech to the entire SCDP workforce regarding his success in renewing the Mohawk Airlines account. Roger walks out of the speech in anger, loathing his apparent descent in value to the agency.

Don calls the Francis residence to inquire about Betty's well being. Henry answers, tells Don she is fine and 'out of the woods'. Don is relieved, but Henry cuts him short saying they are about to put supper on the table. Betty asks who called and Henry says 'nobody'.

Megan enters Don's office and he advises her that Betty is fine. Megan is relived. Don, somewhat patronizingly, tells Megan she's 'such an optimist'. Megan fires back saying Betty just needed an excuse to call Don. 

Michael returns home to find his domineering father reading the paper. Michael's personality changes yet again, this time more shy and reserved. When he learns of his son's success, he tells his son that he needs to meet girls and Michael's father engages in prayer with his son.

In the final scene, Betty and Sally each have an ice cream sundae at the kitchen table. Sally asks to be excused to watch television. When she does, after finishing her own ice cream, Betty slides Sally's over and happily finishes it.

Cast

Main Star

Guest Star

Co-Star

  • Mari Weiss as Cecillia
  • Ryan K. Smith as Bouncer
  • Lyn Mahler as Nurse

Trivia

  • Actress January Jones became pregnant in between the fourth and fifth season of the series. Instead of writing in a pregnancy for Betty Hofstadt, the writers opted to write in a weight gain. January Jones wore a fat suit during the filming of this episode, the same technique used by Elizabeth Moss during the first season when her character encountered a similar weight gain. A body double was used for the scene in which Betty rises from the bathtub.
  • This was the first episode of the series directed by Jon Hamm.
  • The episode takes place in July of 1966, right around Independence Day.
  • Closing song over credits: You Are 16 Going on Seventeen from The Sound of Music Original Soundtrack

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