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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

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A Little Kiss, Part 2
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Mystery Date

"Tea Leaves" is the third episode of the Season Five of Mad Men. It is also the fifty-fifth episode overall.

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.

Betty in tea leaves

Betty getting ready, in Tea Leaves.

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 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.

Don in tea leaves

Don backstage at the Rolling Stones, in Tea Leaves.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cast

Main

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

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

Notes

  • This was the first episode of the series directed by Jon Hamm.
  • The episode takes place in July of 1966, right around Independence Day.
  • Actress January Jones became pregnant in between the fourth and fifth season of the series. Instead of writing in a pregnancy for Betty Francis, 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.

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