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The Good News

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The Good News
Season Four Episode 03
Air date 8 August 2010
Written by Jonathan Abrahams
Matthew Weiner
Directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Christmas Comes
But Once a Year
The Rejected

"The Good News" is the third episode of Mad Men, Season 4 and the forty-second episode, overall.


Joan and Greg are in the midst of planning a family, although with Greg's impending Army career together with Joan's hectic work schedule makes the prospect of a family uncertain. Don returns to California, only to receive unwelcoming news about Anna. Lane turns to a fellow co-worker to find solace in his complicated home-life.

The good news joan dr
Joan has a check-up with Dr. Emerson, in The Good News.
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Joan is at the doctor's office, getting a checkup. Her doctor playfully suggests she join her husband at basic training as she would boost the men's morale. The doctor's also surprised Joan's been married two years but still hasn't tried for a child. She tells him that she and her husband have a plan and that she just wants to know "if", but then she corrects herself, "when" she and Greg can start a family. She worries her previous "procedures" may affect her fertility but her doctor assures she'll be fine.

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Joan's attempts to 'butter-up' Lane turn sour, in The Good News.
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Crane tells Don that someone might try to cast him in LA, where he has a stopover before his arrival in Acapulco for his winter vacation. Lane strolls in and reminds Crane about a traffic meeting later that afternoon. He drops off some forms to Don to say before bidding him Happy New Year if he doesn't see him before they both leave.

Joan attempts to butter up Lane by offering to have Caroline (Roger's secretary) get some fried chicken for the both of them since she knows Lane fancies fried chicken as well. Her ulterior motive is to ask for some time off in January because Greg is working on New Year's Day.
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Don returns to Anna, in The Good News.
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Lane asks her to ask how her husband would feel if a nurse asked for time off after a holiday and explained to her the budget cannot support her paid leave and also he will need her to look over the books for the new year. He further tells her that although most men can't resist her, he proclaims himself as the "incorruptible exception. Fried chicken, indeed!" Joan is then further belittled as Lane tells her "[not] to go and cry about it."
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Cracks begin to show in Joan and Greg's marriage. The Good News.
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Don arrives in LA and goes off to visit Anna Draper who has broken her foot. Anna's sister, Patty, and her college-aged daughter Stephanie (Anna's niece) come over. They've been helping since Anna broke her foot. Patty tells Don to keep her off her feet. Anna invites Patty and Stephanie for dinner but Patty says she's busy, to which Anna replies "Good. I only wanted [Stephanie] to stay." When Patty asks how she'll get home, Don offers to drive her and Anna also offers that she could spend the night. Stephanie asks why she's staying. Anna says she wanted Don to meet her and that she knows Stephanie has grass.

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Anna takes Don and Stephanie to dinner, The Good News.
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Joan arrives home to her husband who has to leave for work. They argue about her not being free for his vacation in January, especially given the uncertainty about his possible deployment to Vietnam.

Don, Anna and Stephanie have dinner at a casual place. Stephanie asks where Don went to school. She calls him "a self-made man" when he replies that he "strung together a few nonconsecutive years in night school, City College." Stephanie excuses herself for a bit while Don tells Anna that Betty broke his heart after he told Betty the truth about his past. Stephanie comes back and puts a song on so Don and Anna can dance but instead Don and Stephanie dance together.

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Stephanie makes a confession to Don, The Good News.
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After bringing Anna back home, Don drives Stephanie home. Stephanie asks if Don is married or divorced. He asks whether he couldn't just be single, and she replies that she'd be surprised if that were so. She asks if he's playing the dating game and talks about how people never know what's wrong with themselves but that their dates can tell straight away. Don is starting to make a move on Stephanie but she asks what he's doing and he says he doesn't know. He tells her she's young and beautiful. She confesses that Anna has cancer and that not even Anna knows because the doctors said she doesn't have long and doesn't need to know. She hadn't wanted Don to leave without knowing about Anna's condition.

The good news anna and don
Don and Anna share a moment, as he paints her wall. The Good News.
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Back at Anna's, she's fallen asleep on the couch. Don puts her to bed, then sits on the couch, smokes a cigarette, thinking about the situation, all night. He decides to paint a wall she never got around to painting. She wakes up, afraid he had already gone, but relieved to see he him still there. She tells him he doesn't have to paint the wall but when he insists, she says she's "not gonna fight watching Dick Whitman paint my living room in his shorts." at which they both laugh. Anna swears she saw a UFO once that knocked her sideways and made her think of "how flimsy" her reality might be.
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Don confronts Patty, in The Good News.
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Don comments that you don't need to see a UFO to question reality and that it's not a great way to think about things. Anna tells Don that she loves him despite knowing everything about him. Patty bursts in with groceries, taken aback at the smell of pot and at Dick still being around, and in his boxers. She storms out after telling Dick, "You just can't keep your pants on, can you?". Don quickly pulls on pants, follows Patty to her car and confronts her about Anna's cancer, asking, "What's your plan? Just gonna let her wake up one day in agony and you tell her it's over?"
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An enraged Joan confronts Lane, The Good News.
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Patty insists that the cancer is very advanced and that Anna should be kept in the dark, since she hasn't yet caught on. Patty tells Don to go to Acapulco but he says how important Anna is to him. Patty tells him he's just a man with a checkbook and that he has no say. She asks him to "please do the decent thing" and she notes that the longer he stays, the more likely he'll be tempted to say something he shouldn't.

Anna would love nothing more but for Don to stay, but as hard as it is for him, he tells her that he has to go, even though it's apparent that he wants to stay and do everything he can for her.

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"Dick + Anna '64" - The Good News.
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At the office, Joan is removing pencils from the ceiling tiles when Peggy delivers a package to her -- a bouquet of roses. Peggy comments that it's "encouraging to see someone happily married around here." Joan tells Peggy to go home and that she'll cover for her. Peggy says that she has to buy a dress and Joan assumes it's to stand out amongst all the girls going out on New Year's Eve. Peggy tells her that she's actually spending the holiday with her boyfriend. Joan reads the card sent with the flowers and her demeanor turns ugly. She sharply tells Peggy "Happy New Year" before storming off to Lane's office. Apparently Lane sent flowers both to his wife, and to Joan in apology for not giving her time off, but Joan received the flowers with the card meant for Lane's wife which read,
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Don and Anna hug for the last time, The Good News.
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"Darling, I've been an ass. Kisses, Lane." She throws them at him, insulted. Lane shouts at his assistant, Sandy to come in, who defends herself and says it's not her fault the messages were switched. Joan scolds her, saying that the fact that she cannot take the blame is "egregious". Sandy doesn't know what it means, to which Joan replies, "It means I can't believe I hired you." Lane asks what the note to his wife said. Much to his chagrin, Sandy tells him that it read "Joan, forgive me. Lane." Sandy is fired.
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Joan and Greg celebrate the New Year, The Good News.
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At Anna's, Don is dressed and ready to go. He sees Anna painting a flower on the wall he had finished. She says he inspired her and asks if he'd like to sign his work. He signs the wall at the bottom "Dick + Anna '64". They hug each other tightly as Don tells her she can always call him when she needs anything. His eyes red, he bids Anna goodbye for possibly the last time. On a red-eye flight, the flight attendant wishes Don a happy new year. Don looks sadly at the noisemaker on his tray.

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Joan's emotions take over, The Good News.
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Up early, Joan has prepared a New Year's breakfast for her husband, who has just gotten off his shift. She says that since they missed the coming of the New Year in New York, they could celebrate the New Year in Hawaii, and she gives him a lei. As she starts to slice up an orange for some fresh orange juice, she cuts herself badly. Greg impresses her by coming to her rescue and stitching her up right in their apartment, telling her a joke to distract her from the pain. Then she starts to cry.

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"MUNSTAAAA!" - The Good News.
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Don comes back to the office and discovers Lane there. The two men share a drink of some fine liquor Lane's father sent to him before Don heads back to his office. Some time later, Lane is staring up at his ceiling, drunk. Don calls out to him since the office is empty. He wants to go see a movie. They settle on a giant monster movie, Gamera. Lane finds the movie to be "very good" and Don tells him that in the theatre, hand jobs are happening all around them. Lane looks around. A woman shushes Lane and tells them to be quiet but he yells at her in mock-Japanese. He imitates the people in the movie and yells, "Monster!" and points at the screen as the two laugh.

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Don takes Lane out on the town, The Good News.
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At dinner, Don asks if Lane likes New York and he confirms it. Lane opens up a bit to Don, admitting to arguments with his wife and confiding that she won't be returning to New York. Don tells Lane he'll ask his lady friend to bring a friend for Lane. After dinner, Don and Lane are at a comedy show. The comedian jokes that Don and Lane are celebrating an anniversary. Lane yells out, "We're not homosexuals. We're divorced!" as the crowd laughs. Don's "lady friend" and her friend join them at the comedy show. As the next act is about to come on, the comedian quips that he was wrong, they weren't "queers," they were rich.

Back at Don's, Lane's lady friend for the night comments that she likes Don's manly apartment. After getting some drinks, Don spends some time with his lady friend and Lane spends some time with his.

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The first Partners meeting of 1965, The Good News.
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In the morning, Don makes some coffee and Lane insists on paying for the girl. Don tells him she was $25 and Lane gives him $30. Lane thanks him for "the welcome distraction."

The episodes concludes as SCDP holds the first meeting of the new year, 1965.


Guest Starring

  • Elaine Carroll as Janine
  • Gina Torrecilla as Middle-Aged Woman
  • Liesl Ehardt as Stewardess
  • Brian Whelan as Rudy


Lane: "I got a big Texas belt buckle...YEE-HAW!"
- Holding a steak up to his groin at dinner with Don.

Joan: "Breast or thigh?"
- Joan, attempting to butter up Lane.

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