"Mad Men" Three Sundays (TV Episode 2008) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Freddy and Ken take a client out to lunch who stirs Roger Sterling's heart.

  • A last minute pitch meeting has Sterling Cooper staffers working double time in preparation. Peggy's family hosts lunch for their church's new priest, and Don and Betty have a family weekend together. Also, Roger Sterling is smitten with a "date" that Pete and Ken provide to a client for a business lunch.

  • Don Draper and much of the staff spend a Sunday at the office when they learn that American Airlines has moved up the date for the presentation. Don and his creative team deliver the goods on time only to learn that Duck Phillips principal contact at AA was fired the morning of the presentation likely meaning that they are sunk. Roger Sterling arranges for a meeting with a prostitute. At home, Betty Draper is fed up at what she sees as Don's lax attitude toward disciplining the children, especially their son Bobby, who seems to be having a spate of minor accidents. Peggy Olson takes a liking to a new parish priest and even gives him some advice for his forthcoming Palm Sunday sermon. Her sister however is having difficulty with Peggy's successful career and apparently happy private life. Bobbie Barrett visits Don at the office, without an appointment, to pitch her idea for a new TV show. That isn't all that she is after.

  • There seems to be familial bliss in the Draper household, especially between Don and Betty. However Bobby is acting out, which leads to a major disagreement between his parents on the issue of discipline. This disagreement places a strain on their bliss, but this change is made all the more clear when Don confesses to Betty for the first time the nature of his own abused childhood. A family that seems to be experiencing even less bliss, specifically below the surface, is Peggy's. Father Gill is a visiting new minister at Katherine's church, one who pays particular attention to Peggy. But a tearful Anita goes to confession and speaks to Father Gill about her frustrations with Peggy regarding Peggy's life, including she having a bastard child. Father Gill indicates to Peggy that he at least knows about the child, which may place walls between Peggy and the Father and Anita. Frustrations are also emerging at Sterling Cooper when staff is called into the office on Palm Sunday for an emergency work session to develop materials for the American Airlines pitch later that week. Don's daughter Sally has to accompany her father that day and adds a bit of spice to the day for some of the staff, especially Joan and Paul. Duck has some devastating news for the hard working staff just prior to the meeting with the American Airlines representatives. Although present at the American Airlines pitch, Roger was inconspicuously absent from the working session, as he is back to his womanizing ways, this time with one of Ken's "paid" girls by the name of Vicky. And Bobbie Barrett pays Don a surprise visit. She uses the guise of pitching a television series for Jimmy for her visit, but in reality her visit was primarily to seduce Don.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • "Mad Men" - "Three Sundays" - August 17, 2008

    Previously On: Don fired Lois; Betty got mad at Bobby; Don got mad about ditching a client; Duck asked Pete to help pitch American Airlines; Betty told her shrink that Don was kind inside and can't raise a hand to the kids; We learned that the state took away Peggy (and Pete's) son; Don couldn't seal the deal with Betty but got it on with Bobbie Barrett.


    In church Peggy listens to the priest sermonize about temptation and living worthily: bearing the cross. She leans over to her sister and says she's not feeling well. Her sister busts her for being hung-over and tells her she can't leave because she has to help their mother with dinner. Peggy bolts anyway and encounters a young priest watching over two kids in a time out. (He's played by Colin Hanks, looking super era-appropriate.) He wonders if she's with one of them. She's not. He tells the kids to stop facing the wall and admonishes them and sends them back in. He approaches Peggy who says she's out to get some air. He says she doesn't have to be polite. She says she didn't want to lie to him "in here." They introduce themselves- he's Father Gil- he realizes who Peggy's mom is and says he's having dinner at her sister's house tonight. He's a visiting priest. He ushers her back in. She has a very un-Catholic twinkle in her eye.

    The phone rings in the Draper bedroom and awakens Don and Betty. It's Carolyn who's reminding them of a barbecue, to which they're supposed to bring steaks. Don leans over and murmurs "cancel." As she talks menu he starts feeling her up and tells her again to cancel. And then as he gets more into it, she does cancel. She hangs up and he hops on top of her saying he had an amazing dream. As they get into it, the kids run in. (Don and Betty are under the covers). They order the kids out.

    Little Sally is making bloody Mary's for Don- number two- who is sitting on the couch reading with Betty and listening to Bing Crosby. Bobby messes with the stereo and Betty reprimands him and he immediately says "I wasn't touching it." Betty than shoots a look at Don. Don pretends to ignore it. Betty sends them off to watch TV. She compliments Bing's silky voice on the stereo and Don, slightly critically, says "he makes everything sound like Christmas." She coaxes Don to dance to the song like she did in high school. He jokes that he worries about her reputation in high school.

    Peggy is setting the table at her sister's as the doorbell rings. Her sister - Anita- yells from the other room for Jerry to get it. Jerry, her husband we presume, is lying on the couch, it looks like something is wrong with his leg or back. (His leg is propped up on a pillow). Jerry complains he can't move. She says even so he should put on some shoes. Peggy gets the door, it's Father Gil. He's hoping Peggy isn't leaving. An older lady rushes in behind him apologizing for her tardiness, she went to Greenwood to see her son. Father Gil would like to meet this son. Peggy points out that Greenwood is a cemetery. D'oh. Peggy's mother swoops in with a welcome. Jerry gets up and explains his back is out. They go to the dinner table and Anita calls the kids. Everyone sits. Anita asks Father Gil to say grace. He does, simply. Then Peggy's mother says "that was beautiful, are you going to say grace now?" He gets up and does something a little more formal. Dinner ends and Peggy brings out a bundt cake. Mrs. Olson says she hears Father Gil has a great singing voice. Anita heard he plays the harmonica. It's the guitar actually. He also learned how to play the mandolin in Rome. He didn't get to meet the Pope but "knew when he was in the building." Mrs. Olson pours a drink for Father Gil, he insists she have a drink too. Peggy goes to get the sherry, which involves hopping up on a kitchen counter in her dress. As she does Mrs. Olson and Anita explain what Peggy does in Manhattan. Mrs. Olson: "She comes up with the words that go in advertisements." Anita: "It's called copywriting, ma." Peggy is just relieved that they know what she does. Mrs. Olson brags on Peggy. Peggy pours and says she has to go. Father Gil looks at his watch and says he'll give her a ride. They thank the Father. The Father thanks them. Peggy takes a picture.

    Out at dinner, Roger Sterling is giving his daughter Margaret and future son-in-law Brooks the once over about their upcoming wedding. She doesn't want a big one. Roger does. He appeals to Brooks, who defers to Margaret. Roger says her mother, Mona, wants a big wedding. Margaret says Mona had one. Mona reminisces about the grandness of the day- Roger's apparently a great dancer- and doesn't want Margaret to miss it. She gets a little teary. Margaret offers no response and instead asks Brooks what he's getting. He says he'll have the mussels if she will. Mona is impressed by the sweetness of this, which does not escape the notice of Roger.

    Father Gil is dropping off Peggy but asks her to wait a moment. He asks her for help with his Palm Sunday sermon, because she's good with the presentations thing. She, honestly, says she doesn't think she's his audience. He appeals to her anyway. She says when she's preparing and she has confidence in what she's selling, that kills the butterflies. He asks for other tips. She tells him to pick someone and make eye contact. Although it would seem like this might make you nervous, she says, it actually really focuses you. She wonders if he doesn't have "stuff" he's supposed to talk about. He admits that he is covered as far as content goes. She tells him to also be simpler in his approach. She thanks him for the ride and he says it's good to know her.

    Don and Betty and the kids pile into the Draper bed. Betty says she hates her feet. Sally loves them and plays with them and they all giggle. Bobby bounces on the bed as Sally yells for him to stop. And then the bed breaks. Betty sits up and says "great you broke it." He says he didn't mean to. Betty sends them off to bed. Sally points out that she's hungry because they didn't have any dinner. Betty looks quizzically at Don who observes that it's only 7:30. (A few too many Bloody Marys, eh?) Betty troops off to make them grilled cheese. Don lies back.

    The next day (Monday April 16), Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove are wining and dining Marty Hasselbeck from Gorton's. Along comes "Vicky" who loves Marty's big head. Roger Sterling arrives and is introduced. Marty says they were due to meet tomorrow. Roger goes to shake Vicky's hand and she introduces herself as "Marty's wife" to everyone's surprise. Roger says Marty is lucky, and Vicky says they were just discussing the male head. She likes the Yul Brynner look. (Marty is mostly bald). Roger asks how long they've been married. She says five years. That's just plain weird.

    Joan announces Bobbie Barrett outside Don's office. Don is not hiding that he's perturbed that she didn't make an appointment. Bobbie has an idea for a TV show. He congratulates her. She wants to know how to make it happen. He asks her the idea. She pitches, basically, Candid Camera with Jimmy as the host. So instead of being funny it will be mean. Don calls it "derivative with a twist, that's what they're looking for." She's calling it "Grin and Bear It." Don points out that she'd have to get Jimmy out of his contract with Utz. She's got that figured out, they could come on as sponsors. Don says they'll need national sponsors. (Apparently, Utz is regional.) She says they should let him out, since they should want to keep Jimmy happy. Don points out, rightly, that they don't care. But they could be told that if Jimmy was on a TV show, their spots would have more punch wherever they air. Bobbie likes. She gets up and locks the door. (Which we realize from the other side as we see Joan hearing the lock bolt.) Bobbie asks Don to sell the show for her. He says he isn't interested in doing that. He could, however, talk to the Schillings. She stands, facing him sitting. He asks "what is this?" She responds by saying "I was thinking how I could avoid becoming bored with you" as she drops her jacket. She leans in and kisses him. He tries to put her off, with "work." She calls bullshit.

    Cosgrove and Campbell are going over some business as Sterling enters and confirms that Hasselbeck/Gorton's is at 3 and wonders if he's bringing the misses. Pete points out that there is a Mrs. Hasselbeck and that's not her. Roger agrees that this makes sense. Cosgrove offers up her number, or any of the various other "lots of numbers" he has. Roger passes and tells them to keep up the good work.

    Don comes in and Sally jumps him. Betty announces "some people weren't so good today." Bobby broke the stereo and it's going to cost $18 to fix. He also lied to Betty's face about breaking it. Don head upstairs to reprimand him. He looks sad in his pajamas on the bed. Don's entire disciplinary action? "Mommy says you broke the hi-fi. I believe her. Don't do that again." Bobby says he won't. He doesn't even promise though. Betty is unimpressed. She says Bobby needs a spanking. (He also broke the washing machine and the bed.) Don doesn't want to do that. Then, Betty asks if Don thinks he'd be the man he is today if his father didn't hit him and that will teach him the difference between right and wrong. Don says that's not how it works. (And looks like he wants to hit her.) And asks after dinner.

    It's Sunday again. We see a program for the Palm Sunday sermon. The program is dated April 15, 1962, which means the lunch scene with Marty and Vicky earlier in the week SHOULD have been dated April the 9th, not the 16th!

    Don is making pancakes, Betty's got his toolkit in hand. He says he'll do it. (Presumably, fix the bed.) The phone rings and it's Duck saying American Airlines scheduled a bunch of pitches for the week. (Bobby is looking, very closely, at the pancake on the griddle as Don talks). Don wants to know why they're not scheduled for two weeks then. Duck says he fixed that and they're on for Good Friday first thing. He tells Don he wants him to come in, just as, predictably, Bobby burns his mouth on the the griddle. Don hangs up on Duck mid-sentence. Betty is mad, "I leave the room for 10 seconds!" She puts butter on Bobby's face and deems a need for the ER. Don explains about Duck. Betty says "so?" She tells Don to take Sally. He counters with Francine. Betty points out that it's Palm Sunday. Sally claps. Don is not happy.

    At the Olson apartment the Father has returned for another dinner. Except that he can't stay. Unfortunately, Mrs. Marchetti has taken a turn for the worse. He's disappointed Peggy couldn't make it and gives Anita a copy of the sermon saying he helped her with it and he would love for her to see it. Anita is surprised that Peggy helped him write something. Mrs. Olson loved the sermon, saying she felt like she was the only one he was talking to. Mrs. Olson thinks it's nice he's taken an interest in Peggy. From the look on Anita's face, we're not so sure she agrees.

    Don brings Sally into Sterling Cooper. She has a book. The secretaries are loving it. Except Joan, who gives her a tight smile as she's handed off.

    In the conference room Duck's going over the presentation to American. Pete's the point man. Duck wants a peek at what Don might have to offer. Don doesn't offer. He just tells creative to meet in his office.

    Out at Joan's desk Sally is blathering on about how Joan has "big ones" as does her mom and therefore so will she when she grows up. Creative files past into Don's office. Don looks at the story boards Sal has for TV spots. (Lots of succesful take-offs and landings). There's an ad for stewardesses. China patterns. Menus. Don says they've got a lot of bricks but they don't know what the building looks like.

    At a hotel Sterling welcomes Vicky. Who is in a very good mood. Sterling admits he hasn't done "this" since he was in the Navy. She says the prices may have changed but the menu's still the same. He leaves the money on the nightstand and drinks her in and then tries to kiss her. She points out that that's a no-no. He offers double. She takes it and they make out. He asks if that's so bad and warns her that he's not in great health. She says to not believe what they say. "No one dies doing this."

    Sally goes to talk to Kinsey. She sees a picture of Sheila on his desk and asks if she's his maid. He says she's his girlfriend. She wonders if he kisses her and lies on top of her. Kinsey points out that her daddy will be mad if he doesn't do his work.

    Everyone's chowing down at an office buffet.

    The guys are talking about being able to go anywhere American flies. Sally eavesdrops.

    The secretaries finally get a crack at the buffet as Bert Cooper finishes. But then he steps in some gum- in his socks, natch- and yells at a secretary chewing gum. He fires her. She points out it can't be her gum since it's in her mouth. Duck comes over and thanks her for getting rid of Bert. He tells her to lose the gum and get some dinner and that he won't remember firing her.

    Don comes out and announces that "American Airlines is not about the past any more than America is..." He tells them to throw everything out, that it's not about apologies but the "frontier." He tells them to pretend they know what 1963 looks like. The boys are confused. Sally eavesdrops. And then grabs a drink from a nearby desk.

    At the hotel, Vicky and Sterling are getting dressed. He says he wants to have dinner with her. She says she's meeting a friend. He says he'll pay for the friend's meeting as well. He's taking her to Lutece.

    Back at the office Don's taking off. Sally is sleeping on a couch as Joan and another secretary watch. Joan says she respects that she's here on a Sunday but knows she earns more than all of them. Don gathers her up and the glass falls to the floor. He pretends not to notice. Joan and the other girl do though. He thanks them for babysitting.

    In the Olson kitchen Mom says goodnight to Peggy and then talks to Anita, asking after the sermon. Mom reiterates that it's nice that the priest is interested. Anita gripes that she does whatever she feels like with no regard at all and says Mom is too easy on her. Mom responds with "Jerry warming up the car?"

    The whole gang is getting the conference room ready for the American meeting. Duck enters with a fallen face. His man at American was fired this morning. The rest are on the way in. Pete wonders what's going on. Sterling says it's over. Pete wonders why they're still coming in. Bert says because they have to. And Don points out that they have to deliver a stillborn baby. The assembled reconfigure their game faces.

    In the confessional Anita Olson tells Father Gil that she stole some coins at the laundromat, took the lord's name in vein three times, and she's so angry at her little sister for causing her mother so much pain. She spills the beans about Peggy's baby and says she hates her for it and feels so guilty about it. But since "everyone keeps falling all over themselves to help her" it eats her up that Peggy goes on like nothing happened. Anita cries "what about me?" She asks what is she good for? He says God sees her goodness and that she will get her reward in heaven. He gives her three hail Marys and two Our Father's and tells her to try and forgive her sister since Peggy isn't as strong as Anita. She gives her act of contrition.

    In the conference room, the mood is somber. Duck says when Cooper walked them to the elevator they acted impressed. Everyone leaves but Roger, Duck, and Don. Duck can't believe it. Roger says they should have no regrets because at least they were in it. Duck calls Don's work good. Don shoots a look at Roger. Roger asks Don if he doesn't like the chase. When it does work out, it's like having that first cigarette, he says: dizzy head, pounding heart, weak knees. Don is almost convinced.

    Back at the Draper house Don is home early on Good Friday. Betty asks how it went. It didn't, says Don. Betty then snips at Bobby to stop playing with his robot at the table. She asks Don if he wants to talk about it. He doesn't. Betty reports that she heard from her dad and that he's doing well. Just then Bobby spills his drink on Sally by knocking it over with his robot. Betty freaks and tells Don to do something. Instead of hitting Bobby he grabs the robot and flings it against the wall and it breaks into pieces. Everyone is shocked. "Is that what you wanted?" he asks Betty. He storms out and Betty storms after him. She yells at his back that he takes no responsibility for anything that goes on in the house. He points out that he pays the bills and puts clothes on their backs. She says she's alone all day, outnumbered. He asks about Carla. Betty says it's not Carla's job to raise their children. (The kids are listening at the foot of the stairs). She's here and when Don gets home he gets to be the hero. As he undoes his tie he explains, testily, that if he brings home what he got at the office today that he'd put her through the window. Exasperated she pushes his chest with little effect. He pushes her right back, with considerably more and she's stunned and walks out. He feels bad. She tells the kids to brush their teeth for bedtime. He sits and broods. Bobby comes in and apologizes. Don says it's not a good time. Don says it's okay, dad's get mad sometimes. Bobby wants to know if Don's dad ever got mad. He did. He wonders what he looked like. Like Don, but bigger. He asks what he liked to eat. Ham. Then he said this, I think. "And his candy, he tasted like violets in a beautiful silver and purple package." Bobby wonders what he did. Don says he told him he was a farmer. But he died, asks Bobby. A long time ago. Bobby decides that they have to get Don a new daddy. Don pulls him into a hug.

    Later, Betty comes to bed. She sits up looking at Don's back asking "you have nothing to say?" He asks what she wants to hear. She says something, anything. Maybe something like he's going to help raise these children, not be one. He tells her to do whatever she wants. She says it's not about what she wants. He says that Bobby is just a little kid. His father beat the hell out of him and all it did was make him fantasize about the day he could murder him. (Youch.) Betty is slightly softened by that, saying she didn't know that. He says he wasn't half as good as Bobby. She curls up behind him.

    The third Sunday arrives and we see the Easter church program. The kids are doing an easter egg hunt and the older Olson women are smoking. Father Gil comes and greets Peggy. She compliments his sermon from the previous week- which she read- as very colloquial. He says she was very helpful. They look at a small toddler and she says "these kids." (I'm not sure if we're to think that it's hers). Father Gil hands her a blue egg and says "for the little one." (Is that cool? Doesn't what's said in the confessional stay in the confessional, Vegas-style?)

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