The evolution of Mad Men this season has been, well, striking. In the past, it was criticized as all sizzle and no steak but this season has been plot driven to say the least. It’s as if Matthew Weiner and his people put the pedal to the metal this year or, to use another sports analogy, they’ve gone from running a half court offense to running the fast break whenever possible. They’ve really, uh, struck a chord with me.
A few random observations:
Roger’s decline accelerated in episode-10. He’s lost the Lucky Strike account and had to beg the ungrateful malaka Lee Garner Jr. to give him some time before the announcement becomes public. Roger keeps this dreadful news to himself. SCDP needs to pull a rabbit out of its hat or they could be doomed. This development could lead to the return of Sal but what will be left?
Roger and Joan’s alleyway quickie produced undesired but predictable results: our Joan is preggers. Roger goes into full weasel mode; even suggesting that Joan try to convince Dr. Dickhead that he’s the father. Dude, he may be a crappy one, but he’s a physician. There’s been an interesting discussion at theSlate TV Club as to whether or not Joan went through with the abortion. The set-up is ambiguous so it could go either way. But I think she’s too sensible to go through with it UNLESS she wants to breakup with Dr. Dipshit. What do y’all think?
Just when I thought Don had bottomed out, the security check brought his past back with a vengeance. Jon Hamm physically collapsed under the weight of Don’s baggage and he continued to be one of the pukingest characters in teevee history. Don is obliged to confide in Pete and thank Betty for lying for him. What was Betty’s motive? I think it was a reflexive hunker down and circle the wagons moment for her. I also suspect she doesn’t want the ladies in Ossining buzzing about her ex. If I had a higher opinion of Betty, I’d speculate that she was trying to preserve Henry’s future as a handler for the men who will never be President: Rockefeller and Lindsay. I’m reasonably confident that that wasn’t it. Betty is all about Betty.
Pete now has Don by short hairs and I expect that he’ll tug them from time to time. Unfortunately for SCDP, combined with the loss of Lucky Strike, eating the defense account could kill off the firm. I wonder if they would have tried finessing it if they had known i.e. letting someone else in creative take the lead. Think of Peggy as Rosie the riveter, y’all. I did, however, enjoy the irony of Pete complaining to Trudy about having to keep other people’s secrets. He’s got a big one of his own…
My jaw dropped when Don told Faye the Dick Whitman in Korea story. Her reaction was compassionate but impractical: with the Vietnam War ramping up there’s no way the Pentagon lets Don/Dick slide. I’m unsure as to whether this admission will lead Don to back away from Faye or if he’ll actually enter into an adult relationship. His track record argues the former but the show is rarely *that* predictable. Any thoughts?
The most shocking moment of the episode came when Lane’s very British father hit him upside the head with his cane. Robert is a very British bully. I can imagine him grinding some poor Sherpa’s hand under his heel until he says “uncle, sir.” Those of us who wondered if Sally had been abused by Grandpa Gene saw abuse in action. Lane’s new girl friend may think he’s “dashing” but he’s about to dash off to London just when SCDP could most use his skills. I eagerly await the Lucky Strike shit hitting the fan. It should be interesting indeed.
Finally, I can’t sign off without mentioning Sally’s scream when Don tells her he has Beatles tickets for her. It even brought a grin to sourpuss Betty’s icy visage. I was relieved when Harry delivered the tickets. I was worried that he’d jet off to “the coast” to add more teevee star pictures to his office: Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett simply is not enough for a starfucker like Harry…