Mad Men Thread: The Flood


I seem to be in the minority among the Mad Men punditocracy, they’re all like meh about The Flood, and I loved it. It’s
partially because I lived through that period as a wee laddie, the murder of
MLK was all everyone talked about for at least a week, including those who
hated and feared what King stood for. It was before he became the “unifying
I have a dream guy” as opposed to the rabble-rouser who was against the
war, and supported the Memphis garbage men. Even then, of course, he was both,
as we saw through the eyes of the Mad Men. Okay, time to ramble and natter:

There’s a first time
for everything:
I actually *liked* Pete Campbell in this episode. I
recalled his earlier maladroit attempts to tap in to the “negro
market” so it wasn’t shocking that he called Harry Crane on his malakatude.
BUT I was shocked at how human the weenie little bastard was during the entire
episode. I never once wanted to punch him in the gob. Also, the look on rabid right-winger
Bert Cooper’s face after his effort to end the Crane-Campbell hurly burly failed
was classic. It was the look of a man whose time has passed, who neither likes
nor understands the new order of things.

Mr. Pegster:
Peggy’s shaggy left wing journo boy toy Abe was put to better use in this
episode. We learned that Abe envisions them having a future that includes
little Jewish-Irish-Norwegian kids. The look on Peggy’s face when he mentioned
that was priceless. Abe had one of the best lines in the episode when Peggy
urged him to be safe before setting forth to cover the melee: “Too late
for that. I’m going to Harlem in a tuxedo.”

You were the future
: I’m borrowing a line that David Cameron fired at Tony Blair during PM
Questions when the former was the new leader of the Tory Party. As much as I
hate to compare Peggy to the Posh Boy, Don is increasingly an aging golden boy
whose star is fading or, more accurately, imploding. I had hopes in season-5
that we’d see a new Don Draper, but he’s been the old Don this year and somewhat
to the show’s detriment. His free fall, however, was arrested, by of all things,
taking Bobby to see Planet of the Apes.

Everybody likes to go
the movies when they’re sad:
Thus spake Bobby Draper to the
African-American usher who was morosely cleaning the movie theatre after a
showing of Planet of the Apes. It
scares me that I’m old enough to remember ushers and smoking in movie theatres.
I loved the former, hated the latter. Anyway, Bobby’s awkward attempt at
connecting with a stranger touched his unemotional, closed off father so much
that he even discussed it with Megan. I’d like to see more of the Draper kids
even if Sally is a snarky teen and Bobby has OCD. I’m also old enough to
remember when Don was a better parent than Betty. Horrible husband, but decent
father. The show is quite simply better when we have *some* hope that Don will
grow even if we know deep down that he won’t.

Oy, such a father:
I’d forgotten what a kick I get out of Ginsburg’s father. The old boy had
several of the best lines in the episode as well as the best reaction to the
news of Dr. King’s death; he pulled his blanket over his face and sighed. Who
wouldn’t sigh if your son were as inept a “lothario” as Michael?
Never tell a chick you’re still a virgin on a first date, dude. It only works
in Woody Allen flicks, boy chick.

Senator Henry: We
learned that Henry Francis has not only become more of a father to the Draper
kids than dear old drunken dad, but that he’s disillusioned with handsome and
feckless Mayor Lindsay. Lindsay was riding high at the end of the episode but
Henry was dismayed at the price paid for peace in the Big Apple. It will come
back to bite Noo Yawk in the ’70’s.

Henry is ready to jump the Good Ship Lindsay to become a
Republican State Senator. I am also old enough to remember liberal Republicans
like Lindsay and moderates like Henry. Holy extinct species, Batman. Betty’s
already trying on new frocks to wear on the trail with her hubby. She should,
however, ditch the black hair, she looks much better as a “bottle

In the end, I enjoyed episode’s focus on the gang’s reaction
to the murder of Dr. King, including the weird acid head who pitched the
preposterous Molotov cocktail ad to Don and the boys. Hey, at least he didn’t
have white liberal guilt like Joan whose attempt to hug Dawn went over like a
turd in punch bowl as the wags used to say. Speaking of wags, time to waggle my
way out of here and stop typing like a meth-addled monkey…

Okay time to visit the psychedeli and post some Jefferson
Airplane. They knew from LSD, man:

7 thoughts on “Mad Men Thread: The Flood

  1. Oh, I hated that song, “Love is Blue.” Ick. But the thing that struck me was that I just don’t remember at all MLK’s assassination. I would have been 7. I just don’t remember my parents reaction to it or any sort of reaction in my town. Now, I lived in a southwest city that was somewhat isolated from the rest of the world and that had a very tiny black population, so maybe that’s why. Also, my parents were prejudiced, so maybe they really didn’t go on about it.

  2. I put Pete Campbell’s acting like a human being as poor writing; it’s totally out of character for him. He’s been such a vile shit all this time that I guess the writers felt like making him have a strand of decency so he wasn’t a cartoon villain. But that’s kind of ridiculous for him, and hardly the kind of self-awareness that he’s been shown to have in the past. I would have liked it better if they had given Pete’s lines to Joan to deliver the dressing-down to Harry—it would have added another layer to their already vexatious relationship too. She just doesn’t have enough to do this year.
    I vividly recall the King assassination and especially the funeral, which to my mind seemed to last a week, even though I was just Bobby Draper’s age (and Planet of the Apes was playing around the same time though I didn’t see it till some years later).

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  4. Actually, Pete’s Civil Rights views have come up before and amount to his sole redeeming characteristic. I agree that he’s a vile little shit but well-rounded characters are always more interesting.

  5. A the end of the episode, I felt like I had gone through some national tragedy myself. I’m with you, I thought it was an excellent episode.

  6. Eff that hippie psychedelic stuff. Loved Paul Mauriat’s “Love is Blue” closing out the episode.

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