Every week, I write a recap about that night’s Mad Men episode and Chris Piascik draws one.
Whereas last week, the episode was slow taking a lot of time with what happened, this week seemed to jump around. There was less of a focus on “What I want to do” vs “What’s expected of me,” and more of a look at the advertising world. These are nice episodes, too.
-“Brief nudity.” Well, now!
-“Why is this empty?” “Because you drank it all.” There are more and more references each episode to Don’s drinking. Is this building to something? Later in the episode, Alison calls him a drunk.
-Clearasil needs to be moved, putting Pete in an awkward position, which everyone seems to love doing. This is similar to Don having to fire the airline when Duck Phillips thought they had a shot at (Pan Am? US Air?).
-“Lucky Strike noticed they’re being billed for all the work we do for everyone else at this agency.” I’d happily trade Lee Garner for Sal at this point.
-Peggy seems to work really hard at not feeling awkward in unusual situations. Being hit on by a woman in a dingy loft party? No problem! Let’s be friends. It did lead to some of the best dialogue of the night, “I have a boyfriend.” “He doesn’t own your vagina.” “No, but he’s renting it.” “You’re not working on something else,” because everyone in advertising has a novel in their bottom drawer. “Art in advertising? Why would anyone do that after Warhol.” “Sorry, for someone to sell their soul, they’ve got to have one.”
-The moment when Peggy was trying on Faye’s engagement ring, Don saw her, and she saw him notice her… It’s almost like Don and Peggy still share something between them, deeper than having slept together. Peggy doesn’t know about Dick Whitman, right? She’ll eventually find out.
-And then Peggy and Alison. Alison assumes Peggy had slept with Don, as well, and that they could commiserate. Peggy pushes back hard on this. What they shared is deeper than a one night stand. Interesting that Alison couldn’t hack it, though. This is why you have rules, Don. Don’t break’em.
-Pete also had some great moments in the episode. I had the sound off and I watched the scene with his father-in-law while I was writing this. You could tell what was being said, just from the expressions. Great acting. Then Pete goes home and seems genuinely excited about having a baby. Did you catch the, “How would you know how this feels?” line?
-Pete and Ken was funny. It’s nice to have Cosgrove back, he looked a little heavy. I liked how he went after Pete for stuff he may or may not have said, and some stuff he definitely didn’t. Ken looks heavier and seems down on advertising. Though he’s happier now than when he was at McCann. The writers don’t think too highly of McCann, do they? Just for old times, Ken says something ridiculous without any sense of irony at all, “Another Campbell, that’s just what the world needs.”
-And at the end of the episode, Peggy and Pete had a moment. It seemed like recognition and forgiveness? They smiled. Did the cut to the old people, “Did you get the pears?” mean anything, or was it just a cut? Did you get the pears? Pairs?
-Alison and Don’s confrontation was great. This time, however, Don didn’t seem to be trying to be cruel. He wasn’t hurting her because he was being selfish, he just didn’t know what to do to fix the situation. Don thought it was nice to let Alison write her own recommendation. Alison was furious because she thought it showed Don cared even less about her. If he cared, he would have been able to write something nice.
-Cooper. Hanging out in reception eating an apple. Why not?
-“Every time you jump to conclusions, Tom, you make me respect you less.” That’s a burn!
-What seemed to be a relatively recurring theme this episode, new vs old advertising. Science (Faye Miller) is telling them to stick with what’s work, but Don rebels against this, and to a certain extent, Peggy trying to get the artist involved, does, as well. Don’s argument is that people don’t know what they like. They don’t say what they want and how they want to be marketed to and the good advertisers will tell them. This has come up before, though usually in regards to clients. Don and Peggy work well together because, not only do they think of new messaging, they think of new angles. This goes against what the “science” says. “A new idea is something they don’t know yet, so of course it’s not going to come up as an option.” “You can’t tell how people are going to behave based on how they have behaved.”
-Part of Don’s aversion to Faye Miller’s science is his passion for privacy. He doesn’t like market research and all the tricks Faye uses to get her information.
-Don was less of a bad guy in this episode. In conversations this week, I mentioned I thought it was possible Don would last the series without ever becoming redeemable. What if he was just a bad guy, a cad, who just kept getting worse? He’d certainly be interesting as a protagonist, and Matthew Weiner would have experience with that type of character from The Sopranos. In the previous 3 seasons, there was always a charm to Don. We hadn’t seen that in the first 3 episodes, and, in fact, he went in reverse. I’d say Don was stayed in neutral in this episode, what with the lack of hitting on secretaries and nieces of very close friends.
What did I miss?