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Worldly Distractions: Mad Men 6.1/6.2 - The Doorway




After a long year of waiting, the King of Television has returned. With Season 6 on the horizon (likely the penultimate season), the show is still going strong. Even Mad Men – yes, even Mad Men – has been the recipient of “it’s been on too long now it sucks†whining. To which I say, shove it! Mad Men is king and I would love to be Jon Hamm’s queen. Ahem. Okay, guys, we're in for the long haul, but bear with me.

I don’t expect anything particularly shocking from this episode. Usually, the premieres are there to set up what has happened since the last season ended (I have heard from semi-reliable sources that it takes place around Christmas, 1967, several months after the end of Season 5). Generally, the viewer can deduce the season’s main thematic arc, though plot points are generally elusive. With a two-hour episode, I think we can expect a lot to happen, however, and some of the establishment itself will come as a surprise. If Trudy hasn’t left Pete yet I’ll eat my hat.

We get an extra-long “Previously On†to fill us in, then onto the show. The opening credit sequence is honestly one of the best in television history. How can it say so much in a couple of drawings and a simple theme? How can it characterize one of the strangest times of the twentieth century? I don’t know how, but they manage it. And that opening theme will stay with me forever. On another note- both Talia Balsam and Peyton List (AKA Roger’s two wives) are in this episode – I wonder why?

We open with an unholy screech from Megan. It appears that she is being raped by Some Bald Guy, in a room with a groovy 60’s chandelier. An ambulance is heard. EDIT: I got this wrong. It's a guy having a heart attack - specifically, the doorman. Oops. 

Fade to black, and narration from Don comes in. “Midway through our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road...†Oh, that sounds promising.

Fade in to a incredibly flat stomach, on a woman lying on a beach in a purple bikini. Don is reading Dante’s Inferno (subtle) in a beach chair. We get Jon Hamm’s chest. Everyone wins. Purple Bikini is revealed to belong to Megan – so at least he hasn’t dumped her yet – who is perky as usual. From Megan’s concern over her looks, she appears to have some kind of acting job. Don’s watch has stopped. Ooh, symbolic.

Don and Hoser Wife return to their hotel room, where she presents him with two joints. I guess it really is the sixties. Megan wants them to have sex high, and Don gives in with nary a word.

Cut to a luau scene, revealing that the couple are in Hawaii. Saving their marriage? Courting Pacific business? Filming a commercial? Whatever their reasons, they seem happy – carefree – in love – and knowing Matthew Weiner, this is going to last maaaybe two minutes. Some Hotel Jerk and his wife lecture them on authentic Hawaiian food while the emcee drones on about tours. This is tacky 60’s tourism at its finest, folks.

Megan gets up to dance and is promptly hit on by the emcee. I’m not sure if Don is annoyed or thinks it’s hot. Probably both. As she returns to the table, she is approached by a middle-aged lady, who recognizes her from TV (it looks like some kind of soap opera called To Have and to Hold) and wants an autograph. So Megan’s career is going well, and though she is flustered she clearly likes the attention. Once again, hard to tell what Don thinks. Damn, Jon Hamm can act.

Cut to Don and Megan’s room, where they have just had sex high again and Megan is babbling on about the fan. Even though on the outside they look okay, I can’t shake the thought that something’s off.

Don goes downstairs to the bar while Megan sleeps. Christmas carols play in the background. Don is pestered by a drunk guy who wants to know if he was in the service. They strike up a conversation over Korea versus Vietnam. Drunk Guy tells him it’s his bachelor party. Don offers to buy him a drink, Drunk Guy insists on buying him one instead and wants to know if Don’s an astronaut. More war talk, without sparing gory details. Drunk Guy (Dinkins – heh) suggests that they “get into some troubleâ€. Don ends up being asked to give away the bridge, though not without a few half-hearted attempts to weasel out of it. The Drunk Guy insists, saying “One day I’ll be the man who can’t sleep and talks to strangers.†Don smiles.

The morning after, we get plenty of gratuitous shots both of scenery and Mrs. Draper’s body. Megan goes out onto the balcony looking glorious. We cut to Megan taking pictures of the GI’s wedding, with the Drapers and the groom’s buddy as the only attendees. It’s sweet.

Back in New York, we see Henry’s imperious mother with Sally, Not-So-Fat Betty and some little friend of Sally’s at a performance of The Nutcracker. Cut to Betty getting pulled over for speeding on the way home. She tries to sweet-talk her way out of it, but it doesn’t quite work. Sally and her friend exchange smirks. Oh, Betty, you’ll never change, will you? Mother Francis tries to use name recognition to get her out of it, and it doesn’t work. Mother Francis is pissed. Sally mentions that she “hates copsâ€. Wow, it is the sixties. Sally’s friend mentions that her mom is dead, which makes everyone laugh for some reason. Huh?

Henry is waiting for them at home complete with ugly sweater and drink. The house looks...surprisingly inviting and not so much like a mausoleum. I can’t quite tell if we have a new Bobby or not (who ever pays attention to Bobby, anyway?), but baby Gene has grown into a full-fledged kid. We are reminded that the Draper sons exist, now they can go back into the vault for the rest of the episode. My god, Kiernan Shipka is looking grown-up. She refers to her mom as “Betty†while telling the story of the ticket. No one reprimands her. That seems...off to me. Anyway, Mother Francis wonders why her name-dropping didn’t work, which makes Henry laugh. Honestly, I think he’s got his head screwed on better than all of them. Sally’s friend, a Juilliard-bound musician, whips out her violin and favours them with a song. Bobby comments that the case “looks like a coffinâ€. Subtle, Matt Weiner, subtle.

We return to Don and Megan arriving home, looking gorgeous as always. They exchange pleasantries with the doorman. Megan inquires as to how he’s feeling when he suddenly collapses – oh, no, it was a flashback. Megan calls 911 and the guy appears to be having a heart attack. The violin continues to wail in the background. Back in the present, Don won’t let the doorman carry the suitcases and Megan assures him that they’re happy to see him back. He hands her a script that had been delivered yesterday. Her career is clearly on the up.

Cut to Betty and Henry chatting before bed, needling each other about reading the newspaper. Betty hints that Henry thought Sally’s friend was hot, and reminds him that she’s only a year older than his stepdaughter. Henry jokes that he can totally run away with a teenaged musician. Okay, this is getting creepy fast. Betty casually suggests that he can go to next room and rape her, she’ll hold the girl down and – WOAH WOAH WOAH. This is their idea of dirty talk? What the everloving hell?

...which is pretty much Henry’s exact words. Betty counters that he wanted to “spice things upâ€. And then it just gets creepier. She offers to take Sally out so he can be alone with her, if her presence ruins it, and Henry can just stick a rag in the friends mouth. WOW, Betty. Henry is confused and grossed out (understandably). I guess Betty’s jealous or something, but, um, that’s a unique way of expressing it. She kisses him. He is still confused. Run, Henry.

At the Draper apartment, Megan is pissed for being offered a small role. Don isn’t too sympathetic. More cracks in the Draper marriage.

Betty wakes up to find Sally’s friend in the kitchen. She is surprisingly okay with this. They share a midnight snack, where it is revealed that Betty is still “reducingâ€. The friend tells her she’s beautiful, which Betty is not falling for. The friend (Sandy!) complains about her dead mom. Betty offers her sympathies, remembering her own mom’s death, and extends her friendship. Awww. They talk about going to college and growing up. Sandy reveals that she was actually rejected from Juilliard. She’s crushed by this, and wails about being too old for the violin. Betty advises her that she’ll probably get along just fine. It’s actually kind of sweet. Too bad about the rapey talk beforehand. Betty starts talking about her modelling days, and Sandy reveals that she wants to go live in the City and has in fact visited on her own a few times. Betty gives her the “times have changed†talk and asks if she’s on dope. Sixties sixties sixties!

Peggy is living with a different boyfriend, a long-haired hippie type with enviable facial hair. Okay, IMDB won’t tell me anything. What happened to Abe? Dammit. Peggy is looking super fashionable and professional, and seems to have grown overall since taking the new job. Sexy beret. Burt Peterson (wait, he’s back?) calls her in the middle of the night about DEFCON changes. Apparently Peggy’s agency is planning a Super Bowl spot, which is going wrong. Everyone’s relying on Peggy. Great job, Olson! She’s becoming eerily like Don, though. The tone...the manner of speech...it’s all Draper. Eeek.

Don and Some Guy From Another Company Who Is Apparently A Surgeon ride up in an elevator to work and talk about cameras. Christian Barnaard references occur. Current events reference! I wish we had a drinking game going on.

Meanwhile, Roger is in an analysis session, which is surprising to approximately no one. He’s talking about some girl he’s shagging. He feels at loose ends and has no identity. Same old Roger Sterling wit, which the doctor isn’t putting up with. Roger starts talking about a door. Episode title drop! “That’s all there are – doors and windows and bridges and gates, and they all open the same way, and they all close behind you.†He feels his path isn’t right. Aww.

Peggy and Burt meet up to discuss the ad campaign. The ad features “lend me your ears†as the tagline, and some guys in Vietnam have been cutting off Viet Cong ears (My Lai, history buffs?), so it has to change. Peggy is still a Don clone, and has amazing hair to boot. The copywriter, Lawrence, looks really wimpy and scared of Peggy. More Christian Barnaard references. They talk about some irreverent comedian. I feel like I should know who he is. (Google says Milt Kamen. Okay.) Peggy is horrified, the guys find it funny. Clearly, Peggy is in charge here and everyone runs to do her bidding. The agency is on her shoulders. GO PEGGY!

Cut to Don and Bob Benson from accounts (new character, total kiss-ass, basically Pete Jr.) in the elevator. He mentions Don’s Pennsylvania background, which is of course going to piss Don off. He attempts to sweet-talk Don with tickets to a football game. It works about as well as one would think. At least it wasn’t my initial impression, that Ginsberg had turned square. Seriously, their voices are creepily alike.

The agency is still called Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, which stabs me a little. We get a brief glimpse of the creative team. Stan is still obnoxious but has a rockin’ beard, and there seems to be a woman on the team, which is not a surprise after the disastrous pitch once Peggy was gone last season. Benson is still a kiss-ass. Ginsberg has a mustache that makes him look like my mom’s draft-dodging first husband. There’s also another guy, whose name I don’t know, or maybe I don’t recognize him. They needle Don about being old and ask about his trip. Don hints at some kind of transformative experience. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. (Stan’s theory: Megan in a bikini.)

Dawn is still Don’s secretary – heh, more confusion – and is looking very fantastic in her late-sixties office outfit. You can really see the fashions evolving in this scene – Dawn’s outfit is practically 1970’s – though Joan looks very much the same as the first season. Someone has arrived to take publicity pictures for the SCDP partners. Pete is still a douche. Seriously, just look at that smile, ugh. I wish Lane would come back from the dead and punch him again. And Benson looks like his little brother or something. GROSS. Joan and Don exchange some vaguely flirty talk, Pete is a kiss-ass, and the photographer is slobbering over Joan. Roger comes back and says some funny stuff. Harry shows up briefly (looking the most modern of all of them) and is promptly dismissed. They have an ad campaign for Sheraton coming up. All is pretty much status quo. Except for Pete’s sideburns, of course.

Don goes into his office for a quiet moment. We hear the ocean in the background. Are we going to see Don’s transformative experience?

We cut to Peggy deftly trying to salvage things with the headphone campaign. The guy is surprisingly accommodating, but Peggy’s concerned that cutting the offending line will leave the actor in a toga looking weird. (Oh, Peggy, Peggy, I hope you lived to see today’s Super Bowl commercials.) Peggy firmly rejects the company man’s suggestion and asks for some time. She tries a Draper-esque speech about what the ad is going to mean – and succeeds! Damn, Peggy, you really are following your mentor. Ted Chaough, meanwhile, is apparently AWOL.

Don looks over the ads for some kind of cleaning product from Dow. He points out that a married couple is old fashioned – “Anything matrimonial is Paleolithic.†Clearly, he isn’t as out-of-touch as one might have guessed. He and the female copywriter have an argument. The doctor from upstairs shows up with a blonde who looks kind of familiar. Oh, wait, it’s just Meredith, the stupid secretary Joan yelled at last season. Dr. Rosen has come to pay Don a visit for no apparent reason. They flatter each other about their jobs. Don presents him with a sample Leica camera, which they had been talking about in the elevator. Dr. Rosen meets Dawn (whose last name is revealed to be Chambers). Do I see an affair coming? Awesome. At least Don and Dawn don’t seem to be boinking, can you imagine the confusion? “Hey, did you hear Don is cheating with Dawn?†Yeah, that would be a problem.

Roger is on the phone (presumably with Shag-of-the-Moment) when Caroline comes in to tell him that Roger’s senile old mother has died. Aww, I adored her one scene back in Season 3. Caroline is broken up, Roger is philosophical. Clearly he has been preparing for a while. Roger tells her to put it in Joan’s hands. Ah, yes, Keep Calm and Ask Joan, the unofficial motto of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Alone in his office, Roger raises his glass, a faraway look in his eyes.

Peggy is meanwhile trying to get in touch with Ted Chaough, who is somewhere with a pastor. Rehab? The pastor starts interrogating Peggy about her religious background. Peggy brings him back on topic to try to get to Ted. She is skeptical of the pastor’s note-taking abilities. They discuss the Super Bowl. Peggy hangs up, more frustrated than ever.

Don is subjected to the horror of publicity photos. As you can imagine, he has little patience for the process. The photographer “wants to see the brains behind this operation.†Don clearly thinks this is bullshit but complies. He takes out a lighter that says “In life we often have to do things that are just not our bag.†Once again, Matthew, you demonstrate enormous subtlety. Turns out the lighter was Private Dinkins’, and somehow ended up with Don during the whole matrimony adventure. Don looks reflective. Profound experience? I guess so.

I think this is the part where the episode would be split in half for syndication. Carry on.

Don is in bed, but the Hoser wakes him up to tell him she’s off to work and will have to miss Roger’s mother’s funeral. She’s being kept busy, for sure, but Don is not thrilled. He lets her go anyway, and teases her about being a big TV star. Also, JON HAMM IN PYJAMAS. Ahem. He takes out the lighter again. He looks pensive.

Betty walks in and tells Sally to stop eating because Sandy’s coming for lunch. Upon hearing that Sandy cancelled, Betty gets strangely curious. What’s your deal with Sandy, Betty? Replacement daughter for the Spawn of Don? Weird lesbian crush? Do enlighten us. Or don’t, considering the earlier scenes. Ugh. Sally mentions that Sandy “went to Juilliard early†and is clearly onto her mother’s interest in her friend. Jealousy abounds. Sally now considers her “stuck-up†and is clearly glad to be rid of her. Meanwhile, Betty’s alarm bells are going off.

We get a brief shot of Don sitting at home with the profound-experience look on his face, getting drunk and watching TV. Then we cut to Roger and couple of old ladies (presumably relatives) at the funeral. First Bert Cooper glimpse! Seriously, seeing Robert Morse is like getting a big piece of candy. Unexpected joy. Jane shows up and gives polite but frosty condolences, complete with fabulous 60’s mourning clothes. She offers his mother’s ring back. Ouch. Roger tells her to keep it – “She liked you. You always paid the rent on time.â€

The men of SCDP offer perfunctory condolences. Bob Benson the kiss-ass has ordered food for the funeral, though all the guys chipped in. Roger sees right through it, of course.  We get our first glimpse of Roger’s daughter since the disastrous post-JFK assassination wedding. Harry says something creepy, as with every woman in this series. “Everything turns you on, doesn’t it?†Pete scoffs.

Don arrives, wasted, and makes a beeline for his co-workers. Huh, apparently Roger’s daughter has a kid? Like, not a baby, but an actual kid. I guess enough time has passed, but it really does bring home the gap between episode 3.12 and episode 6.1/6.2. Just over four years. Harry gets in another creepy remark (this time about Megan), and Aaron asks Pete “Is she still alive?†Uh-oh, sounds like something is rotten at Casa Campbell. Trudy’s absence is certainly huge. Guess Alison Brie had a Community episode that day.

On a side note – every young guy on the show has a new haircut. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who the person is, sometimes it looks kind of stupid (Ken) or improves the guy’s looks (Pete). At any rate, it signals changing times...like everything else on this show.

Roger stands up to speak, but one of the old ladies yells at him that she wanted to go first. He concedes. Suddenly Mona and her new husband walk in. (For those of you who don’t know, the actors who play Roger and Mona are married in real life, adding to the fun.) There is instantly a chill in the air. The old lady gives a flowery and ridiculous speech, emphasizing how much Roger’s mother loved him. It gets downright Oedipal. It’s awkward. Everyone is a little weirded out, until Don starts barfing all over Roger’s mother’s umbrella stand. Pete, Ken and Harry rush him out of the room. Don mutters an apology, Roger looks pissed. The old lady wants to continue, but Roger chooses to pick a fight with Mr. Mona instead. He claims everyone is upset at Mr. Mona’s presence, but really just succeeds in upsetting everyone else. He shouts “THIS IS MY FUNERAL!†(Oedipal! Symbolic!) and orders everyone out. Stay classy, Roger.

...but no one leaves, so Roger storms out instead. Great funeral.

Betty takes a cab to the Village to search for Sandy. It’s dingy and gross and everyone’s unfriendly. Betty is decidedly a fish out of water.

Mona shows up to comfort Roger, who has apparently retreated to one of the bedrooms in his mom’s apartment. They exchange some barbs. Mona comments that Don “never tires of embarrassing himself.†Roger claims he was just saying what everyone else was thinking. Mona is surprisingly understanding and gives some consoling words. She reminds him that he has a family, which he shoots down. She reminds him that he still has Margaret. It’s a lovely scene, if tinged with bitterness – until Roger attempts to seduce his first ex-wife. Mona flees.

Pete and Ken get Don home, and man is he tanked. I don’t think I’ve seen him this drunk since “The Suitcase†(4.7, the one where Anna Draper died). He’s overly friendly with the doorman, Jonesy, and slurring words like crazy. He asks Jonesy what he saw “When you diedâ€. Jonesy insists he never died, Don says he did. He demands to know what Jonesy saw. Jonesy is vague, but says “I guess there was a light†before helping Ken and Pete get Don upstairs.

Betty finally manages to track down the grossest apartment building you have ever seen with a bunch of freaky hippie kids listening to (gasp!) modern music. She might as well be a Martian. Suddenly, she catches sight of Sandy’s violin, but the guy she questions won’t tell her where it came from. The boys demonstrate the squalor they live in, using snow from the roof to cook goulash. We’re reminded that they have moms, somewhere.  Betty is grossed out.

Back at Roger’s mom’s place, Roger enters the living room to find Margaret. They exchange small talk. Roger gives her a jar of water from the River Jordan, in which both Roger and Margaret were baptized (though not the grandson). It was a gift from Roger’s father to his mother from some of his many travels. It’s yellow now and kind of gross-looking, but Margaret is touched. She asks about her inheritance. Roger tells her that Grandma left everything to the zoo, including demanding specific names for various animals. She whines about not getting money because her husband has “an opportunity†in the refrigeration industry. Roger offers to help, with trepidation. Margaret is still the spoiled daddy’s girl of three seasons ago, but at least they love each other, I guess?

Megan comes back to find her husband sleeping it off. She knows immediately what happened, but is too thrilled with her acting day to be upset with him. She asks (based on her character on the show) “Will you love me even if I’m a lying, cheating whore?†to which he replies “I’ll walk behind you on the stairs.â€

...does that seem a little too on the nose to anyone else?

Megan pulls out Dinkins’ lighter, mentioning the maid found it in the garbage. Meaningful music plays.

Cut to Betty standing in the gross building waiting for Sandy. It’s dark by now and she looks miserable. Dude, what is your deal with Sandy? That is either serious devotion or Crazy Betty in action. The guys offer her some weed, BAHAHA. She turns it down like the prim and proper lady she is. Some more guys show up and Betty asks them about Sandy. It turns out one of the guys bought the violin off her while she was “trying to get enough bread to go to California.†Sandy is out of her grasp. The guys see her contempt and insult her freely. They grab her wallet and make fun of her some more, though they hand it back. She says they have bad manners. Ohhhh, Betty. She snaps at them and ends up getting away with the violin, but not before tearing her coat on a nail. Ooh, symbolism. At the doorway she stops, looks around, and leaves the violin behind.

We go to Peggy at her office. The Boyfriend has brought dinner, and she and the writers attempt to retool the commercial. It’s...lukewarm at best. Peggy is not happy, and goes off on another Draper-esque rant. Seriously, it’s uncanny. She orders them to work all night. Ouch. And The  Boyfriend is Abe. Damn you, changing hair of the sixties! Well, at least they’re still together, they are a cute couple. Peggy looks thoughtful. Hmmm.

We cut to Betty returning home. Sally’s on the phone with a friend. Betty tries to talk to her, but she closes the door. She goes to Henry, who asks where she’s been. She lies. They have a cute spouses-in-bed moment. Really, I’m liking Betty and Henry a lot more this season, though I’m sure they’ll be awful in an episode or two.

Pete makes a smarmy remark at Don about being “under the weather†as he returns to SCDP. Don gives the Draper Glare, which does nothing to deter him. They get down to business. He gives the lighter to Dawn (side note: I keep typing the wrong name. Damn you, writers!) to give back to the private. He goes back into his office without a word.

Roger is back on the analyst’s couch, complaining about his awful family. He refers to his mother as “his parachuteâ€. He realizes that from here on in, all he will be doing is “losing everythingâ€. Confronting his own mortality. Frankly, I’m surprised he managed to outlive his mom. On some level I’m sure he is, too.

Ken walks into the office and finds Kiss-ass Bob. He chooses the moment to confront him over the catering flap, saying he overstepped his bounds – “It was almost like you were invited. But you weren’tâ€. Bob spouts something about his dead father, which Ken hardly believes. He tells Bob to stop goofing off on the creative floor and go back to work. Watch out for that skeeze.

We go to the Sheraton meeting, where the executives display more sideburns. Turns out the Hawaii trip was for business purposes. Don begins his pitch. It is Draper at his finest, making everything sound more profound than it is – “It’s not just a different place. You are different...but you’re not homesick. It puts you in this state.†The executives are impressed – until Don unveils a downright suicidal campaign, and I mean that literally. He mentions some Hawaiian beliefs about souls leaving the body to go into the waves, then reveals art showing an abandoned suit on the beach with the tagline “The Jumping Off Pointâ€. The looks on those guys’ faces, I swear. Someone brings up the ending of A Star is Born. Holy shit, Don. What’s going on in that magic brain of yours?

The advertising executives call it “poeticâ€, but are confused and upset. Don has blundered badly. He quickly agrees to change the campaign, but it’s still weird. Footprints in the sand. The executives think it sounds like the man died. Don said “Maybe he did, and he went to heaven.†The executives say it’s morbid. Don says “Well, heaven’s a little morbid.†Um, what? Pete and Roger try to smooth things over, but the damage is done. Don insists his ad is attention-grabbing. The executives hang in – barely. Back to the drawing board. Once they’re gone, Roger manages to get in a barb about puking at the funeral. Stan and his epic beard think it’s a brilliant ad, though.  Roger points out that they sold death for decades with Lucky Strike because “We ignored it.â€

Sally is growing up, demanding to go out to a party for New Year’s. Why aren’t you still six years old? Eek. Betty shows up with...dun dun dun! BLACK HAIR. Same haircut, but dyed to all hell. What happened to the icy blonde? Is Betty the perfect housewife finally getting with modern times? The kids are horrified. Henry compares her to Elizabeth Taylor and generally seems cool with it. (I think it looks great, myself.)

Caroline comes to Roger’s office with more bad news – his shoe-shine guy died. Roger seems more shocked over that than his mother’s death. He closes the door to his office, sits down and opens the shoe shine kit, which has been sent over. Without a word, he cries. Beautiful, utterly convincing job from John Slattery. Most touching moment of the episode.

Meanwhile, it’s New Year’s Eve. Don and Megan have invited some trendy neighbours over to have trendy French-Canadian fondue. Megan is overly made-up and has on the most gorgeous pantsuit ever. One of the  neighbours tells a story about his gay coworker who got arrested in a department store for shagging in the bathroom. Nobody’s overly disgusted – this is sophisticated company – but everyone giggles at  that silly gay. The conversation turns to everyone’s kids. Megan turns to “a trip to Hawaiiâ€, which is eerily reminiscent of Betty’s Season 2 “a trip around the world†party, though this turns out to be slides instead of a dinner. Does Don ever smile? I must say, though, the slides look incredibly authentic. We inevitably come to a slide of the wedding. One of the guests asks how Don came to be involved. Don smiles quietly to himself and gives nothing away.

We go to the Creative offices at SCDP, where Stan is on the phone with Peggy discussing what is clearly the most pleasant company topic – Roger and Joan’s sex life. They debate whether the affair ever happened and whether it’s still going on, as Joan ignored Mrs. Sterling’s death entirely. It’s true we had a serious lack of Joan this episode, but I’m sure they’ll fix that next week or the week after. Stan goes to get some coffee. Peggy waits for him to come back, but is interrupted by Ted Chaough, who was on some kind of “retreat†with his wife because he “worked too muchâ€. He and Peggy discuss the ad problem. She shows him an outtake with the commercial actor that they might use. She comes up with an amazing campaign. Ted is thrilled. They seem to have a decent working relationship, and he’s pleased. He tells her to ease up on her workers, especially on New Year’s Eve. Stan teases her about Ted. Peggy gets a knowing grin on her face. Something’s going on...

EDIT: My copy of the episode was missing the last few minutes. Sorry for the mix-up. Here's a recap of those:

We leave Peggy to return to New Years with the Drapers, where they drink and exchange bon mots and talk about real estate. Megan notices that they missed midnight from having so much fun. The phone rings. It's for Dr. Rosen, who has some kind of emergency. Don walks him downstairs and grabs him some skis, because there's enough snow and he'll never get a cab. They discuss life and death some more, and the doctor says that "People will anything to alleviate their anxiety." Don looks...you guessed it...thoughtful.

We see him knocking on the door, which turns out to belong to the doctor's wife (Linda Cardellini). Apparently they have been having an affair for a while.The Dante was from her. AND Don is back to his womanizing ways, big surprise. We're in for a typical season of Mad Men, I guess.

One has to wonder how he manages to be away long enough to shag Mrs. Rosen and slip into bed next to Megan literally moments later without giving the game away. But she doesn't seem to notice, and wishes him a Happy New Year. He wishes it to her back, and lies staring into space while she curls up with him. Hello, 1968.

I would call this overall a very satisfying episode. Not a barn-burner, but it gave us a great view into each character save Joan and brought us relatively up to date. There seem to be some interesting changes ahead, especially for Don, who seems to be totally off his rocker, and we’ve got the main theme of the season set up – mortality. Great character moments all over the place. I’m excited to see how this season shapes up, for sure, and I’m looking forward to having you guys follow it along with me. Long review (over 5000 words), but a two-hour premiere is something special. Thanks for reading.

Next episode: “The Collaboratorsâ€. Hmm, wonder what that could be about?


For more discussion of Mad Men on FJ, click here.





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      Marjorie Jackson is dating a guy named Phillip Todd.

    • Smee


      On 5/22/2024 at 4:36 PM, medimus said:

      A homeschooling, mommy blogger with 11 children who converted from evangelicalism to one of the above latin mass only, skirts only, mothers stay trad catholic groups (I forget which one) is Celeste of Joyouslessons.


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      20 hours ago, Jana814 said:

      I’m always fascinated when someone who was raised not religious & becomes extremely religious. I know 2 people who were raised not very religious Jewish & became very religious.

      I was raised atheist and became very religious in my teens. I was a deep thinking philosophical kid with big emotions, cracking under the pressure of adolescence in an extremely academic environment; Christianity offered me something to help answer the 'why' of it all (although even then, I always believed in the scientific account of the 'how'). I am also - although I didn't understand or have the label for it then - asexual, and the whole notion of no-sex-before-marriage was oddly reassuring to me, like a 'safe' way to date and fall in love with church boys who weren't supposed to want to touch me sexually (spoiler alert: they still did). While I was at university I worked for a Christian organisation and led the youth group at my church, then I got married and moved to a country town where I knew nobody, and the church community was my first 'in' into the community. I was a stay-at-home mother who spent my days going to church playgroup or hosting bible study with other stay-at-home mothers. Regardless of what's happening inside or what your private prayer life is like, when your social group is all religious it helps keep you religious. It's only in the past few years, with my kids all at school, my divorce finalised, working in secular arts organisations, plus time on more forums like this, that I've become a much more liberal Christian who doesn't let it dictate my entire life. 

      • Love 3
    • marmalade


      1 minute ago, Coconut Flan said:

      Looks like that's the Justice Dept response to the Duggar appeal not the Supreme Court final.  Reddit was a bit ahead of themselves.

      Yeah, the conclusion states that writ SHOULD BE denied. This is the Fed's response to The Felons plea. Remember, they were granted an extension until 5/24, so this makes sense.

      • Upvote 2
      • Thank You 1
    • Coconut Flan


      Looks like that's the Justice Dept response to the Duggar appeal not the Supreme Court final.  Reddit was a bit ahead of themselves.

      • Upvote 3
    • ADoyle90815


      • Upvote 1

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