Thoughts on Mad Men: Season 6, Episode Ten

I watched The Killing before I watched Mad Men and it totally threw me off my game. And this episode of Mad Men was packed with things I wanted to address, but I don’t have time to watch the episode again to catch them all.

So here’s what I have for this week:

  • Don tries his hand at what I’m calling a suicide attempt regardless of the fact that he was on a bad trip (no, I’m not trying to make a pun there though I think this LA trip ranked far below his other trips to the west coast) and I’m thinking with the many balcony shots and sirens in Don’s scenes this season, the opening credits shot of the man falling feels awfully close at hand.

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  • I’m trying to be neutral about Ted after his treatment of Peggy last week. At best he was guilty of a miscue there in that last scene and that’s really giving him the benefit of the doubt. I know he’s guilty of some misconduct where Peggy is concerned. But I enjoy every scene that Ted’s in. It could be that Kevin Rahm is really effortless with his portrayal and I’m enjoying that aspect. Or it could be the character’s just likable and believable. I haven’t been able to suss it out yet. I think it’s clear that Ted and Bert are the peacekeepers in this crazy mess of a new agency. I thought the new name was a strange compromise, and I really wish we had been privy to Crazy Cutler and Ted discussing that.
  • As much as Don and Roger have been clinging to the old while trying to remain relevant as times change so rapidly around them, that scene when they arrived in LA was the most obvious visual evidence of how out of touch they still remain in many ways. Just looking at them in their suits standing next to silly Harry Crane who is far more comfortable in the current environment in every way was glaringly obvious. It was odd to think Harry might best these two in the end mainly because I find him to be so ridiculous and though he did anticipate the tv revolution, I’ve always felt that he backed into that. But he should get credit. His ideas are sound. I am becoming more and more annoyed with Roger’s inability to take anything seriously, and I really enjoyed the smackdown that he received via Jack and George at Carnation that directly challenged his New York condescension.
  • Watching how the haves and the have nots react to the political upheaval and upcoming election is interesting. Megan is the outlier because she is a member of the haves but is very affected by the rioting and the war and is frustrated by Don’s ability to distance himself from it. It was interesting to watch Ginsberg’s righteous anger be pierced and then fueled by Crazy Cutler’s technically correct but escalating comment that Ginsberg’s just a hypocritical hippy who cashes the paychecks funded by his enemy.

There’s so much I wanted to discuss about Joan and Peggy’s pursuit of Avon, but that deserves more than a brief mention in this post. “I thought it was a date, but it turned out to be better!” I hope Joan can land that account. That Pete will be the loser if Joan lands this is a nice payoff.

Finally, the ‘Mad Men’ premiere I’ve been anticipating for so long

NOTE: Spoilers below

So, you’d think if a person was desperate for the return of one of their favorite shows ever that person might have had the sense to check the time that show was premiering, right? Well, no. But my DVR had me covered, and I was able to skip the commercials which made viewing more enjoyable anyway. I have to start with the “Oooh look, shiny things!” part. ‘Breaking Bad’ is coming soon as well as ‘The Killing’ which the promos sprinkled helpfully through the ‘Mad Men’ premiere kept promising. As ‘Breaking Bad’ shares favorite drama ever status with ‘Mad Men,’ I’m obviously impatient for the final episodes to start airing.

As far as the ‘Mad Men’ premiere goes, my favorite exchange of the night occurred when Mona was comforting Roger after his mother’s funeral. He’s saying he feels nothing and he needs a drink. Mona says, “She lived a long time. She knew that you loved her. So maybe there’s nothing to drink about.” Of course Roger says that he feels he didn’t spend enough time with her, but Mona’s point is taken. No guilt. No regrets. About that relationship. But he has family that he needs to be more mindful about, and he could use his relationship with his mother as a reference point.

My least favorite exchange of the night goes to Betty and Henry discussing raping Sandy. WTH was up with that? Wouldn’t any girl be lucky to have a benefactor like Betty? The scene with just Sandy and Betty had me twitchy waiting for Betty to do something irrevocable. I have trouble feeling sympathetic for Betty’s character though I certainly did when she was hitched to ol’ cheatin’ Don, and I think that rapey talk with Henry might have been the last straw coupled with her continuing neglect of Sally while, as usual, showing more interest in other people’s children.

There was so much else to appreciate about the episode, but every scene with Peggy was a pure delight. I’m glad that she’s still in touch with Stan. I love how she has become such a force. She always had it in her so it’s true to that character. But it’s just so much fun to see her hit her stride and being appreciated for her value. It was long overdue. I’m starting to love you, Chaough!

I’m so surprised that Don is cheating again. /sarcasm