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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Greatest "Mad Men" episode this season... or ever

Sunday night's episode of "Mad Men" was about as perfect for an hour-long piece of television as I've ever seen in a long time. If you disagree with me, I've got a vase and I'm not afraid to use it.

For a show on which I've already used up all my superlatives and adjectives of praise -- with plenty of critical love and awards to back them up -- that's a pretty heady statement. After Betty's discovery last week of Don's real identity, all bets were off for Sunday's episode, but it surpassed even my wildest expectations.

The Big Reveal: The Draper marriage has always been a see-saw. But the minute... no... the second Betty confronted Don about his past as Dick Whitman, the tables turned. How great was it to see her order him to open the drawer in his desk? I don't think Betty has been that sure or confident of herself, perhaps not since we saw her shoot her neighbor's pigeons down in season 1. Suddenly we see her resolute even as Don -- yes, the same Don who levels underlings with one withering look every day at work -- breaks into tears as he talks about his family. The remarkable acting from both Jon Hamm and January Jones allows you to somehow sympathize with both of them. Will Betty be able to forgive the lie she's been living? Will Don continue to live out his fantasy as Don Draper, or will be have to reconcile his past as Dick Whitman?

The Vase: If you haven't seen it, well, you have no idea what I'm talking about. If you have, however, your love for Joan has only skyrocketed after watching her smash the ceramic vase full of flowers over her husband Greg's whiny, self-indulgent head. Still, Greg somehow managed to one-up her vase-lobbing by joining the Army. (Was anyone else's reaction "good, so he'll be dead soon" or am I just too mean?). We all had an inkling that Joan and Greg's marriage wasn't going to last, but Vietnam wasn't exactly how I'd pictured it ending. Either way, good riddance!

Of All the Gin Joints: OK, so he's not exactly Rick from "Casablanca," but we finally got to see a glimpse of what gives Roger that same quick-tongued bitterness. Naturally, it's a woman. And it's not just any woman, but a woman who left him to run her father's dog food company that manufactures the food from horse meat. Niiiiice. Though he rejects Annabel's advances on account of Jane, something tells me Roger will be up to his old tricks again... but it's nice to see him out of black face.

With only two more episodes -- yes, only two -- left in this season, there are tons of loose ends to tie up. I'm not sure we're going to get all our answers in this season, but there's one thing for sure -- if Sunday's episode was a taste of things to come, it's going to continue to be a great ride.

All right, "Mad Men" fans, it's your turn. Did you feel sorry for Miss Farrell or are you glad she's sort of out of the picture? Did you cheer when Joan clocked her hubby on the head? Do you think either of the next episodes will happen with the backdrop of the Kennedy Assassination?

Comment away.

-- Malavika Jagannathan, mjaganna@greenbaypressgazette.com

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6 Comments:

I can't believe there are only two more episodes to go. GAHH!

I think they'll definitely deal with the Kennedy assassination in some way, as there have been at least three seperate, distinguishable foreshadowings of it so far. (My favorite, which I didn't think of but read online, was during the Aquanet pitch, where there were four people seated in a convertible, and the person in the rear passenger side is the one whose hair keeps getting messed up.)

-Adam

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At October 28, 2009 at 4:09 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Eileen, At October 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

Vase was awesome. Couldn't tell exactly what Joan thought of the army thing. Farrell didn't bother me particularly but she did feel like a waste of screen time. Loved Betty, and Roger, in this episode.

By Blogger Eileen, At October 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

I'm with Adam. Only two more episodes! We're just getting started.

My reaction was one of glorious, glorious shock and awe. The role reversal, as MJ mentioned, and Don's subsequent vulnerability. I think I was most emotionally disturbed by Miss Farrell's presence in Don's car hanging over the entire in-house sequence.

Knowing that Betty's little flirtation showed up to the door unannounced, I kept thinking she was going to be stupid enough to not only approach the house, but walk right in and completely blow Don's cover. Don't know why -- but I didn't want Betty to find out that way. That said, I have a suspicion that Miss Farrell will go away for awhile, but will resurface and be (again) stupid enough to apologize to Betty even though she doesn't know about the affair. May seem too obvious for "Mad Men," I dunno.

Love that Joan may be brought back to Sterling Cooper, esp. if some type of re-acquisition takes place (possibly with Don ponying up some cash and finally getting his name out front? Just a guess.) Loved the vase bash over Rapey McRaperson's head. Really can't stand that guy. Have fun in Saigon, buddy.

Kennedy assassination should play big -- with that Aquanet nugget Adam just provided BLOWING MY MIND.

Finally, does anyone think Roger's sentimentality had something to do with Joan and not Jane?

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At October 28, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

Tom, the minute I read that, it makes sense to me. Plus, let's be honest, Jane's just a girl, a fling. Makes more sense that Roger would get sentimental over the one woman he never quite won over.

I also agree that Miss F will be back. Don's whole "not right now" statement pretty much sealed that. Plus, she strikes me as vaguely crazy. Again, maybe it's just me.

--Malavika

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At October 28, 2009 at 6:46 PM  

Joan's hubby will not return from war (I'm hoping for a less glorious end...raging STD perhaps?) and that's when the Rog will stray from Jane.

That's my prediction.

I like the Don on the stationery masthead prediction...I'd buy that.

By Blogger Ms. Quarter, At October 28, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

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