Greatest "Mad Men" episode this season... or ever
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?
-- Malavika Jagannathan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: Mad Men