Sunday, October 10, 2010

What do South Park and Mad Man Have in Common?


Yet another terrific episode, where the stuff at the office was entirely unpredictable.  In Ossing, entirely predictable but moving nonetheless.

So far, no magic fix for the firm, but Don did manage to heed Peggy's advice: change the conversation, indeed.  Will this stop the fall?  Not sure yet, but Ken had the right idea--the board of the American Cancer Institute has important people on it, so this might be Don's Hail Mary pass.  Or not.  I think Don was speaking for Matthew Weiner when he said they could not rename the firm--something has to work out as they will not be at a new firm next year.

Some great ad stuff here: how beans have second place to ketchup (which is now behind salsa, I guess)--they cannot be funny, well, not in the way they are funny.

Anyhow, some real heartbreaking stuff with a woman from Don's near-past.  First, Midge is now a heroin junkie and tries to play him (and does successfully).  Interesting blast from the past--is Mad Men as conservative on moral values as folks accused Forest Gump to be (Midge is Jenny)?  Not sure, but the counter-culture is not looking great right now--at least in that guise.  And Don loses yet another important woman--first Anna Draper and now Midge.  If Rachel Menckin shows up destitute or as a working girl, I am going to be very disappointed.

Sally's handling her anger well, even proposing to eat with Henry.  But she gets more than she wanted--a possible move away from Ossing (which she said she hated) and Glen (whom she should probably hate).  Nice to see her doing so well in the first half of the episode, which makes the rest so heartbreaking.  Betty simply will not consider Sally's opinions/feelings at all, and reacts without any real thought.  So, Sally has improved and learned from Edna but Betty is going nowhere.  "She does not know I am mad."  We shall see how long that lasts.  At least she will still be seeing Dr. Edna--who rocks!

Speaking of women in Don's life, Megan was very clearly just a secretary in this episode, indicating that she got what she wanted, although she did have at least one small glance at Dr. Faye that was a bit suggestive.  Still, it seems like this is one affair that may not bite Don too soon.  And she is his bodyguard!  She took that role seriously last episode/month.

Faye compromised her ethics for nothing as it turned out.  Heinz is not saving the company, but Don's letter did cause her firm to break with Don's.  So, now they can be open with their lovey-dovey.  Interesting that Faye did not see herself as a model for Peggy.  I guess Faye realizes just how much she did play the game by their rules.

Don really pushed the envelope on the letter to the NYT.  No feedback from the partners, no inclusion of their names.  He deliberately listed all of the competitors.  But he changed the conversation very much so.  I really thought RFK was calling him for the campaign.  But no, it was a prank phone call.  Cooper, however, was most serious, and it looks like he is gone.  For how long?  I don't know, but his line "we've created a monster" was most telling since he knows Don's secret.  I like Peggy's reaction to the letter: "I thought you didn't go in for those shenanigans" a reminder of the ham-handed ham play, but also calling Don out for what he had done.  Their relationship allows for her to make that comment--that she gets him only too well.  The rules are there to be broken when necessary, and it is clear that something here was necessary.

Only one episode left in this season.  It will be tough to watch this show depart for about 40 weeks, with only the small solace that Walking Dead will take its place for the fall.  I just hope the firm can survive the 1960's so that it is around to help us when there is a Zombie outbreak.

PS I forgot about the wonderful subplot involving Pete and the cash he needed to raise to help the firm out.  I love that Trudy went from sweet mommy chock full of love into the ruler of the checkbook: not going to put more money  into a sinking ship.  "I forbid you ..."  Oh my.  But that just sets up the big surprise at the end that will keep Pete at the firm (something that was in doubt from the previous episode): Don covered Pete's buy in (or re-buy in poker terms).  With that gesture, Don shows Pete what he really thinks and Pete is so very touched.  And Lane, was he deliberately leaking the news to settle Pete down?  Methinks yes.

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