Now that’s more like the Mad Men that I love.
Last week’s premiere extravaganza was a tedious affair as far as I’m concerned. I literally forced myself to sit through it so I’m ecstatic to report that this week’s hour was both entertaining and hugely enlightening. When this show is firing on all cylinders, it’s a true masterpiece in motion.
Truth be told, I failed to notice at first viewing that the scenes with the little kid in the brothel were flashbacks of Don’s twisted childhood. When I did discover that vital tidbit, I was positively astounded by this brilliant insight into Mr. Draper’s past. He’s mentioned before that he grew up in a brothel, but to watch him witness a slimeball bedding his mother was fascinating (and so very disturbing). Don’s troubled childhood perfectly conveys his present (and somewhat warped) relationship with women. The fact that he can so easily bed his friend’s wife – Sylvia – and rationalize it with the denial of it ever happening speaks volumes.
Peter had a knockout hour this week as his dalliance with his neighbor’s wife blew up his impeccable charade of a life. Not only did his bed-buddy find herself on the receiving end of a brutal beating, Pete found himself pretty much thrown out of his home as a result. I can’t stress enough how awesome Trudy was this week, as Alison Brie pulled off her vengeful rant outstandingly. Let’s hope she sticks around for a while.
Although we haven’t seen nearly as much as Joan as I would like, I’m sure her time will come this season. Nevertheless, she got some wonderful moments this week as she insulted Herb and then forcefully strutted into Don’s office for a drink. I love the fact that Don was protective of our favorite red-head by suitably screwing over Herb by the end of the hour. I guess the guy has some good in him left after all.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Mad Men without Don’s usual trials of self-doubt and pity, and the final shot of the hour was a perfect encapsulation of his current state as he sank to the floor outside his apartment – undoubtedly guilty of what he was doing to Megan as she suffered through a miscarriage.
Pitches & Pieces
– This episode was directed by Jon Hamm. The best compliment I can give him is that it felt like just another excellent hour of the show (in addition to being a step-up from last week’s return).
– Funny how Sylvia didn’t feel like a hooker when Don paid her after sex. Those are some good standards people.
– Pete is such a sleazeball isn’t he?
– Poor Peggy getting pranked with deodorant. Thankfully, she knows all too well how to boss little boys around.
– Who else wants to see more of Sylvia going forward? I’ve said this before but Megan’s time on the show is over so I’m eager to spend time with the next woman in Don’s life.
– I can’t wait to see Stan’s epic reaction when he discovers Peggy leaked the Ketchup news.
Herb: Hello gorgeous. Did you get all gussied up for me?
Joan: Nope. I had no idea you’d be darkening my doorway.
Herb: I know there’s a part of you that’s glad to see me.
Joan: I know there’s a part of you, you haven’t seen in years.
Peggy: Everyone hates me here.
Stan: That was bound to happen.
Trudy: I refuse to be a failure. I don’t care about what you want anymore. This is how it’s going to work: you will be here only when I tell you. I’m drawing a 50 mile radius around this house and if you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you. Do you understand?
Roger: As my mother used to say, “your options were dishonor or war. You chose dishonor. You might still get war.”
Don: That was Churchill.
Engrossing and filled with remarkable insights, this was Mad Men back in top form.