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Mad Men – Crash and Burn

mad men don

This is how I felt, too.

Well. I didn’t watch Mad Men last night when it aired, because it’s a holiday weekend in Canada and I was busy eating all the BBQ food.

But I did catch glimpses of a few dissatisfied tweets before bed, and having just watched the episode, I concur. That was weird, disjointed and unpleasant to watch. Maybe some people loved it. Personally, I’m rarely a fan of drug-hazed episodes. If you’ve seen “The Crash”, click through for my review.

When Roger took LSD, I thought it worked because it revealed things about the character, it was funny, and it wasn’t the entirety of the episode. In “The Crash”, most of the yet-to-be-named ad agency was either on drugs, or babysitting peopleon drugs. And it was tedious.

We were often seeing things from Don’s skewed perspective, so several hours would go by without him or us knowing it. Everything was confused, manic, and entirely unproductive. No one got any work done, they were just acting like lunatics. Peppered amongst this nonsense was flashbacks to Don’s young life in the brothel – a lot of coughing, losing his virginity to a prostitute, and being beaten and scorned for having done so. I’ve never been a big fan of these flashbacks, so their strong presence here is another reason I didn’t love the episode.

Don Draper has issues with women. All kinds of women – mothers, wives, lovers. This is a fact that has now been beaten into the ground, but will anything ever come of it? I like Mad Men a lot. But for the show to continue to be great, it can’t just rely on us watching Don be troubled. Something has to change in him, rather than the same damaged man watching the world change around him.

mad men peggy and stanThere were other things about the episode that felt off. Yes, Peggy was frustrated, but she was more passive than I’d expect. The way she dealt with Stan’s sexual advances didn’t really ring true. I assume she knew that Wendy was Frank’s daughter yet did nothing to stop her from having sex with Stan. I suppose it was too late to do anything other than throw her hands up in the air and yell “I’m going home!” Still, something felt off to me about her scenes – though the exception is when she spoke to Stan about the death of his cousin. That conversation felt genuine, and I hope it means Peggy and Stan are friends again.

mad men sallyI’m on the fence about Sally’s storyline. I adore Sally, and I think the stoic, sullen teenager she’s become is exactly what I’d expect of the neglected eldest child of Don and Betty Draper. She’s trying to be a grownup because she cannot wait to escape this world and these people, and I liked watching her deal with a crisis. I liked that it helped her realize, even more than she already had, that she knows nothing about her father. But there was something so bizarre about the way the woman went about robbing the Drapers. Why did she lie? Why wouldn’t she just take the stuff and leave, once she realized only children were home?

The episode concluded with Don behaving in a hypocritical way that’s so typical for him. After a weekend of drugged debauchery and foolishness, Don declares that he won’t work on Chevy but will only critique the work of others. “Every time we get a car, this place becomes a whorehouse.” Don Draper, ladies and gentleman. He can’t come up with his own work, so he pretends that he shouldn’t have to. He’s one of the messiest partakers in the wild weekend, but pretends it didn’t happen and looks down his nose on everyone as soon as he’s pulled himself together. He’s a philanderer who judges whores. He’s an empty man who pretends his full of mystery.

Stray thoughts:

  • I wasn’t surprised to see Betty blond again, because I felt that reversal was implied when Henry announced he’d run for office. She’s also continuing to lose weight, a little faster thanks to the motivation of being in the public eye. And, of course, she used the robbery as an excuse to criticize Don and Megan’s parenting skills and haughtily inform them that Henry is running for office. Betty Francis, ladies and gentleman. Making everything about her, once again.
  • Where was Joan? She’s the one person who really would have put a stop to this madness, and I didn’t catch an explanation for her absence. I did enjoy watching Dawn try to navigate dealing with Don, though. She did a good job.
  • I didn’t love the episode, but there were a couple things that you can’t help but laugh at. Ken Cosgrove tap-dancing, of course, is at the top of that list.
  • “Are we Negroes?” Bobby Draper is not the smartest.

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