don_season_5

And so, after a year and a half hiatus, last night was the season 5 premiere of Mad Men. ZOOBIE ZOOBIE ZOO, indeed. We got to see Don’s new apartment, and black people, and Joan’s secret love baby, and we got to hear Sally Draper’s new Melanie Griffith voice. But, like, can we talk about how that was a pretty terrible episode? I say that as someone who not only was very excited for the episode and is a fan of this show, and who also happened to watch it in California time and so was avoiding SPOILERS but did happen to see at least one Facebook status update before the show started about how the episode wasn’t good but was therefore even more inclined to like it, just as I was when I saw Star Wars Episode The Phantom’s Menace weeks after it opened (long story, not important) and so saw the movie in the full flush of Public Jar Jar Binks Rage but was determined to prove everyone wrong and say that it was actually pretty good and they were missing the point only to find that it was obviously so terrible and everyone was right on the money. What I’m saying is that I sure wish last night’s episode had been good but boy oh boy it sure wasn’t. Mainly, if I had to point to one real problem it was the. Pacing.

What was that pacing? So many crazy long pauses between everyone’s dialog. Imagine a scene where someone was supposed to just be casually walking down a hallway, but so the first thing you see is them just standing right at the edge of the frame looking for the signal to start walking and two seconds go by and then they sort of half-nod and walk so casually down the hallway but you’re like, well, wait, what were those two seconds of stiffness all about? That was the whole episode. This is mostly a problem from the directing/editing side of things, which, holy moly, I mean, guys, did you watch the episode before you turned it in? And it didn’t feel consistently so jarring and weird and off-putting to you? Huh. Fair enough. Collect your paycheck from the girl on your way out.

Also, hey, I get it, Don didn’t like his party. How many conversations are we all going to have in real time about him not liking it? Oh, 100 billion? Great. Where are we at this point? Where’s the season going? Is the cleaning lady ever coming over? Will Meghan have to throw the rug off the balcony now that they RUINED it with their weird, disjointed, “don’t look at me, please look at me, why are you looking at me” revenge sex? Peggy hardly even recognizes Don because he’s “happy,” which is odd considering how unhappy he seemed to be all episode. But she said he was happy and unrecognizable so I guess he’s happy and unrecognizable. Good character development. It’s just like how Peggy can’t hold a baby because one time she had an abortion. No, totally, I know, right?

Two whole hours and not a single minute of what’s up with Betty? Fair enough. She lives in a castle now? I don’t know. We don’t know yet. Wait another year and a half, you’ll see.

Easily the most ridiculous and impossible thing to believe was that Pete’s weird Staten Island 6AM Coca Cola meeting prank would actually work. Come on! Roger is just going to wake up and go to Staten Island in the middle of the night? He thinks that is how business with a major client is actually conducted? Nonsense. Nonsense! No. It’s not even clear what is going on with him and Pete anyways. Why IS he always swooping in on his meetings? I understand why he wants to have a big office, because big offices are nicer than tiny crappy offices where you are constantly awkwardly and unbelievably prat-falling your way into broken noses against support beams (WOMP WOMP!) but what’s with the sabotage? Who knows. Did Don like his party or not?

To give you a sense of how problematic last night’s episode was, despite scenes between Joan and her beleaguered mother, and discussion of the impending civil rights movement, and any other of a number of real dramatic things, the best scene was the one where Roger told Harry Crane to give up his office. HUH?!

But, so, I think that all of the problems with last night’s episode, which, again, were largely due to some very weird directorial and editing choices, although there were also just some weirdly written lines of dialog and some stuffy acting to be sure, but all of it can be traced back to one thing in particular, which is not the actual Problem itself, but seems to be indicative of something that’s going on here that we should be concerned about. You see, in the first four seasons of this show, we were led to believe that Don Draper was a dashing, horrible womanizer. He had his way with everrrrryone. Clearly, women found him attractive, and we saw the results of this through their actions (sex). But people didn’t constantly TALK about how handsome he was, because that would be a bit ON THE NOSE. We know he’s handsome, we have eyes in our heads, too. But on last night’s episode there were giant clunkers not once but TWICE in which women on the show would point out how handsome Don was. The first was at his party (which I think he didn’t like, but I’m not sure, hopefully we will find out in the season finale whether or not he liked his party) when Roger asked his young wife why she never did the Zoobie Zoobie Zoo dance and she asked him why he didn’t look like Don. And then later in Price’s office, when he is telling Joan about all the fun she missed at the party, she says something to the effect of “I can’t even imagine how handsome that man is when he blushes.” OOF. What? Joan?! Mad Men?! Show don’t tell, Matthew Weiner. Show don’t tell and tell and tell and tell.

Fingers crossed for next week! Seriously! All of my best wishes for next week!

Comments (157)
  1. Some random thoughts:

    *Oof. I disagree, Gabe. This episode was really good! Dare I say one of the best episodes of Mad Men ever? I am now looking forward to the rest of the season.

    I don’t think I can make any serious claims against your objections, but I do think the good in the episode far outweighed the bad. What I liked is how so many characters had these small stories—with small reactions—that each said something profound about the characters. Take Joan’s cattiness to her mother and her desperate foray back into SCDP to rescue her job. The baby gets handed around like a hot potato, and with each person’s reaction (Roger, Peggy, Megan, Pete) we get a subtle reminder of their stories. And Joan’s return is so automatic and natural that it’s clear that a traditional stay-at-home mom career is not for her.

    Or Lane’s adventures with the wallet—his desperation for affection and money are so clearly evident, but in the end, he doesn’t succumb. Is it out of nobility? Is he really a “gentleman”? Or is out of fear ? Is he happy that he’ll be at those offices “for the rest of his life,” or is he trapped? Great little vignette.

    Granted, however, that the birthday party drama got stretched too far.

    *Betty is apparently going to be missing from much of this season due to January Jones’ pregnancy and new baby. But because she’s the worst this can only make Mad Men better, right?

    *Vulture posted the original French-language “Zou bisou bisou”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vFOzG3GYqo

    *Race. Do you guys remember the very first episode of Mad Men? The very first episode of Mad Men—essentially the pilot—dealt with race in the ‘60s in an incredible way. There was this subtle emphasis on silent African-Americans. They were there in the elevators, they were there in the offices, they were there in the homes—but as silent, “faceless” workers. They literally had almost no say in the lives of the white Americans—omnipresent but ignored.

    This was a theme that Mad Men abandoned, for better or worse. African-Americans were pretty much literally invisible after that, save for the occasional maid or Muhammad Ali reference. I am not going to quibble with the show too much on this point—it is portraying a very segregated society, so it isn’t off-bounds to show very few African-Americans in the Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce universe—but I also was disappointed that there wasn’t more done with race.

    All that to say that the opening scene with the protestors and the final scene of the begrudged hiring of an African-American secretary due to a backfired prank has risen my hopes that the show will return to its promise of the first episode.

    *What is the show about? It’s about re-creating, right? Recasting/reforming/denying the old past, making one’s own future? Dick Whitman becoming Don Draper; secretaries becoming trophy wives and/or advertising creative; “Peggy, listen to me, get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.” Just like advertising is about shaping perceptions, so the characters are about re-creating themselves in a new world, albeit with varying degrees of trauma and failure.

    So what has worried me about the last few seasons is that this thematic idea has kinda lost its momentum. The narrative drive is simply not there. It is funny how Don Draper seems increasingly unimportant and uninteresting in the drama that he’s the nominal lead in. The Dick Whitman story seems like a minor sideplot, Peggy’s transformation into a career woman seems all but assured. Where are the stakes?

    Let me compare it to Breaking Bad, which just had its best season ever. BB has the gradual corruption of Walter White at its heart—the high school teacher family man slowly turning into a villain. This gives BB an incredible forward momentum—the entire series has a satisfying arc.

    But what is the equivalent for Mad Men? What is Don Draper becoming? It is a little…opaque. Realistic, perhaps, but not entirely satisfying drama.

    • MEDGAR EVERS WAS IN BETTY’S DREAMS!

      (and on the dvds there was a really cool 2 or 3-part documentary about him)

    • I think the way the show has portrayed race has been a fairly accurate. The characters are all white, upper-middle class and/or filthy rich. Race hasn’t been an issue for them because they could, up until this point, ignore it. What we’re seeing now is a sea change in the overall zeitgeist that is impossible to escape.

    • it was a solid episode and very funny.

      the thing is, after being gone for so long it can’t just kick in with the drama from minute 1. It had to re-establish where these characters were at, and the relationship dynamics after a long absence. 90% of viewers probably didn’t go back and re-watch last season….and a party where they can all re-introduce side characters [cosgrove's wife? oh yeah! peggy is dating that lefty!] and relationship dynamics.

      also, I agree with werttrew, but disagree with the last point: I don’t think Mad Men is comparable to Breaking Bad in terms of “stakes”….that show has a progressive, unceasing forward momentum heading forward to an end point. Mad Men lives in a less insular world, where character dynamics continually shift, and not only have to react to other characters, but also has to react to the rapidly changing culture of the era. therefore, when the times shift, so do the people, and there is a constant need with each season to re-establish what the characters having been doing before going forward with what their path will be for the season and where the drama will lie.

      “what is Don Draper becoming?” that is the fundamental question of the series. and as he is now dealing with new levels of happiness, the question will probably hit him again and he will probably again have to confront the emptiness he will still feel, despite having “everything” in the eyes of literally everyone….which is why there were so many characters commenting on him, his wife, his apartment, etc.

      we saw, especially in the final montage toward the end, [excluding Peggy] the relationships of each of the SCDP men [all of whom had commented on how great Don has it now] and their wives as they headed out for work, in varying degrees of unhappiness.

      i think the episode, and probably this season, will refill the bubble of supposed happiness that Don lived in and tried to escape for the first 2.5 seasons and find that he’s still trying to find happiness through surface-level means, while still trying to look beyond that surface to find an honest human connection….which is pretty much the main theme of the series.

    • Those thoughts don’t seem THAT random.

  2. I really loved last night’s episode, but I’m not here to fight.

    Let’s let bisou’s be bisou’s.

  3. Yes, this definitely was a slow-paced episode in comparison to the break-neck speed of seasons 1-4.

  4. Matthew Weiner said in an interview that everyone always complains about the show being slow for the first part of a new season, and then raves at the end. Personally, I’m fine with the tease. Mad Men has never been a show that has given its fans what they want. That’s part of the draw.

    • It seems to be an AMC trademark. Breaking Bad is the same way as it usually trudges along during the middle of the season to pick up speed toward the end. God knows The Walking Dead is a slow haul where a couple of plot points that can arguably be interesting are only handled after a long, long wait. I don’t think it adds to either of these shows. I’ve enjoyed Mad Men and Breaking Bad is great, but this is a weakness in my opinion. Because it’s not always a clever, slow buildup towards an end, oftentimes it’s just slow dead space to fill up hours of television.

  5. For once this “Gabe” person and I are in agreement and allignment in our opinions. I was bored senseless by last nights episode. Soooo boring. Snooze fest.

  6. Maybe I’ve got I’m-just-really-glad-it’s-back blinders on, but I thought last night was good. Especially Roger mock-dancing. More Roger mock-dancing please.

  7. Gonna have to disagree with Gabe here. Any of the minor weirdness doesn’t really matter to me in an episode that promises a season where the main characters are confronted by race in a big way. I didn’t see any kind of jarring awkward dialogue, Slattery’s scenes were especially fun in the episode.

    Loved the weird ass Carnival of Souls music as Sally wakes up.

    Gabe’s probably the only person upset that Betty didn’t show up.

  8. It was a bit slow moving, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Also, did Peggey have an abortion? I thought she gave the baby up for adoption.

    • *Peggy

    • Her mom takes care of the baby, but nobody other than Don and maybe Pete (?) know she had it. I think, anyway. Maybe she had an abortion before the show started that we don’t know about? Or she just told everyone she had an abortion when she really had the baby?

      • I thought the state took it away, and that baby in the crib was her sister’s baby? And that was part of why she wanted to move? Like a fake-out?

      • Peggy gave the baby up for adoption. The baby we saw in S2 at her mom’s house was her sisters.

      • Peggy had the baby, her mom took care of it, and Peggy told Pete she gave the baby up for adoption, but I can’t remember if that’s what happened for reals.

        • Yeah I remember Don going to visit her at the hospital after the birth and there being some discussion about her giving the baby up.

          • Wait, I always thought that the baby in S2 was hers…like there was that scene with her sister being like don’t you think you should say goodnight and she goes into the nursery and it’s all awkward? Wasn’t that hers? I’ve been under the impression that her sister had been raising Peggy’s kid as her own all this time.

        • Actually, I think FLW’s right on this one. I think Matthew Weiner pointed this out as just unintentional confusion on the audience. If you look at the scene where Peggy is in the asylum/mental ward, her sister is very late-term preggy. The baby Peggy is looking at in season 2 is her sister’s.

          • Gregory and FLW are correct. It was confusing as hell for everyone, but the baby you see is Peggy’s sister’s.

  9. I think I missed when Harry Crane went from being, like, a decent guy to sexual harasser extraordinaire. I know it started in the last episode of Season 4 with the Carolyn Jones business, but he was super annoying in this episode. I wonder what his deal is now.

    • Seems like something they’ve been ramping up since then, yeah. I kinda expect to hear that his home life’s all screwed up, given all those weird remarks about his wife.

      • Yeah, it seemed like he was hiding something at the party (saying “Jennifer’s at home” almost as many times as we’re told that Don didn’t like the party) and went way too into detail with Roger about the effect Megan’s dance had on his post-party plans with Jennifer. Definitely something wrong there.

    • For real, remember when he walked out of the carousel pitch crying because he loved his wife?

      Also, he lost a lot of weight.

      • Yeah, he lost a lot of weight and looked pretty fashionable at the party, moreso than the SCDP guys, I think. I don’t know. Maybe he does coke now or something. So LA.

    • It seems things are weird at home; and he’s very much in the sexual overcompensation mode. For what, we’ll find out. But there’s no way he’s not getting divorced.

  10. Wait, you want a TWO hour show? That’s with commercials, right? Okay, phew. Well that means we just have to make the show we have twice as long. Add some crap about someone moving offices and more fluff and period-piece gimmickry and caricature. Get to work people!

  11. Also, this was probably one of the funnier episodes I can remember. Sterling and Pryce 4 Kings of Gooftown!

  12. But what did you think of Loiter Squad, Gabe?

  13. I actually thought the specific mentions of Don’s handsomeness were pretty good because they created moments for us to see how other characters feel about him and how that makes them feel about themselves. Of course Roger knows that Don is handsome, but having Roger’s wife tell him that Don is better looking than he is was more about their relationship than it was about Don being handsome.

  14. Also, I think Roger’s especially desperate after the Lucky Strike fallout, which is why he fell for Pete’s 6am meeting trick. He wants to be seen as valuable and is clinging onto the good reputation his name has, but he’s struggling and trying to appear like he’s not.

  15. Aw, shucks I thought it was pretty interesting! Lot’s of slow burn to think about, etc. And I liked the baby vs. Peggy moments: I mean, if she had just had an abortion I would have thought it was stupid, but she was unknowingly pregnant for 9 months, then gave birth, then refused to believe she gave birth and was institutionalized and they took the baby away.(Or at least, that’s what I thought happened? I could have misunderstood that whole thing because the better Hanks son was some kind of presit and it was distracting). I would be a little freaked out by babies if that were me. Plus I thought it was kind of a subtle nod that Peggy and her new brocialist boyfriend are not going to be the settling down to babies type.

    And I liked that we basically had a long thought exercise on the way Don’s changes in himself and how he views women have made him shape Meghan, but he’s still going to be unhappy soon because he’s still playing “build a perfect wife image” but now with more BDSM and Peggy.

  16. am i the only person who chalked up most of these problems to the fact that it was the season premiere? and AMC expects a lot of new people to tune into the show for the first time after two years of dormancy and a huge press push and everybody and their mother talking about it and they want to hook the people in to watching this entire season every sunday night, and so they have to pad it with all sorts of “informational dialogue?” especially now that don is a total pussy? shouldn’t the writers indicate to new viewers that he sure i mean obviously he’s handsome, but he’s handsome enough to be a womanizer in that universe? and once was a total shit-for-brains-and-it-was-awesome womanizer? also, tv episodes are boring sometimes and you just remember the good moments of an entire season but if you put all those moments together it’d take up, like, 60-70 minutes of television with all sorts of padding in the middle and that is fine. television is allowed to be like this. when we look back on “friends,” our collective favorite tv show, we say “what a great show. smelly cat. joey wearing all the t-shirts. the thanksgiving football game” but we don’t seem to remember the boring moments which was literally every other moment. you can’t run over somebody’s foot with a lawn mower in EVERY EPISODE. that’d be crazy.

  17. Also, DOMINIC DIERKES!

  18. I’m worried about Lane, you guys. When he said he’ll be at SCDP for the rest of his life, I sensed a little foreshadowing. Is he gonna dieeeee????

  19. Are we all on the same page re: Peggy’s “that fucking guy” boyfriend is the worst? Even in an episode where he largely did nothing wrong (aside from being unnecessarily rude to that sailor), he is worse than 3 Petes.

  20. I thought the episode was really good. This was one of my favorite parts:

  21. Am I the only one who feels there should be a theme song for every time Don and Megan Draper arrive at work and walk down the hallway?

  22. This is entirely unrelated to the thread of conversation, but does anyone know where someone (i.e. me) who doesn’t have cable can (legally) watch Mad Men? Is it available on demand somewhere? I’m not averse to paying a buck or two to watch an episode.

  23. AMC’s commercial breaks are SOO long it was driving me insane. Also im sick of all these 2 hour season premiers, just give me one and remain excited.

  24. Let’s just discuss how much I missed Pete Campbell’s bitchface. So many of them this episode!

  25. I like that the style has moved from Goldfinger to Diamonds are Forever. What was once nice to look at is now horrifying.

  26. Why isn’t anyone talking about the weird and necessary close up of baby taint? Not even parents get that close a view of their baby’s bottoms.

  27. Sally Draper’s deep ass voice for the win. Holy moly!

    • Somebody’s going through puberty!

      • Sally thread!

        What do you guys think about the scene in the beginning where Sally “accidentally” walks to Don’s room and looks in at Megan on the bed? My roommate thinks she’s got a crush on Megan and is a lesbian (she cited some other hints from previous episodes). I thought it was more just a thing about her loving her dad and wanting to be closer to him and therefore maybe she’s intrigued by Megan because she got close to him. Anyone?

        • what were the other hints?? that’d be interesting.

          • “she’s taking to your tools like a little lesbian” -betty
            or something like that
            also hand in her pants while watching a lady on tv?
            am i making these up in my head?

          • Yeah, biggest thing that comes to mind was the time Betty straight up called her a lesbian, which was totally weird, and also the masturbating thing, though I don’t remember what was on the TV…

  28. Small thought: what with Don living, commuting and working with Megan, they spend almost no time apart – and Don seems to like it that way? She leaves work early, he leaves work early. It seem like as part of this latest “married man” reinvention he might be trying to hold to being monogamous? Granted this will likely last all of 3 episodes, but I do think there is an awareness on Don’s part to move away from his womanizing image – to try to be the contented husband who puts everything, including his work, second to her.

    • Evidenced by the fact that Megan just knows very matter-of-factly that he’s Dick Whitman, after traveling to CA with him. Maybe that’s what Don’s new life is getting at. While still a secret to only a trusted few, Don is trying to merge Dick Whitman into Don Draper, and Megan’s presence and support is key in his attempt.

      • *While still a secret to ALL BUT a trusted few…

      • Yeah, he’s weirdly melding his personalities; but the novelty is going to wear off, but maybe not as quickly this time?

        I mean, he seems to have the sex he really wants with his second wife, which is no small thing (TWSS) in Don/Dick’s world. Though holy moly it was weird seeing Megan/Meghan (sp?) as some sort of chastising sex-mother in that love scene.

        At the same time, it was nice to see kinky sex depicted as legitimately tender. Matt Weiner’s definitely arguing that adventurous sex can be synonymous with love. That’s maybe the most edgy thing about the show right now.

        • It’s also a huge departure from Don’s previous marriage, which was constructed on lies. He wasn’t who he said he was. He was never home and was constantly catting around, leaving Betty to go nuts in her suburban prison. He was guarding closely held secrets.

          Meanwhile Megan immediately saw Don’s Dick Whitman life in CA, she knows that he adopted a new identity, she is by his side always at home and at work, and even though Don still does his pouty bullshit that’s going to lead to communication problems and Megan is also very young and gets mopey and weird in her darker times as she struggles to understand Don’s emotions, they still come together in the end (bad choice of words, sorry) as evidenced by the end of the episode with their kinky BDSM sex-play on their FILTHY floor.

          Good god, their floor was gross.

          • I had this weird thought. If Don’s so into humiliation, why didn’t he have a perma-boner when he was married to Betty? That lady was all about chastising!

    • I think we’re seeing that the reason Don and Megan get along so well is because they click on an intimate level, which he didn’t have with Betty, which is why he kept seeking sexual adventures elsewhere. I had predicted that Don and Megan would be miserably married, like Roger and whatsherface, but instead, Don seems to have found his soul mate. Except she is 15 years younger than he is, so there’s a bit of a generational gap, as evidenced in her idea of what makes a great birthday and his idea of what makes a great birthday. Of course, I assume this balance of bliss and dissonance is going to unravel eventually…

      • Somehow it took this episode for it to really click for me that Don is EXTREMELY introverted. Megan is an extrovert. The mix-up over how enjoyable a party like that is revolves entirely around that.

        As an extrovert, Megan didn’t understand his introversion and threw him a party complete with intense-center-of-attention dance. We’ll see how well she figures out that aspect as the season progresses. Don however understood Megan’s extroversion and knew that she didn’t really want to be home alone, she wanted his attention. He went home and showed her she had it.

  29. This episode was a bean ballet.

  30. Still haven’t seen. Ugh. Spoilers. My fault. Slap face.

  31. I also loved the very fey black band leader, and everyone’s slack-jawed, timely comments about him.

    Also, when the band leader requested they turn off the lights and Cosgrove bellowed “Nooooooo!”

    “Alright. Well, let’s keep it down then,” or something close to that.

  32. As a long time lurker on this site, this was one of the few times I totally disagreed with Gabe. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and loved its sense of humor. I liked it’s “let’s just hang out with the characters” vibe. I probably enjoyed it more as I watched it later on DVR and fast-forwarded through the commercials. DVRs are a cool invention! They really help the pacing of a show.

  33. This season will be great, if they ever get off that fucking farm!

  34. Larry David would’ve called bullshit on Megan’s present to Don.

  35. great episode. sorry, gabe.

  36. Judging from the backdrop, it’s pretty obvious where Don Draper’s apartment is located:

    [IMG]http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f218/mattwillard/DonDrapersApartment.jpg[/IMG]

  37. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  38. did you guys notice pete is going bald?

    • I watched a little featurette about the new season before the episode aired, and it looked like Pete’s hairline had moved up enough for me to notice it looked like he had lost some hair. Then I tried to justify that maybe it was the angle at which he was facing the camera or something, but damn he looked like he had lost a LOT of hair.

      Then the episode aired, and I thought his hair looked fine, and it was like how I remembered it from previous seasons, or at least close enough. Then Roger made that comment about Pete losing his hair and I was like, “Ok, IS HE?! Is Vincent Kartheiser losing his hair, or is this a scripted thing in the show where Pete starts to lose his hair?!”

  39. during the first episose of season 2 harry is about to have his baby and pete is bragging about how big his office is. ohhhh how the tables have turned!

  40. I was hoping Joan’s baby would have a thick swath of white hair. P.S. The name Kevin seemed like a strange choice. I thought he’d be called something really masculine like William or Heathcliff. (Are those masculine names?)

  41. i find it unbelievable that there is no gif of the baby balls scene. that was the weirdest 3 seconds of television i’ve ever seen. TOTALLY NECESSARY!

  42. Okay, I disagree, a few reasons why:

    -The pacing / intensity has always been slow with this show. I didn’t find the dialogue off at all. This episode was a bit slow, compared to other shows I watch, but that ALWAYS applies to Mad Men. Maybe with the hiatus you’ve begun to expect a faster episode of TV? Which isn’t a bad expectation at all, really, since arguably this show is always a little too languid, but it certainly hasn’t dropped off at all since last season, or ever. The casual pace is just part of Mad Men.

    -Peggy didn’t have an abortion, she had her baby adopted. And her scene with the baby wasn’t just reflecting her reluctance to hold it because of her own past; when Pete entered, both characters were awkwardly looking at a possibility they could’ve had, but didn’t (as Peggy mentioned once in a past episode, one she could’ve shamed Pete into if she had wanted, but chose not to).

    And do we really want to see more of Betty right now? Honestly? I mean, for one, she’s terrible. She’s always been terrible, but now not only is she terrible, she’s irrelevant to almost all the other characters, unless it’s in the context of Don’s life in contrast to hers, or her relationship to the kids, which was pretty much the only reason she showed up at all last season, which was very little. And that’s pretty well trodden ground, unless we’re expecting some new way for her to be horrible and abusive to Sally.

    However: I agree with the criticism about Don being handsome twice in the episode being too on the nose (in the one Jon Hamm directed no less!). And the baby’s bottom shot was pretty darn weird. So that was that.

    But overall, really, and I say this as not one of the crazy ardent defenders of this show, I thought this was a pretty decent episode. I think the balance between dark comedy and drama was on point – I laughed out loud a few times. I think this show has struggled the most when the comedy has lapsed and it has leaned entirely on the drama.

    • Also, am I the only guy in the world who doesn’t notice anything wrong with Don’s wife’s teeth? For real, she’s just hot. I actually just rewatched part of the episode to try and find something wrong with her teeth. Not getting it.

      • Megan has big teeth. They don’t warp her face. There’s no crazy overbite or anything.

        While I was waiting for the new episode to air I watched a couple episodes from Season 4, the second of which was “The Beautiful Girls,” where Sally runs away to Don, and Megan helps her up when she falls down (and also Ms. Blankenship passes away), and it has that great scene at the end as Sally changes hands to Betty in the lobby and Don is standing there with Megan, Joan, Peggy and Dr. Miller standing behind him (which I just love that shot and the different colors they’re all wearing).


        What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with Megan. If anything the hate is coming from a place of ‘who is this new lady in Don’s life and let’s judge her harshly in the most superficial of ways by calling out her looks.’

        • Looking at that shot and having already expressed my enjoyment of the various colors all the ladies are wearing, I can’t help but see the symbolism just dripping from it. I don’t have anything to say about Peggy and Joan in relation to Don, necessarily, but I’m sure someone could think up something there.

          But mainly, I love the colors that Betty, Megan and Dr. Miller are wearing. Betty, as the ex, is wearing light blue. Dr. Miller is in dark blue (echoing Betty), with her light yellow blouse peaking out. Then there is Megan in her extremely bright, saturated yellow dress. To Don, Dr. Miller could be seen here as a more concentrated version of Betty’s early qualities— blonde, hard-won, ignorant of his true identity, puts up a fight but ultimately bends to Don’s will until he burns her and she wises up. And Dr. Miller’s light yellow blouse has the same effect as Betty’s light blue dress. Light blue to deep blue. Light yellow to deep yellow.

          The qualities that Don wants in a mate are ultimately represented by yellow. There are some present in Dr. Miller, but they are pale, watered down and barely peaking out through her other, stronger qualities, which are ones she shares with Betty (and Betty’s shared qualities are weak and pale in comparison to Dr. Miller’s).

          Something else interesting and lovely about the shot is that Don faces Betty with Megan framed between them wearing the brightest clothing of anyone in the picture. Because Betty is frame left, Don is looking frame left to face her, and therefore he is also facing Megan, with his back to Dr. Miller.

  43. My fave part of the episode.

  44. Hey, Age ain’t nothing but a number for these loved-up A-Listers. My BF and I both think so! He is almost 10 years older than I. We met via ~~Agelessmeet .COM~~ a nice place for younger women and older men, or older women and younger men, to interact with each other! Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends :)

  45. This is the one time I have to disagree with Gabe. Mad Men has been slow paced all along. This is a soap opera where you follow it and either like it and the characters, or you don’t. Gabe clearly doesn’t. A small example: Joan talking about Don’s handsomeness – she’s a career girl who’s been stuck on maternity leave with a husband several thousand miles away. She’s bored and alone and is gossiping with Lane; not to mention in an earlier season, she wonders aloud to another secretary why it is that Don has never hit on her. The gal who married Rodger is really young and was looking to marry a rich guy. You don’t tell the rich guy who marries you that you wish he looked like Don Draper until that ring is on your finger and he is being a verbal dink to you at an office party. This show is great and this two hour episode was an apology to fans who had to wait a year and a half to watch it. It gave fans an accountance for what happened to who, how the times have continued to change at a rapid pace and how Don and his buddies are quickly becoming old guys while Pete and Peggy have become like Don in his first two or three seasons – as ad men who are primed and ready to make a name for themselves. Also, I liked how they just slip in that Don told Meagan about his past. That was a crazy revelation and will it change anything?

  46. How did that carpet get so dirty? It looked like it was coated in dirt, streamers, confetti, and toothpicks. Was anybody even eating at the party? I sure saw them drinking. Maybe Meghan (sp?) needs to ring out the carpet as well.

  47. Peggy seems like an entirely different character.

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