I’ll admit it, I went into this episode with a few preconceived notions. First, a phone call from my mom made it obvious that Lucky Strike was going to be a smokin’ issue (get it?). Second, my friend Steven, and one of my guest commentators for the episode said, “oh, each week just keeps getting better and better, especially because there is no Betty (January Jones) this week!” And even, reading my friend’s twitter post: “Draper you a ho!” I knew Don was up to no good. They all could not have been more right.
When watching this week’s episode, “Chinese Wall,” I was joined by guest commentators: Steven Grant – Mad Men fanatic, and currently enrolled in the Cornell course “Television – THETR2160,” and Emily Sanders – TV watcher extraordinaire, however new to Mad Men. Within the first two minutes, I knew I was in for a treat for already Sanders had made me aware of the show’s double meaning, which I had never given thought to. Have you ever realized that Mad Men rhymes with “ad men”? I know, I’m slow on the uptake. Grant added his expertise confirming her assumption, and adding his own tidbit saying it stood for “Madison Avenue Men”.
While Grant and I had our intellectual convos, Sanders and I ogled over the hotness of Draper and took turns trying to guess where we knew the short guy from (he’s Doyle from Gilmore Girls FYI, Paris’ boyfriend and Ken Cosgrove’s (Aaron Staton) wife was Alex Mack back in the day). Though Sanders might have got hung up on character’s actual names (“Is her name really January Jones?!”) rather than truly appreciating the plot, all in all, it was definitely a fun experience.
Grant was nothing but insightful, complete with a Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) impression too. He began with a play-by-play bringing to my attention all of the parallel plot lines and how it was significant that their personal and work lives seamlessly melded together in this episode. We find Cosgrove at a nice dinner with his fiancé, Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in the waiting room, while his wife Trudy (Alison Brie) goes into labor and “Don in the throws of passion with Faye (Cara Buono)” (- Grant). Cosgrove hears the bad news when at dinner, Campbell can’t find support from his absent wife, or even from his father in law when business is bad and Draper jeopardizes his relationship with Dr. Faye Miller when he tries to put work first. Something I picked up on (props to me) was the fact that all the men even held their brandy glasses the same way when convening in Burt Cooper’s (Robert Morse) office before breaking the bad news to the company. When the partners announce the bad news to the office I couldn’t keep my eyes off Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks). Her gloomy expression was so telling of the true feelings of the rest of the partners. She always tells it like it is. But before I could point it out to Sanders, Grant beat me to the punch:
Grant: Just look at Joan, that’s all I do
Sanders: Why Joan?
Grant: Cause … she’s Joan!
I couldn’t have said it any better my self, Grant. Another great Grant quote included a comment on Peggy Olson’s late arrival to the office due to her late night (and I guess you could say early morning): “The liberation of Peggy, having sex for the heck of it”
When Don brings in Creative to work out a plan of action, some members are surprised and almost question their involvement. Draper states: “You’re in this room aren’t you. Which Grant pointed out is a tie in to Cooper’s line in season 1 when he says, “A man is whatever room he’s standing in.” It also built on the mentor mentee relationship between Draper and Olson from the Samsonite episodes a few weeks back.
I find myself constantly hating and respecting Draper at the same time. How does he do it? He’s so awful towards women and does not appreciate those he works with, yet is very sharp business wise and always seems to come through. However, in this episode I was only furious. How can Draper be mad at Campbell? Draper, stop playing the blame game for things out of Campbell’s control. First of all, of course Campbell is distracted. His wife is about to have a baby! Draper is crossing a very thin line, especially after asking Campbell to drop North American Aviation (p.s. I called it United Air last week, thanks for not calling me out!). I was hoping to see a smack down by the end of the episode. It better come next week. But oh what’s this? A competing offer from another ad agency? That’s exciting. I’m starting to be on Campbell’s side more and more these days. Especially since he dropped that ugly blue suit. You go for it Campbell. I’m not done with you yet Draper. Is it just me or is Dr.Miller just a more educated version of Betty. Oh wait, she’s much better because she’s awoken to Draper’s selfishness very early. At least, I thought she was better until she reneged on her integrity and gave Draper confidential information on one of her clients. Also I am going to smack Drapter for getting with yet ANOTHER one of his secretaries. To be fair she was also throwing her self at him. “It has nothing to do with work” – said the secretary, whose name I can’t remember at the moment, or care to know. My bet is that it has everything to do with work and she is gong to run out of their crying tomorrow. Moral of the story, Dr. Miller deserves better. Heck, every woman deserves better than Don Draper. Okay even I know I’d be the first in line, but shhhhh. The best line of the night had to be Cooper’s comment to Roger Sterling (John Slattery): “Lee Garner Jr. never took you seriously because you never took yourself seriously.” If that isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is. We’ll have to see how Sterling acts on it in the coming weeks.
The fate of SCDP is up in the air. Will they go under? They can’t very well start a new agency – that was so season 3. Heinz might be their saving grace. But I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Follow up on the comment from last week – Grant, who by the end of this episode I have deemed my “Mad Men” guru, believes that she did have the abortion.
Share this:EmailShare on Tumblr
Original Author: Ariella Weintraub