September 26, 2010

Mad Men Recap: Forecast is Bleak with a Chance of Bankruptcy

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Before I begin this long-overdue recap let me apologize for the delay. If I were a secretary on Mad Men, this would not fly and I’d be outta there faster than you could say Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Yet before I go on to recap this week’s episode, let us regress, because these past few episodes are just too good not for me to add my own two cents.

Let us begin with the “Waldorf Stories,” the flasback episode that aired on August 29th (yikes I’m behind). Call me sentimental for the TV series “Lost,” but who doesn’t love a good flashback episode? I love getting a glimpse into Don’s (Jon Hamm) early life, before he was corrupted by money, power and the doting of almost every woman in sight. We see Don as a lowly salesman at a fur shop, with a penchant for advertising, when Roger Sterling  (John Slattery) drops in for a visit. By the end of the episode Don manages to work his way into a job at the prestigious Sterling Cooper advertising agency – the firm he would one day become a partner at.  It was reassuring to see such a polite and almost timid version of Don.  Yet what was most interesting was seeing for whom the fur coat Roger bought was for. We catch up with Roger and Joan (Christina Hendricks) in one of their many hotel rendez-vous, making us aware that their affair must have been going on for 10 or more years, and (spoiler alert!) is soon to be picked up on again in the coming episodes.

The past few episodes have also been very women centered. I mean just look at the title of the episode that aired on September 19th (The Beautiful Girls). Lately, we’ve seen a lot of Betty (January Jones) (the wicked step-mom side of her if you ask me) and her new husband as well. Practically a whole episode was devoted to Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Don, and the writers just can’t seem to get enough of Joan  (I don’t blame them)! Speaking of Joan, she definitely made a name for herself in “The Summer Man” which aired on September 12th.  I’m still thinking about her line to Peggy when Peggy is looking for recognition about firing a lowly intern who disrespected her: “Now they think I’m a useless women and you a humorless bitch”. As if Peggy doesn’t have to deal with men putting her down enough, here a fellow women is telling her the cold hard truth, that it’s almost impossible for women to get anywhere in the working world. While we’re on that episode, I must comment on how beautifully it was shot. The overlay of Don’s narration with other serene shots of him swimming made me feel like I was in a movie theater seeing an old flick. Not at home on my bed watching it on Megavideo.

If you’ve made it this far into the recap, congratulations. You have survived my incoherent, back and forth thoughts. So let’s dive right in to this week’s episode “Hands and Knees,” which aired on September 27th. For once a plot line is starting to develop that doesn’t surround Donald Draper’s love life. Unbeknownst to the rest of the partners, Roger begins to run into trouble when their largest client, Lucky Strike Cigarettes, decides to drop them from their roster. What’s worse, is that Pete Campell’s (Vincent Kartheiser) hard earned company United Air, which has the potential to save SCDP financially (by 4 million bucks in fact – which even sounds like a large sum in today’s terms – could you tell I’m not an AEM major?), is conducting a full on security check that could implicate Don for impersonation. Who knew Don’s stolen identity would resurface after Burt Cooper (Robert Morse) swiftly shut Pete down for even bringing it to attention in Season 2. It even seems ironic that Pete is the one who wanted to implicate Don in the first place, and now must succumb to Don’s plea of dropping United Air for Don’s sake. If only Pete had more of a backbone (or Don was just a minor character), the issue could have been squashed way back when. But Mad Men didn’t win an Emmy for worst “drama” after all.

We also learn of the aftermath of Joan and Roger’s recent relapse into affairdom. After their risqué date in last week’s episode, we learn that that Joan has become pregnant with Roger’s baby. We follow her visit to the abortion clinic where the topic is just as much a taboo subject as it is today. Lastly, we get a glimpse of Lane’s life as he is confronted with a surprise and rather violent visit from his father, whom advises Lane to get his family affairs in order. His decision to take a leave of absence could not have come at a worse time, as Pete has just broken the news about United Air and, Roger has yet to break the news about Lucky Strike.

The episode ends with Don eyeing his new stand-in secretary. And to that I just roll my eyes. I knew what he was thinking. But if I’m right, and he takes this brunette bimbo to the Beatles Concert after promising his very own daughter the ticket, I will personally call up the writers and tell them to find a way for Don to suffer in the coming episodes.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode; I can feel a lot of madness coming on.

Original Author: Ariella Weintraub