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Monday, April 9, 2012

Mad Men Mystery Date

Posted by Jacob Schraer on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 12:59 PM

The commercial below is the namesake of this week's episode. Sally watches it with her new grandmother who I both hated and enjoyed tonight.


Remember the Simpsons episode where they played Mystery Date and "The Dud" looked like Milhouse?

The Wikipedia entry on the mass murder in Chicago that all the characters are talking about kept me distracted for awhile. There's also the 1966 LIFE magazine article by Loudon Wainwright, via Mad Men Unbuttoned.

SERIOUS SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP!

So did anyone think Don's fever dream was real? Anyone? I imagined hordes of Mad Men fans turning off their televisions forever at that scene. But Don's portion of the plot was the least interesting to me, as all the characters dealt with surprise visitors, intruders, and loved ones gone somehow wrong.

Don runs into an old lover at work. Megan witnesses the whole thing and is a little put off. Don has shared a lot of his past with her, including his infidelity/sex addiction it seems. They argue about it and then Don has a psycho fever dream where the ex lover breaks into his apartment, seduces him, and taunts him, so he strangles her to death. Hmmmmmmm...I think I get it! He's trying to kill the ghosts of his past and be a better person!!! I'm a genius at symbolism.

Peggy's friend Joyce visits the office to show off unpublishable photos of the aforementioned mass murder in Chicago. The details of the case, a murderer who held captive nine student nurses, methodically raping and murdering them, while one survived by hiding under a bed, becomes the motif for the whole episode.

The best and probably most significant plot thread was the return of Greg, Joan's husband. I was wondering how they would play out his Vietnam service in an original way and I think it worked out well. He has to go back, he tells her, and Joan is strong about it until she learns that he is going back by choice. Greg feels needed in Vietnam, but not in his home. So Joan tells him to just leave. For good. She also calls him out for raping her back in Season Two. They've waited a long time for that one. I say, Fuck off Greg!

Joan's status as a divorced working mother is hard for the 60's. Her mom will probably be sticking around.

Sally is still miserable. Being watched by Henry's mother, Grandma Pauline, she's a prisoner that creepy house. I enjoyed Grandma Pauline though. And Sally is becoming one of the more interesting characters. Not a great idea to give a young teenager sleeping pills though. You can tell because they cued important music.

Roger is still out bribing people. When he needs some work done in a hurry, a drunk Peggy shakes him down for $400. Drunk Peggy was funny. She finds Dawn, the new secretary, sleeping in the office because of riots in Brooklyn. Fancying herself progressive and friendly, Peggy takes Dawn home for a not at all drunken, awkward conversation and some mild racial tension. It's a peek at a more relaxed, insecure Peggy. She reminds me a lot of Don five years ago.

Michael nails his first pitch, then immediately screws it up and almost gets fired. It was nice to see some vintage Don Draper, chewing out an unruly employee. Michael is getting hazed pretty hard.

Fun Stuff

Joyce's nickname for Peggy. "Pegasus."

Joan's mom had the funniest line. "You know, Joanie plays the accordion!" How could we forget?

Michael to coughing Don: "You could have TB." Classic neurotic.

The credits song "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" is by The Crystals.

Grandma Pauline had that great story about her father kicking her for nothing. It summed up the episode really well. There's been a sense of impending dread all season long. My prediction: bad things are on their way.

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