Mad Men: Mystery Date

For those who want it, my spoiler-free review from Sunday night.

Don't tell my wife.

For the rest of you, a few thoughts.

While this season started with characters in uncharacteristic situations — Don is happily married! Joan is an at-home mom! Betty is fat! — we’re starting to see true natures punching at self-built prisons and peeking out, little by little.

The original American Psycho.

If Don Draper is about anything, it is killing his past.

Even in his fever dreams, as it turns out.

It’s a credit to the show that this old trope — the dream that could be real — was pulled off as well as it was.

Even in his dreams, he doesn’t deny who he is. He’ll still sleep with random women. He just doesn’t want any of the randoms to: 1) want anything more from him; and 2) interfere with his picture perfect marriage.

He could care less about the shoe commercials he and Ginsberg are going to sell. (“I only wanted to hear if the sound of your voice was as annoying as it is in the office.”)

This life he has created is his best work, the ultimate campaign. Don Draper: The Man You Wish You Were.

Just to dispel any notions about the noble profession of marketing communications.

No one pulls out a concept like the atmospheric take on the Cinderella story the way Ginsberg did on the fly.

The real face of the unrehearsed pitch.

Doesn’t happen. There is too much worry, obsessing, rehearsal, fit throwing and internal debate that happens before a client meeting.

Which means that Ginsberg went in to that meeting knowing he was going to pitch it.

Don better watch his back. Because this darkened reinterpretation of fairy tales is playing everywhere right now.

Which means this kid is about forty years ahead of his time.

Next week: Ginsberg pitches print ads with 140 characters of copy or less.

“The new minimalism”, he calls it.

That little bit of back and forth between Peggy and Roger was my favorite bit of the show.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear she was flirting with him.

It was a smart way to show that the creative and sexual revolutions are heating up: Peggy knows that ideas, not schmoozing and boozing, is where the real power lies.

And that power lies in what you can do, not your gender.

Joan finally kicking her husband to the curb was far too long in coming. The less said about him, the better.

Be interesting to see if this opens up possibilities between her and Roger again. Or if she’ll quickly suss out the changing power structure when she gets back to work. Or if Joan’s return to work gets Roger off his office couch and gets him to work again.

Weird interactions between adults and children is one of those minor hallmarks of the show.

Sally Draper had all kinds of weird shit happening with her grandmother in this episode. Between the spooky house and her grandmother’s general creepiness, she would have been up all night even without reading about the Speck murders.

The sleeping pill wasn’t the best thing in the world for her. Or the discussion about rape. Or Speck’s ‘desires’. Or anything else.

But Betty the child treating her like a child is clearly not the best parenting. Maybe someone putting her in line will keep her from becoming Betty II, a sequel I am definitely not interested in.

Meta theme of this week’s episode: men, sex and violence don’t mix.

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