First off I want to apologize for not posting a Mad Men recap last week. I know these Mad Men recaps might only be viewed by 7-10 people, but I have made a promise to myself to consistently post recaps of television shows or movies every day. I started a new part-time job and with the Survivor finale last week, I just didn’t have the time. That being said, let’s walk forward!
This week’s episode was super intense and crazy. It got really polarizing reviews, but I did like it.
Here are 5Takeaways from last night’s episode.
1. Strange things are afoot in at SCDP.
Usually each episode of Mad Men takes a place a month apart from each other. In last week’s episode we had Ted and Don going upstate to assuage Mohawk Airlines worries about SCDP taking on Chevrolet (another transportation client) as a client. This week we see how difficult Chevrolet is as a client. Cosgrove returns from Detroit, cane in hand, after a car accident nearly kills him. He explains how Chevy isn’t happy with any of the plans so far. It’s clear that the staff has been working weekends trying to come up with new ideas.
Jim Cutler (played by the awesome Harry Hamlin) has an idea to inject amphetamines into the entire staff to jumpstart their creative juices. The injects will get their “creative juices” flowing for 24-72 hours. Each member of the staff reacts in different ways. Don begins to have flashbacks of his childhood (more of that in takeaway 2) and tries to devise a plan to win back Sylvia (more of that in takeaway 3). The creative staff has much more fun. They try to throw exacto knives at an apple drawn above Stan’s head. Peggy misses and hits Stan square in the forearm.
2. Don Draper needs to have control over women.
This may be a “duh” point for most of you but a lot of this episode gives you a reason to why Don Draper is the way he is. A couple of weeks ago we saw that Don Draper moved in to a whorehouse with his “mother” after his father died. This week we get a little more insight into Don Draper’s sex addiction. Even though the show has never been explicit with Draper having a “sex addiction,” it is pretty obvious at this point. In the flashbacks this week we see a young Don Draper developing a chest cold.
His “mother” sends him to the cellar where she hopes the fever will break. On his way to the cellar, a prostitute takes him into her room. After a night of playing his nurse and feeding him soup, his fever does break. She then crawls into bed an proceeds to take advantage of him. When young Don returns to the kitchen, the prostitute reveals to the house owner that she “popped” Don’s cherry which makes his “mother” start beating him with a spoon. Don believes he has never been loved before and women have been controlling him his whole life. In his affairs, he tries to reverse the roles and tries to take control of his women.
3. Sylvia and Don’s relationship is over (for the time being).
Last week we saw Don devise this weird sexual fantasy for Sylvia that involved “jailing” her in a hotel room with no reading material, while Don came to her as he pleased. By the end Sylvia was so creeped out that she decided to end the relationship. This week we see Don pacing outside Arnold and Sylvia’s apartment, smoking cigarettes and leaving a trail of butts by her front door.
In the office, Dawn tells Don that Arnold is on the phone for him. Don is startled, beginning to think that he has found out about the affair, but it’s actually Sylvia herself calling. She pretty much tells Don to stop stalking her. She says, “I’m afraid of you” and wants Don to “try and be happy.” In a pretty comical retort, Don says, “I’m feeling a lot of emotions.” While on the drugs, Don is trying to come up with an advertising plan to self himself to Sylvia, while everyone is working on a pitch for Chevy. Only Peggy understands what Don is working on. After coming home from work on the drugs, Don leans to the door and hears music. The music is so soothing to him. It almost feels like he is hearing a lullaby. The music is one thing that triggers the flashbacks to the whorehouse.
4. Even more strange things are afoot at Don’s apartment.
While Don is busy taking drugs at the office, he is also supposed to be seeing his kids for the weekend. Of course Don is nowhere to be seen when the kids arrive so Meghan charges Sally with being the boss as she leaves to go take in a play and meet producers. Sally has babysat her brothers before judging by a miniskirt purchased for her that Betty does not approve of. In the middle of the night while reading Rosemary’s Baby, Sally hears noises coming from the family room.
Sally enters the family room and sees an African-American woman rummaging through her father’s things. The woman is able to convince Sally that she is actually her Grandmother Ida, and that she is visiting her father. Sally isn’t really able to put together that she isn’t who she says she is and believes the lies she is told. The woman actually makes Sally some eggs. I originally thought that the woman found the key to the apartment while Don was passed out outside Sylvia’s apartment. It is later revealed however that Don left the back door open and she entered that way. Eventually the police show up and when Don returns from work he faints upon learning about the situation.
5. It was just such a weird a surreal episode.
All aspects to this episode were just downright weird. It reminded me of the episode last season where we follow Roger taking LSD. Frank Gleason, one of the owners of the firms they work with ultimately succumbs to cancer and his daughter Wendy is so strange. She tells Don she’s here to make him feel better. She tells him that he is thinking “Does someone love me?” She wants to have sex with Don, but Don doesn’t give in. Stan doesn’t. At the tail end of the episode we see the two of them getting it on. We also learn that Cosgrove is a wonderful tap dancer. A lot of people didn’t like this episode but I did. It reminded me of the episodes that Matt Weiner used to write for The Sopranos. If you want something straight forward watch Law and Order or NCIS.