Monday, August 17, 2009

"Mad Men" season premiere recap: Hearts on fire

I wanted to do a recap of last night's season premiere of "Mad Men" but don't have a lot of time, so I'll just jot down a few thoughts. Feel free to comment below.
On last night's episode we learned to be careful what you wish for. Several characters got things they wanted, but it didn't turn out quite the way they planned.
Via flashback, we learned that Dick Whitman's (aka Don Draper's) stepmother badly wanted a child, but, upon learning that her baby was coming from her husband's dead hooker girlfriend, was less than thrilled. Pete finally got the head of accounts job he'd been coveting, only to learn he has to share it with Ken. And Sal FINALLY got some honest-to-goodness same sex lovin', only to get caught in the act by Don.
Here are some more thoughts on "Out of Town."
* I don't know if the flashback to Don/Dick's childhood is what actually happened or just Don's idea of what happened (because how could he know, really?). Whatever, it's upsetting. And I really hope he wasn't named Dick because his mom threatened to cut his dad's dick off and boil it in hog fat. Depressing.
* This season seems to be set only six months or so after the last, as Betty is still pregnant, and Sterling/Cooper is stilling feeling the growing pains of its British takeover.
* Have we seen Bert Peterson before? He's head of accounts, so we must have, but I don't remember him. At any rate, this is likely the last we've seen of him, as he was laid off in last night's episode. Too bad. I kind of liked his full-on, bridge-burning meltdown. "Drop dead, you Limey vulture!" Fantastic.
* Want to mention briefly how great Vincent Kartheiser was in the whole Pete Campbell/head of accounts subplot. From his goofy, joyous dance when Pete got the job, to his elevator conversation with Ken to his meltdown after learning he had to share the position, it was all brilliant. I like how Pete still can't help behaving childishly, but knows that it's wrong. It shows a weird kind of growth on his part, don't you think?
* A shout out to Bryan Batt as well, as Sal finally did more than ogle a hot young guy. However, his hotel tryst was interrupted first by the fire alarm, then by Don. On the plus side, if there's anyone at Sterling Cooper who knows how to keep a secret it's Don "Dick Whitman" Draper.
* Nice touch: Sal's pen explodes as he's making out with the bellboy. A bit crude and obvious. But still funny.
* I loved the scene with Roger, Don, Pete and Bert Cooper in Don's office at the end. Clearly, being accepted as one of the guys takes a little bit of the sting out of Pete's disappointment (at least for now). But the acceptance has limits. "Help yourself," says Roger, adding "NOT the Stoli." Ha ha.
* A sad observation: Peggy asks Joan if she's scared to wear her engagement ring on the subway. Joan says she doesn't take the subway, but does worry about being followed. It's a perfectly normal, boring conversation, until you realize that the person Joan really needs to fear isn't some anonymous mugger, but her own fiance. Poor Joan.
That's it for me.


Anonymous said...

Joan's subtle weight gain...did you notice? Is it a pregnancy or just weight caused by the strain of her relationship with her financee?

Anonymous said...

I wanted more Betty. Though it was nice to see her seemingly happy for once. And did Trudy and Pete forget the whole adoption thing? He was being nice to her at least.

Peter said...

Did you notice that the stewardesses wings ended up in Don's things? His daughter finds them and asks "is this for me"? Betty saw it, and a glint of suspicion flashed over her face (and a flash of fear on Don's), but she did nothing. I guess she probably knows that stirring up trouble at this point is a bad idea, given her situation...she needs him, no matter how much of a heel he is.