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Monday, May 20, 2013

"Mad Men" recap: Dr. Feel-not-so-good


Spoilers for this week's "Mad Men" below. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

Um, yeah. Sooo....that was a thing that happened.
Look, I'm not saying you can't make a great episode of television about people whacked out on drugs. This very show had great success with introducing Roger's fondness for LSD last season. And "Mad Men's" own Sylvia Rosen, aka Linda Cardellini, was the focus of a nicely non-hysterical "Freaks and Geeks" episode about the downside of pot-smoking.

But this was ... odd. Look, we all know Don's brain has been in an altered state lately. He's flat out stalking Sylvia at the beginning of the episode, crushing his cigarette butts outside the door in a particularly creepy passive aggressive fashion. And his flashbacks to the whorehouse of his childhood give us even further proof that childhood gave him massive issues about sex and women and violence. And yeah, he's been trying to hold on a scrap of his authority at work. And I guess his drug trip, courtesy of Cutler's Dr. Feelgood, was supposed to symbolize his ever-waning grasp on reality and control? But did we really need that symbolized for us? Isn't it already obvious? And if we did need it symbolized, did it have to be the most obvious way possible?

Frankly, I'm not sure what more I can say about an episode in which I wondered more about Betty's sudden unexplained weight loss than I did about any of the main story lines.

But there was some good stuff in this episode. As with most drug episodes, this one did have some prime comedic moments, like Ken Cosgrove tap-dancing out his frustration and Stan and Cutler vaulting over furniture. And, then there was the lovely, open talk between a high Stan and a tipsy Peggy as she bandaged his hand and consoled him about his dead cousin. I love any heartfelt moments between Peggy and Stan. I'm probably happier with them being friends than a romantic couple -- and Peggy catching Stan with Frank's hippie-dippie daughter after nipping their tryst in the bud probably solidifies this relationship in the "friend zone" -- but I wouldn't mind seeing at least one couple on this show who seemed to genuinely like each other.

Overall, though, this episode was weird. I'm not sure what was being symbolized by the weird break-in at the Draper apartment -- other than it being yet another example of how everyone is unsafe. And it did provide Don with his most sympathetic moment of the season, letting Sally off the hook about the Grandma Ida after the robbery by telling her he left the door open. But, otherwise, this was probably the season's weakest episode to date.

Some more of my thoughts on "The Crash" below:
  • So, what exactly happened to Roger after he got the shot? I kind of missed that. Did someone say he pretended to have a heart attack? That he did have a heart attack? Because he just disappeared from the episode.
  • Seriously, what happened to Betty? Is she taking diet pills? Did she spontaneously invite aerobics classes? And why do I care about Betty's weight all of a sudden?
  • So, is that it for Sylvia? Because if she continues to be in the show, I can only imagine it leading to a restraining order against Don.
  • Poor Frank Gleason. We hardly knew him. Really. We hardly knew him.
  • One very funny note about all the drug-tripping -- it leaves Ginsburg as arguably the sanest, soberest person in the office. Heh. Good one.
  • So, between the obnoxious guys from Detroit tormenting Ken and the constant rejection of pitches and the complete lack of commitment by seemingly everyone but Peggy and Ginsburg, it seems the Chevy account is an unmitigated disaster. But, apparently they are being paid well. So ... kind of a win? I don't know. This episode confused me. I need to lie down.

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