There are plenty of good stories this week…oh and Betty.
Mad Man: Season 7: Episode 10: The Forecast: GRADE: B+
This week’s Mad Men seemed to go everywhere in terms of its story but its still a lively episode that deals with the impending war in Vietnam coming up and I’m oh so looking forward to the story possibilities with this.
First let’s start with what was best about this episode and once again that is Don Draper. Don’s got a lot on his plate. Trying to sell is now emptied penthouse which just looks sad as hell. Then at work, dealing with Peggy and Pete’s constant demands with the Peter Pan account and that Roger is putting a speech on to him about what the future of this company could be.
I loved the speech parts as it seems with the uncertainty of what Don is facing right now, he’s uncertain about he direction of the company. The master wordsmith Don Draper is at a loss of words right now. Its great to see a stumped Don Draper as he has to really work at this now to find the words that Roger has to say to the partners. It stands to reason, I mean the divorce didn’t really shake Don up that from where we see, but last week might have since well its a new decade and he has to reinvent himself now both literally and figuratively. The speech is a way for Don to try to realize where he’s going himself. That was fantastic character work and concludes with Don’s place being sold and realizing that he really needs to get on working where he’s going and fast. The last shot of this episode is just dripping with great work. I love it, just fantastic. Don doesn’t seem to find his answer, but that’s fine by me.
Well that’s not all. Mathis botches the pitch meeting with Peter Pan about the Tinkerbell peanut butter cookies and seeks Don’s advice as to how to make up for it in another meeting. He uses this chance to look at them for what they see the future could be. Well he gives Mathis the advice he needs to make sure he nails it. Well he fucks all that up and that Peter Pan account is long gone. Mathis blows up at Don, says how he has to own up to his mistakes whereas Don just gets by looks and personality, never admitting when he’s wrong. The look on Don’s face shows that he’s honestly listening to what Mathis has to say, but that doesn’t stop him from promptly firing him for epically fucking up so goddamn badly. Don even butts heads with Peggy over her performance review. Don tried to find his answer in this from Peggy and doesn’t which ends with Peggy telling Don, “Why don’t you just write down all of your dreams so I can shit on them?”
Meanwhile Joan meet a new man. She’s clearly been thinking heavily about her son who could use a father figure and this evident since her last interaction with Bob Benson was shown in the previously on clips at the start of the episode. Lucky her she meets Richard Burghoff (Bruce Greenwood) while on the west coast, oh hi Lou, and he decides to follow on back. This affects Joan which shows why Christina Hendricks is such a dam great talent when it comes to acting. She has tremendous chemistry with Greenwood who fits in here well. Interesting here is that they swap divorce stories, but Joan’s child isn’t brought up at all. Joan wants fun but the realization she needs to do something comes in a well done scene when he yells at her babysitter but then has a pause before giving her son a sweet goodbye before going to work. She does Richard and well he responds by showing up at work with flowers and offers up to be apart of her son’s life. So much good stuff.
And that picture above sums up a good portion of what’s wrong with last night’s episode. At first I thought, “Oh Glen (Marten Weiner) is back! Sally’s gonna get a great spotlight now.” Bullshit. Glen shows up completely different to tell Sally he’s going to serve in Vietnam and well Sally is upset, but as soon as Betty shows, she goes gaga for him. We have really nothing left for Betty Draper so let’s have her try to bang her daughter’s best friend/crush. Glen feels the same infatuation and man this storyline halted the episode to a grinding halt. Sally getting mad at glen for reversing his earlier stance on the Kent State Shootings should have been god, but we don’t get that, we get this bullshit that is weird and pointless. Its only good when Glen reveals why he’s going to Vietnam to please his stepfather after flunking out of school. Its a good moment in a bad story that lets Glen have his last moment on the show be a good one as Betty says she’s married and they leave things on good terms.
Sally does get some good things in as she becomes fully disillusioned with her parents after Betty and Glen and when Don has sexual tension with one of her friends at lunch. Don Draper may be many things but a violator of the age of consent laws he’s not! Her blow up at Don at the bus station is great. I want more of this Sally, I love Sally. She’s one of the best things about the show. Excellent, excellent work there.
Mad Men boasts some good stuff to offset its bad stuff this week as we inch closer to the end of an era here. What does the future really hold for everyone involved? Who knows.