The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
Once in a while, Mad Men, will go out of its way to make a theme evident. Titling an episode “The Quality of Mercy” is a pretty obvious move. And while everyone may recognize the lines from The Merchant of Venice, it might be helpful to take a look at that scene in relation to what is going on with the story of the play and how it plays back into what we saw in this episode.
While the title of the episode is “Favors” and was about people doing favors for one another and how that can often blow up in one’s face, another theme was prevalent this week; parents ruining things for their kids.
Well, here we are, in the home stretch of the season and there are whole host of issues are arising in the world of Mad Menthat are making Don and everyone else uncomfortable. But what is interesting (if sad) is that it seems the men of SCDP are giving their company away. I’ll talk about that more in a minute but first up there are some interesting trips to be had.
And Michael Douglas! And Matt Damon! And Stephen Soderberg! And LGBT History! All! At! Once!
What am I talking about? Click the jump to see…
It’s interesting reading other critics reactions to any episode of Mad Men, because everyone comes away with different themes that they hang their hat on. And while this episode definitely dealt with themes of duality (Margarine vs. Butter, Don vs. Ted, Corinne vs. Colette) and themes of safety nets and trying to recapture the past, for me it came down to women who have been on top so far this season coming down, while women who have had a rough time of it moving forward to great success.
Sex. Drugs. Rock-n-Roll. We got two out of the three with this episode.
Last night’s episode “The Crash” played out like a bad drug trip that left the viewer with a headache and feeling a little dirty. Not that there was anything wrong being done (well, except robbery and sexually assaulting a minor) but that the entire episode felt like some giddy drug-fueled film of the period. And of course everyone made fools of themselves.
More so than most, this episode felt very disjointed and that was on purpose; to accentuate everyone’s disjointed feelings and reactions to what’s going on around them. So I’m afraid that in lieu of long-winded analysis, I’m going to have to break this down by bullet points.
A leaf. Blowing in the wind. Scattershot. Without direction Never knowing where it’s going or where it’s going to land.
The life of Clara Oswin Oswald, or a general reaction to this half of the series?
While I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, there were some issues with it that highlighted problems that the second half of the seventh series of Doctor Who.
But before I go into the details of the episode, I do have to put a major SPOILER warning up because there are a lot of plot details that need to be discussed in order to talk about this episode. So, if you haven’t seen it (especially the truly shocking ending) then please turn away.
All right, here we go.
(Don’t panic! I’m in favor of it!)
If there is one theme that has been heavily present in this episode in particular, and practically all of this season up to this point, it is the notion of history repeating.
Cue the music.
Ah, the Cybermen. Ah, Neil Gaiman.
If there was a perfect storm of fandom geekery, this was it.