Bullet Points – Mad Men 05:12

Photo Credit: Ron Jaffe/AMC

Since we are now at the penultimate episode of the season, I thought we should all take a moment to center ourselves, collect our thoughts, and review what has gone before.

Previously, on Mad Men

  • Episodes 1&2: Megan sang a song, then cleaned her and Don’s new apartment in her underwear.
  • Episode 3: Betty had a thyroid cancer scare while Don and Harry hang backstage with the Rolling Stones.
  • Episode 4: Peggy welcomed a stranger, Sally had to deal with the knife-weildeing Pauline, and Joan finally kicked out her “husband” (to the delight of viewers everywhere).
  • Episode 5: Lane showed his understanding of the Queensbury rules and beat Pete to a bloody pulp (to the delight of viewers everywhere).
  • Episode 6: Roger, Don, and Peggy all take trips. With varying results.
  • Episode 7: Sally gets revenge on her knife-wielding step-grandmother and for her troubles gets a lesson in voyeurism.
  • Episode 8: Don Draper listens to Revolver, and doesn’t get it
  • Episode 9: Anna Draper returns (sort of), and Sally doesn’t get it.
  • Episode 10: Joan goes on a joy ride on a Jaguar.
  • Episode 11: Everyone was a prostitute and Peggy says “Enough of this bullshit!”
As for tonight… well, I’m going to avoid any jokes about things hanging in the breeze, but it did seem that winter is coming (to get all Game of Thrones on you all). Every scene felt that it was taking place in the snow, which is an obvious metaphor for all of the stuff coming down on our gang.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Put on your mourning clothes and pack your bags, kids. We’re heading to one of Todd’s favorite places ever for this one.

Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

  • First off, I wasn’t joking. I love the Museum of Natural History. It’s so very awesome. And is it me or did that scene feel a little too precious, like a Wes Anderson film?
  • Second off – Dear Glen Bishop: You only wish you and Sally were “doing it.”
  • No seriously I’m glad this is the (hopeful) end of Mr. Bishop. (Although I doubt it, considering that nepotism is alive and well in the modern age.)
  • And how stupid was it that in this trend of stating the themes in an obvious manner that the show puts this episode’s themes in Glen’s mouth. It just reeks of ickiness.
  • Speaking of icky things, poor Sally had a traumatizing moment and went all the way back to Rye to get help from her mom. But cheers to Betty for woman-ing up and being there when her daughter needed her. And a double cheers for her little back-handed call to Megan saying that “Sally needed her mother.” Bitchy but earned.
  • Did anyone else catch that Sally is wearing her adult go-go boots to her disastrous date with Glen?
  • Meanwhile Lane Pryce is paying the price for his embezzlement. And for having to fulfill the rules of Chekov’s gun: If you bring out a gun in Act One, you have to use it by Act Three. There’s been a sort of suicide watch that’s been hinted at all season long but I’m sad that it played out this way. It felt way too obvious.
  • I’m so very conflicted with how the Lane story shook out. On the one hand, given Lane’s very British sense of shame (and it was the shame over the forgery, not the money – that’s what he meant by his “that money is mine” outburst – and the fact that his firing would have to send him back to the UK because of his work visa being invalid) it would be very hard for him to not find a way out of his situation other than suicide. On the other hand, just like last week, it seemed like the episode was rushing to this but it felt obvious with no subtlety.
  • Before I get to my next topic, I do have to appreciate the joke about Lane trying to kill himself in the new Jaguar that Rebecca bought. And that it didn’t work (a callback to Bert’s joke about Jaguars being lemons).
  • My biggest grief with this episode (and in a way with the entire season but that will have to wait…) is that everything was so obvious in the intentions and the way things played out. For a show that has made its bones in dealing with slow burning subtlety, this is kind of a disconcerting change. That said this could be endemic to the times, but that’s a theory I’ll save for when the season wraps…
  • While everyone was losing something, it was interesting to see Don go into his “I want more” mode. “I don’t want Jaguar, I want Chevy. I don’t want Mohawk, I want American. I don’t want Dunlop, I want Goodyear.” But it was awesome to see such a bold, naked play for Dow.
  • Speaking of bold, naked plays for Dow, little Kenny Cosgrove has “grown some fuzz on his peaches” (thanks Talladega Nights) and given his blessing for SCDP to go after his father in law’s company (providing that they “force” him to work on it and “accidentally forget” Pete).
  • And finally, it’s a sad farewell to Jared Harris, who brought wit and sensitivity to his performance as Lane and taking the character from a one note debut to a portrait of a man who was taken for granted all the way to the end. He will be missed.

So shall we make some bold predictions for the finale next week? Will SCDP get Dow? Will Cynthia find out about her husband using her to get at her father’s company? Will Joan force the company to be re-named Holloway and Her Bitches? Will Megan leave Don and join the casts of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Oh, Calcutta? Will Pete finally be revealed as the scum that he is? Will Betty loose the weight? Will Don finally come out and come clean about his involvement with Lane’s Death?

Seriously, I have no idea where they’re going with the finale. If you have any thoughts, sound off in the comments below.

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