Bullet Points – Mad Men 06:08

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.

 

* First there was the bizarre opening of Ken in the joy ride from hell with the Chevy executives, who appear to be more demanding then Herb Rennet and Jaguar ever were. And so a long weekend of work begins…

* To be derailed by the untimely death of Frank Gleason. Ted, of course is taken aback by the news as are the CGC loyalist, so Jim Cutler orders everyone to see his “doctor” to get a “vitamin shot” (read: amphetamines). Which has everyone climbing the walls and acting a damn fool. For example…

* And another example of how Jim Cutler and Roger Sterling are so similar. Both have their preferred drug (though I don’t know if Roger has had any more LSD this season).

* Don, meanwhile, can’t let go of Sylvia, which leads him to try and find an old ad of a mother giving her child soup and rehearsing his pitch to win Sylvia back, to the confusion and constraint of the two people who didn’t do any drugs this long weekend; Peggy and Ginsberg.

* Of course all of the drugs did for Don, aside from leaving him alternately hyper and irritable, was bring him back to his time at the bordello, where the kindly Ms. Swenson takes care of a sick Dick Whitman and then takes his virginity causing his stepmother to beat him. And we wonder why his relationships with women are screwed up.

* Speaking of screwed up relationships, after playing a game of William Tell with X-Acto knives, Stan gets injured. Which leads to a very tender scene with Peggy bandaging him up, complete with kiss, a confession about his cousin being killed in Vietnam, and Peggy encouraging him to not cover his pain with drugs and sex. Of course the next day he does just that with Wendy (who also is Frank Gleason’s daughter). And the sight of Jim watching Stan and Wendy have sex was so bizarre.

* But not nearly as bizarre as “Grandma Ida” invading the Draper’s home while terrorizing the abandoned Draper children. As we all know, we’re entering the period where New York City was crumbling before everyone’s eyes, but we’ve never had it happen so openly in front of the Drapers. However, it did allow the return of Betty in full on trophy-wife fury. She’s got a husband running for office now, which means she has her swagger back.

* As much as I liked the episode, I wished that it spent more time with the more interesting developments. In addition to the budding bromance with Jim and Roger, and Peggy becoming the object of everyone’s desire at the office, we also have Ted Chaough realizing with growing horror what kind of man he’s hooked up with. His face in response to Don’s comment about how the agency turns to a whorehouse when a car comes in is priceless.

Originally Published on 20 May 2013 as part of my column “The Idiot Box” for l’etoile magazine.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Bullet Points – Mad Men 06:13 | Todd O'Dowd

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