Friday, June 7, 2013

Mad Men: A Tale of Two Cities

I'm sorry, I just had some incredibly busy week, but here are some delayed and quick thoughts for the latest episode of Mad Men...
I guess I chose a good week to be busy, because there really isn't very much that happens in a "A Tale of Two Cities". It mostly focus on two stories (Don's and Joan's) that more than featuring a lot of plot developments, work more as a couple of character pieces and that don't really have much to do with each other thematically. Weirdly, the thematic looseness between the story lines of this episode made me reconsider being annoyed by the extremely clean plotting of last week. And yet, even if little happened, there was enough moving of the chess-pieces and setting up what will hopefully payoff in the final episodes of the season.   

Off to California
Don, Roger and Harry Crane are away to see a client and crash a Hollywood party. The big focus of this storyline seems to be that Don is trying this thing with Megan again. In what is turning out to be a very trippy season of television, Don smokes hashish and hallucinates about Megan both being pregnant and willing to let him have affairs (or join him in a threesome? It wasn't all that clear to me). 
As it's usually the case with Mad Men, the episode was well executed and full of amusing details so that even if not much really changed throughout Don's trip to California, it was still very fun to watch. Especially Danny punching Roger in the groin. 

When the Cat's Away
One of the two big plot developments of the week was the decision to finally give a name to the agency, but the name "Sterling Cooper & Partners" ends up seeming like a consolation prize when Cutler and Chaough use the time Don and Roger are absent to gain a little power in the agency. You see, Cutler realizes they have lost a lot of their people and so he recruits Bob Benson, who has been consistently ignored by almost everyone from SCDP to be his accounts-man. As Bob Benson is bound to sit on a plane to Detroit, I am pretty sure the character's ark is going to involve him taking most power of the agency by the time the series is done.  

Working Joan
The other big plot development was Joan seemingly getting an account and gaining a little bit more empowerment in the office. Even if Avon doesn't come through as a client (the guy did not really call Joan just yet), this plot was important to Joan and I loved it. It was very well written and focused perfectly on the relationships Joan has to Pete and Peggy respectively. There is no doubt Joan is the unsung hero of the office and we the audience knows she deserves the best, but it's been a tough world for her and it is nice to see things start to look bright in the past few episodes. Here's hoping nothing terrible or tragic happens to her anytime soon. 

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