Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 2 “Love Among the Ruins” (B+)

This tremendously multi-layered episode explores so many avenues so extensively, and does a terrific job of giving each of them equal attention. Despite her near-absence last week, Peggy takes the spotlight as she continues to deal with the fact that she’s a woman in a man’s world. Her attempts to live the life that secretaries might enjoy are fascinating, and her ultimate acceptance that she doesn’t really fit that model. The opening clip of “Bye, Bye, Birdie” was fantastic in the way that it set the tone for the episode and, as always, helped to cement the show’s place in history and in the 1960s. Betty contemplating her role in her father’s life was very interesting, but not as much as Don’s determination to have Betty taken care of and encourage her brother to “do the right thing” and suggest what the Drapers wanted to happen. It’s great to see Paul’s personal opinions come front and center again after his party last season, especially because Paul hasn’t really been n the show at all for quite a while. The British takeover of Sterling-Cooper really is doing a number on the firm, and Don’s frustration at all his hard work being tossed aside so callously makes for almost as good a scene as his stellar job of convincing the Madison Square Garden folks to take them back. And Roger Sterling, previously just the comic relief, gets a chance to see his life go down the toilet as his daughter doesn’t want him even to come to the wedding. This show is really good at getting to know its characters, and the show, which is spectacular enough on its own merits, is enhanced greatly by it.

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