Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 5 “The Fog” (B+)

I can hardly think of another show (besides “The Sopranos” and “Six Feet Under”) that says so much about a certain time period on a regular basis. This episode is particularly moving in the way it portrays Don in a light he’s not often seen in: the role of a father. His hospital waiting room interaction with another man with stark similarities to him in terms of infidelity and not really doing right by his family was extraordinarily powerful, and seeing the two of them pass each other in the hallway on the other man’s way out with his wife was pretty haunting to boot. This show is intensely layered, and seeing Don really examine his role as a father with his stay at the hospital and conversations with Sally’s teacher was very interesting. Betty’s hallucinatory dreams were somewhat intriguing, especially her surprise at seeing her mother, but I’d rather see Betty explore her current state through interactions with neighbors, friends, and strange men, as she’s done before. Her negative comment about Carla not being willing to take time away from her children while she herself managed to do it is a good indicator of the fact that Betty’s still immensely dissatisfied with her life and just as moody as ever. The return of another season 2 mainstay, Duck, is also welcome, even if his motivations are unclear. It’s likely that his company is tanking and he’s looking to poach Pete and Peggy to get some new fresh blood and infuse new life into his ailing firm. Or maybe he just wants to get revenge at Don and the rest of Sterling-Cooper for so cruelly tossing him out after he coordinated their British takeover. I loved both Pete and Peggy’s reactions – Pete’s anger at not being courted with his own lunch, and Peggy’s frustration with Don not listening to her concerns due to the poor financial situation of the company. Pete’s realization about the African-American audience of a television client of Sterling-Cooper’s is a power play akin to the misstep that nearly got him sacked in the first ever episode of the series, though Pete certainly has come far since then and become a far more sympathetic character.

1 comment:

Greg Boyd said...

I just finished this episode, and I do not agree at all that Pete is "sympathetic". He's still an ego-driven weasel in my book.

Good episode, though.