Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 7 “The Suitcase” (B+)

It’s hard to describe the feeling I get every time I watch an episode of this show – it’s as if the events of the hour have already been documented and are already part of the show’s mythology and history. In that sense, this show feels more dated than ever in this episode despite the show being three and a half years into its run. In this case, of course, that’s a really, really good thing, considering how powerful this episode is. It’s strong in part because it centers on the two primary characters, now established as Don and Peggy since Betty is out of the picture and doesn’t even appear in this episode at all, unless I’m mistaken. Even more fascinating than Don and Peggy individually is their dynamic together. Don has always been a jerk, but in this season it’s becoming so much clearer that he has an aura he wants to give off, and he doesn’t care who gets trampled along the way. Peggy refusing to stand up for herself and tell Don that she had birthday plans is indicative of how she feels about Don and his perception of excuses and failure, and it’s just as interesting to see her easily cast aside her boyfriend when she realized that he had turned a romantic dinner for two into a big meal with her entire family. As the night wore on, the events became even more intriguing and compelling, as Don took his mentee out to dinner and then got caught crying in front of her. Duck coming into the office and alleging that Peggy had slept with Don as if it was a confirmed fact cements just how much of an uphill battle Peggy has in this male-led workplace. Peggy’s conversation with Don about why he didn’t try and sleep with her was interestingly less than eye-opening. Though nothing came of it, Pete spying Trudy and Peggy coming out of the bathroom together was entertaining because of the near-heart attack it seemed to give him. Also, in terms of the product being discussed throughout this entire episode, it seems that Peggy and Don did a good job, since George Clooney purchased a Samsonite to store some weapons in this past week’s new film “The American,” so clearly the product is still selling big, especially in the cinematic spy world.

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