Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I’m Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 10 “Hands and Knees” (B+)

There are few things in this world that can make Don Draper quake in his boots. The threat of someone discovering his true identity and his desertion past, it turns out, is one of them. Seeing him nearly have a heart attack when he thought the men in the hallway were there to expose him was frightening, considering the fact that, alcohol addiction and all, he’s still usually quite put-together. The way he talks about it with the one coworker that knows his secret, Pete, is especially interesting. He’s just as condescending as usual, and though he defends the loss of the account to Roger and crew, he doesn’t really come to Pete’s defense at all and lets him take the blame almost completely, even though Pete isn’t nearly as scared or unnerved as Don about the possibility of his past being brought to light. Don’s readiness in sharing his secret identity with another person is surprising, and it’s good that he is about to show his true self to someone else. Betty getting paid a visit by government men reestablishes her presence and even existence on this show as a mere extension of Don, and their phone conversation, first open and honest and then carefully secretive, was particularly fascinating. The relationship between Joan and Roger is fantastic and is truly bringing out the best from both Christina Hendricks and John Slattery. Roger’s unfortunate business meeting could be good news for fans of Sal is Don is together enough to remember that the fabulous art director might now be able to come back to work for their newly independent company. Most interesting in an episode where a main character (Peggy) is completely absent is the unusual focus on an underdeveloped man of mystery: Lane, whose relationship with his father is absolutely destructive and insanely interesting to watch. Hopefully he’ll be able to break free after spending some time at home, and Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce won’t have to say goodbye to him for good.

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