WTF? That is the number one feeling Mad Men has going through my head right now, but I like it.
Seriously, what the fuck was that episode. The show has been known to pull some themed episodes from time to time and this might just be their drug trip entry. We might have gotten a taste of this before with Roger and his LSD trip, but we are thrown headfirst into this trip through the eyes of Don, Stan and a few other “enhanced” members of Sterling Cooper Draper Whatever It's Called. It all starts when Cutler calls in his special “doctor” to help the team get through another long weekend trying to come up with a new pitch for Chevy and before we know it all hell is breaking loose.
Don's trip takes him to the strangest of places and we finally get a reason for that flashback to his teenage years living in the whorehouse. As Don tries to break a big idea rattling around his head, something with soup, we are transported back to that whorehouse and an incident of possible whooping cough and lost virginity. This might be where his issues with women selling themselves started as the friendly prostitute that heals him up and takes his virginity is kicked out on the street as he is beaten viciously by his stepmom. Not a lot of positive messages being sent there.
That's only half of the story though as Don isn't taking the break-off with Sylvia very well. Sulking outside her service door for apparently weeks now, Don is ready to take creep to another level. I love the reveal that Don hasn't been trying to break the new Chevy ad on his “energy serum” high, but what his big move on Sylvia is going to be. Don's desperate for her and it's only when he crashes from his high that he might be starting to see things straight for once this season. 72 hours of being wide awake and strung out might have helped Don sweat out a lot of his issues, and he seems like he might be a better father, executive and husband when it's all over. Well maybe not a better husband, but at least he was able to stonewall Sylvia on the most tense elevator ride ever. Though, the biggest change might be the one as an executive as the combination of the fever dreams and having to bust his ass for Chevy has him deciding to stop being a whore for his clients any further. It's a small step, but maybe, just maybe, Don might be ready to turn his life around.
Some Longer Takes:
-A whole lot happened this week, but the other big WTF story of the week was “Grandma Ida” invading the Draper household. Watching Sally having to deal with this petty thief intruder was both intense as hell and nerve wracking as I was seriously fearing for her and the boys' safety. I was really hoping Sally would get the one up on her, and she sort of did, but it was also just as interesting of the show to put her in her place a little bit and have us and her realize she isn't as old as she thinks she is. Also, this show needs more of Kiernan Shipka and January Jones sparing off against one another.
-Poor Ken, getting tossed around by the Chevy execs and getting no sympathy back in the office, but getting to watch him tap dance in front of Dawn's desk has to be the most Gif-tastic scene to ever hit the Internets from Mad Men. I am seriously fearing for Ken on every trip to Detroit from now on.
-It can't be stressed enough how insane this episode was and how amazing everyone was at playing things high. Jon Hamm was great and the scene with him running around the office was just incredible. Jay R. Ferguson was amazing as well as Stan and it was nice to get to see a few more sides of him besides just being comic relief. The scene where he comes on to Peggy was about as painless as possible, but he played the underlying high, on top of his normal high, about as authentic as possible. Ben Feldman is also excellent as he bounces off everyone as the ever straight man Ginsberg and the scene where he throws an exacto knife into Stan's arm was another insanity highlight of the episode.
-The editing and time jumps were used to fantastic effect as well this week and it helped keep the viewer on their toes while also effectively putting us in an altered state. We were right along with Don for much of this episode as time was liquid as the weekend went by. A technical triumph for the show.
-I am interested to see if the death of Gleason will have the impact Cutler thinks it will have on Ted and Don. Giving up on Chevy sure isn't going to help.
-Peggy continues to look for love in all of the wrong places and she seems to be willing to give anyone a shot that isn't named Abe. First it was almost Ted, this week it was almost Stan and sadly I don't think she is quite done with Mr. Chaough. Maybe Abe will spruce up the apartment and Peggy can be happy again.
-More running around the office in any capacity, please.
-My biggest complaint about this episode has to be why the hell didn't we get to see Roger on this “energy serum.”
Mad Men rarely experiments with the format like it does here, but if they can execute high concept scripts this effectively I would love to see them try it more often. Not only was the episode technically excellent, it also did a lot of the show's narrative and moved a lot of characters forward even in this insane state. Season 6 of Mad Men is shaping up to be one of the shows best and I look forward to seeing if they stick the landing in this final string of episodes.
-"You face looks like a bag of walnuts."
-"And then he has to ask his wife."
-Dawn! She's alive.
-Roger and Cutler, more please.
-"No, I'm afraid of you."
-"On what street corner?"
-This episode is crazy.
-"The timbre of my voice is as important as my words."
-Kenny can tap!
-"No, but I'm not going to stop looking."
-"I did it, I got 666 ideas."
-"You can hear that?"
-Ahhhhh! Stan! Your Arm!
-"You have to let yourself feel it."
-Don't fall for this Sally.
-What the fuck is going on!
-Wait, Don just stalked the Rosen's then left?
-"Are we Negroes?"
-"He's happy, now I can relax."
-Megan just apologizes for Don, just like that, come on!
-"Then I realized I don't know anything about you."
-“I’m sorry, Ted, but every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.”