Mad Men airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on AMC
Synopsis: Sterling/Cooper gets a new, young C.O.O.; Joan embarks on her last day as word of he husband’s promotion comes through; Don takes an important meeting with a hotel mogul; Sally is afraid of her new baby brother, Eugene.
Review: (Possible Spoilers ahead) First off, congratulations to Mad Men for picking up last night’s “Best Drama” and “Best Writing in a Drama” Emmy Awards for the second year in a row. I wasn’t watching them, as I generally don’t watch most awards shows, because I was actually watching the best show on TV deliver another stellar episode.
Not only was this one of the best episodes of the season, it was coupled with some of the tenderest and ridiculous moments in series history. Let’s start at S/C: Guy MacKendrick walks into the office (hence the title being something literal, and not the beginning to a joke…except in classic Mad Men style it soon became the joke) and shakes things up by announcing that he was replacing Lane Pryce and becoming the new Chief Operating Officer of S/C, and in so doing manages to disappoint everyone (he even kept Roger Sterling’s name off the re-organization chart), including Don who begins to like the idea of living life split between New York and London.
Guy’s appearance finally threw a wrench in the wheel of Sterling/Cooper this season, which had been needing a shake-up after a slow start. Now of course, Guy won’t be sticking around after the hideous John Deere accident (do think the company actually paid to sponsor this episode only to see their tractor used as a foot-chopping machine? But then again, Ken did warn it’s “extremely safe if operated correctly”…), but it did give Lane a look into what life would be like without his New York office, so it should give him a newfound appreciation for his job, remarking “I feel like I went to my own funeral and I didn’t like the eulogy,” citing Tom Sawyer. Plus, without that incident we wouldn’t have had another Roger Sterling gem: “Somewhere in this business, this has happened before” as a janitor cleans blood off Pete Campbell’s window.
Now to the tender moments I touched on before. They pretty much all involved Don, as Jon Hamm brought out Don’s ability to be sympathetic in this episode. He had some great moments with Conrad Hilton playing good business man (who turns out was the man he served the drink to at Roger’s lawn party), explaining to him that people don’t like picturing mice in their hotel rooms, even if it is an animated one. He had a truly terrific moment with Joan at the hospital and for the first time there was a palpable spark between the two — which will lead viewers and fans to comment that maybe there’s a possible affair in there, anything to keep the glorious Christina Hendricks on the show — playing good boss. Then Don goes home to console his terrified daughter who can’t come to grips with the fact that maybe her new baby brother is actually her reincarnated grandpa Gene, playing good Dad*. Simply put, Hamm is amazing. Even though I’ve recently caught Breaking Bad and seen how terrific Bryan Cranston is, Hamm is better.
That being said, the award-winning writing is what I’ll be tuning in for next week. I’m curious how they’re going to re-integrate Joan with Sterling/Cooper. There’s probably going to be a job opening considering Lois did some serious damage to both a co-worker’s foot and an office (poor Lois can’t get demoted much more than she already was). Then again, with her marriage to Greg not fulfilling her, maybe she’ll turn to some of the men at Sterling/Cooper — perhaps even making the rift between Don and Roger about more than just some petty argument about Roger’s bride. I don’t know, but I know I’m intrigued either way.
* On the note of Don playing good Dad, how terrifically awful was Betty in this episode, telling her daughter that babies “get fairies to do things for them” like buying Barbie dolls. Jesus H. that’s good writing.
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