Mad Men, Airs Sundays 10/9c on AMC
Episode: “The Inheritance” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Synopsis: Betty visits her ailing father. Paul’s girlfriend Sheila tries to convince him to prioritize his civic duties. Pete’s mother disapproves of an idea that Pete and Trudy are considering.
Review: I know we talk about it a lot on this Mad Men re-cap, but its nice to see Pete Campbell get a little more screen-time this week. The drama that is lingering underneath there is palpable, every time Pete and Trudy talk about having babies and every time Pete interacts with Peggy creates an inordinate amount of tension. And what’s great about Vincent Kartheiser’s performance as Pete is that he’s the ultimate conflicted character on this show. On a show where men act like men, Pete Campbell walks around as if he’s only pretending to be human because that’s what he needs to do. Weiner and the gang have created a character, much like The Sopranos’ Chris Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) who goes against the mold, yet tries so hard to be what people expect of him. The promise of Don and Pete together in California next episode promises to be both hilarious and revealing.
This is the third episode of the January Jones Emmy push. She’s been outstanding in the episodes ever since she kicked Don out of the house. Now in this episode that layered some sexual confusion on top of it all, and I just feel like Betty is inches away from snapping. She’s been strong, yet vulnerable, and has given one hell of a performance. Glen Bishop even drops in again (the little boy who wanted Betty in a weird way) to reveal that he’s there to save her. Eventually all the men in her life (including her father, who unknowingly makes a sexual advance towards her) will confuse her and she has to remain strong and resist all of them.
The story-line with Paul and his civil rights’ activist girlfriend didn’t really do anything for me. With Paul and Sheila heading down to Mississippi for the next episode we could see some drama unfold as he’s a white man about to fight for black rights. Sometimes I feel like these ad men get a little too much screen time. Paul, Ken, Sal, Duck, and Harry are all given alternating story-lines, and sometimes I think the writers have made a mistake by putting in 5 pretty bland characters into such a rich show, yet amazing characters like Roger, Pete, Joan, and Peggy have to be benched. Roger is in one scene in this episode, even though episode 9 ended with him wanting to divorce his wife. And isn’t it about time Sal realize he might be gay? I’m getting a little tired of them beating around the bush.
Overall, the writing is as strong as its ever been. The cast is gelling on an Emmy-caliber level. There’s very little to nitpick other than the fact that there’s too many characters and thrown away sub-plots on the show. At the end of the day, we should just all be thankful that at least the sub-plots don’t ruin the flow of the show, like they do on 24.
Up Next Week: On a business trip to Los Angeles, Don becomes acquainted with some exciting new friends. Peggy looks for romance at work. Duck starts thinking about the future of Sterling Cooper.
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