Mad Men Airs Sunday Nights at 10/9c on AMC
Synopsis: Don, Betty, and Peggy all wake up in different places and their stories are told non-linearly: Don gets frustrated with Sterling Cooper’s offer of a three-year contract; Betty gets to meet with the government advisor she met at Roger’s yard party; Peggy has to contemplate the offer she got from Duck Philips.
Review: Don Draper hates everyone. Season 3 of Mad Men has been revealing Don’s bitter contempt for his place in life. Look back to the season 1 finale and we see a Don who’s almost willing to drop everything to be with Sally Menken; season 2 saw Don traipse of to California and almost never come back; season 3 seems to be Don realizing that maybe he should’ve made either of those decisions. He’s a man that has found so much unease lately that nothing comforts him. His wife is nagging him, his friend at work has taken to butting in so Don wants to sever ties, his daughter’s school teacher has a really bizarre conversation with him at an eclipse viewing, his new business arrangement with Conrad Hilton won’t go the way he wants it and the only people that made him smile in the entire episode were a vision of his father and two hitchhikers that beat the hell out of him and steal his money.
As for the ladies’ stories there seemed to be a common thread. Romantic altercations with older men. And both kinda creeped me out. When Betty first met Henry Francis and he put his hand on her stomach it gave me chills and their meeting in a coffee shop and afterward when Betty somehow stupidly looked directly into the sun didn’t change things. There’s something very strange about Francis and he seems to know Betty’s weakness for odd men.
The whole Duck-Peggy thing is just strange. Not only did it come out of left field but it seems like it was purely strategic. I’m not sure if Peggy was aware of that or not, but it seems that Duck has seduced her to get back at Sterling Cooper. Plus, I found that plotline to be pretty poorly written — Duck says sweet things to her and offers her a great job at the same moment that Don is a major dickhead to her. A little sloppy, even though it’s consistent with the type of harsh criticism Don has been doling out all season.
As far as the story-telling, I’m not sure if I was sold on the non-linear beginning. It all involved main characters waking up in strange environments and had been the result of a choice they had made — Don leaving his home in frustration, Betty purchasing a fainting couch because she’s fascinated by another man, and Peggy waking up in a hotel suite bed with a man we don’t see at first — I’m just not entirely sure that this type of editing was required. Either way, I give the Mad Men team credit for trying something new.