Episode Reviews (4)
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Betty processing Don's infdelity. Peggy works on a dance promotion with her priest. Joan gets a new responsibility and learns she liked it. Episode highlights the lack of power the girls have.
A female centered episode as the three female leads get the storyline in this episode. Betty of course is the center of the episode, as she decides what to do with her knowledge of her husband's cheating.
It was very well done on several fronts. The heineken beer angle served as a metaphor for her relationship to her husband. Don explained to the beer execs that suburban women who shop at the supermarkets would want a foriegn beer precisely because it is different. And wouldn't you know it, Betty has a dinner party with a "food of the world" type of theme and there is the heineken, just as Don stated in his pitch. It highlighted to Betty that she knows nothing about her husband while he knows everything, even what beer she would buy. (or at least in her point of view) She searched in vain for some "proof" of Don's affair (which came to nothing). He is a complete mystery to her and he is very careful. Seeing the ad of Jimmy that was being shot when Don first met him helped her make a decision as it again threw the affair in her face and she realizes she has no power in the relationship. Don was running around on her and she knows nothing about him, she even asks "do you hate me". She now distrusts everything, even how he feels about her.
Joan got a new duty reading scripts and she obviously liked it very much. She was for the first time "more than a secretary" and having client's listen to her about what shows to buy and telling her fiancee about it gave her pleasure. She is the counterpart to Betty in that she is queen of the office while Betty is living the girl next door ideal existence of wife and mother. Of course, the rug was yanked out from her at the end of the episode as strerling hired a man to do that job once he heard that Joan's time was being divided. The fact that the head of the television department (forget his name) didn't fight to keep her and was obviously pleased to have a man beneath him shows the "man's world" attitudes at the time. He was laughing and joking with his new hire (Joan knows this could never happen with her). His casual remark to Joan to get the new guy up to speed really opened her eyes that even though she did a good job in the position and the clients liked her, he never seriously considered her for the job. Again another metaphor about the women's lack of power at this time as she bumped very hard against the glass ceiling. Sterling is not Don, and he has no desire to give a girl a chance like Don did with Peggy.
Finally, Peggy agreed to again help out her preist in a dance promotion (plyed by Colin Hanks) He is obviously trying to get her to discuss her unwanted preganacy and is reaching out to her, although she is still rebuffing him. I am pleasantly suprised at this storyline in that the show is actually casting the priest in a positive light. I thought when this storyline was introduced, it would be the same old priest has an affair thing. But the relationship doesn't seem sexual at all so far. He knows of her baby and is trying to get her to face it.
The lack of power women had at this time was the theme of this episode, both at home (Betty) and at the workplace (Joan). Both women learned they do not have the power they thought they had in their repsctive environments and their eyes have been opened in this episode. What they do with this knowledge will be interesting.moreless
Betty finally faces the truth, even if she still lacks solid proof.
Loved this episode, especially Betty's isolated day at home. As much of an annoyance as Jimmy can be, his supporting role has been key this season. This show continues to blow me away, I'm always so sorry when the credits roll at the end. Don leaves viewers wondering how much longer he can keep up his act. We want to know more about Joan and her fiance; will she actually marry? Or has she just made the commitment because she is running out of time? Every scene with Roger is entertaining, what a great character. On a down note, I found the plotline with Peggy, Father Gill, and the C"Y"O dance quite boring; I am losing interest in the Peggy storyline.moreless
A good Season 2 episode of Mad Men?
Suprisingly this episode broke the norm and temporarily lifted Mad Men out of its sophomore slump. The episode was well-written and set up some interesting possibilities for future installments. The storyline with Harry Crane as the television head is actually bringing some excitement to his character. I could do without the Peggy side storyline but for some reason both fans and writers alike enjoy her.
January Jones did a decent job in her first really big episode, although she's no Vincent Kartheiser. Unfortunately Pete Campbell continues to be treated as a minor character and not receive the screen time he deserves.
The episode featured some fine comedy to lighten the mood and allow the viewer to not take the show too seriously. At the same time the emotions were running high and it was easy to get sucked into this broadcast. With Season 2 already half over the clock was ticking on Mad Men to deliver if they wanted to rack up the same number of Emmy nominations as last year. This episode was a step in the right direction.moreless
One of the gems of the second season; one of the three major storylines is absolutely perfect, and the other two have at least some merit.
The relationship between Donald and Betty Draper has hit the breaking point, in some of the strongest scenes of this powerful show. It's easy now to see that while the first season was about Donald Draper as a person, the second is more about his wife and family. Its interesting to see the changes Betty goes through, from almost pleading to be loved (or at least not hated) to refusing him to return to the house. This is another episode carried by January Jones, who has shown that the she may be the best actor on this show, and can carry the most serious of scenes.
While Donald and Betty Draper stole the show, the two other storylines brought the show back to its minor flaws. Peggy's relationship with the church and its pastor is interesting, but it has yet to bring any new development to her character. It's clear that she has turned her back on God, and can't personally tell if she wants to turn back to God yet. However, nothing really comes from it besides a few awkward Peggy scenes as she struggles with her decisions. I have also shown my dislike of Crane as a character, and one again giving him a major storyline is worrisome. However, Joan completely saves this part of the show, as she almost shows a human side of her, as she actually enjoys doing the script work, and yet is thrown aside because she is female. Like Peggy, Joan doesn't seem to want to be forced into these female stereotypes any longer, and that should make an interesting storyline coming up.
All in all, this is a classic episode and a thrilling build up to the final episodes of the second season. How Betty and Donald Draper handle these problems should be what defines the second season of Mad Men.moreless