Episode Reviews (4)
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Better than the season premiere, but not by much.
Mad Men season 2 got panned by a lot of critics (including myself) for not living up to the standard set by the first year. But looking back on it, things were just so much more exciting right now. The first two episodes of season 3 seem more like an introductory video to Mad Men for new fans than anything that will advance the storylines or progress the program in any way, shape or form.
Peggy got way too much screen time here and her awkward scenes just do not appeal to me in the way they do most viewers. The fact that Elisabeth Moss is now an Emmy-nominated actress is mind-boggling.
And the scene at the end was completely unnecessary as well. We know Don likes women, but having him finger the ground while seeing his son's instructor is just so not needed. It's almost as if Matthew Weiner and Josh Schwartz from Gossip Girl are having a contest to see which of their characters gets more women this year Don Draper or Chuck Bass.moreless
Betty's dad moves in...
Maybe it's because I watched this episode at 1 in the morning when I was exhausted, but this episode felt less like a fully fleshed out 47 minutes and more of a place setting episode. I'm not saying it moved slow, but it was definitely a step down from the events of the premiere.
That being said, there were still some good moments throughout. Betty's father, who we met last year, moves into the Draper residence. I wasn't immediately drawn into this story arc, but thinking about the tension that Betty's father will add to the Draper residence makes me excited for what Weiner and crew have in store. There were also some great Draper moments, such as the scene where Roger and him sit down with the Madison Square Garden people and convince them to join Sterling Cooper, or at least stay.
Peggy also gets a great handful of scenes after her and the rest of Creative attempt to figure out an advertisement for Patio (soon to be Diet Pepsi). Peggy ends up hooking up with a random guy at the bar, and instead of seeming like an assertion of her power as a woman (which is what I somewhat assume the show was going for), it all seemed a bit sad. I don't know, maybe I'm just combining that scene with the one where she stands in front of her mirror and sings "Bye Bye Birdie." It was a great moment for Moss as an actress, but for Peggy Olsen, it felt tragic in the smallest sense of the word.
There were some odd scenes here too, such as the one where Draper brushes his fingers in the grass while watching a woman dance in the park, and the final scene where Draper and Peggy sit down to discuss the account and the scene remains silent felt strange to me. I'm sure there's a deeper meaning to it, and I've read reviews where people have attributed some meaning to it, but for me, I'm not 100% sure.
The episode is good, just not as great as the premiere.moreless
difficult episode to review. Peggy confronts lonliness and the norms at the time. Betty's father visits. Roger plans a wedding. The British are not adjusting well.
Unlike last weeks episode, the theme of dislocation is hard to see and I had to watch it twice to see it. All three stories deal with being an outsider.
Roger is a social pariah after leaving his wife for the young secretary (who is now only referred to off camera) Joan wont speak to him and his daughter tells him not to nvite her to the wedding. Although almost all the men on this show cheat, he broke a big social norm by not only mixing business and pleasure at the office, but divorced his wife as well. This episode highlighted the price he paid.
The British dislocation is cultural and corporate. Pryce, the new boss, frets over landing Madison Square Garden, and even sends Don to get the account after Pete's team blows it. However, Don gets his legs cut out when London suddenly changes their mind. Don is incensed and asks "why did you buy us" to which the Brit can onlu reply "I don't know". This seems genuine as he is wondering the same thing himself. He has dinner with his wife and don and Betty and his wife is clearly unhappy with the move and the conversation at the table is stiff and awkward.
Peggy gets the main story as her dislocation is more personal. She is an odd duck in this world as she puts her career first and does not understand what men want (or does but doesn't like it) She complains about a pepsi idea for an ad featuring Ann Margaret singing "bye bye birdie" she thinks its stupid and does not understand why men like it as Margaret is childish and virginal in the song. She brings it up to Don and she is dissapointed as even he likes the idea (he usually agrees with her) She also sees Joan easily flirt with three customers and you can see Peggy's repressed jealousy in the scene.
It culminates in her going to a bar (rare for her) and picks up a guy for a one night stand (even rarer) Her characer reminds me of Chopin's "the awakening" she is clearly ahead of her time in her sensibilities for the 60's and doesn't like the societal norms for hw a woman needs to behave to attract a man.
The themes are more undertsated in this episode and is one where people may not get it. I liked it but it also seems to be setting up future storylines.moreless
Mad Men always gave an artistic touch to most episode. But in this one, they failed miserably trying to make it look like a Woody Allen movie. Characters evolving into something different is artistic and lends a bit of class to the entire story, but it looks stupid when they put on a random face picked out of the blue. The trials and tribulations of Don is a widely used motif in the show. In here, he out of nowhere changes his mind to let Gene stay in his house. I, in fact can put up with Betty Draper's tantrums, though she seems to be the most annoying face of the show. However, ever since the third season has started, she is going crazy.
All storylines, right from Roger getting chucked out of his daughter's wedding to Pryce dropping the ball on Madison Square to Don contemplating on cheating again, seemed so random. I am not looking to connect the dots, and all I can do is to feel sorry for the show for wasting 45-odd minutes.
Peggy Olson has a revelation, and she ends up hooking up with college student. Her actions of trying to be like the men are getting stale. Final word. Average episode.moreless