Mad Men

Season 5 Episode 10

Christmas Waltz

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM May 20, 2012 on AMC
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes

By Users Episode Review


    Mad Men: Nightmares Before Christmas

    Much like in an actual waltz, "Christmas Waltz" saw a lot of characters being twirled around and traded off and then returned to their original dance partners.

  • Episode Summary

    'Tis the season to be jolly, but there isn't much festive cheer to be found at the agency. Harry attempts to help an old friend, while Don and Joan bond.

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    • 'Star Trek' Reference

      It's good that 'Mad Men' is keeping up with the times. In this episode,Paul became a Krishna and want's to sell a script for 'Star Trek', which wasn't popular back in '66. But later became a cult classic. William Shatner (Capt. Kirk),and Lenoard Nimoy (Spock) held it down for a couple of years. I hope Paul got it copyrighted or self-mailed it. I was a 'Star Trek' fan to see if they become hippies or some psychedellic shit. But,that didn't happen. I didn't care for the show until the late '90's. But that show should be classic. Beam me up,Scotty!moreless
    • Christmas Waltz

      An odd episode, and an episode that focused on Harry Crane, my least favorite character, at that, but it worked. We revisited an old castmember and we saw how even the employees at the bottom will scheme to get what they want. It was something different from Mad Men and showed that this program can deviate from the trail, even if just for one episode. Different, but worth checking out.
    • something (very) good, something (pretty) bad

      I am disappointed I cannot give more than 8 to this episode, because it contains some of the best scenes this season. I'm referring, of course, to Joan and Don, that are perfect and sexy together. I am also sure that, as for Don&Peggy, this is one of the relations that will never develop into a couple, thank God.

      Unfortunately, the other parts of the episode disturbed me. Unless the want to pass Lakshmi as a sort of deranged cultist, her presence is a misstep. Pity because the Hari Krishna storyline could have been interesting, if weird.

      The Lane story was frankly depressing and not a real pleasure to watch: it's difficult to get sympathetic (or just interested) towards Lane. I guess his behavior during this episode will have heavy repercussions towards the end of the season, but as a separate storyline it does not excite me.

      Something that was not too bad, instead, was watching the change in dynamics inside the Draper marriage: now that are not working together anymore, they are getting distant, in tastes, behavior and more in general in approach to life. It will be interesting to see if it is the beginning of the transition to a copy of the Don+Betty marriage, or just a fleeting cloud in a sunny sky.moreless
    • Joan attacks a receptionist and Paul is a Hare Krishna!!!

      Finally after the longest time we finally get a story that revolves around Joan. So there are three main stories in this episode. The first has to do with Joan getting divorce papers from Greg, the second would be Lane embezzling money from the company and lastly Paul returns and goes to Harry for advice/help with his life. This episode takes place sometime in December just before Christmas. Plus Pete gets news that there is a chance that they can get Jaguar cars as one of their clients. (so this review will have spoilers so if you don't want to read them skip to the last paragraph)

      So Lane is back and apparently owes the English Government a lot of money(8000 pounds). From taxes? Idk it really wasn't explained to clearly. And since it is Christmas time and that there is 50000$ surplus in the agency he decides to tell the partners that they will be able to give out Christmas bonuses and he tries to give them out asap instead of waiting till the Christmas party. However some financial issues pop up and the partners decide that they won't take bonuses but the rest of the staff will. Needing the money Lane ends up forging signatures in order to take it. These scenes were somewhat interesting but I don't think anything really exciting will happen until he gets caught.

      By far my favorite story line has to do with Joan. We haven't seen her character for a while now so it was good to see a story about her. Anyways Joan finds out that Greg has decided to DIVORCE HER!! And Joan's reaction to this is the best, she ends up (verbally) attacking the front receptionist for allowing this to happen and ends up throwing the model airplane in the lobby at this woman (who by the way seems like the total ditz). Don seeing this and realising that something bad is going on decides to take her out to make her feel better. First they go to a Jaguar dealership in order to check out one of the cars. While there they pose as a married couple and I really enjoyed that scene they just seem so natural together. He then takes her to the bar to try to get all this bad news off of her mind. This scene really reminded me of the one between Peggy and Don last season in the episode The Suitcase (infact i think Don took Joan to the same bar). While there he pretty much tells her that she shouldn't see this as bad news but instead see it as a new beginning because she could easily find someone better than Greg. However she doesn't know how that's possible due to the fact now that she has a baby. I think it would be bast for Joan to leave her relationship with Greg it really hasnt been that great, he has been quite abusive to her (at least from what weve seen of him). They also discuss why they never really gotten together and why Don never pursued her (it's a good answer). These scenes with Don and Joan together probably have been my favorite scenes so far this season. And after watching these scenes between the two of them you can see that they have a real friendship that isn't based on sex (which is good) and that these characters truly do care about each other's welfare. Don was the best person that she could go see to talk about her problems. (I also found that after watching these scenes that I like them together better than Don/Megan).

      So Paul returns and is now a Hare Krishna! Yeah it really seems like he's hit rock bottom since we last saw him at the end of season three. He shaved off his hair and beard and didn't have a pipe in his hand the whole time, it was so weird. Anyways he's apparently only joined because he fell in love with an ex-prostitute who is a member however she isn't totally interested in him. So Paul's plan to get her was to write an episode of Star Trek and get Harry to send over to people to see if they like it. So yeah it was pretty interesting to watch. I however think that after seeing this episode I have lost some respect for Paul and Harry is both a good and bad friend when dealing with Paul's problem.

      As for Roger we don't really see him. He just kind of appears in a Hawaiian Tshirt and getting drunk b/c it's the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. This was pretty funny. And there is also a little running joke over the fact that no one really cares about Pete's news about Jaguar. (That is until Don shows interest)

      All in all this was a very entertaining episode. It's defiantly worth a watch if you are a fan of Joan or if you miss Paul. I found her and Don's story to be the best followed by what happens b/w Harry and Paul. Just seeing Paul in the Hare Krishna outfit with Harry chanting is good. As for the Lane storyline it was ok. Kind of dull but its def. building up to something that will happen in future episodes. Also if they didn't mention Christmas Bonuses or if you didn't see the red dcor you wouldn't think this episode was set during Christmas. But now I just want to see next week's episode mainly based on the episode title :P

    Michael Gladis

    Michael Gladis

    Paul Kinsey

    Guest Star

    Anna Wood

    Anna Wood

    Lakshmi Bennett

    Guest Star

    Nicholas Guest

    Nicholas Guest

    Anthony Marsh

    Guest Star

    Embeth Davidtz

    Embeth Davidtz

    Rebecca Pryce

    Recurring Role

    Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris

    Dawn Chambers

    Recurring Role

    Beth Hall

    Beth Hall


    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (3)

      • Joan: Who do you think he is? Advertising? Insurance? Lawyer? And who do you think's waiting at home? I bet she's not ugly. The only sin she's committed is being familiar.
        Don: So you think it's all him?
        Joan: Because she can't give him what he wants?
        Don: Because, he doesn't know what he wants. But he's wanting.
        Joan: He knows. It's just the way he is. And maybe it's just the way she is.

      • Don: You know what this woman said to me once? I like being bad, and going home and being good.
        Joan: I bet that stuck to your ribs.
        Don: It was a disaster.
        Joan: And you enjoyed every minute.

      • Don: Last year at this time, whether you knew it or not, survival of this company was on the line. And I look at the faces in this room who have given their all to this tenuous recovery, and I say, prepare to take a great leap forward. Prepare to swim the English channel and then drown in champagne. There are six weekends between now and the pitch. We're going to spend them all here. We will celebrate Christmas here. We will ring in the New Year together. And in the end we will represent Jaguar and it will be worth it. Every agency on Madison Avenue is defined by the moment they got their car. When we land Jaguar, the world will know we've arrived.

    • NOTES (1)

      • Although credited, January Jones (Betty Francis), Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper) & Christopher Stanley (Henry Francis) do not appear in this episode.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)