Mad Men

Season 4 Episode 1

Public Relations

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jul 25, 2010 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Mad men is back! To be comfortable and dead or risky and rich is the question.

    The new season starts out with the appropriately named title "Public Relations" where Don learns that in his new firm, he is the star and he must take control of his image. This parallels to previous seasons where he sculted an image of the 50's American dream. A great job, marriage to a beautiful women, three kids, and had it all.

    Of course we learned this was a lie, and the 50's image of himself burned down last season as his wife Betty left him for a doting older man, Henry Francis. As the episode begins, he is still the old Don, being mysterious and still holding on to his old life. He will not kick Betty out of the house, and Henry has moved in. He is mysterious with a reporter who was supposed to be writing a valentine piece about him, which causes the story to be negative, much to his new office's chagrin. Don is also living a suprisingly dark life outside the office in a modest hotel where the only action is from a prostitute who he pays to hit him. He is obviously punishing himself for his marriage failing.

    The product ties into the theme (as it always does on this show) as Janzen swimwear (not bikini!) wants Don but doesn't want change. They want to repackage the old and true to make their modest swimwear more desirable. However, Don makes a pitch about taking risks (see the quote above) and when they don't like it, he kicks them out.

    In the end, he makes a new interview with the Wall Street Journal where he repackages and rebrands himself as the rebel and regails the reporter with the exciting tale of how the firm got started. The 50's Don is dead, and he is now ahead of the curve in the 60's mentality of doing your own thing and not wanting to be a corportae hack.

    The "B" story was Betty, who also did not grow at all since we last saw her. Without the sympathy angle of being married to Don, he character now seems even more childish. She is living in her old marital house with Henry. (what a scandal that must have caused the neighborhood) Sally is showing signs of rebellion, but her son is unfazed by the new arrangement. Henry's mother is scornful, calling his new wife silly and asking how could he stand living in another man's baggage. Good question! He wanted a trophy wife and his mother ackowledges she is pretty, but why buy a cow with tht much baggage.

    Don is creating a new identity of a suave rebel. He must sell himself to clients as he is the firm. Everyone in the office told him that in one way or the other throughout the episode. Is this new image the real Don Draper? Will Betty ever grow up or be unhappy forever (probably) the new season will answer these questions.
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