Mad Men

Season 2 Episode 3

The Benefactor

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Aug 10, 2008 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
201 votes
  • A bit more tension than the first two episodes...But, where is the low-key, but wicked, humor of last season? It's sorely missed in this episode. Also, missing definitive Don Draper revelations.

    I'll go out on a limb here and say I thought, while nowhere near the quality of all last season, this episode was an improvement of sorts over the previous two. Don returned to his philandering ways, yet this one had a sort of pathetic slant to it since prior to this he actually liked the women he bedded. This time he wasn't in charge and it was him being seduced. He lets an unlikeable older female have her way with him instead of the other way around. He then decides to wrestle the dominance back in his court in a surprising visit to the women's powder room where he manhandles his lover.

    Dark, dark, dark...What won't Don do? I think we're back on track here, but he's lost any redeeming quality and the writer's need to return to giving up little bits about his mysterious past so we can see why Don has to both disconnect from those closest to him and be the master of his universe. Before, for me, it was the mystery of what made him the way he is which allowed him to do bad things while not really being as bad as those things. The humor softened it all up to make him anything but evil. Now he seems evil to the point that he'd do about anything, he's got to get back to wrestling with his conscience and being a slyly funny guy. Slowly, but in small ways we're being treated to know Betty Draper better. She craves attention and is finding that the more she gets out it just automatically comes. So far she's not falling for a fling, content just with her rediscovered power. It may be up to Don if she goes down the path he's taken, but at this point the possibility is more like a carrot on a stick dangled in front of the viewer who isn't sure if the point is the contrast between her morals and Don's or if the purpose is to make her possible fall more dramatic. Like I say I feel the episode is developing the characters for something that will happen shortly and as such is better than the other season two ones, but is still rather slow. We're left with Don and Betty driving home with Betty being emotional (says she's so happy) and Don being coy (what is he thinking). I, for one, am back at least wanting to tune in next week to see. In that regard small though it is, this is a slight return to form for the series.
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