Mad Men

Season 2 Episode 12

The Mountain King

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Oct 19, 2008 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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  • Everything Changes

    Don's new lover offers a life of luxury to him, no strings attached. He can stay in Palm Springs indefinitely, he can start a new life as Dick Whitman, or he can go back to his real life, but giving up his room to the man who is going through a divorce and shows up late at night with his children in tow says a lot. He chooses to go visit his only true friend, Anna Draper, the wife of the man whose identity he has assumed. I love the porch scene, their easy friendship, his youthful eagerness in the flashback when he's about to propose to Betty, and the way Anna truly listens to him but doesn't give unsolicited advice. This is Don's chance to abandon his life once again and start over, but I think at this point he realizes that when you run away from your life, you just end up with a new set of problems, not a perfect life. I loved the line, "I've been watching my life and it's right there I've been scratching at it trying to get into it and I can't." Now we understand how lost this man really is. And afraid. The spooky piano music is followed by Don actually telling the boy, "It's scary".

    In complete contrast to Don's disorientation, Peggy is a rising star. She asks Roger for her own office after being chided by a Xerox repairman for abusing the copy machine that everyone uses in her shared office space, and gets it due to her confidence and courage to ask for it. Although Roger calls her "aggressive", she's not; she's assertive, which is not the same thing. There's a brief scene afterwards that shows her casually smoking in the empty office at dusk, reflecting on her success, and I immediately flashed back to the desperate scene from season one where she is pretending to be sophisticated and chokes on a cigarette on her disastrous blind date during her pregnancy. She is positively radiant in these scenes, in contrast to Joan's devastation and humiliation from being raped in Don's office by her jealous and insecure fiance. Joan's talk of her upcoming marriage is now a dismal and futile appeal for admiration.

    One of my favorite lines comes early from Peggy: "Christian, as in behavior, not religion." And at the end of this episode Don baptizes himself (as in behavior, not religion) in the Pacific Ocean; reborn in whatever way he chooses to be.

    Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Trudy and Pete finally have it out; she finally stands up to him for his misogynistic rudeness, and he throws their dinner out the window. Go Trudy!
  • Mad Men may be getting back on track here.

    I heavily criticized the first half of Season 2, but the past few episodes of Mad Men have been delivering. I still cannot get into January Jones as an actress as anything Betty Draper related is awful, but the rest of the show was pretty entertaining. Elisabeth Moss was actually acceptable here and Jon Hamm didn't look as bored with the script as he usually does.

    We had some fine comedy from Roger Sterling and we saw that he may be in love with Joan, which led to Joan's husband taking advantage of her A Streetcar Named Desire style. Vincent Kartheiser gave another great performance and has to be the frontrunner for Outstanding Supporting Actor come Emmy time next year.

    Everything was fast-moving in this episode and the show just kept me guessing what would happen at the end. I still don't like how Mad Men creates drama for the entire episode then has a boring, pointless ending like Don splashing in the ocean. I'm not asking for teen drama style cliffhangers, but at least give us something.
  • NOT the final episode, phew.

    I was one of those people who thought this was going to be the final episode and was watching it as such. Luckily it's not, because it would have been disappointing. For a build-up to the finale it's a good episode. The scenes with Don in LA were very well written and played beautifully by the actors. You could really tell if you were watching the younger Dick or the older Don. Peggy was funny as always. The reaction of the guys when they heard she was getting the office, great. "But I'm the head of television!" LOL And Pete was even nice about it. Every time the story about his wife not being able to have kids, I wonder when and if he is going to find out if he already has a kid with Peggy. Maybe next episode?

    All the female characters were great in this episode. Ofcourse terrible what happened to Joan. And Betty was so strong explaining to here daughter, and than psycho again to her horse riding friend!
    Without those characters the show would be just another show about men and there futile problems. Now we get to see both sides of the story and not jus Don moping that his wife doesn't understand him. These women are really the feminists avant la lettre. Excited to see the final episode! What will Don decide? Will Pete find out about the baby? How is Peggy in her role of senior copywriter? Will Joan break off the engagement?
  • Everyone thought this was the season finale, but it looks like there is one more episode left. Don sees an old friend who knows his secret. Sterling Cooper is sold. Betty comes to terms with Don not being there. Joan's chioce in men is suspect.

    Looks like there is one more episode even though I thought this would be the last one. The big developement for next week is what Don will decide, to stay in LA or go back to NY? Realistically, one would think he would go back to NY since I can't see anyone wanting to watch Dick the auto mechanic in LA. lol But you never know.

    Don clearly wants to stay in LA, but his scenes with his friend (Don Draper's real wife) were important as she knows about his kids and in flashbacks, Don told her about Betty and you could finally see that Don was in love at one time.She reminded him of his children, and this might be enough to get him back to LA.

    Joan's character got the most sympethetic portrayal yet as her fiancee practically raped her in her office as he picked up on the fact that sterling and joan were an item. To say she is settling to be married is an understatement. I liked the understanded way sterling said, "I thought you didn't like french food" and the fact that the fiancee picked up on that to mean what it was supposed to mean. Again this is challenging writing as everything was said without it being spelled out for viewers. One of the reasons I like this show is that a look or a casual remark means a much as grand getsures.

    Sterling Cooper was sold and Betty got some screen time as she tells her daughter Don and her are fighting. We got to meet Ms. Cooper and they certainly have a strange relationship. I was also suprised when he said he had to take care of sterling, which is a surprise since everyone assumes it was the other way around since he is so eccentric. Also liked Petes casual remark to peggy about how Don may not be coming back because he knows some things about him.

    Good episode as it had some back story about Don's life but it set up next weeks decision.