Mad Men

Season 4 Episode 7

The Suitcase

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Sep 05, 2010 on AMC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

Write A Review
out of 10
382 votes
  • The Don and Peggy Hour

    In a season marked by the slow but steady disintegration of Don Draper, both the man and the legend, it's hard to know if this is the moment that Don hits rock bottom, or if this is just the moment that he gains a key ally before the leadership crisis hits the agency in full force. Regardless, this seemingly sparse episode, focusing almost entirely on Don and Peggy, demonstrates why "Mad Men" is at the top of its game.

    After Don's mistakes in the previous episode, he and Peggy were going to have it out sooner or later. I just didn't think it would happen so quickly. Longtime fans remember that Don was the one who took Peggy under his wing and, from a certain point of view, saved her from her own mistakes and errors in judgment. As terrible as he is at it, Don's still trying to watch out for Peggy and help her grow, and no matter the opportunities that may arise, Peggy chooses to stand by him.

    This is critical, because Don's latest collapse further into the abyss is prompted by the death of Anna Draper. Anna was the one person who really knew Don's true self. Dick Whitman all but died in this episode, right alongside Anna. But Peggy, out of everyone in Don's world, has seen the man behind the legend. The conversation in the bar gave her another good look at everything that Don usually tries to deny. And that opens the door for Peggy to be just what Don needs: an anchor.

    And an anchor will almost certainly be needed. That tape of Roger's memoir was not included as a throwaway comedic moment. It was designed to underscore how Roger and Bert are being perceived, and also points to the potential for Don to break away from them, even if he appears to be on the same path.

    This is likely why the writers have been emphasizing that Peggy has no romantic designs on Don (and in fact resents the assumptions of such), and have the two of them gush over the rewards of the creative process. Peggy and Don resonate at their creative cores, and that's the part of Don that holds the most potential for rebirth. If anyone is going to help Don survive when the Coopers are eventually confronted (and I strongly believe that will come at the end of the season), it would be Peggy.

    The end of the episode suggests that Peggy's presence during this long night of the soul was a turning point. That open door could represent a reversal: instead of shutting out the world, Don is willing to engage again. If Don must abandon his notions of keeping Dick Whitman and Don Draper separate, then having Peggy as a touchstone is pitch perfect. And even better, that deep friendship has been waiting in the shadows since the very beginning.
  • Just Amazing!

    What a great episode!!! I'm not sure I can say this was the best episode of the series so far, because it wasn't focuse that much on the show itself, but it was definitely a break in the characters Don and Peggy. Now we know so many things about them, their hidden and secret personalities came out, and from now on the only thing we can expect is that everything is going to get better. Maybe slowly, but the difficult moments we have seen lately I think ended with the Don and Peggy scenes of this episode. Scenes that brought to maybe one of the best tv moment I've ever watched, a well definied climax, excellent played, that leads to a good, even if sad, ending. Nothing was out of place, and even if this wasn't the usual Mad Men episode, we were still able to follow the storyline. Storyline that is now even more interesting, and Mad Men keeps growing no stop as one of the best tv show ever.
  • The Prize Fight

    For a mid-season episode Mad Men sure knows how to deliver. On the night of the Muhammad Ali and Liston title fight Don and Peggy put their heads together to get ideas on a campaign for Samsonite (luggage) and it causes very personal repercussions for Peggy as she delves deeper into being more like Don. Her relationship with Mark (boyfriend) is put to the test on the phone and they have a falling out. The fact that Don now constantly singles out Peggy to make her feel bad is just bullying when before he was a chronic drunk he spoke harsh words to her but it was more of Don knew that Peggy was capable of greater things and is more like him than anyone else so he expects more now it's just being a jerk. The chemistry is excellently pulled off by Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss and the working relationship is stressed and forced to work for a common goal. By far the best of the season thus far, and hopefully more to come.
  • Jon Hamm can act..and really really well

    When you get two pivotal characters and let them run the story for 50 minutes, without anyone else - you've got a winner. This wasn't the usual 'Don is drunk-Don is lonely-Don needs a vulnerable little secretary to plant his seed' type story. Rather, it was an alcohol fueled epic buildup to show something we've never seen these 4 years - Don breaking down.

    The story starts off with Don getting a message from Stephanie, and he knows it's bad news. He knows he can't handle it, and somehow tries to immerse himself in the Samsonite pitch by making Peggy his scapegoat. The alcohol starts flowing freely from then and Don goes through the various stages of grief. He is in denial, he doesn't want to call up and hear the news first hand. He vents out his anger on Peggy, when she finally speaks her mind on her Glow-coat contribution and how Don never acknowledges her effort. He goes into a brief depression when he can't handle all the alcohol and throws up. He even gets beaten up by Duck Phillips and finally decides to get some sleep. Don finally finds acceptance when he imagines a silhouette of Anna Draper in his drunken state. He wakes up the next morning and makes the call to California, and finally breaks down like you have never seen before.

    Matt Weiner knows this is not the Don you want to see. A couple of scenes later, we see Peggy enter Don's office to see his all cleaned up and looking Dapper as if nothing had happened. Don has the pitch ready for Samsonite - a symbolized version of the Cassius Clay fight.

    We see an interesting dynamic between Peggy and Don, something we've always waited for and something which we may very well never get in the future. This is definitely Mad Men at its best.
  • Excellent episode

    On Sunday night, I decided to catch up on the episodes that I had recorded and managed to get through all but one of them. This was the last one that I watched before recording the newest episode and I was blown away by the episode.

    While I want to go on and describe the premise of the episode, many other people have described the episode so more eloquently described it. But I will pick on a few moments that were key to the plot of the story. The first moment that I felt was key was when Trudy Campbell came into the ladies room, while Peggy was getting ready for her "romantic" birthday dinner with her boyfriend, Mark. The reason that I felt it was important was due to the fact that one can see that Trudy is very pregnant, while when Peggy was pregnant, nobody even knew that she was pregnant. Also the fact that Trudy seems to rub in the fact that Peggy is 26 and still not married, almost making Peggy as though she is somehow inferior for not being married and still single. There is also the fact that Peggy gave birth to Pete's child and that Trudy still doesn't know that Pete got Peggy pregnant (I can't imagine how Trudy would react to that news; actually I can, but I digress), which was made reference to later in her conversation with Don at the bar. The encounter with Trudy almost highlights what Peggy's mom feels about the fact that Peggy is still single and is making a career of her own and as though that somehow Peggy's decision to concentrate on her career rather than concentrating on having a family.

    The second moment that I felt was key was after Don had received the formal news that Anna had passed away. Not only does it show the cracks that are starting to appear in Don's amour, but also signifies the death of Don's lie and how it goes to the grave with the only other person that knew the real Don Draper, so to speak. Overall, an excellent episode and truly one of the best hours of TV that I haven't seen in a long time.
  • Unbelievable.

    I have not given an episode a 9 or higher all summer, but this deserved it. Mad Men is now a lock for a fourth straight Emmy for drama series, something 30 Rock could not do in the comedy world, if this episode is submitted as this was absolutely fantastic. The Don and Peggy scenes were just perfectly done, it was art, the dialogue was incredible, I just loved every minute of it. There were parts of this episode that were funny, but this was one of my favorite Mad Mens ever because of how powerful it was. From the epic boxing match to the death, very few boring scenes.

    Man, this Mad Men was absolutely unbelievable.
  • This episode was worth coming to and reviewing it! It was absolutely extraordinary, and it deeply displays the talent that the show has in its cast and writers. It's the first time since the series premiere that I'd been left blown away by Mad Men!

    This episode alone deserves Emmy's in all categories. Brilliant performances by Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, both of whom showcased real character acting that has recently been lost or forgotten in Hollywood (whether on network or film). The writing was absolutely astounding as it dove into both Peggy Olson and Don Drapers lives and developed the relationship of the pair in a style that was only, until now, possible in novels or real life. The direction was superb as the director really explored the setting of the Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce office through scenes, lighting, and props, which greatly advanced the storyline. There is a reason Mad Men continues to win best Drama series every year, and this episode symbolizes that very reason.
  • There are no words to describe how remarkable this episode was. It is probably the most important episode for Don & Peggy lovers.

    *****************SUPER SPOILERIFIC*******************

    There are no words to describe how remarkable this episode was. "The Suitcase" was like watching a really good one-act play. It is probably the most important episode for Don & Peggy lovers. But mostly it showed the most emotional I have ever seen in Don Draper over the course of 50 minutes. They started out as a stern father chastising his teenager daughter (complete with very loud stomping and muttering under her breath, by Peggy). Don steps back into mentor-mode by telling her to she'll know a good one when she sees it and to keep banging them out until that happens. Eventually, they devolve into the immature, idiot boyfriend whining about not being able to read his passive-aggressive girlfriend's mind. On her birthday, Peggy vacillated between attending to her boss' demands and spending a romantic evening with her boyfriend (and her family?!). In the end, she makes her choice...and, of course, it's Don. Bye, bye to Mr. Dopey Whathisface! After Don yells at her over her failure to provide a good ad idea, Peggy breaks down in tears and runs off to sulk. Meanwhile, Don discovers Roger's memoir tapes (which reveal Miss Blankenship was a sexpot and Bert Cooper is ball-less. Don realizes some of his tension is because he is waiting to hear about Anna's death. He calls Peggy back into his office and plays her the tapes, over which they giggle like schoolgirls. He can't be alone, so he invites Peggy out for dinner and drinks, like a couple of buddies. Don lets Peggy ramble on about her resentment over how men look and treat her like she's unattractive. Ever the supportive "girlfriend," Don tells her not to worry because she's a cutie. Peggy reveals that everyone think that they've slept together and that her mother thinks he's her baby's daddy. When Don denies that he would ever cross that line, she tacitly reminds him of his indiscretion with Allison. He asks her if she knows who the father is, and Peggy responds that she does and that at times it's difficult to think about the baby (I should mention that she had had a charming interaction with the very pregnant Mrs. Pete Campbell earlier that day). They return to the office, and Peggy helps Don to the men's room, as he dangerously needs to vomit. She steps out upon hearing a drunken Duck calling out to her. While accusing Don also sleeping with Peggy, Duck reveals that he and Peggy "were in love." Don is horrified (no doubt because he now thinks Duck is Peggy's baby's daddy) and drunkenly attempts to defend Peggy's honor. They both fall to the floor, as Don softly cries "uncle" in the face of Duck's 17 kills at Okinawa (a subtle dig on Don's own cowardice in Korea). Once again, Peggy cuts loose another man in her life in favor of Don. Like an old married couple, Don and Peggy fall asleep in his office with Don's head in her lap. Don is briefly stirred when Anna's ghost comes to say goodbye and marvel at his office. In the morning, Don confirms her death and breaks down in tears, like a little boy. With awkward maternal concern, Peggy consoles him. Don decides to regain his paternal position and sends her home to bed. Peggy, unwilling to completely let go, passes out in her office. A mess upon waking, Peggy opts to check in on the now spiffy Don. They discuss his idea about the campaign, with Peggy briefly comfortable enough to criticize it. But she quickly backs off, expressing her fatigue. Don, fully back to Father Knows Best-mode, pats her on the head and sends her home to freshen up. Don is back to himself with nothing to hide, so she leaves the door open as she goes.

    There were moments when the emotions were so big, that I feared they would really cross that line. Thankfully, the writers were truly out to reflect on the sanctity of the Don & Peggy relationship and why it works so well. Don cries that Anna is the only person who really knew him, but Peggy quietly tells him that she's not. Peggy may not know everything about Don's past (although he did reveal a little about Dick Whitman to her), she does see him for who he is.
  • The Suitcase delves deeper into Don Draper's and Peggy Olson's remarkable relationship, where they connect on a higher level and surpass their professional brick wall.

    This is one of the best episodes ever produced on Mad Men. The exploration of the depth of the relationship between Peggy and Don was so astoundingly written and beautifully put into dialogue.
    The build up of the tension between Peggy and Don through the last two episodes that helped in creating a great blow out between the two characters in Don's Office, was a wonderfully and maticulously-arranged climactic scene. It is rare to see such a truely profound moment so well written and acted on TV these days. This episode was especially perfect for Peggy to shine even more. The more they reveal about her personal life the more it tells us about her true character and why she is the way she is, A strong and a potentially powerful woman in times of high patriarchy.
    The other part that makes this episode a classic gem is Don's reaction to the death of his most precious friend in the world. Jon Hamm is an amazing actor, and he will surely win a Golden globe for this performance alone. Every Episode I always think they are going to fall into a cliche, but they always manage to turn the story into the most unlikely direction.