'Mad Men' Fan Columnist: Three Lucky Strikes and You're Out
Monday, October 04, 2010
I lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes during tonight's Mad Men. All the characters were doing a righteous job of being extra pathetic, with a few exceptions, of course.
Ranging from making Pete into the company's scapegoat to Don deciding to branch out and cheat on his girlfriend, this episode was especially rich in character flaws. "The Chinese Wall" seemed to be a response to the episode "The Beautiful Girls," which aired two weeks ago. In that episode, Peggy, Faye and Joan were thrown into some rough situations and by the end, we got a shot of them on the elevator, with the door closing, all three looking pensive. Last night, we were thrown a couple of new curve balls for the women, and it wouldn't be Mad Men if the men weren't also striking out.
Lucky Strike 1
Lucky Strike is out! In an adult game of "Telephone," word got around to each member of the SCDP team, and when it got back to Roger, he did the courageous thing and lied to all the men about knowing Lee's plan to leave all along. Was anyone else praying for the phone to ring in Roger's hand? Roger hasn't taken responsibility for anything in awhile. Why start now? His nonchalance used to be charming but is now getting him into trouble. Joan's over it, Lee's done with it, and even Cooper called Roger out: "Lee Garner Jr. never took you seriously because you never took yourself seriously." Amen, brother. Surprisingly throughout this episode, the only male character who didn't annoy me was Pete. He was sympathetic because everything he was being blamed for wasn't his fault. His resolve to stick with his own company was admirable, but who knows what Pete is really thinking. Things must be topsy-turvy when Pete is more likable than Roger.
Lucky Strike 2
Don, you're nothing if not predictable. So Faye and Don had a fight. The honeymoon period has ended and now Don's desperately asking Faye to break her moral code and risk her job to help Don's company stay afloat. Faye effectively told him what he could do with his suggestion, leaving Don vulnerable to lusty secretaries. Cosmic timing, Megan. I knew that extended gaze at Megan last week was not meaningless. Well, if the girl wants to be taken seriously, sleeping with Don will certainly skyrocket her career right to the top. Ask Allison. Megan's aggression is exactly what Don likes. He loved it with the prostitute from the very first episode of this season, and he continues to enjoy when strong women tell him what they like and boss him around. I wonder how things will play out now that Don's new lease on life may be up sooner than he thinks.
Lucky Strike 3
Joan finally broke out of her pattern of saying what she is supposed to and decided to say what was necessary. Unfortunately for Roger, this couldn't come at a worse time. His wife Jane's vote of confidence is next to meaningless, but really Roger, can we expect Joan who just (allegedly) aborted your child to be the rock you get to lean on? Please. Joan's done with it, and I applaud her for moving forward, especially after she found out that Roger had lied to everyone about Lucky Strike's status with the company. Roger is at an especially low point after getting ahold of his autobiography. What a story. A few weeks ago, I was worried Don was going to crack, but now I'm worried Roger's going to a) have yet another coronary, b) jump out the window of his too-white office or c) do something desperate that I can't yet predict.
... And You're Out
I love that Peggy is enjoying sex and love even more that her pitch was successful despite Stan's frat-boy humor. Was that because of or in spite of the lipstick on her teeth? Our little Peggy is growing up and Don's poetic pitches are not the only lessons Peggy is taking to heart. The lock on her door looks to be getting a healthy workout. Three cheers for Joan, Peggy and Faye, who each stood up to men that mistreated them. Granted, Faye went back on what she said, but at least she had the guts to say it in the first place. Congrats Trudy and Pete on having a daughter. Maybe it will inspire Pete not to treat women as horribly as he has done in the past. By the way, Ken Cosgrove is marrying Alex Mack. Think Nickelodeon, orange couch, "Snick" period.
Hopefully, SCDP will stay afloat. It's hard to imagine the series resetting itself in the same way it did last year with each character heading in a different direction. Like Peggy said, "Every time something good happens, something bad happens." Such is life, Mad Men-ers. Apparently there are 13 episodes this season. Officially, we have two episodes left. Sink or swim time.
(Image courtesy of AMC)