Every week, Aaron Cohen writes a recap of Mad Men for his blog Unlikely Words, and I illustrate something from the episode to go with it. Here’s week 7.

I’m not going to lie, I could have used an evening off from Mad Men tonight. It was, however, one of the best episodes of the season. Mad Men had been putting up good episodes all season, but this was a ‘wow’ episode. Don, Peggy, Don and Peggy, Duck. Wow. Probably the most passion we’ve seen to date, too. Date of the episode: May 25, 1965. This was the 2nd Ali/Liston fight and took places in Lewiston, ME. Is it me, or are there WAY more historical events referenced this season?
-Two off-color racial/ethnic jokes in the first minute or so of the show? I don’t remember two all season. Accident? Doubt it. Lazy? Maybe. I hope this isn’t the show continuing to turn into a caricature of itself. And what’s with all the swears. It’s like AMC is showing off to be edgy. (Or did office swearing rise in popularity in 1965?)
-Oh, Ida Blankenship, you hellcat. It’s almost as if Don is doing penance. She can’t even make coffee well.
-The Joe Namath ad pitched by Peggy and the gang was actually pretty well conceived, funny even. Most of the pre-pitches aren’t that thought out. Speaking of the gang. Danny hadn’t event started last episode, and now he’s a full fledged member of said gang? They’re so welcoming!
-There was a bit of the old vs new in this episode. Don doesn’t like Joe Namath (endorsements are lazy) or Cassius Clay (if you have to say you’re the greatest…). They’re too flashy, but they are what advertising will become.
-When did Roger and Don become so chummy? This seems like it happened in the last 2-3 episodes. Were we supposed to forget the, “Keep him away from me” from last year? Also, I haven’t seen him drink something brown since his heart attack.
-”I’m glad that this is an environment where you’re not afraid to fail.” The season wasn’t really building to this, but last week did foreshadow it. In an episode where Duck Phillips, showed us where Don could be headed in a couple years, Don and Peggy continued to solidify their connection. I want to say something here about Peggy following in Don’s footsteps, but it’s not totally clear how to describe that. “How long are you going to go on like this?” Peggy seems to see there’s a problem. Maybe she’s the first, or maybe she’s the only one acknowledging it, but Don is in a bad way.
-”I give you money, you give me ideas.” “That’s what the money is for!” “Everything to you is an opportunity.” “I’m sorry about your boyfriend, OK?” I liked these lines. Don gives Peggy opportunity, but when she acts entitled, he bristles. We haven’t really seen her do anything good this year, why does she think she’s so great? Also, Peggy, remember to lock the door when you take a nap at work. Otherwise, Stan will wake you up with a whistle.
-What do you suppose the mouse signified and Don’s line about there being another way out of the office? “You know, there’s a way out of this room we don’t know about.”
-”Trains leaving the station, get on board. Woo Woo.” “Peg, I’m falling apart.” Wow, Duck, wow. You get fired from Grey and think it’s a good idea to start your own agency? You need to get your shit together. And that is NOT a euphemism for pooping in Roger Sterling’s office. It may have been Don’s lowest point of the season when he had to cry uncle to Duck. That is LOW.
-Peggy goes to the bathroom before heading off to dinner and gets continually kicked in the balls, first by another secretary and then by Pete Campbell’s wife. “Well, you’re doing alright, aren’t you?” “You know, 26 is still very young.” But then, “Is it any different than living with Pete?” you go, girl! Mark inviting Peggy’s family to dinner wins the title of most awkward family dinner.
-”You know what gets you over stuff like that? Drinking.” Roger continuing the role of classic comic relief and witty one-liners. “Come on, Ida was a hellcat? Cooper lost his balls? Roger’s writing a book?” And that, of course.
-”There’s no use crying over fish in the sea.” I guess Danny mixes his cliches?
-This episode featured Don opening up to Peggy more than he had to almost anyone all series. “It’s a mouse, I grew up on a farm.” “More of a yokel than me, even.” Korea. Don saw his father dies. I guess it’s only remarkable because it happened so quickly, but Don was REALLY sharing. Wonder if it felt good. To say nothing of Anne dying, and Peggy seeing him call Stephanie and start bawling. “The only person in the world who really knew me.”
-When Don and Peggy were eating in the diner and Peggy said she didn’t know the difference between good and awful, Don used a TON of cliches to say there was very little difference. I have to imagine this was on purpose. Otherwise, it’s time to start giving back Emmys. “You know you’re cute as hell.” Is there anyone who would suggest Don thinks Peggy is cute/beautiful?
-”You don’t want to start giving me morality lessons, do you? People do things.” This never happened…
-Don saw Anne has a ghost. Just putting this here so we remember it later, not sure it was very important. It does sort of recall the flashbacks from Don’s childhood, though
-And at the end of the episode, the door was opened. If we were watching this entire season at once, I bet we could point back to this episode as an ending to the first half of the season. Or maybe I’m misinterpreting it. How did you see the open door and what is its import?
What did I miss?

BACK TO TOP