MAD MEN: Scene(s) of the Week

I have to say that I was somewhat underwhelmed by last night’s Mad Men, “Dark Shadows” (and not just because the beloved Gothic soap only featured in a brief scene where Megan was running lines for a part on the show with a fellow struggling actress). Now even a weak Mad Men has its virtues (and is still the best thing on television all week). There wasn’t one standout scene or sequence or storyline. But there were moments…

Betty, who’s back in full cunt mode, still managed to get to me as she momentarily gorges on whipped cream, takes a bite of Henry’s steak, and suffers through her meager Thanksgiving feast for which she is not the least bit thankful (Thanksgiving is rough for the Draper women; remember when Betty force-fed Sally the sweet potatoes?). Betty dropping the Anna bomb on Sally is one of the cruelest things she’s ever done to Don, but I will say that he and Megan handle the unexpected revelation with frank honesty.

Pete didn’t have as much to do this week, but Rory Gilmore’s “impromptu office visit” and Pete appearing to bask in the afterglow seems to drive home the point that he is destined for some kind of horrible fate. And while I go back and forth with Pete, he deserves whatever he gets if he’s opting for Rory over Greendale’s Annie Edison.

Ginsberg is obviously making a name for himself at SCDP, but I was most interested in Don sabotaging the new resident genius and Roger using the young copywriter for his own selfish purposes to land the Manischewitz wine account. Young Michael is strange to be sure, but he’s smart enough to find a way to lash out should Don and Roger continue to take advantage of and take him for granted, respectively. And I don’t think the agency can afford to lose someone with his talent, so all others better watch out.

Roger’s treatment of Ginsberg pales in comparison to his handling of Jane. After their enlightened split, he draws her back in for business purposes. Jane plays along because she’s getting a new apartment out of the deal. But Roger promptly corrupts Jane’s new home and the memory of the night they supposedly left each other. It’s childish, passive-aggressive, and totally Roger. But he is trying to land Manischewitz for Cooper, so even Roger has his redeeming qualities.

Not the best episode of what’s been a mostly stellar season, but I’m still longing for Sunday night to see what happens next.

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