Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: B | Grade It Now!
Where Have You Gone, Dick Whitman?

Some guy with an Eastern European accent of indeterminate origin is, for some reason, reading the society pages aloud as Roy, Midge, and Don enter the Gaslight. Roy is talking about some guy who collects miniature replicas of monuments from around the country -- "Washington Memorial, Bunker Hill, Mount Rushmore" -- and sticks them up his ass. Wow. Even among people who are into that, I'd think the Washington Monument would be a tough sell. Anyway, Roy douches it up, sitting in between Midge and Don and going on in an aggressively pretentious and boring vein, and then talk turns to Don's work, as Roy wonders how, given that he perpetuates lies, Don sleeps at night. Don: "On a bed made of money." Well, that's good news -- you can afford that air conditioner! Also, if that's a shout-out to Rainier Wolfcastle, that's awesome. Roy, undeterred, says that "hucksters" like Don created "the religion of mass consumption," and thankfully, Midge asks them if they want to go do some literal dick-measuring. Watch out, Roy -- Don's secretly Jewish. A woman then starts reading her "poetry," which is about a fantasy of making love to Fidel Castro; some guy then yells for her to take off her shirt, which she does. Don: "I should go. Too much art for me." Thank you, Don -- you may have been an ass for most of this episode, but redemption starts with an act of kindness. But the universe is conspiring against us, as Ian, the guy they came to see, is up, and Midge insists Don stay. And I suppose it's just as well, because Ian sings a song about Zion and the waters of Babylon. I'm all for tying up the theme, but this is a bit too on the nose for my taste. The song continues as we see shots of Rachel and Barbara in their respective houses, and then we cut back to Don, looking pensive and conflicted. Then we see Roger and Joan getting ready to leave the hotel room; she takes the bird and goes. Outside, she waits for a cab, and then Roger comes out and takes up a position several yards from her, and they don't look at each other. Very odd ending -- in the first place, this last shot of them is framed beautifully, but it makes no sense -- there's no way they would leave at the same time, and this business of not talking to each other would be suspicious to anyone that knows them. On top of that, though, the song about Israel made thematic sense over the shots of Don, Rachel, and Barbara, but including Joan and Roger in the montage feels off; it seems like maybe the show is trying to parallel the tragic nature of Don and Rachel's relationship with these two, but Joan and Roger's relationship doesn't have that feel to me at all, so connecting the song to them doesn't fly. Much like Joan's poor bird. Anyway, that's it -- see you next time!

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Mad Men




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