Mad Men
Mystery Date

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A- | Grade It Now!
Mystery Date

Gail has her hands full with Kevin, who's crying because Mommy and "Daddy" are fighting. Joan locks herself in the bedroom, and in response, Greg tells Gail (and Kevin) to get out before pounding on the door and yelling that he'll kick the thing down if Joan doesn't open up. Joan complies, but only so she can practically shriek, "Who goes back?" She goes on that Greg doesn't get to make a decision like that on his own, adding that he's never understood that, but Greg isn't hearing her, and tells her they've both got their orders before storming out to "meet the boys for a drink." When he's gone, Gail, who didn't make it out of the apartment, continues her Wartime Wife Wisdom, telling Joan that he just needs to blow off steam. Joan is still seething, but Gail promises that Joan can get through another year, and she'll help. She adds that Joan should lie down, and Joan slumps her shoulders before heading off to take her advice. I'd feel really bad if I didn't know what's coming; instead, I'm making my popcorn in advance.

Peggy brings out some bedclothes for Dawn and says she hopes she doesn't mind the couch, explaining that since her roommate moved out, the second bedroom is just littered with Abe's stuff. I wonder if that means they're actually living together or just that Peggy's doing well enough that she decided to maintain the place on her own. Either way, Dawn says it's perfect, and Peggy says goodnight, but lingers for a moment when she sees that her purse is still lying on the table. Of course, she's surely thinking about the four hundred bucks and probably would reflexively pause before leaving it there in the unattended company of anyone, but Dawn doesn't know that, and the look on her face when the camera goes back to her is exquisitely pained. Man, that is just one of those silent moments this show does so well that is going to stick with me. Peggy tries to put a Band-Aid on a spurting wound by grabbing the empties on the table, but there's nothing she can say that will undo that moment, so she wishes Dawn good night once again and withdraws, surely disbelieving she was capable of such behavior, which is fitting. And it's a good thing she's so drunk, otherwise she probably wouldn't sleep a wink.

The darkness has caught up with Don's apartment, and he lies in bed, shirtless, ashen and fearful, when a re-dressed Andrea returns and breezily says she's got to go, but she'll see him. With breathing so shallow he seems like his cold has morphed into early-onset emphysema, he tells her that this was a mistake, but she refuses to cede her power over him, telling him it's a mistake he loves making, because he's sick -- at which point he springs to action out of nowhere, grabbing her around the throat and shoving her to the floor. She struggles and flails, and although the action is not so realistic that she turns blue or ruptures any blood vessels, it's still extremely disturbing. And of course, if we're aware this is a dream and as such conclude that it's a representation of his inner conflicts, it makes sense that he would be afraid both of Andrea's overt desire and of his inability to resist it, but the fact that he chooses such a violent way to thwart them (after having gone through with the sex to boot) is disquieting, especially when tied to the rest of the episode. When the deed is done, Don recoils and then kicks Andrea's corpse under the bed before climbing back into it, but when he looks over the side, he can still see her heels sticking out, and I think this moment is supposed to be poignant but it's ruined by my mind going immediately to the Wicked Witch of the East. Don, better recover before her sister shows up! Don passes out again...

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Mad Men




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