Mad Men Recap: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Mad Men Season 6 RecapRemember Roger’s acid trip in “Far Away Places” last season on Mad Men? This week’s episode makes that one seem straightforward and elementary – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As half of the office staff spins in a drug-induced mania, we get clear glimpses of what’s really going on in the mad men and woman’s heads. I’ve got a feeling you either loved this episode or hated it – and I know you want to talk about it – so let’s review what happened in “The Crash.”

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THE KEN IS ALL RIGHT | The episode opens on a scene that can only end badly: Ken behind the wheel of a car filled with drunken Chevy execs brandishing weapons, goading him to drive faster and covering his eyes so he can’t see where he’s going. We hear a crash sound and I’m bummed for Aaron Staton… until a moment later when we see him limp into a meeting at the firm the next day. He didn’t die! There was a car accident, we learn, but the Impala joyride was just the latest in the long list of indignities he’s had to endure as the firm’s account man for the car company. Oh, and Chevy has hated everything SCDPCGC (that’s how I’ll refer to the merged company until its partners get around to naming it) has produced so far. Don’s outraged – all he wants is to get in a room with them so he can work his magic – and everyone agrees that they’re going to have to work the weekend to make Chevy’s next deadline. Ted and Don both get calls that pull them out of the meeting: Ted’s is the news that CGC partner Frank Gleason has died, and Don’s is from Dr. Rosen. Dum-dum-DUUUUUM!

Just kidding – Don’s call is from Sylvia, but “I wanted to let you know that’s what that would feel like,” she tells him before ordering him to quit hanging out by her apartment’s service entrance; Arnold found the butts of the cigarettes Don smoked while he stalked, and she’s afraid that he’s going to figure out something is up. He begs for a chance to talk to her, but she’s closed off; she’s afraid that he has so little to lose, he won’t hesitate to ruin her life with the good doctor. As she cries, Don says, “I’m feeling a lot of emotions, too,” and the incredibly flat delivery Jon Hamm uses makes me laugh out loud. When she hangs up on him, Don throws the phone into the bar cart – when he harms innocent booze, you know he’s really upset. (Well, that and he’s crying a little.) As he coughs into a handkerchief, he flashes back to when he had a chest cold in the whorehouse and one of the prostitutes showed more compassion for him than his stepmother ever did. (That story unfolds over a bunch of memories, but we’ve got a lot of drug-induced weirdness to get through, so I’m condensing. Spoiler alert: That hooker was also Don’s first woman, and when his stepmom found out, she beat him with a wooden spoon.)

Don naps and wakes to find that Jim Cutler has called a physician into the office to see anyone who needs a little pick-me-up. Don, Ken, Stan and a few others submit themselves for a syringe full of the doc’s proprietary “energy serum” – and then the real fun begins.

ALTERED STATES | Peggy and Ginsberg are not impressed by Stan’s stream-of-consciousness Chevy taglines or Don’s stirring – though ultimately empty – declaration about his ultimate idea. “That was very inspiring. Do you have any idea what the idea is?” Peggy says with the weariness of a woman who’s probably thinking, “At least he’s not puking all over his shirt and then falling asleep in my lap this time.”

Later, Don and Ken have a fairly awesome interaction in which Don speechifies about needing the client (or, as we later find out, someone else) to hear the “timbre of my voice,” and an equally high Ken breaks into a full-on tap dance. That’s not a metaphor. Staton kick-ball-changes his way through a monologue, complete with cane flourishes. “Where did you learn that?” Don asks, impressed. “BroadWAY!” I shout at my TV in my best Jenna Maroney, remembering when I’d walk by Times Square’s Winter Garden Theater and see Staton’s mug grinning out from the Mamma Mia! cast photos. (Side note: Please rewatch this scene and focus on Dawn’s face. Priceless.)

By the way, Don has absolutely no idea what to do for Chevy and instead strides around the office with an old campaign idea in his head. When he finally finds it in the archives, it’s for oatmeal – not soup, like he thought – and it shows a woman (who’s very reminiscent of his friendly childhood prostitute) with a young boy and the tagline “Because you know what he needs.” Don hollers for Peggy to hear his new thoughts, but they’re unfocused and mainly have to do with how he can “get in the door” to let Sylvia know what he’s thinking and feeling. Bummer – I thought for a moment he was going all Jerry Maguire on us, and I was kind of looking forward to the “Who’s with me? Who’s with me?” that would follow. Turns out, any kind of corporate advertising is the farthest thing from his addled mind. “What have you been working on for the past three days?” an irritated Peggy calls after him as he leaves for home. (We’ll pick up with the drugged-up Mr. Draper later.)

TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP OUT | After Frank’s funeral, which Peggy attends with Ted, Ms. Olsen is drunk. So she does nothing to stop the creative team’s new game of throwing exacto knives at a drawing of an apple that’s pinned to a corkboard over Stan’s head. Michael – the self-proclaimed “only person in the Time-Life Building who’s not out of his mind” — takes the first toss… and lobs a knife right into Stan’s forearm. Eek. Peggy leads the Bearded One away to patch him up, and he takes the opportunity to kiss her. She has objections (she doesn’t like beards, he’s like her brother, she has a boyfriend) but she kisses him back for a minute before pulling away.

He confesses that his 20-year-old cousin was killed in action in the Navy in March, and she takes great care to counsel him not to dampen his pain with drugs and sex. As she walks away, he compliments her tush. “Thank you,” she replies kindly. Please, Mad Men, don’t let this be the only payoff for all of the Stan-Peggy build-up. Please revisit them in the future. But first, please let her forget about watching him get it on with hippie Wendy – who we later learn is Frank’s daughter – on an office couch later in the hour while Jim Cutler pervs out beside her. (Beside Peggy, not Wendy. Even in this oddball episode, that would’ve been a little too weird. Also, kudos to Harry Hamlin for continuing to find these strange little roles that really play to his strengths. I never would’ve thought about him for the Cutler part, and now I can’t think of anyone else who would do it better.)

“GRANDMA” INVADES | While Don’s hearing colors at work and Megan is out at a play with her agent, Sally’s watching Bobby and Gene at the apartment. She’s surprised to find an old black woman in the place late at night; the woman claims she’s Grandma Ida and she raised Don as a child. Sally’s no idiot – she’s never heard of the woman, and the fact that she says things like, “That TV’s in there good!” as she tries to pry it from the wall point toward her being a burglar. Bobby wakes up and only cares about two things: whether he can watch TV and “Are we negroes?” Heh. When Sally tries to call the cops, the woman stops her and beats a hasty exit.

Don arrives home all ready to make his case to Sylvia, but he’s met at his own apartment by Betty, Henry, Megan, the kids and two cops. Ida was a robber who hit several spots in the building. Betty — who’s blonde and svelte again, by the way — makes sure Don knows she doesn’t believe he was at work and that Henry is running for public office. (Side note: You’ve gotta admire that woman’s ability to stuff bragging and scolding into the same breath.) Don does the only thing I can think of that won’t end in him getting yelled at any more: He passes out.

THE HARSH LIGHT OF DAY | Monday morning, a clearheaded Don gets the very thing he lusted after: a few minutes alone with Sylvia in the lift. And though this is his chance to make a literal elevator pitch, he says next to nothing to her. At work, he calls Sally to tell her he’s ok and to confess that he left the service entrance open, allowing the woman to break in. Sally says that as she asked the woman questions about Don, she realized she didn’t know much about her dad. Ouch.

Ted returns to the office and demands to know why the Chevy work is gibberish. “What the hell went on here this weekend?” Chaough asks. Don has no answers, and he’s not interested in making Ted feel any better. “Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse,” he says nastily, stalking back to his office.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode — in particular, Wendy’s “It’s broken” when listening to Don’s heart? Sound off in the comments!

 

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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129 Comments
  1. James says:

    I loved it. Jon Hamm FTW! I mean, Emmy this up. It’s trippy like some of the Soprano dream scenes.

    • GG says:

      Don was molested as a child. The child Don clearly displayed resistance to having physical relations with that prostitute. That horrible, horrible step mother then beats Don for the act. Now we have a deep understanding of why Don is so permiscuous and is obsessed with Sylvia. Don is working through childhood trauma. I disagree with those who are saying that this episode did not go anywhere. This episode provided a deeper understanding as to why Don acts the way he does.

      The episode also showed how children can be exploited by adults. Sally was exploided by the woman who broke into the apartment and the child Don was exploited by many in his younger years

  2. Robby says:

    Was this the one where we spend an entire hour with Don’s memories leading to… nothing? Don’t get me wrong. Im devoted. I enjoy the cast tremendously. But I feel like this season (much like last season) is leading to nowhere. Even the previews are uninteresting and uninforming. But I will hold on. I’ve made it this far…

    • Natalie says:

      No. It’s just you. Don’s memories fit on this storyline. As for the storyline, this season has not finish it. So you have to wait and watch the story unfolds.

    • Kenneth Moe says:

      “Even the previews are uninteresting and uninforming.”

      They’ve always been! It’s because Matt Weiner doesn’t want to do them at all, but is forced to.

    • Linda F says:

      It’s not just you, Robby. I’ve gone happily along with this show’s ride for the first four seasons, but this season I’m not enjoying it. Like you I’m not giving up–I’ll hang in there to see where this all leads–but it’s getting tough. Except for isolated bits and pieces, to me this has been a wandering mess of storylines that seem to go absolutely nowhere. Maybe Weiner’s trying to evoke a drugged-out feeling for the whole season because it’s the sixties? This episode especially was just a big “WTF?” for me.

      • Paul says:

        I agree with Linda and Robby. I really love this show but this season just seems blah. It’s definitely going nowhere. But I will stay with it and see what happens as Mad Men heads into it’s final season next year. I have faith in the creative genius of Matt Weiner.

    • Jill Levin says:

      You are so right. The previews are the worst. I wonder why I always watch them. They lead nowhere.

    • travis says:

      keep believing

    • Jains says:

      Where is this all leading? It’s leading to Don’s end in the most scitzophrenic decade the world has ever seen. How else can the series end and what is in that body he trashes along with all those emotions bottled up? Lung cancer? Cirrhosis of the liver? Heart disease with a heart that is clearly broken? Strokes waiting to happen? Diabetes? Suicide? Don’t get me wrong I love the guy, the series has been brilliant, true to the decade down to the last paper clip and he is gorgeous and brilliant but when did he last see a doctor? (Other than his neighbor in the elevator.) The series just isn’t going to end with him walking calmly into the sunset with his life tied up in a nice, neat bow.

  3. Jess says:

    weird…and not in a good way

    • Natalie says:

      how?

    • Alice says:

      I’m glad someone agrees with me. Maybe it’s because I was half tripping on cold medicine while watching, but I was acutely uncomfortable during this entire episode. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. The only reason I kept watching was because I was waiting for it all to lead somewhere, but it never really did.

      • Alice says:

        Addendum: I do enjoy Harry Hamlin. He’s weird in a good way.

      • MrE says:

        it did go somewhere, buy you were not watching it, you wanted someone to spoon feed it to you, sigh, you need to see something more your speed like The Real Hosuewives, that doesn’t take much to interpret. Sorry, don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t know any other way to sugar coat this.

        • tripoli says:

          You clearly did mean to be rude. Get off your high horse and understand that differing opinions are allowed. The episode was mostly pointless. Mildly entertaining because it wasn’t the same old, weekly bore it usually is, but still rather pointless.

        • Betsy says:

          ‘don’t mean to be rude, but I’m going to make a long comment where I explicitly come off like a jerk.’

          oh okay

        • linda2009 says:

          I beg your pardon? No two people see the same things in an episode, and to dismiss people as “Real Housewives” material because they don’t like it, or don’t see the point? I don’t think you could have been any less rude. You don’t have to spoon-feed us jack squat, sir–although maybe you could use a spoonful–or a bucketful–less of condescension.

          Or wait–perhaps you SHOULD enlighten all of us barbarians with your obviously superior insight and tell us what we cretins missed?.

        • JoMarch says:

          @MrE- Mr. Ed, the talking horse, is that you? That would explain your horse’s arse comment and your typo. It’s hard to type with hooves.

      • Shirlee says:

        This is sort of what I was feeling as I read….it does explain Don…but honestly, since Don’s latest romance…which made absolutely no sense as with the marriage. The last three Sunday’s I have forgotten to watch…this never would have happened during the first 3-4 years. I automatically buy each episode, so it is available to watch on Mondays…but this one I won’t. During the 60’s times were great! Jobs were plentiful…the last of the “rosey” days. Business was booming…I want to be entertained not reminded of the horror of our economy today. I have enough realism daily. Please bring back entertainment MW…get over your love for Megan…..and get MM back on track!

        • Lulu says:

          Are you kidding? By the late 1960s, many parts of society were breaking down. The drugs theme was particularly apropos. I remember talking to someone who ran a school at the time. All of a sudden in 1968, the school went from having no drugs at all to having kids mainlining heroin in the bathrooms. The person running the school explained that by that time he had only ever seen ‘one marijuana cigarette’ (You have to love the innocence of our Depression era grandparents), and that everyone kept asking him what to do about the heroin. He did not have a clue. I also remember being a kid in the 70s and 80s and seeing these people who in their 20s who have overdosed or had bad trips and could no longer function properly.

          Having heard many a story of what it was like to work for GM in the 1950s and 60s, I can tell you that Weiner NAILED IT. GM was the most boozed up, bureaucratic company imaginable with interminable processes for getting anything done.

          This was a great period piece showing
          – the dysfunction America’s corporate bureaucracy in the late 1960s, just before they were slammed by more efficient Japanese producers
          – the drug culture and all it represented
          – the problem that was created when upper middle class women decided to work. Sure, it is more fulfilling for women to work, but then what happens to the kids? No one has ever been able to answer that question in a way that satisfies everyone.

      • BD. Ameri says:

        I wasn’t on cold medicine, but I understand how you felt. I kept watching the clock, wanting the episode to end or get to a point. The house intruder made me very uncomfortable. I was on edge thinking she’d harm the kids.

      • Marie Racaniello says:

        I agree totally with Alice. Hated this show….not please with this season at all.
        Marie

  4. Larry Lum says:

    Henry’s running for office is the only exciting thing that came out of this episode. The name “I da robber” is also kind of racist for a show seemingly trying to treat civil rights issues in the 60’s in a progressive manner.

    • cfm says:

      The black housekeeper who raised my mother was named Ida. We used to visit her when I was little and we called her Gramma Ida so the name on the show startled me. I didn’t think it was racist for obvious personal reasons. But it did freak me out!

    • MrE says:

      oh, you totally miss the point, It was the 60’s and it was about the civil rights, but people actually spoke like this. I mean it, up until like maybe the mid 90’s. Or around the time MTv made it cool to listen to Michael Jackson. were we all in some heavy denial here?

  5. cfm says:

    What an odd episode. Last week’s 50 Shades of Draper was pretty dark, and this episode continues down a twisted path.
    The crash – after being high on meth all weekend – passing out in his home and silence with Silvia -was followed by Don making the car/whorehouse comment at work, it’s like he’s checking out of everything. He’s so freaking lost.
    Everything is a sales pitch to him and he’s off his game. Unlike Don, Ted took some time to deal with his grief away from the office. When Don saw the Peggy/Ted interaction it was interesting it sparked a flashback of the sweet whore who nursed him back to health.
    Harry Hamlin is awesome as Cutler. Subtle, pervy, he and Roger are opposite sides of the same coin. Talking about Frank’s daughter, “I kept an eye on her, didn’t I Don?” Gross…

    But I don’t know what to think about this episode. So weird.

    • fan of Mad Men says:

      That prostitute was not sweet. She moleseted an unwilling young Don. She was sweet for manipulative reasons. In similar fashion, the charming female thief cooked eggs for Sally to manipulate Sally

      Also, how about that horrible step mother

      Now we see why Don can’t bond with a woman in a healthy manner

      • ES says:

        Exactly- surprised people aren’t seeing this. He was molested! If this was a girl instead of a boy would they perhaps view it differently? This is what pedophiles do. That’s why kids carry guilt and shame. The reactions here seem to show why, people aren’t even picking up on it.

        • Fan of Mad Men says:

          ES, Thank You

          Don phoned Sally because he could identify with the intended exploitation of his child (Sally)
          Others have written that the incident regarding the thief assisted with pushing Don into a more responsible role and away from his troubled obsession of Sylvia

          I Da Robber not only refers to the thief but refers to the prostitute stealing Don’s innocence when he was a child

          Bravo to the writers of Mad Men, I Da RObber is a riveting exploration of how child eploitation affects an adult’s relatinships

    • I thought you voiced many feelings of mine. A viewer hopes the people around Draper are spared “hell”, but DD can’t avoid a deep level of the eternal gray bar hotel.

  6. HSC says:

    I did like the part when Don thought the girl could hear his broken heart, but she just couldn’t get the stethoscope to work. But, Ginsberg was sober and he threw an exacto knife at Stan’s head?? And the tap dancing was annoying. Ida was creepy. That is all.

  7. Paola says:

    Favorite line of the show: “are we negros?” Bobby D
    I loved it! Meandering and sort of twin-peaks weird…no way Hamm will win Emmy, this is Cranstons last year. Maybe next for Hamm.

    • kavyn says:

      I also loved this episode and found it hilarious :)

      • Blue8091 says:

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who found this episode to be hilarious. High out of their minds and instantly breaking into a sprint around the office hallways- bahahaha. Cosgrove tap dancing Ginsburg throwing exacto knives – Betty shows up blonde and skinny – not knowing if the old lady in the apt is REALLY related to Don…and at the end of the ride – they accomplished exactly nothing. LOL.

      • Jains says:

        Yes riveting and revealing. Just what the doctor ordered. Ironic sarcastic title. Needed the doc from downstairs to appear somewhere to complete it all.

  8. Ram510 says:

    I thought this was an excellent episode. Threw you off you TV viewing equilibrium a little. I expect a lot to unfold next week, can’t wait

  9. Colleen says:

    I always wondered what happened when you mixed LSD with Harry Hamlin, and now I know.

  10. cca says:

    What has happened to this show?

  11. Tony says:

    The scenes with Sally and “grandma” literally had me in tears. I was laughing so hard. I was so thrown by the whole thing, I was ready to go back to previous seasons to see if I missed something about Don having a black mother of some sorts. And Bobby showing up was just icing on the cake.

    • kavyn says:

      Easily my favourite part of the episode. I was also confused and I was wondering if Don actually had Ida taking care of him at some point in his life, lol.

  12. adam says:

    horrible, Horrible, HORRIBLE Episode. What a waste of the momentum of a few episodes ago from an already very bad season.

  13. Bill Delehant says:

    I loved it! It felt like one of the better Sopranos episodes. I guess I was sold on Mad Men thinking the flashbacks he experienced in the first season would be a normal thing. The show would be about finding out just who Don is and what makes him tick. Clearly the show isn’t this, but these flashbacks certainly harkened back to those first selling points. Everything else, from the tap dancing, to the knofe throwing, to the elderly negro lady was icing on the cake I haven’t had so much fun watching Mad Men in years.

  14. Leave Comments says:

    Agree about Harry Hamlin, he is a perfect addition. The whole show felt like we the viewer were tripping with them. I thought it was kinda fun actually.

  15. When the writers run out of ideas, they resort to episodes like the one aired tonight. Yawn.

    • GG says:

      This episode gave so much insight as to why Don has difficulty with woman. The episode was brilliant and not a yawn at all

      Also, the break in of Ida helped Don to overcome his obsession with Sylvia. Don now realizes that he has to be more responsible which includes taking better care of his children

  16. Natalie says:

    People who criticize this episode aren’t really MM fans. This show had weird bits of scenes before but none like this.

    • Gere says:

      Word.

      Fairweather fans. No worries, though. Walking Dead will be back in the fall for them to fawn over despite being poorly written garbage each week with horrible character development and no real redeeming qualities other than gore and Norman Reedus’s likability.

      Some of us like our shows to be challenging and take storytelling risks, even if they don’t stick the landing.

      • Stop that nonsense. Why bring in TWD? That has nothing to do with MM so leave that out of your argument because it has no place.

      • MrE says:

        How can you say that? This was A GREAT EPISODE! I didn’t want it to end. If you want bland food, go to the regular networks, if you want spice, this was it! This was top notch writing! It was great! as for dark, people speak about the 60’s being great, but people miss how dark it was. The racism, sexism, entitlement, the bad frat boy behavior, oh, wait, things really haven’t changed.

        • Merle Ford says:

          I have to agree….I suppose I never thought of the 60’s being dark…sexism still is a big part of today….won’t even go into racism and entitlements b/c that trump card is also overplayed today….

          • waterbug says:

            those who are not on the receiving end…on the inside looking out, always prattle about “that trump card being overplayed…”

    • anna says:

      How would you know what a real MM fan is? Everyone is allowed their own opinion about the show.

      • Louise says:

        Agreed. You can be a fan of the show and not enjoy an episode. I love this show, but this one just didn’t work for me. It seemed like they were trying too hard. Did enjoy Harry Hamlin. He’s great.

    • Steve says:

      Baahhhh, you sheep

    • Mary says:

      Agreed. I loved it too. Last night on Twitter, I couldn’t believe all the negative posts. Call me crazy, I found the episode riveting!

    • Bill says:

      I have watched every episode of every year. I am a true fan. But I can see bad writing when I see it. This is one that the writers will use for nominations for their “creativity”. No regard for the plot or audience.

  17. Ian says:

    It actually felt like a drug trip. Quite well realized. Don’t know why reaction is so mixed – they do a trippy episode every season.

  18. cfm says:

    Since we’re now midway through the season, I can’t help but think of Don’s first line of the season, quoting Dante, “Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.”
    Yeah, that’s Don.
    So far we’ve seen many of the “sinful” Dante sees in the inferno: the lustful, gluttonous, seductive, the violent, tonight we added a thief and a false prophet.
    Interestingly enough, in the Inferno the lowest ring is for the the fraudulent and traitors. Dick Whitman as Don Draper is the ultimate sin. Based on that and the poster for this season, is that where this dark road is taking us? Please let it be headed somewhere.

    • Bill Delehant says:

      Good catch! I’ll repeat that this season is as good as as the show’s been since the first and second.

    • JJ says:

      There seem to be a lot of satanic references this season/episode: Dante, “Rosemary’s Baby”, Stan’s 666 ideas, the Devil’s Sno ball a few weeks back, and some line about Roger being able to sell heating oil to Satan earlier too. Maybe Matt’s just having some fun with us, or maybe they’re going to Hell.

  19. kavyn says:

    Don’t worry Sally, I would have fallen for Grandma Ida’s charm too.

  20. Norm says:

    A frustrating episode. Lots of meandering and dead ends. Guess we’re seeing a vulnerable, “broken” Don now more than at any other point. Overall, I enjoyed the it. Lots of character examination, and we learned more about them as a result. On a side note, I really miss Betty being an integral part of the show.

  21. I was pretty much so confused about the entire episode. I need to read an analysis. Needs A LOT more Betty.

  22. WW says:

    I seriously just stared at my TV because this reminded me of a one of those 70’s British Sitcoms like Fawlty Towers were all sorts of nonsense is going on in the episode and the protagonist is just as nuts as the rest of the cast. For the Record, I loved this episode – and also for the record, with a few little tweaks of his life Don Draper would have been either President – or a serial killer -

  23. safe web says:

    I think it was slow and boring, and that doesn’t make it more artistic. What happened to the death of Bobby Kennedy. That would have affected them somehow.

    • I agree! At the end of last week there were a few seconds about Bobby Kennedy and it only involved Don and Megan. Really!? Bobby Kennedy gets a few seconds with those two? That’s it???

      • Chester says:

        Because in the real lives of most people, events like these just pass by. Maybe one or two might make an impression (President Kennedy, MLK), but by 1968, maybe everyone was just too weary of assassinations (Kennedy, Malcolm X, MLK, and then Robert Kennedy, along with Medgar Evers and some creep who ran the American Nazi Party) to have it rock their world for a long time, especially with so many kids being killed in Vietnam.

  24. alanjay1 says:

    To me, the episode struck me as Don’s psychotrauma bubbling up through his careful veneer long enough to cause some real issues, but he managed to clamp the lid down before anything irreversible happened. I think he’s going to stay mostly on an even keel from here on out.

  25. Ksyost says:

    This is what 1969 felt like: people losing their way, doing drugs, being high and out of it. The characters were acting out how many of us felt. Sober Peggy. Don starting to age and lose his mojo. Others getting high and thinking they are creative. Hippie sex. Feeling really uncomfortable. Nailed it.

    • Merle says:

      Not where I lived….but then Dallas must have been considerably different from NY . I just hate the drama…unless this company implodes it makes no sense.

  26. Bree says:

    I loved tonight’s episode. It was so vividly strange, yet mirrored many things that happened in the past. We got a lot of Don’s reliving his experiences in the cat house. Boy his step-mother was a horror. The way an exasperated Peggy directly questioned what the hell he’d been doing all weekend, and another time her mothering Don comes out. Peggy has Don’t number better than anyone.

    This episode was an interactive experience! We as viewers were having as altered an experience watching it as the characters were acting it.

    So many wierd, unexpected things and characters popping out of nowhere. The most obvious being “Grandma Ida” While watching her whole song-and-dance to Sally I kept trying to make sense of this character – going back and forth from “is this real?” maybe Don did
    have a pseudo black Grandma who took care of him. But Don giving her a key to the apt?

    Ken’s tap-dance – I loved it. While watching it I’m thinking, “Am I seeing what I’m seeing?”

    Oh, and the scene where Don’s goes into some inner reverie staring at secretary, “do we
    know each other?” her: “I hope so.” Who do you think she reminds him of? Kind of
    looked like a younger Sylvia but don’t think that’s who she reminded him of.
    Then I thought, ut-oh is he going to hit on her next?

    Why would Sally at age 14 be reading “Rosemary’s Baby?”

    Lots more to talk about from this episode.

  27. Bree says:

    I had my own back to childhood experience when Sally came out in what was
    then called “Baby Doll Pajamas” I had the same ones, like hundreds of other girls.

  28. LadyBug says:

    I was highly entertained. Kept talking to the TV saying “you have got to be kidding me!” The part with African American thief worked for me on several levels: first, why does she have to be Black?! Urgh– kept thinking…what does that do for the development of the storyline? Then I thought–is this part of Don’s drug-induced bender? Is this somehow a quasi-hallucination? Is Sally high?! Then when she knew Don’s name, I thought it was just possible that maybe this was Don’s great secret–he’s Black! I think Weiner wanted us to think that for a second. An indication that we too, like Sally, know nothing about him.

  29. sophie says:

    Very good episode! Finally the redemption of Don has began, as he starts to take responsibility, at least as a father. Ida was really a wake up call for him, I hope he understands that she could have killed the kids and it was entirely Don’s fault.
    And only Betty can pull off having so little scream time but so much to say.
    She is finally starting to look and behave like the old Betty! More Betty please!

  30. atlasstuttered says:

    The biggest reason I loved tonight’s episode was how well it showed Don Draper’s typical emotional solving of the Sylvia Problem, as ill-advised and as reckless as it is.

    Going back to last episode — what made Don such a wreck when Sylvia called off their affair? And what gives with his obsession with her at the beginning of this episode? We are not used to seeing Don in a position of helpless need, yet that’s what we got at the beginning of “The Crash” with his entreaties to Sylvia. How did her cancellation (not really rejection) of their affair affect him so deeply, to the point where he was almost vulnerable?

    After everyone’s gone nuts on speedballs to the buttcheeks, the revelations happen. Don remembers how he lost his virginity: to a prostitute with a strategically placed beauty spot who knew exactly how to really care for him, whereas his guardians in the flashbacks sought to keep him apart from everyone else. The prostitute’s pretensions to care-taking cut through his guardians’ over-protectiveness. And the hooker had a beauty spot.

    Don’s sudden adoration and need for Sylvia — please, he said to her, I really need to talk to you — didn’t make sense. Why out of all the girls he’s bedded did Sylvia mean so much to him? Well, maybe it’s got something to do with that mole just to the right of her mouth. It triggered something in him. While they were having the affair he couldn’t understand or even perceive it, and in last week’s episode he tried to possess it. When he failed, he was unexpectedly crest-fallen. Why? He’s never regarded another female this entire time with so much vulnerability. Why Sylvia?

    Then, in the context of the Chevy campaign, he makes an accidental discovery. He recalls an advertisement Sterling Cooper did for soup in the late ’50s, and thinks it holds a thematic key to the Chevy campaign. It evoked some vague emotion the entire staff has been trying to arrive at the whole weekend. He finds the ad in the archives, featuring a mother and son. He sees that the maternal figure in the ad has a beauty spot. And at that point, it triggers him to figure out how to successfully execute the Chevy campaign — though we don’t know if that will really be successful in the end. We’ll have to see.

    But in this act, Don is able to reconcile his emotions through his business — he’s taken his great emotional confusion and figured it out (whether he’s aware of it or not — this is all almost assuredly subconscious). The prostitute had a beauty spot, the women in the soup ad had a beauty spot, and Sylvia had a beauty spot. He’s been able to piece everything together, and made it meaningful in a professional sense.

    Now that he’s been able to do that, to make those connections, to solve that problem, he has no need for the emotion. He’s triumphed over it (he thinks). So when he takes that elevator ride with Sylvia at the end of the episode, he reclaims his emotions, has control over what they meant to him, and he doesn’t have to regard her in the slightest. He’s turned his emotional issues into (hopeful) profit, and he’s done. That’s how Don works. Your mileage (and mine, for that matter) may vary.

    • Ram510 says:

      This was my take on the episode 100%! This is also one of the reasons why this episode entertaining and relevant. The only thing I would add is the fact that him finding out about Ida was also what helped Don “get a grip”

      • Jan1 says:

        Yes. Though I do think he was working on his pitch to Sylvia, not Chevy. However, it might also work for Chevy. He can’t even get his foot in the door with Chevy, they won’t meet with him.

        • atlasstuttered says:

          He’s certainly working on a pitch to Sylvia, but more importantly he’s working on a pitch to himself, to make sense of what’s happened to him. And it takes a weekend of total insanity for that to happen. Don’s been trying to make sense of himself in a business fraught with insanity since Day One, and it’s about to get a whole hell of a lot more insane than he bargained for.

          • atlasstuttered says:

            I should add: One of the tantalizing things about following “Mad Men” from the first episode onwards has been “How are they going to handle the hippie/sexual revolution/drug culture” of the later ’60s. Part of the brilliance of this series is that, chronologically, they started at a relatively idealistic time that would eventually become volatile. How would they handle it?

            After Don decided he didn’t want to hear the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in Season 5 — and the producers instantly resumed it during the closing credits of the episode — I knew Don would have to face the issue of time marching onwards, and that he’d unexpectedly be caught between two worlds, one of which was rapidly changing.

            This is why you stick with good characters.

    • Simone says:

      At first I thought his idea was a professional one to nail the Chevy campaign, but it becomes clear that he only came up with something to say to Sylvia. That’s why Peggy asks, testily, “what have you been doing all weekend?”. And why he’s still babbling as he returns home, “I’ll go to her door. She can’t shut the door on me . . .”

      • cfm says:

        Yeah, not sure Don figured out anything for Chevy. He was working on a pitch to Sylvia. He even told Ted at the end he’s not going to work on Chevy anymore, just approve what the creative team comes up with.
        The part with Ida was important. Don “left the door open” carelessly exposing his family to harm. When he talks to Sylvia on the phone she says she thought having an affair with him was safe because he had as much to lose as she did. She metaphorically and physically shut and locked the door on him. His leaving the door open caused all the chaos of the episode. His apology to Sally was more about his affair than the robbery. His silence with Sylvia in the elevator was him shutting the door. Even episode one where the big reveal is his affair is “The Doorway”

    • joe quellman says:

      brilliant- thank you

    • EJ says:

      Excellent, excellent points. Thank you.

      I wondered to what extent the prostitute had relations with Dick (pardon my pun). It’s clear she molested him that first time but then before she leaves she tells them she took his virginity for $5.

      • atlasstuttered says:

        I admit the molestation/pedophilia angle did not occur to me until other people had mentioned it. I think Don’s memory of what it represented to him — someone who “nurtured” him when he was ill — was more significant than the crime that had been committed against him. I’m not sure that Dick felt violated at that moment. I think he was *more* violated by his guardian smacking him with a spoon after she’d found out he’d lost his cherry. Don’s/Dick’s problem is that he understands what is sacred about being human — he is a secret idealist — but he’s always trying to put his experience, his past, utterly behind him. He’s in advertising — he’s trying to sell a dream, when he knows that dream can’t exist because of real life. It’s a hard place to be.

  31. atlasstuttered says:

    “the women in the soup ad had a beauty spot”

    I meant “woman,” singular.

  32. C M says:

    Good comment, atlasstuttered. More insightful than many of the professional recappers!

    I initially wondered if Ida the thief was the caregiver to the ORIGINAL (deceased) Don Draper…

  33. Leggy Mountbatten says:

    When you rin out of actual ideas, employ flashbacks as lame plot devices. Oh, and throw in an improbable robber spending hours in an occupied apartment in a doorman building on the upper east side.

  34. fingers crossed says:

    Know why this episode was so awesome? Two seconds of Pete Campbell.

  35. Beast work says:

    I’m sorry, but week after week of watching game of thrones before mad men has me feeling like I could be doing something better with my time between 10 and 11 on a Sunday night. I think it’s been clear that don had a messed up child hood for many seasons. These little Easter egg flashbacks do very little to extend that narrative. This show doesn’t know where it’s going. I figure the writers will just continue to meander until ham becomes a movie star and forces a final season.

  36. Joe says:

    You know your firm name is unwieldy when the letters get mixed up in the recap and no one even notices…

  37. James says:

    This season has been tough to watch. I would like to just throw in the towel and stop watching, but I finish what I start; although I am starting to view it as a complete chore.
    The problem that I see is that Matt Weiner has added all of these fringe characters who have scenes and have lines, but really have no story whatsoever; I don’t even know some of their names. Then there are the supporting characters whose stories appear to be gaining steam, but then don’t appear in the next 2-3 episodes. For example, last night was the first we had seen of Betty, Harry, and the kids since Harry announced his political aspirations two or three episodes ago. Now that Stan has revealed that he lost his cousin and has feelings for Peggy, he is probably doomed to be cut out of every scene for the next two episodes. Pete, Joan, Alisson Brie…what are you trying to do to me Matt Weiner!!!
    Honestly, I think Matt Weiner’s success has gone to his head, and he thinks anything he does is nothing short of genius. First, his Mad Men pilot scores him a job on Sopranos giving him mainstream credibility and a major boost to his ego. Then the first four seasons of Mad Men were wildly successful, giving Weiner an even more inflated sense of greatness. Has he just surrounded himself with yes men who tell him how interesting and amazing his characters and storylines are? Come on, man!

  38. Billy says:

    It seems this season we see the beginning of Don Draper’s demise. And the demise is going to be ugly and unpleasant.
    In the past, it seems the show made an attempt to have him seem likeable….That’s eroding fast this year.
    Either way, this is not going to end well for him.

  39. bobbie says:

    This episode made me realize that Don Draper needs to bottom out, go to AA, and reclaim his life a little at a time. I was hopeful that he would totally succumb to actual feelings he had for Sylvia, but no! he’s gone right back to being the hardened shell of a man that he always has been. No growth for Don Draper.
    I was excited to finally see a vulnerable Don Draper, a Don Draper that has lost control and becomes completely run by his emotions for Sylvia. This is a missed opportunity.

    • Ann says:

      Don’s involvement with Sylvia manifestated so that Don could work through the chidhood trauma that Don experienced.

      Don no longer needs Sylvia which is a healthy step for Don. The relationship with Syliva kept Don from dealing with his everyday realities such as taking care of his children

  40. Lark says:

    Thought this was a wonderful, amazing, disturbing episode. And, as they often do, they absolutely nailed it in terms of the feeling of the era. It was so uncomfortable to watch, cringeworthy, and life in 1968 was occasionally just like that: dangerous, surreal, out of control. Cultural norms were disintegrating, leaders kept getting murdered, young men forcibly drafted and dying. I have seen few films that caught how it felt like this episode. It was a very rich plot with so many references. And the hippie girl character was quite accurate.

  41. welenja says:

    The merger means more characters and less camera time for John Slattery. His levity balances the negativism and sometimes dark nature of the show. More Roger Sterling please!

  42. Bill says:

    Horrible. That sums it up. This is one where the writers think it is a good idea and forget the audience. I DVR the show and start watching at 10:30 to avoid commercials. Most weeks it is moving so fast I cant believe that an hour has almost went by. Yesterday I clicked on the timer and found out the show was only half over. I couldnt believe I had to sit through another 30 mintues.

    Sure we are stuck watching because we have invested all time. But they are going on a pattern here, 1 bad episode (MLK shooting), one good, one bad (this week). So at least I have next week to look forward to.

    Please writers, think about the audience when you write, Not you own desire to hit some esoteric style that your colleagues will think is cool.

  43. waterbug says:

    I did notice the electric typewriter in Roger Sterling’s office (or in the office that Roger was in) was a model that had not been made yet. It looked like an 70s or 80s model. I thought that was funny. We still have that model sitting in our 21st century today for stuff that admins need to “type”.

  44. NaturallyCurlie says:

    How do those people pay the bills? No one puts in a full days work except the Secretaries. They’ve lost major accounts due to Pete’s antics. They’ve not produced a successful campagin all season. Where is the money coming from? I’ve watched from the beginning and find I no longer care about any last one of these characters. Not even Peggy any longer.

  45. Jan1 says:

    I just have to be grateful for the know-it-alls who watch the show. They’re viewership has helped it stay on the air. Their assumption that they are smarter than Matthew Weiner and the writers has helped the show be successful. I have to remind myself of this each week.

  46. charissa29 says:

    I enjoyed it enormously. The don stuff seemed a bit on the nose, but I loved how it played out. Thank god they never put Peggy and Don together, as I just adore the way that they interact. Go Peggy. Harry Hamlin and Roger playing checkers while commenting snidely?! How could you NOT love this show? Brilliant, weird and delicious. Huzzah.

  47. Lehigh says:

    Don races into the office of the creative types, gives his inspiring speech, exits to the hallway, has a flashback while in the hall to the prostitute feeding him soup, has an epiphany,spins around and returns to the creative offices he presumably just left to tell Peggy to search the archives for soup ads….but everyone in the room is in different clothes and there are several new people in the room…it is clearly now just after the funeral and presumably 12 hours have passed? What happened to Don during this time and why has nobody noted the severe jump in time. Then, Don exits that room, returns to his office, where Wendy is sitting and waiting for him even though she had been in the room he presumably just left. So once again there is a huge time warp that has transpired while it appears that Don just walked down the hallway from one office to the other. I have not seen any posts about this time jumping…did anyone not notice or am I missing something very obvious?

    • Lehigh says:

      Oh yeah…when Don is leaving Peggy says “I think we should order dinner” and when he returns from what seems like a 30 second trip down the hall she asks him “have you slept”. But to Don he has simply walked into the hall and walked back in….what happened here? Also, Ginsberg comments that Don told him to look for the soup ad the day before, so presumably Don had the epiphany many hours prior to returning to the room and telling Peggy… yet he doesn’t recall it

    • Lehigh says:

      And regarding the second incident of time jumping, when he returns to his office to find Wendy waiting there, he stops just before entering his office and looks at his watch with a quizzical look. And when he enters she says “that was fast” as if they had been in an interaction that he exited momentarily and just returned to, of which he has no memory.

  48. It was definitely an odd episode, and EXHAUSTING episode. I didn’t like it much, it was like a train wreck but I couldn’t look away. The only good things? Ken’s tap dancing, Peggy and Stan kiss, and Cutler being weirdly awesome. The rest? Not so much. WHERE WAS JOAN?

  49. John says:

    Wow, that episode sucked…just like this entire season.

  50. jennab says:

    I loved this episode! My jaw was on the floor the entire time, I laughed out loud throughout. Enjoyed not knowing what was “real’ and what wasn’t. Agree that the flashbacks get a bit ham-handed, but the fact that Don was molested as a child is an important character revelation.

    When will viewers understand that this show, like a good novel, is about how the characters ARE and not necessarily what they DO? I think one reviewer likened it to a great Cheever novel. If you want “plot,” go watch Grey’s Anatomy.

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