Friday, October 14, 2011

Mad Men - Season Four

The Late Miss Blankenship - Season 4's John Deere incident
FINALLY!  It's taken me quite a while to finish up the 4th season of Mad Men.  I watched the first seven and then took a long break and forced myself to watch the last six.  At least my wait for season 5 won't be as long as everyone else's. 

4.1 Public Relations - Really, Don? A 'tute?

4.2 Christmas Comes but Once a Year - This episode was like a Christmas present.  Glen's back!  There's Freddy!  It's like old home week.  We get introduced to Dr. Faye Miller who I'm sure Don will sleep with but they don't have tons of chemistry. 

4.3 The Good News - Lotsa time with Joan who is trying to get pregnant even though her husband is heading off to basic and probably Vietnam after.  Don goes off to California (where he goes when in some emotional crisis) to find out Anna's dying and to hit on her niece, Stephanie.  Anna can't die because Don's soul will go with her.

4.4 The Rejected - Kenny's back!  Why can't they bring Sal back?!?!  Peggy's got a new friend who has some artsy fartsy friends of her own.  Speaking of, Helloooo Abe!  He gets the best line of the episode, "Sorry. For somebody to sell their soul they've gotta have one."  Pete and Peggy share a last look which seems like closure for them.  Pete's wife is pregnant and Peggy's getting a life so I guess that wraps things up for them.

4.5 The Chrysanthemum and the Sword - We meet the infamous Miss Ida Blankenship, Mad Men's comic relief.  Sally is way more interesting than Betty and I'm not saying this because I dislike Jones so very much. Don proves his worth with the scheme they pull on Honda.  This was probably a stand out episode for me.

4.6 Waldorf Stories - aka "When Roger Met Don."  Jonathan! Another Whedonverse alum joins the crew at SCDP.  Peggy continues to be awesome which shocks me because I had never given much thought to Elisabeth Moss before.

4.7 The Suitcase - This one is Peggy-heavy and the better for it.  We get tons of location changes and lots of Peggy and Don talking.  If they ever did another My Dinner with Andre I'd want it to star these two (or a feature length of dinner with Abed and Jeff).  This was another stand out for me.  My favorite exchange went as follows:

   (Peggy and Don are eating at a Greek diner and Peggy looks up at a painting of the Parthenon)
   Peggy: Why is there a dog at the Parthenon?
   Don: That is a roach.  Let's go someplace darker.

4.8 The Summer Man - This one had a noir feel to it; the most obvious signifier being Don's use of voiceover.  I did love that Betty's new husband doesn't let her get away with her crap.  It bugged me that there was no John Slattery (who gets the best lines) but he wouldn't have fit into the emotion of this episode.

4.9 The Beautiful Girls - I liked this one a lot but maybe because there was great Sally stuff.  Plus this is when we say a fond farewell to our Miss Blankenship. You rocked Roger's world once and we were blessed to know you.  Now Don can go back to attractive secretaries he wants to screw.  The last shot of Joan, Dr. Faye and Peggy was a great one.  Each has no idea what's to come.

4.10 Hands and Knees - The closest Don gets to being found out.  It must have SUCKED for him to go to Pete for help.  Someone only I'd care about: Susan May Pratt ("the best g.d. dancer in the American Ballet Academy. Who are you?") is the desperate mother of a teen with an unwanted pregnancy.  She chats with Joan in the doctor's office, mistakenly assuming Joan is there with her daughter too. We know that Joan is there to fix her recent indiscretion with Roger.

4.11 Chinese Wall - Lucky Strike leaves SCDP (hmm, it must be close to the end of the season for them to pull some story punches).  Trudy has her baby and Pete's at work, natch.  Also I now roll my eyes every time Don starts making out with a secretary.  Sir, you are a walking 60s stereotype.

4.12 Blowing Smoke - I wrote tons of notes on this one but will focus myself.  I have this weird joy every time Glen shows up but maybe it's because I know he equals distress for Betty.  Betty's just jealous of Sally, right?  Speaking of, we get tons of Sally and I want to thank the writers for it.  It's kind of funny that Betty is in more need of a (child) psychologist than Sally is.  Don is making enemies left and right and giving no apologies. Leave it to Peggy (in a dress that I'd buy today) to put a smile on Don's face.

Roger, as usual gets the best line, "Well I gotta go learn a bunch of people's names before I fire them." 

4.13 Tomorrowland - Poor Joan gets a promotion (title only) and still gets to push the mail cart around.  I recognize this model girl that pops in and according to IMDB she's was an ANTM contestant.  Cool. Once again in crisis Don ends up in California but is only at Anna's now empty house for a moment.  So Don falls in love with and proposes to his secretary but not only because she can really see him but because she can take care of his kids for him too.  I wonder how long until he cheats on her. We find out Joan has kept Sterling's baby and mostly all her husband cares about is if her boobs are any bigger. Seriously?  Has he met her?

Overall the show was solid.  I wasn't nearly as impressed as I was the first season but it's been consistent from seasons 2-4 and not a lot of shows can say that (ahem, Lost).  I am truly curious as to how things will pan out for SCDP (now SDP?) but I'm getting tired of the big shake ups at the end of every season.  I'm only left with a few questions beyond what the agency will look like.  What will Don's new life look like?  Will he buy a house in the burbs?  Is Freddy Rumsen still around or did I miss something?  Will Betty ever relax?  Or will Sally kill her while she sleeps?

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