"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mad Men: Indian Summer

Several episodes ago, after the episode where Don/Dick was reunited with his younger step-brother Adam, I wondered if Adam would reappear. Had I seen the last of him? Would he cause more trouble for Don? Would he show up in the season-ending cliffhanger? Those questions were answered in the very first minute of tonight's episode, as Adam gives the hotel clerk a package to mail to Don and then promptly goes to his room and hangs himself.

I was not expecting that.

This episode advanced the plot quite a bit, because there were a lot of changes and hints of changes to come. What happened to Don's brother was change #1.

Change #2: Cooper makes Don partner. Roger comes back to the office to a round of applause. His wife wants him to stay just an hour because she thinks he's coming back too soon, but he has to deal with the Lucky Strike exec, who is worried about lawsuits, a surgeon general's report, and possible warnings on cigarette packages. Of course, Roger overdoes it (I mean, really, cigarettes and NY deli so soon after a heart attack?) and promptly has another heart attack! He's wheeled out on a stretcher and his wife Mona tells Cooper to go to hell. But I see that Roger might really love Joan, even if he does announce it by saying "I think you're the finest piece of ass I've ever had, and I don't care who knows it."

Change #3: Betty and Peggy love orgasms. The guys have to come up with advertising for the new PER, or Personal Exercise Regime, contraption. They think Peggy would be perfect to handle the copy because she's a woman and woman are interested in exercise and health (plus, she's really overweight!). Peggy tries it and discovers it has a side effect. Um, let's just say that instead of the name she came up with, The Rejuvenator, she should have called it The Orgasmotron. At first she's shocked by it, but finally succumbs to it and wears it to bed, especially after a disastrous date set up by her mom with a trucker. Peggy acts all Manhattan-like, or at least tries to, and the trucker is put off by her attitude. Meanwhile, Betty has sex with the rumbling washing machine and fantasizes about the A/C salesman who came the day before. I think her psychiatrist and Don are confusing unhappiness with horniness.

Change #4: Pete might have his secret weapon against Don. After Cooper makes Don partner, Pete suddenly thinks that he'll slide into Don's spot and Don's office. As he's having his own little fantasy sitting in Don's office after Don and Peggy leave for the night, the mail boy brings the package that Don's brother mailed. At first Pete leaves it on the desk but then ... he takes it!
[Insert ominous music here]

A stunning, beautiful episode, right from the stark opening of images of Adam kicking a chair out from under himself to the sad look on Peggy's face when she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror. And the stuff with Roger possibly leaving and Joan worried and the office intrigue of Don's promotion and Pete's scheming ... this series is rolling towards a great season ender.

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