Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mad Men Recap Season 6 (Episode 12): The Quality of Mercy

Why Mad Men Episode 12 (Season 6) Worked:

  • The Ted/Don conflict.  This has been a fascinating, well-played chess match all season and it continued brilliantly with this episode.  Don is wise to Ted's infatuation with Peggy and he can't let it go.  He knows Ted wants to spend more money on the St. Joseph's aspirin commercial so Peggy can get a Clio award.  And it culminates in the awkward meeting with the client where viewers think for 10 endlessly long seconds that Don is going to tell the client that Ted wants to spend the additional funds for Peggy.  In the end, Don gets most of the money and doesn't publicly reveal what he knows.
  • Jim Cutler pushing Bob Benson to work with Pete.  Harry Hamlin (as Butler) steals every scene where he utters a line including this one.  He's been great this season.
  • Pete uncovering secret information about Bob Benson.  Finally, Pete has a cause this season.  And finally, we're getting to see what Bob is all about.  (Although it was somewhat confusing about how Pete is going to deal with Bob going forward.)
  • Betty offering Sally a cigarette.  Naturally.  That's what blonde Republican moms did back in 1968.  But did you catch that Sally didn't really inhale?

Why Mad Men Episode 12 (Season 6) Didn't Work:

  • Don being sick and weak.  It's like Superman without his cape or Zorro without his sword.  He's just not that interesting when he's not a shark.  And it's becoming a mystery what he actually does at work besides napping, going home early and fighting with Ted.  
  • Ted's infatuation with Peggy.  Too heavy-handed especially in this episode.  Taking her to the movie in the middle of the day....come on!
  • Pete's anger at his mother in the office and other over-the-top behavior in the office.  He's become a one-note instrument and the sound is shrill.
  • Peggy's visit to the prep school dorm.  Some of the worst scenes of the season.  It felt like a dress rehearsal for a camp play.  The staging -- especially the fight -- was poorly staged.  The acting was completely wooden. 

Overall Grade for Mad Men Episode 12 (Season 6):  B-.  Some decent office scenes but overall this episode felt slow and lacked the punch of the previous few shows.

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