Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mad Men Season 6 (Episode 10): A Tale of Two Cities

Why Mad Men Episode 10 (Season 6) Worked:

  • The two conversations about the ridiculously long name of the firm.  Extremely believable situation.  Well written.  And very tight.
  • Roger's tips to Don on the airplane about how to deal with the LA-base clients.  Razor-sharp and funny.  And a lot of truth in what he said.
  • Jim (Harry Hamlin).  His droll character is making us (almost) forget Lane.  His looks (from the sleek dark suits to the oh-so-retro-cool black glasses) and lines are absolutely  perfect.
  • Joan's attempt to land Avon.  Wow.  This is a great plot development and very risky on Joan's part.  It's nice to see her character develop professionally.
  • The groovy clothes in LA.  Harry is really turning into a peacock.  And Roger really looks ready to swing in his red ascot.  Only Don looks out of it, like he just came from a Bethesda, Maryland, meeting for the election of Richard Nixon.
  • The use of the 1968 riots at the Democratic convention as a backdrop for many scenes in this episode.  We saw Megan's rising political consciousness (pro-demonstrators), which is very unusual for a prime time tv show.  And the riots surfaced in Roger and Don's meeting with Carnation when the boss dressed everyone down for even discussing the riots.
  • The Peggy-Joan smackdown....and then Peggy's rescue of Joan.  Joan really did hang Peggy out to dry bringing her into the unauthorized pitch meeting with Avon and Peggy was right to be angry.  So the scene with Peggy helping Joan later really paid off nicely.  And now we're left wondering and worrying if Joan will land Avon.  She and Peggy are joined at the hip on this one.
  • The LA party.  It was a bit cartoonish, but, hey, the times were a bit cartoonish.  Still, you could tell the wardrobe department and set decorators had a ball on this scene.
  • Pete puffing a joint in the office in  exasperation in the last scene of the night.  Great music ("Piece of My Heart") and an amazing shot from the waist down of a woman in a short yellow mini-dress and white boots gliding by Pete.  A brilliant ending to a brilliant episode.

Why Mad Men Episode 10 (Season 6) Didn't Work:

  • Roger insulting the short man continuously at the LA party. It wore thin very quickly.
  • Ginsberg.  Too shrill and over-the-top.  Weiner has trouble portraying Jews in more moderate colors.  

Overall Grade for Mad Men Episode 10 (Season 6):  A+.  The best so far this season.  Great office scenes.  Vicious office politics.  Piercing dialogue.  Great clothes.  Imaginative use of music.  It all came together in one seamless hour-long package.

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