Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mad Men Season 7 (Episode 7): Waterloo

Why Mad Men Episode 7 (Season 7) Worked:
  • Culter's take-down of Don.  Vicious.  His assessment of Don's talent was chilling: "I am deeply unimpressed." The depth of Cutler's evil corporate ways is bottomless.  He's really blossomed as a character.  j
  • Don's forceful response to Cutler trying to push him out of the agency.  Don finally grows a pair this season.  A BIG pair.  
  • Don's split with Megan.  A masterpiece of minimal writing.  Hamm's face says so much.  And great use of dead air.  
  • Bert Cooper's assessment of the leadership talent in his company in a discussion with Roger.  Incisive.  The guy may be weird but he knows how to manage.
  • Bert Cooper's death.  Brilliantly handled the way it was brought up.  For a few minutes, we weren't sure exactly who from the agency had died.  It was easy to speculate that Don committed suicide after the breakup  of marriage and the attempt to push him out of the agency.
  • Sally kissing Neil.  Neil's response: "What do I do now?" He returns to the office.  And Sally?  She whips out a cigarette.  A future ice queen is born.
  • Peggy's pitch to Burger Chef.  Pitch perfect.
  • Joan's slow change to a cold-hearted businesswoman.  Chilling.  
  • The moon landing.  Well produced as the show cut from various groups of Mad Men watching the landing, cementing the theme that television was the great unifier of the time.  
  • Cutler's surprise vote for the McCann merger: "It's a lot of money," he reasons.
Why Mad Men Episode 7 (Season 7) Didn't Work:
  • Don's squeaky-voiced secretary and her surprise kiss.  Out of character and out of left field.
  • Peggy's chubby young neighbor.  The bond is baffling.  Worse yet, it's really boring.
  • The merger.  The partners agree to a $65 million sale in a two-minute meeting.  Completely implausible especially for a show that really sweats the details in the office.
  • The ghost of Bert Cooper singing and dancing to "The Best Things in Life Are Free." What a weak wrap-up to a very strong episode.
Overall Grade for Mad Men Episode 7 (Season 7): B+  Don and Roger asserted themselves big time in this episode and that really made this episode sing. (Although the song and dance number really hit the wrong notes as a first-half conclusion.)  The bare-knuckles politics in the office continued to  provide great dramatic fodder although the McCann buyout was a bit hasty.  It's hard to know exactly how the ball will bounce in the second half of this season but there are enough loose ends to make us wish the season begins sooner rather than later.  

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