Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mad Men Season 7 (Episode 11): Time & Life

Remember him? Jared Harris, who played the memorable but ill-fated character Lane Pryce like he had a giant 2x4 stuck up his you-know-what, directed this episode.  

Why Mad Men Episode 11 (Season 7) Worked:

  • The dismantling-the-agency scene.  You had to feel sorry for Don, Roger, Pete and Joan.  
  • Don's plan to save the agency.  Finally, he wakes up (literally)....gets his ass off the couch....and comes up with an action plan. He's always at his best in Mad Men when he's on the attack.  
  • The head of McCann giving Don, Roger, et al the "You're getting the five most coveted jobs in all of advertising" speech. He made it sound so good.  Yet you knew they'd get screwed over.
  • Peggy letting Stan know about the child she gave up for adoption.  It's about time that loose (story) thread was woven back into the plot.  Yes....the set up for the revelation was tedious but it ultimately paid off.  And who knew that Stan could be such a mensch?
Why Mad Men Episode 11 (Season 7) Didn't Work:

  • Pete's showdown with the principal at the Greenwich Day School, which ended with him punching the principal in the mouth.  Probably the worst scene in the seven-year history of the show.  Just ridiculous.
  • Peggy's argument with the mother of the child who got a staple in her finger.  Another ridiculous, poorly written scene.  
  • Confusing office chatter about the conflict of interest with various clients.  Not exactly nail-biting drama.  And who cares?
  • Lou Avery's decision to go work for the Japanese.  A sub-par exit for an interesting minor character.  
Overall Grade for Mad Men Episode 11 (Season 7): C-.  The show is definitely sputtering to an end.  It's hard to get worked up about the work dilemmas.  We've seen entire seasons consumed by efforts to save the agency so this plot line in Episode 11 didn't exactly have us on the edge of our seats.  Don and Roger have no sparkle left.  Peggy and Joan are complete downers.  Pete seems lost and pathetic.

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