Mad-Cap: MAD MEN Episode 402

This is how I look right now, writing this recap.

I know this is crazy, because my recap days seemed to be behind me. But “Mad Men” is one of those shows that I love talking about. I just need to get my feelings out! And people have actually been ASKING me to write about “Mad Men.” So I must give the people what they want!

Okay, that paragraph was actually a total ruse. When I post these to Facebook, the first paragraph is visible. I wanted to avoid spoilering anybody. So ignore that first paragraph, if you’re ready to be spoilered. (Sorry– you probably read it already.)

But I guess a ruse is thematically appropriate, because the Christmas party in last night’s episode was basically a big, expensive fake, pulled together to make Sterling Cooper Draper Price’s one big client (Lucky Strike… haha, isn’t it?) think that the firm was DOING GREAT.

Last night marked the return of many seemingly long-gone characters. [Except for Sal. :(] It was like Christmas for loyal viewers! (Appropriate.)

-Glen, the divorced neighbor’s son. If memory serves, he declared his creepy love for Betty.

I can’t remember if Glen was a season 1 or season 2 character, but he was definitely not in season 3. (He’s played by Matt Weiner’s son, FYI-zers.) I don’t think the character is supposed to be Jewish, but he is always doing the Jewiest things. Example: He left a LANYARD on Sally’s pillow. Lanyards make me think of summer camp.  Jewish summer camp. (I made some INTENSE lanyards.)

Mine were better.

I think they actually have a different name, but at Camp Sholom we called them lanyards. And I was OB-SESSED. I think I still have some of my finer pieces in my desk drawer at home. (I was actually an arts & crafts counselor one summer. Because for me, camp was all about doing crafts, avoiding the sun, and requesting plain peanut butter sandwiches on Shabbat because I didn’t like jelly at the time. Oh, and singing.)

Also: Of course Sally is attracted to a creepy, evil kid. And of course he’s attracted to Betty’s daughter. I hope he doesn’t rape anybody.

-Fred Rumsen, fired from Sterling Cooper because he was a disorderly alcoholic. I totally thought he was dead. 😦

But a bunch of other blogs kept guessing that he would return, so I guess I should have known better.

I think Duck’s dog is dead, too. 😦

But now I guess I should have hope.

Anyway, Freddy is sober and in AA, and MAN is it hard to stay sober in “Mad Men” times, when everybody is drinking ALL THE TIME. But he manages it, by skipping the party. He doesn’t stereotypically fall off the wagon just because Peggy is mean to him. And Peggy’s like, thanks for that.

-Lou Gossett, Jr.

UGHHH, this guy. Not only is he Big Tobacco and the guy responsible for Sal’s firing (because he tried to proposition Sal, and Sal was not having it), but he’s just… yuck. Spoiled. A big jerk. I thought it was funny that they gave him a Polaroid camera as his big special gift. A Polaroid camera for the man who has everything? Were Polaroids the iPads of Christmas 1964?

Don was almost as gross as Lou last night. He was trying to get into everybody’s pants. I was really mad at him by the end. NOT THE SECRETARY, DON! And then he basically made her feel like a prostitute with the $40 bonus and the card with the impersonal message, obviously sealed before The Incident. DOUBLE FAIL.

Lou and Don: The Naughty List.

But instead of getting lumps of coal for being The Worst on Christmas, they got… you know, whatever. I loved the scene where Lou was making everybody pose for Polaroids in Santa Roger’s lap (and wasn’t THAT a weird power play, the “you better be Santa” thing?), and Harry Crane was all apologetic because he’s heavier than Roger. (That might be the gayest action that Lou witnesses this Christmas, unless he hires a man-stitute.)

There were also some notable New (or new-ish) Characters…

-The nurse neighbor with the short brown hair.

At first I was just like, great, another woman for Don to charm into bed. But when he tried to pull her into bed with him, she went into No-Nonsense Nurse mode. She also said that she likes working in a hospital because everything happens there– people coming into the world and people leaving it. Color me intrigued. I think she’d be good for Don. (How long before they sleep together?)

-The blonde ad-psychology lady.

I didn’t recognize her when she reappeared at the party– until she called Don out for skipping her presentation. He thought she came to flirt, but she came to fight. Feisty. She’s obviously very smart– Don was actually surprised when he realized that he agreed with her theories. And she predicted that Don will be remarried within a year. (More on that in a sec.) (And… how long before they sleep together?)

-Peggy’s boyfriend, Mark.

We met Mark really briefly last week, when he and Peggy showed up at Don’s apartment and he introduced himself as Peggy’s “fiance,” much to her chagrin. This week we found out that he works at a “station,” which means he’s either in TV… or law enforcement… or trains? There are lots of types of stations.

Anyway, Peggy told Mark that she is a virgin, and she doesn’t want to sleep with him. But we can’t write it off as trauma over the whole Pete/baby thing, because we’ve seen her sleep with people before. We even saw her sleeping with Duck, in the previously-on. And she is probably on birth control now, and/or condoms exist. So… it’s kind of puzzling.

I am a little bit obsessed with Mark. (For one thing, I think he looks perfectly period. That hair!) I’m not sure if we’re supposed to love him or hate him. I mean, on one hand he’s pressuring Peggy to have sex. But on the other hand he’s human, and Peggy is being devious. I think we’re supposed to feel at least a little bit sorry for Mark, because Peggy is lying to him, and he seems to be the male equivalent of a puppy dog. Peggy is… turning into a Don? Or a Duck? Bad influences!

Did you notice how she didn’t really introduce him to anybody at the party? Red flag, Mark. Red flag.

The prodigy, his protege and her puppy dog.

Fred Rumsen tells Peggy that she ought to wait until… marriage (?) to sleep with Mark if she’s serious. But if she’s NOT serious, she should sleep with him NOW so she’s not just leading him on? There’s some very pretzel-y logic going on there. And Peggy isn’t sure how she feels. But at the end of the episode Peggy sleeps with Mark, so… she’s just leading him on? Unclear.

I get what Peggy’s going through. I think most of us have been in situations where we’re dating a guy and in theory everything’s cool but in practice it’s very meh. But the lying-about-being-a-virgin thing is… I don’t know, Peggy’s all over the place. And what does this mean about her willingness to sleep with Duck? Did she have feelings for him? Was she doing it to get ahead?

I want to know how Peggy and Mark met. It definitely wasn’t match.com.

I liked the way Mark kissed Peggy goodbye when she asked him to leave and said, “You think about THAT!” He’s so adorable– and a gentleman, compared to Don and Duck. We saw how Don behaved when his secretary didn’t want to kiss him… he just kept going. (And yeah, she joined in… but she kinda had no choice.)

Ah well, Mark. Nice guys finish last? (Okay, total double entendre– because THEY DID IT.)

I’m also wondering if we’re going see Duck again. (And his dog! Please don’t be dead, Duck’s dog. Sad face.)

Okay, that section is done. Segue time. Official segue here.

Don seems to be encountering two types of women this season– ones who get pulled in by his shtick, and ones who don’t (the nurse, the ad-lady, and– maybe–Bethany).  The ad-lady told Don that he’s a “type”– and I think his type is… needs a woman in his life? He seems unmoored without one. (In this episode alone– the nurse had to help him open his door, the secretary had to bring his keys… ooh, door/lock/key metaphors. And also… drunken bad decisions.) But you know if he met a nice woman, he’d make her miserable. Because I can’t see him NOT cheating, keeping secrets… you know, being Don Draper.

The ad-lady predicted that Don will be married in a year, which I think means he WILL be remarried in a year? She basically put the gun on the wall. Someone’s going to get shot. BUT– WHO will Don marry? Bethany seems like a Betty-in-ten-years. Going through Don’s wringer would destroy her. The nurse seems like she could handle him, but… yuck. And how long until his secretary is moved to somebody else’s desk? (PS I adored the way she read Sally’s letter. Good acting.)

And now for some fashion…

Did anybody notice that the outfits at the party stuck to the red, green, and white family? No blue, no yellow. Just pure Christmas. I bet the Menken’s Dept Store (season 1 throwback!) is having an awesome Hanukkah party, somewhere.

I thought Pete’s red blazer was kind of perfect. Not sure how I felt about Trudy’s salmon dress. I guess they couldn’t BOTH wear red?

Campbells!

I was really happy to see Trudy. (Sadly, they didn’t have a big dance number prepared.) And… Pete has been kinda backburnered lately, hasn’t he? I thought that they might even bring on Ken Cosgrove to handle the Pond’s account… and maybe they will? I’ve seen him in promo pictures.

And Joan… I liked her red Christmas party outfit (she is a sexy dancer! I want lessons!), but I was NOT feeling this full-body pink wetsuit thing.

It looked even weirder on the show.

Sorry Joan, you know I love you. And we found out that her husband is “saving lives.” Is he in Vietnam, or not? (I think not yet, I saw him in a promo picture, too.)

My DVR cut off the “next week on,” but since it’s a bunch of out-of-context one-liners, I probably didn’t miss much. But I was still mad (men).

And just to prove that I’m still watching True Blood… three recurring characters died. And fairies happened. And… Bill in the sun. And HOSPITAL?! Something real-ish? I’m climbing back on the wagon.

xoxo…

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2 thoughts on “Mad-Cap: MAD MEN Episode 402

  1. It was actually two $50’s Don gave his secretary. Not sure if that makes it more insulting, or less.

    On my TV Trudy’s party dress was killer-bright orange. Really pretty. Lots of greens and oranges at the party. Precursor to the 70’s interior decorator colors? (they didn’t call it “interior design” back then. Who knows?

    You didn’t miss a thing on the “next week’s episode” thingy. It went too fast and the snippets weren’t long enough to decipher anything. Just a snippet-jumble.

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