Mad Men s3 ep 7

In reviewing past episodes I’ve probably missed the point of Don’s flirtation with the counterculture – “Don Draper” is, of course, a complete fabrication, and there are clearly occasions on which Dick Whitman wants to turn his back on “Don”, possibly to remind himself that he still can.  Don of all people knows that nothing is forever.  So perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this episode was seeing Don – normally so controlled – at bay and under pressure, and how he reacted to that.  This was evidenced most acutely by his reluctance to accept Sterling Cooper’s contract offer, and then in the way he lashed out at Peggy.  (And the consequences of that, for Peggy, were quite something.)  And then, of course, disappearing into the night with the drug-toting draft-dodgers.

As ever, perfectly-judged scenes piled up this week – Don with the teacher; Betty with the politician; Don and Roger in the lift; Don and Conny.  Key scene of the week by a mile, though, was when Don caved on the contract.  Bertram Cooper’s been playing the affable, unwordly eccentric for so long that we’ve lost sight of the fact that to get where he is he must have a ruthless streak a mile wide, and in a couple of brutal sentences he ripped his way through Don’s defences.  I don’t know whether there was overarching symbolism – together with what happened in the hotel room, is this Don finally realising that he has to turn his back on Dick? – but once again this was mesmerising stuff.

8 thoughts on “Mad Men s3 ep 7

  1. Red March 6, 2010 / 6:22 pm

    Jed, this isn’t the place to say this, but I don’t know how to work Twitter. I just followed your Pope Not Jewish link and almost pissed myself. (Didn’t have you down as a Telegraph reader tho.) x

  2. Jed Bartlet March 6, 2010 / 6:47 pm

    I’m not an anything reader any more. I’m getting access to all of the world’s press for nothing. As a business model, it’s a disaster.

  3. Red March 6, 2010 / 8:47 pm

    How long do you think it will be before handwriting disappears? And you only see it in museums, beside hieroglyphics? And nothing is actually printed out on real paper anymore?

  4. CJ Cregg March 6, 2010 / 11:06 pm

    I don’t think it’ll be all that long before handwriting goes, Red. I find it incredibly difficult to write things already now, it feels very odd and awkward, and looks very messy unless I make a very concerted effort. Even when I take notes at work, I often type them out, although that may be because my current job makes that a much easier way to do things in general. I think things’ll get printed out for some time yet though.

    Jed, I’m weeks behind with Mad Men but I don’t like the sound of this “disappearing into the night with drug-toting draft dodgers” business. Every season, Don goes a bit nuts and hangs out with some bunch of drug-addled boho types for a while and it’s pretty annoying – the beat poets etc in season 1, the Euro folk in season 2, and now this lot in season 3. I’m not looking forward to it happening again.

  5. Jed Bartlet March 7, 2010 / 11:31 pm

    I know what you mean, CJ, but I think I was regarding these interludes as out of character, forgetting that there really isn’t any “Don” character to be out of. So I think he just reminds himself every now and again that he could just turn his back, run, and re-invent himself.

  6. CJ Cregg March 7, 2010 / 11:57 pm

    I hadn’t thought of it that way, Jed and it makes perfect sense now you mention it, but I just wish he wouldn’t keep spending his re-invention time in the company of such irritating folk….

    Plus, “Don” is so awesome, I miss him when he’s doing his anti-Don thing.

  7. e March 8, 2010 / 5:24 pm

    What’s wonderful about Mad Men is that they’ve taken the ideal of the American self-made man (a la Horace Greely) and twisted it into Don — who is not just self made but also self-reinventing. And finally, he has been trapped. Thoroughly and utterly trapped. And in his moment of “triumph” is his utter defeat.

  8. CJ Cregg March 20, 2010 / 7:47 pm

    My Mad Men marathon continues….thankfully, the draft dodgers didn’t last too long. Loved Don putting both the teacher and Betty in their places, and was hugely impressed by Bertram finally pinning Don down. Is this the end of Dick Whitman? I hope so, but I kind of doubt it. Interesting that to get “Don” coralled, though, Roger is no longer enough and the agency had to bring out the biggest gun they have.

    Incidentally, I think I would like a fainting couch. All nice and plush. But I doubt it would fit anywhere in my house. That thing was huge.

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