Episode 10 - Hands and Knees
6 March 2012
Mad Men - 410 - Hands and Knees
This was a very direct episode, showing us all the crap raining down on Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce. I don't mind the bluntness, especially if it leads to good drama as Season 4 reaches its climax.
I liked the way the Dick Whitman stuff snuck up on everyone. The subtext of the story seemed to be about how important Don is to the existence of the firm. After years of patient work Pete has to give up the American Aviation account on Don's say so. He knows that the firm only has credibility because the industry believes Don is a creative genius. It was certainly interesting to watch Betty and Pete's discomfort with the position which Don was putting them in. They are hardly his biggest fans.
The panic attack was well acted and it was a strong episode for Don showing the precipice which his existence sits on. He is surprisingly open with Faye and definitely seems to be treating her as his surrogate wife, needing her support. Yet the final shot of the episode is him staring at young, attractive Megan. It was a tantalising final shot. Is Don thinking of ways to sabotage things with Faye? Is he that incurable a womaniser? Or was it a more innocent look, marvelling at her carefree existence?
Meanwhile the other pillar holding the agency up is their account with Lucky Strike who are now going to drop them. Roger did a good job of selling the importance of this, both to the firm and to him by nearly losing it twice (and dropping an f bomb). It's a big development and the question becomes whether the firm can survive this loss or whether Roger could survive if the firm did continue. It's difficult to imagine the firm collapsing and a new one being formed considering that was the big story last season. Is there a chance that Roger or Don will blackmail Lee Garner Jr by threatening to out him?
I thought Lane was well characterised as naive and brow beaten as we saw the embarrassing state of his personal life. I was less pleased by the Joan abortion story. Her relationship with Roger has never struck me as a subtle one and yet the story played out quietly without making it clear how she really felt about it all. If it comes out later I will be happier, I always understood her as not trusting Roger to ever be fully committed to her.
The show really has got a strong ensemble of characters that I care about at this point. So while the episode felt less satisfyingly organic it was still very good.
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