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Mad Men

AMC

66
/100

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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  • Lenni: Maybe I have an advantage having been a history major in college, but as a younger viewer (27) I have never found any of it to be exaggerated. Especially the men/women dynamics. In fact I've been impressed with the writing and setup and that they're able to recreate such dynamics so effortlessly. In lesser hands the gender lines would be a little more blurred, or the state of the modern woman may shine through more than it should.

    On the episode itself: It's interesting, and slightly disappointing, to see Don wavering from Faye. Robin, as you've mentioned, the slow burn of the relationship has been a great way to build up Don and Faye. It has been far more mature than any relationship we've seen Don have, and since he is single it is also not wrong of him to be having this growing intimacy with Faye. She seems to be exactly what he actually needs...a woman who is very bright, can see through his BS and knows that he's just as damaged (if not moreso) as everyone else in the world. She is feminine and nurturing, but also has backbone and integrity. We so often here the phrase "a self made man," and here is a character that strikes me as the never mentioned "self made woman." She is Peggy in 10 years. Self made, bright, able to actually move up in a man's world...and it also gives light to why Peggy looks up to her so much later in the season. She is everything Peggy wants to be in the workplace...Peggy still has that naivete about her, and carries a bit of sensitivity with her as well. Faye has learned how to adjust and how to put on thick skin around men...and you'd think this type of woman was made for Don cause she could be his equal...or at least near his equal.

    It will be interesting to see what actually interests Don about Megan or if it's just as shallow as we're hoping it won't be!

    Posted by Brando, 09/12/2010 3:31pm (9 years ago)

  • The small details in Mad Men keep grabbing my attention. I am about the same age as one of Don's kids so forgive me but it is weird to see scene from my childhood on the screen...Hazel was playing on the TV in one of the scenes. I believe that the set design, clothing and evening a squib of a TV show is carefully selected in this show. It made me wonder if the Draper/Francis clan needed a level headed maid like Hazel to straighten them out...if you never watched that show it was also a contrast in class. Working class Hazel was level headed and the upper class Baxter family were always a bit at sea.

    I was glad to see Don confiding in Faye but his staring at Megan unnerved me. We haven't seen much about his trying to reduce his drinking. Maybe young women and seduction are his new ways of diverting himself from stress and the real pain of life.

    Finally, I decided that part of Mad Men is just to make me jealous about all the things secretaries used to do for their employers. I can't imagine asking an assistant to fill out a security clearance --a bad side effect of delegation but in general, I keep comparing today's work world with the past and have to admit there are aspects of their comfortable world that appeal. On the other hand, the show also continues to make me grateful that I wasn't a working woman during their era. What great choices: be the young secretary, the underappreciated and odd girl copy writer, the caught between worlds office manager, the professional who has to be feminine so she doesn't come on to strong and must hide her personal life, or the playboy bunny. I wonder if younger viewers think this is all too exaggerated...to my eye it rings really true.

    Posted by Lenni, 05/10/2010 3:06am (9 years ago)

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