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Episode 7 - The Suitcase

6 March 2012

Mad Men - 407 - The Suitcase

It's taken me a long time to appreciate how good Mad Men really is. Perhaps part of that is just getting to know characters properly. I have known Peggy and Don for four years now and so finally I begin to recognize the development in their characters and how far they have come. Now the consistency and intelligence in the writing is becoming fully realized in my mind. This episode for me was watching two people I care about and enjoying immensely each little nuance of emotion they displayed. My phone rang four times during the episode and each time I cursed out loud as I paused the episode.

I liked Peggy explaining that nothing else in her life mattered as much to her as her job. It's not difficult to imagine why. She started as a secretary and probably never seriously dreamed of the job she has now. Now she is vital to her entire company and constantly being pushed and challenged by Don to come up with the best idea possible. That challenge gives her a thrill and her life a meaning that her family doesn't understand.

Meanwhile Don is growing into middle age and doesn't realize it yet. Not only is the drinking catching up with him but he doesn't yet see where the culture is going. Muhammad Ali's arrogant bragging is in complete contrast to Don's secretive and quiet desire for recognition. He dismisses celebrity endorsement as lazy, again missing out on what was about to become a major part of the culture. He also rants at Peggy telling her that her salary should be thanks enough for her Glo-Coat ideas. Yet we saw how much the Clio meant to him and in the end he prefers her support rather than critique for his idea.

In the end they are able to be vulnerable with one another. Don shares a lot of personal stuff that he usually tells no one and Peggy can open up to him about her pregnancy (again no one else really knows). The personal side to their relationship clearly helps them function better at work because it adds to the faith and trust they have in one another's abilities. She is the only person who realizes Don's slide into alcoholism could be deeply dangerous. Will it be enough to stop him before he turns into Duck?

Super stuff. This is why I love TV shows more than movies. I have had years to get to know Don Draper and company and begin to feel like I understand and appreciate their world. Now they have me and I look forward to seeing their adventures. The investment of time feels richly rewarding.

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  • Hey Jeremy, it's good to hear from you. I'm a bit stuck with the format of the website at the moment. When I have more time I will get someone to change things up.

    I only wanted the shows on the left side menu to be ones where I was committed to writing a full episode guide for them. Where as the shows in "Other Reviews" were ones where either I wasn't going to go back and fill in past seasons or I didn't want to write full reviews with "The Good" and "The Bad" etc.

    I also write reviews in the "Blogs" section for shows that I have even less time for. I have to put those reviews as a Blog because if I put them in as a review I have to give them a score out of 100 or the averages all get screwed up.

    Basically it's not an ideal system and one day I will make it smoother. I'm glad you found the Mad Men reviews :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 09/09/2011 9:39am (8 years ago)

  • Started watching Mad Men on Netflix over the past month and just finished watching this episode. I agree it's a great one. I'm curious as to why some programs are listed on the main page and there's a bunch that are considered "other." How do you differentiate?

    Posted by jeremy, 08/09/2011 6:15am (8 years ago)

  • I really liked this episode...or at least really liked all of the stuff with Don and Peggy.

    I love that through the years they've actually become each others best friend (though from a far distance) in a sense. They're like that friend you know so well and have such a deep bond with that you don't need to have meaningful interaction with them for months, but when you do...it can still come back to being deep and meaningful. They respect each other, but obviously have a deeper bond because they've been there for each other through their darkest and most private events.

    Posted by Brando, 09/12/2010 3:02pm (9 years ago)

  • Robin, so glad you are writing reviews of Mad Men. I began watching with the first episode of Season One. I was hooked immediately. I always urge everyone to begin with the first episode and to allow the story and the characters to build.
    I am also much older than you. I think I must be a just about the same age as Don's second child, Bobby Jr. Yet, I can tell you that as a woman entering the workplace in the early 1980's some things were not very different than the power dynamics we see in Mad Men.

    Perhaps you might consider doing the entire series or at least writing a review of each of the prior season.

    Your reviews are the cure for the ordinary breakfast!

    Posted by Lenni, 08/09/2010 2:01am (9 years ago)

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