Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Mad Men » Season 5 » Dark Shadows
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Mad Men



Episode 9 - Dark Shadows

16 May 2012

Credit AMC

Three interesting stories, none of which was as complete as it might have been. In a way the Betty and Roger stories didn’t seem to say anything new about the characters. Not that that’s necessary but naturally it feels less significant.

Betty is unhappy about her weight and when she sees young, slim Meagan she lashes out. As usual Sally is her punching bag and by using Anna’s memory she hopes to get a reaction from Don. Meagan is the mature one again and talks Don out of responding. While Sally has this fascinating relationship with her father where she responds almost like a jilted lover. She doesn’t want to confront him in case she loses his favour and instead attacks her rival\co-conspirator Meagan for knowing more than she does. I can’t think of another parent-child relationship that’s given this kind of depth on TV.

Roger is a charmer who wants to have everything his way and will do sneaky things to get it. This we know and it seemed clear that he asked to see Jane’s new apartment so that he could get some. That’s just Roger though right? He says he feels terrible but he will probably do it again. Earlier in the episode we heard him cracking one Jew joke after another before effortlessly sucking up to the Wine people at dinner.

The best of the three stories saw Don feeling his age and dwindling powers. His decision to go with his idea and ignore Ginsberg’s was selfish and risky. But it paid off and he got both the gig and the credit. Unlike everyone else in the office Ginsberg won’t just let Don be the boss. He can’t let his talent go unrewarded and his cockiness and bluntness will probably lead to a major confrontation by the end of the season.

Ginsberg hasn’t been seamlessly worked into the fabric of Mad Men. Only in this episode did we see the full extent of his talent (with the number of posters that had his name on them) and hear his clever pitches for both “Sno Ball” and the Wine. We also finally saw him be funny (in his responses to Roger) rather than merely eccentric. I still don’t feel like I know him well enough as he grows into a more important character.

I know Pete though and I loved his little daydream about seeing Beth again.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


  • Wow that's a lot of symbolism :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 16/05/2012 2:16am (8 years ago)

  • Interesting contradictions here.

    Roger talks about fishermen competing for the heaviest fish, and about how it's "every man for himself." On the flip side, Betty struggles to *lose* weight, and does so through a support network.

    Next, Don uses a devil to sell SnoBall, while Betty's weight group uses drawings of devils to signify bad foods. I really dug this one because the drawings are just taped to the chalkboard and aren't very noticeable. Love these sorts of subtle touches.

    There's also Bobby's drawing of a wounded whale, which ties nicely into the fishing symbolism and Betty's weight issues. The contradiction here is the reverse side of the paper with Don's note to Meagan complimenting her looks while telling her he's going to buy *a* light bulb.

    (I found it odd that he'd go out for a single light bulb, but then I realized the singularity of the light bulb foreshadows the *one idea* that Don ultimately decides to pitch to Sno-Ball.)

    Also a cool juxtaposition: Meagan tells Don she doesn't want Betty to "poison" their relationship from 50 miles away, and she convinces Don not to oblige Betty by calling her. Then at the end of the episode, she convinces Don--who's extremely hot even though Meagan has the A/C on "full blast" (perhaps due to his feeling "devilish" after his having the last laugh w/ Ginsberg) not to open the door because she doesn't want to let the "toxic" smog in.

    Viewer score: 64 / 100

    Posted by jeremy, 14/05/2012 5:34am (8 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments