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Mad Men



Episode 6 - Far Away Places

29 April 2012

Again I thought this was excellent. I enjoyed last season’s episode “The Summer Man” (408) where we got to hear Don’s thoughts as he tried to cut down on his drinking. This was another switch up in the format and I thought it made the episode more compelling than if we had just seen these three stories play out in a traditional manner.

The LSD trip was well handled and didn’t veer into trivial silliness for the sake of it. Instead we learn more about Jane as she and Roger admit their unhappiness. I was surprised that her “friends” were all closer to Roger’s age than hers. But when she reveals that one of them is her psychiatrist and that they are her friends it became clearer. I really appreciated that the next morning although she was in slight denial there was no attempt to play it all off as Roger’s fantasy. Instead it was just the sad realisation that they should never have got married.

Don and Meagan maybe headed for a similar fate but for now they are still dealing with the flows of passion that come from their hasty marriage. I admire the way we see so many sides of Don Draper. Sometimes he really is the hero of the show but here he was a childish bully. Even before Meagan pointed it out it was clear that he was making decisions for her and pushing her around. To drive away after an argument was a cowardly Dick Whitman response and clearly those feelings resurfaced at the thought of losing her.

I enjoyed the time he spent alone a lot. We’ve all been left waiting for someone somewhere and slowly considering the horrible possibilities. Don’s frantic call to Peggy had already tipped us off that something bad might have happened which made things even more tense. Once more the writing skipped the obvious TV drama and went for the mundane (but far more dramatic) fact that Meagan had gone home. Their fight in the apartment was sad and worrying. Don’s fever dream (504) where he killed a woman resonated strongly as he chased his young wife down. Their relationship is coming to a head much quicker than I imagined.

Finally we see Peggy, set adrift by Don, and failing. She tries to berate the client into seeing her genius (the way Don has) and utterly fails because a woman just can’t talk to a man like that yet. So she skips work to go watch a movie and fools around with a new guy, making it clear that Abe’s concerns are entirely justified. She even gets high (where Don would get drunk) and falls asleep at the office.

This episode accomplished so much. We learnt about Ginsberg’s true origins, we saw how SCDP is suffering from Don’s neglect and we got all the relationship forwarding. And this was all achieved with style and a slick use of the shifting narrative focus and flexible chronology. Great stuff.



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  • I'm with you on their relationship. I think it would be more interesting to see Don fight hard to change and make this work.

    When I said their relationship is "coming to a head" I didn't necessarily mean ending. It might mean that one of them has to really adapt to make it work...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 25/04/2012 10:57pm (8 years ago)

  • If taking very long hiatuses means we get seasons of television like this, then I imagine every show should start doing it. Maybe there just is no correlation, but wow...this season of Mad Men is fantastic thus far.

    It seems like every has their finger on the pulse of Don & Megan's relationship but me. Perhaps I'm still in Jane-like denial, but every episode I'm hoping they just simply make it...and that Megan stays Don's wife through the life of the show and the unseen lives of the characters thereafter. I actually like their dynamic and their chemistry. I like that Megan, if not smarter than Betty, certainly feels more comfortable vocalizing her feelings and frustrations with Don. While I read (other) reviews that say, "surely they aren't meant to be together and are doomed" I'm sitting there thinking, "but wait, this is the first time Don has met someone who acts his equal in the relationship (or at least significantly closer to that than anyone before her)."

    I suppose I will naively sit in the corner and still hope they succeed :P

    Posted by Brando, 25/04/2012 12:38pm (8 years ago)

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