Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Mad Men » Season 6 » The Crash
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Mad Men



Episode 8 - The Crash

22 May 2013

Credit AMC

I'm really sad I don't have more time to devote to Mad Men. I thought this episode was utterly compelling despite veering from the obscure to the bizarre to the obvious. It's not like this is the first time Matt Weiner has messed with our sense of time passing. In Season 4 Don became incoherently drunk on more than one occasion and last season we had fever dreams, distorted timelines and Roger tripping. So why wouldn't we get an amphetamine and sleep deprived episode where the office turns into a mad house if not quite a whore house.

The Don story seems to be pulled apart each week so that now we have a very clear picture of the caring prostitute and abusive mother combination that festers in his mind and has poisoned his interactions with Betty, Peggy, Joan and Meagan amongst others. And yet I was rather taken with the idea that we watched him obsess over the Chevy pitch only to realise that all his work was an attempt to get Sylvia back. Her emotive plea for him to leave her alone was movingly performed and just watching Don Draper lose his mind makes for excellent television.

Even the borderline laugh line when Frank Gleason's daughter referred to the stethoscope being broken (and Don thought she was talking about his heart) fit somehow. The distorted sense of time and purpose to Don's weekend along with the flashbacks really helped make the Sally plot tense. Grandma Ida was such a convincing confidence trickster that even though we all knew she was robbing the apartment there remained that slither of doubt that maybe someone like her really had raised Dick Whitman at some point. In an episode where the world was going mad it seemed just crazy enough to be true.

All the knife throwing, tap dancing and pants dropping back at the office was very entertaining and definitely surreal. Even little beats like Roger being given a shot after admitting to a heart condition put me on edge. I wish I could go through it all. In the end it seemed to be like a big enough crash to push Don away from Sylvia which, if it sticks, is definitely a good thing. On the downside Betty seems to have lost all her weight instantly which I assumed would be part of her story. And the problems with working for Chevy have developed before we could even get used to the merger or the sense of what a big deal this is. Don's decision to ditch the work had no impact on me because I was thinking "can he do that?" Is there no merger contract about what the various partners need to contribute? If Chevy are paying them so much then why don't they hire more people? Didn't they just lay off a bunch of people?

Despite the plot holes and beat you over the head moments I can't give this less than a 70. The distortion of reality had me glued to the screen wondering what on earth I was watching and makes me curious to see which circle of hell we are headed for next (I'm still assuming Dante's Inferno is some kind of guide to the season's themes).



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

Post your comment


  • Great episode. So much to dig into and analyze that I don't know where to begin. I wonder if this may have been a wakeup call for Don that his kids actually trusted the burglar and believed she could be their grandmother because of how closed off Don is about his past. He said it was his fault for leaving the door open, but isn't it also his fault for leaving the door closed?

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Jeremy, 22/05/2013 1:29pm (7 years ago)

  • A good bit of this episode was dull but the emotional impact of Don realizing, it was his fault, he left the back door open was really powerful.

    Poor Sally is a tragic mixture of her parents. The actress is well cast and her behavior was believable given the parents she has.

    I was not a big fan of drugging Don and intoxicating Peggy but it did allow us to see their inside turmoil (much the way Roger's LSD trip did).

    Not my favorite episode but still better than most of what is on TV these days.

    I'm looking forward to what is ahead.

    Favorite line has to be when Don says, "Everytime we get a Car company this place turns into a whorehouse". Especially coming as it did after all the flashbacks took place in one.

    Viewer score: 62 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 21/05/2013 1:18am (7 years ago)

  • I admit there's definitely a lack of focus here, but I love that Mad Men has gone back here to what it does best---the lyrical dream(like) episode. These are always the most affecting for me. This one is not quite up to the level of The Suitcase or that early one where Betty is under anesthetic (I can't recall the title), as it doesn't seem to ever quite zero in on one connective theme, but it is pretty spellbinding anyway. Sometimes I think the strength of Mad Men comes from the way it can use feature-film quality writing and camera work, but with all the leisure and extended knowledge of character afforded by television.

    Anyway, this is a promising episode of Mad Men for me. I had been getting frustrated with the lack of progression for Don, who I had really hoped would have learned from his mistakes and would do better in his second marriage than his first. But perhaps now that he is really vulnerable in the wake of this failed affair, he'll actually learn something or change (even incrementally) somehow. And, let it be noted, Jon Hamm's acting in this episode was fantastic, as was Elisabeth Moss's, as usual.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by dfault, 20/05/2013 5:36pm (7 years ago)

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