Mad Men episode 5: The Runaways
Wow, what an episode. Well a lot certainly happened here as we move toward the climax of the first half of season seven.
Don receives a phone call from Stephanie (the real Don Draper’s niece, whom we have not seen since season four) who is seven months pregnant without any money in L.A. Don, who enjoys being taken seriously again, sends her up to Megan’s house in Laurel Canyon and makes arrangements to fly out ASAP.
Megan, who is apparently on good terms with Don again (?) – doesn’t seem flustered by the announcement and seems excited to being seeing her ex husband ( Are they back together?. But, Megan is also feeling some serious frustration. Stephanie arrives and things are apparently going well, until she says something awkward about Don. Megan cracks and complains that Don wouldn’t want her to be independent – and kind of forces Stephanie to leave with a cheque for $1,000.
Once Don arrives he is disappointed, (apparently looking forward to being able to act generously toward his niece again), but decides to stay for Megan’s party for her acting class, which it turns out, has the full swinging 60’s vibe. Don, in his plaid dinner jacket is out of place amongst the grotty Californian hippies. But before long, Harry Crane unexpectedly shows up with a young actress he is obviously trying to sleep with – unaware that it is Megan’s party – and goes to a bar with Don. The two share an (unexpected) moment of closeness as Harry declares his loyalty to Don and confides that Cutler and Avery are pursuing Phillip Morris tobacco – which would provide a convenient excuse to vanquish Don once for all – as he had very publicly dissed the tobacco industry at the end of season four.
Don returns to Megan’s house and is distracted, that is until Megan and her friend appear in his bedroom and the three engage in an impromptu ménage a trois. The next day the three appear a little sheepish with one another and Don’s mind is quickly back onto business and to Stephanie. It seems Megan hoped her free love approach would make things more open between her and Don. It didn’t work and things still remain unresolved.
Don, for his part, returns to New York and crashes Avery and Cutler’s meeting with Phillip Morris. He catches them all off guard and directly confronts their reservations about working with him – first offering to resign and then advancing his own experience and the advantage his anti-tobacco history would give Phillip Morris over their rivals. It apparently worked, and as they leave Cutler issues a grim portent to Don: ‘You think this will save you?’. This means war!
This week Betty spoke out of turn at one of Henry’s political fundraisers – declaring her opposition to the Vietnam war. Henry is outraged and tells her to leave the thinking to him. Sally briefly comes home after injuring herself at school and Betty chides her for ruining herself (read: her chance at success). But Betty eventually starts to take her cues from the times by standing up to Henry – telling him she’d rather have a conversation in the kitchen and not in the sitting room. A big move for the little lady.
Wow, what was going on here?!? At first I thought Ginsberg might have been a little too high, or just generally being obsessing about the computer. It wouldn’t have been out of place, he’d said insane things before. And then when he showed up at Peggy’s apartment, I thought the two might get involved in some kind of improbable tryst – I mean, Mad Men does that from time to time (remember Joan and Lane?). But then he cut off his own nipple and gave it to her as a gift?? Whoa. I did not see that one coming. An obviously disturbed Peggy, calls someone and has Ginsberg committed, and suddenly we see Ginsberg really has lost his mind.
It’s difficult to see where Don and Megan will go from here – they’ve already broken up so many times – and are now trying the free love thing (The ’60’s have arrived!). It feels like a matter of time before Megan blows up at him again, but this being Mad Men we should expect the unexpected.
So it turns out Lou Avery and Cutler were plotting Don’s demise from SC& P. But now it seems like we’re ready for open warfare. I also like that Don is still looking for ways to do something totally brash and unpredictable. (I got a serious Willy Wonka vibe from the computer room this week)
Bobby is starting to become totally suffocated by Betty and Henry
Did anyone notice how ridiculous it was for Lou Avery to cite Bob Dylan’s single mindedness as his inspiration for his very square cartoon, The Scout?
Megan still hates Harry Crane after their painful run in at the start of season 5.
Quote of the Week
Betty gets one of her best lines ever – “I’m not stupid – I speak Italian!”