09 April 2012

Mad Men Season 5, Episode 4: "Mystery Date"

First, sorry about messing up with last week's episode. I'd forgotten that I was going out Sunday night and wouldn't be able to watch the episode, and the rest of the week was a period of adjustment to not having a schedule or routine. I did like the contrasts between Betty and Megan, I still believe Betty will never be happy, and I wonder what effect her problems will end up having on the kids, especially Sally. By the way, the Rolling Stones did in fact play at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, NY on July 2, 1966.

But that was last week, and we have another episode to deal with.

[Let's remember my standard disclaimer: I have avoided reading any other recaps, writeups, or other commentary on this episode before writing this, so if I express something similar to thoughts you've read elsewhere, it's entirely a coincidence. If you have not watched the episode, assume there are spoilers ahead and act accordingly.]

This was a gritty and sometimes grim episode. Don had hallucinations, shitsack Greg came home on leave to tell Joan he'd volunteered to go back to Vietnam for another year, Sally got stuck with an adult who is worse at parenting than her own mother, Peggy questioned her choices, Roger bought another person's favor, and it was all set against the backdrop of a hunt for a serial killer.

Don's fever dreams confused me a bit. Did Andrea really come to the apartment that first time? Would she really be able to find out where he lived so quickly? I suspect not, which made me think he dreamed the whole thing. Talk about psychosexual issues, though.

Greg is happier in the Army than at home with Joan and the new baby, I guess because he feels needed and respected there. As difficult as it will be for Joan, she's better off without him. Great work by Christina Hendricks in this one.

Poor Sally. From her too-lenient mother to her too-strict step-grandmother, adults fail her. And now grandma Pauline gave her half a Seconal. Grandma said watching the sun set from your bedroom window is "the saddest thing in the world." I think having her for a grandma would be the saddest thing in the world. At least Don told Sally that talking to her made him feel better.

The scene between Peggy and Roger was great too. "The work is ten dollars, the lie is extra."

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