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Mad Men Review: Don Draper Wins... and Loses

by at . Comments

While Mad Men was winning its third consecutive Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama on NBC last night, it was airing a new episode on AMC...

... and just when I thought Don Draper couldn't fall any lower than he has this season, he behaves as he does on "Waldorf Stories." Honestly, after winning the award for best television commercial about cleaning supplies, I think he got black out drunk for an entire weekend.  Not each night of the weekend, mind you. 

I'm pretty sure he didn't remember anything from Friday afternoon all the way until Sunday morning.  This is a dude with some serious issues.

Smirking Pair

It's like Don's acquaintance notes, they give out like 50 of those awards - but that doesn't stop Roger, Don and the gang from doing a drunk victory lap around the conference room.  I thought he was supposed to be such a great ad man, how has he not won a major award before?

I've always been on Betty's side of things, and Don's demise this week didn't sway my opinion. Because he blacked out all of Saturday, he forgot about getting the kids on Sunday and earned more points towards the Worst Father of the Year award.  Betty has already garnered the Worst Mother trophy, of course. Those poor, poor kids.

Although this wasn't my favorite episode of this season, it was definitely the best performance by Jon Hamm.  If he doesn't submit this for the Emmy's next year, I'd be shocked.  Because of the flashbacks, he has to portray both this depressed drunk of a Don Draper and the up-and-coming happy-go-lucky Don Draper.  And boy does he do a fantastic job of it.

I thought those flashbacks worked amazingly well.  It's about time we got some back story on how Don got into the business.  Not only was it simply interesting to see these guys at that moment in time, but the irony of the whole situation made it that much better.

Roger mentioned to Joan that what he does is "get guys like him," referring to Don.  Once we realize that Roger did not want Don at Sterling Cooper in any way, and that he actually hired him to work there while black out drunk, it made the entire episode come together very well.  These two guys are like two peas in a pod.  Whether that's because Roger has rubbed off on Don over the years, or it's the toll of the business, I'm not sure.

An even more pressing question: Will Don soon become as irrelevant as Roger, reduced to writing a biography about his favorite childhood ice cream? This would have seemed impossible for the great Don Draper of the past three seasons, but it's been awhile since we've seen that confident, admirable man. Even if he was a Dick Whitman creation all along.

It's more and more noticeable that Roger is on his way out in this business. After the blow up last week with the Honda people, I'm surprised the firm even lets him come to meetings anymore.

Don, Joan and Roger

Now that the beloved Kenny is back in the fold, I'm a bit worried about Pete's performance at SCDP.  Last time Cosgrove was around, Pete struggled because he was too focused on the rivalry with his co-worker.  It seemed to be at the forefront again this week.  If Pete could just let bygones be bygones, both his work and the company would be better off.

In between getting angry at Don for an array of terrible things he did, Peggy also just destroyed another challenger.  Anyone that takes her on, she dismantles.  It was great to see her as the master of her own domain with the new art guy.  He was treating her like she was nothing, and boy did she show him... all the way to the bathroom.

Where will all of this lead for next week?  Will Don be back on his game, or will his downward spiral continue?  Can Roger get back into the game and prove his worth?  How good can Peggy get before she really is a part of the bigger picture in this company?

Other thoughts:

  • Did you notice that Betty was the model in the ad on the wall in flashback Don's fur store?
  • Don makes a move on Faye and gets shot down.  Is he ever going to have a chance with a respectable woman?
  • They should really put that 1960s Breyer's commercial at the end of the break.  Me and my DVR skills have outsmarted it now.  Because it's at the very beginning, I don't press play on it anymore.
  • I love when we sneak up on Roger taping his thoughts for his book. "I always liked chocolate ice cream."

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Even at his black-out drunkest, not picking up the kids is still no where near as bad as Betty Drapers parenting skills. I also loved the comparison that Don got his job from Roger because Roger was drunk, and then that new ad guy gets hired because Don got drunk and used his idea.

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Haha, I don't "strangely enjoy" any of the characters (well there are some I don't enjoy at all, Pete for example), but Don being a great father was always something that I did enjoy very much.. So seeing him fail this week was a bit harsh for me and you poiting it out makes it even worse! I'm kidding of course :))
Ah, I could go on and on about this issue :)

Danforcella

Oh come on aja. She only got one paragraph this week! That's pretty good for me. And I noted that she's a terrible mom. So when you think about it, my ridiculous Betty love was at an all time low this review. Do you have any character that you strangely enjoy? Bert Cooper? Glenn maybe? I'm a fan of random fandom.

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Not taking any sides, but your obsession with Betty in these reviews week after week is getting boring...

Danforcella

Yeah I hadn't noticed the awards in his office, but his actions were as though this was the only one he had ever won. I realize the tv awards are new to their agency and the business in general, but it seemed like this was his only award EVER. Apparently that's not true, but boy was he in the mood to celebrate like it was.

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"I thought he was supposed to be such a great ad man, how has he not won a major award before?" Granted, Don *behaved* as though he'd never before won a major award in this episode, but in fact the walls in his old Sterling Cooper office were lined with awards - for print ads. Remember, aside from the "Bye Bye Birdie" knockoff and a Lucky Strike spot or two, SC had almost no presence in the television market until Harry, via Roger, started up a TV department. In fact print dominated advertising until well into the '60s, and the Clio awards themselves only came into being in 1959.