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

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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
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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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Mad Men Season 4 Episode 6 Quotes

Don: Do you got anything on Vicl's?
Peggy: Actually it's Vick. Vick Chemical.
Don: Answer the question.

Danny: You know what they say: aspiration's as good as perspiration.
Don: That's not how it goes.