Mad Men Review: Down For the Count

at . Comments

The down and out life of Pete Campbell was interesting to witness during "Signal 30," especially when comparing it to how content Don Draper was at this given point in time. It is best summed up by the words of Ben Hargrove...

It might have been living in the country that was making him cry. It was killing him with its silence, and loneliness, making everything ordinary too beautiful to bear.

I'm not sure which combination of living in the suburbs, growing tired of his wife, an increased work load or simply wanting to be like the ad men he has watched over the years forced Pete into this type of behavior... but I'm glad it has happened.

The Pryces

Without his downward spiral, we never would have been able to watch Lane knock him the heck out. How great was that fight scene in the conference room? Between Roger aggressively wanting to see the fight and later claiming he had money on Lane, Don quietly closing the blinds and Pete actually hitting the floor, it was the most entertaining scene of the episode.

It was Pete's moment of shame and defense in the cab that had me most intrigued, though. He was angry at Don, or was he embarrassed? He was just having himself a good time at what Don calls a "whore house." Mr. Draper of all people should have no right to look down on him, Pete thought.

Unlike the audience, which has known of Pete's unhappiness for a while, Don though Pete was quite happy with Trudy, which is why he was giving him stern looks in the cab. Don gives Pete advice – don’t ruin a good thing – which is something Don thinks that he has.

That question of "is cheating just a part of Don, or was it Betty who forced him to it?" was answered by the man himself. He claimed that if he had met Megan first things would have been very different, but do we believe him? He's off to a very good start, and I want to buy that he is not going to cheat on her, but only time will tell. Can a tiger change his stripes?

Meanwhile, Lane was starting to feel as worthless at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce as Bert Cooper actually is. After failing to succeed in his dinner with the Jaguar guy, he found out that Pete and the boys ruined everything by taking the man to the whore house. His frustrations led to the beat down of Pete Campbell, but taking it all out with his fists didn't help the cause.

When given a bucket of ice by Joanie, and being told that he was indeed important to the company, Lane went in for a big smooch on Joan. Way to go, Lane. Get yours, my man. Sadly for him, it was just another rejection.  ortunately, though, Joan was great in acting like nothing even happened. I'm sure he was still humiliated, but a move like that could have made things a lot worse for Lane.

"Signal 30" also gave us a deeper look into Ken Cosgrove's short story writing, a dinner party in which Megan hilariously blurted out Ken's wife's name, Ryan from Suburgatory stealing Pete's prospective mistress right out from under him and Lane Pryce pretending to love him some football at a pub.

What did you all think of the episode? Did you like that the hour centered mostly on Pete? Can you blame Lane for knocking Campbell to the ground? Has Don changed? And wouldn't you like to get your hands on a short story by Ben Hargrove?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (74 Votes)

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


I miss Betty, this is a strange thing for me to say because I've always hated her. I know January Jones was away having a baby during the filming but we need more of her later on. Mad Men just doesn't seem like Mad Men without her. It's like when Joan's away from SCDP, it's not the same! It will also be interesting to see how Betty's handling the changing times. She's pretty set in her ways. I'm so glad we got that one episode with her but we need more. I never thought I'd be saying that.


to be a father and now, he's avoiding it. As Don pointed out, he's got everything but still isn't happy. Great acting moment when he's in the whorehouse and the girl is trying to please him, what dark humor! I love it. As for Don, the biggest problem isn't that he's happy or that he's not cheating, it's the fact that he seems flawless now. You can't go from being mostly vice, to being pure. You can't go back that far. If you want to cut out the women, throw in the smoking. Give us something that reminds us of Don, not the washed over character whose completely transformed. Give him a work project! Something Don-like!


I loved this episode, just like I loved Mystery Date. I was worried that this season was going to be a disappointment, frankly I was let down by the premier. But these last two episodes have been excellent. The fight was great but I enjoyed Lane's despair more, he's clearly new to the Ad business and despite being obnoxious, Pete has a point. Lane is not an accounts man, he shouldn't try. You know what they say about mixing friends with business. On that note, Megan is irritating me too. I loved when she was at the Campbells and blathering away about how she got into advertising when Pete just gives her this look. He's knows that she didn't work for a damn thing. I have the same reaction to Pete as most viewers. He's like a big child, he can't handle the life he's clawed his way into. The saddest moment for me was when he looks at his daughter and says, "I take no responsibility for her". Its meant as a joke but clearly there's more underneath that. He didn't really want to be a father and now, he's avoiding it. As Don pointed out, he's got everything but still isn't happy. Great acting moment when he's in the whorehouse and the girl is trying to please him, what dark humor! I love it.


I agree with Tommy; if anyone cheats, it'll be Megan. She knows her own mind, and she won't take crap from Don. I think she is a great character.


I agree with you..Megan is too boring..but the guy playing Pete is terrific..good episode but Don is shrinking into the shadows..he is the show and he can't be a violet..not good for the series..


I'd been disappointed with the story line this season - until last night. Wow - who hasn't wanted to punch out Pete, just like that? And seeing Lane as a man with some real emotion and pride was a good thing, although I don't especially care for him, every successful firm has to have one of those. I'm bored with Don - I don't like the superficial, silly Megan and think Don has made a huge mistake marrying her. More than that, his willingness to settle for such a stupid partner is out of sync with his sophistication and business savvy. He's being shown as a weak fool who isn't even blazing in the office as he once did. The producers need to understand that Don is the show - without his unique personality (now watered down) and his sex appeal, it's just another nostalgia show.


Nice, Mad Men. Honestly, who didn't want to see Pete get punched in the face? I really think that Don was a more interesting character with Betty than with Megan. There is something ordinary about her that I feel just makes Don ordinary (and dull....very dull). It's a shame they've already shut down the Pete/Peggy storyline. While Peggy surely deserves someone better than Pete, I always enjoyed their interactions. They had a kind of dark chemistry.


This was a disturbing episode, it gave me an intense unsettling pause. I don't like Pete, but no one deserves to hit rock bottom in such a flaming manner. I've never really liked Don, I've always been team Betty, and tonight I realized why! Don is a charlatan, he always blames everyone else for his failure, Betty didn't make him cheat, unhappiness didn't make him cheat, it was his lack of self-confidence. Its apparent he is becoming who he thinks Megan wants him to be, not the man he chooses to be. If he was truly repentant of his former self, he wouldn't be a smug self-righteous jackass,but sympathetic to Pete's plight. I think its also interesting the dynamics of his marriage, he's becoming Betty and Megan is him. That sports coat Megan made him wear was hideous!


I'm still not convinced that Don isn't going to cheat on Megan. When we saw flashbacks of him visiting Anna before he married Betty, he was so happy and really seemed committed to Betty. Obviously things changed! We're essentially only 5 episodes into the season, so we're not even at the halfway point yet...someone is going to cheat soon. It makes me sad that none of them really seem content with their lives...and now I'd have to throw Ken Cosgrove into that club, too. Brilliant voiceover at the end, but I'm wondering if we're just seeing the slow decline of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.


great episode. my fav of the season so far.

Tags: ,

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 4 Quotes

Megan: You should slow down.
Don: I'm timing this for when we arrive. I wanna hit the doorbell with my chin.

Lane: England won the World Cup.
Roger: Cup of what?