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Mad-men

Mad Men Review: I Find Your Product Boring

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Many of the main players went to "Far Away Places" in an interestingly structured episode of Mad Men this week. Some left on an physical trip, others took a journey thanks to some killer drugs, and one... well for one, the place she went wasn't so much far as her act there was the furthest from what I ever expected out of her.

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what happened here. Has Mad Men ever played with structure like this before? With three stories occurring simultaneously, but showing each one separately, this was quite the intriguing strategy. Why do you think Matthew Weiner and company decided this was necessarily the best way to plot this episode?

Peggy Worries About a Pitch

For one reason or another, it had me even more involved than normal, and "Far Away Places" left me thoroughly entertained. The one story of the three that had me a bit annoyed, however, was Don and Megan's, and it wasn't only because the video effects in the car were so bad. 

They were pretty awful, and the fake Howard Johnson's wasn't much better, but it was the constant bickering between the newlyweds that lost me early on. Whether it was over work, sherbet or the fact that Don thinks he is Megan's master, I became a bit uninterested until he just left her on the side of the road like a piece of dirt.

I liked that Megan was seriously challenging him, but Don's inability to deal with the fight was what finally caught me by surprise. I kept wondering at what point he was going to turn his car around, and if it would be too late. Sure enough it was, and the story became less interesting again. Watching Don run around town looking for Megan was all well and good, but it wasn't all that special.

What WAS special was what happened when Don returned home and found that Megan made her way back to the apartment. The former chasing after the latter, looking like he was going to tackle her, was e"special"ly awkward. I didn't know whether to feel afraid for Megan, or feel embarrassed for Don. The only thing that should have been a bigger shot to Don's ego was when Old Man Cooper called him out for being on "love leave."

Near the end of the hour, Roger Sterling announced that it will be a beautiful day, and his newfound happiness is only one of the reasons that the events he and Jane went through were some of the best of the season. Yes, I'm glad that the two finally told each other that their marriage wasn't working out, and that they decided to get a divorce, but the route they took to get there had me reeling before the conclusion ever occurred.

Between the gin bottle playing music, Roger's one puff for an entire cigarette, seeing Cooper on the money and laying on the floor with his hair up in a pink towel, I'm not sure which Roger Sterling does LSD moment was my favorite of the hour.

Unlike when Don simply hallucinated that he murdered his former lover, the major event between Roger and Jane did actually happen here. I was ready to be angry at the writers for teasing us with a Roger/Jane divorce when at first Mrs. Sterling said that the conversation never happened.

Do you know what we SHOULD be wishing never happened? Well, I could have done without Peggy going for that special treat in the middle of the movie theatre. That's not a mental image I will be able to get out of my head quite so easily.

Can we blame her for going a bit off the deep end after that blow up, though? After getting turned down yet again by Heinz, Peggy took to Raymond like she was George Costanza giving it to T-Bone. I mean, that is not something you can easily get away with, as was noted by Stan calling it suicidal.

Following her frustration release of smoking and sexing, Peggy came upon an interesting development. Michael, who began by stating that he was actually from Mars, eventually revealed that he was born in a concentration camp. I'm sure this will have a huge impact in future episodes.

Overall, "Far Away Places" was an interesting change of pace for Mad Men. I enjoyed the structural differences, and most of the content that came with them, but what did you all think of this week's episode? Was it one of the better efforts of the season? And which was your favorite Roger Sterling LSDism?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

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

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I think Megan is good for Don, he's the one with issues. She never told him what to do, he's the one telling her what to do, what to eat, what to like, how to work. Ridiculous. I hope it doesn't mean the end of a marriage, but actual growth for him.
Roger and the LSD was entertaining, and it made sense to see how the show was flowing out of order once he had the trip by the middle of the show. It was great! Why are people dreaming he'll get back with Joan? He basically dissed her cold last season, already knowing her situation. He doesn't want a marriage, he wants to be young again. He can't handle Joan and her baby and all that it entails. He's proven that time and again.
Peggy is not happy in her job it seems...or in herself. It was cool to see her stretching her boundaries, wow Peggy! She's been pent up, clearly...
Great show overall!

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Well crafted but honestly, all the story lines left me feeling depressed and in need of a shower.

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I thought this episode came across (pardon the pun) like a 1960s European movie. Last Year at Marienbad springs to mind. (Hence the bad "video effects" in the car, geddit?). Which is probably why it went over the heads of its American audience who are still looking for a linear soap opera with mid century furniture and big hair.

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Dan, I have to assume the Russian music meant the bottle Roger tripped out on was vodka not gin. Thank you Dr. Leary for helping us with our trip through the 60s.

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This is definitely the most interestingly structured episode of television I've ever seen. Maybe I should watch more television. When Ginsburg started talking about being a Martian, my laughter dissolved into a stunned silence. It'll be interesting to see how they follow up next week...perhaps this marks a turning point in Season 5?

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my comments didn't all go through! I believe that Peggy and Ginsburg may get into a relationship now, and Joan & Roger & baby Kevin may be together, and Megan will be terminated at work by Don. Don can't deal with a working wife, anyone's career other than his own is not of any interest to him. Megan won't be able to get another job writing ads, and will be unhappy at home (just like Betty).

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It seemed to me that the writer of this episode was crafting it like a Larry David episode of "Seinfeld" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm". It was very cohesive, with the opening line to Peggy wishing her an awful day, and ending with Roger saying it was a wonderful day. Peggy did have an awful day, and Roger finally ended his unhappy marriage to Jane, which was a very happy day for him. Don had a combination of awful day and good day, as did Megan. It does seem as if Don & Megan have to have that conflict in their marriage to enjoy it, as they really have nothing in common. She still doesn't know him well enough not to ask about his mother, she just doesn't understand him and never will. Don just seems to need someone, anyone almost, to keep him from being alone with his personal demons. I think this was a very well written episode and left us with some info on these characters that will certainly by re-visited in future episodes. I'm thinking that Peggy might get into a relationship with Ginsburg, Joan & Roger will get together with their baby, and Megan will be terminated from her job by Don. He is too damaged a character to deal with his wife having a career, he has to be the only focus in a woman's life.

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interesting..although I'm not a big fan of Megan..she's just too shrill..brings out the beast in Don..loved the LSD episode ..and always find Peggy a person after my own heart..

Queenbeethegreat

This episode was good, loved Roger on LSD, was bored with Don and Megan (as always) - I'm seriously missing Betty and Peggy didn't interest me that much either. I am kind of missing a red thread in all of the episodes of the new season, it all looks a bit random with no bigger picture in mind. I hope that will change...

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This episode could have also been titled "The Honeymoon is Over." I actually was starting to think Don and Megan were going to make it and that Don could become a better man. How naive of me. The only thing in question is will Matt Weiner wait until the season finale to spilt them up. Anyone who has been a MM fan since the beginning knows that Weiner is not a big believer in anyone having a happy relationship on his show. We're only about three episodes in to this season and already Joann and her husband have ended their marriage (surprised it lasted this long) and Roger and his wife are heading for a divorce as well. Now it looks like Don's and Megan's marriage is on life support. Oh, and then there's Peggy and her boyfriend. Peggy giving a complete stranger a hand job in a movie theater (has my vote for most disgusting moment ever in this show)seems to cast doubt on her commitment to serious relationship. I so wanted her boyfriend or someone from work to walk into the theater and see what Peggy was doing, but that's not MW's way. Betty takes Mr. No Name from the bar to a back office for a quickie, Joan has unprotected sex with Roger against a wall in downtown NYC while her husband is in 'Nam (albeit, a jerk of a husband). Now Peggy gives a stranger a hand job in a movie theater. Weiner just loves for his female characters to act out their depression/frustration/anger in a sexual way and get away with it.I expect Megan will be bedding the apartment building's repair man any time now, as a way to prove to herself that Don doesn't control everything she does. How inspiring.

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 6 Quotes

Peggy: Are there others like you?
Michael: I don't know. I haven't been able to find any.

Michael: He's not my real father. People don't understand.
Peggy: Are you adopted?
Michael: Actually I'm from Mars.

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