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Mad Men Review: Merry Krishna

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It's that time of year, when the world falls in love...or maybe it's just that time of year when the world pretends to be in love because her better half is a really good recruiter for her religion.

Seriously, between Harry's trip down Krishna lane, and Lane's money problems, there was a lot going on in "Christmas Waltz" that couldn't have cared less about.

Don at Christmas

As Harry's plot continued to get stranger and stranger as it went, I started wondering what the point was of adding this arc to the series.  Was it just to show that audience how caring Harry was?  Was it to add some religious elements to the mix?  Whatever the reasoning, I found myself not caring in the least what happened to the new Paul, and his lovely friend.

Similarly, I was bored out of my mind whenever Lane was by himself worrying about his money situation.  I understand that this certainly creates major issues for the company, but either the idea wasn't fleshed out that well, or I just can't handle Jared Harris as Lane after watching him as David Robert Jones during my recent Fringe catch-up binge.

Thankfully for the episode's sake, and our viewing pleasure, everything between Don and Joan made up for the hour's other issues.  If you've been reading my reviews for the past two seasons, you know I've never been a big fan of Joan as a character.  I think she has been highly overrated for what she has actually brought to the table in five years.

This episode, as her charm finally came through the screen like a 1980s Mike Tyson hook, Joan might have finally won me over.  Between the way she handled the Jaguar dealership, to every single mannerism with Don at the bar, Joan was a joy to watch.

It was just nice to see her happy.  It has been difficult to see her so down all the time, which is what I think my issue has been.  Some people do sad well, and Joan was not one of those people.  She does do "tired of it all" well, though, which is a bit of what was coming out here. 

The divorce papers were the final straw, and the relaxed Joan that came out at the bar with Don, was thanks to the fact that she seemed to just be "tired of it all."  She wasn't putting on airs around Don, which was obvious when she admitted to him being "irresistible."  She was enjoying life, and that's a Joan I haven't seen in a long time.  It was refreshing.

Don was also reveling in the moment, a moment he wasn't spending getting yelled at by Megan.  He was having fun, trying to do Sinatra, and staying out as long as he could so that he wouldn't get a plate of spaghetti thrown in his face.

As a huge advocate of the Don/Megan relationship in the past, I'm not so sure how I'm feeling about it now.  It almost seems like some of the normal issues from the past are coming up, but the roles are reversed.  Megan's yelling and talking down to Don like he used to do to Betty.  When she ordered him to eat dinner with him, I wondered if that was going cause him to do anything differently.

Only a little while later, Don proclaimed that SCDP would be working every single day, weekends, and all hours of the night to get the Jaguar deal.  It was inspirational to his staff, and I'm sure he meant it, but a good chunk of my brain was thinking that this may be another way to get out of the house without taking a 10 hour lunch with Joan.

The Jaguars, the drinks, and the laughs between Don and Joan were great, and they almost made up for the wrong turns down Harry and Lane Lanes.  What did you all think of "Christmas Waltz?"  Was it one of your favorite outings?  Or did you think it had problems?  Sound off in the comments!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (61 Votes)

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

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I love MadMen and wouldn't miss it. It's just delicious. I loved the Joan and Don scenes this week, and also the Megan/Peggy scene in restroom a week or two back. I don't get what is so great about Megan, thoough. She doesn't let Don get away w/his crap, but she is turning into the type of woman I used to look at and think, "I bet there is some man glad he isn't coming home to her tonight."

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As enjoyable as the Don/Joan Jaguar and "bar" moments were, there will never be a Don/Joan hook-up. They play marvously with their crushes on one another. So glad we got to enjoy it with the 60s Christmas background music. The Harry/Paul scenes were to show us what happened to Paul. He was nearing a downward spiral when we last saw him. It's only fitting he would go for the Krishna movement. This movement was a noticeable part of the 60s. I'm glad Weiner once again reminded us of it as he has so many other things - big and small (the beginning of Weight Watchers, racial uprising, fashion, science fiction, exploring space, JFK assassination, LSD, etc.). I've fallen for the marriage between Don and Megan. I believe it is going to continue and thrive. This now pleases me which I would not have admitted to 5 weeks ago. I've not missed Betty that much this season. However, I have missed the previous seasons' Roger. I'm not fond of his character this season. Lane could move back to London for all I care about his character. Don't waste precious episode time with him please, MW. Pete will always whine. Whining with the desperate need for the "atta boys" is a defining characteristic of Pete.

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I actually loved this episode. I loved the Harry and Paul interaction. It was good to see what happened to Paul and I was stunned when he showed up looking the way he did. But at the same time, it fit the times. There we tons of spiritual cults that popped up, they were easy to get in not so easy to get out. I enjoyed the fact that Megan and Don weren't getting along about acting and that Don's resentment is coming through. Also, I'm an actress and I've had similar conversations with people about my chosen career path. People can be astounded that you want to act for a living, especially the older generations. Also, might I point out that we may have a Betty 2.0 on our hands after that paranoid fit Megan threw. We're seeing how Don gives up on relationships when he finds out that his perfect wife isn't what he built up in his mind. Great episode, my fav this season. LOVED JOAN. "Surprise! There's an airplane to see you"! Christina Hendricks, you need an Emmy.

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I love Madmen. This recent episode wasn't that great-- The previous few weeks were outstanding. I'm still a big fan and look forward to it each week; usually watch it twice!

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Megan is probably regretting leaving the firm - at least then she could keep her eye on Don. Don's inability to understand the new music/theater shows just how out of touch he (and Madison Avenue) is with the way things are going in the new era. Michael Ginsberg is the future of advertising. The wine cases under the seats on a poster on buses is brilliant.
It has been an uneven and disappointing series, so far. I don't finish an episode any longer thinking that I have just watched something entertaining, clever, funny, tantalizing, dramatic, insightful, profound, IMPORTANT. I sometimes forget to watch on air. Don needs to get back to advertising and maybe have an affair. That would really test Megan - who I think is the most watchable character at the moment. But who knows where it is going. I hope it doesn't just fizzle out. It used to be SO GOOD!

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I have really been enjoying this season because all of the characters are having different life experiences and can be themselves, much like the mid to late 60s. I do have a few observations. I have been waiting for Paul to return, as have all the major characters that did not come to S.C.D.P. at the end of season 3. At first I was surprised how they wrote him in, but after thinking about it I can see it. He always thought outside the box and brought drugs into the work place. While I was interested in the storyline I just didn't get the part between him and Harry. I just don't care for Harry's character I don't understand who he's supposed to be sometimes he cares and other times he acts like he couldn't care less and is awkward. The other note I have is that while I like Megan, but she is getting paranoid. I agreed with her original suspicions she needs to trust her husband and not over react. This season is certainly unique, but I just don't know how it will end. Only three episodes left and I don't see it building to something.

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This Season has been BORING. What happened?

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Such a strange episode! Almost felt like I was in a bad dream during the Hari Krishna plot! That was some crazy head trip they had going there. The receptionists face was classic while she was talking back to her boss, looks like another new cast member for SCDP. I like Don and Joan as friends she is way to smart to go 'there'! I agree Megans got to go for any reason. I like the way she handles the kids and that's it! Don is really not the Don we want to watch when he is wacked out on Megan! And old Lane how long will it be until he's sacked for forging that check? Maybe he will jump out the window and land on Megan, a twofer!!
Finally could Betty be more boring? She needs to dump her even more boring husband Get a NYC apartment with Nannies quarters and start driving Don crazy! The way things are now they are wasting a great character!

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I really hated the way Don sounded like a sappy Chrysler commercial at the end. This episode was really a waste of my time, and I'm starting to wonder if I should watch at all.

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I think they're setting us up to believe that Megan could turn into someone like her mother, with all her unfilled hopes and dreams. Megan leaving the ad agency has ruined the Megan & Don relationship,it's just a matter of time and Don will be cheating again. I agree that Lane is boring, and I think the Krisha stuff was just in there because that was part of the 60's, and the writers like to give the show historical markers. I agree that Don & Joan together made the episode worthwhile, maybe they'll eventually be together, I think they have a lot in common.

Mad Men Season 5 Episode 10 Quotes

Pete: Ya know, if I had told you last December that we'd be in the running for a car, you would've kissed me on the mouth.
Don: Maybe you and I should go as a couple.

Joan: But no flowers from you.
Don: You scared the shit out of me.