Mad Men Review: Move Forward

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Don Draper is an antihero. It's an archetype that has become famously popular in the highest quality dramas over the past decade (Tony Soprano, Walter White, etc.), but never have we seen so few redeemable qualities in Don than in the first half of Mad Men season 6 - and "Man With a Plan" in particular.

He's never treated women well and we know he grew up under horrid circumstances... but I don't know if we've ever seen Don as disturbing as he was with Sylvia this week.

Can Joan Help?

It seemed to start out as some intense foreplay, and both Sylvia and I were kind of digging it. But every time he continued the act, treating her like garbage, his sex slave if you will, it became more and more difficult to watch.

When Sylvia put on that beautiful dress and was ready for a nice night out on the town, I don't know who was more disappointed when Don just told her to take it off and get into bed, her or me.

As she finally came to her senses and told him it was over, and he came back with "no it's not," I wanted to slap him across the face. At that point it just seemed like he was so out of touch with her feelings - and human emotions in general - that he couldn't really grasp what was actually going on.

The whole circus just felt worse when compared to the actions of Bob Benson. A mysterious character in his own right, Bob was there for Joan in ways that made it seem like he is just genuinely a nice guy.

Sure, he could have solely been out to save his job, as the brown nose thing has been going on since the season premiere with the coffees, but when kissing ass saves someone's life (taking Joan to the hospital) and/or makes them feel great (checking up on her and bringing her son a gift), it is without a doubt a positive characteristic.

It did end up saving his job, too, as Joan came to his rescue in a downsizing meeting, but it still remains to be seen if that was his goal all along. You know, some people are just good and decent. Maybe Bob Benson is one of those people.

Don wasn't any better in his professional life. He was skipping out of work to remind Sylvia she was a piece of dirt, so creative had to work on margarine without him. Ted called him out for being 40 minutes late, so Don subsequently got Ted absolutely hammered and passed out before the work day was done.

Peggy, who seemed genuinely concerned for Ted because he can't drink like Don can, might have said it best when she told Don two simple words: move forward.

Hopefully Don takes her advice. If he's moving on from Sylvia, I'd like to see him either take a serious stab at making things work with Megan or let her go be with someone who will care about her. Similarly, let's hope Don moves on from thinking of Ted as his rival. They're working together now, so it would be nice to see them actually do that. The two of them could really put some great ideas together.

I like to watch terrible people as much as the next TV viewer, but if they don't give Don a few more redeemable qualities soon, Mad Men might become even more difficult to enjoy.

Before letting us know what you thought of "Man With a Plan," check out some other notes from the hour below.

  • It was nice to see Joan and Peggy back together. Their dynamic was always interesting to watch.
  • I loved seeing Pete force the girl up out of her chair for him, only to then immediately see Ted give up his chair for her.
  • Pete's entire story line did nothing for me this week.  I couldn't have cared less about his troubled mother and the problems it was causing for Pete.
  • Peggy asking Don "Do you want me to get that?" in reference to his phone ringing was fantastic.
  • Burt: My clients will leave with me.
    Roger: Haha. No one will ever say you weren't funny, Burt.
  • Oh yeah, Bobby Kennedy was shot, so it was June of 1968.


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

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


Dear Dan F. Re your final comment, entered as an was a damned big deal when it happened. I suspect you had not yet been born in 1968' else you wouldn't have just thrown it out there as in "thrown it out with the trash".


I agree 100% with this review.
If the writers don't stop the border-line S&M story line with Don, I will not be watching any more.


Your review reads as juvenile at best. The storyline for Mad Men has gone completely off the tracks into Soap Opera territory. Where the series once made a statement of what the time period held, it has devolved into a laughable comic strip of mangled characters. I have to watch so I can hate it more each week.


The one person I really was converted to in this episode was Ted. Until now, he's been more ambiguous. But after this episode, he seems like a genuinely decent guy with weaknesses, instead of a Don-esque self-indugent ass. Bob's ambition has been so visible, along with his panic at being let go, that while helping take care of Joan was very nice, I can't help but take a wait-and-see tack with him.


While Don's descent into his own inferno gets more bizarre each episode, I find myself drawn to Bob the mystery man. He seems to be a young Don Draper. Everything he does mirrors some past action we have seen Don make.


I think Don must feel guilty and purposely treat Sylvia like shit so she will go back to her husband, remember when Don accidentally heard the couple fought in the lift?

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Mad Men Season 6 Episode 7 Quotes

Burt: You're a real prick, you know that?
Roger: Damn it Burt. You stole my goodbye.

Burt: My clients will leave with me.
Roger: Haha. No one will ever say you weren't funny, Burt.