Mad Men Review: "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

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It is March of 1965 and in this week's episode of Mad Men, "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword," we welcomed back the Draper girls with open arms. Everyone and their brother seemed to be dreading the fact that Betty was returning to the screen this week, but not me.

After a couple of weeks off, Betty was back in the fold, and she brought some great tension to the table. The hate has gone way too far on Betty Draper. Sure she was sad and pathetic for a while there, but she has now gone way past that. Betty is now extremely mean and sometimes pretty evil, and that definitely works for me.

I mean I'm no proponent of child abuse, but when she smacks Sally across the face for cutting her own hair, it's hard not to chuckle.  She's gone off the deep end, and like any train wreck, it's hard not to enjoy it. Two of my favorite moments of this episode were her outlandish proclamations.

Henry and Betty

First she screams "I want him dead!" about Don and then tells Sally "I'll cut your fingers off!" How can you beat those lines? This lady is nuts. Sure I'd be scared if I were related to her, but as a viewer it is great television.

And then there is the little hair stylist to be. Sally Draper has come back sassier and ready to rumble. Thanks to creepy Glenn, and apparently other friends, she is much more interested in the sexual nature of people. This, of course, led to one of the most uncomfortable scenes in television history. But all of her acting out has forced Betty's hand.  Sally will now be seeing a shrink four days a week.

"What's wrong with her?" Betty keeps asking Henry. The fact that she can't see that her own dysfunctional behavior could be the root cause of Sally's problems, just adds to reasons why Betty is a nut.  And hence adds to the reasons why Sally is acting out.

Here's the question though. Many people were assuming that Sally was going to end up being a part of some traumatic event that shot some life into Don. And while, she's well on her way, didn't it seem like Don wasn't in need of an eye opener this week?

He seems much less depressed and ready to jump off of a cliff in this episode. He apparently had a working relationship with the nurse, before the hair cutting incident.  He's dated the same girl three times over the course of five months.  But what was most intriguing was how good he was at his job this week.

All the realizations about how good Pete and Peggy were after last week's episode seem obsolete after watching Don maneuver the Honda situation so that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's main competition goes bankrupt.  Come on! Faking the commercial so that the other agency will copy them, and then doing nothing for the campaign?  And then getting the best reviews from the Honda people?  He's got his mojo back.  So much for the young guns passing him by in this advertising world.  The kids (mainly Joey) won't be calling him pathetic anymore.

While Don was back to his old self this week, Roger was the one dealing with the hardships of others out performing him.  He's having a tough time dealing with the fact that he's not the man anymore so he takes it out on the people from Honda.  Sure he makes a lot of funny, but mean, jokes about the Japanese and World War II, but is that his main reason for being so angry?  I'm sure it's a combination of his loyalty to his country, and the fact that any new account that he doesn't bring in just makes the agency less dependent on Roger Sterling.

But seeing how Don bounced back this week, I wouldn't be surprised to see Roger make a similar comeback next episode.  What else will next week's story bring us?  Will Sally continue her bad behavior?  Will Don do anything to help his relationships with his kids?  Will SCDP be better off after Don's miracle move this week?  Hopefully we'll find out next week.

Other Thoughts

  • Faking the commercial was great as Joey and Peggy used the closed set to fool the other agency.  It had a great Ocean's 11 feel to it which I loved.
  • How bad is Don's old secretary?  "Misters Peters and Pryce."
  • Don is definitely running out of alcohol in his office. He has like two and a half bottles left.
  • I'm pretty sure Dr. Lyle Evans is not a real person.

Some Mad Men quotes from last night ...

Roger: Since when is forgiveness a better quality than loyalty? | permalink
Miss Blankenship: Misters Peters and Pryce to see you. | permalink
Betty: Don't you dare lie to me, I'll cut your fingers off! | permalink
Roger: We beat you and we'll beat you again. And we don't want any of your Jap crap. | permalink
Roger: I have to warn you, they won't know it's over until you drop the big one, twice. | permalink
Joan: Not very subtle are they?
Takahashi: No, they are not. | permalink
Betty: I want him dead! | permalink
Sally: I just wanted to look pretty. | permalink
Sally: What's her name?
Don: Bethany.
Sally: I don't like that. | permalink
Pete: Who the hell is Dr. Lyle Evans? | permalink
Roger: Why don't we just bring Dr. Lyle Evans in here? | permalink

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (18 Votes)

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

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Mad Men Season 4 Episode 5 Quotes

Who the hell is Dr. Lyle Evans?


Why don't we just bring Dr. Lyle Evans in here?