Mad Men Review: A New Don Draper?

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Peggy: Open or closed?
Don: Open.

We're on the other side of the halfway point of this fourth season of Mad Men, and this week's episode just blew me away.  As far as installments focusing on two characters go, "The Suitcase" was one of my all-time favorites.

As the quote above illustrated, all signs point to Don getting over his scarily depressive state and moving on with his life in a productive (and hopefully entertaining) manner.  We've all been waiting for the moment or event that was going turn things around for this ad genius, and Anna kicking the bucket might have done it.

Fast Asleep

Don leaves his office door open at the end of the episode and he does it seemingly content with himself. 

Although we've probably seen Don laugh and smile more this season than any other, it is usually of the "I'm so drunk and out of it that I'm gonna laugh at anything" variety.  As things move forward with Mr. Draper, I expect him to begin smiling for all the right reasons.

But before we look too far forward, let's take a look back. 

Every single Don/Peggy scene worked like gangbusters this week.  While the rest of the crew went out to watch the Liston/Clay fight, Don forced Peggy to miss her birthday dinner to work late.  Don's mistreatment of Peggy started slowly but gained plenty of steam as the episode went on.  Similarly, Peggy's sass toward Don was evident early, but picked up as the two of them found themselves nose to nose by the time Don and Peggy got to their awesome yelling match.

This scene was fantastic!  The build up to this blow out between Don and Peggy was so well executed.  It's been hinted at for weeks, a build up that contributed to the excitement.

Letting all of that anger out might have been exactly what Don needed to let go and open up to Peggy.  Why was he beginning to let Peggy in on some of his personal stuff?  Maybe he knew Anna had passed and wanted to find that new someone that could get to know the real him.  His relationship with Peggy has always been different than with anyone else at the agency.  Wth Anna out of the picture, perhaps he could rely on Peggy to comfort the real Dick Whitman.

On the other hand, maybe Don is just going to start opening up more in general.  He did have that moment with Faye last week.  Maybe this event doesn't just help him move on to a new confidant, but changes his personality in a way he so desperately needs to live a healthy emotional life.

Will the events from this week drastically change Don's behavior? Or will he revert back to his drunken ways?  Peggy asked "how long are you gonna go on like this?" and I'm sure the entire audience was curious as well.  Drunk Don is all well and good, but it would be nice to see him resurface as a sober and confident guy that can get things done.

Other thoughts/observations:

  • Mrs. Blankenship continues to do a poor job, but at least they finally recognized it.  I love that Don knows exactly why she's there and he's fine with having to deal with it.
  • Mad Men cast member of the week? Elizabeth Moss for her work while on the phone with Duck Phillips. Astounding.  She went from so happy to so sad in a matter of seconds.
  • Mark breaks up with Peggy over the phone in front of her family?!? Pretty awesome.  The only thing that would have made it better is if they showed him finishing dinner with the fam.
  • It's refreshing to see a stud on television, like Don Draper, completely miss on a punch.  He was just an absolute oaf in that moment.
  • I loved getting the truth about Lyle Evans, MD.  Fantastic memoirs by Roger.

What did you think of the episode? Browse through our favorite Mad Men quotes from "The Suitcase" and then sound off.

The Suitcase Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (60 Votes)

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

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Mad Men Season 4 Episode 7 Quotes

Don: I don't like Joe Namath. He hasn't even played in a professional game yet.
Peggy: He's very handsome.

I don't know why everyone cares so much about it. If I wanna see two Negros fight, I'd throw a dollar bill out my window.

Mrs. Blankenship