Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But . . .there is, unseen by most, an underworld, a place just as real but not as brightly lit . . . a DARKSIDE. Hello and welcome once again to Witless Prattle's inexplicably consistent, determinedly swift (even when my cable goes out, as it did last week) coverage for Mad Men. Last week was a somewhat grim episode that was so bleak Robert Kennedy's assassination seemed like an afterthought. Let's see if we get back to the rollicking thigh-slapping comedy that Mad Men is known for this week
"Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse."
Appropriate to the overall theme of the episode, we begin with some real Hunter Thompson shit, as Ken Cosgrove, driving an Impala, crashes because he's apparently picked up a group of authentic lunatics to ride around with. This is a bit of a microcosm of what is proving to be Firm Yet To Be Named's overall problem--while GM pays their bills, they're not running any of their work--they have to prepare stuff on a very rigorous schedule, but it's not getting out and has to go through such a torturous approval process that it seems to be bleeding FYTBN white.
Not that Don is really doing terribly well. The whole business with Sylvia giving the old heave-ho has led to him contracting a case of mildly stalking her. It nearly blows everything wide open, and Don is absolutely furious when Sylvia tells him to knock it the hell off and he starts flashing back to when he had a real bad chest cold during his youth in the whorehouse and he was nursed back to health and also got his first lay (this has not been my experience recuperating when I was sick. That's . . .not something I feel like I missed out on). He's feeling bad.
With the death of Gleason (the guy who'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer) and the creative drain Chevy's putting on everyone, really everyone is either sick or their energy flags. This leads Cutler to suggest everyone go up and get a B12 shot in the ass, which causes two things to happen--one, everyone gets a shot in the ass and two, the entire episode gets really effing crazy and almost defies my ability to review it, as just when I think that I may have some notion of what's going on, Culter and Stan are having a footrace, Cosgrove tap-dances for little adequately explored reason, and Stan is letting people throw pencils into his arm.
Man, I can't wait for the 80's when everyone mellows out on calming, blissful cocaine.
It was quite nice of the writers to reference The Prisoner episode "Free For All," wherein No. 6 is drugged to the point of insanity and the whole episode gets so crazy and baroque it makes terrifyingly little sense just to make it plain what we'd be up to tonight.
Meanwhile, Don is getting crazier, Sally's reading Rosemary's Baby and stumbling upon someone breaking into the apartment Sally, proving she probably wasn't the right person to be invested with loco parentis after all (Megan had to go to a play and Don is still buzzed out of his mind) Bobby's not much help when he discovers the person breaking in, which . . .well, that's not the stupidest thing that happens this episode.
Do you know, I think I might actually be high right now writing this. I'm not sure anymore.
That would be this: Don, meanwhile has been busy . . .coming up with the perfect way to woo Sylvia back, even though that wasn't what he got the shot for or what he was supposed to be working on, and everyone's so buzzed on the same shot they can't recognise how crackheaded his logic is. Peggy looks exasperated by all this and finally goes home. She has a point.
Thankfully there is a kernel of insight to be gained by all this--in the wake of the flashback with Don and Amee the whore, we get a bit of insight into Don: namely that after his first sexual experience, Amee got kicked out and he got the shit thrashed out of him with a wooden spoon, and in the immortal words of Lana Kane "A WHOLE lot of shit just made sense."
Man, this was a . . .confounding episode. It was never boring, I'll give it that. I guess after the "Roger takes LSD" episode they just decided "Hell with it, let's do the WHOLE EPISODE like that and see what people make of it." I can't say it was bad--lord knows it wasn't mediocre or boring.
And that's it for this week. Join us next week When Betty decides to dye her hair pink and try out for Gerry Anderson's UFO, Harry Crane's sideburns join into a full and yet somehow infinitely more nasty beard, and Don can't stop rubbing hamburgers all over his naked body. All of these things guaranteed to never happen (unless the doctor hands out more B12 shots) but in the sickest imaginings of Mad Men reviewers looking for a way to button their reviews and tease for next week. Join us next time for "The Better Half!"