TV Review: Mad Men 4.12: Blowing Smoke
Ted Chaough must suffer! That is my most wishful goal of the season finale this coming Sunday after he ruined one of the best moments of the season, Don’s brilliant “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco Ad” and the moments that followed.
“Blowing Smoke” was a big pick me up before the finale after a solid, but not superb, stretch of episodes we had following “The Suitcase;” which might have a hit a series low last week in “Chinese Wall” (Though “Chinese Wall” is still better than 90+% of the rest of TV out there) But our prosperity is at the sacrifice of half of the staff of SCDP after the fallout of Lucky Strike bailing on the company. The company thought it had one last grasp at avoiding downsizing in Phillip Morris and trying to land their new women’s cigarette line through a contact of Atherton’s (Faye’s employer) boss. The agency puts on its face and gets nothing as Phillip Morris cancels at the last moment leaving SCDP at the brink. Lane is able to give the company one last grasp with an extended line of credit from the bank that will require an investment by the partners at a sum of a hundred thousand dollars each; less fifty thousand for minority partner Campbell. The investment is too much for Campbell, causing tension at home, but in my favorite bit of the episode we learn right before the end that Don paid Pete’s share. Don knows he can’t lose Pete and that is the one of the consistent themes of this great 4th season. Maybe Pete will put the smack down on Chaough in the finale!
A couple thoughts about where I think the finale will take us before I wrap things up kind of quick here with the bullets. I am really worried that after last years thrilling and mostly uplifting finale for season 3 that we are in for a big downer this year. Then again, ending on a downer would be tough this season as they would have to go super dark and something horrible would have to happen in line with someone dying or SCDP going under. I am crossing my figures for a big win and maybe Ted Chaough can die?
-No way Cooper is gone for good, I am sure he will come back after Roger talks him down. His abrupt exit was more a thematic trigger for the firings then anything else; I hope. But maybe he was just the first of many a faces to go at SCDP.
-Sally had the least creepy encounters with Glen yet but I am intrigued to see where the Francis family will be moving and if the Sally/Betty relationship stays as solid as it seems to be.
-Was Betty more worried about losing her time with the psychiatrist or Sally still needing more help?
-So Midge is a heroin addict now huh? And her history with Don is worth 300 dollars apparently. At least she inspired Don with that painting.
-Speaking of Don’s inspiration, I haven’t been on the edge of my seat for a TV show in a while and as soon as I saw that full page ad in the Times I was there. Brilliant filmmaking and a classic moment for Don, the partners might be pissed right now but I am sure they will be appreciative once he brings in the new business; hopefully.
-Can’t stress how much I have loved the Pete/Don story line this season, please don’t blow it up Weiner.
-Seems like the Megan/Don sleepover was a one night stand and nothing more, though she did give Faye and Don an odd look.
-I am glad Don is stepping out into the open with Faye as well at their big coming out date we will never see.
-Peggy and Faye had a very nice moment as well and I hope the two can become better friends along the way.
-Not a better time to get out of the cigarette business for SCDP, times are a changing.
-After last weeks dully shot episode this one was quite a stunner, loved the shot early on in the board room with the staff fanned out. Great stuff.
And that’s it, the finale of one of the best seasons of television comes next week let’s hope it tops last years!