TV Review: Mad Men 4.2: Christmas Comes But Once a Year
Its Christmas time at SCDP and the office party keeps getting smaller. Having added no new accounts in the last month, the penny pinching is getting tighter as Lane has reduced the party to “a bottle of gin and a log of Velveeta.” Don is also not enjoying his first Christmas apart from the family and you can tell he is crushed by any reminder of the occasion. But just because it is Christmas in July for us viewers watching Mad Men last night, the holiday was not what made the show interesting.
Sally has a sweetheart in creepy neighbor boy Glen who has already had an obsession with Betty in one of the creepiest/awkward sub plots in Mad Men history. Great way to show your affection Glen, trash your girls house (spare her room) and leave her a creepy lanyard from your twine knife. God that kid gives me the creeps.
Weiner and company bringing back Freddy Rumsen was a great move on multiple fronts as his appearance allows the show to tackle a lot of important ideas for the show and history. From the show’s stand point it allowed the viewers, through Peggy, to show how fresh and innovating SCDP is and that Rumsen’s old way of thinking has no place at the firm. Rumsen’s attitude towards Peggy, and her response, also showed us how SCDP is very much a collaborative environment where you can’t just boss around the women like Rumsen was used to back at Sterling Cooper. From a historical standpoint, this was the first episode to seriously address the issue of drinking and its effect on people. From Freddy rushing to the aid of his sobriety buddy at Ponds, who fell off the wagon at a lunch with Roger, or showing Rumsen’s hesitance to reveal he doesn’t drink anymore. Being a drunk is slowly becoming an irresponsible activity in the world of Mad Men.
Even Don’s drinking is admonished on a number of occasions this episode. Whether it is him being called pathetic behind his back or his nurse neighbor Phoebe flat out calling him a drunk to his face as she helps him to bed. Which leads us to another interesting element of this episode; Don strikes out, twice, with the ladies.
In any other season of Mad Men, Don closes the deal with Phoebe when she puts him to bed. But one has to ask if its is Don being too drunk, off his game, or are women just not so eager to jump into bed with Draper anymore? Don turns another potential mate into a swing and a miss when Faye, the lead researcher of a consumer survey group, takes Don a bit to task for not taking her test. While the two walk away on fine terms, Don openly admits he was hoping she was coming into his office to flirt. This leads us to the most tense and interesting element of this episode, Don’s relationship with Allison, his secretary.
The episode opens with a long scene between the two. They are operating together perfectly, almost like an old married couple, and Don is willing to let her read his children’s letters to him. The moment is nice and sweet and serves as a perfect juxtapose to the episode’s final scene between the two. Striking out left and right, Don finally takes a run at Allison when she drops off his keys he drunkenly left behind at the office party. Allison is professional at first, but slowly gives into temptation that she has apparently had for some time and is excited at the prospect at finally being with her boss. It’s the morning after at the office where things get a bit awkward and Don tries to apologize as kindly as possible for “taking advantage of her kindness.” But he is sure to let her know that this is where their relationship ends. Allison’s attitude as she sits back at her desk does not seem to bode well for their work relationship in the future.
One other note before some odds and ends on the episode, Lee Garner Jr. of Lucky Strike is really trying his ad agency’s patience and it was tough to watch him knowingly take advantage of his situation with SCDP. Bossing people around and humiliating Roger in front of the office, not cool. SCDP needs to find a new major client, and fast; they can’t afford to have Lucky Strike remain 69% of their billings.
Ok, some quick notes:
-Peggy’s lies are going to get her into relationship troubles as she is definitely no old fashioned virgin
-I am intrigued to see if Phoebe and Faye will show up again down the line as potential mates for Mr. Draper, Faye seems a right fit
-As nice as it is to see Freddy for a moment, I am ready for him to go already. Some will hate to hear this, but Pete is my accounts man that I want to see more of and Freddy’s old fashion nature made me realize how ready I am to continue looking forward, rather then back, in the Mad Men universe
-That said, please bring Sal back! I guess Lee Garner has to burn his bridge for that to happen first though
-Speaking of Sal and Lee, I can’t remember, does anyone know what happened between those two?
-Pete needs to dance in every episode; Vincent Kartheiser’s 60’s dancing is amazing
-Wish we got more Betty again this week, but I am sure she will get her time soon enough
-Really intrigued to see where this Sally/Creeper plot line goes, not going to end well though; I can tell you that.
-“I left that refrigerator door open.”
Ok, that is all kids, see you next week!