Monday, May 21, 2012

HARRY, KRISHNA:  It sure sucks to be Lane Pryce.

Well, everyone's frustrated on Mad Men this week -- Don and Megan with each other, Pete with his lack of recognition, Joan with her husband's legal moves, Roger with his thwarted efforts to support his son, Harry with the line between translucent and opaque -- but it's Lane who seems to be way-downest in the hole, as every effort to cure his UK tax failings is inadvertently thwarted, leading him in the end to become the second character on the series to decide to adopt the identity of "Don Draper" to get out of his jam.

Yes, Kinsey is further down in the hole, and it's rewarding to see Harry Crane's conscience emerge with a simple, decent measure to try to pull him out of it, even if it likely means he's falling into another hole later on -- because Hollywood is not a good place to be if you're vulnerable to the promises of a cult.

[Um, does Peggy Olson still work at SCDP?]

Still, Don-Joan scene!  Rousing Don speech!  Swim the Channel!


  1. I'm becoming increasingly worried that Matt Weiner's infatuation with Megan/Jessica Pare is really killing all the other female characters, none of whom have gotten much to do this season (even if I have no objection to seeing less of Betty).

  2. Gleemonex12:20 PM

    That Don/Joan scene ... hoo boy, smokin' hot, and yet, as touching a scene as I have ever seen on TV. 

  3. isaac_spaceman2:16 PM

    I thought the Don/Joan/Megan story was the only one that worked this week.  The Harry-Paul story was downright bad.  I thought one of the points of this series was to be unflinchingly honest about what people encountered -- to treat the sixties not as a Forrest-Gump style pastiche of all of the gaudy things we normally think of as quintessentially sixties, but rather as a time when a lot of those things were happening in the background, where normal people experienced them from a distance.  Krishna Conciousness is just too farfetched to actually intrude on our characters' lives, except that maybe somebody might tell the story of how their cousin or estranged child joined up.  Putting Paul on center stage in full gear seemed pretty sitcommy.  And Mother Lakshmi was a clunker of a character, a bundle of actions without agency. 

    And Layne Price -- it all just seems out of character. 

    What I thought was wonderful about this episode was Jon Hamm.  He does such a great job acting through his face and his body, not just with his line deliveries.  The difference between the bored, apathetic Don of the first 45 minutes and the energized, wide-eyed Don of the closing speech was amazing. 

    But what was the deal with that speech?  Exciting but awful.  Prepare to swim the English Channel, and you'll make it, but after that we will painfully drown you in champagne?  Name-checking the Great Leap Forward?  By this point in the series, Don (or Asiaphile Bert) should be well aware that the Great Leap Forward didn't go so well.  Maybe it was a meta commentary echoing the polemicist in the play that Don and Megan saw, a speech making the point that ad men understand that it's not what you say, but how you say it.