GIRL, YOU'LL BE A WOMAN SOON: I wake up this morning and am no crazier about last night's penultimate Mad Men episode of the season than I was when it finished. It all seemed a bit too ... dramatic? forced? soap operatic?
Yet this feels like an odd complaint to lodge at a show whose first season saw an interoffice pregnancy (with a married father and a mother in denial), a man stealing the identity of his dead Korean War colleague, and, yes, a man hanging himself after Don Draper asked him to take some financial benefit and leave his life. So the drama has always been there, with the audience asked to accept radical character gestures from the beginning.
Yet this time, especially with the one-two punch of Joan's situation last week, it all felt like a bit much. Yes, I liked the little touches -- Sally wearing the boots for her date which her father wouldn't let her wear at the Codfish Ball, Don getting his Don Mojo back at last so he can sell more napalm, Betty showing humanity when Sally came home, Lane not even getting his suicide right the first time.
But on the whole, I'm feeling disappointed by this season, which seems to have substitute stunts (Roger's on LSD! Let's contrive to prostitute Joan! Zou bisou bisou!) for more nuanced character work. Peggy has moved on (for now -- no mention of her this week?), Lane has passed on, and Sally is growing up ... and everyone else is more or less themselves, Roger's LSD enlightenment having worn off, and less of the outside world creeping in (civil rights movement, culture of violence) as we once thought it might be. Things are happening, but the show doesn't feel as tight as it once was. Maybe Matthew Weiner has already told 90% of the story he wanted to tell, and we're stalling until the ending?