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Friday, October 12, 2007

Mad Men 12: Admirable Don

What a dynamite, satisfying episode (12) of Mad Men on AMC tonight! The best so far. (I've been saying this about a lot of Mad Men episodes, and that's an indication of the power and charm of the show.)

My favorite scene - tough to choose, because the episode was non-stop mesmerizing - but, it would be Don standing up to despicable Pete, right there in that office with Cooper. Don's steely power was never more clear. He refused to be blackmailed. He goes in to face the music, and prevails.

I loved Cooper in this, too. He doesn't care about Don's past - he cares about Don's ability to land clients and make them happy. Cooper tells Don he can fire Pete if Don wants - Cooper will no longer oppose that - and then Cooper says Don might find that Pete could become incredibly loyal if Don does not fire him. Savvy guy, that Cooper.

Don's scene in Korea and back home after the war - the story at last of how he assumed his identity - was excellent. I knew that Don was not a killer. We're always led to maybe think that he is, but Don always shows that he isn't. He feels guilty because he was responsible for the real Don dying - but it was clearly an accident, one that our Don took advantage of, but not murder. And can anyone blame Don for taking advantage of that situation, given where he had come from, and what little he had to go back to? And that scene with him pulling away on the train, with the coffin at the station .... powerful, indeed.

I wasn't the happiest about Don and Rachel - but maybe that's the only way it could have worked out. Don needed Rachel's refusal to run away with him - needed it to make him come to his senses about standing up to Pete. Are Don and Rachel finished now? Maybe ... not. We'll see... (Great acting, always, from Jon Hamm as Don tonight.)

But, my favorite sex/romantic scene in this show was Harry (Isaac Asimov!)(played by Rich Sommer) and that secretary (played Julie McNiven). It was good to see Isaac get some, even though he was conflicted.

And I almost forgot the Kennedy-Nixon, which I thought would be the high point of the show - which it wasn't, but only because everything else tonight was so good!

On to the finale!

See also reviews of other episodes: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes ...

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

6-minute podcast review of Mad Men

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


Rich Sommer said...

Hey, Paul. I read your reviews every week. Thanks for the kind words, and for helping to get the word out. We really appreciate it!

An important correction: Hildy is played by Julie McNiven. She deserves full credit for her amazing work!

Paul Levinson said...

Hey, thanks for coming by, Rich - you do amazing work, too!

And I'm correcting my error right now (if I received a grade on my ID of actors and actresses in my blog, it would be a C- ...:)

Paul Levinson said...

Just bopping back here to say - wow, was that Rich Sommer commenting! - I'll have to see if I can stars' names wrong even more often than I do... :)

LA said...

Yes, each week does get better and better. Next week, I'm going to have to enroll in a rehab program that specializes in getting a Mad Man addict like myself through the next several months until season 2 starts.

I actually wasn't too surprised at Objectivist Cooper's reaction to Pete's revelation about Don's past. Why would he care? He values the self-made man.

A couple highlights for me were these:

- Sal to Peggy when she discovers her lock was burgled, "I stole your blouse."

- The fact that one of the characters in Paul's play was named "Galt." Who's Galt? (sorry, couldn't resist)

- That Pete bragged that a client asked him for a urologist recommendation.

- The play as performed by Sal and Joan, the kiss betweeen them, and Joan's reaction to it.

- The reckoning scene between Joan and Paul.

- Harry's awkwardness "the morning after," and that Rich Sommer commented on your blog! How cool is that?

Paul Levinson said...

It's incredibly cool!

Great comment from you (as always), by the way.

I especially like your point about Objectivist Cooper - you're completely right - he wouldn't be bound by pious morality...