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Monday, September 29, 2008

Mad Men 2.9: Don and Roger

Don and Roger have had a complex love/hate relationship in the past year and a half of the Emmy-winning Mad Men - mostly professional friendship, which is what I mean by love above, not hate - and in tonight's Episode 2.9 it has never been more compellingly portrayed.

The ostensible theme of the episode was Fred's getting fired - he passes out pissed (literally) and drunk before an important meeting with clients. Pete takes over, puts in Peggy at the client pitch, she does great, and Pete tells Roger. He concludes Fred's gone "over the line," and, against Don's decent objections, says Fred has to go.

But the deeper action takes place as Roger and Don take Fred out for one last fling, over dinner, drinks, and gambling, to tell he's fired. Roger has seen Don coming in too early - this tips him off - and he tries repeatedly to talk to Don about it. Like Don, Roger is an original mix of compassion and coldness, and tonight Roger was about as good as boss/friend could be.

Don is as inscrutable - and thus fascinating - as ever. He tells Roger he has no feelings, other than relief, about being apart from Betty. But he clearly loves his kids ... and, I don't know, I think he loves Betty, too. So why is he is saying he feels nothing about the separation. A front for Roger? No, it didn't seem like that.

Meanwhile, back at the office the next day, Peggy's been promoted to Fred's job, and confronts horrible Pete about why he told Roger about Fred. Peggy accepts Pete's explanation - is she slowly becoming conditioned to the soulless part of this advertising life?

And Don learns that Roger's new fling in the office is Jane! That's something I can well understand - Peyton List plays her perfectly, and Jane, maybe because she's the most modern, is the most irresistible woman in the office. Don wants her fired. But I think we'll be seeing her on Mad Men for a good while...

See also: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12: The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men

And listen to my fabulous 20-minute interview last Fall with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through

The Plot to Save Socrates

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

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

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Aaron said...

Last night's episode couldn't help reminding me of the great "Sopranos" episode where Tony, et al have to kill Big Pussy. They reminisce about old times and give Pussy one last glass of tequila before whacking him in the Stugats. Likewise, Don, Roger, and Fred reminisce about old times--while Fred drinks Old Grand-dad neat if I heard correctly--before they part ways and consider their own lives.

I also enjoyed the small Floyd Patterson homage. From what I understand, he would have indeed been a man about NYC in those days.


dawn said...

okay where is my Dexter?