Tuesday, August 17, 2010

At the Mountains of Madness- Part Four: "The Rejected"

Madness awaits after the jump, folks! So grab your rejected pile of nude photographs and prepare for spoilers!
Boivin: Like so many episodes of so many television shows before it, this week’s Mad Men adventure could be divided up into a series of “plots”; A, B, and C, perhaps. Let’s start with Pete’s, shall we?

The whole “chicken shit into chicken salad” LBJism was aptly put to use here. Pete’s gone from being locked in a dead end in his professional life; he’s Head of Accounts at the new agency but when two thirds of your business is Lucky Strike, which belongs to Roger, what good is that? As much as we might love to hate Pete and his bitchface, it was nice to see him on top this week. Not to mention his interactions with Peggy about you-know-what.

Jordan: Watching Pete’s father-in-law (Joe O’Connor, who played Marshall Darling on Clarissa Explains It All) slumped over in defeat was strangely satisfying, especially considering how much his son-in-law bites. And it really did attest to Pete’s business acumen (and his total SOB-ness) that he saw an opportunity to grab a bigger account while losing a smaller one. Is Pete actually becoming more useful than his family connections?

Boivin: Pete defeating Trudy’s dad was something to see. How he could go from one day hoping to take him down easy and apologetically to the very next day “Hey, I know it’s cool that I got your daughter pregnant, but guess what? GIMME ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS.” It’s testament to just how weaselly he can be. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Pete come out on top.

And whatever makes Allison Brie happy makes me very happy. I would get her so pregnant.

Jordan: It’s nice to see him finally beat Cosgrove, who makes a wonderful appearance which, I think, won’t be a one-off. I thought the most affecting part of Pete’s story, though, was the way it crossed over with Peggy’s. Peggy spent most of the episode gallivanting around with a bunch of Life Magazine hippies, but it was her walking into Pete’s office at the end of the episode to congratulate him on being a father was one of the most heartbreaking moments of the season. I’ve railed on Mad Men before for dropping plotlines when they’re inconvenient, but season four is really hitting it out of the park in terms of continuity-keeping. Speaking of which, I’m starting to think this is the best season yet. A quick sidebar for your thoughts?

Boivin: I want to withhold judgments for now; we’re only four episodes in and I think it’s going to be very hard to outdo the first season’s incredible highs. But yes, this one’s on quite a roll. It uses it’s new energy nicely. Don’s gone from suave and mysterious to just pathetic and mysterious, but he’s still the same Don from way back when, just in a new situation.

Notice the role reversal in this episode? Dr. Faye Miller told Don something he didn’t like or agree with and he got angry and told her that he as the client was always right. Remind you of anything? Perhaps, several other scenes over the series’ history? The tables have turned!

Jordan: I know you argued last week that Faye was simply the next in a line of focus groupers, but I think her character really represents a sea change in the “image management” industry (or whatever you wanna call it). Don, I think, appreciates that what he does is manipulative, but he doesn’t think it’s craven. Faye, with her false modesty and scientific hypotheses about consumer behavior, represents a new world. And it’s not one that leaves much room for the Don Drapers of the world.

Boivin: Maybe I just dismiss Faye because she is all that I hate. Well, not her specifically, but focus groups in general. They’re the ones who ruin movies and bring things down to the lowest common denominator. I miss the days when men in fantastic suits smoked and drank and made clever ads that made me want to buy cigarettes and liquor, damn it! I will actually be impressed and humbled if Weiner and friends get us through this season without Don sleeping with her. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before she falls before Don’s effortless charms, but I would certainly hope that he tries and fails, because man oh man does he deserve to be in the karmic doghouse after the way he treated Allison this week.

Jordan: Isn’t “Weiner and friends” what you call your package?

Boivin: No. It's name is Geoffrey Arend.