11:00pm: And it turns out Don got Roger black-out drunk so he could make up a story about Roger hiring him the next day.
10:57pm: Don has to hire the plagiarist he plagiarized. Just desserts.
10:48pm: Don has lost a whole day due to his drinking, and made a very big mistake with a friendly waitress. So, his solution is to drink more. And now Peggy’s at his apartment, in the dark, at night.
11:03pm: FINAL SCORE: Pediatric Psychiatrist +4/week in inflated billings; Honda +3000 in returned dollars from SCDP; Roger Sterling +1 WWII flashback. At least Don focused on beating the competition instead of beating his colleagues into drunken stupors. The plots still seem thinner this year than last, but at least we learned that Roger's racism is inconsistent, so his character got fleshed out a little more. Sally and Betty and Henry are all boring and need to move far away. Maybe Henry can get a job in D.C. as an advisor and they can all move away from Don. If he doesn't want the kids, then let someone else have them.
What always bothered me about my favorite movie of all time, "Clear and Present Danger" — Jack Ryan is supernaturally successful, right? He's a millionaire ex-stockbroker with a PhD who essentially stole a Soviet submarine and single-handedly brought down the IRA. So why is he a "deputy" director of intelligence? With his resume, he should be president! He'd have been elected post-Reagan. He's like a palatable Oliver North.
11:01pm: FINAL SCORE: Pete Campbell, +6,000,000 ownage of his dad-in-law; Peggy Olson, +2 romantic partners; Don Draper, -2 picture frames. I’m ready to write off this season of Mad Men. They spent a day at the office, which I wanted — but then, we saw what that day detailed, and it bored the hell out of me. If Mad Men had started with this set, no one would have believed that this profession was one to seek out. It looks cheap and feels like a soap opera, and I’m ready to subscribe to a premium cable channel. Or read a book, maybe.
To paraphrase Don Draper: “Oh my God, Mad Men, there’s a fire down the street somewhere. Gotta go!”
11:02pm: FINAL SCORE: The next episode, +infinity over this one; Lane: +1 visit to the doctor’s office; Joan: +1 cheap pregnancy storyline.
This season is shaping up to be a disaster. Matthew Weiner might intend Don’s independence and personal destruction to play out so pathetically, but frankly, I could care less. I want brask Don back. Who cares if his character develops? And where are the actual clients? The business of advertising is far more interesting than the personalities behind them. Their personalities can show through in business, so why leave the office? Lane had a much better time at his desk crunching numbers than he did getting belittled by poor comedians. I want SCDP to get back to work. Maybe they will in 1965. If they don’t, I might need to live in the present Sunday nights going forward.
11:01pm: FINAL SCORE: Lucky Strike Lee +69 percent of our billings; Don Draper +2 emasculations; Glen/Glenn +1 letter "n"; Don's assistant +1 letter read aloud to a man who's capable of reading on his own.
I want more from Mad Men. The characters lost from Season 1-3 (Ken Cosgrove, Sal Romano, Paul Kinsey) were more fully formed than Season 4's replacements (Henry Francis, Boy Peggy, SBD and Glen/Glenn). And the development for the supporting cast isn't remarkable, either. Roger Sterling would bend over backwards to keep Lucky Strike Lee happy, without hesitation or regret. He wouldn't flinch a bit when asked to play Santa. Peggy's boyfriend is a joke, and she can do better. And where's Alison Brie?
Maybe Don Draper's not enough to carry Mad Men on his own. He went from vaguely admirable in the season premiere to revolting in this episode. He broke a rule last season with the schoolteacher, but with his assistant? Don wouldn't have risen this far without some self-preservation instincts, and his revulsion with Sterling's marriage makes his tryst more unlikely. I want consistency.