Mad Men: A Christmas Waltz
Recap: Season 5, Episode 10 - Only three more episodes.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 21st, 2012
Moving right along through the season (only three episodes left!), Mad Men's episode last night showed us a few of the characters' breaking points and insecurities. We also finally got to see Joan admit to someone that she and Greg were divorcing, which was refreshing. But overall, the episode was slow moving and somewhat dull, despite all the factors being there for an exciting episode. It seems like the writers are pulling a fast one, slowing the season down before quickly ending it, likely with a huge cliffhanger.
Now that Peggy no longer needs Don's advice, and he's divorced Betty for the way-more independent Megan, Don doesn't get too many chances to act as a father figure, an advice-giver.
So Lane Pryce has avoided going to jail—is it just us? We can't remember to save our lives what he was in trouble for—but in order to do so, he's got to come up with $8,000 in two days. And how does he do this but by talking a company into giving SCDP a $15,000 advance, then taking a good chunk of it for himself. Lane goes so far as to forge Don's signature on a check, a move we can't possibly see him ever getting caught for (just kidding!). He disguises the extra money in the budget as being for Christmas bonuses, and it's his glory to announce to the staff that for the first time in three years, they'll be getting a bonus. But let's be real here: Lane's story in this episode was not exactly the most interesting.
First things first: Roger finally admitted what we all knew! He's the father of Joan's baby. What's interesting, though, is that Joan completely denies Roger's offer to help her financially.
Joan, ever calm and collected at work, finally loses her head when she's served divorce papers. She throws a statue and tells the receptionist that she's bad at her job, then she and Don go get a drink, and it's like we're watching two old friends reunite. But the dynamic in the relationship is less like a man-and-woman-on-a-date thing and more like mentor-mentee. Don is back in the position of being almost like a father figure, someone whose advice counts. Since Peggy no longer needs Don in this character, and he's divorced Betty and married the way-more-independent Megan, he doesn't get too many chances to be this guy.
But backtracking a few steps: when Pete tells everyone that they have another shot at the Jaguar account, no one reacts with as much excitement as he'd prefer. He test drives all of the models, then tells Don he should too, and to bring Megan. Instead, Don suggests for the second time this season, "Maybe you and I should go as a couple [instead]." First, he and Peggy had to act as a couple, and now he's avoiding going with Megan again. He instead takes Joanwith him to the dealership. The day after they get drinks, Don sends her flowers from another name, writing, "Your mother taught you well," a throwback to how Joan told him at the bar that she was used to being delivered flowers, not divorce papers, and that her mother had taught her to be likeable.
Megan brings Don to a play in this episode, a play that gratuitously insults the world of advertising. Don is visibly annoyed, and Megan points out that he relishes when acting is made fun of.
When Don finally returns home from his drink with Joan, Megan is FURIOUS. She throws her plate of pasta at the wall, reminiscent of Betty's angry spells, and asks him where he's been. First of all, how did she know he left the office at lunch? It's got to be pretty embarrassing for her to call and ask where he is; their marriage is not the communication-filled love fest she wishes it was.
Their relationship is strained more and more, especially since she left SCDP, and Don confides in Joan that he thinks people at the office miss her; we had to wonder if this was his way of saying he's glad she's not there anymore.
Paul Kinsey and Harry Crane
Harry finally goes to meet with Paul, who used to work at SCDP, and finds he's joined the Hare Krishna. Kinsey gives Crane a script he wrote for Star Trek and asks his opinion, and despite thinking the script was bad, he gives it back, along with $500 to get out of town and go to L.A. to pitch the scripts and work on writing. But we wonder: did he do that just so he would defect from the Krishna, or because he thought that the Krishna woman, Lakshmi, was awful? (Let's remember, she all but tricked him into sleeping with her, then hit him, practically threatening him, telling him not to visit with Paul anymore). Either way, pretty weird plot point, no?
At the end of the episode, when bonuses are announced, Pete also announces the Jaguar account potential. No one cares. But then Don takes over and announces how their hard work has all paid off, and that they'll only need to keep working harder to reap the full benefits. He's said nearly everything that Pete already said, but this time, everyone cheers. Is Don back for good?