Mad Men
Man With A Plan

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: C | 11 USERS: C+
YOU GRADE IT
Mergers And Yak-Quisitions

...while Don and Sylvia are returning home, and I hope one of the benefits of this breakup is that we'll be seeing less of this goddamn elevator, especially since they spend another fifteen seconds -- again, some more -- on a dull-as-ditchwater two-shot. John Slattery on the whole has been okay in the past as a director, but this episode is off in so many ways. When long moments lack dialogue, they have to be more meaningful, not less. This is just feeling like a director imitating the show's established practices rather than understanding them; it's not working. Anyway, the elevator FINALLY opens, and Sylvia walks out without looking at Don because, in case you were not sure, she is HOME. Don looks plaintive as the doors close...

...and then Megan's bringing him a drink as she talks about taking a little vacation from the show so they can go somewhere. After she sits, she keeps talking, but her voice fades to nothing. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? (Here's one idea.)

Oh, right, we're not done yet. In the dark, Dot, wearing a headscarf that Norma Desmond would covet, comes in to wake Pete up with the news that "they shot that poor Kennedy boy." Of course, Pete thinks his addled mother is talking about JFK, but from the dates, we know it's Bobby Kennedy...

...and then we cut to Megan sitting on the edge of the bed watching the TV report, her face stained with tears. Don, dressed for work, comes in, walks past her, and sits facing off to the side as "Reach Out Of The Darkness" plays. You know, the one that goes, "I think it's so groovy now/that people are finally getting together"? Because these two are not getting together? I mean, I know the song's really about assembly and protest for change, and a little research shows that this song debuted the day before this assassination, so I can forgive the obviousness of the irony with respect to this scene, but this is a camera setup that makes me wonder if the scene was filmed on "Take Your Film Student To Work Day." Less obvious is the question of whether Don's mysterious hearing loss was temporary, but that's a question for next week's episode, which at least rates to be better based on general probabilities. See you then.

John Ramos is a writer and film producer living in Los Angeles. His new film, a documentary on online privacy and the sale of personal data called Terms And Conditions May Apply, will be in theaters in July. You can get news on it from the film's Twitter account. Also, you can email John at couchbaron@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/couchbaron, or check out his blog, "Pull Up A Chair," which he'd just love for you to stop by.

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