Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mad Men: Thoughts on "Blowing Smoke"

A few thoughts on "Blowing Smoke," the most recent episode of Mad Men:

* I completely bought Don's stunt.  What I particularly loved was the way it dove-tailed perfectly with Midge's heroin addiction.  That connection transformed what could have been a "very special" storyline into a brilliant metaphor for the firm's relationship with tobacco.

* I also loved how Don's stunt was vindication -- yet again -- for Peggy.  Every time the former reprimands the latter, he turns out to be wrong.  Another great example was Don's admonishment in Season 3 that Peggy was "not an artist" when she complained about the Patio Cola ad.  As we later learned, Peggy was correct that the ad simply didn't work.

* I'm guessing the narrative purpose of Don's stunt was to pave the way for some moralistic moneybags to save the day for SCDP.  Some speculate that savior might be Connie Hilton, but I continue to believe it will be Walt Disney.  Another dark horse: John Linsday, whose aid attended the party with Henry and Betty in "The Summer Man."  I wouldn't be shocked if Lindsay wants SCDP to handle the ads for his mayoral and/or presidential runs.

* More allusions to the privacy theme of this season: Bert suggests that they take their discussion "behind closed doors," while Peggy listens through the divider.

* During the last couple of episodes, I'd begun to question my prediction that Bert Cooper will die.  But last night seemed to confirm that Bert simply has no place at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.  The scenes of him wandering around with his shoes saying goodbye sealed his fate in my eyes.

* I thought the scene between Peggy and Dr. Faye was great but would have been even more powerful if the show had developed their friendship more throughout the season.  I would have preferred more scenes of Peggy and Dr. Faye's bonding, and less of Joey and Stan's workplace hijinks.

* I totally bought Megan's lone adulation for Don's publicity stunt.  So much so that I think Don and Megan's frantic hookup "Chinese Wall" would have been more plausible if it had taken place after she praised him in this way.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mad Men: Thoughts on "Chinese Wall"

A few thoughts on "Chinese Wall," the most recent episode of Mad Men:

* The cut from Don and Megan to Roger and Jane brilliantly reinforced the notion that Don is morphing into Roger. 

* The speeches about how much David Montgomery loved his daughter were a poignant reminder that Don and Pete have daughters of their own.  Both men seemed disturbed by Montgomery's decision to prioritize work over family and substitute meaningless trinkets for genuine expressions of his love.  Let's hope they don't make the same mistake.

* On a related note: David Montgomery is a well-known professor of labor history at Yale.  Was his sad story of neglect a subtle commentary on what capitalism does to families?

* I'm glad to see Peggy and Abe get together.  Something about his naive earnestness rings true to me, and I like the contrast between Peggy's capitalism and Abe's left-wing critique of her worldview.  We've seen this tension before in the relationship between Don and Midge, the artist.  I think this is further confirmation that Peggy is morphing into Don.

* Peggy's calm reaction to the lipstick on her teeth proved to the boys she wasn't a "humorless bitch," as Joan put it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fringe: Two Doomsday Devices?

In last night's episode, Agent Broyles wondered why pieces of Walternate's Doomsday Device are in our world.  Later, we saw Bolivia communicate to her superiors in the alt-world that Peter was "engaged" and that he'd found the "first piece."

That raises an interesting question.  Are there two doomsday devices? Perhaps Walternate knows this and is manipulating Peter to destroy our version before we can build it.

I like this possibility because it sets up an interesting dilemma for Peter. If there are two devices, each with the ability to destroy the other universe, then Peter gets to choose which universe survives.

Is that why he's so important to the Observers?