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"Mad Men" Season 6, Episode 10: A Tale of Two Cities

“We’re conquistadores. I’m Vasco de Gama, and you’re… some other Mexican. We’re going to land there and buy whatever they’ve got for the beans in our pockets. Our biggest challenge is not to get syphilis.”- Roger Sterling

Mad Men tackles politics, yet again

Being a period piece, Mad Men is constantly tackling political issues and monumental moments in history. However, this season is particularly politic-heavy because of the period in which they’re operating. That being said, the creators have managed to maintain a balance between the drama within the office and the drama of the real world. This episode focused on the Democratic National Convention and the issue of bombings in northern Vietnam. Throughout the episode we get glimpses of the violence and fear of the time period through the TV sets constantly playing in the background, and the characters’ constant dialogue about the issues.

Don and Megan….are things getting better?

After last week’s episode, we were, once again, confronted with the possibility that Don has “changed.” For the millionth time the show hints at some sort of “transformation.”  Could it actually be real this time? Maybe. The perfect test for Don’s new found fidelity would be….California . He’s had some interesting experiences in Cali, and it presents its fair share of temptations. But somehow, Don manages to resist. Maybe it was the drugs, or the fact that he almost drowned…but Don manages to leave California with only one kiss tarnishing his "faithful husband" debut. Will it last?

Bob Benson ain’t goin’ nowhere

Every Sunday after I finish an episode of Mad Men, I forget about Bob Benson. I think this is my way of coping with my sheer disgust and annoyance with the man. But…one week later and he’s inevitably back. The man WON’T go away. After an episode filled with Benson one-liners, I’ve decided to label him the "walking Hallmark card" (“I welcome this chance to shine!”…seriously, Bob?). Also, note the self-help record he was listening to, “How I raised myself…from failure to success.” Come on Benson, have some self-respect.

Screenshot by Sameet Dhillon/Gavel Media

Screenshot by Sameet Dhillon/Gavel Media

Draper, Sterling and Crane go to Cali

Weird times ensue. Actually, as I said, Don kept it pretty classy (relatively speaking…and minus the near-death experience). Crane was being his usual sketchy and skeezy self. And Sterling was making fun of his ex-wife’s cousin, and mackin’ on ladies the whole time. Most importantly, they were all getting all kinds of high, which is always hilarious. But Cali wasn’t as welcoming this time…and I think the guys realized that, at the end of the day, New York and all its craziness is their home. They aren’t really cut out for the hippie lifestyle.

Henry Crane = Fat Elvis

But seriously. My disgust with this guy grows daily. Much like Peter Campbell, Henry Crane has taken his look WAY too far. He is a fat, hideous Elvis,  a sight I truly never wanted to see.

“What’s your job there?”

Throughout this season, we’ve seen Joan struggle to assert herself in the agency. She’s a partner, but she doesn’t have any legitimate role in the business of the agency. In this episode, she finally seizes the opportunity to get involved by taking charge of the Avon account.  YOU GO GIRL! I’ve been waiting for her to do this. Of course Pete the Pig tries to get in her way, but with the help of Peggy, Joan is on the way to making a real name for herself in the company. And she might finally ditch her role as merely a sexual object in the office.

Peggy and Joan, role reversal

It’s weird to see Peggy helping Joan because only a few years ago, it was Joan who showed her the ropes of the office and the advertising world.  And Peggy is so right when she says that Joan wasn’t the most encouraging ally. But I’ve always loved watching these two powerful women interact, and I’m hoping to see them accomplish a lot together. Peggy really saves the day when Joan needs her most, and I think she acknowledges that as women they have to stick together.


“Tell me the truth, are you’re a homo?”- Ginsberg to Benson

HAHA. Ok, so not the most sensitive joke, but you have to laugh. Benson had just given one of his Hallmark-esque speeches when Ginsberg says this. Surprisingly, he actually got through to Ginsberg (mid-panic attack). Maybe Benson is going to be more successful than I think…I might have to start getting used to him (*sigh*).

Don’s hallucinations

Although Don appears to be presenting a more “faithful” version of himself in this episode, there’s still something off. When he’s hopped up on some weird drugs, he has some interesting hallucinations. First he sees a pregnant Megan, and then the soldier whom he met in the season premiere. When it comes to Don Draper, hallucinations and flashbacks are never a great sign.  But, one of my favorite lines of the episode was said by the “dead”soldier: “Dying doesn’t make you whole, you should see what you’d look like.” Uh-oh, what’s going on with Don?

Sterling Cooper and Partners

So the merged firm finally comes up with a “fair” name. Pete Campbell seems to think it's some ploy they have to take over the company, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Since the merger, there has been a constant power-struggle in the office, and it has just gotten annoying. Maybe this will be the end of it.

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Screenshot by Sameet Dhillon/Gavel Media

Pete the Pig gets stoned

This was a disturbing sight. Pete Campbell, sitting in the creative room, smoking a joint. I feel like this is a sign that he’s finally stopped resisting…he's defeated. Even Pete the Pig is embracing the new SC&P, with all its perks and stoned-ness. Plus, honestly, dappling in drugs could only make the man  more likable.



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