Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Every Time We Get a Car, This Place Turns into a Whorehouse

So, I didn't watch Mad Men when it aired Monday night, because I thought, you know what, I bet watching Don Draper flail about this week will be equal the normal amount hot messery we've come to know, love and expect. I found myself really groovin this episode. I liked the bad trip dream-like quality about it, and the relative unpredictability of the plot. It felt like an ordinary day-in-the-life, but there was the added element of Don being disoriented (and stoned) throughout, so the timeline was a little disjointed (which I dig) and there was a hint of unreliable narration when the story was being told through Don's POV.  Since he's got a shaky grip on reality, there were some scenes where you weren't sure if they were happening for real or in Don's head, and in others, you could see that what was happening maybe was really happening to the other people in the Mad Men world, but Don had a totally different way of experiencing it, and Don seemed unable to tell what was real and what was not. 


The episode's called "The Crash" and so I started it, sitting there wondering if THIS IS FINALLY THE EPISODE WHERE EVERYONE DIES IN A HORRIBLE, FIERY PLANE CRASH. But nay. I spent most of this episode waiting for Don to drop dead of a heart attack.

The episode beings with Ken Cosgrove shitting his pressed Brooks Brothers pants in a car. He's in said car -- an Imapla -- driving significantly above the posted speed limit, with gun-wielding drunk Chevy reps, who seem to either be in the mob or a frat. They point a pistol to his head and urge him to go faster. Because what doesn't go better with alcohol than a fucking pistol? Cosgrove's level of job satisfaction is sinking at an exponential rate.

In creepy news, Don's stalking Sylvia and chain-smoking outside of the Rosens'. Arnie's back, and Sylvia's back to making him his dinnah.  Draper sucks at stalking, so he legit leaves his cigarette butts out in the hall way, as if this is some nicotine-laden version of pissing to mark his territory.

Cosgrove walks into the meeting at work, limping on a cane and Don calls him a cripple. A. Cripple. It's unclear whether the crash we saw at the beginning of the episode caused him to limp, but that crash we saw looked very much like a head-on collision and I'm surprised that anyone came out of that with only a limp. Is there a worse crash happening later in the episode? Oh God, I hope so. So, while we wait for people to die in horrific ways, let's have a meeting and see where were stand with Chevy, huh, gents?

Chevy has tabled all of SCDP's ideas for the campaigns, so creative has to work the weekend to come up with something suitable. Ted's secretary comes in and calls him out of the meeting, and then the door opens again. It's Dawn! She says Dr. Rosen is on the phone for Don. Eek. Did he see all those cigarette butts in the hallway and put two and two together? No! It's Sylvia. Arnie SAW all those cigarette butts and he thinks she's smoking again. Don tells Sylvia he needs to see her and Sylvia tells him no. She's freaked out about last week and tells Don to leave her alone. Don begs to see her and she tells him she's afraid of him. Then Don throws his phone and destroys his in-office wet bar. Oh, no! Not the wet bar. Then he cries. And then he coughs in a congestive heart failurey way.  Then Dawn calls him on his extesion, asking if he's all right. "I'm fine," he sobs. "I'm just...just...crying because I'm so happy."

Mr. Draper, I've got the Cleveland Heart Clinic on Line 1.

Cue flashback to Don dying of pleurisy at a whore house back in the 30s. Teen Don is banished to the cellar of the whorehouse so he doesn't get the hookers sick. Wouldn't want any nasty chest colds complicating that clap, now would we?

Over at the Fat Betty Francis house, Sally Draper has boobs! Betty's blonde again! Betty hates Sally's skirt because 1) it's too short and 2) she figures Sally got it from Megan.

Betty: "Where did you get that?" 

Sally: "I earned it." 

Betty: "On what street corner?" 

Betty: 1; Sally, 0

Frank died. He did not in fact "beat this thing." 

Frank: 0; Pancreatic cancer, 1. Too soon?

Everyone in creative at SCDP is getting a shot in the ass today! Are they getting vaccinated against polio? Heavens, no. They're all getting caffeinated roids in the office, courtesy of the firm,  "to help the creative process" with Chevy. The doctor, who looks  like two Zach Galifianakises duct taped together, says it's "a proprietary blend." A proprietary blend. OF FUCKING LSD. They're getting this "proprietary blend" of caffeine, wood alcohol, acid and turpentine shot directly into their ass cheeks. 

Now available as a convenient suppository!

Doc asks Don if he has a heart condition. He says no. Ha! That's what you think, Draper! Who cares? I'm sure it's totally safe. 

Anyway, so they're all high. They're all high and they're all going to die. Don coughs some more. Again. Not congestive heart failure. Not at all.

Don spies Peggy comforting Ted, and he spies Ted's secretary, Moira. Moira reminds Don of someone he once knew and he asks her during the episode if he knows her from somewhere else, and Moira coyly responds that she doesn't. 

All this hacking reminds Don of his first visit to a medical professional: Aimee, a lady of the night who works in the brothel where he's living with his stepmother. The hooker diagnoses him with a chest cold and nurses him. You're left wondering at what point this is going to turn into sexy time, because Don is disoriented and keeps having flashbacks. His cough reminds him of being ill as a child, and being nursed through it, not by a mother or a stepmother, but by a PROSTITUTE. Aimee brings him soup and keeps him in her bedroom until he is well. Ahem. Yes, although gumpy and sickly as a lad, Dick Whitman grew to be a handsome and powerful man, with the help of a bowl of Campbell's and the love of a hooker named Aimee.

Paul Pfeiffer, is that you?

So, everyone in the office is stoned, except for Peggy (who later gets drunk) and Ginsberg. A wigged out Cosgrove tap dances for Don and does a spoken word piece about all of the work he has to do for Chevy and how he has to kowtow and be a yes-man for Chevy and for SCDP. In case you missed the metaphor, Cosgrove is tap-dancing for Chevy. Don tells Cosgrove that this is his job. Apparently, everyone who works for Chevy is a drunk idiot and they're taking Cosgrove out every night, exploring the world of gang bangin and liver failure. 

Don is totally disoriented. He comes into the creative workspace, free associates with his fellow smackheads, leaves, has a flashback of Aimee, and somehow he's missed an entire day. It's now Saturday and he has no idea what is going on. Peggy and some of the other employees are back from Frank's funeral and Don wants to talk soup. There is also randomly a hippie girl doing the I Ching in creative. Don wants Peggy to go into the archives and go into 1958 - 59 for soup. SOUP.

Don goes into his office and the random hippie girl is there, being all love childey. Rainbow Sunbeam stole a stethoscope from one of the doctor's offices upstairs (prolly Rosen's; he can't keep track of his shit) and listens to Don's heart. She says, "Oh, I think it's broken" and Don says, "You can hear that?" No, you silly rabbit. It's the stethoscope that's broken. 

Don calls home and gets Sally, surprised that she's there, apparently forgetting that he has the kids on the weekend. Megan tells Don she has to leave, but Don can't come home. Megan is leaving so she can see a play with her agent, and she leaves Sally to babysit so she can earn herself some boots.  Meanwhile over in creative, Ginsberg, Peggy and Stan playing drunk/stoned William Tell. Ginsberg stabs Stan in the arm. This is exactly what Don meant when he said, "Go look up soup."

Peggy drags Stan away to patch him up and then he starts hitting on her. She drags out the old "I have a boyfriend" plea and snogs Stan. MOAR in-office action for Peggy. FTW. Stan wants her to sex him, and becomes maudlin and relates the story of his cousin Ralph getting killed in Vietnam.
What? No pity sex for ole Stan?

Peggy says she's had hella sorrow in her life, but you can't dampen it with drugs and sex. 

Like hell you can't.

Stan compliments Peggy's ass and she leaves the room. Go look up soup, Peggy!

Don't creeping around outside the Rosens' instead of being home with his children, and Sylvia just has the radio playing, likely because she knows Don is out in the hallway, listening at the door and...being weird. 

So, it's now the middle of the night, and there's a strange black woman in the Drapers' apartment. Megan isn't back yet, and Don is still...somewhere...looking up old soup ads and obsessing about Sylvia. This woman says she's Sally's "Grandma Ida" and that she raised Don. She's lying. She didn't effing raise Don. The hookers raised Don.

"Grandma Ida" knows enough generic rich white people trivia to get Sally to trust her enough to let her stay, but she's conning Sally. Grandma Ida tells Sally that Don gave her the key and told her to come over. Yeah, in the middle of the night. We all know Don's losing it, but it wouldn't go quite that far, even if she did somehow know him in his Dick Whitman past. But, Sally is still very much a child and isn't mature enough to handle situations like, you know, breaking and entering. 

Don's down in the archives looking up soup ads, and he comes across and ad, featuring a woman who reminds him of Ted's secretary/Rainbow Sunbeam/Aimee. In the flashback, Dick's recovered from his illness, and Aimee stars hitting on the lad in a molesty way. So. Don got raped a bunch.

Hey, Teenage Dream. You got my heart racin' in your skin tight knickers. . 

Bobby wakes up and finds "Grandma Ida" trying to steal the television set. "Grandma Ida" scams Bobby into telling her where Don keeps his watches. Sally decides to call the police, and Grandma Ida catches her and takes the phone away from Sally. Grandma Ida takes the hint and skedaddles, and Sally gets up to (hopefully) lock the door. 

Don writes up a prospectus and calls Peggy and Ginsberg into his office. He's sweaty and passionately pitching his idea. Don reveals he actually has not been working on Chevy, but has been working on a way to get Sylvia to acknowledge his existence. He asks for their opinion on his campaign, and they tell him it's great. He runs out, presumably headed off to Sylvia. Also, Rainbow Moonstone or whatever her name is banging Stan in one of the offices, and Cutler is watching! Peggy gives up and goes home.

Back at the apartment, an incoherent, sweaty Don is practicing what he's going to say to Sylvia. He plans to stop into his apartment to get some smokes, and he finds way more than cigarettes waiting for him. Don finds Megan there, and Bobby, Sally and Genie are up. There are also two cops there. This would be bad enough, if it weren't for the fact that Betty and Henry are also in the apartment. The cock, he is blocked. Grandma Ida is some kind of klepto and she robbed a bunch of people in the building and Don has to go down to the police station to ID his stuff. Betty yells at him and Sally says she wants to go home.

Then Don passes out. 

He has another flashback to the whorehouse, where Aimee's having an argument with her pimp. The pimp tells her to get out, and she claims she's owed money. She says she "took that boy's cherry" and that the pimp owes her five dollars. That's all it was worth, Dick. Five. Dollars. Don's stepmother asks him if that is true and he denies it. Wicked Stepmother doesn't believe him and beats him with a wooden spoon.

It all makes sense now.

The next morning, Don runs into Sylvia in the elevator. He is stoic and doesn't talk to her, and thus begins the longest awkward elevator ride in the history of television. Sylvia seems as though she about to say something, but Don's attitude is like, "Whatever, bitch" and they don't speak. At FBFH, Sally wants to talk to Don. He reassures her that he didn't have a heart attack. Sally says "Grandma Ida" sounded like she knew a lot about Don, but, as Sally says, ""Then I realized I don't know anything about you." Don, sympathetic to another child having her trust and innocence violated by an adult, tells Sally it wasn't her fault. Don says he left the door open and that it was his fault.

Don't worry, children! This looks like a job for Captain Subtext!

Monday morning and zero work got done on Chevy. Don (who showered) enters Ted's office with Cutler (and if you haven't noticed Cutler is played by Harry Fucking Hamlin, Cutler is played by Harry Fucking Hamlin). Rainbow Sunshine Moonbeam was actually Wendy, Frank's daughter. It was Frank's daughter that Stan screwed. HAHAHAHAHA!!  Don promises to continue on Chevy on his function as creative director, and he says that's all he can do. Then he walks out of Ted's office.


Yes, children. That is what. After witnessing years of Don acting like a complete cocklord to his wife, his children, his ex-wife, his mistresses, his coworkers and his bosses, you keep rooting for the SOB. 






Stay tuned for more office intrigue next Sunday. 

Who, me? Just biding my time, Daddy-o.


Clovis said...

OMG I watched both this episode and the previous one back-to-back last night and Don Draper is a dick. (Literally, given his background.)

That said, that's not actually a criticism. I keep saying that this show needs to recognize that Don is not someone who should survive the 1960s. The point of the show should be about him becoming a dinosaur, an out-of-date hack who can't change and thus authors his own downfall. For a while I've been worried that the writers are too much in love with their main character to let him suffer, but after this one I kind of hope they're going to let him fall apart.

Also, Ken Cosgrove has got some moves on him. Nice use of the cane, buddy.

Arsenic Pie said...

Well, supposedly the writers are only planning one more season. So, really, any time between now and 1969 would be perfect for him to have his massive heart attack.