Seven Thoughts on Last Night’s Mad Men
Every Monday morning from here on out—or at least until the mid-season break—the minds behind Kempt are sharing our thoughts on everything from the menswear to the Ritz crackers in last night’s episode of Mad Men.
Don-ing the Hat. “As Don and Sally leave his apartment to drive her back to school, there’s a moment in which Don puts his fedora on just before exiting stage right, and it occurred to me that Don has only one way of—wait for it—donning his hat: with one hand, while lowering his head, in this fluid, ceremonial action that’s like Superman putting on his cape. He’s heading out into the world; his hat is both a symbol of strength and a projection of a different identity. And there’s a look of relieved confidence on his face from regaining this feeling of ‘purpose’ that to me reveals how much the clothes people wear become like familiar homes that we inextricably tie ourselves to over time. It’ll be interesting to see how much Don needs the hat as the season goes on.” —J.W.
This Will Be Our Year. “If there were a Kempt Music Bible—and really, there should be—it would include the Zombies’ underrated 1968 masterpiece, Odessey and Oracle. Matt Weiner obviously knows his way around the record, which is why last night’s closing credits song (drawn from the album) couldn’t have been more perfect. It ended an episode all about disappointment on an unexpectedly hopeful note. The tune’s title seems more than a bit prophetic—though knowing Mad Men, it might just turn out to be more dramatic irony.” —P.L.U
Déjà Vu All Over Again. “Show-wise, loved the episode. But the flower subplot felt sort of like a repeat of that flower incident with Joan and Lane, back when Lane was alive. Don’s dealings with Sally in this episode felt a little like his dealings with Peggy in “The Suitcase.” He seems to realize that, now that he’s being honest with Sally and she’s getting older and wiser (“I’m so many people”), she can be his soul mate. Or one of his soul mates.” —S.D.
Spoiler Alert. “Do you think at the end of Mad Men we’ll learn that the whole series has just been one big ad for Ritz Crackers? This is, what, the 18th time we’ve seen Ritz Crackers in the show?” —S.D.
The Impending Return of Bob Benson. “This episode was packed with a lot of office politics—there were some heavy race and gender undertones—which kind of overshadowed the resolution to send shit-stirrer extraordinaire Bob Benson out to California to rekindle his preppy passive-aggressive grudge match with Pete Campbell. Should be glorious. I can only hope that this asshole-off also involves a competition for who can wear the loudest go-to-hell pants.” —N.B.
Roger Sterling’s Red Silk Scarf. “He exits stage center (in the elevator) next to his lesser half, Jim Cutler, who always seems to be telling someone from the Sterling Cooper crew some version of ‘I don’t want us to have to become enemies.’ Sterling shrugs it off and just lets that red silk scarf peeking out from under his coat do all the talking. Classic Sterling swagger.” —N.B.
Funny You Mention the Elevator Scene. “When I saw the two of them standing there next to one another in the elevator, it seemed to set up the question: which one looks ready for the ’70s.” —P.L.U.
— Najib Benouar
— Shawn Donnelly
— Paul L. Underwood
— Jason Wire