Monday, September 21, 2009

Mad About the Men: Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency

Spoiler Alert. Season 3, Episode 6:

"It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood."
Macbeth, Act 3, sc. IV

And so it goes with this season of Mad Men. Blood begets more blood. American Gothic anyone? Last week it was Gene mopping up the foetal blood in Betty’s dream, this week it was gobs of the stuff dousing the employees and ruining Joan’s green dress as Guy McKendrick’s foot was unceremoniously sawn off by a runaway John Deere tractor.

Guy walks into an advertising agency…. And has to be carried out on a stretcher. Boom boom.

The Yanks quite literally, took down the Brit. Happy 4th of July Sterling Cooper.

‘The British are coming’ indeed. We blundered in with our plum-in-mouth accents, said lots of things like, ‘quite,’ and ‘rather,’ only to lose one of our finest men! He went to Cambridge don’t you know and will now, ‘never golf again.’ Thus this brightest of corporate lights was extinguished. An account manager without a golf game, is like Don Draper without a mistress.

Themes of transatlanticism were writ large and in big bloody letters across the entire episode and though they provided general comic relief it was a touch heavy-handed for my liking. But hey, I’m biased. The subject of the re-organisation was amusing, as was seeing Sterling’s name left off the chart entirely, “I’m being punished for making my job look too easy,’ he said. Another golden nugget from the Silver Fox.

It was also Independence Day for Joan, facing down the barrel of her last day at Sterling Cooper, to be saddled with a husband who is half the man that she is. In case we needed any reminder of her prowess, we watched her deftly wrangle the tourniquet around McKendrick’s ankle, so much more the doctor, so much more the one with ‘brains in her fingers,’ than her husband will ever be. Ah Joan… let me count the ways.

There was a legitimate ghost story underplaying all this, with Sally Draper convinced that her new baby brother was the re-incarnation of her dead grandfather. This equated to Don’s worst nightmare: a man in his house just like his dead father-in-law! Horror. As usual Betty’s questionable mothering techniques managed to exacerbate the situation when she claimed the fairies baby Gene is in contact with had left Sally the creepy Barbie doll under her pillow. Brilliant. Cue: the Betty Draper Guide to Good Mothering.

Curve-ball of the episode was the re-introduction of ‘friendly-man-at-country-club-bar’ as Conrad Hilton. And so, Draper falls on his feet again. I had an inkling it wasn’t to be the last we saw of that man’s face. Few people get that amount of face-time with Don, unless he’s sleeping with them.

All in all a bitty episode, more humorous than of late, but I think with a lot of seeds planted for some pretty messed-up stuff to come. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Joan’s ample bosom.

Line of the episode: Betty to Sally: ‘Go bang your head against a wall.’
Next week: Glimpses of man looking just like Don Draper collapsed on the bedroom floor??

Diligently construed by E. Nolan
Photo by Carin Baer

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