Ah, the Monday after a new episode of Mad Men. I decided that giving just my wife 8-10K words of reading to do a week wasn’t fair. I’m linking to my three favorite below with the caveat that Tom & Lorenzo’s Mad Style isn’t out yet. Anyway, here’s three decidedly different takes on the same hour of television:
by Alan Sepinwall:
And Scott Hornbacher shoots him in such a way that Freddy doesn't seem to be delivering this pitch to another character (who will be revealed in a moment to be Peggy), but straight to us. And he's not telling us about Accutron watches, not really. Instead, the subtext of his pitch seems to be something like this:
Hi there. Tonight, the role of Don Draper will be played by... me. Good ol' recovering drunk and reformed pants-wetter Freddy Rumsen. Only in a few minutes you'll see that the role of Don is now being played by cuddly old man Lou Avery, and that Pete will now be played by one-eyed Ken, and Joan will somehow filling Ken's shoes, and Roger will be hosting a non-stop orgy in his apartment, and Pete will have gone completely native in LA while the actual Don Draper won't fit in on either coast. And the only constant will be Peggy Olson catching grief from decisions made by all the men in her life, past and present.
"Mad Men." Trust no one, and expect the unexpected.
By Matt Zoller Seitz:
The shot is reminiscent of the opening shot of The Godfather, and the opening shot of Miller’s Crossing, which paid it homage. In both films, the character doing the speaking is in a socially inferior position, begging a more powerful person for a favor. Freddy, once a pants pissing drunk, now a freelance ad writer committed to A.A., sounds brash and centered here, but he too is in a supplicant’s position. The camera starts to zoom out, Godfather and Miller’s Crossing style, as Freddy says “The watch appears, bottom third, the second hand movies with a fluid sweep, and above it: ‘Accutron Time.’”
by Molly Lambert:
In less ambitious televisual narratives, events act as obvious signposts, leading us around the trail bend to the waterfall of a finale that resolves most of the season’s big questions, leaving some open if it’s especially smart. But Mad Men’s events rarely cause any permanent resolutions, just promises that crumble into silt like New Year’s resolutions in an ashtray.