Mad Men: The Smog Of War

That episode felt kind of all over the place, didn’t it? This season has felt a bit different from any other because each episode has held a close focus on only a few story lines, but last night we peeked into a good number of them. (Though still no Joan?) (Where’s Joan?!) Because of that it should’ve felt more like an episode from one of the previous seasons, but so much of the action introduced during the episode felt sort of out-of-nowhere that the slow-burn Mad Men effect kind of flew out the window into the death smog, leaving us with something that felt like a different show entirely. Not that it was a completely bad episode! I have, overall, enjoyed this season very much, and I like where each character is headed. But all of the action without much of an indication that it was brewing seemed a bit jarring, and a bit rushed. Like what was the deal with the incredible amount of Don/Ginsberg tension? While it’s certainly true that the entire season has been focused on old vs. new, and Ginsberg represents a new way to work that threatens Don’s old, lame style, the fact that it was all so deliberately YELLED at you this episode, without even having been whispered before, felt kind of cheap. The tone wasn’t right. And although Betty’s discomfort with Megan has been picking up speed since she first learned of her, their non-confrontational confrontation this episode was so over-the-top that it was almost cartoonish. Like, we definitely get that Betty is fat and trying to lose weight! And that Megan is young and beautiful! But where have the tiny shreds of Betty sympathy that we used to be entitled to gone? Is she only a one-dimensional Weight Watchers monster? Is she ONLY poison smog that the Drapers have to keep out of their fancy apartment? And, good grief, can we PLEASE keep the clothes on Rory Gilmore? Also: Manischewitz, Rodger Sterling spending SO MUCH MONEY all of the time, Sally making a young to old transition that is just as important as the young to old transition everyone else is making, and the Pete Campbell crazy spiral. What did you guys think? Are you all dead? Too much death smog?