Written by Jason Grote and Matthew Weiner
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Originally aired May 19, 2013
Fittingly, the densest, most stimulating episode of Mad Men this year was also the most baffling and headache inducing. It was the kind of thing that is surely going to get a lot of attention for good and bad reasons. I imagine it’s already spawned countless GIFs (pronounced like the peanut butter brand, apparently) that couldn’t possibly capture the full sensory experience of “The Crash,” and where it fits within the aesthetic and emotional universe of the series. I’m going to do my best here but admittedly I’m still reeling. It all starts with a car…
Written by Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner
Directed by John Slattery
Originally aired May 12, 2013
The honeymoon is over, in more ways than one. After the initial wave of excitement, so palpable in Detroit last week, everyone begins to face the realities of getting hitched without a proper and thorough vetting process. Like a young couple that moves in together too quickly, “Man with a Plan” is dominated by inconsequential quibbles and demonstrations of authority as the newlywed agencies learn to share a bed. There is plenty of flexing and strutting to be done and the office begins to look more like a wrestling ring than a workplace. The big wigs butt heads and put on a spectacle for the hungry audience of secretaries and junior copywriters, while psychological battles are played on in much more private arenas elsewhere. As if that wasn’t enough, another major cultural event takes place that will once again force the cast to put their problems into a greater context.
Written by Matthew Weiner
Directed by Jennifer Getzinger
Originally aired May 5, 2013
Turns out Mad Men can still get things done, efficiently and with aplomb, when it comes to plot. A show that is often characterized by its emotional vignettes and myriad subplots, “For Immediate Release” sets some pretty serious events in motion after several weeks of rich, yet somewhat stagnant, waters. If anything this episode provides further evidence that people are only motivated by events that directly influence their lives. Hence the riots in Harlem last week when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and the frenzy of activity at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce this week when one company gets dropped like Sunday night’s garbage, another exits on a defiantly (and entirely predictable) personal note, and Don and his team get a shot at the big leagues but not without some help.