"Mad Men," Season 4 – Episode 3 Television Review

8/09/2010 Posted by Admin

"Mad Men," Season 4 – Episode 3

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Gita Gupte

Spoilers ensue, so read with caution.

This week, "Mad Men" put its focus on three characters--Joanie, Don and Lance.

We found out that Joanie wants to have children and in the process, we learn that she has had two “procedures”--aka abortions. With her husband’s basic training and inevitable assignment to the Vietnam War looming on the horizon, we find out that the strong-willed woman she makes herself out to be, is a little bit softer inside than we think.  Her fears of her husband getting killed are never mentioned, but are subtly conveyed through teary-eyed glances and great acting by Christina Hendricks.

For however long her husband has been in the picture, Greg Harris has been somewhat of an incompetent man who severely lacks self-esteem and then takes out his insecurities on his wife. This week, we finally get to see the good side of the doctor when Joanie cuts her finger preparing dinner and requires stitches. She seems rather apprehensive about having her husband perform the procedure (probably because she thinks he sucks at being a doctor), but is pleasantly surprised not only by his medical skills, but also by his sweet bedside manner. Finally, Greg has done something redeeming – though I'm not sure this will last.

As for Don, we see that he is still in a state of minor depression over his now not-so-recent divorce from Betty. After flying to LA to be with Anna Draper (his sister from another mother), he states, regarding Betty, that “I could tell by the way she looked at me when she found out who I really was, that she never wanted to look at me ever again…which is why I never told her.”

Temptation also is revealed to Don in the form of Stephanie, Anna’s niece, who waltzes into Anna’s house in nothing more than a bikini top, white shorts and a sweater casually strung around her neck. We know from the minute she reaches out her hand to introduce herself to Don, and from the subtle querying of her age while he pours drinks, that she will be Don’s next target. But this over-run plot saves us from wanting to hurl when what we think is the inevitable make-out abruptly turns into the confession from Stephanie that Anna is dying of cancer (and she doesn’t even know).

Of course, this is devastating for Don because Anna is his only family and the one person who knows everything about him and loves him anyway. When he tries to stay and take care of her, her sister interferes and tells him to leave, and so he obliges. He returns to New York to spend New Years Eve with a drunken Lane Pryce (who is soon to be divorced, as well) and a couple of hookers. What we see at the end of the show is that Don and his mistress/prostitute friend seem to be in more of a quasi-relationship than we originally thought. But knowing Don, it means nothing. He may take solace in a woman’s arms, but he never lets himself get fully entangled.

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  1. mediaman64 said...

    Nice review-and since I missed the first 20 minutes you did a great job filling in the blanks. However, isn't Anna the 'real' Don Draper's wife?