"Mad Men" - Season 4, Episode 4 Review

8/20/2010 Posted by Admin

"Mad Men" - Season 4, Episode 4

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Gita Gupte

This week, "Mad Men" worked on developing Peggy and Peter, and gave us a glimpse into the inner shell of Don Draper. With the plot revolving around the potential acquisition of Ponds Cold Cream as a new client, this episode had moments of lightness, but remained in the sphere of dark drama.

By putting the limelight on Peter and Peggy, the producers showed us major character development, personal growth and just how far these two have come from Season One. This week, Peggy made accidental friends with a hipster lesbian by way of the work elevator. This new friend moves in circles with artists and Peggy can’t help but be intrigued. When Peggy makes her way to a party for a photographer she admires, he confronts her arrogance and pride about being a copy-editor with the simply words, “Art in advertising? Why would anyone do that after Warhol?”

Left speechless, Peggy finds herself in a closet hiding from the cops with a handsome, charming guy named Abe, with whom she has an instant connection. They share a kiss and we are pleased that Peggy has finally met a seemingly appropriate guy to date for the first time in four seasons.

Peter was the character that impressed me the most this week. His character has definitely growth by leaps and bounds as evidenced by his expertly maneuvered king pin move of using Cosgrove’s advice and going for the big accounts instead of the small fish. When confronted by Roger that he needs to drop his father-in-law’s Clearasil campaign because of a conflict with Ponds Cold Cream, Pete grows a pair and doesn’t let Trudy do the dirty work for him. Instead, he decides he is going to figure out the solution to the problem, and he does. Bringing the firm five times as much business as they started with by convincing his father-in-law to give him all his big accounts, including Vicks.

In addition, we find out that Trudy is pregnant and that Peter is going to be a father (again). He is genuinely excited, but we all wonder “What about Peggy?” Since we know that in the first season, she had Pete’s love child and consequently gave it up for adoption. When Peggy finds out about Trudy’s pregnancy, she goes to Pete’s office to congratulate him. She then takes a moment to bang her head against her desk in the privacy of her own office. Unsure of whether or not this will throw Peggy into turmoil, we are relieved by one of the last scenes in the show that gives us the chance to see a knowing smile pass between Peggy and Peter as Peggy waits for the elevator with her new friends (indicating her new place in the Manhattan scene and the life she always dreamed of) and Peter looking through the glass doors of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce, a firm where he is now a partner and a crucial part of the team (indicating his ascent to the life he always dreamed of).

On the Don front, the looming awkwardness with his secretary, Allison, regarding their one-night-stand, is so thick, that you can cut it with a knife. It all comes to a head when Allison participates in a focus group for Ponds Cold Cream and starts crying when one of the girls talks about her ex-boyfriend and how she wished he would just notice her. The odd part of how this plays out is how Allison keeps glancing at the mirror indicating that she knows Don is watching what is happening-- yet, she cries anyway. She finally gets the courage to confront him about the situation and tells him she is leaving the firm and then asks for a letter of recommendation.

Don, being the screw-up in relationships that he is, tells her to write whatever she wants and he will sign it. This obviously was Allison’s last-ditch attempt to get any feeling out of Don/acknowledgement that he cares even a little bit about her, and he fails miserably. She is deeply offended and runs out – never to be seen again. This scene causes Joannie to get Don a new secretary, someone who is double his age and not likely to cause any more drama. Don goes home and attempts writing Allison an apology note to the effect of the modern day “It’s not you, it’s me” excuse, but crumples it up and falls asleep to the TV instead.

The last scene of the episode shows Don returning to his apartment after a day in the office. Passing through the hallway to his front door he sees an old married couple arguing about pears, as the woman returns from the store and the man waits to greet her. As Don stares at them, we can tell that he feels a slight twinge of envy for them having grown old together and still having someone to come home to, albeit also someone to argue with.

The previews for next week show a return of the Betty and her new husband plotline, and signs point to trouble in paradise. I am interested to see how Don will eventually get involved in this situation.

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