Home Television “Mad Men” Brings Out Don Draper’s Worst Nightmares

WITH SPOILERS FROM LAST NIGHT  “Mad Men” Episode 4 (technically), Season Five: Don Draper gets the flu and a fever, and dreams of cheating on new wife Meghan with one of his old flames, Andrea– a one night stand (or less) that occurred during his marriage to Betty. Is Don a sex addict long before such a thing existed? Maybe. In his fever dream he strangles Andrea and pushes her dead body under his bed. In “Mystery Date” we get the second dream sequence in a row this season, Last week, in “Tea Leaves,” Betty dreamed she was dead, and watched her kids, husband Henry and her mother in law eating breakfast in funereal black. Now Don dreams of having sex with this woman he runs into– the “mystery date.” Peggy has a mystery date, too, of a different nature–inviting home Dawn, Don’s new black secretary, when she needs a place to sleep. Figuring as a plot point is Richard Speck’s July 1966 massacre of Chicago nurses. Where “Tea Leaves” at least had fun with references to “Bewitched,” the Rolling Stones, and George Romney, “Mystery Date” has a grimness to it. It also serves to get rid of Joan’s annoying husband, Greg (Sam Page), who re-ups with the army in Vietnam. Joan throws him out. Also, the new copywriter, Michael Ginsburg (Ben Feldman), who everyone thinks is a “genius”–exhibits warming signs of disloyalty and ambition. He may be Trouble. “Tea Leaves” was an A, “Mystery Date” is a B for now, unless it turns out to mean more than we know right now.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
2 replies to this post
  1. The dream/nightmare sequence is being overused. I quickly suspected it was a nightmare in both episodes. Good use of the obscure Gerry Goffin/Carole King “He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss” in the closing credits of “Mystery Date’ episode.

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