Thursday, May 30, 2024

“Mad Men” Shockers: OMG Moments in a Game Changing Episode (SPOILERS)


Sunday night’s “Mad Men” episode– “The Better Half” — was a game changer, especially if parts of it weren’t a dream. Let’s assume that what happened between Don and Betty was not imaginary. Yikes. And Peggy and Ted? Where did that go? At least Peggy gets out of that apartment house and ditches Abe after stabbing him– what a great way to write him out. Plus Megan is finally confronting Don.

Things are explicit instead of implied as “Mad Men” hit episode 9. If there are only four episodes left of this season, then starting back with number 5, “For Immediate Release,” a certain torpor has lifted. Betty was suddenly hot and sexy again in the episode 8, with no explanation of how she shed her weight or that storyline. That’s fine. It’s as if January Jones has been let out of purgatory. And in “The BetterĀ Half” we got Roger actually acknowledging his child with Joan. (Not like Pete and Peggy and their baby.)

“The Better Half” was plot driven for a change. It didn’t have the great metaphors of “The Crash,” with all the mother issues and Sally’s realization at age 13 that she knows nothing about her father. But “The Better Half” did have kind of a David Lynchian feel at the summer camp. That was intriguing. Still, we do know more about Don now, especially his pillow talk with Betty.

And Matthew Weiner is starting to show the crime element in New York circa 1968 that would go on for the next dozen or so years. How many times were there ambulance sirens in the background tonight? This was the New York pre-Ed Koch and during the financial decline that culminated in 1975.

Finally: what does Bob Benson want? And wasn’t it a hoot when Roger called him Bunson? There’s more there than meets the eye.

Great episode. Who wants to make a bet that Betty gets pregnant with Don’s baby? Hmmm…maybe it was just a dream…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

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