Monday, May 27, 2024

“Mad Men” Gets Optimistic, of All Things, but no Betty or Megan for Valentine’s Day 1969


“Mad Men” episode 2, season 7 is called “A Day’s Work” But it really should have been titled “This Will Be Our Year,” the song by the Zombies that closes the episode. “Mad Men” seemed actually optimistic last night. It begins with Don alone in bed, none of his women around him.

The episode takes place on Valentine’s Day 1969, but neither Megan nor Betty is featured. Don is alone. But by the end of the episode he’s reached some kind of new and better understand with his 14 year daughter, Sally.

It’s the second episode in a row with a structure of a start and a pay off. Last week, we saw Freddie Rumson begin pitching ad ideas like a genius. At the end we realize he’s fronting for Don.

“A Day’s Work” also functioned as a way to get Joan up on the executive floor, out of her job as head of personnel. And in a crazy game of Human Resources dominoes, the two black secretaries– Dawn and Shirley– finally get somewhere. In the office, though, Lou– who’s replaced Don– gets worse and worse, and is maybe being set up for some kind of nasty demise.

Pete, in California, now has a girlfriend who — I’m not sure if this is intentional– is Betty Draper’s doppelganger from 10 years earlier. The only difference is, she stands up for herself and has a business.

This week’s guest star from an old TV show is David James Elliott, of “JAG” fame, who works for Wells, Rich and Greene and lunches with Don. Nice to see him.

Meantime, Harry Hamlin gets more and more interesting as Jim. With sniveling maybe-gay Bob Benson seemingly gone, Jim has pivoted into the role of strange engima. What does he want? He kind of threatens Roger in the elevator, very subtly.

The real winner of this episode is Kiernan Shipka, aka Sally. You do realize she is still 14 in real life, and shot some of this when she was 13. She is a little mind blower.

The other 60s song featured is “Elenore” by the Turtles.


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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