Christmas in July

This season’s Mad Men is all about how the times, they-have-a-changed, and last night’s episode highlighted it in the best of ways – by bringing back the old and having it clash with the new.

In some ways it was like a return to form. The office had a big wild party, everyone was drinking, Roger started hitting on Joan like crazy, it almost could have been season two (if it weren’t for the stylish new office and Don passing out alone in his hallway). But anyway,

Two old faces returned this week. Freddy (the drunk who pissed himself) showed up to bicker with Peggy, have the word ‘old-fashioned’ thrown around a bit, not know how to write good copy anymore, and run off to AA. And that’s about all that happened there. Let’s talk about the actually interesting character to return, Glen.

Glen is everyone’s favourite future serial killer. Previously on Mad Men, he asked Betty for some of her hair and then watched her pee. Now that he’s back his eyes are set on Sally Draper – and who can blame him, she’s the new HBIC of the Draper residence.  She’s sassy and getting pushed to her breaking point by Betty and honestly, I can’t decide if she’s going to end up with millions in therapy bills or just knocking Betty down the stairs by the end of the season. Regardless, creepy Glenn gives her a few nighttime calls (surprisingly not just heavy breathing) where she reveals she hates that they’re stuck in the house that Don built and wants to move. So Glenn brings a buddy and breaks in, tosses some cereal around and leaves a couple pieces of twine on Sally’s pillow. Ah, young love. I can’t wait to see what kind of Bonnie & Clyde antics those two get up to.

Meanwhile, at SCDP, the Christmas party is a huge disaster. They turn their office soiree into a kiss-ass fest for Lucky Strikes, by cheering at his arrival, handing him presents, and catering to his every whim, including dressing silver fox Roger Sterling up as Santa and having the whole staff take turns sitting on his lap.

Speaking of pathetic and embarrassing, the veil has slipped on Don Draper. The office underlings roll their eyes at him, he stumbles home drunk every night, never sees his kids, and then awkwardly and drunkenly fucks his secretary after she brings him the keys he dropped at the office. It’s uncomfortable watching Don like this. I had major second hand embarrassment for him this whole episode. Earlier, when he dodged personal questions he seemed mysterious and elusive, but when he left the personality test everyone could tell he was fleeing and terrified of talking about his sad life. Watching him come onto the nurse, the woman at the office party, and his secretary (before he finally scored) was unpleasant, but not moreso than the morning after – Don pretends nothing had happened, then gives her a card with a hundred bucks and a “Thanks for all your hard work.” Some Christmas bonus.

Saving the best for last, this week saw another chapter in the sexual exploits of Peggy Olson. Peggy is currently dating a teenager (based on looks alone) who is under the impression our girl is a virgin. Oh Peggy. I get why she did it – as progressive as she is, it’s still the early 60s. It’s hard enough to drop that you’re a goddamn copywriter at a top advertising firm and you work hard at your job instead of answering phones and waiting for a husband, but to finish that intro off with “I had a baby with my co-worker, put it up for adoption, slept around for a bit and then had a prolonged affair with a older man whose interests included abandoning pets” basically guarantees you’re going to be single for life. So Peggy lied to her new boyfriend and finally allowed him to be her “first”, and he pretended not to notice her stretch marks and episiotomy scar, just like he pretended not to notice her and Pete Campbell giving each other the side-eye at the Christmas party. As much as I feel like the Pete/Peggy ship has sailed, I like watching them interact and want to see more of their story. But I’ll take more of anything Peggy-related; she makes the show.

Why yes, Peggy’s new boyfriend is Karl from Lost.
Why yes, Don’s nurse neighbour was on Grey Anatomy, Heroes, and the movie Brick and is not actually Rachel Bilson.
Why yes, Ken Cosgrove’s name is still in the credits. When the hell is he going to show up?

I can’t decide which is worse, Joan being pregnant by her Doctor Rapist husband (who needs to get to Vietnam ASAP and meet some friendly fire) or Joan having cancer. Maybe it’s a routine checkup they added in to mislead us? Like that one Lost preview that was all “DOES SAYWER HAVE CANCER” but really it was just the comic relief storyline about him needing glasses. Maybe Joan just needs glasses?

Things Harry Crane did that I love: stealing a bunch of cookies (so as to not look like a psychopath), covering his test answers with his arm, apologizing nonstop to RogerSanta for sitting in is lap, generally being adorable.

And a Beatles mention! Sally got one of their records, is she going to fangirl and cover the house with posters? Will this put her even more at odds with Betty, who’s more of a Dave Clark 5 fan? Who’s most likely to go the Ed Sullivan show and scream and cry? (My money’s on Jane). Will Peggy smoke more weed and get really into Strawberry Fields (when it comes out)? Is Glenn going to play the albums backwards and hear instructions to kill? I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE BEATLES YEARS!

[images and gifs courtesy of tinypic, ONTD and fuckyeahmadmen]

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