Last week on “Mad Men,” there was nothing but trouble both personal and professional brewing at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. What a difference a week can make. Has the intervening time improved things? Not on your life! Here’s what happened during Sunday’s episode entitled, “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.”
Check out our review…
- Writer: Erin Levy
- Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
- Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Robert Morse, John Slattery
Episode Title: “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”
A competitor brags about following Don and learns the hard way that that’s not a good thing to do. Roger shows racism towards somebody other than black people for once. Sally gets a new haircut. Betty goes to a psychologist who finally understands her.
- Sally Forth: Sally was always the most interesting Draper child and in this episode, we get to witness her first awkward moments of entering puberty. Whether it’s cutting her own hair or embarrassing her mother, Sally’s rapidly becoming as interesting as any of the adults around her.
- Parry and Thrust: After four episodes of Don essentially being a sad sack, this might mark the moment he’s turned everything around. Shaming Honda into giving him an account while simultaneously kneecapping a competitor was absolutely brilliant TV.
- Roger That: While we like Roger as the sexy snarker that he usually is, it was nice to see the account this episode centered on bring out some real emotional pain. In an episode about whether or not people have moved on as a theme, his inability to let go of a war twenty years gone was probably the most telling.
- Found in Translation: The comments by the Japanese visitors to SCDP and Joan’s immediate understanding of what they were chortling about, is acknowledging what we already were thinking. Those bras must be made of iron.
- Huh? She’s Back?: Granted, Bethany didn’t make much of an impression beyond being what Don used to want. And the show bothers to establish that Don’s been making an effort to date the blonde princesses he used to have such an affection for. But we’re pretty sure Bethany’s got it all wrong; it’s not because she won’t show off some gymnastics, it’s because Don’s not sure what he wants. It’s just odd to bring her back since Don obviously couldn’t care less. The same goes for the psychologist who figured Don for being married in a year; she confessed to being single and wearing a wedding ring to stop awkward conversations. We’re surprised the show brought her back, although she’s a bit more intriguing.
- Betty ‘Round the Bend: We get it, writing for Betty this season is hard. Don’s the protagonist and she’s so far out of his life that she might as well be on Mars. Any chance of them reconciling has been utterly destroyed by the epic flameout in their marriage. But now the show’s stuck with her for another season, and it’s pretty clear they’ve got no idea what to do with her. So back to the psychologist she goes, this time a child psychologist, because it wasn’t made painfully clear enough that Betty is an emotional child. What’s worse is the character is slowly shifting into a cartoon of herself. January Jones is underplaying her role considerably but even so, we felt like groaning with that dollhouse close up. Especially with the rest of the episode being so on the beam, her presence really just underlines how little there is for her to do.
A strong episode that brings back the clever Don we know and love, not to mention some cross-cultural giggles. But Betty’s presence makes us wish she’d stayed in Reno.
Agree? Disagree? Think Betty’s more interesting than we give her credit? Tell us in the comments!