When we last went through the doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, Don had family troubles, Peggy had dating troubles, and Mrs. Blankenship left by way of the side exit. What hijinks are going on this week? Check out our review of “Mad Men” to find out…

The Players:

Episode Title: “Hands and Knees”

It’s Lane’s turn for an unexpected and unwelcome, family visit. Betty gets a visit she doesn’t expect. Don deals with the fallout of not looking at the forms he signs. Pete has to clean up a mess. Sally gets the best ticket you can get in August 1965. Joan has a medical appointment and Roger has a dinner date.

The Good:

  • Memory Lane: Lane was already heading towards being the guy you want to give a big hug after his night with Don, but this episode, which dropped some surprising revelations about his personal life, and some less-than-shocking ones about his relationship with his father, really cemented that. We hope Lane realizes that anything he wants with his family, he’s going to have to fight for, and hands it to his dad.
  • Joan the Martyr: Speaking of characters you just want to give a big hug, we’re starting to wonder if Joan has really bad luck, or has somehow managed to offend the gods because, yeesh, they’re really whacking her with the misery stick this season. Her encounter in the doctor’s office is just the final straw.
  • An Anxious Don Awaits: Don’s complete and total freak out over his life being explored for the sake of an account was some of Jon Hamm’s best acting on the show, which considering this is right after one of the best episodes of the season and possibly the series is really saying something.
  • Pete the Dragon: If there’s anything that has cemented Pete’s status as an actual grown-up worthy of our respect, it’s this episode. While he’s undeniably bitter, and rightfully so, about losing something he’s worked so hard for, old Pete would have thrown Don under the bus. New Pete? Not so much. If you’d told us we’d root for Pete to beat up Roger Sterling and agree with him in expressing his utter contempt for Don two seasons ago, we would have laughed. That’s how far he’s come.
  • Tarnished Sterling: We can’t really say the duo of bombs dropped on Roger this episode are surprises, but still, it’s hard not to feel for the guy after that one-two punch, especially after his complete freak out on Pete over the loss of an account.
  • Don With a Grown-Up? Really?: To say Don’s confession of his true status, let alone Faye’s reaction to it, was a surprise is putting it mildly…but it was welcome. Don needs Faye, especially if he’s going to keep it together.

The Weird:

  • Secrets Secrets: For all the detailed plot this episode offers up, there are a lot of gaps. Did Joan actually go through with her decision? Why is Harry is such a rush to get back to L.A., and does it have anything to do with his occasional casting efforts? What, exactly, is Roger’s deal with Lucky Strike?
  • Megan’s Law: Where the heck did Megan come from? Not that I’m complaining, the actress is talented and the character seems to be one of the few genuinely nice people in the SCDP office. But the show seems to feature her and then not utilize her.  We really hope she’s not going to get the short end of the stick.

The Bad:

  • Secret Identities: While we loved how it was used this episode, even the show seems to forget Don’s hiding a pretty big secret sometimes. It really might be time to retire it once and for all.
  • Also, We Miss Peggy: Well, we do. Her absence was keenly felt.

Overall:

A breathless episode that offers up big tasty chunks of plot. It might not be as meditative as the previous episodes, but it sets up a heck of a trio of final episodes for this season nonetheless.

Photo Gallery:

Rating: 9.5/10

Agree? Disagree? Miss Peggy too? Let us know in the comments!