Praise be to Krishna! Last night’s episode of Mad Men shone a light on the movement of the late 1960s, Hare Krishna. “Christmas Waltz” features the return of Michael Gladis as Paul Kinsley, the man for whom all fads become fashion. As the season creeps to a close, will fans finally get what they really want?

Check out our full review below…

The Players:

  • Director: Michael Uppendahl
  • Writers: Victor Levin and Matthew Weiner
  • Cast: Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Harris, Robert Morse, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Kiernan Shipka, Christopher Stanley, Jessica Parè, Michael Gladis, Anna Wood, Jay R. Ferguson, Ben Feldman

Episode Title: “Christmas Waltz”

Don and Megan continue to deal with her leaving the agency. Meanwhile, Lane runs into more financial trouble. When the situation looks bleak, he uses every trick in the book to keep his head above water. Elsewhere, Harry is called upon to help an old colleague and friend, while Sterling Cooper Draper Price enters a dogfight for a new account.

The Good:

  • The Movement: Ever on the cusp of the events, Mad Men tackled Hare Krishna. Using Paul as the believer was an inspired choice. He may not be an essential part of the show, but his scenes are always enjoyable. Even more entertaining than catching up with Paul was Harry’s lack of awareness. The fact that he wouldn’t pause to ponder Mother Lakshmi’s desire to offer herself up on a platter is as laughable as it is unlikely. Oh Harry, a woman always wants something for her trouble.
  • Ali Khan: For any successful show, chemistry is everything. Don and Joan have always had a mutual respect for each other. Hard workers who let nothing stand in the way of their goals often find a sort of kinship. Though, their chemistry was never on display quite like it was last night. At a time when fans are clamoring for more of the old Mad Men rhythm, planting a seed like this is as dangerous as it is exciting. Don and Joan? Probably not, but the thought is titillating enough to feel real.

The Bad:

  • Not Enough: Lane’s dishonesty, while slightly interesting, simply won’t do. To be clear, nor will Pete and Harry’s indiscretions or Joan and Roger’s divorces. Megan’s little show of plate throwing won’t amount to much either. The happiness from the start of the season didn’t go over well with fans. Alluding to impending doom over the past few weeks was amusing, but now the novelty has worn off. Mad Men devotees feed off of discord. Serious unhappiness, huge secrets, big fights, and real cheating seem to be the only recipe for success. Give the people what they want, or watch enthusiasts disappear quicker than they attached themselves to this dark horse.

The Quotable:

  • “What’s the hurry Harry?”
  • “You’re going to need to define some of these pronouns if you want me to keep listening.”
  • “My mother raised me to be admired.”

Overall:

There were far more shards of peril planted throughout last night’s episode. But until these mini-melodramas grow into real problems, it feels like more of the same. “Christmas Waltz” wasn’t without its merits. Harry was given his first major plot all season. It was good seeing Paul again, as was getting a glimpse of Lane after weeks of absence. The hope for the future lay with the sparks between Joan and Don. An expected hook-up may be what Mad Men needs to return to its former glory.

Rating: 6/10

Mad Men airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on AMC.

What did you think of last night’s episode?