‘Mad Men: Dark Shadows’ Review

Photo Credit: http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men/episodes/season-5/dark-shadows

Things were pretty uneventful in 1966 New York this week as the first signs of redundancy on this great series begin to show.

First off, a bad episode of Mad Men is still far better than just about anything else on TV. It is also a miracle of television that this show has made it this far without recycling plot points to this degree. But I must admit, this was kind of a boring one. We had four characters being focused on this week: Roger, Betty, Sally, and Ginsberg. Each of their stories worked on many levels but just didn’t quite feel all that new or exciting. Honestly, the one thing that Dark Shadows (hehe a movie came out this weekend with the same name) did really well was move time forward while telling these very separate stories.

Much of this season has dealt with the young growing up and the old having to deal with it. Sally and Ginsberg both feel small in comparison to Don, albeit for various reasons. Meanwhile Roger and Betty are dealing with talented younger individuals taking their place.

Sally’s story was probably the best as it dealt with Don’s background as Dick Whitman. It was smart to have Betty begin slowly peeling off the band-aid for her daughter, only to have Don eventually come in and rip it off, saving her from the misery. Don treated Sally like an adult even though she was not necessarily acting like one, despite what she may think. It was a bit annoying to have Sally react in a angry way when the only other character to do so was her mother (Sally better not be being developed to be just like Betty…). I also didn’t like how angry Don got when he found out she knew, especially after telling Megan and seeing how calmly she handles the situation. But the story finished on a high note as Sally made her mother feel equally bad by saying that Don and Megan spoke very highly of his Anna.

Ginsberg’s story was pretty good too as he and Don went toe to toe on a Pepsi Snowball campaign. In many ways it mirrored Roger and Pete’s problems but Don handled this much better than Roger has in past episodes. Ginsberg has been a nice addition to the show as we watch him rise up just based on sheer talent. While it is nice to see how Don handles a situation similar to Roger, it felt a little unnecessary.

Betty’s story was good simply because we have not seen her since the beginning of the season. The fat suit is still shocking to see, but again, how many times can we see Betty and Henry bicker before they decide they have had enough?

Roger’s story was the weakest this week as he needed his ex-wife for a client dinner. While it all made sense this whole thing felt a little forced. It was also really predictable. The second he called Jane it was obvious they would sleep together and that she would get hurt.

But, like a said, a weak episode of Mad Men is still way better than a lot of other things on television. As we enter the end of the season, hopefully more things will actually happen rather than the excess of character development we got in this episode. (7.5/10)

One Response to ‘Mad Men: Dark Shadows’ Review

  1. John Mullins says:

    Not sure if you noticed (and forgive me if you did), but it’s not a coincidence that this episode and the movie that came out this week were both called Dark Shadows. When Megan ws running lines with her friend, preparing her friend for an audition, they were reading from a script from the 1960s Dark Shadows scary soap opera, upon which the Johnny Depp movie is (loosely) based. A nice touch, as usual.

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