‘Mad Men: Far Away Places’ Review

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2229056512/tt2049172

This week’s episode took us through a single enlightening night for several of our main characters.

Far Away Places was a nice shake up of the traditional formula as we first got Peggy’s story, then Roger’s, and finally Don’s, all of which took place at the same time. It was a good way of keeping us guessing, especially in the few moments where they weaved in and out of each other.

It was great to finally get a major Peggy centric plot since she has been mostly in the background of people like Pete Campbell, who was smartly absent from most of the episode after his meltdown last week. This update on all things Peggy was nice as we really know very little about her boyfriend at this point. Little moments like her trip to the movies make Peggy one of the most fascinating characters on this show even after five years. But that helps us to understand why she is fascinated, and likely attracted to Ginsberg. Speaking of Ginsberg, his development has been pretty much flawless. Having him be a baby born during the Holocaust is a fascinating turn, even if it is never mentioned again. Anyway, Peggy’s story was excellent, and at the moment it happened, I loved how we had no idea why Don was calling her so frantically, but more on that later.

On to Roger, who had one hell of an interesting night. What he thought would be a boring night with his wife’s friends turned out to be something else entirely as the point of the get together was that all the guests would take LSD. I liked that Roger showed just the slightest bit of reluctance to keep him morally in check. The best sequence of the episode was Roger’s crazy trip which started with the funniest moment of the night as Roger heard heavenly music come out of a bottle of alcohol, and quickly shut off when he put the cap back on, much to his delight. The editing here was perfect as it made me question what exactly was real and was not all while feeling very uncomfortable. This plot ended with Roger getting a divorce with the wife that he barely likes and showing just how relieved he is (“Today is going to be a beautiful day!”).

Don’s story was the weakest of the three largely because Megan is just terribly annoying. Especially after what she said to Don. It just made her seem that much more immature. Their plot involved a trip Don was taking for work and using as a brief romantic getaway with his wife. Megan was frustrated at the fact that he was doing work causing a fight and then Don to drive away leaving her standing there. But then, like a child, Megan doesn’t answer his calls and freaks Don out. I loved the way the 1960s setting was used here as Don really had no way of finding her, something unheard of today. But in the end, Megan seems to know where their marriage is heading while Don holds on to it for dear life. I just cannot wait until Megan is gone.

Far Away Places was the weakest episode yet of season five, but I appreciate the different storytelling techniques that the writers tried to implement here. Megan is just too much to bear without seeing other characters inbetween. (8.5/10)

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