Mad Men: “The Crash” Season 6 Episode 8 Review

Photo Credit: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-mad-men-recap-the-crash-don-speed-20130519,0,202729.story

At it’s best, Mad Men is fun and fascinating, which is exactly what we got with The Crash.

A lot happened (or maybe nothing happened) in this weeks entry as the office continues to feel the repercussions of being an ad agency with a car. Chevy no less.

Their latest client is working them hard, forcing them in the office on weekends. Ted’s friend succumbs to his cancer right in the beginning, the first of many death motifs in this episode.

The events are set up perfectly to get everyone on drugs, from a doctor, of course, saying that they increase productivity. God it was hilarious watching the employees of SCDP go bananas all weekend while on drugs. Stan is trying to race everyone in the office. Ken has a hidden talent, even with an injured foot, and Don spews his usual inspirational mumbo jumbo to the point of parody. It was legitimately hysterical, and about as self referential as the writers have gotten on this show.

But this is Mad Men, so everything action has a much worse consequence. While Don is supposed to be working on Chevy he blacks out for a day, due to the drugs, and has no memory of what said or did.

The drugs have another effect on him though, as he remembers his days at the whorehouse. He has a chest cold, as prescribed by one of the ladies, who later takes advantage of him. Did anyone notice that she looked oddly like Betty?

The flashbacks also added to the death themes that have run throughout the season. It felt as if Don’s life was flashing before his eyes. These were clearly memories that he was having, not flashbacks weaved into the story by the writers.

Betty was back this week, looking more like her old self. The brunette hairdo and excess weight are gone, and Betty Francis is back to being queen b*tch.

When the kids are dropped off to Don and Megan’s apartment, we see Sally forced to play babysitter as Don is working and Megan has plans. But someone enters the apartment, claiming to be Don’s mother. Too bad she was black…

Still though, with the flashbacks present in this episode, it was a smart way to build tension, as if we would meet this “Grandma Ida” at the whorehouse. It didn’t quite lead to anything, but it certainly kept us guessing. After all, Sally certainly doesn’t know better. After the police are called and everything is taken care of, Don apologizes to Sally, to which she says “I don’t know anything about you.” That’s a sad thought for a daughter to know nothing about her father. Who knows? Ida could have been a mother figure to young Don at one point. Yet after six seasons, we, and Sally, don’t know all that much about Don.

This also lead to a classic Betty snapping at Don scene. She even went after Megan a bit in this one, with her right by her side. Betty may have lost the weight but she hasn’t lost any of her moxie (that’s as kind of a word as I’ll use).

Then this whole storyline of the drugs and the robbery was tied together in a neat little bow with Don saying to Ted, who know even less than we do about Don, “Everytime we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.”

Peggy had a fun little story this week too. She kissed Ted recently and now she’s kissed Stan. Poor Abe, but I can actually see a Peggy/Stan romance being compelling. Always interesting to see where Peggy lands.

The Crash was a classic episode because it showed us all the things we love about this show without being redundant. If anything, it had some great self referential humor while still expanding the characters and scenarios. With the show still being as strong as it is, it’s easy to forget that we are heading towards end, a time when TV writers love to comment on their own work. For most shows, that happens after a rough season, but Mad Men shows no signs of slowing down. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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