Regarding last night’s rather insane episode of Mad Men, I’ve been avoiding the web with all its analyses—I’d like to simply list my own observations before finding out the rest of the story over at Slate and elsewhere. SPOILER ALERT:
I knew we were in for a good episode when, at the outset, viewer discretion was advised. That’s like seeing those warnings of “N” and “SC” on HBO back in the day (Two Moon Junction, yes!). My wife guessed the situation before I did: threesome. It’s 1969, Megan is living that sort of life in Laurel Canyon, free love, why not? Except when Don kisses her friend, Megan has this fleeting look of jealousy. But then she and Amy start making out and, well, I forget what I was going to say.
Oh, right, more Manson foreshadowing! Who shows up at Megan’s place but Don’s “niece” looking like a dirty hippie. She’s very pregnant (as was the late Sharon Tate). The father is in jail, no doubt associating with other unsavory characters. And he gets out soon. Also, the niece now knows where Megan lives. That can’t be good. But wait, is the niece supposed to represent the victim or the killer? Doesn’t matter—for the conspiracy theorists, it’s just more fodder. (And yes, in all likelihood, nothing will happen. Megan will read about the Manson murders, which will happen in a few short months—August 8, 1969.)
And then there’s poor Michael Ginsberg. Looking back, it’s quite obvious the young ad man was falling apart. He’s saying whacky things. But for some reason, we just brush them off—perhaps it’s just sexual frustration. But it’s worse than we thought. Listen to Michael’s rants. By the end, he isn’t making any sense. He solves the computer problem by slicing off his right nipple? And then he offers it to Peggy, like Van Gogh giving his ear to the prostitute. Just before she opens the box, I thought this could be something weird (I suspected a bodily fluid).
When computers of this scale were first introduced into offices, they probably did drive people crazy. I am sure over at the other forums, there are revelations about what this all means (maybe references to Alvin Toffler or Marshall McLuhan). But as my better half points out, in this day and age, we are all used to such white noise, an ongoing electrical hum, even that high-pitched sound that our ears occasionally pick up from monitors. But in 1969, it must’ve been unsettling.
Finally, there’s Don’s appearance at the Philip Morris meeting—that commanding voice and mastery over the pitch has been missed. Cutler wants Don out but this scheme may keep him in the game. No doubt there’ll be more surprises in the two episodes left.
Photo courtesy of AMC