"When is everything gonna get back to normal?" - Roger
This quote sums up the theme of Mad Men, Season 5 (or at least the first two episodes).
This season, it's young vs. old, the new way vs. the way things have been done for decades. And Bert, Roger, and Don are caught on the wrong end of progress. Bert has accepted his role as a relic, floating through the occasional episode like Betty White on an NBC sitcom. Roger is unable to cede his power to Pete, his last hire, and a young man beating him at his own game. Don is not quite sure where he falls. Will he fade into oblivion like Bert, letting Peggy take over, or will he fight for his own relevance?
This season, so far, reminds me a lot of the Tea Party "Take Back Our Country" mantra. But once the "country" has evolved to incorporate new people and new ideas, can it ever really go back to what it was? Does anyone even want that, except the people who held all the previous power or the people who are scared of change?
(Also, was it just a coincidence that this episode was called "Tea Leaves?")
Don's role in all of this was played out backstage at a Rolling Stones concert. Mr. Heinz, who was not a fan of Peggy's sexy bean ballet idea, wants Don to ask the Stones to record a version of "Time Is On My Side" for a bean commercial, because his daughter just thinks the Rolling Stones are the grooviest. Don and Harry have to wait backstage, getting nowhere, talking to a couple of teenage girls who just want a few minutes in Mick Jagger's pants. Don, who at one point in his life was a Mick Jagger of sorts, is now worried for the young girls. Perhaps he sees Sally in a few years? Perhaps he's just concerned that, if Betty is really dying, he's going to have to be both the father and mother figure in Sally's life?
Because, yeah, Betty has a thing on her throat and everyone's real scared because people just love Betty so. And she's now wearing a fat suit. Part of it is probably just January Jones's baby weight and the stunt Man Hands from Seinfeld. But former fashion plate Betty Draper is now wearing muumuus and finishing Sally's ice cream sundaes. It's the first time I've truly identified with Betty. *shoves a half-eaten peanut butter and Nutella sandwich in her mouth*
- This episode was directed by Mr. Jon Hamm of Jon Hamm's John Ham.
- Harry pronounces "Italian" as "Eye-talian." Classay.
- Now that Betty is cancer-free, can we get the Betty-all-hopped-up-on-diet-pills we've been asking for since Season 2?
- Henry is not pleased that Betty told Don about her troubles. Get over it, Henry. Go to Michigan and hang with Governor Romney.
- What Roger calls Don's new secretary: "It's always darkest before the Dawn." Also classay. But it's Roger, so it's charming.
- Megan is bathing herself in commercials. See, she's very serious about her craft.
- New Mohawk copywriter Michael Ginsberg is kind of awesome. When his stomach growls, it sounds like the F-word.
What did you think of the episode?