Mad Men: "Dark Shadows" - A Very Betty Thanksgiving

The Barker Chappell Daglas reviewing firm convenes in Les's office this week to tackle Sunday's Mad Men, "Dark Shadows." An excerpt:


I’ll add one more name to your roll call of malice, albeit one with an asterisk. Pete’s sunken into a funk so deep that he can’t even spite someone without winding up a chump. Twice he tries to twist the knife in a rival—first by touting himself as the face of SCDP to the New York Times, later by rubbing Howard’s face in his cuckoldry—and twice his efforts backfire because nobody takes him seriously. I suppose we should take it as a good sign that he’s still fantasizing about Naughty Dream Rory*, and not about, say, shooting everyone he knows in the face.

*Am I crazy, or for just a second did that strategically worn coat cross the line of what’s allowed on basic cable in the 9 p.m. hour? In other news, no I do not still have eye strain.

I’m ambivalent about “Dark Shadows” overall. While it had a ton of wonderful scenes (including the triumphant return of Roger Sterling Bribery Theater!), something about the whole felt off. Not that the moments didn’t hang together, but rather that they hung together a bit too snugly. Instead of weaving two or three emotional threads through the episode, as the best Mad Mens do, everything this week was driven by the same one. Each character’s particular story was appropriately gut-wrenching and well-tailored to his or her psyche. But packed all into the same hour, the effect was like a theme episode of Glee, with “Jealousy!” standing in for “Madonna!”

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