Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Closer “War Zone” Recap & Review

All photos from TNT

Congratulations to Kyra Sedgwick, who won an Emmy for Best Actress for her role as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. The recognition was long overdue. ”The Closer” (TNT) continues to get better and better each season, and last night’s new episode, “War Zone,” showed again that Brenda really knows how to work a case and that Kyra Sedgwick knows how to work her character.

Major Crimes is called in to what looks like gang shooting of three men, who turn out to be three soldiers. Two die on the scene, one dies at the hospital, before he can tell anyone what he saw.

Army Major Dorsett (Gary Cole) puts pressure on Brenda to allow him to report this to his superiors as a possible terrorist attack, and he and Brenda clash over this issue. Brenda smartly calls in her husband, FBI liaison to the LAPD, Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney), and neither of them let on that Fritz is Brenda’s husband. Of course, this makes for some interesting moments when the Dorsett takes a few shots at Brenda – behind her back – to Fritz.

Brenda’s team is quickly able to identify that the killing is a case of mistaken identity – one of the original victims has a twin brother who is in the gang life. Despite the connection, Dorsett still wants to report it as a possible terrorist attack and to give the suspect immunity so he will talk. Brenda, still wanting to keep a lid on the case to use it to her advantage, does not want him to report it or give immunity, so she calls in Chief Will Pope (J.K. Simmons) to support her position. The problem is, he doesn’t, and allows Dorsett to get his way – to get immunity for the twin brother because Dorsett thinks he is hiding something. Of course, this blows up in their face, as the twin confesses to a double murder of a convenience store owner and his grandson where another gang member had originally been implicated.

The other gang member in custody, Brenda has him watching the news while he waits for his lawyer. Since the LAPD kept the story on the shootings quiet, the suspect sees no stories on the triple murders the night before. Brenda uses this to her advantage by implying that he missed all the victims, and when he sees that the man he intended to kill is still alive and is allegedly pointing the finger at him for the convenience store murders, he foolishly waives his right to a lawyer and confesses to shooting at the three men, telling them where the gun he used is located. When Brenda exposes their ruse and arrests him for the murder of the three soldiers, he is enraged.

But Brenda, unhappy that the convenience store killer is going to get away scot free with his immunity, decides to have him dropped off back at his home, with no police protection, and several rival gang members waiting for his return.

“War Zone” also continued to show the tension between Brenda and Pope, as Brenda is on the “short list” to be the new Chief, and Pope is not. Near the end of the episode Pope tries to call a truce, realizing his pettiness may be getting in the way. Brenda showed that she may be the better candidate, keeping a cool head and having a solid plan to get a confession. But, I don’t see her promotion to Chief happening; it would take Brenda farther away from the work she likes best, which is being on the front lines of solving tough cases.

Was Brenda being too cold by leaving the murderer with immunity to fend for himself once he was exposed? Maybe. But she was giving him essentially what he wanted – a free pass from the LAPD on the killings, and that didn’t include a free pass with the other gang members.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad Men “Waldorf Stories” Recap & Review

All Photos from AMC

First and foremost, congratulations to Mad Men for winning the Emmy last night for the best drama. It is well deserved.

In “Waldorf Stories”, Don continues to drink too much and as a result, he seems to be forgetting lots of things and his judgment is getting more clouded. He forgets how much he hated a tag line used by a job applicant and steals it, using it as his own. He flirts with a colleague, who has to tell him he’s confusing a lot of things all at once. He takes one woman to bed and wakes up with another, having no recollection of how he got to that point. And he misses an appointment to pick up his kids from Betty, and instead drinks and sleeps the day away. One can only wonder how long Don can keep up the drinking without his whole career falling apart.

Peggy, meanwhile, is clearly feeling ignored and under-appreciated, and, in typical Peggy fashion, finds away to take control of the situation with a condescending co-worker.

Roger, who is working on his memoirs, recalls when he hired Don. The big question in my mind is did Roger really hire Don, or was Don savvy enough to realize that if he got a few drinks into Roger, Roger wouldn’t remember if he hired Don or not? It may be sooner rather than later that Don will be in the same spot, not recalling what he did because he’s had a few too many belts of booze.

Here’s the recap:

As the episode opens, Don (Jon Hamm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) are interviewing Danny Siegel (Danny Strong), who wants to start a career as a copyrighter. The problem is, he has nothing original in his portfolio, only several proposed ads all based on the tag line "the cure for the common cold" plus ads created by other people which he liked. He’s also Roger Sterling’s (John Slattery) wife's cousin. Roger – who is also working on his memoirs - tells Don that his wife will make him pay if Don doesn’t hire Danny.

Peggy also gripes about having to work with the new art director, Stan Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson), who we later see is a real jerk and condescends to Peggy. Peggy is also fuming that she hasn’t been asked to attend the Clio Awards, where Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is up for an award for the Glo-Coat Commercial that Don created – with Peggy’s help.

Roger also reflects on the time where he first met Don, who was working in retail, and who sold Don a mink coat that Roger gave to Joan (Christina Hendricks). Don also included a suggested ad for Play-Doh in with the mink, likely to catch Roger’s eye and give Don a chance at a real job – and Roger thinks this is out of line.

The “Life” cereal people are late for a meeting, so Don, Roger, Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Joan head off to the Clio awards at the Waldorf Astoria. Pete and Joan run into Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) and Ken's colleague, the colleague implies that there is a merger in progress for SCDP. The SCDP gang also sees former colleague Duck (Mark Moses ) making a drunken scene. The team is thrilled when the Glo-Coat commercial wins the Clio for their category, and when they hear the “Life” people are back at the office, they head back to make the presentation, still glowing from winning the award and also from having a few drinks under their belt. When the “Life” people don’t like the first slogan pitched, Don improvises and ends up stealing Danny’s “cure for the common (fill in the blank)” theme, much to Peggy’s shock and dismay. When Peggy tried to bring it to Roger’s attention, he ignores her.

Peggy is also faced with being forced to work with Rizzo, locked in a hotel room, on the Vicks campaign. Rizzo is being his typical slacker self until Peggy calls his bluff about his fixation on nudity and she strips bare, forcing him to do the same. He’s showing his arousal and Peggy uses that to her advantage to get him to concentrate on the campaign and they finally come up with something.

Pete, meanwhile, is upset to find that Ken’s colleague wasn’t talking about a merger, he was refereeing to Ken getting a job with SCDP. Pete is apoplectic with Lane, but later settles down and when Ken is called in for a lunch meeting with Lane, Pete talks to Ken separately and makes it clear that Pete is in charge.

Don has had a night of partying, which causes him to flirt with Faye Miller (Cara Buono) who rebuffs him, saying "I think you're confusing a lot of things at once." He later ends up with one brunette in his apartment, and wakes up with a blonde waitress. He’s also late for picking up the kids, and Betty calls him to berate him. After he gets the waitress Doris out of his apartment, he has another drink and then slips back to sleep, wasting away the whole day.

The next day, Peggy tells Don that he stole Danny’s idea, and Don solves the problem by hiring the very diminutive Danny.

Roger also flashed back again to when he hired Don, seemingly after Don ambushed him at the office and asked him to have a drink before lunch. When Don arrives at the office the next day, he tells Roger that Roger hired him, and clearly Roger doesn’t remember. Who knows, maybe Roger was too drink to remember that he hired him – or too drunk to remember that he didn’t. Either way, Don got his foot in the door and it started his stellar career - a career that seems to be teetering on the edge of a liquor bottle.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Mad Men “The Rejected” Recap & Review

All photos from AMC

Mad Men “The Rejected” was a slow paced episode and devoid of any real drama. It had a few people feeling rejected, but Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) always seems to find a way to take lemons and make lemonade. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) also seems to land on his feet.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) are working hard to soothe the concerns of their biggest client Lucky Strike and Lee Garner, Jr. (We didn’t see much of Roger in this episode, likely because John Slattery was directing.) Peggy gets the green light on her “indulge yourself” campaign study for Ponds and Don allows her and Dr. Faye Miller (Cara Buono) to use some of the secretaries as a focus group. Pete Campbell gets the bad news – the firm has to dump the Clearasil account because of a conflict with Ponds, and Pete has to break the bad news to his father in law. When Pete heads to his office to sulk, he finds Harry Crane at his desk, who invites him to have lunch with former colleague Ken Cosgrove who works for a competing agency.

In the elevator, Peggy makes the acquaintance of Joyce Ramsay (Zosia Mamet), who is a photo editor at Life Magazine, which is in the same building as Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Joyce shows Peggy a portfolio of female nude photographs which interest Peggy, and Peggy also seems to miss that Joyce seems more than interested in Peggy.

When Pete later meets with his father in law, Tom (Joe O’Connor) to tell him about dropping Clearasil, Tom erroneously thinks Pete is there to tell him about the news of Pete’s wife Trudy being pregnant, and Tom spills the beans to Pete. Pete never gives him the bad news about Clearasil, and heads home to share the happiness with Trudy.

At the focus group, Faye easily gains the confidence of the secretaries while Don, Freddy, and Peggy watch from behind mirrored glass. But when the group turns to sadness as one of the secretaries talks about her failed relationship, Don’s secretary Allison (Alexa Alemanni) gets upset, focusing internally on her fling with Don and his later indifference and avoidance. It seems clear that Don is squirming as well, and quickly Allison can’t keep herself glued together anymore and she sobs and quickly exits the room. Peggy follows her to calm her, and tells her that "People cry in these things all the time." But Allison, seeming thinking that Peggy knows what she and Don did, says, "I can't even say anything because I know he's right out there…You must have gone through everything I've gone through." Peggy seems to have a realization to what Allison refers, and, wanting to distance herself from any thought that she has gone through that, responds that "Your problem is not my problem." Clearly, Peggy doesn’t want anyone to think that she had to sleep with Don to get where she is today.

Later, Allison tells Don she can’t work with him and is quitting, asking for a letter of recommendation. When Don tells her to “Type up whatever you want, and I'll sign it," she picks up an object off his desk and throws it in his direction, breaking some glass, and she storms off, most of the office watching. This includes Peggy, who has stepped up on her office furniture to peer into Don’s office through the windows at the top of their shared office wall.

When Pete and Harry meet Ken (Aaron Staton) for lunch, Ken accuses Pete of speaking ill about him behind his back, and Pete apologizes. Later, Pete and Trudy have Trudy’s parents over for dinner, and Pete uses the opportunity to tell Tom that SCDP must dump Clearasil but now he wants all of Vicks Chemical. Tom knows full well that Pete is using the baby news to strong arm him into getting a bigger account, calling him a son of a bitch.

Meanwhile, Joyce has invited Peggy to a party in a large loft, and she offers Peggy a joint and then makes a pass at her. Peggy pulls back and tells her that "I have a boyfriend," to which Joyce responds "He doesn't own your vagina. " Peggy quips right back, "No, but he's renting it. " Later, Peggy seems to show interest in the indie movie that is showing, and when she meets with Joyce’s friends Abe Drexler (Charlie Hofheimer) and Kellogg (who did the nudes), both men scoff at Peggy’s profession in advertising. But when the police raid the loft, Abe pulls Peggy into a closet to hide, and they share a kiss. Peggy later seems to be very interested in the bohemian lifestyle and what seems to be the budding counter-culture. The next day, though, Peggy gets the news that Trudy is pregnant, and after congratulating Pete, she heads to her office and bangs her head on the desk.

Don spends the night home alone, trying to type a letter of recommendation for Allison and stopping after completing even one line. When he gets to the office the next day, his new secretary is an old, gray haired, and cranky-ish Miss Blankenship (Randee Heller). The only good news that Don hears is from Pete – he’s on the verge of signing Vicks Chemical. When Blankenship screws up the scheduling and Faye shows up to tell Don that the focus group rejected Peggy’s “indulge yourself” concept and wants to focus on connecting Ponds with matrimony (something I think Freddy was angling for all along) Don says "Hello, 1925,” he puts down her methods and getting people to talk, saying “Not only does it have nothing to do with what I do, it's nobody's business." Don also wants the campaign to help people think about a product in a new, different way.

When Peggy leaves for lunch with Joyce and her friends, she and Pete, who is also in the reception and lobby area, share a gaze.

At the end of the day, Don is still at the office when the floor is being cleaned, and he heads home to his dark and lonely apartment. As he approaches his door, an elderly couple who lives next door are in the hallway, the old lady wheeling in her groceries, and the old man, standing at the open door, hung up on asking her "Did you get pears?" Seemingly exasperated at his repeated asking of the question, she tells them they will discuss it inside.

It’s a lonely end to and episode that offered rejection for some, but advancement for others. Pete, who had to give his father in law the news that SCDP was dumping Clearasil, turned that rejection into landing an even better account. Of course, the opportunist Pete used the news of a baby on the way as his leverage. Pete may actually be more cold and calculating than Don, as Pete seems to do whatever he needs to do to advance his standing in the business, even if if means using his family.

Peggy has to reject the advances of another woman, but the encounter also nets her a new experience into a more bohemian culture and maybe a relationship with another man. Somehow I think that the counter-culture movement will eventually draw Peggy even further in, and whether it will change her or just help her to change in the world of advertising is yet to be seen. Of everyone at SCDP, Peggy seems to be the only one who may be prepared for the cultural upheaval that will soon be upon them.

Allison is feeling the ultimate rejection and betrayal from her boss, Don, and later completely rejects him by quitting. Don clearly feels something about what happened, but when he struggles to write a letter of recommendation, we can only wonder if he feels guilt or if he isn’t quite sure what he feels – maybe he feels nothing. At the end, when the elderly woman wanted to save the discussion about the pears for the inside, it may mean that sometimes even the simplest, mundane things don’t belong aired out in public, echoing Don’s sentiments with Faye. Don, of all people, knows that sometimes the leaking of even the smallest secret can have devastating effects.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Conan O’Brien’s New TBS Promo

Conan O’Brien’s new show won’t be starting on TBS until November, so to keep up the excitement and anticipation, here’s a video of a new commercial short being aired on TBS. The commercial has a Terry Gilliam/Monty Python look and feel to it – enjoy!

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Mad Men “The Good News” Recap & Review

All photos from AMC

It seemed like there was no good news in this episode of Mad Men titled “The Good News.” Well, maybe the only good news comes when Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) tells Don Draper (Jon Hamm) that the company is still financially in a precarious spot, but that 1964 was a magnificent year for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

The rest of the episode provided a mixture of sadness and laughter, salty and sweet, and placed its focus on the New Year holiday and the lives of Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks), Layne Price, and Don Draper – AKA Dick Whitman.

Joan is paying a visit to Dr. Emerson (Remy Auberjonois). She and her husband Greg (Sam Page) appear to be planning a family and Joan wants to make sure that, despite two abortions, she can still have children. The doctor, who unabashedly smokes in the examination room (typical for the times) gives her the all clear. When Joan tries to use her feminine wiles on Lane to get a few days off in early January (to spend some baby making time with Greg), Lane sees right through it, saying "I understand that all men are dizzy and powerless to refuse you, but consider me the incorruptible exception" and adds "Don't go and cry about it," causing Joan to storm out of the office in a huff. The news that she can't get the time off makes Greg less than happy, and Joan is worried that he will be off to Vietnam before they know it. The predictable outcome here would be for Greg to be killed in Vietnam, but all we can do is wait and see what happens. While I previously thought Joan’s marriage was long over, it seems the two of them have patched things up. When Joan accidentally cuts herself in the kitchen and Greg uses his medical skills to stitch her wound, it is almost as if one can see what made the two of them fall in love and get married to begin with. While Greg used typical doctor distraction technique in order to get Joan’s focus off her cut, there still seemed to be some love in that marriage.

Don, meanwhile, has planned a trip to Acapulco, with a stop in California first. He’s there to see Anna Draper (Melinda Page Hamilton) and is surprised to find her with a huge cast on her leg from a bad break. He’s there as Dick Whitman, and meets Anna’s sister Patty (Susan Leslie) and Patty’s daughter Stephanie (Caity Lotz). They are both there to help Anna with her chores since her broken leg hinders her ability to move around easily. Stephanie is college age and beautiful, instantly making me worry that Don will make a move on her. In fact, I was a little surprised that Anna seemed completely unconcerned that Don would do exactly that. Knowing what she knows about Don, if I were her, I would keep any female family member away from him.

After spending some time with Anna and Stephanie at a restaurant, Don offers to take Stephanie home and of course makes a move on her. Don can’t seem to control himself when he’s attracted to someone, even if she’s young and the niece of his friend Anna. Stephanie resists his flirtation and then drops a bomb on Don that Anna has advanced bone cancer – the one thing that seems to stop the sex addict in Don right in his tracks. The other big problem is that Anna does not know she is sick and Stephanie swears Don to secrecy. He is appalled that they are keeping Anna in the dark and we see Don sitting up all night, seemingly thinking about what to do next.

He decides not to go on to Acapulco and spend some quality time with Anna, which included painting a water stain on her living room wall. (Nothing like waking up and seeing Don Draper in your living room in his skivvies with a paint roller in hand. By the way, maybe it was just me, but in this sequence of scenes, it seems Don’s paint job on the wall looked different in a few of the shots.) When Patty arrives and sees Don in his underwear, painting, she gets upset and storms out. Don follows her outside – of course he had the sense to put on pants before doing so – and Patty tells him he does not have a say in what happens to Anna, all he is to Anna is a “checkbook.” Don does the right thing and leaves, signing "Dick + Anna '64" on the bottom of the wall he painted. In my opinion, I think Anna knows that she has something more than a broken leg and she wanted Don to go so he wouldn’t have to have any guilt about doing so.

Rather than go one to Acapulco, he heads back home and to the office. When he gets back to the office, he is surprised to find Lane there. Lane was supposed to head to England with his family for the holiday. Earlier in the episode, Lane had sent flowers to Joan to apologize for his earlier behavior towards her, and also wanted to send flowers to his wife as well. There is a huge mix-up with the flowers, causing Joan to receive a dozen roses from lane saying, "Darling, I've been an ass. Kisses, Lane" (which were meant for his wife) and Joan flings the flowers at him in a rage. When he questions the secretary and she blames the florist, Joan fires her on the spot. Needless to say, with Lane’s marriage already in a precarious position, the flower mix up didn’t help - his wife got the note and flowers meant for Joan.

After Lane commiserates with Don over some liquor, Don decides they should hit the movies. After an extensive review of what was currently playing, they land on a (I think) Gamera movie, with Lane having a blast, yelling out Japanese gibberish to the annoyed theatergoers. He and Don later have dinner, with Lane drinking ever more, and using a huge porterhouse steak over his groin, he yells out to the other diners, "I got a big, Texas belt buckle. Yee haw!" Lane also tells Don that his wife has left – and that he loves New York City.

Later, at a nightclub, a comedian sees Lane and Don together and makes jokes that they are gays, but changes his tune when two lovely ladies arrive to keep Lane and Don company. The foursome makes a quick exit for Don’s place, where both Don and Lane are "serviced.” The next morning, Lane pays Don back for the girl – Don saying it was only $25. Lane, back to his reserved demeanor, tells Don "Thank you for the welcome distraction."

Back at the office, the holidays over, Joan sits at the head of the conference table with Lane, Don, and other key staff members saying, "Gentlemen…Shall we begin 1965?"

“The Good News” was an excellent episode bringing a whole range of emotions, moving from seeing the heartbreak on Don’s face when he finds out Anna is dying, to Lane having huge fun and letting loose. We also saw a different side of Joan – usually portrayed as a woman in complete control, she completely panics when she accidentally cuts herself. But there was also a sort of depressing cloud hanging over the happy parts. We all know what Vietnam will likely mean for Greg – even if he doesn’t get killed, he will see a lot of senseless death; and even though Lane has his moments of fun with Don, he still seems lonely and empty. And Don, leaving Anna when he knows he will likely never see her again, goes on with his life of hookers and booze. When all is said and done, it may be a new year, but not much has really changed.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rizzoli & Isles “The Beast In Me” Advance Photos

Here are a few advance photos from the new episode of Rizzoli & Isles titled “The Beast In Me” which will air on September 6 at 10PM ET on TNT (check your local listings) starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

All photos from TNT

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Rizzoli & Isles “I’m Your Boogie Man” Advance Photos

Here are a few advance photos from the new episode of Rizzoli & Isles titled “I’m Your Boogie Man” which will air on August 30 at 10PM ET on TNT (check your local listings), starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

All photos from TNT

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rizzoli & Isles “Money For Nothing” Advance Photos and Preview

Here are a few advance photos from the new episode of Rizzoli & Isles titled “Money For Nothing ” which will air on August 9 at 10PM ET on TNT (check your local listings. The episode stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, and features guest star Mark-Paul Gosselaar. A video preview of the episode is included after the photos.

All photos from TNT

Preview of “Money For Nothing”

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Mad Men “Christmas Comes But Once A Year “ Recap & Review

All photos from AMC

It’s a Mad Men Christmas, which means there’s a lot of drinking and not much happiness. The episode painted a lonely and depressing picture of Christmas for Don Draper.

The episode opens with Betty (January Jones) and Henry (Christopher Stanley ) and the kids looking for a Christmas tree in the stereotypical Christmas tree lot. Sally (Kiernan Shipka) runs into her friend Glen, who seems to have similar experiences with Sally on being a child of divorced parents. Later, Glen calls Sally on the phone and continues to paint her a picture of what will be in store for her with her new father, and that she will likely be moving out of the house soon. When he later calls Sally’s house and gets no answer, he knows they are not home and decides to take one of his friends and trash the house, and we see them throwing food all over the kitchen. When Betty, Henry, and the kids return to find the mess, Sally finds that her room appears to be untouched, and Glen left a lanyard that was attached to his knife that he used to cut twine to wrap the Christmas trees. Sally may feel that Glen is protecting her and looking out for her, but I see a psycho stalker in the making. Thankfully, we don’t see much of the depressing Betty in this episode, as there was a big enough dark cloud hanging over the episode just from the goings on at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.

Freddy Rumsen (Joel Murray) brings the Ponds account to SCDP, and he is also clean and sober. He doesn’t want Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) touching the account, and get paired with Peggy (Elizabeth Moss). Peggy later gets on Freddy’s case because he’s being too old fashioned with his approach to the Ponds campaign, but later, when her boyfriend comments about how Peggy seems to be too old fashioned when it comes to things like sex before marriage, she later apologizes to Freddy for her criticism and then has her fling with her boyfriend.

The big story of the episode is Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his continued decent into alcoholism. His neighbor, a nurse (Nora Zehetner) has noticed his nightly struggle with his keys to open his apartment door, and one night helps him into his room and into bed, taking off his tie and shoes so he can sleep comfortably. She seems to resist taking advantage of his drunken state and he is too drunk to care.

When Roger (John Slatterly) finds that Lee Garner, Jr. (Darren Pettie) head of their biggest client Lucky Strike, is in town and expects a big Christmas party at SCDP, Roger realizes they must scale up the company Christmas party, much to the dismay of the bean counter, Lane Pryce (Jared Harris). Garner clearly knows how important he is to the survival of SCDP, and seems to want to humiliate Roger by making Roger wear the Santa Claus suit. Roger complies, and when he gives Lee his Christmas gift of a Polaroid camera, Lee takes photos of Roger in the suit with office employees – such as an apologetic Harry Crane (Rich Sommers) sitting on Roger’s lap.

Don, meanwhile, seems to distance himself from everything. Earlier, he refused to participate in exercise conducted by a friend of Bert Cooper’s (Robert Morse) and his associate Faye (Cara Buono). She asks the employees to complete a brief psychological test, and when the first question relates to describing their own father, Don balks and leaves the room. Don’s father is his Achilles heel, and his refusal to participate in the process told Faye volumes about Don. He later gives her a non-apology apology, and then leaves the Christmas party and heads home.

Don’s drinking is turning into a real problem, and it begins to cloud his judgment. When he gets home, he realizes he doesn’t have his keys, and his nurse neighbor does not appear to be home. He calls his secretary and she finds his keys on his office floor and heads over to his place to return them. When she gets there, she immediately tends to him with aspirin. He takes them but then makes a move on her and she resists and first. But she can’t resist Don for long, and caves in to him. The next day, Don returns to the office and while he was drunk the night before, he clearly knows what he did with his secretary. He calls her into his office and seems to act like he wasn’t aware of what happened, and gives her an envelope with her Christmas bonus. As he continues to talk she realizes that he either does not recall what happened between them the night before, or wants them both to forget it. She seems both devastated and ashamed. When she later opens the card, she finds two $50 bills and a bland thank you from Don inside. Granted, he had already planned to give her the bonus, but she had to feel like she was being paid for services. She goes on working with a sad look on her face and tears welling in her eyes. Later in the evening, Don takes the Christmas present for his kids that his secretary bought for him, and leaves the dark and empty office.

Christmas, which is usually a time of happiness, seemed to have only cast a black cloud over everyone. SCDP is hanging by a thread, and their biggest account, Lucky Strike, has a real jerk for a leader who seems to know the power he wields over the company. With cigarettes reaching the era where smoking is scorned, it is only a matter of time before SCDP must either find a new big account, or grapple with a more demanding client who wants a clean face on a dirty habit. Sally also thinks she has a friend in Glen, and is too young to see that his destructive behavior is dangerous. Peggy comes to the realization that she can’t play straight laced too long if she wants to move her life in the right direction; out of everyone in this episode, she seems to see more positive things in her life than negative.

Don’s drinking is reaching critical levels, and it is becoming very obvious to everyone around him. Roger seems not to care, seeing that he and Don seem to think drinking is just part of the ad game. But everyone else – even Don’s neighbor – sees he is heading for big trouble. How long will Don be able to hold things together before alcohol gets him into real and big trouble? Will SCDP be able to get out from under Lucky Strike and get a few more accounts to stabilize the company? The show paints an environment that is like a rubber banD pulled too tight, and one can only wonder if it will be able to snap back, or if it will break – and when.

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