Monday, May 11, 2015

"Mad Men": "The Milk and Honey Route"


  • I would be satisfied if that's Don's last scene. Not histrionic, not mawkish; enigmatic and utterly cool, divested of his car in a random act of kindness, with a mysterious smile. We don't know where he's going but likely not back to New York and the ad biz.
  • Ditto Joan last week: she's out of the rat race and happy with Richard. The end.
  • Same with Pete this episode. All this time he's been a villain we love to hate but with an endearing side; in the decade of this show's timeline he's become a man. Now, give him all the money he wants (wow; Learjet), and he asks for his wife and daughter back.
  • Exciting action in Alva with the American Legion and the boy con artist. Don can be a badass when he has to be but is still kind. Nice fake-outs where you think he's busted for being Dick Whitman. I didn't figure out the boy had stolen the Legion's money. Nice fake-out with the girl poolside too.
  • The Legion hall with its private bar for veterans: where guys who don't do therapy can talk about their experiences with the only other people who understand.
  • Don didn't really kill his CO (as in fragging: assassination, which sometimes happens); it was an accident. "Wojo" from "Barney Miller," the scraggly old American Legionnaire with my glasses, is a war criminal. True, soldiers do what they need to in order to survive, but once those Germans surrendered during the Battle of the Bulge, they weren't combatants anymore. Reprehensible. We rightly executed enemy commanders after the war for doing that to us. He deserves to be in Leavenworth, not Don.
  • Matthew Weiner delivered a note-perfect tear-jerker for Mother's Day while keeping Betty entirely in character. This cold WASP-bred lady won't cry and hug Sally. The encouragement for Sally is suitably subtle at first: Henry can't handle this but I know you can (I respect you). The note is exactly what she'd do, writing about herself but with that affirmation at the end. Sally and half the viewers are sobbing. Henry's not weak by crying. He's one of the show's only good guys; he loves that woman. Don knows his kids are in good hands so he's free to go on his journey.
  • Weiner's smart enough not to be too heavy-handed with the women's lib. Betty and Joan didn't feminist out. Joan's not a women's-libber but was smart enough to try to use that to get her money.
  • Don's no hippie. He's like Kerouac or the Route 66 guys.
  • So who does that leave for the last episode of "Mad Men"? Roger and Peggy. Some say she's really the main character; bring it on.

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