Mar 9, 2015

Mad Cap: "Mystery Date"

Ben Feldman
Welcome to Mad Cap: a daily rundown of every episode of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. During this time, I will be compiling my thoughts and highlights as we travel through every moment and season of the Emmy-award winning drama that has come to define modern TV. The goal is to be a refresher on every moment for Don Draper and his band of advertisement executives leading up to the final season. Stay for all of the shocking moments and the brilliant acting performances, and make sure to chime in with your thoughts and criticisms on why the show means something to you.

Season 5, Episode 4
"Mystery Date"


"That was for nothing, so look out."
- Pauline Francis (Pamela Dunlap)

Plot:

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is feeling sick. Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) decides to take business for him. During a meeting, Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) decides to do an advertisement pitch on the fly, which doesn't go over well with Don. When Betty Francis (January Jones) and Henry Francis (Christopher Stanley) are out of town, Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka) stays with Pauline Francis (Pamela Dunlap), who scares her with strict rules. She also has a newspaper that talks about a murderer. Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) is glad to have Greg Harris (Sam Page) back home. However, he must leave almost immediately, which upsets Joan. Don decides to take a sick day and hallucinates that he strangled Megan. Sally and Pauline bond when Sally becomes scared of the murderer story and needs some solace. Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) befriends secretary Dawn Chambers (Teyonah Parris) and the two end up drinking together. Peggy offers her a promotion, but she refuses. Don's life is fine, though he still is sick. Joan tells Greg to leave and never come back, which is rather upsetting to him.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Christina Hendricks
MVP:
Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks)

It has been awhile since we have gotten a great Joan episode. In all honesty, she is a disappointing character in terms of character development compared to everyone else. She serves the purpose and has a fair share of interesting jobs, but she doesn't get to do much beyond have an occasional witty remark. Maybe she is written that way. However, in this episode, it almost seemed cruel to have any other stories going on because the Harris romance falling off the rails was a heartbreaking and fascinating watch that reflected the actress doing what she does best. In fact, it is probably one of her bests as Joan to begin with. Those final moments between Joan and Greg are phenomenal yet tragic. Here's hoping that they continue to flesh out her character.

Left to right: Hendricks and Alyson Reed
Best Scene

How exactly do you react to your husband saying that he is going back to war? After not seeing him for a year, the fact that he is going to turn around and leave in 10 days is just traumatic. Joan has to tackle it while Greg tries to enjoy what little time he has with his family. It doesn't go over well and during dinner, the news breaks that he volunteered to go back. This sets Joan off and shifts her into the anger spiral that results in her so upset that she decides to break up with him once and for all. It is a painful decision, especially when things started off so happily, but it is one that felt justified and powerful in ways that Joan isn't always known for. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how her character progresses as a single mother figure.



UP NEXT: "Signal 30"

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