Mar 10, 2015

Mad Cap: "Signal 30"

Left to right: Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm
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 5
"Signal 30"

"I know cooler heads should prevail, but 
am I the only one who wants to see this?"
- Roger Sterling (John Slattery)


Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) is deciding to have people from the office come over. Meanwhile, Ken Cosgrove (Aaron Staton) shares with Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) that he is a writer. Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) also decides to see a British client after a football match goes well. During the dinner, there's a few mishaps. Everyone now knows that Ken is a writer. As things progress, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Roger Sterling (John Slattery) and Pete decide to go to a brothel. Pete sleeps with a woman whom he met at a driving class. Don reveals that he has been to a brothel before, as he grew up in one. Pryce gets made that Pete stole his client and decides to beat him up. Sterling advises Ken to give up writing, which he does by killing off his name and coming up with something new. Everyone is jealous that Pete beat them to punching Pryce.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Vincent Kartheiser
Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser)

By the end of this episode, Pete is seen beaten up and all bloodied thanks to a punch from Pryce. He is miserable and wonders what exactly is going on in his life. Then again, that is how most of the episode goes. He wants to impress everyone with a fancy dinner and a great sound system. However, nobody seems to pay attention to it. Even his relationship with Trudy Campbell (Alison Brie) seems to be waning, especially since he doesn't want to talk about their newborn. He is forced to continue to wade through life with a lot of people hating him and women only sleeping with him and never progressing in a relationship. What is to become of Pete? He clearly has some demons and they all come out in one of the best episodes of the series so far.

Best Scene

Everything is said in that fist fight. Pete wants to be accepted. He is likely upset that he is still under Ken in terms of respect. He wants his name on the marquee. However, he has to deal with people whom he feels are incompetent. As he leaves, he runs into Don in the elevator and desperately seeks somebody to hang out with. His bruised face cries like a dog wanting attention. He can't sink any lower and it doesn't seem like playing the good guy is going to do him any favors. He is a troubled individual who clearly needs to work some things out. Where he was unsympathetic in the past, he is particularly compelling here in ways that are unexpected, heartbreaking and reflect why he still manages to work as a character despite occasionally screwing people over.

UP NEXT: "Far Away Places"

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