16
Aug
2009
Mad Men: Season 3, Episode 1
Out of Town
Sam
Mad Men has proved time and time again to be one of the strongest television shows on TV. Tonight's season premier was no exception. The episode began with a beautifully staged flashback sequence of Don remembering (or imagining as I doubt he could remember things from before he was born and when he was two days old) his birth and the subsequent death of his whore mother. This doesn't reveal anything we don't already know other than Don's real name, Dick, is a cruel joke on his father. It's staged in the fashion of the play and works incredibly well a great way to remind the audience that Don Draper and Dick Whitman are two very different people, something this episode is largely about.

In the B-story of the episode, Sterling Cooper is rapidly changing due to being recently acquired by some Brits. We're introduced to a he-secretary not so lovingly referred to as Moneypenny. I hope Joan and the gang at Sterling Cooper give him plenty of shit. He reminded me of a male version of Pete.

Speaking of Pete, he is informed that he is being promoted to Head of Accounts since his superiors are fired. Of course Pete is over the moon since any chance to gain more power and hang with the big boys gives him his jollies. Much to his dismay, and the audiences joy, Ken is also offered the role of Head of Accounts. Ken, like a normal person, is just happy to move up in the world, but Peter is furious and determined to kick Ken's ass. This is sure to make an interesting storyline throughout the season.

The main story in this episode was Don and Sal taking a trip Baltimore (Wire!) to conduct some business with some rain jacket types. Don Draper being Don Draper, gets a couple of flight attendants to join him and Sal for dinner. Of course, being a married man is only a problem for Sal, while Don takes his blonde bimbo back to his room. This is an interesting choice for Don as he is usually into smart, sophisticated brunettes. What this really displayed was the dichotomy of Don and Dick. Don is into the blondes, he married one he hates Jews, Gays, Blacks, Women like any good WASP would at the time. Dick Whitman likes highbrow literature, deep foreign movies, brunette women who are as smart or smarter than he is. Don Draper took that flight attendant back to his room, not Dick Whitman.

So that leaves our poor, sexually frustrated Sal all alone. Good thing his AC doesn't work for shit and the bellboy sent to fix it can smell the gay on him like everyone else who's watched any episode featuring Sal. Right before Sal could finally get a good tug-job from someone who's not of the opposite sex, the fire alarm goes off. As Don and his Betty stand-in make their way down the stairs Don spots Sal and his would-be lover. Sal sees Don, and probably thinks he's done for. The good news for Sal is that Dick Whitman is totally down with the gay thing. Sure Don Draper may publicly be against such a thing, but Don knows a thing or two about keeping other people's secrets, just ask Peggy.

Everything great about Mad Men is back this season, Joan is still a knockout, Betty is still totally fuckable despite the pregnancy, and most importantly theirs the affirmation that Don Draper is one of the most complex characters on TV. Everything seems to be set up for an interesting season, how will Don cope with having another kid? Will he finally be a good dad or keep up the Don Draper façade he's worked so hard to make for himself. Looks like 1963 will be a crazy year.

A

Notes:

-Did they cast a new kid to play Bobby? The girl is clearly the same but it looks like they wanted the boy to be a bit older, I may be wrong.

-The Don-Sal conversation on the plane on the way back to NYC made me cheer for Don.

-How gut-wrenching was it to see Don's daughter put the flight attendants pin on? Ew.
Tags: Mad Men
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