9:45pm: It's been a special weekend for me. Saturday, my beautiful bride and I married each other. Today, we further our new marriage through America's best celebration of fidelity: Mad Men (note: my wife came up with that line.)
Don Draper continues to be unfaithful, just as in previous years. In his personal life, Don has used infidelity to kept his spirit alive. At work, however, Don's infidelity has robbed him of SCDP's prized Heinz baked beans account. Is it time for Don's moral crisis? Is this week's title of "The Flood" evocative of a biblically cleansing flood, clearing away all of Don's sins?
Well, no. It's a midseason episode of Mad Men, so tonight's flood is probably just another trickle in Don's decline. The greatest hope we have tonight is Harry Crane. Harry's bold and inspiring stand for a partnership last episode is the first decisive action we've seen all season. Here's hoping for more Harry tonight.
See you in the live blog!
9:55pm: Hey, Runaway Jury is on AMC! I just heard about a $110 million jury award, which in the world of Hollywood is certainly never appealed and paid out immediately.
9:59pm: I don't quite know what Runaway Jury is about, but it appears that John Cusack unethically stole money from Gene Hackman, but it's totally OK because Gene Hackman was also unethical. It's like Robin Hood, but with Southern accents.
10:01pm: Don Draper crashes to the concrete below, and Mad Men begins.
10:02pm: Peggy Olson is looking at a $28,000 apartment, which is about $190,000 in today's dollars. It's a 1300 sq.ft. apartment in Manhattan with a parking space, which is approximately $97,000,000 in today's market.
10:03pm: Something happened with Bobby Draper, but (a) I was working on the inflation calculation and (b) I really don't care about Bobby Draper.
10:04pm: Back at Don's apartment building, where Don and Megan are dressed up for the Ad Club of New York's award ceremony. The doctor and Sylvia are heading to DC for some reason and look just awful compared to Don and Megan.
10:05pm: MICHAEL GINSBERG is getting set up on a date! Beverly is the young lady's name, and she is transfixed by MICHAEL GINSBERG's wispy mustache. Who wouldn't be?
10:06pm: Don and Megan have arrived at the Ad Club awards, and Don flat-out refuses to say hello to Peggy Olson.
10:07pm: Peggy and Megan are both up for an award on SCDP's Heinz baked beans commercial. Neither work at SCDP and baked beans have also left the building.
10:09pm: MICHAEL GINSBERG is actually on a date with Beverly! He has already called her sexy, admitted he's a virgin, and said that she smells great. She calls him handsome, which shows her sense of humor.
10:11pm: Paul Newman is making a keynote address at the Ad Club awards about the 1968 presidential election. Appropriate.
10:13pm: Martin Luther King has been assassinated in Memphis. In the show.
10:14pm: Henry Francis to Betty: "They're going to burn down the city." This is 1968, so you can guess who "they" refers to, because this is 1968 and Henry Francis is a horrible person.
10:15pm: Abe is leaving Peggy at the Ad Club awards to go to Harlem. Peggy is staying with the awards show because she is a Corporate Sellout. In a related note, Mad Men is sponsored by Lincoln.
10:18pm: Commercial break! I have spent the time complimenting my lovely wife. I was about to write "new wife," but that could imply "old wife," and I'm not that much of a Draper yet.
10:19pm: More linkage by AMC between its great shows (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) and…its other shows (The Killing, etc.). It's a good effort, but not a winner.
10:20pm: Pete is at his bachelor pad, and he's called Trudy about MLK's assassination. He offers to come home, mainly because a political assassination is a great come-on line. Trudy declines because, much to Pete's consternation, there is zero linkage between MLK's death and his infidelity.
10:21pm: MICHAEL GINSBERG is at home after his date ended due to assassination. MICHAEL GINSBERG does see a linkage between MLK's death and his continued lack of play.
10:22pm: Megan speaks in French with her Marxist, Quebecois father. He is surprisingly unsympathetic to MLF's death. But hey, Megan won an award at the Ad Club event, so problem solved.
10:24pm: Don is really not calling the doctor and Sylvia to check up on them. He can't be. Are you serious? Don is getting this careless about his infidelity? What is wrong with the writing?
10:25pm: Peggy is at her office with a co-worker impacted by MLK's assassination. I really don't know what to add that's remotely funny.
10:26pm: Pete and Harry are looking for their secretaries, all of whom are taking time due to the assassination. Harry is incredibly upset that the MLK news is pre-empting advertisements. Pete is upset at Harry for being upset.
10:27pm: Pete calls Harry a racist on precisely zero basis.
10:28pm: Pete's defending MLK's honor. I'm sure MLK didn't ask for Pete's defense.
10:29pm: Dawn reports to work and tells Don she'd rather stay than go home, which is enflame due to the MLK riots. She says that a lot. It may be time to move deep into Jersey.
10:30pm: Commercial break! We're going to have eggs for a nice 10:30pm snack.
10:32pm: Back to Mad Men. It's some dude that looks like Will Forte, coming to see Roger and Don about a property insurance ad campaign. He was very creepy earlier and he's even creepier now.
10:35pm: Creepy near-Will Forte (Randall on the show) says that the spirit of MLK made him question his job. I really don't know what's going on, and now he's quoting tribal chiefs from years earlier.
10:37pm: Don is at home, watching news of riots from DC. Betty calls because Don forgot to pick up the kids. Don notes that driving children through a riot scene is unadvisable, but Betty guilts him into endangering his kids anyway.
10:39pm: MICHAEL GINSBERG cannot sew, cannot cook, cannot clean. MICHAEL GINSBERG's father says that he needs a woman. My new wife, who is independent and keeping her last name, is most displeased.
10:40pm: Commercial break! Jon Hamm is trying to convince me to drive a car and fly on an airline, but I get so absorbed in the majesty that is Jon Hamm that I can't remember either brand name.
10:42pm: AMC has Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club on this Wednesday. I cried profusely during one of them. It's not the one you think it is.
10:43pm: Back to Mad Men. Megan and two Draper children are going to a vigil for MLK in Central Park, while Bobby Draper is hanging out with dear old Don. Don is recovering from a hangover, which makes him a great father.
10:45pm: Ha. Betty forbade Bobby from watching TV for a week, so Don takes Bobby to the movies instead. First time I've laughed at Mad Men in a few episodes.
10:46pm: Don continues to win Father of the Year by smoking in front of his kid.
10:47pm: Real estate news! Peggy does not get her apartment, so she will continue to live with Abe in squalor. Abe is not upset, so Peggy is upset. Peggy and Abe clearly do not get along at all and share no values at all and should move on right now and WHY, PEGGY, WHY?
10:49pm: Peggy and Abe reconcile by agreeing on where to live in New York. Relationships are built on less, I suppose. Anyway, she will move on at some point. Right? RIGHT? Maybe the fourth Mrs. Draper.
10:51pm: Henry Francis talks to Betty about how unethical his mayor has been in managing NYC out of the riots. Seeking to avoid corruption, Henry is planning to run for the State Senate. That's the second time Mad Men's made me laugh tonight.
10:52pm: So…is Betty really ready to be an elected official's wife? With the hair and the Season 5 issues and everything? Just saying.
10:53pm: Commercial break! In Massachusetts, we now have a scratch-card lottery game where players can win a Cadillac. The gentleman in the commercial appears to actually have a BMW or Mercedes or other similar status car, which helps to connect the game with the common man.
10:57pm: Back to Mad Men. Don is drinking and Megan is complaining.
10:58pm: Megan is admonishing Don for being an alcoholic. Don responds by praising parenthood, which subtly reminds Megan of her miscarriage. That's not in the script, but that has to be the subtext.
10:59pm: Don's doing a drunk, quiet version of his Kodak Carousel pitch from Season 1. Megan was maybe 14 years old when he gave that pitch.
11:00pm: Pete is at his bachelor pad, getting takeout food and eating alone, because Mad Men is a morally upright show that punishes infidelity.
11:01pm: Betty is looking in the mirror at one of her fancy skinny dresses, wondering how she'll fit into it. Perhaps she can remove the fat suit and her black-haired wig.
11:02pm: Nightfall at Don's apartment, when drunk daddy dearest is still with the Draper kids. Son Bobby to Don: "I keep wondering…what if someone shoots Henry?" Don seems pleased by the possibility.
11:03pm: Don looks out onto a city torn apart by riots and drinks. The event has clearly touched him in a way that alcohol never could, and he breaks down in a flood of emotion. Well, no, not really. Don just drinks a lot more. If I wanted to watch a man drink himself to death, i'd rewatch Leaving Las Vegas and be done with it in a couple hours.
Final score: MICHAEL GINSBERG wins tonight's Very Special Episode of Mad Men. The prospect of MICHAEL GINSBERG in a relationship is full of comedic and dramatic potential. The rest of the night showcased the characters' superficial reactions to MLK's assassination. This wasn't like the episode featuring JFK's assassination. Nothing really happened that changed any character, even characters living in the riot zone. Perhaps it was because the country was (sadly) less surprised by MLK's fate than JFK's. Or perhaps it was because Mad Men just needed a Very Special Episode to make the show seem more timely. The only plot line advanced tonight was Don's alcoholism — not even Don's infidelity, either at work or at home, advanced tonight.
I wanted more Harry Crane tonight. Peggy Olson was a good secondary storyline that built out her character, but in a way that made her more attached to Abe. I do not get the pairing, but maybe love is blind and I don't need to get it. I want Harry to make a bigger play for a partnership next episode.
Thanks for reading along during tonight's Mad Men episode! See you next week.