TV in Review: Mad Men, “Christmas Waltz”
May 22, 2012 8 Comments
Hey, so who is it who voices the dramatic and gravely “previously, on Mad Men” that jump-starts our weeks on Sunday nights? Anyone know? This week, it became evident from those clips that we were to revisit some characters who haven’t been seen a lot of late. Lane! with his English accent. Joan! with her red hair. Lane! now using his English accent to berate Pete.
It’s a Christmas episode, so Roger started drinking early.
If there’s a story spine to “Christmas Waltz,” it may be that Lane needs money. He sets out to get it in various ways. He arranges for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce to receive an extra $50,000 bank loan. I never figured I’d be nostalgic for the days when banks used to loan money based on friendship and a glass of whiskey. At least they were lending money to businesses, rather making bets on unregulated dog races called derivatives.
When Lane embezzles, I enjoy it because it’s not done with typical sensationalism, but with intriguing precision, as we even see him forging the check.
Harry Crane gets a lot of play this week. He still works with TV…looking very hands-on.
HARRY: I can’t predict the future, Lane. I don’t know what the Russians are going to do. We may be living underground by Lincoln’s birthday.
Paul Kinsey is also back. He’s gone Hare Krishna and it’s weirding out Harry. (Wait until he sees 1967.) But Harry may stay for the girls.
The Mother Lakshmi stuff didn’t resonate with me. I’m okay with the whole sex-as-a-weapon kind of thing, but Anna Wood didn’t convince me in the role. I didn’t believe her when she was being all come-hither (which is fine as it turns out that Lakshmi had an agenda), but particularly didn’t believe her when she revealed said agenda. She was too self-aware, or maybe I just didn’t understand her game?
Megan’s anger at Don seemed realer to me, although she was also a little calculated, aiming her dinner at the wall but being careful to avoid hitting the pretty painting. Earlier, she had taken Don to see Jean-Claude van Itallie’s play “America Hurrah”…
Now I’ve sat there hundreds of times, thousands maybe, with a can of beer in my hand. I like to have a can of beer in my hand when I watch the beer ads. But now, for no reason I can think of, the ad was making me sick. So I used the remote control to get to another channel, but each channel made me just as sick. The television was one thing, and I was a person, and I was going to be sick.
…but it was the transition from Megan’s silence to Paul and Harry talking about a Star Trek spec script in the diner which exemplifies why I love Mad Men for refusing the predictable paths.
Or how about how Joan’s tirade against the empty-headed receptionist leads to her and Don shopping for Jaguars?
Yeah, Joan got served, so she deserves a drink.
I found that “Christmas Waltz” lived up to its name. Set at Christmas, of course, and twirling around, somehow managing to be quiet and yet have a lot happen, all at the same time. I don’t know how they do it, but I’d like another dance, please.
MEGAN: Do you want any cheese?
AMC first broadcast Season 5, Episode 10 of Mad Men on May 20, 2012.
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