Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”

I just watched the series premiere of The Leftovers, the new show from former Lost co-showrunner Damon Lindelof. Considering Lindelof’s involvement, it is unsurprising that there are a quite a few similarities between The Leftovers and Lost 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 7, “Waterloo”

Rest in peace, Bert Cooper. The first half of the final season of Mad Men concludes with his passing away, and the ramifications it has for the agency and the rest of the characters. He gets one final substantial scene with Roger before his passing. At first, it appears to be an inconsequential one, which is perfect for conveying how sudden and unexpected death can be. Roger has no idea that this will be his last conversation with Bert, so Roger behaves in his usual, snarky manner. Later, this gives him cause for regret; Roger would much rather have spent their final conversation telling Bert how much he meant to him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 6, “The Strategy”

This is the episode I have long been waiting for: the return of Bob Benson! Actually, more exciting is that the ice finally thaws between Peggy and Don, who gradually reconcile their past differences and become close with one another again, both literally and figuratively.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 5, “The Runaways”

Don Draper’s past rears its head again in this episode in the form of Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece, whose reappearance throws Don and Megan’s marriage into further disrepair. Stephanie seems to have lived a wild life since we last saw her in season four, as she is now pregnant, filthy, and dressed liked a hippie. She contacts Don from Los Angeles asking him for money, and he directs her to stay with Megan until he can fly over to see her, whereupon trouble ensues.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 4, “The Monolith”

This episode finds Don struggling mightily to adjust to the terms of his resumption of work at SC&P. Every encounter Don has seems to make him feel small and wounds his pride. Sometimes this is simply a product of the terms of his return. For instance, he catches Jim, Roger, and Lou sitting down for a meeting in the conference room near the beginning, and he’s clearly jealous of being excluded from such high-level affairs. His discontent is magnified by how sharply that meeting contrasts with the mundane and irrelevant task with which he is momentarily occupied: helping the obnoxious Michael move a couch. Likewise, when Harry introduces Don to Lloyd, the man who is installing the computer at SC&P, Harry diminishes Don’s status by introducing Don not only as one the partners, but one of the agency’s three creative directors. It’s accurate, but it still irks Don.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 3, “Field Trip”

It seems as though Don has indeed learned some lessons from his previous behavior. After the success Don had reconnecting with Sally last week once he simply told her the truth about what was happening in his life, he gives truth-telling another shot this week with Megan, the next-most important woman in his life. Unfortunately, however, he doesn’t seem to realize that Megan is much too close to his lies – and that he’s lied to her for much too long – for the truth about his status at SC&P to go as smoothly with her as it did with Sally.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 2, “A Day’s Work”

This week’s excellent episode takes place on Valentine’s Day, 1969, and the episode title, “A Day’s Work” is a rather ironic one when taken to refer to Don, Peggy, Pete, or Joan, all of whom have odd or frustrating work days: Don performs some much needed work on his personal life, namely his relationship with his daughter; Peggy is so distracted by her love life (or lack thereof) that she can’t concentrate on anything productive; Pete has a major accomplishment taken away from him by the other partners, and Joan spends the day thanklessly mopping up the messes created by the petty and selfish decisions of the creative personnel, particularly Peggy and Lou.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mad Men Season 7, Episode 1, “Time Zones”

Season 6 ended with Don and Megan’s marriage seemingly on the rocks: Don had completely lost interest in her, and his indifference had driven Megan to the point where she appeared ready to give up as well, especially once he reneged on his promise to move to Los Angeles with her. Thus it is somewhat surprising that Don and Megan begin season 7 in the midst of a seemingly happy routine: Megan lives in Los Angeles, pursuing her acting career, while Don makes time to visit from New York. Had Don and Megan somehow healed the distance between them and recommitted to each other in the time between seasons? Are they really in a happier and healthier place?