Tag Archives: Sally Draper

Mad Men: Season 6 Finale

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: Season Six of “Mad Men” has gained the notorious reputation for starting and stopping story lines without developing them in ways that reveal and decode its enigmatic characters. The finale, therefore, had to somehow tie up all of the loose ends of the season so we could be satisfied going into what will be the final season of “Mad Men.” The audience wants a climax, some resolution, or potentially a revelation. Instead, we had a fast-paced, at times absurdist finale that awkwardly stitched up some of the dangling plot points, while simultaneously seeing Don Draper fall apart at the seams. I had to let go of wanting that elusive climax and resolution, because in fact that’s not always how life works. And when that happened, I saw the best season finale of “Mad Men” to date.

NAVA BRAHE: Although I agree with everything Sonia said, I still need to indulge my inner cynic and say that everything Don did in the conference room during the last two episodes was a direct result of his not being able to let go of his irretrievably screwed up youth. Tugging at the heartstrings of the St. Joseph’s Aspirin and Hershey’s people was the most spectacular manipulation, and really dirty pool.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Seeing Don Draper stop lying was a fascinating way to end Season Six. And I would be remiss not to point out the shot of Peggy, her back to the camera, finally in charge at SC&P in a visual tableau obviously meant as an homage to the Mad Men logo itself. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Commissions and Fees

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: It seems futile, to me, to attempt to eulogize Lane Pryce. For a man so utterly complex and so consistently facing feelings of inadequacy, lack of fulfillment, and conflicting performances of identity, it would not be far fetched to wonder whether he would take his own life. This episode, it can be argued, was incredibly predictable. But that is not a detriment to the episode as a whole, for the acting on the part of Jared Harris, in particular, but also of Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, and Christina Hendricks stuns the audience into yet another Mad Men-induced trance. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Dark Shadows

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: I have come to terms with the fact that I might be the only person in the world who has any sympathy for Betty Hoeffstadt Draper Francis. However, this episode really made an attempt (a successful one, at that) to show the insecurities of a woman “who has everything [she] wants.” Her pettiness from seasons past perpetuates and progresses into this episode driven by her her reluctance to accept things that are out of her control. Yet seeing Betty know which cards to play against the new Drapers, and how Don and Megan react to Betty’s strategy, is very interesting to watch. Continue reading

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Mad Men: At the Codfish Ball

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: “Someday she will spread her little legs and fly away.” Wow, “Mad Men.” As if the show couldn’t get more carnivalesque, the amount that we are allowed to see of male and female sexuality in this episode, in this time period, is brought to the forefront in kaleidoscopic chaos. The women are costumed as wives, mothers, whores, and go-go girls. The men put on their respective uniforms of social acceptability. Yet the tags are switched around, identities are put into question and concern. We can’t believe our ears. We can’t believe our eyes. We can’t believe that’s Peggy in an apron holding a ham. Or can we?

HOWARD MEGDAL: So much to love in this episode once again, as brilliant in emotional interplay and subtle moments as with the visual imagery Sonia broke down.
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Mad Men: Mystery Date

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: An episode filled with uncharacteristic terror, suspense, and agitation, the episode titled “Mystery Date” of “Mad Men”‘s Season 5 left me, quite literally, breathless. With Hitchcockian camera pans and dialogue to make the blood curdle, I am wondering if this was Matthew Weiner’s attempt at exposing the precise horror of the characters, their lives, and the times all playing off the disjointed tones of the first two weeks. Hallucinations of sex and murder, a grandma with a kitchen knife, a killer on the loose, and that ominous accordion over Joan’s shoulder in the Italian restaurant were all physically and psychologically violent attacks on the characters of “Mad Men.” What made this all even more terrifying was the fact that all of these characters we know so well, their insecurities and their deepest fears. When we see them manifest on screen, all at once, to everyone, in the span of 60 minutes… one can’t help but feel the shock.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Oh, like you, Sonia, the highlight had to be seeing Joan give Greg his dishonorable discharge. This was unlike any Mad Men episode before it, and yet not a departure from either the characters or something that took the show to a place it could have difficulty navigating. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Tea Leaves

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SONIA BRAND-FISHER: For the first time in the entire series of “Mad Men,” I feel unrestrained and sincere sympathy for Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis. All of our jaws dropped when the svelte Grace Kelly look-a-like we…

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Mad Men: Season Finale in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: What is one supposed to do when Don Draper proposes to a brunette, his secretary, in bed, in a room that is not his one, on a coast that is not his own? Are we supposed to compare him to Roger Sterling proposing to his twenty year old secretary in Season 3, who was supposed to bring vibrancy at a time when the world around him seemed to embody an emotional wasteland? Are we supposed to feel joy and tear up at Megan’s sweet and genuine reaction? Did we see this coming? The Season 4 finale of “Mad Men” seemed overwhelming with conflicting emotions of disgust and relief, surprise and verification, distrust and acceptance.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I’ve heard plenty of discussion about what the choice of Megan over Faye represents, but not this: the choosing of Don Draper as the identity moving forward over Dick Whitman. And further, this doesn’t represent a backslide from the work Don has done on himself- it represents an embrace of it- a third way, really. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 10 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: I left this week’s episode of “Mad Men” feeling uneasy. The last shot of Don Draper’s secretary, Meagan, applying her lipstick as Draper watches with that infamous look made me cringe. A few shots before, I was reveling in the idea of Draper and Faye Miller being an item. She’s a head strong woman with the perfect garnishes of confidence, class, and care that Draper seems to need right now. They seem to have an adult chemistry to their discourse that contrasts beautifully with Draper’s previous marriage to Betty’s Coca-Cola grin. Episode 10 of Season 4′s “Mad Men” seemed to focus on the couples: Don and Faye, Joan and Roger, Lane and Toni, even Pete and Trudy who emerges so disgustingly in a maternity outfit that bares frightening resemblance to a pimple.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I want the same things for the characters in Mad Men that Sonia does, but I see their reactions quite differently.

Is Don ready to move on from Faye? Well, we have a ton of evidence suggesting that he is ready to let her in like no one before-with the identity information only a small part of that (witness the afternoon of the panic attack, for instance). And the evidence against is that he watched Meagan put on lipstick. Well, my goodness, who wouldn’t? The whole office has noticed her, but Don’s been too wrapped up in solving his own spiral to do so. I took that last moment as Don’s ability to notice beauty again, nothing more. Sonia and my wife both disagree. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 9 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: In typical “The Trouble With Harry” fashion, Ms. Blankenship’s body is awkwardly muscled around, shifted, thrown, slammed and ultimately wheeled into the great beyond. When Don Draper mutters “poor thing” under his breath as he sees his deceased secretary face down on her desk, I misinterpreted one of the secretary’s weepings for giggles, as they happened to mirror mine. The dark humor of this event was highly welcome after the dark, deeply depressing thematic happenings of Season 4′s episodes of “Mad Men.” Episode 9, I feel, incorporated many different possible moods and tones into 47 minutes: shock, fear, excitement, glee, disturbance, and total catharsis as Joan Harris, in that infamous red dress, in a moment of passion, gives herself to Roger Sterling behind a city stoop. In one of my favorite episodes of this season thus far, my heart broke for almost everyone between the laughter and the tears.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I am in agreement with Sonia on the overall quality of (and notably, the range of emotional notes hit within) the episode, but wish to focus on a few other aspects of this week’s show. Namely: Peggy Olson’s political awakening. Continue reading

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