Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1, Ep11, “Indian Summer”

“Mad Men” episodes come in several forms. “Indian Summer” blends a couple different categories: it is a meditation on a central theme (repressed sexual tension) but also is one of those eps that pushes the story forward in giant leaps. In this single installment, Peggy makes her first pitch and earns a raise, Don becomes a partner in the agency, Roger has a second heart attack, and Don’s brother Adam commits suicide, setting in motion the main storyline for the end of the season. It’s one of those episodes that feels twice as long as it actually is, and I mean that as a compliment. There’s so much going on here, weaving all the threads together makes for one of the best episodes of the first season.

Best Scene: A salesman peddling air-conditioning units stops by the Draper household while Betty is home alone. In a wonderfully ambiguous scene, Betty almost lets him upstairs into the bedroom to “take some measurements,” but then decides against it before they reach the top of the steps. The man is clearly disappointed by not closing the deal. Which deal? Well, I guess we’ll never know. This scene is made all the more important by Don’s outrage later when Betty tells him of the brief encounter; Don is free to philander all over New York City (including a scene just a few minutes earlier with Rachel Menken), but the rules are different when it comes to his wife.

Best Line: Don on the creative process: “Peggy, just think about it—deeply—and then forget it. And an idea will … jump up in your face.”
Other Best Line: Bert to Don: “I’m going to introduce you to Miss Ayn Rand. I think she’ll salivate.”

Grade: A-

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