Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1/Ep12, “Nixon vs. Kennedy”

Some of the best episodes of the series revolve around historic events of the 1960s. Weiner & Co. not only re-create these landmark occasions for us like a history lesson, but also use them to show us more about the characters on the show. “Nixon vs. Kennedy” is the first of such installments, and it is one of the best. The first half of the episode takes place on election night, and we see how different people handle both the excitement of the returns and the disappointment of the result. The second half of the episode builds to a boiling point in the confrontation between Don and Pete, leading to a cinema-quality flashback of how Dick Whitman became Donald Draper where he left his old life behind and becoming the self-made man we know today. This is an unforgettable episode of “Mad Men.”

Best Scenes: After spending weeks of sleepless nights poring over the contents of Adam Whitman’s special delivery to Don, Pete finally summons the … courage? … to confront Don directly and blackmail him into a promotion. Don calls Pete’s bluff, and the two go face Cooper together, where Pete reveals what he’s discovered about Don. Bert’s reply is priceless and tells us all we need to know about the advertising mogul: “Who cares?”

Best Line: Rachel to Don: “You don’t want to run away with me—you just want to run away. You’re a coward.”

Grade: A+

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