Monday, August 11, 2014

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S1/Ep5, “5G”

A tremendous and momentous early episode where the façade that is Donald Draper starts to peel back and reveal the buried life of Dick Whitman. While the Dick Whitman storyline has lost some steam in recent years, Don’s identity theft drove much of the first four seasons of this show. Here we meet Dick’s younger brother Adam, a heartbreaking character who has floated through life rather than grabbing ahold of it like his older half-brother; the contrast between the two is striking, and helps further define in our minds just who Donald Draper is, even while raising more questions about him. The sidebar storyline about Ken Cosgrove getting a story published is a bit of a distraction, but the thread leads to a deeper understanding of the competitive nature of life on Madison Avenue—particularly the lengths one Pete Campbell is willing to go to achieve success.

Best Scene: Don confronts Adam in his little brother’s hovel of an apartment, handing him $5,000 to start a new life—create his own version of Donald Draper. During this brief meeting, Don defines his personal philosophy and his character in one simple line: “My life only moves in one direction—forward.”

Best Line: Don: “No one wants to look like they care about awards.” Betty: “But you do.” Don: “Isn’t that sad?”

Grade: A

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