Thursday, March 19, 2015

Re-watching ‘Mad Men’: S3/Ep1, “Out of Town”

As Season 3 opens, everyone is getting used to the new Sterling Cooper (including we the viewers) under its new ownership structure. The “big” event of this episode occurs when Don and Sal, on a road trip to Baltimore, both get caught in compromising positions when a fire alarm goes off at their hotel. But the episode belongs to Vincent Kartheiser, as Pete Campbell goes through the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being named head of accounts … and then discovering he’s sharing the job with Ken Cosgrove. Pete is a terrible person, but Kartheiser is so good in this ep, he makes us feel sympathy for the competitive crucible Pete’s new masters have locked him in. As “Mad Men” season premieres go, this is a good one.

Best Scene: Don and Sal play off each other while dining with stewardesses, as on the spot Don creates a story that they’re feds investigating Jimmy Hoffa’s money. Don literally lies about his entire life, and a scene like this shows how easily deception comes to him. Which comes in handy at the end of the episode when Sally finds Don’s stewardess’ pin in his luggage in front of Betty.

Best Line: Trudy to Pete: “You’re an ambitious man, and an ambitious man is never happy with what he has.”

Grade: B