Mad Men continues where last week’s excellent ‘The Doorway’ left off, The Collaborators is an excellent episode that’s more akin to Mad Men episodes of the past than what we got last week.
From the beginning, when we see Don fake his lack of cigarettes so he can go back upstairs to meet the doctors wife, Sylvia (Linda Cardellini), we see the genius of this programme already at work. As soon as Don has seen Sylvia (and she has tossed her hair and blushed when seeing Don and realises she isn’t dressed up) we know exactly what’s happening next.
The great parts of this episode for me was once again seeing Don’s behaviour paralleled in other cast members. This was particularly apparent with Pete Campbell bringing a girl to his New York apartment in a very Don Draper like fashion, yet not managing to pull it off with his date not accepting a drink, nor any food, nor music. This of course comes back to bite him later on when we discover Trudy has known of Pete’s discretion’s for a while and now wants rid of him. This is another great example of Pete wanting to be Don but not quite reaching his level. Don never got caught, nor did he ever let a woman dictate to him how he would continue to live his life.
We also see further Don like characteristics come through from Peggy as she tries to give her creative team an unsuccessful pep talk. The side story regarding Heinz Ketchup was well played out and is looking to provide conflict between SCDP and CGC. Whilst it seem’s like a round about way to get Don and Peggy in a room together again, it seem’s that this will be the way and I doubt it will be long before we see Peggy back at SCDP, or out of the programme for good. She can’t compete with Don and her morals won’t let her stay at CGC so it’ll be interesting to see what the writer’s decide to do with her.
Jon Hamm is at his usual best in this episode and we get to also see a glimpse of his past, as a young Dick Whitman growing up in a whore house. The parallels to him then giving money to Sylvia post-sex are obvious and we’re now beginning to get a clearer picture of why Don has such an unhealthy attitude to woman (without the excuse that it’s the 1960’s and every man was like that). The scene at the end with him approaching his doorway and then deciding to just slouch down outside it was great.
It’s becoming obvious that Don is no longer in love with Megan, and the revelation that she was pregnant, and wants to have kids may signal the end. Don has done this before and will already be playing out the scenario again in his head. His relationship with Sylvia is growing, but seems to be doomed from the off. There’s something about the way everything is playing out that says to me this may be the time Don gets found out. Of course this is just speculation, but things have been too easy for Don thus far.
Notable absentee’s this week included Betty, which is a shame, I wanted to see if she had any more epiphany’s regarding her hair. There was also only one small scene for Joan this week, as last week’s episode. Hopefully she’ll get more of a storyline in the coming weeks as Christina Hendriks really is one of the best part’s of the show.
The Collaborators was another fantastic turn for Mad Men, and as this is likely to be the penultimate series, it makes sense that some storylines may start to get wrapped up soon.