• Season 4, Episode 5: The Parent Trap
    Sally's acting out, Roger's acting out, Betty's acting out, and Don, for once, is sober. The amazing thing about "Mad Men" is how easily it switches tones.-from Borscht Belt /absurd (Don's new secretary's not-so-delicate Harvey Fiersteinesque voice and Monty Pythonesque moves), to slapstick (all that awkward bowing around the Japanese aliens) to icky/poignant/shocking (Sally's masturbatory scene) to horrifying (Betty's slap) to madcap caper (Don's unexpected, and expert, outsmarting of the Honda review process.) And somehow it all works, while also connecting the many layers of meaning.
  • Season 4, Episode 4: Peaches & Herb & The L Word (OK, It's Pears)
    Despite the bummer of a title, what's not to like about "The Rejected," an episode that begins with a warning about "brief nudity" and then goes on to show a directing credit for Roger Sterling, uh, John Slattery? As it turns out, Slattery is as wry and agile a director as he is an actor. As an episode, "The Rejected" is about contrasts: running hot and cold, (everybody's looking for ice! Don says he's gotta go -- there's a fire!) giving and yanking away, painful replacements, extractions, pimple cream vs. cold cream, and mostly, young vs. old.
  • Season 4, Episode 3: Breast Vs. Thigh, And What Pryce Lane?
    An excellent episode, all about East vs. West, medicine, men and their use of meat, it opens in a doctor's office, with Joan talking babies with her smoking Ob/gyn. She admits to having had two "procedures" (abortions? with Roger's babies?) but is given the all clear, fertility- and conception-wise. The purpose of the visit surprised me, since I thought that by then, her marriage, and hubby with the rapey tendencies, had disappeared into the ether.
  • Season 4, Episode 2: 'Christmas Comes But Once A Year' -- Days Of Wine And Ruses
    It's Christmas in August, and things are upside down. At least that's what it seems like when suddenly Freddy Rumsen is the dry, stand-up guy in the office while Don is the pathetic, falling down drunk. Yikes, talk about Donny Darko!
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