Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Boy, was that William Butler Yeats guy onto Matt Weiner! Yeats' description of a world gone mad, with the beast slouching toward Bethlehem, was in answer to the near-apocalypse of World War I. In this episode, there are "Sopranos"-ish flashbacks and Tarantino-like screwings with chronology. They're weird and jumpy but somehow work, when dealing with the dropping of beans, acid, and fecal bombs.
You have to admit that the announcement "He was caught with chewing gum on the pubis!" is a new one, a big surprise no matter what you think of the season so far. Don had earlier suggested that you'd need a cold shower after driving the new Jaguar. But who could possibly come up with a fix for that post-wad-o'-Doublemint predicament?
Wow! I thought "Mystery Date" was easily the best (if the most visceral, violent and upsetting) episode this season so far. "Haunting" just doesn't cover it. As with the symbolic landscape in such fairy tales as Hansel & Gretel, or Little Red Riding Hood, the woods are scary, dark and deep. And Don had miles to go before he slept -- and/or strangled someone, whichever came first.
To paraphrase Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, and/or fat suits so grotesque that their characters turn into the Macy's-Parade-balloon version of themselves. That's certainly true for Betty, the former Mrs. Draper, who was never a great mind, to be sure, but managed always to hold on to her huge beauty and Grace Kelly-like style. And since John Hamm (who plays her ex, Don Draper) directed this episode, I'd say that while they are divorced in their fictional roles, there's also perhaps some previously undiagnosed tension in their offscreen …