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California Literary Review » Don Draper California Literary Review

Mad Men Recap: “The Better Half” (Season 6, Episode 9)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 28th, 2013

Poor Peggy Olson. She was doing so well, the last time we checked in on her. But in the world of Mad Men, no one gets to balance work, love, and happiness. It’s just not in the cards.

Mad Men Recap: “Man with a Plan” and “The Crash” (Season 6, Episodes 7 and 8)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 22nd, 2013

To Don, every woman is either a mother figure or a whore. If Don isn’t in control, no one is. He lost his virginity to a whore (no surprise), he’s sleeping with a woman now who doesn’t really want to be his whore (no surprise), and he’s got some mommy issues to work through (really no surprise).

Mad Men Recap: “For Immediate Release” (Season 6, Episode 6)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 7th, 2013

Pete Campbell, a vindictive child, tells his wife about her father. He sits Trudy down at the kitchen table and tells her he saw Tom “with a 200 pound Negro prostitute.”

Mad Men Recap: “The Flood” (Season 6, Episode 5)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 30th, 2013

A tragedy truly does cause one to reach out – but the stupidity of this move is very un-Don-Draper. Trying to contact his mistress by calling her husband with no real reason for it? What’s happening in his head? Did he fall in love when he shouldn’t have?

Mad Men Recap: “To Have and To Hold” (Season 6, Episode 4)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 23rd, 2013

Don asks Sylvia to remove her cross. She tells him she won’t, and he turns it around so he can’t see it. She tells him she prays for him to find peace. What she doesn’t yet realize (or maybe she does; Sylvia is an interesting character, beautifully played by Cardellini) is that Don Draper will never find peace.

Mad Men Recap: “The Collaborators” (Season 6, Episode 3)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 15th, 2013

All the main characters are tangled in complex collaborations, whether willingly or unwillingly, sexual or chaste. Everyone’s wrestling with guilt in this episode, handling and mishandling situations as a result. Don Draper is, as ever, standing at the center of the tempest, acting as though he’s a port in a storm when really he’s rocking harder than anyone else.

Mad Men Recap: “The Doorway” (Season 6, Episode 1-2)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 9th, 2013

In the opening scenes of the episode – up until about seven or eight minutes in – everybody else is talking at Don, and he, that master of manipulation, doesn’t say a damn word. It’s eerie, actually. His wife, who’s evidently come into some fame from TV roles, is voluptuous and sexy in a way Betty Draper never was – and she’s reveling in it.

Mad Men Recap: “The Phantom” (Season 5, Episode 13)

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Julia
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Rhodes

June 12th, 2012

Don Draper has a rotten tooth that’s causing him immense pain. He refuses to have it extracted. Sounds like a great metaphor for our dapper protagonist, no? Such is the groundwork beneath the season finale. Don wanders through the episode with haunted eyes, asking for ice to cool the evident agony of his aching tooth. […]

Mad Men Recap: “Commissions and Fees” (Season 5, Episode 12)

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Julia
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Rhodes

June 5th, 2012

Well. Did you see that coming? I suppose I did, but it was still a stunner of an episode. A few weeks ago when Lane forged a check to himself, I wrote, “We’ve seen some of our other characters hit rock bottom, but this is Lane Pryce’s miserable rock bottom. Pete and Lane are both […]

Mad Men Recap: “The Other Woman” (Season 5, Episode 11)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 29th, 2012

I’ve known a lot of men and women who quite simply can’t watch Mad Men. Watching the powerful men on the show mistreat their spouses, lovers, and secretaries week after week proves too much for some people. I’ve always taken a wicked pleasure in watching the women of the show pave the path on which […]

Mad Men Recap: “The Christmas Waltz” (Season 5, Episode 10)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 21st, 2012

The Christmas episode of Mad Men always feels strange, as the show airs in spring and summer. Watching the characters wander around chilly, under-saturated New York City streets in heavy wool coats while we on the east coast are breaking out summer linens and shorts is always bizarre. Last night’s episode was exhilarating and melancholy […]

Mad Men Recap: “Dark Shadows” (Season 5, Episode 9)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 14th, 2012

This week marks the return of Betty Francis, the wounded whale. Betty, struggling to lose weight, bookended last night’s episode with her strategic consumption. Weiner continued to poke at the plight of the Jews in 1966, and Don’s secret, shameful past is bubbling to the surface without any disturbing effects. There are only four episodes […]

Mad Men Recap: “Lady Lazarus” (Season 5, Episode 8)

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Julia
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Rhodes

May 7th, 2012


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Can you believe we’re already two-thirds through season five? As Pete’s high school crush said a few episodes ago, “Time feels like it’s speeding up.” In last night’s “Lady Lazarus,” Mad Men‘s cast of characters was forced to visit some unappetizing truths. Pete Campbell developed an unfortunate obsession with a pretty, discontented housewife. Peggy snarked […]

Mad Men Recap: “Far Away Places” (Season 5, Episode 6)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 23rd, 2012

In last night’s surreal episode of Mad Men, everybody was taking trips, with or without their loved ones. There’s trouble in paradise with Peggy and Abe, and Peggy’s dancing ever closer to the edge of her patience with being a lady in a man’s world. Roger and Jane take a trip together and come back […]

Mad Men Recap: “Signal 30” (Season 5, Episode 5)

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Julia
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Rhodes

April 16th, 2012

Pete Campbell is a horrible, smug, insecure creature whose very existence makes everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce just a little bit less civil. A good bit of viewers probably rolled their eyes last night when it became clear this was a Pete episode. It’s a credit to Matthew Weiner and the writing team that […]

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