‘Mad Men’ review: Don Draper gets served dinner

Dig in.

There was a Christmas-y feel throughout Sunday night’s new episode of “Mad Men,” but not everyone was in the mood for some holiday cheer. As a matter of fact, Lane was just about ready to take the toys out of Whoville — or at least the bank account of one Don Draper.

This was a rather tough episode for Don — beginning when Lane came back and told the partners that they had a $50,000 surplus for the year, and they should use it on holiday bonuses. The problem? There was no surplus, and it was just a loan he took out under the business’ name so that he could pay some back taxes back in Britain. It was hard for Lane to get away with his plan (mostly because Don and everyone else wanted to be smart with what they thought would be something nice for their employees), and it resulted in him having to sneak into the office at night, forge a signature in Don’s name, and then take off with it. Meanwhile, while all of this was happening the other partners decided (thanks to Mohawk Airlines going on strike) that they would forgo their bonuses to give them to the staff.

While Don is about to feel the pain in his business account, he already has felt the pain of some of his fine dishware getting smashed against the wall. What happened? It was almost a classic Don Draper crisis — he went out without telling his wife, partied with another woman, got drunk, and then came home late. The only thing that separated this from his past exploits with Betty? He didn’t sleep with the woman he was out with in Joan — who had just found out about the divorce. Megan was still understandably unhappy about this, and in the night’s greatest moment she still forced Don to eat the dinner that she made for him.

In moving away from Don and his dinnertime disaster, this episode also saw Harry taking on an issue of his own — getting his old friend Paul Kinsey to take control of his life as a TV writer, despite writing one of the most terrible “Star Trek” scripts ever (at least since these people are before “Voyager’s” time) in hopes of it getting made.

The problem Harry faced was simple — he had to convince Paul to leave the Hare Krishna group he was a part of, and the way in which he did it was frustrating, to say the least. In going along with bizarre tradition of infidelity that Matthew Weiner seems to think is the only way married people live their lives, Harry cheated on his wife with one of the group’s female leaders, and then decides that he wants to help Paul get away wants she tries to tell him what exactly he should do. No one tells Harry what to do!

Instead, the self-appointed head of TV gives Paul the gift of $500 in hopes of seeing him start a new life — though he also lied to him about the script, which is probably going to make him due for a rude awakening at some point when he meets up with actual writers for a job. We don’t know whether Paul is going to leave … but the indication is pretty much there.

Aside from our infidelity-related frustration, there was once again so much in this episode to love. We are firmly on team Megan at this point and what she brings to the table, and Weiner’s decision to not utilize character (even if they are familiar) unless they suit the story is admirable. We’ve certainly got a nice build-up for the final few episodes, so the question here is whether or not Don will be able to sort out his business (and his finances) yet again.

What did you think about this episode?

Photo: AMC

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