‘Mad Men’ season 6, episode 5 review: Addressing Dr. King

Mad MenEven though we may often find ourselves sitting around and feeling frustrated over the fact that “Mad Men” rarely chooses to lift the veil on much of its content, episodes like this make the waiting all worthwhile. “The Flood” was an intriguing and emotional hour, as it took on what was a devastating moment in American history in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that would not have been quite so poignant had we knew it was coming.

As the show is set this season in 1968, and there has also been a presence of race relations over the course of the past few episode, perhaps the best thing the episode did was to create almost a standstill-esque environment where you could see the panic and the chaos on the streets, and for a few days almost nothing else mattered, but finding a sense of peace. The agencies were largely shut down, some people were begging for distractions, and even Pete Campbell felt like it was time to call Trudy and offer up his support.

Perhaps the nicest thing that Matthew Weiner did through this episode is show a great deal of respect for Dr. King’s legacy, but not change the fact that everyone had their own opinion about his death and the way to handle it. Some wanted to keep on keeping on with business while others wanted to stop and grieve. We can’t really say that much was accomplished with SCDP at all in this episode, except for Don and Roger receiving a very bizarre pitch.

Instead, most of the actual events were family-based: Peggy trying to find a new apartment and failing at it, Betty learning that her husband’s political career is moving a step forward, and Don and Megan being left to try to explain the tragic circumstances to young Sally Draper and company. Don’s emotional disconnect has never been more evident, and through these scenes we once again wonder if he is a man we should feel sorry for. It’s like a part of his growth was stunted at an early age, and he continually tries to divert reality with some sort fantasy, whether it be an affair or taking his kid to the movies rather than talking about death.

From an entertainment standpoint, this was probably not our favorite episode of “Mad Men.” However, there’s little denying that it was among one of the more important episodes.  If you want to read more coverage of “Mad Men,” be sure to check out the story at the link here.

Photo: AMC

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