‘Mad Men”: Episode 8 – A Night to Remember

Posted by Kathy Lyford

I’ve watched a lot of television in my life but I do not believe I’ve ever seen a series so intricately complex and painstakingly crafted as Mad Men.” Not a detail is left to chance. It is therefore very difficult to recap. Forgive me for the length of this post.

This episode is all about the women and, with the help of outstanding performances from January Jones, Elisabeth Moss and  Christina Hendricks, we see the ladies’ facades start to crumble.

Let’s start with Betty.

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It’s been an undetermined amount of time since Jimmy Barrett let Betty in on the secret that their respective spouses have been involved in more than just business. We open with her, clearly frustrated, taking an early morning ride on her horse. And it must have been very early because she returns home to find Don still in bed. He’s in a playful mood, even calling her “Birdy” at one point, but she’s having none of it. She’s as cold as the ice in one of his cocktails.

Preparations are under way for the big dinner party the Drapers are throwing for Rogers and Cowan exec Crab Colson and his lush of a wife Petra, the Sterlings and Duck. Much as she will later confront her troubled marriage, Betty confronts a wobbly dining chair, deciding in the end that it’s easier to dismantle it than fix it. It struck me during this scene how utterly accustomed to dysfunction Sally and Bobby have become as they watch with mild curiosity as their mother destroys the offending furniture before they just go back to watching TV.

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  1. Rocheteau says:

    What is the name of the song that sing father Gill. It a beautiful song
    This is my favorite chapter

  2. Big Bomb says:

    Nice breakdown. Enjoyed much. Do you think the two sad people — Duck and Betty are on a collision course? I like that Duck feels bad about not having a mate for these business dinners. Social shame really played a huge part in that generation.
    “I loved the image of Father Gill stripping off his collar but thought the guitar playing tiptoed the line into hokeyness.”
    Ever hear of the guitar mass? Guess when they started happening. Ever hear of the singing nun? Priests with guitars in the early 60s were cutting edge, and the Father seems like the kinda guy in his relationship with a fallen soul (you know people are gossiping about her at church) who would be playing Peter, Paul and Mary on guitar. The other nice touch was Hanks was clearly playing the guitar himself, no Danny Bonaducci shaping his hands into CHORD structures on the bass. Hanks seemed like a candidate for Nepotism Newbie of the Year in the movie Orange County, but he’s the best TV priest since Father Guido Sardouchi …

  3. Alison Woo says:

    Brilliant recap of one of the best episodes in this searing drama this season. This one really showcased the women of “Mad Men” and deservedly so. Knowing that these women are on the precipce of major change and the feminism movement, you can see how they are each, in their own way, inching towards the realization that life can be more than what society at the time thought.
    Keep up the insightful analysis! Bravo!

  4. Kathy says:

    Thank you John. It really is an intoxicating show, isn’t it? Such fine, fine performances from a cast that was virtually unknown before this. I’m glad you enjoyed the recap.
    Kathy

  5. Dear Kathy:
    Kudos on your article– I’ve become mad for “Mad Men” as well. Being a professional actor, I’ve witnessed most of the very best performances for television on this show. I think it’ll make television history once everyone has sampled its gracefully subtle yet powerful writing (like a sleeping giant often times), the well-crafted and multi-layered performances and the stinging commentaries on the suppressed life of most women of the late fifties and early seventies. I hope that more story lines in the future will involve persons of color (their paths certainly did cross)– but TOP NOTCH DRAMAS for the TV set!

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