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“Mad Men,” Episode 5, “Signal 30”

It’s about time we had a rock ’em sock ’em Pete Campbell episode.

Vincent Kartheiser dug deep to deliver on the meaty material provided in “Signal 30,” penned by Frank Pierson and Matthew Weiner and helmed by John Slattery. This episode has already gone a long way to making me forget the general ho-hum-ness of the previous week’s seg, “Mystery Date.”

Like the fight scene between Pete and Lane Pryce, “Signal 30” was raw in parts and thoroughly unpredictable. (He left chewing gum where?) It played like a “Mad Men” seg from the screenwriter of “Cool Hand Luke” and “Dog Day Afternoon” – which it was.

Kudos to Slattery, too, for keeping a punchy pace and having the bandwidth to be on screen a lot even while he was directing. It’s a very Roger Sterling thing to do all that and make it look so effortless.

Before dissecting the Pete of it all, let’s hear it for the girls who had important moments in the seg: Trudy, Megan and Joan.

Trudy, as Don now knows, is a force. I think they emphasized her determination to take charge as Mrs. Campbell on the social scene to distinguish her from a Betty type. Trudy clearly has ambition and you get the feeling that she won’t let even a philandering husband derail her plans for her family. She’s already overlooked his transgression once, a few seasons back when Pete pushed himself on the German au pair next door.

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