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October 9, 2015

Mad Men: Seven Twenty Three

by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 28th 2009 12:30AM
Mad Men
(S03E07) "Maybe I was late because I was with my family reading the Bible." - Don, to Conrad Hilton

I've never understood why some people say they can't get into Mad Men (or they watch the show and think the same thing) because "nothing ever happens." I think a lot of stuff happens in every episode, but a lot of it is done with silences and not something more intense. But even the people who think that the show is too "slow" will have to admit that like last week's episode, this episode had a ton of character development, mystery, and plot twists.

I like how this episode opened with three distinct mysteries, and we had to find out during the episode how each one came to be (how's that for hooking an audience?). Don with a banged up face in a hotel room, Betty reclining on a couch and looking all lovelorn, and Peggy in bed with a mystery man. Halfway through the show, I figured out who Peggy was in bed with (and still can't figure out why why why - gah!), but the other two were a mystery.

Betty's furniture shopping (and sudden political involvement) was interesting, but not as interesting as the whole scene with Don picking up two hitchhikers, taking drugs, and going to a hotel room. How scary and bizarre, though it wasn't as scary and bizarre as I thought it was going to be at first. I honestly thought that they were going to have a threesome, and that would have been way too much for viewers to take (well, at least with another guy involved). Don is the "hero" of this show, but I sometimes have to be reminded that he's also kind of messed up and can be a jerk (Hamm is great in scenes like this and the scene where he chews out Peggy).

It's funny ... when this episode started, I was thinking that they haven't focused on the whole Don Draper/Dick Whitman thing. All these things that Don does, all the cheating that Betty found out about last season, and there's still a major secret that he is keeping from her and everyone else (well, except for a few people at the office).

I was rather surprised when the whole contract dilemma was solved by Cooper practically threatening Don with his knowledge of Don/Dick, because he's the one who told Pete "who cares?" when Pete told him about it. And now he's saying "sign this contract because I know something about you." But I think Don was smart to sign it. Not so smart to take drugs with two strangers in a dark hotel, though. I hope he makes up with Roger. The show needs that bromance.

Also great to see Duck be a major player this season. When he left last year, I thought he'd be a character in for one season, cause some problems and then he'd be gone. But now he's back at a rival agency and seducing Peggy (I think this will now be referred to as the "Duck F**K"). I think I would have rather looked at the eclipse directly than watch those two in bed.

A lot of things happen on this show, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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I don't think Cooper was threatening Don. I think he was making a point that it does not matter if he signs the contract because HE is not really Don Drapper.

And Peggy....WHY? I don't see any benifit in sleeping whith Duck other than because Pete warned her to stay away from him.

November 08 2009 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Man, we really had some incredibly ugly furniture in the '60's.

September 28 2009 at 11:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

can't believe you didn't mention don and sally's teacher at all in your review. i couldn't figure out if they were flirting with each other or trying to let the other one know why they weren't interested in hooking up.

September 28 2009 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to deesknutz's comment

Indeed. An incredible scene in a great episode.

September 28 2009 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


I hope they didn't write her off the show! She has become my favorite female character on the show lately.

September 28 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I bet the Hermès gift tipped you off subconsciously about mystery bed mate

September 28 2009 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Two comments:

- I feel that one reason people might not "get into" it is because the subtlety in its scenes and plot development make it more like a like a great novel than just a television show. This is partly due to the fact that it is more like historical fiction. Matthew Weiner and the other writers can't ignore that there is a legitimate timeline they are following, rather than simple character-centric plot development (e.g. Kennedy & the wedding date, the Niagara couple).

Another major reason is that because I feel it is far more like a rich novel is that *because* it is more like a novel unfolding at a set rate (didn't Weiner announce some time ago that it will only be 6 seasons?), you appreciate it much better when you have watched it chronologically, whether by speeding through the DVDs, or watching it consistently from the beginning. The "last week, on Mad Men" bits are not cliff notes to casual viewer. How else could you appreciate this week's story of Peggy sleeping with Duck? It wasn't just some girl sleeping with a guy for the sake of being steamy and sexual

September 28 2009 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cooper didn't get to be on the sign in Sterling Cooper by just being a weird rich guy. There is toughness there. When he told Pete (way back in S1) "who cares?", it was for Pete's benefit. He wanted to be the one holding all the cards over Don (and he is). Just didn't need to use the power until now.

The Hilton dynamic was interesting too. Conrad Hilton wasn't the saint he thought of himself as. I believe he had 3 wives over his lifetime. Funny he should mention Don getting pics of the family on his desk.

September 28 2009 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brad -- Cooper doesn't "suspect" that Don is not Don, he knows it. Perhaps you missed that episode in season 1. And he was clearly threatening Don in "7-23," albeit softly.

September 28 2009 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The biggest mystery though was left out all together... no Joan.

September 28 2009 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cooper was not threatening Don, He was implying that even though he suspects that Don Draper may not be his real name, it does not matter because the partners like and trust him, so it makes little sense that Don is worried about signing a contract when he is not even signing with his real name.

September 28 2009 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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