- Peggy asking Don for Raise.
- The Return of the Duck.
- Pete to Peggy "Your decisions affect me"
- The whole Pete Admiral TV subplot
- Paul quoting Marx - arch-typical 60s liberal behavior
- Betty having a baby, well done
- Sally's teacher coming on to Don - I know he's a babe magnet, but really.
- The prison guard in the Delivery waiting room. Why do TV shows have such a hard time writing believable, likable, blue-collar types? The whole character seemed phony to me.
- Betty's overly whiny behavior. This is her third baby, I think she knows the drill by now. And isn't she a WASP? As a part-WASP I can tell you we do "stiff upper lip" rather well.
- The reaction of the Admiral TV execs to advertising their TV's to "Negroes" was incredibly overdone. One Admiral exec actually asks Pete if its "legal" to have Blacks/Whites do commercials together, Simply unbelievable. Blacks/whites had been on TV shows together by 1962. Nate King Cole had his own show in 1956, and Belefonte won an Emmy in 1960.
To make up for the lack of Black characters, Mad men usually shows its occasional black character in the best light. This time its the African American elevator operator who comes off as classy and informed vs. the clueless, naive Pete.
The show has stopped treading water and the story is finally advancing - although Don is still in the background. But there's still time to get back to Don Draper, (Season 4 was picked up). ***1/2 stars.
SF-gate Tim Goodman
"See, the entertaining part of "Mad Men" looking back at who we were and how we acted resides in all those scenes we never really saw anywhere else (and if they were attempted, they weren't quite as good). You know, like when the Draper kids are playing with that dry cleaning bag but get lectured about messing up the clothing. Or the lack of car seats... "Mad Men" does that extremely well. But talking about race and gender - few series can pull that off without looking like an ABC "Afterschool Special" or some other kind of obvious civics lesson. It's a pop culture millstone. We've seen it too often. There is no element of surprise to it. Even in the best series on television, I'm not sure the treatment can rise above passably good. Since "The Fog" was so much about race - Medgar Evers was as importantly prominent in this episode as references to John F. Kennedy were in last week's episode - and also about gender issues, there was a tone to it that had a somber lecture-heavy "importance" stamped on its figurative forehead.
That's not where "Mad Men" is going to do its best work. Obviously, the changing times MUST affect Sterling Cooper, Don Draper and others. But the danger that "Mad Men" faces, the one I've dreaded for two seasons and four episodes prior, is in the handling of the telling of what we already know. Too much of the "Hey, there sure is a lot of racism out there" or "What? Women get paid less than men? That's outrageous!" will lead down a too-familiar path. There is a delicate balance, to be sure - and we still have so much to discover, timeline-wise, and then to have the characters marinate in those discoveries. But "Mad Men" (despite what some people want it to prod at), never really came to life as a fictional assessment of turbulent times. It sprang to life as an examination of the weird emotional cocktail inside Don Draper's skull."