AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 510 “Christmas Waltz”

This week’s episode was called “Christmas Waltz” but really could have been called “Hey remember me? I’m a character on Mad Men who hasn’t gotten much attention lately.” as the episode focused on Lane Pryce, the now seldom seen Harry Crane and the recently neglected Joan. There was even an appearance by the once regular character Paul Kinsey who has turned his devotions to Harikrishna.

I must admit I was a bit confused by some of this weeks elements and I’m not sure how much was my own failings, and how much was the complexities of Mad Men and their room of writers. First the episode starts with Lane talking to his British lawyer who informs him that he is in desperate straights financially and needs to come up with $8000, a hefty sum at the time. (More than a top-of-the-line Jaguar {$5600}) I couldn’t quite follow what the money was for (back taxes?), but it’s hardly important, and we see Lane’s desperation to make good on his debts while trying to avoid outright embezzlement. As the bonuses that he has concocted are delayed again and again, Lane finds himself trapped at episode’s end having already forged Don’s name for a check he now shouldn’t have had for another month. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Will Don ultimately be more upset that Pryce acted criminally desperate or that his British pride kept him from telling Don the truth of the matter and ask for help? I would expect the latter. This week’s next ultimately unimportant confusion for me was Don and Joan’s “Ali Khan” reference. Don has rescued Joan from the office after she has been officially “served” by her douchebag husband. After cutting a check for a brand new Jaguar to tool around in, Don and Joan find a bar in which to down a few drinks and wax nostalgic. The whole scene is oddly mixed with the music from the bar being realistically loud in the sense that it’s hard to hear Don and Joan’s conversation very well. What’s clear is their sexual tension but their flirtation is that of two people who know that their time has passed and they have reached a level of mutual respect and admiration for each other right down to Don attempting to set Joan up with the gentleman across the bar. Don, for his trouble, is greeted by an infuriated Megan at home who is just another in line trying to figure out where Don’s motivations are coming from these days. It seems she can handle his love for advertising, but can’t handle his new-found casual attitude towards work much better than Pete Campbell can.

The other major storyline of the week involved the aforementioned Season-Three-Era Crane/Kinsey centered drama. Kinsey’s only real talent apparently is recruiting for the Harikrishnas, something that doesn’t fulfill his soul. We learn that he has been in and out of every ad agency in town and his ultimate dream is settling in with his new love Lakshmi and writing for the up and coming TV serial Star Trek. He has turned to Harry for his television connections and hopes that he can get his script passed on. All of Kinsey’s heart-felt trust in Harry is misplaced as it is Crane who quickly double stabs him in the back. Lakshmi, played by an actress who will one day play the lead role in “The Juliette Lewis Story”, forces her way into Harry’s office in an attempt to sexually and physically blackmail Harry so that Kinsey will remain with the Harikrishnas. Unfortunately for poor Paul Kinsey he is getting played from all sides as Lakshmi only wants him for his recruiting talents and Harry shows his true cowardice by buying away his problems by sending Kinsey away to Los Angeles with false hopes, crushing both his dreams simultaneously.

Next week we should be getting more into the meat and potatoes of the season’s upcoming conclusion as we wait to see what lies in store for SCDP in 1967, and what goes better with steak and mashed than a stiff finger of Scotch?

3 out of 5 Grizzlies

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