Mad Men continued with the heavy and foreboding theme that ran through last week's episode, tackling political and personal problems without much closure. The lead up to the 1968 Presidential election, riots in Chicago, and the Vietnam war served as the backdrop for Don's departure to L.A., Joan's assertion of her power, and Jim Cutler's strange power play in the office.
It was one of the more surreal Mad Men episodes (although this season on the whole has been the trippiest ever), with Don, maybe, seeing dead people? Is Mad Men turning into Lost, or am I just crazy?
Madness aside, the clothes this episode took a fun turn as Don, Roger, and Harry headed off to L.A. in their business-casual ensembles, while Joan and Peggy pulled out their brights to woo Avon. Click through to see!
Don Don had so many outfit changes this episode I had to make a larger image just to fit them all!
He starts the episode watching the DNC convention in a white shirt with a white tee underneath, very similar to something Abe would wear around the house, which is already a bad sign, considering Abe got stabbed twice last week. In the office, Don is ready to jet off to L.A. (his first trip there after Anna's death) in a white shirt, black striped tie, sans-jacket. Upon his arrival, he puts his jacket on, and smokes a ciggy outside the hotel with Roger looking like two squares in a land of scantily dressed hippies. Don is out of his element in L.A. without Anna or Megan, leaving the position of Don's love interest vacant.
In the hotel, Don gets a call from Megan who is watching the Chicago protests footage from their bed in New York. Don is down to his t-shirt and slacks, another reference to Abe, perhaps. In a client meeting that gets heated, Don is looking aloof in a grey suit with a black and white striped tie. In the room, Don is the person who says the least words, which is really a first for him. He's very distant, almost like he's distracted, and his blasé outfit reflects his disconnect.
Heading to a party in the Hollywood Hills, Don throws on a beige blazer over a blue shirt and adds his gold rimmed sunglasses as a finishing touch. When he arrives to a swinging party full of hippies, he looks like a fish out of water. It's in this look that he smokes some hasish and has visions of PFC Dinkins, the private he serves as best man for in Hawaii, a pregnant hippie Megan, and then of himself drowned in the pool. It turns out he is actually drowning, but Roger comes to the rescue. PFC Dinkins says he is dead; does this mean Megan is reporting from the "other side" too?
Back at Sterling Cooper and Partners (a name, finally!) Don is back in a black and white ensemble. His repeating of black and white while in the office reflects his ability to see the grey areas. He is a "yes" man or a "no" man, you never hear "maybe" come out of Don's mouth. In his last scene, he asks Don to get his wife on the phone, while a nervous woman passes in front of his office. Ok, the foreshadowing is getting a little heavy handed, but, yeah, some shit is going to go down at the Draper residence.
Megan Since last week's episode, the Internet has exploded with a theory that Megan is the Mad Men version of Sharon Tate, the soap star actress and wife of Roman Polanski who was murdered in her California home at eight months pregnant by Charles Manson followers. The whole theory stems from the red star tee Megan wears at last episode's end, and has been semi-supported by a tweet from costume designer Janie Bryant.
This has Mad Men obsessees, including myself, on high alert for any clues that could support this theory. The first thing I noticed was that each of Megan's scenes is very dimly lit and dark. Her outfits, too, are much darker than normal. Her first look is an orange and yellow striped sweater with jeans, and later she is in a black dress. Both these scenes take place in front of troubling TV news. During Don's vision, "Ghost Megan" wears a pink printed shirt, has longer hair, and has a braid across her forehead, a full departure from her darkened IRL wardrobe. The pink could be a reference to her pregnancy, or maybe it reflects the rosy outlook "Ghost Megan" has on the future.
Not Megan Right before Don goes inside to get high, he spots this girl exiting the pool–she's basically Megan's doppelgänger. She's even wearing a purple and orange swimsuit, so similar to the one Megan wears in Hawaii. There are no coincidences on Mad Men, but I'm not sure what this means. Just as there are two Dons, Don Draper and Dick Whitman, are there also two Megans?
Roger Despite directing this episode, John Slattery stars in many scenes as Roger.
Roger starts off in New York in a classic three-piece suit with crimson details and wayfarer shades. He wears the same look on the plane. For the meeting in L.A., Roger changes into a black three-piece suit with an ivory tie. At the party, Roger is channeling a cruise ship captain in a navy blazer, khakis, and a red ascot. This is his going out look, which pretty much explains why he went home empty handed after the party.
Harry Harry will take any opportunity to dress up, especially for a trip to Tinseltown. His first outfit–mustard blazer, peach shirt, gold aviators, and a Joan-style neck scarf–is just bonkers. Peacock dressing at its finest. At the meeting, he tones it down with a brown suit and a yellow tie. He's still in brighter colors than Don or Roger, but not fully committed to a wacky look. Party time for Harry means a dusty red blazer (gotta match your jacket to your car), a printed pink shirt, and yellow trousers. And don't forget those aviators! Harry's plan is to woo the ladies with his outfits, but considering his track record, maybe he needs to work on some other areas, like, say, his personality?
Joan Joan wore lots of blues and greens this episode, first attending the partners' meeting in a neon floral dress with gold jewelry. This is a departure for Joan; she rarely wears anything this bright. The choice begins to make sense, though, when she wears this look to go on a date with an Avon exec that slowly turns into a business meeting. She's used to getting attention from her looks, but now she realizes that some people are after her brains.
In her apartment, Joan takes in the news of the Chicago riots in a pair of blue pajamas while folding laundry for Kevin. Boys are getting beaten on TV, while Joan ponders her own little boy. I think this pushes Joan into independent woman mode, leading her to reschedule the meeting without Pete's knowledge. She shows up to meet with Avon in a blue suit and gold accessories, basically her version of a power suit.
When Pete finds out he gets played, he demands a meeting to scold Joan, but she appears resilient in a black dress with a green bow front. Black has a negative connotation, but the green references the money Joan is about to pull in for SC & Partners.
Peggy Peggy plays a secondary role this episode as Joan's sidekick. She starts out in a yellow top and skirt with an orange scarf around her neck. Matching separates and a neck scarf is a very Joan look--we could have assumed they'd be in cahoots based solely from Peggy's outfit.
To meet with Avon, Peggy wears a black and white suit, the same colors Don wears in his meetings throughout this episode. Despite Peggy leaning on Ted for support and advice, she'll always be Don's protegée at heart. To rescue Joan from Pete's berating, Peggy is in blue separates in a wave-like print. She plays it surprisingly smart for someone who likes to stick to the rules in most scenarios.
Pete Pete's having a tough time this episode, as he was last week. He's not in any important meetings and struggling to find his place as a functioning member of Sterling Cooper and Partners. Pete wears a stubby red tie and a blue suit to the partners' meeting. He's looking very childish, like he's outgrown his clothes and got dressed in the dark.
Later, he acts very juvenile in a blue three-piece suit with purple accents when he scolds Joan for taking the Avon meeting without him. Maybe things will turn up next week for Pete, but I'm starting to doubt it.
Ted Ted continues his love affair with the color yellow in this episode wearing a golden tie during the partners' meeting and later adding a brown jacket to top it off. He is absent for the middle section of the episode because he is visiting Chevy in Detroit and returns triumphant in a money green suit.
Jim Jim Cutler's wardrobe acts as a foil to Don's. Whereas Don can only wear black or white, Jim dresses in a full grayscale including a few patterned ties. Even though Jim starts the episode off having an "us vs. them" attitude, he finds a middle road by the episode's end.
Bob Benson Bob Benson is a hot topic in the Fashionista office: I think he's hiding a deadly secret while Nora thinks he's just plain hot. Rumors of his homosexuality were addressed this episode, but the question remains unanswered. All we know is there's more to Bob than meets the eye.
Bob first interjects into an argument between Jim and Ginsburg wearing a brown suit, striped shirt, and red and blue striped tie. He wears almost exactly the same outfit the following day to meet with Manischewitz and talk Ginsberg off a ledge, but only after listening to his motivational record. Things don't fare so well, however; he delivers bad news about Manischewitz the following day wearing a navy blue suit and blue and brown tie. The move from brown to blue signals his defeat, but somehow he still comes out triumphant, having gained access to the Chevy account. Bob Benson gets what Bob Benson wants.
Ginsberg Ginsberg's outfits remain consistently mismatched during this episode. The clashing colors and prints make sense when you consider Ginsburg's anxious mood, which is caused by both his nerves about Manischewitz and his passionate anti-war stance.
Dawn Dawn finally makes an appearance this episode wearing the pink checkerboard dress she wore the last time we saw her. Dawn's infrequent appearances in the office raise concerns about what she is doing the rest of her time. Hopefully, that is answered by the season's end.
Meredith My personal favorite dresser, Meredith, appears twice this episode in truly adorable outfits. First she wears an ivory ruffled top with a blue skirt to the partners' meeting, her bouffant looking more perfect than ever. Later she is in a lilac lace dress that makes her look like a little cupcake. Her outfits reflect that while she is not the smartest person at Sterling Cooper and Partners, she's certainly the sweetest.
Danny Jane Seigel's vertically challenged cousin, Danny, makes a triumphant return to Mad Men as a hippie screenwriter living in L.A. He finally gets his overdue revenge on Roger by punching him in the groin and taking home the girl Roger had his eyes on. Double burn.