Mad Men – The Crash
Due both to a debilitating but entirely undramatic injury and the drugs associated with I won’t be writing a proper review of this week’s Mad Men, but I will throw out some assorted thoughts and allow an open floor for discussion. This is both the best and worst week for this to happen because The Crash is an episode that I could write and write about, but its also one that can never be entirely contained by synopsis or criticism and nor should it. Hell, i’m not sure that my mind can much understand it. Its like a dream, a flu-driven dream more lucid and real than you can remember reality ever being, but one that you have to repress in order to go on with the day once you wake up. Lets talk now about The Crash and then forget it ever happened.
(And no, this isn’t an attempt at performance art; though Alan Sepinwall nailed that in his intro.)
Like watching a car crash, this isn’t Mad Men; its in media res action sequences phone calls cut so quick I was left dizzy, Don externalising emotions and the exteriors of all in the SCDP office showing the damage that they feel within. For one week the repression is all gone, its all out in the open and that changes everything about the show.
This episode, this hour of David Lynchian direction, shows us why Mad Men is so special; why that subtlety, slowness and small scale are so important to its success and it does it by comparison, by having the world speed up – the running, dear god Don running – and blow up in ways too weird to fathom.
The dramatic debauchery of the office’s lost weekend does something similar for Don, letting him hit a deeper bottom even than in The Suitcase and thus maybe allowing him to now make a longer lasting rise from the ashes. Speaking of ashes, did Roger just die? There was some real ominous foreshadowing in there for him, and though this isn’t the first time his death has been hinted at it was one of the most direct.
the episode also marked the zenith of the season’s mother/whore symbology, just throwing it out there blunt force four or five times over: from Ken learning tap from either one or the other, from Don first having sex with the first woman to mother him, from the clinking-bagged homeless lady. That’s not to say though that those moments can be easily boxed up as metaphors for this, they are that and also weird beyond imagination.
I’m very glad that this isn’t the show we have every week but by god if I wasn’t willing the episode not to end and if I don’t doubt that next week will struggle to follow this hour up, as horrible and shark jumping and unredeemable and amazing as it was, whatever the hell it was. I feel like i’ve been injected with speed, did the ‘Next Week On…’ clip loop back for anyone else? I think i nee to crash.