5 Things I Learned From Last Night’s Mad Men: Episode 8, “The Crash”

Where to begin? This entire season has foreshadowed Don’s dissent into madness, into a Dante’s Inferno type hell– have we finally found it in “The Crash”? The entire episode left us with no sense of time, with no sense of space, and a consistent eerie uncomfortable feeling that nothing was just right. While I had no idea what I was watching while I was watching it, I couldn’t look away. Literally, a car crash of an episode, and a real dissent into madness for Don Draper.

Here are 5 things we learned this week (through the fogginess of our contact high…)

Time Disappears. With the help of speed injections, the creative team for Chevy takes a weekend away from reality, and unfortunately, we had to go with them. The entire episode felt inexplicably unnerving. With Ken’s impressive tap dancing skills, Stan sleeping with a dead man’s daughter, Don holed up in his office for three days rambling about getting a foot in the door—I wanted to jump out of my seat and turn off the TV. But I didn’t, and I couldn’t stop watching. Where are we? When are we? Where is this all going? And we never got an answer, and Ted never got any Chevy pitches. But we were reminded once again how lost Don is. The speed took away all of his cool, calm, charming exterior and we were left with a crazed Don Draper who just wants 2 minutes alone to tell Sylvia, what exactly? Judging by their final interaction in the elevator, with Don back to his normal self, I fear we may never know what’s really going on in that gorgeous head of his.

We Learn How Don Was Deflowered. Another set of flashbacks this week, providing more irrefutable evidence that Don will never be able to form a healthy relationship with a woman. At first my heart fluttered that a woman would actually be taking care of Don. Did I care that she was a prostitute? No. Did Don? No. Finally, a woman being kind. A woman acting as a mother would—letting him lay in her bed and feeding him soup to get over this cold (since his actual, sort of, mother preferred to put him in the basement for 2 days so as not to infect the household… Yikes). But, par for the course of Don’s life, this woman takes his virginity the second Don feels better. His first sexual encounter: unwanted, forbidden, and fleeting

Don is A Little Bit of a Crazy Stalker. Have we ever seen Don like this before? With every other relationship he’s been out the door, no looking back, certainly no crying like a little baby. But with Sylvia, it’s different. He had no control over her leaving him, though some may argue he was trying to push her away, I don’t think that’s really what he wanted. The realization that he has lost control of this situation entirely, that he never was in control of it, is driving him to the brink of insanity (with the help of some Meth injections, of course). The difference with Sylvia, too, is that she was always more aware of what the relationship was than Don: two married people who were unhappy entered this relationship, on the basis that there was enough trust between them to keep this a secret. She wants to go back to her life now, to her husband. Don can’t even look at Megan, literally. And with nothing left to go home to, he stands outside the Rosen’s door, smoking cigarettes, listening to the sound of her cooking, playing Russian Roulette with both their fates by occasionally knocking quietly on the door. Don’s lost it.

Peggy Got Her Groove Back. Peggy and Stan! Peggy and Ted! Peggy and her boyfriend whose name I forgot because we haven’t seen him in so long! Man, I have to go back and gaze at pictures of Peggy before, when she dressed like a 5 year old and had the confidence of a mouse. This woman is all grown up, and she’s struggling with her fidelity, and with her newfound confidence and success. I am not even mad about it.

A Woman Named Grandma Ida Scares Me Half to Death, and I actually Agree with Betty Draper. Away from the drug infused chaos that was SCDP this episode, we get hit hard with the reality back in the pent house. Because of the way this episode was structured, this home invasion felt more humorous and curious than terrifying—but it also felt completely unnerving. When Grandma Ida started cooking eggs I thought she was going to stab Sally but I also knew she couldn’t or wouldn’t and I also was sitting on the edge of seat. My heart is racing just thinking about it. If this is how I felt just watching this after only watching Don trip for 3 days, imagine how he felt—literally having been on speed for 3 days, no sleep, no communication with his family, to come home to the police, Megan, and Betty all waiting for him to walk through that door. I have never agreed with Betty Draper before (and hey, she’s skinny again!!), but she is one hundred percent right this time. Don and Megan dropped the parental ball this week, and it resulted in one of the creepiest Mad Men scenes yet.

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