Mad Men Power Rankings, Week 14: 'It's Not Starting Over. It's Just Starting.'
It's yet another Monday afternoon, and as such, it's time to take a look back at this week's episode of Mad Men and attempt to make sense of the ups and downs, comings and goings of the gang at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. (As well as the Left Behinds.). After the jump, your Power Rankings for Week Fourteen:
1. Don Draper (even) Last week: 1
Last week, we saw that look in Don's eyes as he surveyed the re-energized bustle of his colleagues in Room 435, a look of pride, of flickering happiness, of momentary contentment; while the bomb he (stupidly) kept hidden (and armed) in that shoebox in his desk finally detonated and blew his home life to bits, here he was getting a fresh start with his other family, allowing himself a second of something like pride in the risk they were all taking together. But moments like that are all too fleeting in the Mad Men world, and now there was a fledgling business, a business momentarily held together with spit and stale chewing gum, to run. As Don entered the hotel suite last night, late as per his usual power-play, even with the urgency of getting this new business off the ground, the look in his eye was no longer pride and love, but something like, "Holy sh*t, this actually happened? I thought maybe I had a bad dream tossing and turning on Grandpa Gene's haunted cot." Roger, of course, wasn't going to let it go without taking his shot: "Nice to see that you haven't altered your schedule just because we're trying to get a business going in here." And Don, nodding to the half-finished drink in Rog's hand, hit right back, "And looks like you're still on schedule yourself." Come on, guys, just head down to Angelo's and get your toes done together and let's go back to work.
Back at home, Don wasn't too happy that Betty had stuffed Baby Gene in her carry-on and jetted off to Reno with Henry Francis. leaving the kids with Carla and him, assuming they'd figure out an arrangement themselves. He couldn't bring himself to sleep in their room, so he spent that night on the cot in the Grandpa Gene Memorial Guest Suite, staring at the ceiling, not sleeping even after putting a crying Bobby and a strangely (well, maybe not that strangely) impassive Sally to bed. The conversation over dinner, with Carla listening in as she served the food, was as painful as you'd suspect. No, Henry Francis is not your Daddy now. I'm always your Daddy and Mommy still loves you. She just needed to take a trip with the baby to go see some relatives you don't know in Nevada. Bobby stabbed listlessly at his porkchop, fork turned upside down in clenched fist while Sally aped, "Mommy still loves us," perhaps paying a little bit too close attention to how her brother's fork penetrated the delicate, crusted flesh of his dinner.
Don Draper Fingerbang Threat Level: Medium simmer.
So how would Don, finally single, respond to his sudden (and painful) sexual availability? There was no return to Miss Farrell, not yet at least, and no romantic reward for the way she so gracefully exited the situation on Shoebox Of Secrets night, even after Don abandoned her in the car. And Joan hasn't yet found him that furnished apartment for the establishment of a new bachelor's pad, so there he was, having a late drink at the Roosevelt's bar, and drawing the attention of the kind of comely, visibly horny service professional he's so thoroughly feasted on in the past when straining against the quiet suffocation of marriage. Why can't they ever just put the drink down and keep their mouths shut? his eyes responded, tersely, to her obvious Drinking alone again? question. This is no fun when I'm not rebelling against my unsatisfying, soul-eroding family life. And the way that Don's fingers tensed around the glass seemed to indicate he had half a mind to lure her to the coat-check room, lock them both inside, and give her what she so obviously wanted: a quick, pantyhose-shredding, joyless date with his right hand while she breathed heavily in his ear, catching a look at eyes more full of condescending amusement than with lust. Instead, she got an abrupt -- even rude -- Yeah. Alone. And with that the threat of a grudging, bitter fingerbanging melted away like the rocks in his bourbon.