Review of Mad Men Season 2 Episode 7 "The Golden Violin"


I found last Sunday's episode of Mad Men, "The Golden Violin" just delightful. I know it's a slow moving show but honestly, it's from another time, when people were polite, even when they weren't. This show is all about finesse, so if you are looking for action, you are going to have to wait for Heroes, because Mad Men takes place in the most boring place people go all day, the office.


We received some interesting revelations this week: Don was a former car salesman (I knew this was going to be a good episode when the flashback occurred before the opening sequence). Salvatore and Kitty's marriage is not a happy one. Joan is not as powerful as she once was. Jimmy confirms for Betty that Don and Bobbi had an affair. Yes, Betty can turn a blind eye no more.


We all knew much of this was coming. While the storyline of a highly safeguarded gay man working at Sterling-Cooper is fascinating, something doesn't work here for me. It may be the actors, or the writer's choice to portray Kitty as a winy woman, but I remain unconvinced that a couple in that day and time would act and react the way Sal and Kitty did. I know I know! Kitty doesn't know yet, but it seemed to me there isn't a gay writer on the staff to add some reality to this situation. I will say watching Ken idealize Sal and Kitty as the perfect marriage is rather funny.


I am exceedingly excited and highly anticipating the showdown between Joan and Jane. Oh my, we found out a lot about Jane this week and with all her B&E shenanigans, lies, and manipulation I am almost certain Joan has met her match. The lies rolled off Jane's tongue as if they were truths, and she is certainly a girl who knows how to use her looks to get what she wants. I can say at this very moment I don't like her. She often makes backhanded comments that are degrading and thoroughly reminds me of an ex-coworker who would just as easily put a knife in your back as she would compliment you on a new haircut. Roger's predictability indicates he will fall for her brand of perfume, but I hope he has sense enough to break free of Jane's toxic and intoxicating scent.


Finally, I believe the producers should submit the final scenes of this episode to the Emmy committee. They are arguably the best scenes we've witnessed this season. First of all the writers got it correct. Betty has suspected all along but it took Jimmy confessing the truth to her for her to allow herself to see the truth. Jimmy's words were delivered without emotion in a rather it is what it is and defeated fashion. I can't decide if he relished telling Betty or not. He certainly didn't appear to enjoy the conversation with Betty, but he quite enjoyed putting Don in his place. The dialogue was precise and dagger-like as Jimmy sliced through Don. Like a snake, Jimmy's sneak attack was sickening to watch. I felt miserable for both men. And of course, Betty holding it together until the end serves to remind us all that just because you have it all doesn't mean you have it all. It's a shame the new Cadillac has lost its new car smell. Can we anticipate a silent revenge from Betty? Something tells me she will be riding at the club more in days to come.

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RachelLEditor
Sep 10, 2008 5:27PM EDT

Amazing review, Jackie!I agree that the ending of this episode was absolutely fantastic. Jimmy seemed to know that nothing would sting Don more than calling him garbage.And that car...personally I thought the daughter was going to pee in it on the ride home from the park...but I knew someone was going to muck it up soon enough!

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Sep 10, 2008 6:50PM EDT

Wonderful review - very spot on about every bit of this episode. I feel so awful for Betty, but truly relieved as well. For some reason, Don remains so likable though he's a cheater and really a disaster in everything but his work life, but I really hated seeing Betty aware of the cheating but not getting the hard, cold proof she deserved to make a move. Now it's entirely unavoidable for them, and I have a feeling Betty's going to take her revenge in a very interesting and intelligent fashion. Can't wait to really see Betty show off who she can be!

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Sep 10, 2008 11:49PM EDT

Nice review, although I found the Kitty & Sal relationship to be more plausible than you did. I see them both as being like so many other characters on the show; namely, (willfully) not seeing/believing/admitting what is so plain to viewers. I think she clearly knows *something* is wrong but can't understand what exactly the problem is, since in so many ways Sal is this "perfect" partner -- he's this sophisticated, articulate, artistic, helping-with-the-housework, older guy who she had a thing for & who married her. Compared to most of the other wives on the show, she's got a pretty good thing going ;-)
My favorite part of the episode was the bit at the end of the picnic -- Don chucking the beer can into the park followed by Betty thoughtlessly sweeping away their picnic mess onto the ground & just leaving it there, after carefully checking the kids' hands for dirt before getting into the brand new car . . . that was classic, especially with the lingering shot of the trash as they drive away.

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Sep 13, 2008 1:17AM EDT

I agree with you ratgrrrl - I found the Kitty and Sal scenes to be spot-on. For a young woman like Kitty in 1962, the last thing she would ever guess about her husband would be that he was gay (which wasn't even a term used in those days). Homosexuality was actually considered a mental illness back then. and I found Sal's tenderness towards her to be completely believable - he doesn't dislike Kitty - he's just not attracted to her. anyway, great work by both actors...and great episode all around!!!
love this show so much!!!

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