Breaking The Rules On 'Mad Men'

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 6, Episode 4 of AMC's "Mad Men," titled "To Have and To Hold."

"I'm no longer playing this game." - Joan
"'Cause you'll lose!" - Kate

Those were throwaway lines, spoken during an often energetic and eventful "Mad Men" episode; they would have been easy to miss. This hour was so full of sly humor, momentum and short, powerful scenes that I assumed that, right at the end, it would change gears and shift into existential despair mode, which is one of the show's more predictable notes these days. And the episode did shift in that way, but what came before that was a welcome and almost fizzy change of pace. Well, not fizzy, given the amount of angst in the air, but there was definitely a charge to this hour, as characters assessed their limits and, in some cases, brazenly ignored them.

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