An Historic Tragedy Shakes Things Up On 'Mad Men'

Don't read on unless you've seen "The Flood," Sunday's episode of "Mad Men."

Since it debuted, "Mad Men" has been very good at misdirection.

In fact, when I've dinged various episodes in the last year or two, it's often been because they've been short on subtlety. It's not that I require the show to be stealthy all the time -- I actually tend to enjoy "Mad Men" most when it's mixing up tones, moods, structures and styles -- but when the symbolism clangs too loudly or meanings are too overt, it can throw the whole thing off and the stories can start to feel a bit didactic. The show is rightly celebrated for its ambiguity, which isn't to say that episodes that jump headlong into current affairs are failures. They're usually among the show's stronger outings, as was the case with "The Flood."

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