Mad Men 4.2: "Christmas Comes But Once a Year"

This show has a habit of being unrelenting, and this is no exception. I thought "The Office" had the corner on Christmas Office Parties from Hell, but this takes the cake. Why? Because once again, we see how the theme of the series is reflected in the consequences borne by Don and those around him.


Don is a complete mess. While he has recast his legend in the public eye, his personal identity is in tatters. Don was never the most sober individual (they are rare in the world of "Mad Men"), but one can count the moments of Don Draper sobriety on one hand. Most of the time, he is staggering home, barely able to leer at the ridiculously hot neighbor.


He would have been better off choosing her as his plaything. This liaison with his secretary is going to make things a lot more uncomfortable for everyone. And that's on top of the tensions at the new agency, as the various players struggle with defining who they are and what they want. They are not all on the same page, and the growing pains of Sterling Cooper Draper Price promise to be ugly.


While Don and Peggy had their struggles in this episode, I really felt bad for Roger. And that's saying something, as I usually enjoy watching the man get what he deserves. But as the agency put themselves in a hole to put on a display for their most important client, Roger was made the fool for the man's sport. It was humiliation stacked upon humiliation. It's the price to be paid when defining yourself and your business based on the desires of others, when they know how much you need them to survive.


One last thought: Joan had a couple of lines in this episode that suggested her personal life has not improved. Considering how composed she is, and how well she manipulates public perception, I have a feeling her reality is going to be harsh when fully revealed.

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Leonie Braum
Feb 2, 2013 6:19AM EST

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