Connect with us

Blog

Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, “The Runaways”

It’s easy enough to say that this is the most substantial and refreshingly untamed episode of Mad Men’s seventh season so far.

Published

on

Photo: AMC

It’s easy enough to say that “The Runaways” is the most substantial and refreshingly untamed episode of Mad Men’s seventh season so far, one powered by the strange ramifications of more than one eruption of repressed desires and hidden histories. Early on, Lou Avery’s (Allan Havey) dream of being a cartoonist is revealed and quietly ridiculed when Rizzo (Jay R. Ferguson) and the copywriters find a copy of his heroic-monkey comic strip. The realization that he’s become a laughing stock for the copywriters is a worst-case scenario for Lou, and when he lays down a scolding mid-meeting, Havey smartly accentuates the hurt and ruefulness of an artist scorned. He cites Bob Dylan as another dreamer and kindred spirit, but does so in a way that suggests a hurried deflection as much as cultural awareness.

For Don (Jon Hamm), his new boss’s indignation means delaying an unexpected reunion in Laurel Canyon with Stephanie (Caity Lotz), his now-pregnant and destitute “niece,” as Lou punishes his copywriters with a late-night pitch session that conflicts with Don’s flight to the West Coast. Suddenly, Stephanie is in Megan’s (Jessica Paré) charge, and their interaction is plagued by uncertainty. Megan tries to play the accommodating wife, but she’s both clearly anxious over Stephanie’s vague relationship to Don and oddly protective of her, trying to distance another young woman from his influence. Their awkward afternoon together isn’t so much about Megan digging for Don’s secrets, but rather preemptively burying them out of sheer emotional exhaustion, and she indulges at least one male fantasy to try to get her husband looking ahead for once.

To be fair, it does seem to refocus him, though his confidence is fortified by the revelation that SC&P has entered into preliminary talks to represent Phillip Morris, who Don took precise care to trash in a full-page spread in perhaps the most famous American news source ever. His meeting with the Phillip Morris representatives is all business, with a familiarly electric and surprising Draper pitch, but more fascinating is where Don gains the news of SC&P’s newest potential client, namely from Harry Crane (Rich Sommer). Sommer evokes the timidity and unconvincing slyness in Crane, and when he opens up to Don, he sounds like he’s making sure he’s still in good standing with some masculine society, of which Don is the unquestioned leader. Their discussion over drinks at a local L.A. bar radiates with shared history, of a remarkably steady yet unmistakably distant friendship built primarily on keeping secrets.

Advertisement


Bettie’s (January Jones) marriage to Henry (Christopher Stanly) could be seen in similar terms, and they’re quick to get at each other’s throats when Bettie ousts her husband as a die-hard Vietnam supporter. They fight, and later on, she goes ballistic on Sally (Kiernan Shipka) over a broken nose, the result of golf-club fencing, but Bettie is also energized by her daughter’s defiance. Her inability to control her daughter is no different from her inability to keep herself in the role of Henry’s ever-agreeing wife. The fights have their own ramifications though, as witnessed by Bobby’s (Mason Vale Cotton) nighttime confession to Sally, in which young Bobby admits to having what sounds like the first stages of a stress ulcer. It’s to the writers’ credit that it’s already clear that Bobby, unlike his sister, will bottle up his emotions and let them eat away at him at their own pace, like his father.

The same, of course, cannot be said about Ginsberg (Ben Feldman), whose open instability hits a rumbling boil early on in the episode and ends with an eerie and violent bit of psychotic self-mutilation. Ginsberg blames the hum of the IBM processor for his madness and the “odd” behaviors of his colleagues. It’s a rupture of his fear of obsolescence, and the writers rightly go flamboyant rather than overtly menacing, which makes Ginsberg’s final, whaling warning to Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) all the more unnerving. The intimation of the computer, of a machine that’s constantly at work and audibly so, pushes Ginsberg way beyond the breaking point, but he retains some delirious notion of honor. Like Lou’s cartoon monkey, Ginsberg is both honorable and preposterous, but as he’s carted away, begging his co-workers to get out while they still can, his paranoia effectively sticks with us, a reminder that even within an outrageous fiction, a dark truth is often hiding in plain sight.

Advertisement
Comments

Blog

Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

Published

on

The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

Continue Reading

Blog

Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

Published

on

Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

Advertisement


Continue Reading

Blog

Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

Published

on

Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

Advertisement


Continue Reading
Advertisement

Donate

Slant is reaching more readers than ever, but as online advertising continues to evolve, independently operated publications like ours have struggled to adapt. We're committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees—so if you like what we do, please consider becoming a Slant patron:

Patreon

You can also make a donation via PayPal.

Giveaways

Advertisement

Newsletter

Advertisement

Preview

Trending