Get ready for one wild, drug-induced ride.
"The Crash" begins with what the audience will essentially endure the rest of the episode: A hostage-like frenzy with drug-induced maniacs.
There’s a car crash, a drug crash, a tap dance and a sex scene. And one censored F-bomb. All in all, it was a bizarre, whirling and -- frankly -- exhausting episode. I felt myself crashing after watching it.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t entertaining or enjoyable. Much like Roger’s LSD trip in ‘Far Away Places,’ the writing and directing showed the altered state of mind without the predictable or heavy-handed cues.
No dilated pupils or racing heartbeats. Instead, they relied on times lapses, rapid speech and, um, rather erratic behavior from the Don Draper and company.
And what drug/energy supplement was a good chunk of the SCDP (-CGC?) staff on? Still not sure. Whatever it was, it seemed less productive than Don and Stan’s pot session and less introspective than Roger’s LSD trip.
After Ken’s near-death ride with the clients, he walks into the partners’ meeting with a cane. None of the partners, stressed from dealing with Chevy deadlines, seem to care about Ken’s crash. Why? Because Chevy didn’t like the pitch. And it’s Ken’s job to make them like it.
Cutler has some sympathy. He wants to make Ken, Don and the whole staff better. His solution? A doctor ready with an energizing vitamin B concoction, sure to revive Don’s creativity.
Walking down the stairs after the injection, Don sees Peggy in Ted’s office. There she’s consoling a grieving Ted and -- gasp! -- even touching his shoulder.
Something in Don snaps (likely jealousy). He looks at Ted’s secretary. He’s convinced he knows her from somewhere else, but he can’t put his finger on it. Laughter becomes piercingly loud, and the secretary’s typing is almost deafening. Then, silence. The fixer-upper kicks in. He’s got an idea, and he’s off to finish the deadline.
It’s late at night, and Don is frantically tearing pages out of a magazine. Ken comes to his office and, wow, what a show!
Ken, insisting his foot is as good as new, begins tapping his bad foot. Then comes the time step. Yes, a time step on ‘Mad Men.’ He busts out a whole tap routine -- cane in hand -- while rattling off his job description, rather poetically.
Taking out gun-wielding clients for crab legs (possible Baltimore shout-out?), getting them drunk while chauffeuring them around, convincing them to fall in love with a campaign (or at least trying to) before crashing the Impala: “It’s my job!” he exclaims as he finishes his number.
He’s got the cane, he’s got the moves -- the only thing he’s missing is a top hat. This man is destined for Broadway. I’m sure Harry can hook him up.
Don then sprints to the copywriter room with a grand and somewhat rambling speech. ”One great idea can win someone over.” Everyone buys it but Peggy. Sure, she finds his speech inspiring, but what is Don’s actual message?
The 72 hours before they present to Chevy, Don is running around the office, falling into time lapses and flashbacks, not even realizing what hour or day it is.
Later on Sunday (day 3 of the epic bender) he calls Peggy, Ginsberg trailing, into his office. He’s convinced he has an idea. But he wasn’t working on Chevy: He was making a plan to win back Sylvia.
The soup ad he finds? A brunette woman with a beauty mark, just like Sylvia’s, with an aqua headscarf, just like Sylvia was wearing when Don was stalking her earlier in the episode, feeding a young boy soup. “Because you know what he needs,” the ad says.
But this image of a beautiful mother figure nursing a young boy with soup comes from a memory more distant and painful than eavesdropping on Sylvia in the kitchen.
Back when Don was Dick at the whorehouse, the prostitute Miss Swinson (that’s Aimée with two E’s with an accent, thankyouverymuch) nursed young Dick then took his cherry, much to his resistance.