Matt Zoller Seitz traded his usual recap for a conversation about this week’s episode of Mad Men, in which he and his critic friend discussed Matthew Weiner’s approach to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. As usual, readers had much to say. Here’s what you thought of “The Flood.”
You got pretty sassy about Mr. Seitz’s conversational new format.
* “Gahhhhhh how could you possibly think this is what people want in lieu of a recap???? I can see posting it as a supplement, but come on.” —Commenter petecampbellschipndip
* “Please do not attempt another recap like this one. You can do better.” —Commenter BritishColumbian
* “How is Dawn’s dialogue unnatural? I don’t understand why this conversation was worth publishing.” —Commenter ambibbdos
Then you started your own conversations, about Dawn …
* “Ugh, you guys are SO WRONG about Dawn. I absolutely loved Dawn’s reaction. She’s an individual – she’s allowed to not feel all that personally connected to Dr. King’s death. In recaps, no one questions Peggy’s stilted and awkward reactions to racism, antisemitism, and misogyny, but Dawn’s reaction to this tragedy is actually pretty similar. Both women tend to intellectualize instead of reacting emotionally. That’s a totally valid reaction, especially considering that most of the white characters’ emotional breakdowns were merely thinly disguised displays of selfishness (Pete!).” —Commenter joaniepeterson
* “I guess I don’t understand where your criticism of this episode comes from. Mad Men IS a show about a bunch of white people who work in advertising in the 60s. Matt Weiner uses actual events to let viewers know where we are in the timeline of the characters, and how these particular people react to those events. But just because the event du jour was the assassination of Martin Luther King, the show can’t become ‘The Dawn Show.’” —Commenter teddysmom
* “Disagree. It’s not the quantity of airtime devoted to Dawn; it’s the quality. She’s had enough time now to be more than a bit player, albeit less than a major character. MZS called it: Weiner & co just may not be up to drawing a 3-dimensional Black character, whether she’s on for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. Somehow the idea that she might be as nuanced, neurotic, witty or complex as any other character, however major or minor, seems beyond their grasp. And the notion that the writers would have needed to turn this episode into The Dawn Show to accomplish that is rubbish.” —Commenter hotfoot2019
* “This was an inherently dishonest episode and a great missed opportunity. Weiner was not brave enough to display the apathy that most white Americans had to the assassination. Perhaps they were registering concern over what was to happen to their neighborhoods and cities, but these characters walking around with stricken looks on their faces rang false. ..I remember this period quite vividly and I don’t remember anyone in my general vicinity hanging their heads in grief. There was still the ‘oh, he was a troublemaker’ vibe in the air. If those attitudes, had been depicted, it would’ve made for a truly powerful episode.” —Commenter cineboy
… and race in general.
* “On the topic of race-how about that second appearance of an Asian person in the entire series! Way to go silent delivery guy!” —Commenter loudtyper
You added interesting observations …
* “I don’t think the real estate agent was using the ‘chaos’ as a way of brokering a better deal for Peggy, I think she used it as an excuse to sabotage Peggy’s offer — it seemed clear that the agent was uncomfortable with Peggy (an unmarried woman) being the buyer. That’s the impression I got when it registered that Peggy wasn’t waiting on Abe (the man) to make the decision and take care of the financing, that she was on her own.” —Commenter mightaswell
* “This was great reading. One thing I’d add though is that Betty assuming Don has a girlfriend isn’t exactly an act of clairvoyance. I thought she was insulting him there with the assumption. And it was a good one, because he always has a girlfriend.” —Commenter msethstewart
… and caught a critical plot flaw.
* “Can anyone believe Betty would allow a paper hanger to misalign wallpaper in her house?” —Commenter Funbud23
You scrutinized potential chemistry between Peggy and Ted …
* “What was with the look between Peggy and Ted at the awards? Very weird dynamic.” —Commenter MrsTracyJordan
* “I think Ted wants Peggy so badly. His wife looked completely fed up with the situation so I assume that Ted has been talking about Peggy a lot. Who knows where that’s going to go though.” —Commenter HollowayNotHarris
* “I felt that Peggy’s apartment hunt had a connection with her relationship with Chaough. She wanted the apartment and the neighborhood is the kind of place that someone like Chaough would live in, not Abe.” —Commenter PianoPlayer
… were amused by Ginsberg …
* “Ginsberg was serving some Woody Allen realness in that date scene last night.” —Commenter crookedE
* “Homie ordered chicken soup and crackers for dinner. ‘That’s a dealbreaker!’ ” —Commenter lisarowe
… and felt sorry for Pete …
* “Is there nothing more lonely than Pete ordering Chinese delivery by himself with not even the delivery man to talk to?” —Commenter islandman
* “I don’t think Pete’s reaction had to do with missing his family — I think missing his family was a side effect of going through this traumatic event alone and having no one to share it with.” —Commenter cookiedibbs
… but still ended up discussing his punch-ability.
* “For a change, the Pete-Harry conversation had me rooting for Pete to hit someone instead of rooting for him to get hit!” —Commenter toooldforthis
* “My two cents: In the great Punchable-Face Face-Off of 1968, what a shock to see Harry – not Pete! – emerge as being WAY more face-punchable.” —Commenter KrisPigna
In many ways, this was a difficult episode …
* “Joanie’s awkward attempt to hug Dawn = metaphor for MM’s attempt to embrace the subject.” —Commenter dglew
… that left many of you disappointed.
* “Anyone else think they should have thrown up a spoiler alert before ruining the ending to Planet of the Apes?” —Commenter TheCold