Matt Zoller Seitz called this week’s episode of Mad Men “a bunch of half-formed ideas,” an hour of television best described with the neologism “what-the-fuck-ness.” Many readers sassily disagreed and most added some analysis of their own. We’re celebrating an epic comment section once again this week; here’s what you thought of “The Crash.”
You analyzed the triumphant return of skinny Betty ...
* "Betty was raised to be an object to be admired and to gain her sense of self through her husband. *Of course* she only lost weight once she knew Henry was running for office; it's given her a pedestal and a newfound reason to look good. I am continually fascinated by her, and I think she is the personification of the Feminine Mystique. There's just something about her that breaks my heart." — Commenter mcrowfoot
* "Yes, I think Betty is justified in every barb she throws at Don. I think they were really in love at one point — and they broke each others hearts and that shows through. I always liked last season when they were able to have "friendly" phone calls. When he called her "Birdy." I hope at some point they can get back to that a little." — Commenter prettycrabby
... and defended Matthew Weiner’s “Grandma Ida.”
* "Call me crazy, but I think the fact that Ida the Burglar makes so many people uncomfortable was the point. I don't think it's Weiner's ‘issues.’" — Commenter mblankman
* "I think this recap might be missing some layers about Ida and Dawn in last night's episode. That Dawn continually cleans up after Don is also played out in Ida. The offensiveness is not in Ida herself, but in the fact that it was reasonable for Sally to think she once cleaned after Don. Were Ida a man (white or black) Sally would have screamed her head off. Instead, her presence as a caretaker seemed possible to her, as that's what women like her are for. That's certainly what Dawn is for. And that's what Weiner, Inc. was probably trying to say." — Commenter jenninnyc
* "MW is focusing on race actually. He is focusing on it by showing how white people thought about black people in the sixties. Either not at all, or as menacing, or as service providers or caregivers. The absence is in fact a statement. The statement IS an action. I think it is effective. It just seems alien to our modern sensibilities when have become accustomed to diversity and 'equal time' (on screen, for example). I would also note, during this period and the 70s 'equality' would have to be legislated — affirmative action for example, or integrating police or fire departments or governmental agencies." — Commenter starzstylista
You caught some potential symbolism ...
* "So we learned that Don's original sin was losing his virginity to a prostitute. And hilariously enough, of course Ginsberg (the virgin) hates apples, and also gets to cast the first 'stone' — or xActo knife as the case may be." — Commenter kth818
* "Anyone else into color theory? We've never seen Sylvia in yellow before, but in the elevator scene when Don rebuffs her she's in bright yellow. The next scene is Sally in a bright yellow nightgown. Both yellows practically screamed from the screen, and neither character has previously worn much yellow.” — Commenter banga
... and delved deeper into all that mother-figure business.
* "Ok, so now we get the connection between motherly Sylvia's headscarves and mole, the prostitute-nurse's headscarves and mole, and Don's work, which includes a mother with a headscarf and mole serving oatmeal (with the tagline "because you know what he needs"). What was really freaky was realizing Dick's stepmom was also serving oatmeal when she beat him with a spoon. Also freaky in terms of the sex/punishment link, the only time we've seen adult Don with a prostitute was with Don in the submission role — his post-Betty, pre-Megan "ladyfriend" who straddled him and slapped him ("I know what you need") in the season 4 premiere." — Commenter nycer1
* "Loved how the Chevy pitch they are working on is about the ultimate expression of love from parent to child, and Peggy quotes Wordsworth "The child is the father of the man," meaning that all our positive and negative traits are established when we are young. I love this kind of meticulous research in backing up the theme of the episode. Really it's the theme of the series that wherever Draper goes, so goes Whitman." — Commenter polt343
* "To be insufferably grad school-y about it, Peggy & Aimee are both liminal umbilical figures: women who are simultaneously mothers and not mothers. There’s no right answer to whether they are moms: they have had children, but they don’t have children. Don is an orphan in desperate need of a mother, and these two have managed — if sometimes only briefly — to be that figure." — Commenter spaghetticat
You cheered for the few virtuous characters “The Crash” left behind.
* "Oh, Peggy. She is the definition of a true winner and it's a shame that those cretins at the office don't recognize the divine wonder that she embodies. The poor woman was stuck having to coddle and look after a cadre of lost little boys? Ugh. She doesn't need that trouble. Peggy needs a harem of men who'll beg, cheat, and fight for the honor of briefly basking in her eternally glorious state. When will Peggy finally get everything she deserves?" — Commenter hollowaynotharis
* "Well, one of the reasons why most of us like Ken is that he's one of the (probably is) the nicest, sanest, unselfish, most easygoing characters on the show. I may seem superficial but it's true. It doesn't hurt that he's good looking as well (that's not Ken, that's Aaron Staton!)" — Commenter pianoplayer
* "Fab touches — Ken tap dancing while complaining about how he is essentially tap dancing for the Chevy execs. Peggy taking notes but Ginsberg needs to click the pen when she hands it to him, so she was obviously pretending." — Commenter grandmaida
You worried about Roger ...
* "I have a really bad feeling about the fact that the last we saw of Roger was of him walking into Dr. Feelgood's office saying he has a heart condition, and the doc's response was, 'no problem.'" — Commenter cheesyblasters
* "And what about Roger? I kept waiting for him to return after his 'I have a heart condition' pre-shot-in-the-butt scene. And he hasn't yet. He'd better be okay, is all I have to say about that." — Commenter trillian4210
... but if Roger's okay, you hope he and Cutler end up BFFs.
* "There haven't been any signs of it yet ... but I secretly hope Cutler and Roger become best friends, how entertaining would they be together." — Commenter skiwi
* "Harry Hamlin is great on the show. I love his dirtier, crazier but funny version of Roger. With the bad breath, of course." — Commenter pianoplayer
* "Can I say again how wonderful an addition Harry Hamlin is? He and Roger with their black rimmed glasses are such a perfect match. They remind me of the "bash brothers" from the second mighty ducks movie." — Commenter soleiluna
Really this episode was as hard on you as it was on our antihero ...
* "Don's life is a black hole that can't be filled. Sex, alcohol, family, professional success, all leave him empty. He keeps risking everything he has because it's worthless to him." — Commenter irish7
* "Did anyone notice that Don told Sally to "just forget" the Ida incident, as he told Peggy to do about her surprise baby? Thoughts on what this means for parallels between Peggy and Sally, Don as a father figure, and what the advice means in the context of Don drowning in his memories this season?" — Commenter ch624
* "How about Don throwing in the towel when it comes to creative input? He's just going to supervise now. I thought that was a major plot development, as part of his ad man mystique is his Big Ideas. But now he's done. What does that say about him as a character? As part of his job? Is he giving up?" — Commenter trillian4210
... and even though it may be possible for Don to find redemption ...
* "Maybe, just maybe, Don's collapse at the end of the episode shows he's finally understood the consequences of his actions? His affair put his children in danger, and he knows it: ‘I left the door unlocked.’ Sylvia's protests did nothing to stop his reckless actions, but realizing he failed his children did. Maybe." — Commenter clairekay
* "I think you really missed something here. Don FINALLY had an epiphany, basically psychoanalyzed himself. He put it all together, his obsessive mother/whore issues, and his endless playing out of those, this time with Sylvia. By the end, he was over it. True progress for a change. He stopped falling and actually caught himself." — Commenter mariahmeme
... you have had ENOUGH of the frickin’ flashbacks.
* "I think Weiner wants us to be way more interested in the flashbacks than we are. So, Don/Dick has had painful upsetting things in his life — WHO HASN'T?!"— Commenter prettycrabby
After all that chaos, you really just need someone to say, “I love you.”
* "When Don had Sally on the phone, I was really, really wishing/hoping he was going to end the call with 'I love you.' Would've healed his broken heart a little bit - mine too." — Commenter aquamarinering