TV Review: “Mad Men” Episode 09: The Green Eyed Monster

Written by Vanessa Vernick May 21, 2012

Taking on the weight of the show

The latest episode of Mad Men, appropriately entitled “Dark Shadows,” starts out a bit slower than usual. Addressing the theme of jealousy, the episode bypasses the men for most of the episode to focus on the various women in the “Mad’ world.

Betty has a much larger presence in this episode than she has throughout the season thus far. After a very awkward run in between her and Megan, during which Betty catches Megan without a shirt, we see her descend into even crazier territory. Though, admittedly, it is hard not to feel a bit of sympathy for her as we gain insight into her struggles with her weight and body image. Though she tries to tackle her weight gain by attending Weight Watchers meetings, we come to understand that the root of the problem lies in her feelings of insecurity.

Were we all so sassy?

Particularly in this episode, it is hard not to notice the evolving attitude of Sally Draper. The writers clearly decided to hit upon the issues attached to becoming a teenager and growing up in a split home and the effects it may have on a young girl – especially in that era when divorce was so much more taboo than it is today. We see the complicated dynamics in her relationships with Don, Megan and Betty and notice that she has some serious trust issues when it comes to adults. Seemingly caught in the middle between Betty and Megan, we begin to see that Sally can play the game just as well as her mother and get the sense that manipulation is not out of her character.

To be perfectly honest, I think the idea of tackling the strange relationship between Betty and Megan is long overdo. “Mad Men” is one of the best television shows out there, but sometimes it has a tendency to let a lot of questions go unanswered (e.g. Why did they just stop talking about Peggy’s baby?). I know I’ve been wondering when there was going to be a blow up between the two wives and how they were going to integrate the two new families for awhile, and I’m happy that they decided to address it.

The soon and currently divorced

This episode hardly focuses on Don and in terms of men, it really only looks at Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling. In my opinion, these two men actually have quite a bit in common, though Sterling has a bit more charisma. They both represent two men who, other than their careers, try to avoid any kind of responsibility and live only to satisfy themselves. The entire plot surrounding Pete’s character simply involves him daydreaming about Beth – or in my world, Rory Gilmore – and the topic of jealousy rears its ugly head once again as he takes out his frustrations on Beth’s husband while riding home. It almost seems like with the re-birth of Don and his new sense of morality, they need to make Pete even more sleazy just so there is some drama.

Sterling ends up calling up Jane, asking her to join him for dinner. Which, last time I checked, I thought he hated her? We see Sterling called out numerous times in this episode for his egocentricity and selfishness. And while I’m not the biggest fan of Jane, you almost feel bad for her as we come to understand a bit more of his personality in the way that he thinks he can buy and own everything and everyone. For Sterling, the word ‘no’ doesn’t even exist.

However, we see one big difference between Sterling and Pete Campbell in this episode. At the end, we realize that Sterling actually has a conscience whereas whether Pete ever feels any remorse for his actions is still up in the air. I do have a soft spot in my heart for both of these characters, as loathsome as Pete may be, but I feel like up until now they have been rather one-dimensional.

 


 


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About Vanessa Vernick

Vanessa is a writer and editor for We Eat Films and, thus, has a love for film (especially classic FIlm Noir) and a passion for writing. She is currently in pursuit of an Honours Double Major in Criminology and Sociology at Western, giving her a unique edge, and tries to incorporate a bit of this into much of what she writes. She is hoping to pursue her Masters in Journalism. When she's not writing, you'll usually find her glued to her TV or enamoured by one of the great, classic Penguin novels.

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