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Published on May 21st, 2012 | by Alan Danzis


Mad Men Season 5 Episode 10 Review: ‘Christmas Waltz’

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The next day, after last night’s Mad Men, you would think I would look fondly back on that absolutely amazing Don and Joan sequence. But nope.

Can’t get Roger in that shirt out of my head.

Or our first look at Paul Kinsey in a couple years.

Wow. Those two images will stick with me awhile.

Anyway. Some major things happened in tonight’s episode, which isn’t surprising, given that series creator Matt Weiner co-wrote it. The major happenings:

  • Lane continues to be in serious financial trouble and believe it or not, doesn’t ask for help from a single soul—instead, he steals from the company and forges Don’s signature to do it. (Which is somewhat ironic given that Don isn’t really Don.) I have to imagine this will be a major, major plot point for the rest of the year (or possibly into next season.) I just can’t envision a scenario in which after Lane is found out – and he will be – that he remains at SCDP. And that makes me very sad.
  • Joan is getting a divorce from her rapist husband. Except he’s the one divorcing her. Wonder why she waited so long to file the paperwork after she dumped him a few episodes ago? (Which I think in the show’s timeline was a few months ago…)
  • And finally, Don get his mojo back. After Megan – who next to Peggy and Joan is willing to stand up to Don – reminds him that he loved his job before he loved her, Don decides to excite and energize the agency to go after the Jaguar pitch. He delivers the kind of “Don speech” we had only seen a glimpse of with Heinz this year, but had seen plenty of in other years (Kodak and the carousel being the best), to his employees—a first. He not only cares about the work, but it seems like he cares about the agency now too.

One of the largest plotlines of this episode belong to Harry and Paul Kinsey. While at first I couldn’t help but laugh at his new role as a Hare Krishna, at the same time, from what I’ve read, this is what happened to people at that time period when they were so lost. Not getting selected to come to SCDP clearly had messed up Paul’s life a bit.

Except he was even more lost than he thought. His girlfriend was taking advantage of him because he was putting the skills he learned in advertising to become an incredible recruiter. And it was Harry Crane – King Douchebag himself – to help set him free. With a lie. But a lie that’s probably better than the truth. And if Harry got some sex out of it, by all means why not—if you’re married and you work at SCDP, you tend to cheat on your wife.

(I’m still waiting for someone on the Internet to write “The Negron Complex.” I’ve Googled, but nobody has attempted it yet.)

Moving on to Joan and Don… that entire sequence was legendary. The way Don showed he truly cared for Joan as a friend – I’m so glad she rejected his invitation for a dance at the bar later because we all know where they would have ended up – and how she quickly adapted to the situation showed how strong their bond is. She went from being upset about the divorce to instantly playing along with Don on the fake marriage at the car dealership. Then again, what new divorcee wouldn’t want to drive around in a Jaguar with a guy like Don?

After she got the divorce papers, I thought for sure Joan would run back to Roger, given what happened earlier in the episode: we learned Roger knows Kevin is his child! But Joan rebuffed him about not being involved, which was somewhat surprising, now that he is getting a divorce as well. Joan seemed to shut the door forever, but I’d be surprised if Roger gave up that easily.

Other random thoughts:

  • There were some great quotes tonight. My two favorites:
    • “Surprise! There’s an airplane here to see you!”
    • “We created a human life. We created a baby.” “Yes, and now it’s some other lucky girl’s turn.”
    • Am I the only one who thought Megan’s outburst kind of came out of nowhere? Don went to her boring play and somewhat if he disappeared for the afternoon? Once he explained he was with Joan, shouldn’t he have be fine? Had Megan still worked at SCDP, perhaps she would have been more understanding…
    • Now that we finally saw Kinsey… does that mean we’ll finally see where Sal wound up? Hopefully he’s in better shape than our would-be Star Trek writer.
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