Mad Men – “The Wheel”
This was an amazing end to a great series. There were so many outstanding scenes and I’m not going to talk about most of them.
The most controversial storyline is not Betty spilling her heart to a pre-teen but Peggy’s pregnancy. I’m pretty much on board with any storyline Matthew Weiner wants to tell and I’m not fazed by the unlikeliness of Peggy’s lack of awareness.
The general comments on the AMC message board were alienating (but that’s typical of a laxly moderated board) and patronising and ignorant (because it isn’t possible for someone’s experience to differ from the norm). However, this sort of thing happens now (here’s one from two days ago) and considering Peggy was using birth control and was eating a lot I’m not amazed at all.
However, I had ENTIRELY dismissed the idea that Peggy was pregnant and I was gleefully wrong… She has to give it up for adoption though. It is simply impossible for her to keep it and continue working.
Don is so good at his job that he sold himself the dream of a happy family life in a quite incredibly moving scene (and there were no photos of it on the AMC site which is plain weird). I’m not keen on fake endings but this one had a thumping impact. Betty’s reaction when she realised he was coming was beautiful and Don’s reaction when he realised he was too late was so sad.
I am reading a collection of Shirley Jackson short stories (The Lottery and Other Stories) written in the 40s and 50s. They are an amazing collection of stories full of repression, anger, humour and women on the verge. I would be surprised if Weiner or his team haven’t read them and, if they haven’t, what did they read?
Betty is a tragic figure and she is the character that I care most about. She is incredibly lonely and while her behaviour with Glen is wildly inappropriate I can see why she does talk to him in such a way. There is literally no-one else. All the other adults in her life have let her down. The psychiatrist – the one she should be able to trust – is telling Don everything, she knows (everyone knows!) that Don is unfaithful and he treats her like a child anyway and her father has turned to another woman mere months after her mother has died. She is alone and trapped. I am looking forward to seeing her character develop.
There was a scene cut from the BBC version involving Pete and Trudy in bed. I found this out by reading the TWOP recaps and I can’t find a reason why and I’m cross because I bet Pete was in his pyjamas.
Ah, what a fabulous series. Most of the time I forget that I am watching a contemporary drama set in the past rather than an old drama. It’s like watching Sarah Michelle Gellar play Faith in Buffy’s body in “Who Are You?” and she is so utterly convincing that I get mixed up and hear Eliza Dushku speaking the lines. I can think of few higher compliments by making that comparison – SMG is superlative in “WAY?” and I cringe when people use that episode to illustrate that ED has range when she was blown away by SMG’s performance.