Mad Men 04×11 “Chinese Wall” TV Review

“Chinese Wall” would be the episode where everything blows up. Everything we knew was coming. I’m kind of hoping that the last few episodes will have some twists that I didn’t see coming. Rather like Peggy’s ending in Season 1 or the lawnmower accident in Season 3.

Mad Men 4x11 SCDP
SCDP rallies around to try to find a solution to their little problem. Thanks, Roger.

Oh, Peggy, hanging a lampshade on how when things go well, other things blow up in your face. Catholic guilt, how I remember it so. I love how much Peggy foreshadows everything that’s to come. And it was nice to see her get her sexing side on. Even if I don’t like Douchebag (who’s name I can’t recall, but the internet says Abe), I’m glad that she’s satisfying herself.

Mad Men 4x11 Peggy and Abe
For the days when you shoved 12 people into a bug and drove while intoxicated on something illegal, Peggy will have some memories later.

Though I really hope Peggy continues her resolve not to sleep with Stan. Dick move with letting her go on with the client meeting with lipstick on her teeth. While it gave a nice lightness to an otherwise extremely heavy episode, they do need to be perfect with the clients. (Or maybe the writers are saying that being human with the clients is better than being a bunch of robots.)

I don’t think Roger’s long for this world. He lost his only client. His book’s been published, and clearly, there’s no real love that he feels for Jane. Roger’s isolated at work, and his comment to Don about their friendship revealed just how much Don still doesn’t consider him a friend. But of course, the biggest chunk of his downfall is Joan’s rejection of him and how she considers the business before Roger’s feelings. Joan has always been the one to comfort him — even when they weren’t having an affair there was always an emotional relationship — and now not even she is there. (Of course, all he really had to say was “I love you.” But instead, in his childish way, he wanted to know why she wasn’t prancing around her house by herself in lingerie.)

Mad Men 4x11 Roger lies
Roger fakes a phone call with Lee. This time, his lies are catching up with him.
Mad Men 4x11 Roger and Joan
Joan wants a man, not a boy. And all she has is boys.

Much like last season, the walls of the business are falling around Don. And he’s going home to a blonde woman that he’s cheating on. Faye shouldn’t have done what she did, because he didn’t deserve it. She was right in every instance that she called him out — from not getting drunk and moping, but instead working on his business to keeping their romance out of the office. However, apparently, he’s getting to her as she compromised her principles. (This is unlike woman who was yelling at a lover to get out over the phone episodes earlier.)

At first, I was okay with Megan being Don’s new love interested. I thought in all the episodes leading up to this one that they played it nice and subtly. However, this episode was ridiculous. Their whole after-hours teaching moment made me laugh and be uncomfortable. It was downright cheesy, both in dialog and in acting. I’m not sure the actor playing Megan has the chops. She just felt completely off the entire scene. Which is the only time Mad Men has made me feel like the writing and acting wasn’t up to the very high bar they’ve set. Even John Hamm’s delivery wasn’t up to his normal standard.

Mad Men 4x11 Don and Megan
Megan, the little minx, doesn't have any of that pesky Catholic guilt like Peggy.

Pete is a little bit of everyone’s scapegoat these days. Once again, show, stop making me feel sorry for Pete. His anxiousness over Trudy’s labor was adorable. And if they have more children, he’ll definitely be one of those guys who wants to be in the delivery room. (I do actually think it was a fluke that he stayed at SCDP to help out; mostly, because he was afraid Don would yell at him again.)

Mad Men 4x11 Pete and his father-in-law
Pete carries the burden of family for the first time. And work. What will he choose?

Next week, I’m looking for my twist.

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