Mad Men 4×10 “Hands and Knees” TV Review

Wow, Mad Men is really pulling out the punches here. All drama, all the time. “Hands and Knees” definitely had me on the edge of my seat. Though I really wished I’d made predictions as there were a few things that I *knew* would happen.

Mad Men 4x10 Don is sick
Don's secrets are coming back to haunt him.

I loved the hopeful opening with Sally screaming at going to see the Beatles. You go, girl, and have the time of your life. But the joy all went downhill from there.

Joan & Roger: One of my predictions, after the last episode, was that Roger knocked up Joan. Since she and Greg were trying to have children, she wouldn’t have been on birth control. I’m not convinced that Joan did abort the fetus. The show was rather vague on it, especially after her encounter with the woman whose daughter was getting an abortion and Joan claimed the same thing. (A call to both the era and Betty’s doctor’s comment about abortion being an option for young girls.) But Joan’s silence was extremely powerful throughout the episode, and how her only lines served to comfort the upset mother and to bring adult perspective to Roger. Seriously, he says that he’s “maybe” in love with Joan. What’s “maybe”? Certainly not something Joan’s putting her money on. Maybe Roger is the child that Joan’s raising.

Mad Men 4x10 Joan in the doctor's waiting room
Joan goes alone to take care of her little problem.

Roger & Lee: Both Roger and Lee are children. But of them are incredibly immature and both inherited their jobs/empires from their fathers and were born with silver spoons in their mouths. (I don’t wonder if Roger’s comment about knowing Lee was a nod to Roger knowing Lee’s gay.) There’s no surprise that Lee’s getting overruled by the board as his father ages. Roger is similarly loosing control. Lucky Strike was his only account, and he can’t hold onto that. His immaturity is fully on display as he goes to the partners’ meeting, yells excessively at Pete, and then doesn’t mention losing Lucky Strike.

Mad Men 4x10 Roger and Lee
Roger and Lee are both children. And both have their secrets.

Does getting rid of Lee mean we can hire Sal back now?

Sidenote: The Bewitched references make me extremely happy.

Don, Betty, Faye, Megan, & Pete: Don’s secret is really coming back to haunt him. Only this time, the government wants to know that Don is who he claims to be for security clearances to work with American Aviation.

Two FBI men show up to quiz Betty with oddly extremely pointed questions about Don’s true identity. (When they first showed up, I thought maybe something had wrong with Anna’s estate.) Instead of spilling what she knows, Betty keeps Don’s secret and calls to warn him. For the first time, Don and Betty actually have an adult conversation, and when he thanks her, it’s extremely sincere. And then Betty reveals in a conversation later to Henry that she never told Henry the whole truth about why she and Don divorced.

Don’s panic attack was rather surprising. But I suppose it was a day when draft dodgers were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That and Don seems to realize that Sally, Bobby, and Gene’s future also rides with his. (Step one to being a decent father: realizing that your actions impact your children’s lives.) What’s not surprising is when he actually opened up to Faye, in his vulnerable moment, and then he almost immediately starts pulling away from her. He can never be with someone who knows his secret. Which is why he started making eyes at Megan. No doubt, he’s also remembering just how well she connected with Sally.

For the first time, I actually felt bad for Pete. He rightly told Don, “I don’t have to live with your shit over my head!” Pete takes all the blame for losing the account, when really he turned them away. Don clearly made this play to take one stab at some power that he does have. Realistically, Don would’ve had a better chance at getting his record scrubbed by asking for Bert’s help. (Bert also knows Don’s secret, and as T Lo points out, he’s a ninja capitalist with connections everywhere.) And for someone who just saved his ass, Don was not very grateful the way he let Roger ream Pete for a while before stopping him.

Mad Men 4x10 Pete and Don
Top secret meetings held now in elevators. Don, stop making me feel bad for Pete.

Sidenote: Trudy’s pregnancy nightie was hilarious.

Mad Men 4x10 Trudy maternity nightie
Trudy looks like a cupcake. A giant pregnant cupcake.

Of course, losing the American Aviation account is even worse now that Lucky Strike’s account is going the way of the dodos.

Lane, Daddy Robert Pryce, & Toni: As much as I’m excited that Mad Men may be getting a regular who’s black, it rather disappoints me that she’s a Playboy bunny and that, of course, it’s Lane, who’s already British (read: weird), who gets into an interracial relationship. (Remember Loving v. Virginia is still two years away.) I suppose we’ll see how the plot goes. Hopefully, different from Paul “I’m so open-minded” Kinsey and his black girlfriend, who I totally cheered when she dumped his stupid ass.

Poor Lane, he had his American Dream moment about his son coming to visit with Mickey Mouse and red, white, and blue balloons. All deflated when his monster of a father Robert Pryce shows up with the intent of dragging him back to England to fix his family.

Mad Men 4x10 Lane and Mickey Mouse
Lane's taste of American freedom deflates with the arrival of his father.

In many ways, Lane was an idiot to take Don and Robert to the Playboy club to meet Toni. “Hi, I’m a Playboy bunny” is not the way most people would want to meet their significant other’s family and coworker. I mean, I work in an office selling clothing on the internet and hate when family and friends come by. Plus, this was clearly Lane’s flaunt of his American freedom, and well, adorable Toni deserves the good attention of the dashing Lane. I get that he’s proud of her (she’s adorable), but it seemed like a juvenile and impulsive move on his part. I suppose that’s what young love does to you.

Mad Men 4x10 Robert, Lane, and Toni meet in at Lane's
The setting of Lane's home is a much better place for everyone to get to know each other. Or for Toni to get the restaurant and Lane to receive a smack on the noggin.

Robert smacking Lane down literally and threatening to crush his hand if he didn’t come back to England to fix his family was brutal. However, Lane does need to make a choice, and sadly, if he chooses America that may mean he can’t see Nigel. And would you want good old granddad raising Nigel?

Sidenote: Raise your hand if you really want to write a fanfic crossover with Angel where Lane is a failed Watcher and Wesley’s great uncle. Or perhaps disowned grandfather? I’ve thought about this way too much.

I hope in the end Lane is able to make the best choice. Of course, he might just stay in England if the firm goes under at the hands of Roger and Don.

Oh, Mad Men, I look forward to you next week with lots of anticipation.

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