Mad Men – “The Flood”


Tyler Clements

Grade: A

Greed – a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed

If you haven’t yet, listen to Matt Weiner’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. He all but confirmed my theory that this season is structured like Dante’s Inferno.  He did, however, make me doubt that Don is actually dead.  If you listen to some of the extra clips in the article you’ll find that it was his intention to make the audience wonder whether Don was alive or dead during the first episode.  So, I’m pretty much abandoning that. However, I believe my Dante theory is still going strong.

Whenever Mad Men deals with some kind of huge historical event you know it is going to be an excellent episode.  It’s always extremely interesting to see how the characters react to what we now consider some of the biggest events in U.S. history. The Kennedy-Nixon election, Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy Assassination, Ali v. Liston, and now the assassination of MLK jr. Matt Weiner has also stated in interviews that he chose to set this season in 1968 because of all the crazy things that happen!

But lets get down to why we’re here, to talk about greed.  This episode, like last episode, didn’t feel as heavy-handed as the first three with the Dante theme.  Greed is, however, always present in the Mad Men Universe. One could argue that Peggy moving into an apartment with 1,300 square feet, 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths is a little greedy. Especially when she’s only just started making Upper East Side money. But I think that her broker/realtor is the main source of greed in this instance. She pushes Peggy to come in at $5,000 below the $28,000 asking price. For those math nerds like me, that’s like lopping off $33,000 in 2013 dollars.

Harry Crane is always being too greedy.  Whether it’s creating his position as head of TV, or squeezing Roger out of all of his money last season, Harry is a very greedy guy. So when the breaking news is interrupting Bewitched, he isn’t happy about all the money SCDP is losing. Luckily we have the always upstanding Pete Campbell to put Harry back in his place. Pete has always been sympathetic towards African Americans though, which is strange because, he’s pro-prostitution and an all around slimeball otherwise.

The contrast between Don and Peggy when it came to the concern over their secretaries was a very interesting note. Don has his rolodex and for a second I thought he was going to be trying to reach Dawn, but then he tried to get in contact with Sylvia. Peggy seemed genuinely concerned and comforted her girl when she got there in a way Don and Joan could not.

Don takes Bobby to see Planet of the Apes and I can’t help but feel like that plays into the theme of this episode.  I’ve seen the original but I haven’t seen any of the more recent ones. But from what I can assume they were trying to convey was, humans are destroying earth with their disagreements and greed. I also like that this was the first major Bobby storyline, uh, ever. Turns out he’s a pretty smart kid.  He’s obviously a lot like Don, I especially like when he asks about the movie and he just says, “jesus.”

What will next week hold? We are entering the Anger ring and people have a lot to be angry about. Don’t forget to listen to Matt Weiner’s interview. It’s very good.

Extra Thoughts:

  • Spoiler Alert Peggy, they never complete the Second Avenue subway.  Although they are working on it right now and the first phase should open up in 2016 rerouting the Q line.
  • Why is there so little Sally this season? I complained last week about no Ginsberg and got my wish!
  • I loved that SCDP and CGC’s tables were so far back that they couldn’t see Paul Newman.
  • First episode to not end with Don in bed with Sylvia as one of the last scenes.
  • Will next week be the assassination of Robert Kennedy? Or will we get a week off from riot-inducing assassinations.
  • Most awkward thing ever award goes to Joan hugging Dawn.
  • And the Advertising Club of New York 1967 Andy Award of Excellence goes to Megan Draper.

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