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‘Mad Men’ Review: “Mystery Date”

Mad Men Season 5
AMC

Mad Men’ Season 5 snaps up  its fourth episode of the year, as Don deals with an old flame trying to get back in his life, while Joan welcomes back her husband Greg and Peggy finds herself with an unlikely guest for the evening.

Last week’s ‘Mad Men’ episode “Tea Leaves” introduced us all to the glory of Fat Betty as the former Ms. Draper had a health scare,  so what will the latest episode bring?  Preciously little Fat Betty, to be sure!

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Mad Men’ episode four “Mystery Date!”

While Don seems deathly ill, he and Megan encounter an old flame of his while riding the elevator up to work.  While Don reminds her this is bound to happen, though he doesn’t end up helping the situation much.  Upstairs, Peggy’s friend Joyce arrives to share brutal crime scene photos of a recent murder (the Speck murders), though only Ginsburg seems to react to the brutality of the situation.

Joan prepares for her husband Greg’s return home, arguing with her mother about how to receive him, given all he must have gone through in the war.  When he finally shows up, Joan’s mother rather quickly leaves the two of the me alone for some good old-fashioned hanky-panky catch-up!  The next morning Greg makes himself a sandwich, before revealing to Joan that instead of returning for another 40 days, they Army is sending him back to Vietnam for another year.  Bummer, man!

Sally Draper calls Don to complain about Henry’s mother Pauline taking care of her, when Ginsburg and Adam arrive to show him a pitch for a shoe campaign, which he signs off on.  He explains to Megan that he can’t go home and rest on account of the shoes meeting, apologizing again for the woman from earlier, but Megan retorts that she’s worried about the sexual appetite he maintains even in marriage, something he’s unable to blame Betty for.

Later, at the Butler shoes meeting, Ginsburg lays out the campaign plan, which the executives happily accept.  In their praise of his work however, Ginsburg goes on about an alternate campaign idea involving Cinderella, which they executives decide they’d rather go with.  Ginsburg refuses to see that he did anything wrong, or even that he should worry about his job as Don yells at him to obey all his commands with an implied “or else.”  Over at the office, Roger learns from Pete of an opportunity for Mohawk Airlines to put out more advertising in the wake of a strike, enlisting Peggy to stay late and craft the campaign.  Knowing how desperate he is, Peggy manages to extort Roger out of $400 to lie and say the campaign was created a week earlier.  That sneaky lady.

Still sick in bed, Don finds a knock at the door, and standing before him to be Andrea, the woman from earlier.  He quickly ushers her out, and gets back in bed, not wanting to be unfaithful to Megan.  At the Draper residence Sally questions Pauline about the grisly murders that seem to be on everyone’s lips , but Pauline retorts that Sally needs better behavior and more discipline.  Don awakens once more, believing Megan to be the one comforting him, when instead he finds Andrea again, who snuck back in.  Begrudgingly, this time Don caves to her advances.  Poor Don, really.

At dinner with Greg’s parents, everyone awkwardly tries to celebrate his return, when his parents reveal that Greg actually chose to go back to Vietnam, rather than being shipped.  Meanwhile, working late at night, Peggy hears noises stirring in the office.  Investigating , she comes across Don’s secretary Dawn, who has apparently been sleeping in Don’s office on occasion to avoid returning home to Harlem, where the police are likely to harass her for an incident in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  With no other option, Peggy invites Dawn to stay with her.

While Sally reads the newspaper reports of the murders under covers, Peggy and Dawn drink at her apartment, to the point where Peggy explains how she first got the copywriter job, even attempting to give the same opportunity to Dawn.  She asks if Dawn thinks she acts like a man, but now questions if she even wants to anymore.  Out in the suburbs, Pauline reads late at night, when Sally appears and confesses to having read the papers, now too frightened to sleep.  Explaining a bit of Speck’s violent crime to her, she offers Sally a pill to get to sleep.

Joan and Greg continue arguing about his decision to return to Vietnam, and Greg storms out, while her mother assures Joan that as a military wife she’ll learn to deal with his absence, even have help, but Joan only responds with “no.”  But that isn’t half as awkward as Peggy realizing that she’s left her purse out in the living room with Dawn, and the two share an tense glance as Dawn realizes exactly what Peggy’s sudden apprehension was about.  Retreating, the next morning Peggy finds a note thanking her for her hospitality.

And speaking of things getting rough, Don tries once more to usher Andrea out of his apartment, but when she chides him for enjoying their dalliance, and coming back for more, Don violently strangles her to death!  Something  isn’t right here!  The next morning, Sally sleeps under Pauline’s couch as Betty and Henry arrive home, while Megan awakens Don with breakfast.  Anxious, he finds Andrea not under the bed where he left her, but realizes that he must have hallucinated the entire experience in his fever.  Phew!

Joan sits at the table the next morning, having barely slept, and blithely informs Greg that if he leaves for Vietnam, never to come back, adding that he was never a good man as he claims the Army to have made of him.  As he walks out, threatening truly never to return, Joan tells her mother that it’s over.  In the end, Joan, her mother and young Kevin lie in bed, as Joan stares at the ceiling.

Sadly, “Mystery Date” didn’t have much going for it as far as buzz-worthy moments, no fun dance numbers and precious little Fat Betty, but how crazy was it when Don hallucinated killing Andrea?  And how bad-ass is Sally becoming, even if the Speck murders keep her up at night?  Maybe next week, poor Roger can catch a break!

Did you get your fill of swingin’ ‘Mad Men’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Mad Men’s latest effort “Signal 30” on AMC!

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