“Next Week on Mad Men,” Decoded

What you're watching.
May 13 2013 3:42 PM

Ashen-Faced Don Draper, and Other Mad Men Promo Predictions

Reading the tea leaves of AMC’s maddening “On the next Mad Men …” promos.

(Continued from Page 1)

What We See: Ginzo (Ben Feldman) saying, with some interested surprise, "I don't know!"

What's Actually Happening: Ginzo's replying to the uncomfortably valid question "What does a 'copy chief' actually do, anyway?" And it's not like Peggy hasn't been wondering that too—it's just hard to know how to ask.


What We See: Stan telling Ginzo, "Spectacular."

What's Actually Happening: "How was your 'shroom trip with Roger Sterling, Stan?" "Spectacular. First we stared at surfaces and watched them move for what seemed like five hours, even though it was probably two minutes. Then we started playing with lighting concepts—you should see the vids when fluorescent light touches that silver hair! Then Roger for some reason wanted to press his balls against my beard, which even tripping I thought was weird, but to hell with it—he's the boss and they kind of felt rad anyway. After that, the mentals kicked in, it was time to come up with our own Fleischmann's campaign, so we designed this kick-ass concept based on Napoleon Bonaparte using margarine as a secret weapon in his war campaigns, which is totally true. Look it up! Also, Roger asked me to live with him—do you think I should?"


What We See: Don urgently walking to his office and then seeming to see someone.

What's Actually Happening: I hate to keep harping on the drinking, but the dark side of Peggy's "No one can drink like you" comment from this past episode is that Don's also in a category by himself in that he starts getting the DTs if he goes more than an hour and a half without some kind of alcohol. (I know it sounds farfetched, but think about all the weird flashbacks he has!) In this case, he's caught sight of Martin Luther King's head on Dawn's body, with Sylvia's voice telling him "I have a dream!" As it happens, Roger and Stan are seeing the exact same thing at the moment, but they're having a lot more fun with it.


What We See: Ken telling Roger and a couple other people, "It's worse."

What's Actually Happening: This one's easy—Ken led in by talking about how ballistic Burt Peterson (Michael Gaston) went the first time he got fired before saying that what he did this time was …well, I don't need to repeat myself. Remember Duck trying and failing to take a dump all over Roger's exquisitely white office furniture? It's like that, only, well, worse.


What We See: Megan (Jessica Paré) asking, "Where are you?" as Sally (Kiernan Shipka) looks exasperated.

What's Actually Happening: I know it seems like a typical scene with irresponsible Don Draper not caring about his stupid family, as Sally's planet-tracing eye-roll would suggest. But you know how in this past episode, the show went with the never-before-seen-on-TV idea to have Megan's voice fade to nothing in Don's ear? Turns out the condition forgot to reverse itself! At home, Don's managed to get by via lip-reading—the size of what Megan has to work with in that department makes the errand easier—but here, all he hears is dead air as he tries to convey into the phone that he has a VERY IMPORTANT MEETING! If Sally were so inclined, she could step in and facilitate the communication, but here's the real spoiler: She isn't.


What We See: Don tossing down a piece of paper and telling someone, "We cannot go on like this."

What's Actually Happening: Not sure how this got in there, but this is actually an outtake of Jon Hamm remarking on the Sylvia scenes in this past script, a reaction that prompted the hasty decision to write her out. Good instincts, but the damage is done.



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