So tonight’s episode gave me a great smile because Paul Kinsey made a welcomed guest appearance. The only thing is that he’s a hare krishna now. Yup you read that right: Kinsey’s a hare krishna. Oh, and he wants to be a scribe forStar Trek. Joan also gets some much-needed screen time (and she gets to be violent – a plus!). And Lane Price’s money issues are making him do some dumb shit.
But let’s start at the beginning: Paul Kinsey. The last we saw of Mr. Kinsey he was pissed because when Don, Roger and Bert flew the coop, they poached a bunch of employees, but left Kinsey behind. Viewers weren’t privy to what happened to Kinsey since and I was always curious and it was great to see him. It was also worth the wait to see him, robed and head shaved, with a perpetual beatific smile. Of course, for MadMenloyalists, we all knew that there would be a chink in Kinsey’s serene facade. Harry Crane runs into Kinsey and gets to sit in on a chant/prayer session, where everyone loses their mind – of course, we’re made to look at hare krishnas like they’re weird – and really, the joke’s pretty stale at this point (I don’t even see them banging their tambourines or selling flowers at the airport anymore).
So, Kinsey’s in love with a beauty called Mother Lakshme, who found Krishna Consciousness after a life of promiscuity and drugs. And to start a life with Lakshme, Kinsey has an idea: he writes a spec script for Star Trek. Harry’s not too sure that Star Trek will remain a hit because of its competition which includes Bewitched and My Three Sons. There is a hitch with Kinsey’s script – it’s terrible.
Harry takes the script to work and asks Peggy to read it. He also asks why she never looked to Kinsey when hiring a new copywriter and we get a quick rundown of the descent of Kinsey’s career: he ping pongs through various ad agencies before ending up at A&P – Harry is confused: which agency is A&P? Nope, Peggy means the A&P, the supermarket. We can only guess what Kinsey did at the A&P. The two share a quick laugh at Kinsey’s expense, and Peggy advises Harry to be straight with Kinsey.
So Harry’s facing a dilemma: tell his friend the truth and crush his dreams or lie and let him be deluded. Lakshme rocks up to the ad agency and seduces Harry. After intercourse, she orders Harry to tell Kinsey the truth, so that the latter abandons the world of television and remain with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. She bargains sex for Harry’s compliance. In an awesome show of being pissed off, she hauls off and slaps him when he points out that she already gave away her bargaining chip.
A couple days later Harry and Kinsey meet at a coffee house. Instead of heeding Peggy’s advice and Lakshme’s orders, Harry butters Kinsey up, lying and saying that the Star Trek folks love the spec script but can’t hire him because of vague legal reasons. He then offers Kinsey $500 and tells him to flee to L.A. and try his hand at TV writing. Kinsey, moved, shares that the hare krishnas promised help and support, but Harry was the first to deliver. The two share a lovely hug and it’s goodbye Paul Kinsey.
The writer of this episode finally remembered how great Joan is and gifted her with some amazing lines. After rebuffing Roger’s offers of financial support again, she’s served with divorce papers. What transpires next is fantastic. The stupid receptionist who let the process server in, is completely oblivious to Joan’s fury – after all, the guy said he knew her and had a “surprise.” Joan then unloads a whole lotta mad on this dumb bunny, screaming “having you at the front desk is like having no one at the front desk.” She then grabs a model airplane and flings it at the stunned receptionist yelling, “An airplane’s here to see you!”
Don witnesses this and takes Joan away. Paying a car salesman $600 they drive away in a sweet, candy red two-seater. They share at the bar and Don and Joan bond some more. He shares that he was always intimidated by her, which explains why he never hit on her; Joan comments that her mother raised her “to be admired.” Apparently, she received so much flowers when she first started working at the agency, Don assumed Joan was being romanced by Aly Khan.
Don’s had too much to drink when he returns home to a fuming Megan. She flings a plate of pasta across the room and demands to know where Don went. Don thought this was one of their S&M moments, but thankfully it wasn’t – instead she barks at him to “sit down” and insist that they eat dinner together. Stunned but still blotto, Don obeys. Pissed, Megan remarks that Don used to love his work, but now he’s kind of phoning it in – and we’ve all noticed that. Ever since Megan left, Don’s famed mojo has been depleted. He’s also facing the fact that he’s not twenty-something anymore, and he’s now starting to be behind the curve (the last episode showed just how out of it, and tone deaf Don can be about what’s “in”). Picking at his pasta, he mumbles that work is different than it used to be.
Back at the office, we’re getting more glimpses into Lane Pryce’s financial woes – it appears that the British tax man is after Lane for about 8 grand. Not knowing where he’ll come up with that kind of moolah, he does something really stupid and raises the office’s line of credit. He then comes up with the bright idea of giving out Christmas bonuses. In something out of Bernie Madoff, Lane forges a check for himself in the still of the night because he desperately needs the funds.
While his bonus idea is initially met with enthusiasm, the partners have to forgo their bonuses because Mohawk – the biggest client – has temporarily suspended its ad budgets. Don summons up some of his magic and delivers his version of the St. Crispin Day speech as he rouses the troops, letting them know that the office will land the Jaguar account. Everyone applauds, impressed and inspired, but Lane looks like he needs a bucket-full of Pepto Bismol.
Overall, this was a pretty good Mad Men episode. I like the addition of Joan – she’s started to become sort of a guest star and her freaking out in front of the receptionist was awesome – I also love how clueless the receptionist was: “You can’t talk to me like that” she admonishes the former Mrs. Harris.Excuse me? Joan has said worse to Roger.
I also like that we’re getting more clues to Lane’s money problems. I still feel like the issue is being handled too cryptically – I’m starting to feel like his wife, Rebecca – kinda clueless about what’s really going on.
I’m looking forward to more growth for Peggy – like Don, she’s been at a bit of a creative low. Up until this season, I figured Peggy would usurp and overtake Don – it seemed inevitable, except she seems a bit distracted by her personal life, as well as, by mentoring up-and-coming stars like Megan and Michael Ginsberg.
This season only had 3 episodes left, so it’ll be great to see how the stories will be resolved: what’s going to happen with the Frances marriage? And will the writers take advantage of just how awesome Kiernan Shipka has become as Don’s daughter, Sally? And will Roger and Joan eventually get it together, or will Joan become the pre-Murphy Brown and raise her kid on her own?
What did you think of this episode of Mad Men? Also, I’m curious, what was your reaction when you saw Kinsey in Krishna garb?