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What I’ve Been Doing 15 July 2013 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jul 15th, 2013 by Dan

Pacific Rim Locandina

Giant mechs and giant monsters. I’m all in. (Photo courtesy Domenico)

You know how the saying goes, right? When the cat’s away, go see a kaiju homage movie. It was silly stupid fun and it was awesome.

Movies

Tokyo Godfathers – Min and I were looking for something to watch during dinner and I finally convinced him to check out Satoshi Kon’s fairy tale/holiday story. I love how happy this movie is and ends. Very few mind games for a Satoshi Kon flick too.

Pacific Rim – Giant robots, somewhat hammy acting, and great special effects make Dan a happy man. Go into it with your expectations properly in place and you’ll dig it too.

TV

Mad Men – Peggy’s phone conversation with the pastor is pretty awesome/hilarious. Really the only episode of the latest season I’ve seen was the premiere, but it was fantastic and I’m excited for the rest of the season that’s just hanging out on my dvr. Just gotta find the time.

Music

I don’t really have anything for you today. Maybe next week?

Books

Not this week.

Video Games

Donkey Kong ’94 – The Game Boy remake/sequel to the arcade game is so awesome I knew I had to get it from Club Nintendo. Seriously one of the best games I’ve ever played and I’m loving getting through it again.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – I bought so many turnips…I hope I get a good price.

Professional Baseball Spirits 2013 – My Hiroshima Carp are having a surprisingly solid April. The bottom third of the lineup is an out magnet, but I’ll hopefully be able to shore it up with free agents or a trade.

The Last of Us – I thought I was in the last section of the game, but it appears that another few hours are left. Almost there…

The Wrath of the Lamb! – What I’ve Been Doing 11 June 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 11th, 2012 by Dan

Help from "brother bobby" & "sister maggie"

Some plush versions of Isaac, Brother Bobby, and Sister Maggie (Photo courtesy Danielleorama)

That Wrath of the Lamb DLC is awesome stuff. It’s still a super challenging game to get through, but I’m absolutely enjoying it. I almost want to play it more than Diablo 3. Speaking of which, I’m getting close to 60…Just three more levels.

Movies

Haywire – Our aborted attempt to watch this movie probably saved us all a lot of time and earned us a free movie ticket. Gina Carano is great in her action scenes, but a lot less great in her dialogue scenes. It’s just tough when she’s surrounded by so many other talented actors. Makes me want to watch some Jackie Chan movies.

TV

Girls – Pretty neat episode centered around Adam. I thought that Chris O’Dowd barely held in his Irish accent and his scary, entitled attitude was funny, but it wasn’t my favorite episode of the show.

Veep – I liked all the pressure on the staffers who were going to be fired. Selina is an interesting character and I’ve been digging the show so far, but I haven’t figured out where it’s going yet (or if that’s the point). Still, it’s been a fantastic show and I’m really happy that the show got renewed for another season. It’s great to have a sharp political satire on TV.

The Bachelorette – Two shows this week are testaments to how much I love spending time with my girlfriend. See if you can guess which two they are.

Fashion Police – Joan Rivers sure likes to make jokes about her vagina, doesn’t she?

Mad Men – Season finale! Really beautiful episode. This show is art every week and I’m sad to see it go for the season. It ended on an interesting note regarding the future of the Draper marriage and it was great to see Pete confront his own unhappiness. I thought Alexis Bledel did a fine job too. I really hope we don’t lose Peggy screentime next year because she’s at that other firm. Please bring her back next year as a regular!

Music

Regina Spektor – “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats” just came out two weeks ago and I’ve been listening to it more and more. Spektor’s playful style doesn’t get in the way of making great music. Listen to it first to make sure you appreciate her quirkiness, but definitely buy it.

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – Didn’t make a whole lot of progress on this, but it’s still interesting.

Video Games

Diablo III – I’m tantalizingly close to level 60 and Inferno mode. Definitely gonna have to grind a bunch once I get there because…wow…things are already getting super tough for me and I’m only in Act II.

The Binding of Isaac – The new items seem to be overpowered, but I’m also not dominating the game every time I boot it up, so I guess it’s still The Binding of Isaac. You probably missed the super cheap price in May, but it’s still somewhere around $5, I think. No reason not to buy it, I’d say.

What I’ve Been Doing 4 June 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Jun 4th, 2012 by Dan

Getting Really Good at Tummy Time

I spent part of the weekend hanging out with my niece. She's got an awesome Oscar toy (Photo courtesy DJOtaku)

Just can’t get away from moving. Finished moving Tiffany and then I had to move. All this rapid-fire moving has me completely sick of it. I’m considering burning all my stuff the next time I have to move…

Movies

Another week with none. I’ve got a Netflix disc just waiting too…

TV

Mad Men – Last week’s episode with the Joan and Porsche and the Peggy stuff. Just amazing. Great show.

Girls – I didn’t love the Bushwick party as much as most other internet critics seem to have, but I thought the closing scene with Adam and Hannah was particularly well done.

Veep – Veep at Camden Yards! How awesome!

Music

Ellie Goulding put out a fantastic cover of The Weeknd’s “High for This” last week. Check it out. It’s awesome.

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – Intrigue! Moe Berg’s pictures of Tokyo were the sources for Doolittle’s run.

Video Games

Diablo III – My time reports are a little inaccurate since I left it running overnight yesterday so it’s more accurate to say that I got very little D3 time in. David passed me and got to 60! Gotta catch up!

Binding of Isaac – One of the main distractions from Diablo was the Wrath of the Lamb DLC pack released for the Binding of Isaac. Love that game and I love any excuse to be confused and learn new ways to play. Pick it up! It’s really cheap.

Moving Day – What I’ve Been Doing 28 May 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 29th, 2012 by Dan

uhaul on labor day.

So sick of these trucks, but I've got my own move to think about soon... (Photo courtesy jojothree)

Every joint and muscle in my body is stiff, but I least I put in a nice, hard, honest day’s work, right? …RIGHT?!

Movies

Not this week. Sorry, folks.

TV

Community – Who knows what the post-Dan Harmon era of Community will bring, but I thoroughly enjoyed his last season. A lot of experimentation and ambitious stories and episodes. I still love Community and I can’t wait to see it come back in the fall.

Glee – Skipped like three episodes and watched the finale with Tiffany. I hope we see less of the current seniors, but, then again, the rest of the cast is pretty nondescript/boring. Decent songs on the finale, but nothing mind blowing.

Mad Men – I can’t believe I let Diablo delay my Mad Men experience. The past two episodes (not counting the most current) were all fantastic and so great to watch. I really love this show. Too bad it’s almost done for the season!

Girls – This show is actually getting better and better as it progresses, which is quite the compliment since it started off so strong already. I’m quite fond of it.

Veep – Still my favorite comedy on television right now. Just amazingly hilarious.

Music

Hannibal Buress – Got his standup album from last week, Animal Furnace. Dude is funny. Go check his stuff out.

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – I love the concept of a gentle giant-type ballplayer. The fact that he was such an intellectual is astounding.

Video Games

Diablo III – What else were you expecting? Still playing and still digging D3, especially when I have my brother or another friend to join in. Lost my first Hardcore character this weekend. May you rest in peace, Min the Barbarian.

What I’ve Been Doing 14 May 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 14th, 2012 by Dan

Tropico 4

I felt a little guilty being El Presidente. Photo courtesy SegmentNext)

Want people to get a taste of your game? Have a free weekend. I put in 11 hours and I probably would have bought the game if it wasn’t for Diablo 3 dropping tomorrow. Sorry, Tropico 4. Maybe next Steam sale.

Movies

Election – The prototype that all kinds of high school shows like Popular and Glee seems to crib off of. Not amazing or anything, but I thought Reese Witherspoon’s performance was just perfect. She really hit the right notes in Tracy’s obsessive need to win and I especially liked when she had that confrontation scene with Broderick about the teacher she was sleeping with.

TV

Mad Men – Mad Men is really killing it, man. Really great performances make for solid character work. The Megan/Don relationship continues to be intriguing, but who knows how much of it is left.

Girls – I loved the last couple of minutes of the show with the diary reading. Really hooked me in to want to see more.

Veep – Best line: “You’re not fucking Thor, mom?” Although the cutouts in the closet scene was a little on the nose. This show continues to improve every episode and I already loved it at the premiere!

The Voice – The cover of Joe Cocker’s cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends” made me want to go and listen to the original (the cover, that is) and I’m not only way more impressed with that version, I’m impressed with the restraint Cocker shows that the artists on the show don’t seem to have. You don’t have to turn every note into a power note, guys, but I see why you might want to on a singing show. Oh, also Christina Aguilera never wears pants and it’s weird/gross/hilarious.

New Girl – Rushed. Overdone. Why are Schmidt and Cece breaking up? Would have been “Most Improved” sitcom of the year if it had stuck the landing.

Fashion Police – Joan Rivers is really mean, but kind of funny. Still could do without watching this show.

Parks and Recreation – “Jerry forgot to vote.” “Dammit Jerry!” Not everything about the election storyline worked, but it was a solid season of good comedy. I hope they rally to S3 levels for S5.

Community – The second clip show goes and improves upon the first so much that I like it even more. Fantastically done.

Bob’s Burgers – Eh. Didn’t love it as much as the premiere. I think this show is good, but not great.

Music

Bold words from Lupe Fiasco. Pretty great stuff.

Books

Not really…

Video Games

The Old Republic – Finished Nar Shaddaa with my Trooper. This new droid companion is awesome. Super funny. I think Bioware has cornered the market on funny droid writing.

Tropico 4 – I like having a steady sim to sit down and chill out with. Don’t get me wrong, T4 is a second tier sim, but you could do worse in the time before the next Sim City game launches and now.

Mad Men S5E7 “Lady Lazarus” [IB]
May 8th, 2012 by Dan

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is not my favorite song by The Beatles. Not by a long shot. In general I’m not a fan of their drug-inspired work, but I recognize how Revolver, and, specifically, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, is the turning point for the band (for the record, Rubber Soul is better than Revolver).

It’s also the obvious choice for a song by The Beatles that would completely alienate Don.

All season long we’ve been seeing old Don. Prior to this Don was actually pretty cool. He had a lot more success with women and the 60s didn’t actively hate him. Now the youth of the country is aggressively turning against him. Megan and Ginsberg seem to regard his distaste for youth with incredulity and horror. I mean, Ginsberg drops an F-bomb, he’s so mad (really, censors…did we really need to cut the audio there?). In the direct aftermath of last week’s episode, Megan decides that she truly does hate copywriting and advertising in general and she wants to act. It’s just so…I dunno. Everything that Don wanted, Megan had. She had the beauty and grace of Betty and the desire to write copy and intelligence (and skill) of Peggy, but now the life that Don has so enjoyed is abandoning him. Hence the open elevator shaft…

I loved the way that Peggy dressed down Megan for rejecting the thing that she and Don value so much. Both of them cannot understand a world where advertising doesn’t take precedence, but at least Don was supportive and didn’t squash her dream like he did with Betty. Peggy and Joan also had that lovely interaction where they discussed the modern woman and Megan’s squandered talents. Joan’s view of her is far more pessimistic, perhaps given her older age and the fact that she’s seen so many of these marriages go the same way, but Peggy sees a woman who has everything, but cannot be satisfied with what she has.

Meanwhile, Pete and Rory Gilmore (not really, it’s Alexis Bledel playing the role of Beth) are engaged in extra-marital activities. When Pete’s train buddy decides to spend the night with his mistress, she gets revenge by sleeping with Pete, but he’s not able to let go quite so easily. He is constantly overaggressive with women, isn’t he? After a season of just tearing him down, at least Harry gets a chance to drop some wisdom about women with Pete. It’s a pretty good scene that Pete doesn’t take to heart. No, he’s not satisfied with women being in control and deciding the way things go. It reminds me of his scene with the prostitutes earlier in the season. He wants to be in charge. So when Beth draws the little heart to Pete and then erases it with the power windows…what Pete sees as hope is instead further demonstration of his lack of power.

What I’ve Been Doing 7 May 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
May 7th, 2012 by Dan

avengers-photo-3

Robert Downy, Jr. was definitely the MVP of the movie. (Photo courtesy JakesplacePS)

Readership assemble! Min and I made the great sacrifice of seeing The Avengers for you. Our verdict? It’s excellent. Go see it, y’all. Seriously.

Movies

The Avengers – It does precisely what I thought was impossible by focusing on each individual character for a bit and giving them all arcs. Granted, most of the groundwork was laid in all the other Marvel movies, but it’s still tough to do. High props to Mark Ruffalo for his portrayal of the Hulk. His barely contained anger was chilling and, most importantly, awesome. Joss Whedon’s writing also gels quite nicely with the movie, RDJ version of Iron Man.

The Five-Year Engagement – It’s a little long, but it’s also very funny and definitely well acted. This movie gave roles to all kinds of hilarious guys like Mindy Kaling, Chris Parnell, Brian Posehn, and Kevin Hart. Not to mention the supporting roles for Alison Brie and Chris Pratt. Emily Blunt remains charming and Jason Segel is his usual lovable oaf self. Don’t expect anything amazing and you’ll enjoy this light romantic comedy.

TV

Mad Men – I have no idea where this season is headed, but man am I just stoked to be on the journey. Last week had all-star performances all around. Can’t wait to see what happened last night.

Girls – Best line: “Ok, American History X.” Awkward humor is where it’s at now, huh? Not complaining, but it’s interesting how that’s the norm now. This show continues to surprise me week to week. It’s better than you might think.

Veep – Another solid, solid episode. I wasn’t sure if the show would be able to maintain its awesomeness, but it has met and exceeded expectations. I really do love this show.

Parks and Recreation – I read one reviewer call the campaign bus running over the Sweetums guy overkill, but I thought it was hilarious. Great work by the cast, but I’m ready for the election storyline to finish.

New Girl – From week to week you’re the one show that really gives me pause, New Girl. You’re really not the best hang-out comedy out there, but you put in work that is passable and regularly funny. I feel like you get more credit than you deserve, but I do enjoy watching you, I guess. At least you name dropped Coach this week. I know you couldn’t bring him back to prevent confusion and because you had to build Winston up from scratch, but I hope you bring back Coach for an episode one day.

Community – Starburns is dead. The study group is expelled. I liked that they rallied from that dark moment thanks to Troy. Makes me wonder what’s coming up at the end of the season. Will they succeed in taking him to the A/C Annex or will the group rally in his support? Does it matter if they’re not all taking classes together any more? This season certainly deviated from that…

Music

The Fez soundtrack deserves special mention. It is a joy to listen to in the background thanks to its ambient nature, but it doesn’t let the listener get too comfortable. The dissonance creates an uneasy feeling that I’m perhaps pairing with my game experience too much, but I think it’s still absolutely worth listening to. Especially for you, Min. It’s got no words.

Books

Eh, nope. I gotta get back into reading soon. I almost bought a book this weekend, but physical books feel so expensive to me now!

Video Games

Fez – Certainly the best downloadable console game I’ve played this year. We’re talking Grade A awesomeness in its simultaneous simplicity and complexity. Figuring out a puzzle will make you feel like a genius. Turns into a bit of a pain to navigate as the number of secrets narrows down, but still a game that everyone should play as soon as it’s out on PC, I guess, since none of my readers have an Xbox (that I can think of)

Mass Effect 3 – Played a couple of levels from the Resurgence Pack. They seem big and/or complicated, but I like them. If only they’d vary the enemy types or game modes I’d be happier spending a ton more time in this game. Oh well.

Shadow Complex – It’s funny how I find save rooms so antiquated now. Losing a bunch of progress and listening to the same dialogue over and over because I died isn’t acceptable any more. Still scratches that Metroidvania itch and I dig that.

Devil Survivor 2 – Just unlocked the ability to transfer between Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya instantaneously. I wish the third region had been Sapporo, Hiroshima, or Okinawa. This is a sharp game. Very similar to DS1, but that was a sharp game too. I’m wondering where the story is going in this one, but not in a bad way. I really should play this more…

The Old Republic – The Trooper story continues to be interesting to me. I like the whole “Reassemble Havoc Squad” thing it’s got going on. I even like the companions! Sergeant Dorne, the Imperial defector, seems like she’d add an interesting wrinkle to my game, especially since she disapproves of my character’s rule-breaking habits. The storytelling in this game is absolutely superb. So glad that Min and I are playing this now, but we’ve only got a week before Diablo 3…

Mad Men S5E6 “At The Codfish Ball” [IB]
May 1st, 2012 by Dan

Mad Men has this way of being so beautifully tragic that you almost forget that you just witnessed a wholly depressing episode. “At The Codfish Ball” deals with disappointment that hits the principals like a truck.

Don

Who wouldn’t love dealing with their socialist-leaning, disapproving father-in-law for an entire weekend? To top it all off, Don was also dealing with almost losing a pitch. Don’s cluelessness in work has not fully evaporated as he fails to notice all the warning signs about the Heinz dinner that he’s about to get canned. He’s lucky that Megan is able to both come up with an idea that is far better than his and able to charm the Heinz guy’s wife so much that she gets the inside information about being canned.

His pitch is vintage Don Draper stuff, even lifted from Megan, and he handles the Heinz guy brilliantly. Is this the herald of a return to form for Don?

Perhaps, but Don’s got a much bigger problem. Ken’s father-in-law reveals to him that, despite the recognition he’s received for the tobacco stunt from S4, he hasn’t just deep-sixed SCDP’s business with cigarettes, he’s potentially screwed himself over with anyone of substance. The future looks grim for SCDP.

Megan

What is Megan’s dream? Her father seems to think that she’s compromised by going into advertising and marrying Don and taking all of his money and benefits. I wonder if she intended to be a writer because I can’t see Emile approving of her being an actor either.

Anyway, Megan has herself an interesting episode. The Heinz success is really her success, but Don is forced to do the heavy lifting while giving her marginal credit in front of Heinz. That didn’t seem to bug her, but the success in general and recognition in the office certainly did. I wonder if the writers took Peggy off of the account so that her scene of genuine joy and support for Megan’s success would have fewer undertones of jealousy.

What really undercuts the success is the distaste her father seems to show for it. He’s not proud of her for marrying a successful man nor is he proud of her for succeeding at her morally bankrupt job. Tough crowd out there.

Emile

Insult upon insult was heaped upon Emile in this episode. His book fails to do well and his wife relentlessly hits on Don and Roger in front of him and insults him in front of his daughter. He is uncomfortable with all the decadence of Don’s life and hostile to all parts of it. I thought that Pete was particularly vicious in cutting him down after his second question about what it was that an accounts man did. I mean, Pete completely obliterated him. It was brutal and amazing.

Sally

Is anything in Sally’s life not disappointing? She gets a chance to be sophisticated and go out with her father, but the dinner features no ballroom steps and whole fish, a food she does not care for, as an entree. Things look up for a while as Roger is charming and pleasant to her, treating her with just the right amount of respect for a girl her age, but her opinions are completely destroyed when she witnesses Megan’s mother giving Roger head in a back room (could they be less discreet? Seriously…)

“How is the city?”

“Dirty.”

Peggy

The only other story with focus has nothing to do with the Drapers/Calvets or even Heinz. Abe seems to resent being around the guys at SCDP with Peggy, but instead of breaking up with her like she thought he might, he proposes…they move in together. This is the 1960s and her mother is a pretty serious Catholic, so you can imagine how that went over, but even more heartbreaking was reading Peggy’s face when she realized that Abe wasn’t actually proposing to her. Amazing acting.

I also really appreciated how supportive Joan was of the move. Joan and Peggy get the award for being super nice in the face of a lot of ugliness this episode.

What I’ve Been Doing 30 April 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Apr 30th, 2012 by Dan

Gomez

Gomez: The Hero of Fez (Picture courtesy Titolian)

I did a lot more with this week than I thought I would have time for considering how much I played The Old Republic and how late I was getting home for a lot of the week. Fez gets special mention at the top of this article for completely immersing me in its world. Everything from its ambient, minimalist soundtrack to the weird artifacts, perplexing language, and dense, unspoiled mystery has me super intrigued.

Movies

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – I swear that I’m gonna stop tagging this someday soon. Tiffany hadn’t seen the US version and it was in Redbox, so we picked it up. I was struggling to stay awake at the end (it was one of those weeks), but it’s still a pretty solid movie. That stuff after Martin dies has always been way too long.

Shame – You know you’ve messed up if your movie about a sex addict living in NY is boring. It just wasn’t the daring, risque movie that I thought it would be. I did rather enjoy Carey Mulligan’s haunting “New York, New York”, but it was a little long. Watch it if you’ve got nothing to do/you can find it for cheap/free.

Like Crazy – Watching the trailer for this made me think I would hate the leads and I definitely did. They’ve got this youthful, lovey-dovey, can’t be separated from each other for five minutes thing that drives me crazy. Doesn’t help the plot that it all hinges on one stupid decision that anyone could have prevented. I also had a real tough time understanding why Anton Yelchin would rather be with Felicity Jones over Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, come on…JENNIFER LAWRENCE.

TV

Mad Men – Last week’s episode was very interesting and very artistic and I came away from the Ginsberg/Peggy scene just in love with the show all over again. Can’t wait to watch last night’s offering.

Veep – Guys, this show is hilarious. Best comedy pilot I’ve seen in a while. Just clever and subtle and sharp. They really capture the office/government job vibe.

Girls – The entire internet has an opinion about Girls so I felt like I needed to watch it. The first episode frustrated me with Hannah’s spoiled dependence on her parents, but had enough wickedly funny moments that I was on board. The second had lots of hilariously bad sex. I mean, the line about why doggie style isn’t always degrading, “What if I want to feel like I’ve got udders?” was pretty brilliant delivered. Mike Birbiglia’s job interview scene was great too. The whole thing with the non-PC conversations and the complete 180 on the offer was so good. I’m on board for now.

Kids on the Slope – Shinichirō Watanabe and Yoko Kanno’s latest collaboration is not quite as stylized as Cowboy Bebop, but it’s got the same strong Jazz roots. Worth watching for the music alone, as are most of Watanabe’s shows. I want to find that title track. It starts with this slow marching beat and then it just turns into this great piece. Love it.

Parks and Recreation – Getting tired of the election storyline, but the show is still selling it. Chris Pratt’s live action movies were hilarious and Aubrey Plaza continues to be a delight.

Community – Pitch perfect Law & Order spoof. The back half of this season continues to impress.

New Girl – I want to love this show a lot more than I do. It’s just so mediocre when it’s not funny. Happy Endings has deeper swings (funnier and more terrible) and I just dig that show way more than New Girl…

Music

“Sakamichi no Melody” by YUKI:

It’s not gonna blow you away, but I love the way it flows and changes. When it picks up in that middle section…how can you resist not tapping your toes?

Books

Moe Berg: Athlete, Scholar, Spy – Only a couple pages into this story about a baseball player who was also a spy. We’ll see how it is.

Video Games

The Old Republic – Min and I got our alts going now. My Trooper story has been interesting and I’m glad I’m playing it instead of a Consular.

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP – Finished the first movement/section/track. Have yet to go back in and start putting serious time. Very stylish and cool.

The Walking Dead – Captures the spirit of the comic and zombie apocalypse WAY better than the tv show does. Love it.

Saints Row: The Third – Played a little co-op with Lee. This game is so hilarious. I’m thinking of switching my character to zombie voice.

Fez – Really fantastic game. I can’t stress enough how immersive it is in its sparseness. I can’t wait until I start to understand the puzzles and mysteries more. Gonna try to limit my exposure to the internet since they’ve mostly solved everything. I know I’ll need their help eventually, but for now I’m on my own.

Mad Men S5E5 “Far Away Places” [IB]
Apr 24th, 2012 by Dan

Now that was something. Mad Men does this kind of thing from time to time, but rarely is it done this well. Everything about it just felt so surreal and amazing to behold. I know I’m firmly in this show’s pocket, but I really feel like everything in this episode worked…and quite well.

The flagship moment of the episode is, of course, the LSD trip that Roger and Jane take. Some have called the hallucinations cheesy or overdone, but I’ve personally never seen such an understated LSD trip. There was no “Tomorrow Never Knows”-esque song leading us into the trip. It went straight and it was more revealing and terrifying for doing so. I thought the music in the vodka and the cigarette were nice touches.

It led to the honest revelation that Jane and Roger were unhappy and they agreed to split while high. Jane didn’t seem to want it as much sober, more likely fearing the unknown than actually wanting to stay together (and looking smoking, by the way), but they both ultimately felt it was best. What else did we learn? Jane feels like Roger doesn’t respect her or pay attention to her (both true) while also fearing that he thinks she’s a joke. Roger, on the other hand, shows that he still feels inferior to Don and Cooper. His insistence that he’s the man behind Don Draper always reeked of insecurity, but his drug haze confirms it.

Meanwhile Peggy has completed her transformation into Don by alienating Abe, making overly emotional pitches, browbeating clients, having anonymous sexual encounters, and sleeping in her office. It’s telling that none of the moments felt all that jarring to me. Her personality and character have so evolved to be Don that even a hand job in a theater seems normal. A lot of critics are saying that this was a move to please a man where she’d failed to do so with Abe and Heinz, but I took it more as a power play. She didn’t want anything done to her, she wanted to do something to the man. To be the one in charge of a situation when she feels powerless in the environment of the 1960s. What greater position of power is there than to have a man literally in her hands and at her mercy?

The most powerful sequence in her story comes post-movie during the late night work session with Ginsberg. He tells Peggy about his origins as an infant born in a concentration camp and adopted from a Swiss orphanage through a metaphor about being a Martian. It makes sense in a very Ginsberg way and it’s so vulnerable and affecting that I feel like I need to watch it again.

Of course what would a Mad Men episode be without checking in with Don? The groundwork of resentment that the show has been laying regarding Don’s disregard for his and Megan’s work ethic forms the kindling of their conflict. I’m not sure yet if this show is going to terminate this marriage this season, but they’re definitely showing that it’s terribly dysfunctional. Don has severe power issues and Megan confusingly plays into and against them. It’s a very tantrum-y thing to start shoving sorbet in your mouth, but what else could Megan do after Don shot down her every complaint about his lack of respect?

Naturally Don throws as big a fit after she callously (and accidentally) references his dead mother and Don drives away, abandoning his wife at the HoJo. Power dynamics continue to come to play though. Would Betty have just waited for Don instead of hitching a ride to a bus station and going to the city? One thing’s for sure, Megan’s not gonna let Don have the power of denying her transportation and she exercises her power in not responding to any calls.

What follows in the apartment is their ugliest, most violent fight yet. The two of them seem so very mismatched, yet Don seems to think she’s a fantastic wife. I’m intensely curious where the rest of this season (and that marriage) are headed, especially now that Bert Cooper has called Don out on his absentee work. Will we see a shift in Don a la “The Summer Man” or will he continue to atrophy away like Roger? Time will tell.

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