Mad Men – Ep. 12 – Nixon Vs. Kennedy

The episode titled “Nixon Vs. Kennedy should be titled Draper Vs. Campbell. We saw Don and Pete go at it a lot and this has to be one of the best episodes yet. With flashbacks, partying, and politics; could it get any better?

In the presidential elections, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy are running against each other and everyone at Sterling Cooper wants Nixon to win. They are all keeping a close eye on the election and we see this when Cooper meets with a potential account executive. The first question he asked him was “who did you vote for?” We obviously know JFK will come out victorious. I wish I can let them know. If only…

Once Don leaves work on election night, the offices at Sterling Cooper suddenly turns into a party. Everyone was drinking and dancing and there was a lot of sneaking around too. Peggy was the quiet reserved one as I would expect. I think this scene was awesome, especially when they turn the water cooler into an Absinthe cooler. The morning after was a typical morning after from some serious partying. The guys looked disheveled and  were drinking hangover remedy juices and the office was a mess. Peggy was looking around thinking to herself what the heck happened here last night? I think Peggy should live a little instead of being so uptight. She is always following the rules and I know she is new at the agency, but you only live once. Even I would want to go to that party, it looked so reckless.

As we suspected, Pete used blackmail on Don to try to get the accounts manager position at the agency. Don quickly denies Pete’s information. Once Don heard this, he seemed different. I have never seen him look so weak mentally this whole season. The facts are obviously true, and Don is very quiet about his past. Pete is acting immature and I liked the way Don put it. He told him, “why do you deserve it? Because you’re rich? Because you paid for $5 haircuts as a boy.” When Pete ran to Cooper, to try to possibly cost Don his job, Cooper responded “who cares,” and I agree. Don Draper is the engine that powers the agency, leave him alone.

What I did not like this episode was Don running to Rachel Menken. He asked her to run away with him. Run away? Is he really going to run away from his past? Run away from Pete Campbell? Don, I do not dig. Neither does Rachel, she thinks he’s delusional and breaks it off. Now we get to the flashbacks. My first thought is yes! I’m an avid LOST fan and if you watch LOST you are aware of the flashbacks.

We meet Dick Whitman (Don), and his Lt. Donald Draper, and we see by an accident that Dick was the reason that the real Don died. In the flashback Dick takes Don’s dog tag and when they return, the real Don is believed to be Dick. This was a perfect way for Don to run away from his life and start a new one. Cowardly? Yes. This episode made it clear that Don is pretty cold-hearted. I came away surprised with the flashbacks, but I did enjoy them and can’t wait for more.

I am rating this episode a 5/5. I loved the political aspect of the episode and how it was a mirror to Don and Pete. The flashbacks were easily the highlight for me. I felt like I was watching a movie. The time is now. The long-awaited season finale of Mad Men. Could I get any more excited??? What’s up with Roger? What will happen with Don and Betty? Hopefully we will find out in the finale.

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