Mad Men – Recap & Review – The Flood

photo: amc

photo: amc

Mad Men
The Flood

Original Air Date: Apr 28, 2013

Ryan O – Staff Writer

Things that you plan and want for yourself can get derailed, sometimes by very serious things. What emerges can be positive even if it’s not what you expected or it can be negative.

Thursday, April 4, 1968. The day that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. That’s when this episode begins. The immediate aftermath of the assassination was rioting in cities across the country. You remember that feeling a couple weeks ago when you found out about the Boston Marathon bombing? The characters go through a similar thing with this catastrophe. Actually, I felt a stronger relationship to the characters than usual as they watched events unfold and tried to keep informed. They were worried, stressed, unsure. I’m sure you can relate.

PeggyThe episode opens with a shot of Peggy in an empty apartment. She’s considering buying it. (It’s a 1,300-square-foot apartment on 84th and York, the Upper East Side.) The real estate agent assures her the property value will quadruple when the Second Avenue subway line is finished. The Second Ave subway line has been a proposed idea since 1929 and is still a work in progress today. Abe shows up and the agent makes the mistake of thinking Abe is the decision-maker, which he clears up by saying he’s just a trusted adviser.

Peggy goes to the awards dinner. Megan comes over and they’re really happy to see each other. Peggy introduces Megan to Harry Hamlin, president of accounts at CGC. Megan and Peggy talk about how they’re nominated for work at SCDP and neither of them works there anymore (Megan for the Heinz Beans, which isn’t even a client anymore). Megan’s excited that Peggy’s buying an apartment. A bit later, Ted can’t stop going on and on to Peggy about how she’ll win awards in the future. Ted’s wife tries to get him to stop but he doesn’t until Abe is there and Ted realizes he’s in Abe’s seat.

Peggy’s secretary, also an African-American, is in. Peggy mentions Abe thought it could’ve been a lot worse, which she immediately realizes wasn’t the right thing to say. She’s not like Don or Joan in that way. But, she does offer her arms and they hug as her secretary cries, saying she knew it would happen. Peggy lets her go home.

Peggy’s real estate agent calls. She didn’t get the offer. Someone came in higher but still under asking price. Peggy wants Abe to show a little emotion about not getting it. Abe doesn’t feel right expressing himself about it since Peggy is the one paying for it. She says now is the time to say something. Abe doesn’t really want to live on the Upper East Side. He always saw himself raising their kids with a wider variety of people. She can’t wipe the smile off her face about “our kids.”

So, no Upper East Side apartment near the Drapers. But, Peggy, who started out the episode standing by herself, instead can’t stop smiling about “our kids.”


Don and Megan meet Arnold and Sylvia in the lobby of their building. It turns out that Arnold and Megan are both being honored albeit separately. Arnold is giving an address at a conference in DC. Megan is up for an award — albeit one for a commercial.

At the awards dinner, Roger introduces Randy, a creepy insurance guy, to Don. You might recognize creepy insurance guy as Ethan from Lost.

Paul Newman announces his support for Eugene McCarthy. Just after that someone shouts that Dr. Martin Luther King has been shot. Everyone is horrified. The emcee comes to the microphone and says they wanted to hold that news until the end but they’ll give people 10 minutes to talk about it and then resume. People are flocking to the pay phones and lots of people are leaving.

Later at home, they’re watching TV coverage. There are reports of riots. You can hear sirens in the background that aren’t on TV. Megan is worried for Dawn, Don’s secretary. Don’s worried about Sylvia and Arnold, who are in DC. Turns out, Megan did win, but that’s totally forgotten, the moment overshadowed by events.

Dawn comes in. Dawn’s mom told her to go to work. Joan comes and say Bert is closing the office out of respect but Don’s life insurance meeting is still happening. Dawn would just as soon stay than go home. Don thinks that’s a good idea. Joan gives Dawn an incredibly awkward side-hug and says they’ll all so sorry. Dawn has a look that says, “Why is she hugging me?”

Randy, the insurance guy, meets with Roger, Don, Stan, and Ginsberg. He’s just wildly weird and inappropriate. He says the spirit of Dr. King visited him the previous night. He wants an ad with a Molotov cocktail and a coupon. “Make sure he doesn’t get lost on the way out.” Ha! See what they did there? That’s a meta-joke right there, folks.

That night, Betty calls Don. Don forgot to pick up the kids for the weekend. Don can’t believe she still wants him to go to Westchester County, pick them up, and then drive through everything that’s happening in Harlem. She says Henry says it’s fine. So, he goes.

Megan is taking the kids to a vigil in the park. Bobby says he doesn’t feel well and Don stays home with him. Bobby says Betty told him he can’t watch TV for a week. So, Don takes him to the movies, Planet of the Apes to be exact.

“Big Round Up of Human Beasts” blares the faux newspaper Don’s reading that’s part of the program for the movie. “Everyone likes to go to the movies when they’re sad,” Bobby tells an African-American usher, encouragingly.

Megan comes into the bedroom where Don is drinking. She says his kids asked about him and he said it’s just as well since she’s better with them. He talks about how you go through the motions of loving your kids from when they’re born all through their lives up until they do something that makes you feel the way you’ve been pretending to feel and it makes you feel as if your heart is going to explode.

Don checks in on Bobby, who can’t sleep. He’s scared but not about Planet of the Apes. “What if someone shoots Henry?” Don assures him that won’t happen. Don lies in bed with him.

Don was able to create a tremendous fathering opportunity out of the aftermath of the tragedy. Bobby got to go the movies because he couldn’t watching TV due to his punishment.


Henry goes into work at the mayor’s office on the news of the assassination. Betty is worried about him but he says he’ll be fine.

Henry returns later, having helped the mayor keep the city calm. A day later, Henry expresses frustration at the steps the mayor took to keep things calm.

A bit later, Henry brings home news that he’s been asked to run for the state senate. Betty beams, saying this is what she’s always wanted for him. He’d have to quit the mayor’s office but Betty is encouraging. Henry says, “I can’t wait for people to meet you,” and Betty’s face falls just a little bit.

By herself in the bedroom, Betty holds up one of her old dresses as she stands in front of a mirror. She’s not pleased and balls up the dress and puts it in the closet.

Betty is making her second life work for her the best she can.


Ginsberg arrives home from work. He still lives with his dad, by the way. Speaking of whom, his dad is talking with a woman, who is there for her date with Ginsberg, which he wasn’t aware of. He’s thrown by the whole thing but she’s ready to be flexible about it.

Ginsberg’s date is going pretty well but he’s nervous and can’t stop talking and blurts out how his date is very attractive while he’s never had sex before. But she seems charmed. The date takes a turn, of course, with the news of the shooting. It’s on the radio in the restaurant. They end up leaving. Ginsberg goes home and tells his dad, who just covers his head.

On Saturday, Ginsberg’s dad insists he should be with a woman now since that’s what happens during catastrophes. Dad says the animals went to the Ark two-by-two but Ginsberg would’ve gotten on the Ark with his father.

Best Lines:

“He’s like Roger with bad breath.” Peggy, about CGC’s president of accounts

“The man knew how to talk. I thought that would save him. I don’t know why but I thought that would solve the whole thing.” Roger, about Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Let me put this in terms you’ll understand. That man had a wife and four children.” Pete, yelling at Harry for focusing on lost ad revenue after MLK’s assassination

“Are you forgetting what Tecumseh said? ‘He ah ho ah ho ho.’” – Randy, the insurance guy “I had forgotten that.” Roger, in response to Randy’s absurd sentence

Best Shot:

Pete and Harry coming out of their offices on the second floor of SCDP.

Song over the end credits: “Love is Blue” by Paul Mauriat

What do you expect to happen in the coming weeks? Let’s hear your Two Cents!

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5 Responses to Mad Men – Recap & Review – The Flood

  1. gerry says:

    Megan is having an affair…mayb w doc rosen & her miscarriage was an abortion…intimated by sylvia telling megan that sylvia felt “that is something I don’t feel is my choice”…mayb with the soap writer & his wife mwgan’s co-star.

    Don is a “bad guy” trying to get good while Pete is a “good guy” trying to get bad. So the plot will wrestle with that…”man can only be taught a few tricks nothing more”…Matt Weiner’s presaging the coming plot lines…Peggy lost the apartment since “it wasnt meant to be” just as she “lost” the baby seasons ago.
    Bobby doesn’t just havs an epiphany (“Jesus”), as one suspects did matt weiner at that age, but reaches out in kindness to the theater usher…to no small extent thereby vindicating or at least saving don from wondering if trying to be good is having an effect

    • ryanoneil says:

      Peggy didn’t lose the baby. Her mom and sister are raising him.

      I can’t agree with the idea that Megan is having an affair and that she had an abortion. The show very seldom allows major action to happen off-screen in such a way.

  2. Anu says:

    Whaaaaa? I guess I missed some season then. Did not know Peggy was pregnant or had a baby.
    Oh and I am behind on my watching :p

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