Mad Men: Season 1, Episode 13

The Wheel (18 Oct. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama
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Don and Betty Draper have an argument when it becomes apparent that he doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with her family and she plans on going only with the children. He also learns some ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rachel Menken (credit only)
Night Manager


Don and Betty Draper have an argument when it becomes apparent that he doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with her family and she plans on going only with the children. He also learns some information about his brother Adam. Pete Campbell confirms that he has landed an account from his father-in-law for a new skin care product called Clearasil. He objects however when Don gives the account to Peggy Olson, who he has just been promoted to junior copywriter. Peggy proves her mettle in auditions for the weight loss device but later is feeling unwell and goes to the hospital where she is given some shocking news. Don comes up with a brilliant presentation for Kodak on a new wheel-like storage device for a slide projector that he dubs a carousel. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 October 2007 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Dolby 5.1)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was included on the 2008 Emmy Awards 'For Your Consideration' DVD. Matthew Weiner and Robin Veith were nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series". See more »


When Don and Harry are talking in Don's office late at night, Harry reveals that he was an amateur photographer in college and did a project of hand prints on glass. He then mentions how he was always fascinated with the cave paintings at Lascaux France, especially the "hand prints with paint blown all around". The hand prints he is referring are not at Lascaux but rather are at Pech Merle. See more »


Pete Campbell: Stop joking already, will you Don?
Don Draper: Excuse me?
Pete Campbell: This is my father-in-law. He's expecting the very best, I'm expecting the very best. Not some little girl. He'll walk away.
Don Draper: You'll have to give back that copy of Ayn Rand.
See more »


Featured in The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards (2008) See more »


A Beautiful Mine
Composed by Rjd2
Performed by Rjd2
[theme music performed over opening titles]
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User Reviews

Back to basics
28 August 2010 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Mad Men has repeatedly been described as the new Sopranos, a fact strengthened by its Golden Globe and Emmy success (the first season won Best Drama a year after David Chase's mob masterpiece had collected its final trophies). While the comparison is mostly due to creator Matthew Weiner's association with the HBO hit, it is spot-on in that Mad Men is a riveting, sharp look at a specific group of people, all with their secrets and aspirations, and the end of Season One confirms this from start to finish.

Plot-wise, Don isn't entirely happy, having just been in a fight with Peggy because he doesn't want to spend Thanksgiving with her and the kids. As far as work is concerned, however, all is well after Pete's blackmail plan failed (apparently, Bertram Cooper has no problem working with a guy who took a dead man's name). In fact, when the latter shows up with an account he got from his father-in-law (it's for a well-known product called Clearasil), Don shamelessly gives it to Peggy, who's quickly becoming a valuable asset within the agency. Her personal life is less perfect, though, as a trip to the doctor suddenly reveals...

The entire first season of the show was a pleasant surprise: hand in hand with an accurate portrayal of 1960s America and its workplace characteristics (casual sexism and racism, plus lots of drinking and smoking) came a stunning character drama, and the finale delivers the goods by resetting the status quo (Don's power over Pete) and at the same time looking to the future: some plot points - the Dick Whitman storyline - have been shelved (at least for now), while others (Salvatore's homosexuality, Peggy and Pete's affair, Betty's domestic troubles) are sure to be expanded upon in future episodes, thus making sure fans will come back to see how things play out.

Most important, of course, was the evolution of the characters, and while The Wheel doesn't give everyone the great moments they've enjoyed throughout the season, it's an excellent showcase for the talents of Hamm, Kartheiser and Moss, the latter rewarded with a plot twist whose payoff will surely be one of the high points of the second season. Staying in the female area, January Jones deserves credit for making Betty all the more complex than your usual '60s housewife, and Christina Hendricks is also fantastic as a woman who is much more than just a great piece of office eye-candy.

In short, the first season ends like it started: smart, stylish and drenched with emotion. Who would have thought Madison Avenue could be the center of such impressive storytelling? Certainly not HBO, which made the mistake of passing on one of the best TV treats of the decade. And as the old adage goes, this is just the beginning...

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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