Mad Men: Season 4, Episode 8

The Summer Man (12 Sep. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 614 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 4 critic

While Don's thoughts turn inward while he deals with Anna's death, Peggy is placed in a difficult situation when an obnoxious new hire in the creative department is disrespectful to Joan.

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Storyline

Don has come to the realization that his life is falling apart, fueled in large part by his excessive alcohol consumption. To get his life back on track, he is swimming regularly - a difficult task at first - and writing a journal, the latter which may be the more difficult task as he admits he has never strung together more that 250 words at any given time. His problems are compounded by the fact that Gene's second birthday is coming up, Gene's official party to which he is not invited. He also knows in his heart that Gene considers Henry to be his father. Don also evaluates the state of his relationships, especially with Bethany. Betty is not coping much better with her life, the thought of Don which causes her unending grief. A chance social meeting with Don totally unravels Betty, unfortunate for Henry that it takes place at an important dinner with regard to Henry's political future. Betty's emotions take their toll on the Francises. Joan is also going through a rough time with ... Written by Huggo

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Drama

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12 September 2010 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The addresses given by Don Draper to the cab drivers for his apartment and for Faye Miller's are both locations of Urban Outfitters in modern day Manhattan. See more »

Quotes

Don Draper: [Yelling through the door at Miss Blankenship] Get Joan in here!
Peggy Olson: She startles when you do that.
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Connections

References Peyton Place (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

The amazing stride of the fourth season continues...
13 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Mad Men has always been a great show, better than 99.9% of Television out there, However, the fourth season is masterful, even better than what can be expected from Mad Men, which is saying a lot. The 8th episode, The Summer Man, continues the amazing stride of the fourth season.

The episode has a narration from Don that is unique to the show, and while at first I was skeptical, I thought it was amazingly well-written. First off, Don Draper is trying to become a better father, and a better human being. This is made obvious by the way he is treating his second date. Yes, he is going out with two woman at the same time, but there is a noticeable difference in his charms, and the fact that he made it clear to the audience by narration that he likes sleeping alone because he can 'spread his arms and legs' as far as he wants shows how vulnerable and sympathetic he was in that scene. We also have his ex- wife Betty not being able to make the best of her situation when she sees him in a diner. The scene with Betty hiding in the restroom having an emotional breakdown shows that Betty has been just as equally affected by her divorce as Don, but in a different way. January Jones also is showing that she is an amazing actress, and not many people would have been able to play Betty the way she did in the car ride home. People need to start giving her a lot more credit.

On the other side of the coin we have Joan in one of her most weak positions. Christina Hendricks, like Jones, can play Joan so uniquely that she she starts sobbing in her bedroom with her husband we know, unlike him, that the reason she is crying is not because he is leaving for a while, but because she realizes how alone she really is. Of course, Joan knows this, but she would never let others find out. She is a very proud woman, which is why when Peggy fires the guy who caused her trouble she refuses to give Peggy satisfaction and reveals to her that it was only for Peggy's self-satisfaction. Both Moss and Hendricks have played off of each other in the series, and even though Peggy has come a long way and has changed her position in the office, unlike Joan, they will always be different. Joan's views are quite limited, while Peggy seems more willingly to break the barrier that many women at that time felt no need to break. On the other hand, Peggy just seems to not realize after all these years the kind of woman Joan is and should have known better than to mind Joan's business. In a way, Peggy is selfishly doing things in the office to make her look respected, yet Joan found out, is making herself look worse. Peggy, just like Betty can be childish at times, yet strong and independent in others.

All of the episode was cleverly constructed, and perfectly written and directed. After last week's amazing episode The suitcase, it was an even bigger wonder to see how great this episode was. When all is said and done, the fourth season will be considered Mad Men's finest, and with good reason.


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