TV Crush

It's a Mad, M.A.D. World: Mad Men, M.I.R.V.s, M.A.D. and Existentialism

10/13/2008 10:00 AM

Twitter is abuzz about Mad Men’s third-to-last season two episode which aired last night.  After a season of beautiful drifting toward the dénouement, Matt Weiner delivers on the storylines he’s been developing all season.

We are now on pins and needles awaiting the penultimate episode and the finale on October 26.

At an aeronautics convention in Southern California, Don Draper - already adrift after his wife Betty booted him from their storybook suburban cocoon - is confronted by M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction) during an almost gleeful defense contractor slide show about M.I.R.V. technology. 

(Multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle - remember that?  "An ‘innovation’ in nuclear warhead capacity that allowed strikes at many more locations than were previously possible.  It was true Armageddon, that made possible hits on multiples cities and destruction beyond the imagination,"  explains my husband, who specialized in nuclear non-proliferation issues during his days at Columbia. "It raised the ante in the arms race.")

"Total annihilation," reports the conference presenter proudly.

On an existential whim, Don disappears with Joy - an empty, beautiful, young hedonist - in her Mercedes convertible, leaving everything (including a hapless Pete) behind.

It’s another brilliant set-up by Matt Weiner.  Don Draper has already walked away from one identity to fashion himself anew.  With the high probability of the world about to end in a M.A.D. flurry, why bother selling airlines or Lucky Strikes?

P.S.  The finale is titled "Meditations in An Emergency." Apparently then, the finale will wrap the mystery established in the season two premiere.  Tagged: "Things at Sterling Cooper don’t run as smoothly while Don is away; Betty receives some upsetting news."

A sneak peak at next week’s penultimate ep: