TV: Mad Men and Californication

May 20, 2014
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This week was a weird one for television. Epic, yes, as we got to see the conclusion to the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but also very strange and trippy indeed. Basically, everything is going wrong for every character of every show, and in odd ways that can only mean fun things for the remainders of each series. Let’s dive into this batch of episodes.

TV: Mad Men and Californication

The current installment of Mad Men was exemplary, the best episode of the entire season, and one of the strangest to ever air (stranger than that time Cutler accidentally drugged up the entire office). Here’s what happened: Don got a call from his niece about being pregnant, so flew to California to meet her at Megan’s abode (they’ve patched things up, sorta?). Cutler and Lou Avery set up a private meeting with big tobacco, which Harry Crane caught wind of. And Ginsberg, that wacky character we’ve grown to love, turned out to actually be crazy. After witnessing Cutler and Avery chatting in the humming computer chamber, Ginsberg went to Peggy’s to work, confessed his love, got shot down, and subsequently sliced off his own nipple (“It’s the valve!”) as a gift to Peggy. This all proving that Mad Men takes madness seriously. The entire atmosphere was tense, leading to that final moment with Ginsberg. Don’s appearance in L.A. coincided with a party at Megan’s, which led to a stoned out three-way scene between Don, his wife, and some other lady. It was explicit, weirdly shot, and not nearly as triumphant as Don later crashing Cutler and Avery’s meeting and acting the badass he’s always been.

TV: Mad Men and Californication

Californication, as usual, was charmingly reprehensible. The entire episode took place at a party at Wrath’s expensive mansion (he’s the only redeeming quality of this season, really), and nothing much happened besides Levon sexing up that hooker character in the pool, Hank almost going down on the star of Santa Monica Cop, and some weird rekindling between him and Heather Graham’s character (she’d be more entertaining if she wasn’t playing the exact same character she always plays). One actually interesting plot development was Stu offering Charlie one million dollars to sleep with Marcy again. I guess if the show is just going to throw everything besides sex out the window, it may as well make the stakes high. Hank and Levon as a dynamic duo is completely played out, so Stu’s proposal brought some much needed, twisted plot development to the season. And crazily, the season is halfway over, which begs the question of what meaningful thing could actually happen at the end of this once triumphant show.


And Elementary concluded its second season, finishing off on a more dramatic note than usual for the show, and, like Agents, leaving some excellent unknowns for the audience to mull over. The final installment of season two focused on uncovering the mole in MI6 trying to frame Mycroft and make Sherlock and Joan’s life rather difficult. After realizing the mole was none other than Mycroft’s handler (that reveal was executed so unpredictably), a cat and mouse game (Sherlock’s words) ensued, which involved figuring out how to incriminate the handler without putting Mycroft at risk (that French terrorist network were still hanging around somewhere, dangerously looming). Overall, it was an intriguing effort and a pretty good finale. Mycroft’s ultimate decision to allow the NSA to fake his death and take down the handler was tragic, and definitely pushed Joan more away from living with Sherlock. Beyond the action and some teasing final moments, the best part of the episode, as usual, was Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu’s chemistry, this time not as fun banter, but as a building, mutual rift between the two. Awesomely performed, and oh so promising for future seasons to come.

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