Mad Men’s Far Away Places episode blew my mind.
I don’t want to get into the deconstruction of the show. I know movie and television nerds may see my excitement about the format twists as overkill. Perhaps it’s an obvious use of the drug altering both the characters’ and audiences’ perception, but let’s not lose sight of the very important thing about that twist. This is a cable drama that has followed a generally safe narrative for 5 seasons. This episode was more like a David Lynch disregard for audience expectations.
Let’s contrast this to the prevalence that exists in television today to recap and eat away precious minutes of a block. I get it, you want to grab the channel surfers, you don’t want people to forget the story line, and you don’t actually want to shoot that much content. However, let’s look at the advantage of skipping hand-holding the audience. So much rich and intriguing story can be presented and you can take your time getting artful visuals that set this medium apart!
Mad Men used, not a new format, it’s as old as literature itself to tell a story from multiple character perspectives, but they took us on a trip (an LSD trip) with out having to explain explicitly we were going there. The quick cuts in time and spot-on visuals only enhanced the utter amazing base this show is built upon.
If this season was lacking in interesting character development – Joan and Peter being strictly pitiful, Peggy being socially awkward, Don being extremely boring – this episode single handedly redeemed everything. Roger Sterling!!!