Mad Men Season 4 Episode 10 actually made itself into a thriller. In this episode , it seriously appeared that Season 4 would cross the final line of discovery. Last year at this time, the show shocked everyone by having Betty discover the truth about Dick Whitman, well before the series finale. Of course, that was merely the prelude to the even more shocking exodus from Sterling Cooper. But there is one more unthinkable twist that the series hasn’t gotten to yet — and in Episode 10, the race was on for Don to avoid that twist.
Warning: Spoilers follow
Although SCDP is almost fully dependent on Lucky Strikes, their alliance with North American Aviation is yielding more serious benefits. However, getting close to a company with such close government ties has consequences. Betty found that out when two agents questioned her about Don — which made Don obviously panic when he found out.
For some time, Episode 10 raised the possibility that Don would finally be exposed for his Korea desertion. In spite of Betty and Pete already knowing it, no one expects him to be found out by the world until the end of the series — otherwise there likely wouldn’t be a show. Yet no one expected Betty to find out either, or that the original Sterling Cooper would be no more.
However, the series has made a habit of defying expectations at the end of a year. Therefore, it was easier to believe that Mad Men Season 4 Episode 10 could actually go through with exposing Don. The mere possibility made him seek Pete’s help — and then pretty much ask him to fall on his sword. Faye Miller also found herself entangled in the crisis, after barely surviving Sally last week.
While Don found himself on the brink of disaster, he wasn’t the only one to go through personal and professional torture. Episode 10 revealed the none-too surprising consequences of Roger and Joan’s emotional hookup last week. But as Joan went to “take care of it,” Roger got another bit of news that brought him to his knees.
In the larger scale of things, Don’s potential exposure turned out to be a mere drop in the bucket. For the third straight season, his company is now on the brink of major change/potential collapse. What’s more, Lane is heading back to London to tend to personal affairs — as his visiting father made clear in no uncertain terms.
With Mad Men Season 4 Episode 10, the countdown is on to another game-changing series of events. But after last year, it’s unclear how much more upheaval could be left, and they’ve already addressed the biggest potential twist of all. Yet they have three weeks left to figure something out.
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