“Mad Men,” Season 4, Episode 5: “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”

This week’s “Mad Men” was about two things: Honda and Sally Draper. One of these things gave us the most interesting story of the season so far. The other made me want to burn out my eyes with hot coals before retiring to a dark room. Forever.

So let me start with the pleasantries. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) has Honda interested in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Honda, at this point, only makes motor bikes. Honda’s first car, the Civic, wasn’t introduced until 1972.

So Honda could be a huge account, but they learn a rival firm is also in the running. But before they clear that hurdle, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and the others have to defeat Roger Sterling (John Slattery). Roger wants nothing to do with Honda because it’s a Japanese company. And he fought in World War II so, to him, they’re still the enemy. So Roger nearly blows it for them.

Don comes up with a genius plan to throw the other firm out of the running and secure SCDP’s win. Of course Don’s plan works and they win. If Don could only be as good a human and father as he is an ad man … But for the record, Don’s only mean to three women in this episode: his secretary, his babysitter and Betty (January Jones).

Speaking of Betty … that brings me to the other storyline. You know, the one that makes me want to erase my brain? So Betty knows her daughter Sally Draper is messed up. We all know that. She wasn’t America’s sweetheart before her parents divorced. In this episode, she badly cuts off her hair, forcing Betty to slap her. But then Sally does something that I think is somewhat normal for a kid to do. Just not normal for a TV show to show a kid doing. Sally… Sally… ummm … she … well … I can’t even say it. Maybe I can say it with the following visual aid:


It’s not that I’m embarrassed by masturbation. I think it’s hilarious when Judge Reinhold does it in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (shown above). But a 10-year-old girl? Not so much. Anyway, Sally’s latest lands her in therapy. I’m sure shock therapy is next. Parents did seem to over do it in the 60s. OK, that’s enough of this recap. Time to start up the brain erasing machine.

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