mad Men is one of the greatest TV shows of all time. But we look at it at the micro level.
There were seven seasons of mad Men that spanned nearly two decades of America. There were thousands of scenes, big and small. But what was the best scene at the center of the show?
I’ve thought about it a lot this week. While in quarantine, I started scouring some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. While picking my favorite TV episodes is easy, I thought I’d narrow it down and make it a challenge.
So without further ado …
What’s the best scene in all of them mad Men?
To get here, I decided to watch some of the best episodes on the series.
I went through the pilots “Hobo Code”, “Maidenform” and “Carousel”. I delved deep into each season and really tried to decide which scene sums up the ethos of the show. This is a show about selling happiness to the public while fighting the demons that carry you inside.
It’s a show about Don, Peggy, and the agency battling for their place on Madison Avenue.
And after all that, I ended up on what may be the best episode of television of all time and the best episode of mad Men– Season four is “The Suitcase”.
This is the 46th episode in the 92-episode series. Almost right in the middle. The scene I picked is from the middle of this episode … and it was pretty easy.
I just followed the money.
While I think the best scenes on other TV shows don’t necessarily come in the best episodes, I think this show might be the exception to the rule. “The Suitcase” really sums up all the fights of the entire series in one hour.
Why is this episode so special?
To the uninitiated, Don and Peggy are at odds as a result. She wants more credit at work, he wants to crack the unbreakable playing field.
To add even more drama, it’s Peggy’s birthday and there’s an entire restaurant full of relatives and friends waiting for her. Don’s ex-wife and best friend, Anna Draper, has cancer and is afraid to contact her. These are great ticking clocks.
Things come to a head when Don makes Peggy work late, she misses her dinner, loses her boyfriend, and confronts him.
This scene is excellent to see and experience.
But what is really behind this moment?
This raw and intense exchange provides the bruises both of them feel. Don doesn’t want to be alone that night and believes Peggy is the person he can almost fatherly rely on. Peggy doesn’t want to end up like Don, but she also wants a career and his respect.
All of that explodes here, defining every character that moves forward.
I think this scene is the best of all mad Men because it lays the foundation for Don and Peggy to build an even deeper bond that will last for years to come. It also shows us a vulnerable Don whose life will continue to fall apart as he seeks the happiness he sells to other people. It shows that Peggy is almost as good at the job as her mentor, and she wants to spread her wings. She is okay to defy an unfair system and create her own. The seed is planted.
Everything about this episode is wonderful, and this scene takes in all of the emotions and stories and makes them explode and shatter in ways that we rarely see on TV in general.
Do you agree this is the best scene on the show?
Let us know in the comments.