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Mad Men episode 504: Mystery Date review


Late in the evening on July 16th 1966, Richard Speck broke into a student nurse dormitory where nine girls lie sleeping in their beds. Armed with only a knife, Speck gathered all nine into one room, bound them with bed sheets, and spent the evening taking a woman out of the room and either strangling or stabbing her to death before raping and strangling his final victim. One woman survived. She hid under the bed and went unnoticed. She remained hidden until the next morning when she climbed out of the bedroom window onto a ledge and screamed, “They’re all dead! All my friends are dead!” 

That’s a spooky story. It shivers the spine. It keeps you awake at night wondering how you’d cope in the same situation, sure that you would do better; you wouldn’t open the door and let the unfamiliar man inside; you would fight; your guard would be up, but criminals often prey on our need to be polite. Remember the scene in The Silence of the Lambs when Jame Gumb captures Catherine simply by pretending he had a broken arm and needs help pushing a piece of furniture into a moving truck?  Her guard is up; something about him is off, she can tell, but she still climbs inside the truck and is captured. There’s a line in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when the villain tells one of the victims that the need to be polite always overwhelms the need to respond to instinct.

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Bohemea really understands Mad Men. Whenever I read her recaps, I wonder what show I was just watching, because I never ever understand it in the way that she does. Perfect recap, as always.