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'Mad Men' recap: Twenty mad crazy scenes from 'The Crash'

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men" Season

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men" Season 6, Episode 2: "The Doorway." (Credit: AMC)

"The Crash" began with a crash, and ended with a crash, and kind of crashed multiple times during the entire episode, which is to say: Sunday night's "Mad Men" was quite possibly the most accurately entitled episode in show history.

But let's not tarry. Presumably you've already seen, so nothing will be spoiled here for you, but just in case, don't bother reading on. Too many spoilers . . . That said, "The Crash" was must-see, and quite possibly the nuttiest 44 minutes of "Mad Men" in six seasons.

With that firmly in mind, let's go ahead and rank the 20 most wonderfully wacky scenes, in ascending order . . . But before we get to that, I do think that, first, it's best to address the elephant in this room: Drugs. Certainly some tweeters and bloggers last night were put off by the idea of an entire plot fueled, so to speak, by drugs. Except . . . that it's probably also helpful to remember that no one knew they were actually doing drugs (save Rizzo; another story). For all anyone knew  (viewers included) the shot received was a vitamin B booster.


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 "The Crash" was a uniquely loopy episode in the context of a uniquely loopy season. On to the top 20!

20.) Don stalking Sylvia outside her door. The sight of a crushed Don, like those crushed butts, is one not to be forgotten.

19.) Betty's a blond again. (Apparently she thinks blondes do have more fun.)

18.) What's the answer to all life's problems? Funny scene where Don -- still in the grip of the happy juice -- pointedly asks this question, and Ginsberg responds, "a Chevy." No, says Don. Ginsberg: "Then it's oatmeal?"

17.) Ted telling everyone the weekend was a washout, because all the creative is utterly incomprehensible. ("Even Chevy is misspelled.") Don turns his back on him and heads back to his office with this, "every time we get a car we turn into a whorehouse." Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin) and Ted then turn to each other, with a look that -- spelled out -- said, "we've merged with a madman."

16.) Don on that long ride down the elevator with Sylvia (happen to notice how most of these moments seem to star the same person?) Only a single word spoken -- and spoken as if the word were a dagger. "Busy."  Oh, yes, very busy.

15.) "Do we know each other?" Don -- who else? -- musing to Ted's assistant, who has closed the door on Peggy and Ted during a private moment. At which point we of course realize that the shot he got from Dr. Feelgood was sending Don to places far far away . . .

14.) "I Ching:" Gleason's daughter, mourning her father's death in her own peculiar way -- with I Ching.

13.) Stan kissing Peggy. The strangeness of this scene passed as if in a dream -- an unsettling one.

12.) Megan in a short-short skirt; Sally in a shorter short one.

11.) Scene where I Ching Girl puts a stethoscope on Don's chest, and hears nothing, or so she says. Ms. I Ching later gives Rizzo a lap dance, with Jim looking on; that belongs somewhere on this list; maybe as a "very special mention."

10.) Bobby, leaning in to Sally, to whom he earnestly asks (this also qualifies as one of the funniest lines all season): "Are we Negroes?"

9.) Don, leaning head against door, while "Goin' out of my head" (originally recorded by Little Anthony and the Imperials; was covered a million times, though this iconic version was by Sergio Mendes). Also among season's most poignant scenes.

8.) Soup! Soup! Where's the soup ad! Don, in hot pursuit of an ad that contains the answer to all questions -- ad-related -- under the sun. "Because you know what he needs . . ." A boy being ladled soup . . . sparking a flashback of a boy being beaten with a ladle.

7.) Don, in a dash around the office, darting from door to door, and suddenly reappearing. Out of breath . . . earlier, Rizzo and Jim had a 25-yard dash; something is in the water . . .

6.) Dr. Hecht gives Don the secret serum, then busily cleans off his hands. It's both odd and disturbing -- bravo! This one is a keeper.

5.) Ken Cosgrove's opening moments. Scary really because you start to wonder whether Aaron Staton is about to leave us and "Mad Men;" the prospect is an unhappy one, but also extremely weird.

4.) Ken's tap dance. An audacity of fruitcakiness. It just got better and better, which is to say more and more audacious. You also realized a couple of things while it was in progress: "Mad Men" got Ken in the car accident solely for the purpose of getting him a cane so that he could dance in this scene; and 2.) Dr. Feelgood's shot was administered to Ken as well.

3.) Don falls face first on the floor of his apartment. His lost weekend is complete.

2.) Sally's comment to her father that Grandma Ida (see No. 1) had "an answer for anything, and then I realized, I don't know anything about you." The inherent and cutting wisdom of teenagers.

1.) Grandma Ida. One of the great oddball scenes in "Mad Men" history. Davenia McFadden (who played the role), take a bow. McFadden is a veteran actress but hardly well-known to TV viewers (a little more so in the movies). She starred many years ago in the HBO prison doc, "Stranger Inside" but recent credits include "Glee," "Mike & Molly," "Enlightened;" was also in "Little Britain USA" and had an extended role in "The Young and the Restless" in the middle of the last decade. All of this is to say, she's not well known to "Mad Men" viewers, which -- in part -- helped nail this unique moment down so convincingly. She was flawless as "Grandma Ida:" A grifter so convincing, so appealing, that some viewers probably wondered if she truly was a past chapter in the life of Don Draper or Dick Whitman -- either of them, take your pick. It was all a masterpiece of trickery. Perfect for this fun house mirror of an episode.

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