Mad Men, “Marriage of Figaro”: #4 ranked episode of Mad Men Season 1 – Don Draper’s multiple lives!

mad men - marriage of figaro

A key moment comes when we see Don sitting in his car under a bridge near the end of the episode.

Mad Men Season 1 Rankings: where did “Marriage of Fiagaro” rank?

Mad Men’s “Marriage of Figaro” came in as the #4 ranked episode of Mad Men’s 13 Season 1 episodes! Find more Mad Men rankings here.

Here’s why “Marriage of Figaro” was ranked as the #4 episode of 13 Mad Men Season 1 episodes.

Mad Men
GENRE – Drama, Period Show, Relationship Drama, Office Culture
EPISODE – “Marriage of Fagaro”
BEING RANKED FOR – Mad Men Season 1
RANK – #4 of Mad Men’s 13 Season 1 episodes

Mad Men, “Marriage of Figaro” (S0103) review

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and company have an uncanny knack for creating mini-masterpieces out of the third episode of Mad Men seasons. “My Old Kentucky Home,” from Season Three and “The Good News” from Season Four immediately spring to mind, yet “Marriage of Figaro,” just the third episode of Mad Men to ever air, has so much going on it that one could easily write a book to cover it all.

The episode breaks out into two major sections (as does “The Good News”). With “The Marriage of Figaro,” we begin with a major reveal when a man on a train recognizes Don Draper as an old army buddy, but refers to him as Dick Whitman, and Don/Dick doesn’t move to correct him. Then we have lots of action going on at Sterling Cooper involving Pete Campbell, Rachel Menken, and the people and situations that tie to Don’s office life. The second broad section focuses on the preparation and production of Sally Draper’s birthday party and allows us to get our first deep sense of who Don Draper is on the home front in addition to the people and attitudes that surround him there.

A key moment comes when we see Don sitting in his car under a bridge near the end of the episode. He has completely flaked out on the errand that Betty has asked him to do, which was to pick up a birthday cake for Sally’s birthday party. He’s also been drinking heavily all day, likely to drown out the memory of being called out as his true identity, in addition to the fact that the woman he’s truly interested in at the moment – the smart, independent, and beautiful Rachel Menken – has rejected him after they shared their first kiss (he tells her that he’s married, she tells him to buzz off).

As Don smokes and stares at the underside of a bridge and we hear the sound of a passing train nearby, we can tell – through the always fantastic performance of Jon Hamm as well as everything that we’ve seen – that he is attempting to reconcile the multiple identities and layers of truth that he must keep straight at any given moment. The relentless conformity and banal banter coming from the adults at Sally’s party has driven him past the point of being able to deal, at least for the moment.

He arrives home late that night, and it’s obvious from Betty’s reaction as well as from a comment that Chet has made earlier that Don disappearing for a number of hours (or longer) is not an uncommon occurrence at the Draper household. He has a gift though, a dog quickly dubbed Polly by little Sally. “I don’t even know what to say, Betty says, but more than anything she seems pleased that Don is home and life will return to having a veneer of normalcy for the moment.

This review was originally published on TV Geek Army.

Mad Men, “Marriage of Figaro”: episode and cast info

Air date – August 2, 2007
Mad Men creator – Matthew Weiner
Directed by – Ed Bianchi
Writing credits – Matthew Weiner, Tom Palmer


Jon Hamm – Don Draper
Elisabeth Moss – Peggy Olson
Vincent Kartheiser – Pete Campbell
January Jones – Betty Draper
Christina Hendricks – Joan Holloway
Bryan Batt – Salvatore Romano
Michael Gladis – Paul Kinsey
Aaron Staton – Ken Cosgrove
Rich Sommer – Harry Crane
Maggie Siff – Rachel Menken
Robert Morse – Bertram Cooper
Anne Dudek – Francine Hanson