Matt Zoller Seitz on the lens of Matt Wiener:
In last week's recap, I wondered if Season Four's glancing references to the civil rights movement weren't a red herring, and whether the show's true interest instead lay in women's rights. With just three episodes to go, that suspicion looks as though it'll be proved correct (unless Weiner and company rally by building the season finale around President Lyndon Johnson issuing his executive order enforcing affirmative action, and I really hope they don't). If the season ends up having focused mainly on feminism, however, that will beg the question of why Weiner thought it was a good idea to make the civil rights struggle an atmospheric detail or a metaphor for something else.The only black characters on this show have been domestics and elevator operators--and now a mugger. Even if you take the show's upper-middle-class white milieu into account, the arms-length respect paid to African American sacrifice feels like an evasion posing as an acknowledgment. The topic is so rich, and still so emotionally powerful, that treating it as a looming presence and nothing more is dramatically risky. Whatever "Mad Men" is doing here, it had better pay off.