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Mad Men S2E9: Six Month Leave




We have to suppress our knowledge of the sometimes seismic events that occurred throughout the '60s when we watch this show because for the most part, events happen far off camera and are only obliquely referred to by the characters, more often to provide ambiance than any sort of reflection. For the most part, Mad Men looks at an era not through its major events but through the eyes of normal people reacting to the millions of minor events in their day to day lives. It is, in some sense, a more accurate take on history or at the very least, it's a take that does a good job of faking the feel of accuracy.

The common refrain about the '60s is that they "really started" when JFK was assassinated in November 1963. Unless they do something radically different between seasons 2 and 3, it looks like we're not ever going to see the events of that day from the points of view of the Mad Men characters. Supposedly there will be time shifts of up to a couple years between every season and since we're in August of '62 with 4 more episodes to go, it's looking like Season 3 will be starting at some point well after the assassination.

Why bring this up? Because last night they did use an event as a backdrop for the entire episode and it's not one we ever would have thought of: Marilyn Monroe's death. It's not that outside events are never referred to on the show, but ones to which nearly every character has some sort of reaction are rare. The only others we can think of are the crash of Flight 1 (which was really only used to tell a Pete story and then dropped) and Kennedy winning the election (which was heavily featured to drive home the point that Sterling Cooper is seriously behind the times).

There was a motif last night that was used so often and with such a heavy hand that we almost got bored with it: scenes of characters waking up. From Betty and Freddy passed out on their respective couches, to Joan in Roger's office, to Don being woken up by an angry Mona in his office, the message seems to be that everyone's waking up to something. This being Mad Men, we're not going to be told what, but it felt to us that this moment, for these people, is when The Sixties started.

Freddy woke up to a world that simply wasn't going to excuse him any longer. It's no longer the good old days of office tall tales about hard-drinking ad men doing outrageous things. It's a new era and Freddy just doesn't fit anymore.

Joan woke up to the realization that the world can treat women like her (and Marilyn) pretty damn shabbily and, judging by her scene with Roger (which, like every scene she has with Roger, crackles and spits sexual tension while slogging under the weight of an ended affair), she might still be in love with him - or coming to the realization that she actually did love him once.

Don and Betty both woke up to lives even emptier than the one they shared.

The only one not shown waking up is the one who's already wide awake: Peggy. We've been saying for a while that if we had to guess at the characters' ultimate fates, our guess would be that Peggy will eventually wind up with Pete. We don't know if that's going to be the case, but there does seem to be some sort of relationship building between them, above and beyond their previous clandestine one. Pete seems to respect Peggy on some level and their youth and the weight of the roles they play sometimes force them into these strange little alliances. We can't picture Peggy storming into anyone's office to tell them off the way she did Pete and not only was she completely comfortable doing so - in fact, it felt like one of the few times she ever let her mask slip - but Pete wasn't even remotely angry or put out about it. Pete won't even let his own wife mouth off to him but his first response to Peggy's rage was to ask for a chance to explain himself.

It's notable that Pete and Peggy were the only ones to have any sort of real reaction to Freddy's indiscretion. Everyone else was either laughing it off or trying to explain it away, but Pete reacted with extreme revulsion and Peggy reacted with a tenseness that makes us think she's not gotten this far in life without knowing at least a couple drunks along the way. She is appalled but immediately wants to fix and forget. Her reward for being the only prudent and empathetic person in the firm is a promotion so big that it left our heads spinning. Taking over the Senior Copywriter's accounts is a HUGE leapfrog for Peggy and we hope two things: 1) that the men in the office don't give her TOO much shit for it and 2) that she'll get a big enough raise and take Joan and Bobbie's advice and get herself a new damn wardrobe.

Another aspect of the episode that makes us think that this one was overtly "about" the era: suddenly the silent black people in the background are speaking up and they have stories and inner lives of their own. The Drapers' maid offered some damn good advice for Betty ("Splash some cold water on your face and go outside. You'll see that everything is right where you left it.") but it was the elevator man's poignant statement about hiding in plain sight - something he does every single day to earn a living - and how it couldn't help Marilyn that spoke to the changes that are just around the corner. That, and Roger's bemused announcement that another agency had hired a "colored kid."

As for the Draper marriage, from where we're sitting, this one looks dead in the water. We can't imagine that's where the writers are going with this because without her marriage to Don, Betty would drift too far away from the Sterling Cooper universe to still remain in the show and we just don't see that happening. Betty's deteriorating even further and when she's not dazedly wandering around in a housecoat with a glass of wine, she's setting her friend up to do the thing she herself doesn't have the nerve to (and for the crime of having a seemingly happy marriage). Still, she doesn't seem inclined to invite him back and he came right out and admitted to Roger that he's not sure he even wants to. Of course Roger being the needy, immature man that he is, he took Don's statement in the worst possible way. The Sterling marriage always served as a prediction of where the Draper marriage is heading but in another huge leapfrog move, Roger chucked it all and went for Joan II, Jane. We didn't see that one coming at all and we can't WAIT to see Joan's reaction.


[Photos: Courtesy of amctv.com]


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46 comments:

yes, the thing with Jane is a stunner. I didn't see that coming either!

I'm hoping they break convention and actually have an ep on or about or surrounding the Kennedy assasination. How can they not? It shifted public perception at the time, and changed the nation. Way too monumental to just offhandedly mention in an episode.

Who knows? These guys are always bringing the surprises. Great blogging ya'll, keep it up.


Good analysis as usual. I thought the wake-up scenes were a lead-in to their being “Winners or Losers”, as Roger told the woman at the gambling den. He’s a winner, but lost tonight (or words to that effect). But as usual, none of the winners or losers are clear-cut (Don, he obtained relief, but not a winner; Roger, a new girlfriend, Jane, but doesn’t seem like it will turn out well; Betty’s friend and Peggy, at what cost? and Marilyn. And re: Losers, Freddy, Joan, Betty. And that’s why I think less than clear-cut, like life, they’ve awakened, and today, usually winners, but losers tonight, or losers, but winners today. And for the most part, they don’t know which category they fit in. Additionally, each of the characters private (or undeveloped) characters are too hiding in plain sight (Don at the hotel, Betty at the house, her friend at lunch, Peggy in her old clothes (she is wild, for the record – that image of her legs up in the air at the office sticks with me), Joan’s laying on Roger’s couch, emotionally drained, and Jane’s affair with Roger, sitting right there at Don’s desk.

BTW, I think the Cuban missile crisis is coming this season; love the show and your blog.


oh my god, I could not believe the ending, not the leaving mona for a secretary but JOAN NUMBER TWO! OH MY GOD!


I have been so bogged down with work travel, I haven't had time to read you guys in the last week or so. (Forgive me, M'Lords) Last night, I forced myself to stay awake to watch and then as the last scene played out, my adrenaline kicked in and I stayed awake to watch the encore. And again after Breaking Bad.

Jane? I would have thought Joan, but Jane??? After she coughed up the shirts for Don, I thought for sure it was HE she had her sights on. Maybe she figures Roger has one foot in the grave after the 2 heart attacks.

And I hope you are wrong about Pete and Peggy. That little weasel gets under my skin. I can't wait until he and Duck get cut down a notch. Or five.


Oh, I have to go...Gotta give a Chinaman a music lesson.


I hate Jane.
She plays the innocent damsel in distress who makes Roger feel useful again. Or perhaps he just loves the reflection of himself that he sees in her eyes. In any case, that relationship can't end well.
And I can't wait for another Joan encounter.

I can't help but feel Pete is only nice to Peggy because he sees her talent as useful to his own career. He completely freaked out during the Freddy situation, didn't know what to do. The only decision he did make was to order Peggy not to tell Don. But later he took credit for everything. Blah!

I love Peggy's reaction to Freddy's treatment. Like Don, she has her own sets of ethical rules.

And those poor Draper kids....


i'm not dorothy gale

I could hardly believe what I saw at the conclusion and had to check with you sweeties to make sure it WAS Roger and the unplain Jane. Oh God WHAT WILL JOAN DO??!!!

I do think something huge - either within Sterling Cooper or, as malarkey suggested, the Kennedy assasination - will occur that will put Don and Betty back together again, at least temporarily.


Hello Boys,

I have to Thank You for 'causing' me to watch this show. I knew it had good 'buzz', but I have so little time for TV, it's rare for me to add another show to my short-list. (thanks:)

Your reviews are, as usual, spot on. The seemingly slow pace of the episodes are in fact an effect of the emotionally repressive era. There's lots of seething and crackling and just-below-the-surface flowing lava.

The thing with Roger and Jane blew my socks off -- I had to watch the encore just to make sure I hadn't missed some delicate foretelling line.

The divine Joan is (to me) not transparent enough to get a fix on *what* she wants from Roger/the firm. But oh that Jane - the minute that gal showed up she had "agenda" written all over her.

Betty and Don, imho, will have to reunite even if only under a false flag-of-truce. Don's carefully crafted pseudo-perfect family is his armor/skin, covering his false self. Besides that, divorce was a HUGE stigma back then.
(*my Mom divorced in '66 and I remember speaking with her about it as a young adult - she was ostracized socially and professionally and not surprisingly at church as well) Plus she received *zero* child support.

Mona's outrage was far to subtle for my taste. I'm really hoping she brings on some major disturbance in episodes to come.

Peggy...could write paragraphs about her - but will refrain.

THANKS again - keep it coming! Sal


Jane & Roger--not such a surprise, it's the only reason she's still working there. A surprise is that he would leave his wife for her.

I agree with Zach--the Cuban missile crisis is coming up. Oct-Nov 1962--I was 10 and sure we were all going to die.


They set it up pretty well in earlier episodes that Jane's a bit of a gold digger. She doesn't respond to the bait of the smaller fish like Kenny, but goes out of her way to be sanctimonious with Don and - we can now assume - Roger. Joan is made from a different cloth. She's not looking for status as much as for independence. Her weakness is she likes attention, and up till now she's only gotten it one way, but that seems to be changing too.

As for the acting - one reason it's hard to imagine Don and Betty getting back together is because there seems to be zero chemistry between Jon Hamm and January Jones. I know you guys think she's a great actress, but I really have a hard time relating to her character since her acting feels flat. Not that she's bad, but the rest of the cast is just so amazing that you're just dying for a female who'll sizzle against Don the way that Midge and Rachel did. He has a taste for strong dames, contrary to Roger.


Marilyn Monroe died in August. I think we do get to the Cuban Missile Crisis this season.

It seemed curious to me that both Don and Peggy wanted to protect Freddy. Don also held Peggy's job open while she was gone. There is something protective and loyal there, but what, and why does it so rarely show at home?

He knows he doesn't love Betty and she knows he won't reveal his secrets. Where does that leave them? My guess is Don goes home--and his time at the Roosevelt is like the 6 months leave.

I loved Don's reaction to the news about Roger and Jane. Clearly, she's been the one telling his boss about his personal life--and she has to go!


A couple of things:

1. Don's reaction to the news re: the Mona news. First thing out of his mouth: 'Get her away from me', no doubt because of his well-warranted paranoia about people knowing too much about him. His first thought was probably, "now I know why Roger seemed to know what was happening about my marriage before I told him anything, she'd been talking to him about me during pillow chat."

2. Mona got the shirts from Rachel's store, Mencken's (.sp). Nice touch (or touché?).

3. Loved the black elevator operator chiming in the discussion of Marilyn by saying something like "sometimes people can hide in plain sight." Nice subtle zinger.

4. Loved Roger going after Mona. We haven't had a trophy wife subplot yet and Roger is certainly at the trophy wife stage of his life. Mona seems smart enough to know that with Roger she gets $$, status and a sick husband who probably won't be around all that long but is still good-looking enough not to be a complete turn-off. Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose... .

5. The absolute callousness of the men watching Freddy fall apart in his office. I just didn't see anything remotely funny about him pissing his pants and they were either laughing or disgusted (except, of course, for Peggy). And yet Don not only called them all on it but he actively pushed to keep Freddy - even though later in the episode there was drunk scene that had him reflecting that it was an 'Archie Whitman moment'. He's been around drinkers. Freddy, at least, isn't a baaaad one.

I find that Don has a weirdly sweet sense of loyalty and right about him that peeks out of his messed-up, cooped-up, facaded-up persona. It just makes me ache to think what a great guy Dick Whitman would have been if only.

6. I wonder why the writers needed to throw in (via Roger) that Freddy killed 15 soldiers (and doubtlessly more but 15 was notable) in WWII. Is this suppose to make us wonder if he's suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as the root cause for his falling into the drink or off the SC PowerStaff map? And when Don's sending Freddy home in a taxi (after Roger seemed not to want anything more to do with the night), Freddy say's "good-bye" with a finality that's terribly uncomfortable - not, of course, that Don noticed... .

7. When they were making up passwords, Roger's was a phony money-ish one and Don's was 'Tilden Katzen' - Rachel's husband's name. Yeah. I'm thinking Rachel may be making a come back or Don was more emotionally involved in that affair than he can admit to himself.

8. Peggy's wardrobe. I think she's perfectly aware of the sartorial suggestions of Bobbi and Joan and decided on her own that Bobbi's claim to fame seemed to be being married to someone else (I don't think she knew that Bobbi was a manager, too) and Joan... well... she just wanted to be married. Both women were using sex to sell themselves up and Peggy just doesn't want to do that so she's decided to wear whateverthehellshewants.

9. Don went to war to get away from alcoholics and Freddy came back from war to become one.

10. It's strange how it was so painfully obvious just a few episodes ago how Sal had such a huge crush or was in love with Mr. WASP and now it's like that plotline never happened.

And I'm reading way too much meta-commentary and subtext in this show.

But it sure is fun!


I don't see Pete & Peggy together romantically at all. That ship has sailed. Didn't you see her disgust at having her promotion be at all connected with one of that weasel's little schemes? I don't think they're doing the "they hated each other....and fell in love" thing AT ALL. This show is way better than that. Peggy is Don's girl, and Pete has positioned himself as Duck's man. Don & Duck may have been ordered to make nice, but their business philosophies vary too widely to stay that way for long.

I laughed out loud with delight and shock at the last scene. Wow. I watched it over again, too, just for that scene with Don & Roger in the bar. What a brilliant episode.

Poor Joan, omg.


I agree with those who disagree about Peggy & Pete. I can not see them getting together at all. If anything I see Peggy awakening more and more to what a little shit Pete is. Uhhmmm, I usually so agree with my TLo, could this bwe our first spat??


How could you not see Jane and Roger on the horizon? From the moment she finally revealed to him where she lived, it was inevitable. She did this after he saved the job Joan was eager to relieve her of. What was surprising was Don's reaction to it. "I want her off my desk."

I like to think Don's reaction had everything to do with him waking up to the reality that his life has been nothing but a series of "temporary" assignations and maneuvers, except for Betty and the kids. And his career. The shallowness of this sort of existence rankles him as he sees it reflected in Roger's actions. Suddenly, those compromises aren't nearly as attractive and seductive as they seemed.

Joan came to that realization, too. Even though she sought refuge in Roger's office, the presumed birth place of her compromise, there was comfort there.

It was echoed again in Peggy and Pete's confrontation. That temporary situation between Peggy and Pete that bore a child didn't break Peggy permanently and she seems to be the only one to find the strength to face this head on.

As for Peggy's experience with drunks, my guess is it was her father. His notable absence in scenes with her family seems to speak of some tragedy that's pushed Peggy into a life different from the one to which her mother and sister have resigned themselves.


Wonderful summary guys. The only thing I was afraid of was the MM suicide was a pre-shadowing for one of the character's possible suicide - either Betty, Freddy or Joan. But, that's too obvious for the clever Mad Men writers (guess that's why they're Emmy winners, and I'm at home blogging!)

Auntie L


I read on another message board where is has been suggested that Roger is not leaving Mona for Jane but for Joan. Yes, he's sleeping with Jane, but he realized that he needed to be with Joan and that's why he broke up with Mona. I was surprised by this take and didn't agree with it, and apparently neither do TLo. Anyone else get this impression from the end of the show? That it was going to be a bait and switch misleading ending and we're going to find that Roger and Joan are actually back together?

What I find aggravating about Roger and Jane is that he really took Joan for granted. She was someone he could have sex with on the side, maybe even love, but he would never have considered leaving Mona for her. And hell, maybe he's not leaving Mona for Jane either, she just happens to be with him when he leaves, but... the fact is, being with Joan was not enough.


What? No comment on the contrast between Peggy's reaction to the news about Marilyn and how the other women in the office took it? Peggy immediately saw how lucky they were to have had the Maidenform idea rejected. She thinks business while the other women grieve for someone they never met. I loved her comment about finding it hard to picture MM ever being alone, while Peggy is alone in so many ways.


Anonymous said...

What? No comment on the contrast between Peggy's reaction to the news about Marilyn and how the other women in the office took it?



Why don't YOU comment on it then or better yet make a list of the things you want them to cover next time they post. JESUS. FUCKING. CHRIST. You read an entire post and your only comment is to complain about something that was "missing."


Anonymous said...

I read on another message board where is has been suggested that Roger is not leaving Mona for Jane but for Joan.



That would be an awesome twist. I would love that. Joan is one of my favorite characters. I'm rooting for her : )
I find it a little hard to believe that Peggy got such a big promotion so soon. Anybody else? Thank you for the post, Tlo! Another great commentary on the show.


Don't want the Kennedy assassinaton on Mad Men. Too much reality. Even the Cuban Missle Crisis would be too much, unless it could be discussed in terms of the effect on ad revenues. After all, to Peggy, the biggest thing about MM's death was a big sigh of relief that they didn't do the bra campaign and would have to pull it.


Auntie L,

If a character's suicide was being foreshadowed, I would vote for Duck. Kids like the new guy, ex wife hates him, he wants to drink and booted out his favorite dog. After he set the dog loose, he headed back up stairs with a look on his face like he was going to jump off a ledge.

smfdoc


@ Shinjira :

damn...you sure read a lot into anon.'s 11:24 VERY mild statements.

What's up with the anger?

I didn't get any of the "you guys suck" vibe that you apparently did.

geez.


I gasped about 6 times this episode. Definitely when Don punched Jimmy and that great Jane reveal at the end. I wonder if the Utz account's in jeopardy now or if there'll be any fallout from that. And poor Joan, there's never enough Joan.

I for one hope they do more historical events, it's fascinating to watch all the characters react to them. They do so in such unexpected ways and really, how can you do a period drama without referring to the events of the period? I thought that scene with Sal laughing at Freddy was terrific, so uncomfortable to watch. Characters are constantly laughing at things on this show that are completely offensive by today's standards.

And to the person who said January Jones is flat: I discussed this with a friend of mine and she said that maybe her "flat" style is an acting choice. Betty is constantly in the position of acting the role of the perfect housewife, and Jones calling attention to the fallacy of that role is pretty cool and self-conscious, in my opinion. I think you can see JJ break through that flatness when Betty has moments of expressing real emotion, like when she confronts Don about his affair, for one. I could be wrong but I think she's brilliant. It also makes sense for the show that Don and Betty don't have as much chemistry as Don and his dark-haired mistresses; otherwise, why would he run to them?


Shinjira:

I agree with SallyB. I didn't get any negative tone from anon's comments. I think your response was really rude and unwarranted. Please do not sully TLo's MM discussion/comments with angry attacks against another.

Anon@11:24: I noticed that difference too. In fact, I think Don did as well. Right when she said it, I love that look on his face. And he even continued to stare as she walked away. Kinda like pride or awe from a mentor. Really great scene.


Typical of business of that era: six months from now, Freddy returns partially dried out, is welcomed with open arms, resumes his copywriter position at the firm, and Peggy gets booted back to the Xerox room. Look what happened to Joan in the TV script reading department. These guys just weren't ready to hand over the power to women... except on a temporary, fill-in basis. Still, in 1962 that would be considered a great opportunity for Peggy.

Hopefully during the next six months, Peggy can build her portfolio, win some awards, and make a few good contacts at other agencies. I'd love to see Peggy and Don open their own creative boutique. And Salvatore could be the art director with them.

I feel bad that Peggy is getting the office with the pee carpet. It's gotta smell kinda bad in there.


There was a kind of antiseptic feel to the whole episode, yes maybe that is dreamlike even, as you mention people were always waking up, or in the process of (in the case of African-Americans speaking) And Betty's friend mentions even going to analysis, and the doctor deciding she was "bored".

There were one or two times when the dynamic changes suddenly:

Freddy passing out after pissing, and the gang starts to figure how to get the presentation done; When Don abruptly gets up at the casino, walks over and punches out Jimmy, and when Peggy hears she has the new position and when Mona walks into Don's office.

The character of Peggy is always eyes wide open, her main expression is opening them even more upon learning something else has happened, and that she will have to absorb and does.

As for her and Pete, let's just say, she was looking pretty disgusted when he touched her arm. When she mentioned Freddy gave her the first break, Pete countered about himself, as always, that he also promoted her (always a follower pretending to be a leader).

The handling of Freddy's demise in the office treats his name as a joke, to the point Don accosts his colleagues, precisely because they take "his name" and make it into a joke.

Which is just what Don did when he takes the name of Rachel's husband and makes it operate in illicitness, to protect Don's name.

The episode connects dots between actions related to the body and what our minds volunteer for it to do, or not:

The suicide of a supposedly untouchable sex icon; Freddy pissing in his pants; scenes around a blood drive; recounting war tales of killing men; Don punching out Jimmy; Betty organizing the affair between her friends vs Mona showing up angry about what happens with such an affair.

I would add that at the house together with Don, Betty seemed to be implying Don should convince her again. After she cynically says "did you just come up with that?" and so on. In the end of that scene, there is a mixed feeling she just wants the dream back, and he is in the business of selling dreams. Maybe it is really he chose right then, not to see the signal.

All of Don's advice as to how to live, to go forward, seems to backfire when it is taken as a mantra for life -- except so far with Peggy. She remains the one character that I believe will figure some way out (the priest and Vatican II is still around the corner) that Don can not see. Their dialog is going to be important ahead.

Note in the end of the episode, Duck particularly turns to ask Peggy if she is on board with the idea of the cartoon turtle. It was clear, she recognized that NOW she is a voice.


Just a brief comment to (what I presume was a woman's comment) about the men laughing at Freddy pissing in his pants...what else could they do? Laughing it off was the only way to allow Freddy to maintain his dignity ("Oh yeah, Freddy, how funny was THAT")

It was a totally guy thing.


It took me a day to digest the episode and the use of Marilyn's death. I realize the episode was how her death signals the demise of the way the Joan's and Bobbi's of their world operate to get ahead and how it is becoming the age of the Peggy's.

The thing that struck me at first was the absence of Peggy giving the pitch and not showing how the clients were impressed with her. Then I realized there was no need. Anyone familiar with the show knows Peggy is good at her job and that she has succeeded based on merit.

She will never be Joan or Bobbi. She's not Jackie or Marilyn who were worshipped icons. She's Irene Dunne who was not worshipped but respect and admired. While there will be raised eyebrows about her promotion I doubt there will be serious resentment by her male co-workers. Those guys don't think of Peggy in sexual terms and they know she's not sleeping her way to the top. If she was like Joan you know there would be plenty of gossip attached with each mounting success

Also Peggy's success reminds of a scene from this lame, dated new series from Steven Bochco. In it a female lawyer under the assiatant DA screwed up a case. Her boss chews her out blaming her screwup on the fact she's spending so much time trying to compete with the men in her field that she forgot how to do her job correctly. That scene as dated as it was made me realize despite being the odd person out trying to compete in foreign territory, Peggy is a professional. From time to time she may be felt pushed out for being a woman, but she still focuses on the job that needs to be done. She doesn't let it interfere

That's what the clients, Freddy, Don and now Duck are responding to and not if she gives a wink or a jiggle.

Frank


dd said I noticed that difference too. In fact, I think Don did as well. Right when she said it, I love that look on his face. And he even continued to stare as she walked away. Kinda like pride or awe from a mentor. Really great scene.

I think that's why Peggy got the promotion. He saw himself in her.


I get such an "All About Eve" vibe from the relationship between Joan and Jane. Jane is the back-stabbing, man-stealing "ingenue", Joan the aging bombshell who has bought into the "every woman needs a man in her life" lie.


"I'd love to see Peggy and Don open their own creative boutique. And Salvatore could be the art director with them."

For awhile, in the early part of the season with Don's conflicts with Duck and Roger, I thought that's where it was headed. But then Roger and Cooper bought him back. But then, in 1962, was having a boutique agency "the dream?" And could Don's shaky identity stand up to the scrutiny of being the guy with his name on the door?


Great analysis. I do think that Betty's setting up her friend with the stable guy was much more than her living vicariously. I think it was an outright attempt to destroy the woman's marriage. She knew by putting them in that position, they would end up in an affair. It seems that if she can't live the fairytale, neither can anyone else. I think that we are going to see a whole new side of Betty now...I do think that she'll take Don back, but make him pay and pay and pay...


I haven't seen this point touched on...when Pete was expressing his disgust to Peggy about "those people" (referring to Freddy), did he mean alcoholics? Or is Freddy part of some other group that Pete hates?
Pete taking any sort of credit for Peggy's promotion was a really slimy move.


Why do people expect Joan to do something about Roger's affair with Jane? What can she do? She ended her affair with Roger near the end of Season 1. And now, she's engaged. For her to react would only draw the attention of an already enraged Mona.


It's interesting how Don can be so emphatic over the plight of others and express moral outrage over Roger's affair with Jane . . . in compare to his own treatment of Betty.


potty mouth princess

More Jon Hamm in his boxers, please.

I do not have words for this episode. Well, maybe sterling. hee.

I expect Peggy's going to run into major conflict with Pete since he, the golden son-in-law, thought he had Freddy's office in the bag. I wonder if this season will end with the publication of The Feminine Mystique (early '63, IIRC), or will S3 pick up with the women having already read it. Betty's diagnosis of "bored" is the perfect fit for the "woman who finds herself" storyline, whatever season it happens.


To redspring: I do think that having a boutique creative agency was an emerging trend of this era.

I'm thinking Mary Wells Lawrence, who founded the Wells Rich Greene agency in 1966. Braniff Airlines, Alka Seltzer, Love Cosmetics: great work that left the 1950s behind and defined Sixties advertising.

Peggy seems to be on a similar career path as Ms. Lawrence.


"To redspring: I do think that having a boutique creative agency was an emerging trend of this era.

I'm thinking Mary Wells Lawrence, who founded the Wells Rich Greene agency in 1966. Braniff Airlines, Alka Seltzer, Love Cosmetics: great work that left the 1950s behind and defined Sixties advertising.

Peggy seems to be on a similar career path as Ms. Lawrence."

Thanks, Gale. I knew boutique agencies were coming, but I didn't know when.

I think one of the central tensions for Don (and most of the characters) is, he's a fifties guy living a fifties life. The era is ending, and they're just beginning to wake up to it. (TLo's comments about all the awakenings in this episode.) Will Don get it and change with it, or keep trying to live by the rules and aspirations of the past?


joan is going to FREAK!!! and i cannot wait for it :D

the loss of freddy was sad - i liked his character and had a serious soft spot for him as he was the first person to notice peggy's talent. sad to see him tossed asaide by the company, but its understandable considering the circumstances.

roger blaming his decision to divorce on don was a chickenshit move. this has got to have some kind of ramifications on their friendship.

im kind of loving betty's drunken depression. you can see how she and don are only just starting to realize that what they do affects their children. and i think thats a very important point. im wondering if she'll be getting her hands on some valium anytime soon. itd be sad but kind of delicious. and she's the most likely candidate to tip her toes in that water.

as for peggy's promotion - WOOHOO!! i did not see that coming so quickly, and im so happy for her! :D


@juanita:

well, i can't speak for the others, but i'm looking forward to joan's reaction just to see how she will take the news.
i really don't expect her to throw down or cause a scene.
a casual remark or even just a look from her speaks volumes!


I'm going to miss Freddy. It was fun watching Joel Murray in something other than the "idiot buddy" role.

I simply cannot see Peggy and Pete ending up together. I am interested to see how others interpreted that "Thank You, Pete" at the end of their encounter, though. Actually, after watching Pete's self satisfaction with his dalliance and his interest in bondage porn, I saw him headed for a (likely failed) sexual assault attempt to make him feel like a man, something he can't seem to pull off at work.

Didn't see the Jane thing coming. I'm quite sure Roger isn't in love; Jane is just his "you make me feel young" pretty thing of the month. The minute it gets real, he'll be on to the next cute thing. I think Joan would know that.

Bizarre OT comment - I couldn't figure out where I had seen Mona, other than it was in "some 80's thing as a college student or something." Turns out, Talia Balsam's was the heroine in the terrible 80's orro movie Crawlspace with Klaus Kinski. She was also in the 3 part infamous "jump the shark" Happy days episode. (Not exactly Bill-worthy, but its amazing how faces stick in your head, even from the lousy stuff.)


Redspring, I, too, think that Don and Peggy should go off on their own. I predicted this on another blog.


Shinjira,
Why all the venom? Someone attacked me on the PR blog the other day and I am stunned that people with different opinions have to make personal attacks.


Great analysis and interesting comments, as usual. I think that Don's denial of being in love (when he and Roger were talking about their marital troubles) may just be that - denial. He has shut off so much of himself that he cannot recognize what he is feeling any more. I think he was and probably still is in love with Rachel, and his taking her husband's name is a sign that he would like to be in her husband's place.


Using Marilyn Monroe's death was a very creative idea--even I remember when she died and I was 5 years old. I wasn't sure exactly who she was and I was afraid it was actually Marion Lorne (Marilyn/Marion?) She was later Aunt Clara on Bewitched but was on the Gary Moore show around then and I just loved her. I remember watching the nightly news for a picture of who died and being relieved that it wasn't Marion.


Flight 1 was included because the actor that played Pete's dad was killed in January, and they decided to write it into the story line.


How about a screencap of a bare-chested Don, boys? (sorry to be so shallow amidst this deep discussion, but damn Jon Hamm is fine!)


LOVED this episode and I am just stunned by how carefully Weiner crafts this show. He clearly knows exactly where these characters are going. That makes the show feel more like an extended serialized novel than a typical TV drama. You know that each week is just a little part of a larger tale, even though each week is also a little gem unto itself.

Totally blown away by Roger's seemingly snap decision to leave Mona. I rewatched the episode this morning, and there is so much more going on in the talk with Don than you realize - really wonderful acting by both men. Until I read these comments, though, I didn't even think about Don's sense of betrayal, as he realized Jane and Roger were talking about him behind his back - which is exactly what Joan cautioned Peggy about in S1 - once again we see Joan's (and Peggy's) superiority to Jane.

Don's reaction to Mona's announcement is just another reason to love Jon Hamm in this role. It was one of the few times that Don Draper, the ultimate in self-control, was totally surprised and that mask he wears dropped just for a minute. I also loved his scenes with Betty, and agree that her "flat" tone is an acting choice that January Jones has made. In fact, I think Jones is doing great things with Betty, particularly as she goes through this process of realizing her dream life was just another ad campaign from Don.

I think Betty and Don will stay together though, if only because they are both so invested in that dream and because Don clearly loves his children - probably more than he realized he would.

As for the handling of Kennedy, I know that Weiner has already planned out the jumps in time the series will go through (the plan is to have it end in the early 70s after five? seasons), but I can't find it recorded anywhere. My guess is that they won't do an actual assassination show (a "where were you?" kind of thing), but will have to address the character's reactions to the event. It was simply too big to ignore. The preview of tonight's episode on AMC is all about Sterling/Cooper's attempts to gain profit from the space program, so clearly they are attempting to integrate the major themes of the 60s into the show; all puns intended with "integrate" - I think it is great how Weiner is letting the African-American characters open up just a little bit, to reflect what is going on in the larger society, as the early 60s was when the civil rights movement really began to explode nationally.





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