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Mad Men S3E10: The Color Blue

"The truth is, people may see things differently, but they don't really want to."


We'll get to the usual long-winded examination of themes and motifs in a minute, but first...

LOIS STILL HAS HER JOB?!? What does it take to get fired from Sterling Cooper? Aside from refusing to have sex with a client, we mean.

And now, a long-winded examination of themes and motifs. Wait, no. One more thing.

OHMIGOD, BETTY OPENED THE DRAWER, Y'ALL! BETTY OPENED THE DRAWER!!!

Mad Men is usually such a slow burn but there are a handful of hand-to-the-mouth, ohmigod-I-can't-believe-that-just-happened moments in its history, like Peggy going into labor, Peggy telling Pete she had his baby, an unexpected amputation in the middle of the office and now this. We honestly thought that Don's secret life was one of those things that was always going to sort of hang over the show, with maybe a resolution some time around the final season. And while we are far from a resolution, the story suddenly sped up and rocketed forward to a point we didn't expect to see for some time to come.

And we'd just like to take a moment to address the oft-voiced notion that January Jones can't act. Puh-leeze. The look on her face as she discovered the truth should put that little meme to rest. And speaking of discovering the truth, what exactly does Betty know? What could she possibly be thinking? We can't imagine that she has an accurate picture based on the contents of that box. Two sets of dog tags, a picture of Don identifying him as Dick, and a divorce decree. Clearly, she's figured out that he's been lying to her for as long as she's known him but how much of the lie does she actually understand?

Of course, there's the other big question this revelation is forcing: what is she going to do with this information? We had a slight disagreement while the show was airing. Tom said "She's not going to do anything yet. She's not very good at confrontation." Lorenzo strongly disagreed and cheered the scenes of her staying up with the box on the kitchen table, waiting for Don to come home, smoking and drinking furiously. But in the end, for whatever reasons, she not only chose to put the box back, she chose to put the key back, covering her tracks that she ever discovered it at all. Is she just going to let this information simmer with no payoff before the season ends. Please, writers. That would just be too cruel to us.

In other Betty news, we were cheering on Henry Francis when he basically told her to fuck off if she wanted to play games with him. We're starting to really like that guy and we're even more committed to the idea that he just might be the right guy to handle Betty's childishness. What could illustrate the sad state of the Draper marriage better than Don and Betty's reaction to a simple hangup? They both thought their paramour was on the other end of that line.

And speaking of paramours, we're more convinced than ever that this thing with Suzanne is going to end very badly. Not only is she blithely unconcerned with the boundaries and realities of the situation, but Don is flirting more and more with having the whole thing blow up in his face. Not only is he continuing to spend the night at her place, car parked outside only two miles from his own house, now he's given his card to her slightly less than stable brother, telling him to call him if he needs help. Now, don't jump on us. We're not saying the guy's unstable because he had epilepsy. We're just saying that he gave off a slightly dangerous vibe and he's clearly not planning on living his life within the boundaries laid out for him. He's a hobo like Don is and he's a hobo who has some very damning information that desperation may force him to use at some point down the road.

We understand why Don wanted to help the guy out. He reminded him of his own brother and he screwed up that relationship so badly that the kid wound up killing himself. Don's trying to make amends in his own way but like we said, we have a feeling it's not going to play out the way Don hopes. On the one hand, it's admirable that Don's trying to do the right thing; on the other hand, we can't really crown him a hero when he's got a drawer full of running away money that he keeps hidden from his wife and children. Face it: Don Draper is one fucked up guy.

In fact, we can't shake the feeling that this episode showed us the final ascendancy of Don Draper. It ended with Don looking fabulous in a tuxedo in a room full of applause and admiration, but it's all downhill from here. He's locked into a contract with a company that's about to be sold again and his beautiful and glamorous wife now knows the one thing he never wanted her to know about him: he's a fraud and a liar. He may look like the stud that everyone wants to be or to know, but in reality, he's fucked and he doesn't even realize it.

In other news, it was nice to be reminded that Peggy is almost supernaturally good at her job. We feel a little sorry for poor, pompous Paul Kinsey. And let's face it, he was written to look as pathetic as they could make him. Drunkenly stumbling through the office in search of an idea and jerking off at his desk to his failed Maidenform pitch of last season. To top it off, not only was he unable to produce an idea for the Western Union account, he had to sit through Peggy taking his lack of an idea and spinning it off to a great idea right in front of his (and more importantly, Don's) eyes. In a way, it was of a piece with the general theme of this episode, which if you haven't figured out by now, was mostly lacking in themes and motifs and instead was all about plot. Don is, on the surface, everything that anyone could ever want to be and he looks like he's right on the precipice of taking a huge fall, both personally and professionally. Paul is, on the surface, perfectly primed for the kind of success he feel is owed him by virtue of his pretensions and ivy league education and yet he continues to get upstaged not only by a woman, but by a woman who doesn't have the benefit of his own background and education.

We've probably missed a lot of points worthy of discussion so you'll all have to fill that in in the comments section. For now, we're happy to sit on the edge of our seats wondering what the hell is going to happen next and begging the writers not to leave us hanging before the season in ends in just 3 episodes.


[Pictures courtesy of amctv.com]



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172 comments:

She opened the drawer! I still can't get over it!


Great insights, guys. I can't believe she opened the box; I literally jumped.

We shall see what happens, but just to jump a little bit, next week seems to feature Joan and Greg, and I'm a bit worried this will be their last appearance this season. I know he's the protagonist, and don't get me wrong he drives the whole damn show, but I'm getting sick of every single scene featuring him, or being about him. What happened to subplots?


(I'm talking about Don, btw.)


Don't you think it was Suzanne who did the hang up? Of course it was. You boys had her pegged as crazy from the gitgo.

But no matter what Don does, he will remain in a good place on the show, because it all revolves around him. Betty may or may not confront him, but she will also figure out that it is in her best interests to keep up his charade. Little Miss Perfect sure wouldn't want to do without all of her nice "things."

And, hey, how can you pass up the opportunity to review her dress. Wow. Wow. Wow. Is she for real, or just an imaginary doll that you dress up?


Just for the record, boys, this was S3E10. Thanks for the great insights!


I just have to say - I love Lois. I love her for her dippy indifference and complete removal of herself from the power ebbs and flows at the office. She's a great foil... a great 'everywoman' who just wants to do her job well enough and go home to Rockaway Beach or where ever. She's no Peggy. She knows it. She doesn't really care.

I want Lois on a t-shirt, man!

And no Pete this episode. Ah, well.

Please... please keep Lane. He's an interesting character. I really think he sees the potential of America (or, at least, New York). He reads (!!) American literature and I think he likes the city vibe. Which his wife doesn't. Let her go back to London and be utterly ah-paul-ed by what's coming up there. I'd love to see her try to scoot around someone with a Mary Quant mini or Rolling Stones boots.


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

LOIS STILL HAS HER JOB?!?

That's what WE were screaming about!

I have to say, I'm not liking the Suzanne storyline too much. It's not because of the whole notion of Don actively tempting fate with so brazen an affair, it's because it seemed like the writers threw in the younger brother just to have the audience invest in her character. I'm not buying it.

And Sterling Cooper up for sale again? Could the prospect of Don working WITH a contract and having to deal with Duck a possibility in the future? We will see.

Paul: that poor bastard. Always remember to write it down before you pass out.

I loved the smile that passed Betty's face when she finally got that drawer open. However, it may be a good case of 'be careful what you wish for'.

Only 3 episodes left?! At least next week we get some Joan....


I couldn't believe it when I saw Lois back at Sterling-Cooper! And when Betty opened the drawer and went straight for the box instead of checking out the stacks of money! And Don giving his business card to Suzanne's brother, setting himself up for a future blackmail attempt! But for me, the best part was when Betty was in the bathtub with copy of Mary McCarthy's "The Group". That brought back lots of memories, I can tell you.


Atlantaseabreeze

Yeah-Betty opened the drawer!! I thought maybe the $$ was for Anna. Loved the previews-Betty packs a suitcase-maybe she gets her own lost weekend in California; and Joan FINALLY gets airtime!! o you think the English guy is plotting tterling Cooper?


I totally thought Peggy was going to catch Paul wacking it at his desk... I can never tell with Peggy if she deliberately screws people or if she is just good enough to come up on the fly with those ideas. And did Paul once again think Peggy screwed him in front of Don (figuratively) by using his 'faintest ink' line and turning it into a pitch. Or was he just in awe that she's that good?

Also, how fabulous was Embeth's reaction to hearing she may be back in London... or may Payne (Layne?) be in trouble too? Seems like he can't trust his company, so hopefully he'll stay.


Ha! I'm so glad you caught the Lois thing because I said the exact same thing out loud! Sal got fired and Lois still has her job!?!?!?

Holy s***, holy s***, holy s***! Betty OPENED THE DRAWER. I had to pinch myself and go make sure that this wasn't the season finale. No where to go but down for the beautiful Don Draper...


I'm always caterwauling to my friends, complaining about how boring peggy is, but this season I just think she has gotten SO interesting. I just want to see more of her! It's lovely.


Also, though my heart stopped slightly when Peggy opened that box, she's been boring me this season. Betty's ennui is soooo boring. If she doesn't do something about The Box soon, she's going to make me fall asleep.

But all in all this episode was so great. I thought Paul jerking off to his ONE successful campaign that the clients didn't even USE was just representative of the end of his career. He's created nothing and the things he does create he just spews all over. Peggy, on the other hand, is just brilliant. I think she scares Don, honestly. The way she thinks, the way she works, she could have his job someday. In fact, if she doesn't, I'll be disappointed.


Oh, also, does anyone else forsee Jane/Roger divorce? That scene with his mother was just too funny. "Does Mona know?"


"Does everyone see the same color blue that I see?"

Project Runway asked that same question about two weeks ago and we found out the answer: blue is vastly different in California.

That's got to be the answer, don't you think?

So Paul sees failure in losing his great idea (of course we'll never know if his great inspiration led to a great idea) and Peggy sees the genesis of a better idea.

Rebecca sees New York as dirty, noisy, full of traffic and rip off artists. Lane sees it as a place where nobody cares about his upbringing or alma mater.

Funny, the only two points of agreement was that Paul's mishap was fertile ground for a good Western Union idea

and Don and Suzanne see Danny as a brother.


I really hope they keep Lane around. He seems to have won over the SC guys and he obviously loves being in New York. His wife of course is an upper class twit. She did score a point though when she said Moneypenny was a toad!


Betty is so boring? Wow! She must really bring back bad memories of domestic tension in the households. Which is probably why she is a favorite character of mine. Watching Betty is like watching a time bomb slowly ticking away.

As for Paul Kinsey, I don't think he is mediocre or untalented ad men. We don't really know if his idea was any good or not. He doesn't remember it, which means that we'll never know what it is. But if Paul could create something like the Maidenform ad from Season 2, this only tells me that he is a talented and imaginative ad man. He may not be at Don or Peggy's level, but I suspect that he has talent. If he ever learns to get over his pride and insecurities, he just might discover how talented he truly is.

I don't think I like Suzanne Farrell very much. For all her so-called honesty, there is something hypocritical about her that I cannot put my finger on.

I could also wax lyrical about how romantic Don is with Suzanne or that he might be falling in love with her. But my gut instinct tells me that if he ever ends up marrying Suzanne, she would would find herself in the same situation as Betty. After all, he had been in love with Betty when they first met. He thought he had managed to connect with her. What if this is how Don or Dick Whitman deals with the people in his life? Especially in his romantic life? What if he is one of those types who enjoy the illusion of new love, but cannot deal with maintaining an emotional connection with someone for over a long period of time?


January's last look at Don and the end of the episode was amazing, too. Such a combination of "Who are you?" and "Who the hell do you think you are?" and "What the hell am I going to do?"

What does she think she knows from the contents of the drawer?

I too see the fall starting soon. Don is perfect on the outside, but barely keeping it together through the 50s -like part of the sixties. Once things start to speed up, the anchor around his neck is going to keep him from adapting fast enough.

Of course we're only in season 3. It can't all be downhill from here.


The next episode of Mad Men will be "The Gypsy and the Hobo" and the official site says that "Betty takes the kids on a trip". Could she be taking the kids along as a cover as she researches some of the clues to Don's past that she discovered in the box? Maybe she has figured (now that she has calmed down a bit) that confronting Don will get her nowhere and she is curious to find out more about him. Although having the children come along on such a fact-finding mission makes it seem unlikely, it would certainly be interesting.


”In other Betty news, we were cheering on Henry Francis when he basically told her to fuck off if she wanted to play games with him. We're starting to really like that guy and we're even more committed to the idea that he just might be the right guy to handle Betty's childishness.

But how would Henry Francis deal with Don’s childishness? Or the childishness of the other major characters? Or his own childishness? I could probably take every major character on that show and expose their childish traits. But the average human adult still possesses a great deal of childishness . . . even when he or she is great at pretending to be an adult. Like Don and Joan. By the way, I don't like Henry Francis. He reminds me too much of Don. A woman tried to connect with him on an emotional level and all he could think about was finding the opportunity to fuck her. I don't like him at all.


I'm thinking about Judy's comment about Betty bypassing the stacks of cash and going right for the box -- I was thinking the same thing initially last night, that the money would be the big draw; who keeps cash like that, right? After Betty's sharp comment to Don about his contract, and his reluctance to tie himself anywhere for just three years, I was all about her grabbing that cash and shaking it in his face.

But the more I think about it, in the context of the times, I wonder how unusual it would have seemed to Betty for him to have money locked up, in their home, in that way. This is a generation just past the Depression, and in some cases, very very shaped by that (we've seen Don's and Connie's experiences REALLY shaped by that, and even Sterling Cooper's early years had to have been impacted by the Crash & Depression). My grandparents, and their parents, are notorious for having hidden money all over their homes and properties -- some not trusting banks, some who were just constantly worried about "emergencies," and another loony granny who truly believed FDR was gunning for her gold. (I, um, have yet to see evidence of this loot, but, whatever. The problem with "hiding" it is, we've learned, you totally forget where it is. And, you know, if that house burns down, forget it.)

We don't tend to traffic in too much cash these days, but maybe, in that era, it wasn't nearly the flag for Betty that it is for us, that's all I'm saying. That box, however... good lord! She can't even begin to realize yet all that she doesn't know. I cannot WAIT to see how this resolves itself.

AND LOIS! STILL WORKING THERE! Sterling Cooper is an insane asylum.


OK...now my rant....

It's a small point. You think health care is bad in 2009, try 1963 health care on for size. We saw Betty's foggy delivery. Now we get to see someone like Danny slip through the cracks and not get properly treated for epilepsy.

Not all epilepsy is the same, of course. Some cases are worse than others. In 1963, the drug of choice for treating seizures was Phenobarbital. Pheno makes you drowsy, so that might not have been the best choice for someone like Danny, who wanted to be on-the-go and needed to project a strong work ethic to get by.

My aunt is the same age that Danny would have been and she had epilepsy. I say "had" because three pregnancies put it in remission. But hers was well controlled by drugs to begin with. The only thing she couldn't do was drive, until the doctors determined she was in remission.

My feeling is that the writers needed a plot device to put Danny in a situation beyond his control. But it's not indicative of everyone's experience with epilepsy back in the day.


The Rush Blog said...

Betty is so boring? Wow! She must really bring back bad memories of domestic tension in the households. Which is probably why she is a favorite character of mine. Watching Betty is like watching a time bomb slowly ticking away.


We're not doing this again this week. We had to delete a bunch of posts last week because certain posters couldn't handle the idea that people might have less than complimentary ideas about the fictional character of Betty Draper. If you disagree, say so. But do it without the unasked-for psychoanalysis of your fellow commenters.


You are right - there were too many things in this episode to comment on, so I'm just relaxing and waiting for the last three eps to wash over me (or knock me over, whichever). I will just say this: January Jones' acting is superb. I've never seen her give an interview, so for all I know she is not acting at all, but she's got her character down pat.


This comment has been removed by the author.

The Rush Blog said...
But how would Henry Francis deal with Don’s childishness? Or the childishness of the other major characters? Or his own childishness? I could probably take every major character on that show and expose their childish traits.


Hi Juanita.


Judy, I was really surprised when I saw that Betty was reading "The Group". I instantly thought, "The writers just threw a bone to everyone who's been asking when Betty will read 'The Feminine Mystique'." It made me so excited, I couldn't wait till the next commercial to blurt out to my husband what "The Group" was about. But I do wonder what a woman like Betty does with a piece of literature like that - does she blame all of the characters for bringing the bad things on themselves? Or does she actually have some sympathy for them? Or some other, more complex combination of reactions?

I don't like the subplot with Suzanne either. It felt like it strayed too far from the stuff that's actually interesting. But I do suspect that Don will tell her about Dick in the heat of the moment and then come to regret it later...


It's just me, but I sort of feel that the chinese quote Paul said was the fantastic idea he came up with-once he had relaxed and given up..he remembered, even if he didn't realize it, so I saw a mirror of what had happened earlier. Paul planted the seed of the idea, and Peggy ra with it-a good team.

It's my opinion that the phonecall was by neither Francis or Suzanne, but most likely a wrong number. It just showed you how Betty and Don dealt with the prospect of their potential paramours calling. (Everyone sees a different color blue...)

Then again, I'm not sure if Suzanne is that crazy. Foolhardy, yes, but not crazy. As a big sister I recognized how she treated her brother as how I've treated my siblings who were in a jam and it resonated. I'll cop to her being crazy when she does something really nuts-the train scene was a bit foolish, but Don likes being able to control when and where he meets his flings, and she spun that around on him. It's fun to see him freak out when she forces him outside of the comfort zone (meeting her brother, etc)


Pardon me if someone has already mentioned this, but how cringe-worthy was it when Paul shook Achilles' hand after he had just . . . well, you know. That ellicited a big EEEWWWWW from my household!!! On a more serious note, the image of a glamorous Betty all dressed up and sitting on the edge of the Draper tub trying to collect her composure was heartbreaking.


I wasn't surprised Lois still worked at SC. She saved them from having to kowtow to the new guy from London. You've got to keep her around. Perhaps they'll get Wilkenson razor blade account and she'll be swinging the sword when the London guys walk prospective buyers through the halls.

Or maybe she'll be fooling around with those lawn darts that should be all the rage in the next year or so.


LOL you guys took the words right out of my head. I was sitting in front of my TV “slack jawed” saying to myself “ isn’t that the chick (Lois) who rolled over that guys foot with a john deere why is she still there” I swear I couldn’t get passed that for most of the episode.

Oh and Betty doesn’t understand the lie at all, she thinks that "her Don" was married before when it was really the guys identity he stole, but as a 60’s wife she is she is not going to confront him she is going to keep resenting him as she has their entire marriage I suspect! in the street vernacular " she ain't gone do shi*"

Just two Question:

1. When will Joan (my girl crush) return to Sterling Cooper the office just isn’t the same with out her?
2. They are going to bring Sal back, right…no seriously he hasn’t really “left” the show?


"Does everyone see the same color blue that I see?"

I think that was the underlying theme for this week. I'd have to re-watch,but I noticed in several of Betty's scenes in particular had either the scenery or the actor in varying shades of blue. A few perceptions I noticed;
The biggie being the varying perceptions of Don/Dick both at work and home. Paul viewing Peggy as Dons pet vs Peggy saying that Don hates her. Price embracing NYC vs his wife finding it smelly and nasty. Both Don and Betty thinking the hang up was Suzanne/Henry when in all likelihood it was probably just a hang up.
As for January's acting, I thought she was brilliant. I felt all the conflicting emotions of being the perfect Stepford wife while being both pissed at her husband and confused to who he is. I have any idea what she's going to do with the info about the box, but I think the preview is a red herring. She talked about selling her father's house,so I'm thinking she's packing to go to Philadelphia. I'd be very surprised to see her either leave Don or fly to California.


January Jones, while sitting next to Jon Hamm, was interviewed by Oprah within the last month. I must say, the interview was tense and she seemed supremely annoyed with Jon Hamm for some reason. Perhaps staying in character? Method acting? Hmmmm. I am certain you can Youtube it or maybe it's on Oprah's website.

Anyway, I would like to mention that to me, all the men appeared so OLD in last night's episode. I mean that physically and in every way. While the women seemed smart, perky, light, glowing... Even LOIS!

Suzanne has Fatal Attraction written all over her. Me-no-likey... Creepy! Just in time for Halloween...


Actually I was only somewhat surprised to see Lois. This is 1963 and her actions did not cost them an account-just a foot of someone they really didn't care about

I do think it was ironic she was Paul's secretary

Yes Paul needs to get over his insecurities. He clearly has ability or else he wouldn't be at SC for this long. Don must value him to some degree. I think for the first time Paul realizes how talented Peggy is

Also it was nice to show some sympathy from Don over the lost idea

I too have grown to like Lane. He clearly grown to respect the people at SC and is hoping for some stability. His bosses are cold bastards. I am willing to give his wife a pass. She is a twit and a snob but some people are not meant for NYC.

Frank


Not only did Betty open the drawer...But Joan in going to be in the next episode!


Another interesting tidbit from the episode was Sterling and Cooper reminiscing about the beginnings of the agency 40 years prior. Maybe it's been mentioned in previous episodes, but I hadn't remembered/realized that Roger is the son of the Sterling in the name of the company.

It also revealed how Roger brought Don to the company -- he references the copywriting gig for the fur company, and Don meeting Betty.

Priceless moment: Roger holding up the photo of a woman in '20s/'30s garb and saying, "Remember her?"


Out of all the things in that box to focus on, Betty zeroes in on the divorce decree...what a waste. I don't think she understood the importance of the Whitman material at all. Not that she should be expected to instantly realize that Don=Dick, but she barely looked at them!

Suzanne might be Don's Jane. There seems to be something real there.

Henry and Betty aren't going to happen. He's a player, and she's looking for more. Sadly, I don't see her getting what she wants, not without changing a great deal. She's so accustomed to defining herself by her looks and the deference they earn her, she hasn't developed much else to attract a good man.

I do believe you're right re: Don's testimonial. This is the beginning of the end for Don Draper. Whether the Whitman past will take him down or the sale of SC and his own dissatisfaction will do it, I'm not sure, but would guess the latter. As much as I prefer Dick Whitman to Don Draper, I'm not looking forward to watching his life unravel.


Brooke Schreier Ganz

and another loony granny who truly believed FDR was gunning for her gold

Um, Chicklet? FDR *did* confiscate people's gold! Your granny was being smart to hide it. See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_6102

Okay, back to Mad Men...

I was struck by the penultimate scene of the show, with the three couples in their cars, going to the dinner. Each car represented change, of a kind.

The first car -- carrying Roger, Jane, and Roger's mother -- was full of people for whom things had already changed, i.e. Roger being married to Jane rather than Mona. You could even make the point that they were all living in the past in some way, with Roger being a man of Sterling Cooper's past and the pre-1960's world, and Mrs. Sterling (his mother, I mean, not Jane) literally living in the past and confusing Jane for Margaret and forgetting the Waldorf had moved, and so on. Besides change (or inability to change, or inability to see change happening) being an overall theme of the series, Mrs. Sterling's comments to Roger and Jane seems like a particularly good point to bring up to the viewer immediately following Betty's discovery of Don's past. I would go take a second listen to her exact comments and think about them in context of the episode, and the series.

The second car, with Lane and his wife Rebecca, had people who recognized change while in the car, i.e. Lane revealing the impending sale of Sterling Cooper. Of course, what Rebecca doesn't see is this upcoming change doesn't mean quite what she thinks it will, in that Lane secretly wants to stay in New York and that London will very shortly be nothing like the London she remembers. I mean, she even talks about London not having traffic!

The third car carries Don and Betty. Unlike the people in the other cars, these say nothing to each other. Things have massively changed in Betty's life in the past 24 hours, but Don is oblivious. Their car is the change that is coming, but which he cannot see.


I thought it was telling that Betty didn't flinch at the sight of those piles of cash, but instead went right for the shoebox. She didn't even count it! I guess she's so used to having money around that it was no big deal (that's my lack of a silver spoon showing).

Speaking of cash, what do you suppose ever happened to the $500k Don received when the Brits bought Sterling Cooper?

In other non-cash musings, it was nice to have a little office time. I like this season, but we've spent too much damn time in the Draper household. If we don't get a major marriage blow-up by season end, it will be a big disappointment.


I don't buy Suzanne-as-nutcase at all. I just think she's more honest than anyone in the suburban milieu that she works for but is not part of. Her brother, as well, has a similar blurting style, which I think was in there last night as a stark contrast to Don's privacy obsession. I think Suzanne is more like the kind of person you might meet today - less beholden to social rules, different sense of boundaries. That said, she's foolish, which is not uncommon. She's just not buttoned-up, which in context makes her look "crazy". Prepare to meet more of her and fewer Betty Drapers in the coming years, O Characters.

Epilepsy...I found that interesting, because my husband is epileptic, and is perfectly functional. I guess I really need to learn some history, because I hadn't realized that epileptics were at one point treated like people with a mental illness. I realize that there are many types of epilepsy, some of which take over a person's life far more than in my husband's case, but even so. Can someone please enlighten me?

My read on Peggy is that she saved Kinsey's ass and schooled him in professionalism at the same time. She made it look as though they'd worked as a team all along, and put him back in Don's sympathies. That pathetic schlub will probably never realize it, though.

And...HOW did I miss Kinsey jerking off?! I must have looked away for a second! Jeez.


juanita's shtick is getting old.



and i can't believe she opened the drawer! and that lois is still there!

and i'm thrilled that joan is back(!).


While I was hoping Righteous Anger Betty would keep on sitting at that kitchen table and confront Don, the slow, sweet simmer is more in keeping with the show and how much of the story plays out. These characters are adept at discovering secrets and then keeping them close until it serves their puposes. Bert did it to Don; Don did it to Sal; Pete did it to Don, tho it failed. Betty will do it to Don when it's to her greatest advantage, and I suspect that will not necessarily be by the end of this season.

Oh how I love Betty! Complicated, layered, maddening, fascinating - I'm frankly at a loss over how anyone can think January Jones is nothing short of superb in her creation of this character. It is one of the finest, most subtle performances on television.

I must end with two of my favorite lines from last night:

Lane: "Churchill rousing or Hitler rousing?"

Roger's Mother: "Does Mona know?"


Anyone else think Rebecca's going to find herself living in India shortly and missing dear old New York?


C'mon, OF COURSE Lois still has her job! Her mini-jag on a lawnmower sent the pretty boy who was sent to "re-organize" Sterling Cooper away with a maimed foot. I get the feeling that it's all about business there. Lois, Sal, Peggy, Don - it only matters if they affect the bottom line. Oh, and my love affair with Don Draper is ovah. Still love Jon Hamm, tho.


Anonymous 10/19/09 11:48 AM wrote:"Hi Juanita."

Big guffaw! I went right there too!


I have a bunch of random observations:
1) Paul's turning of Peggy's femininity against her-- because she wears a dress, she has the edge. Amazingly laughable, considering the rough life she's had at SC!
2) This episode, like so many others, touches the invisible people in the world just enough to get the audience to see them, if they're willing to think about it. For example, Carla, Achilles, and even Suzanne's brother, who was supposed to be a janitor at a VA hospital.
3) The Draper's "don't have to" go to church every week, but Carla does... I thought that was an interesting way of putting it, even in the cursory answers Betty and Don are giving their curious children (who will surely need therapy when they're older!)
4) I have a ton of sympathy for Betty. I was rooting for her all along, to open the drawer, to find the money/box, to confront Don, to tell him off for not coming home, and to refuse to be his trophy wife.
There are getting to be too many characters that I care about (by now, basically all of them!) so each episode leaves people out. What happened between Peggy and Duck? What about Pete? Sal? Joan and Greg are in the next one, hopefully with her telling him off! I'm in denial that there are only three left this season!


I'm going to have to plan a visit to Anna Draper's house now (the address is a few miles from my house)! Although, didn't Don walk to the beach when he was there? No way is that possible...


Leela, epilepsy was heavily stigmatized until fairly recently. In the Middle Ages it was seen as demonic possession, later on as a form of insanity. If you ever look at a marriage license more than 50 years old, you'll see that the affiants had to swear they were not epileptics. Epileptics were also liable to forced sterilization. In fact, I think such a law was still on the books of North Carolina in the 80s.


Louse older man and potentially mentally unhinged younger woman seduce each other. More poor decisions are made, conflict ensures, then a confrontation. Predictable, unengaging, boring.

January Jones can definitely act. However, I'm disappointed that her character's storyline has taken up so much air time. What's happening in the office is ten times more interesting.


Here's my take on Suzanne. A woman who begins an affair with a married man may not think through any consequences, or how events may play out in the future. She probably thought it would be another fling, but she has found herself falling in love with Don. The first fire of this kind of relationship is very exciting, relishing a bit of the danger that they both know is there, seeing what chances can be taken, even openly (as on the train). Neither one has more than a germ of an idea to explain a meeting should someone see them, but since they are both smart, they feel a cover story would come easily.

The side Don is revealing to her seems much softer and more vulnerable than anything we have seen with Betty. It feels wonderful to be able to be yourself emotionally with someone else, particularly if you constantly are on guard, or usually deny yourself, with your real emotions. I don't know if she will be a bunny boiler, but someone or both will get severely hurt with this relationship. Don did relate to Danny as if he were his own brother, with the angst he has kept hidden, but I don't think he would have offered to drive him and give him his business card if he wasn't feeling waaaaay off guard from his usual self, Don is usually so private, but Suzanne has melted some of his defenses, so it's now less of a fling to him also. And I don't dislike her, as some others do.

AND BETTY OPENED THE BOX!!!!!!!!!!!! AWESOME. But I think she is very confused as to what it actually means. Redspring said: January's last look at Don and the end of the episode was amazing, too. Such a combination of "Who are you?" and "Who the hell do you think you are?" and "What the hell am I going to do?"

And Peggy....great scenes. Paul....oy. Mrs. Sterling Mother....does Mona know? HAHAHA

Only 3 more episodes, can't wait, but then what will fill the long void?


I am hoping that Betty's new knowledge + reading The Group + being called on her behavior by Henry = an assertive, self-aware new Betty in the near future. Already, she is quite different from the woman Francine confronted when Carlton was having an affair.


The casually tossed-off line that devastated me was Don's response when Bobby said, "How come you never ask how school was for me?" - "Because your answers take longer". Don really doesn't like having a son, does he?


Betty opens the drawer and finds a mountain of conflicting information about her husband. So when she asks, "Where were you last night?" and he says he was with Connie she believes him. Wait! What? I would never believe another word the man ever said. How do you know when he's lying? His mouth is open. Sheesh.


"And let's face it, he was written to look as pathetic as they could make him."

Paul Kinsey is Matt Weiner, did you know that? Or his 60s writing avatar, at least. The line "I don't need you to put your little swirl on top of my idea" was actually said to him, when he was a writer on the Sopranos.


When Paul reached out to shake Achilles's hand my husband and I both simultaneously yelled "EEEWWWW!!!" (I'm assuming Paul's a righty).


Your final screen cap shows just how similar the episode-ending freeze frame moment is to the one in All About Eve when Ms. Harrington (another total fraud) is handed her Sarah Siddons award.
Behold the moment of zenith. Let the downfall begin!

P.S. Joan's back next week!


Lane's marriage isn't pure joy either. It's pretty obvious that his wife, who pines for London, was never told that they almost moved to INDIA (and may still do so). She's going to scream.

Don giving that kid his card is the stupidest thing he's ever done. Right after he said "I swore that next time I'd get this right", too (sort of like when Harry said "I'm not going to screw this up" before not telling anyone about Garner's phone call in the last episode). That kid reminds me a lot of Dick Whitman's brother, though -- a LOT.


Pete figured out Don was Dick when he looked in the box. I assume at least one of the photos is clearly of Don, with "Dick" written on the back. But Betty was so focused on the mysterious divorce decree, and the Long Beach house deed (why does Don have that, and not her?) that she may not have caught the deception. I dunno. The suspense is killing me.

I saw her sitting there at that dinner, and I was thinking she's looking at him and thinking "I have your balls right here in my beaded clutch, you bastard".


Don was going to drive the brother to Bedford, Massachusetts - isn't that about 4 hours one way? That didn't make sense to me. Was it just because of the guilt over his own brother that he would drive nearly 8 hours?


I heard a loud, sharp shrieking sound when Betty opened the drawer and then realized it came from me.

Suzanne has "stalker" written all over her. I hope the Draper kids don't have any pet bunnies.


January Jones can definitely act. However, I'm disappointed that her character's storyline has taken up so much air time. What's happening in the office is ten times more interesting.


I don't think so. The Draper marriage has always been interesting to me . . . ever since the second episode of Season 1.


I don't think that Suzanne is crazy or a free sprit. I think she simply lacks any common sense. Is it any wonder she gets along better with children or with those who are childish? Like Don?


"That kid reminds me a lot of Dick Whitman's brother, though -- a LOT."


I don't know. Adam Whitman never struck me as the type to call on people's bullshit.


I find it amazing that Weiner ended the episode with Betty giving Don that look. Very amazing. It almost seemed as if she was seeing the shit pour out of his ears for the very first time, while he was reveling in his moment in the sun.


I love this show! I think Betty bipassed the money because it means nothing to her. She is very well taken care of financially and money or how it is earned doesn't affect or phase her. Her dress in the closing scene was spectacular! I wish it was mine.

I thought Paul was going to accuse Peggy of stealing his notes. He is so mediocre and didn't realize it, but I think it's starting to hit him.

I don't think Betty is smart enough to start putting the pieces together. Her only beef is that she thinks Don was married and never told her. She is always making comments about not knowing what Don is doing, where he is, so I think this just ruffles her feathers. She is a total child and her reaction is, "Whaaa, you are keeping a secret from me!!"


I definately think Suzanne was the hang up. I think Don is attracted to her because she represents where he would be if he was still Dick - renting an apartment and married to a teacher. A simple life.


I watched this episode last night while my husband was at work. I texted him that the episode was sooooo good, and now I think he might divorce me for cheating on him. (watching MM is a weekly sacred ritual in our house).

Seriously though, what a great episode. Don's slip is beginning to fall way past his knees. His judgement with the Suzanne thing is completely off kilter. Don has been smart about his stupidity in the past, choosing sophisticated women who understand the parameters of their space in Don's life. But Suzanne is a simpleton, not able to grasp the walls of a relationship that exists on borrowed time.

Suzanne is like a delicate volcano sitting on top of the San Andreas fault that is beginning to implode in a slow, uncontrolled manner. First the late night phone call, brilliantly accented by the fallen bra strap, then the coyness at the picnic, then the hang-up phone call, THEN the kicker, following Don on the train. That bitch is al kinds of whirling dervish gone awry. Can you imagine Rachel Mencken following Don onto a train? Hell no. Don has tripped on the cracks in the sidewalk.

And Betty. Wow. I have been Betty's cheerleader for the last few weeks. Bravo to Henry for calling her bluff. And what a smart smart lady to put that box away. It takes a certain steeliness to move past the impulse to pounce on that kind of information, and I love that the writers put that layer into Betty. Hell hath no fury...


Betty puts the key back and goes on, changed, with her life coasting downhill. There are several moments in her scenes when she's reminded of a hard fact: she has three children with Don Draper, or whoever he is.

What got us at our house, and has yet to be mentioned, is the setting of the beginning of the scene where Betty finds the key: she's on a plaid sofa, under a gaudy flame stitch afgan, wearing checked slacks... it's like the castellated hallucinations of migraine aura, or the famous series of cat paintings by a decompensating schizophrenic. Credit goes to my husband for noting it, and blessings to theDVR so we could rewatch it several times to savor the crazy.

I don't think Suzanne is crazy,so much as she's an early adaptor; I suspect she bought The Group the first week it was out, while Betty's reading it when it's on the NYT bestseller list. She's intelligent, calculating, and possibly a bit mischievous, but she's also the one who's bringing on the Age of Aquarius. I suspect that if she had family money, or lacked a younger brother to care for (and by their dynamic one suspects they're alone -I'd bet with a divorced or widowed mother and a withholding or abusive stepfather) she'd be living in the Villiage and painting or writing poetry.

I find myself wondering if Betty is skipping the parts of the book where one of the women deals with her father's mental illness.


Did anybody else catch the music that was playing on the radio in the background when Don showed up at Suzanne's for the first time in last night's episode? Ahh those writers are a clever bunch. I've been humming the Singing Nun's "Dominique" since last night. Brilliant!


The parting scene was fascinating. Almost everyone sitting on the dais was covering up a big secret, or miserable or both.

I feel like this thing is about to blow!!!!

--Itsjustme


And what about all the subtext of Roger's introduction of Don at the party? You know he was choking on every word.


Betty opening the drawer and seeing the money and then going for the box reminded me of Carmela Soprano taking Tony's money from the birdfeeder.

I don't think Betty is going to do anything of significance with what she saw in the box. Sure she may confront Don at some point, but he would be able to fast-talk his way into a perfectly logical explanation. Besides, it's 1963, what is Betty going to do? Take the kids and move in with her brother? She's utterly trapped in her marriage and life. I couldn't get a bead on Suzanne, but she gives me a bit of the creeps.


I do think Betty has options.

Perhaps she takes a trip with her children to her dad's house for Halloween, as she mentioned early in the episode. She and her brother have to divide the house some way in the estate. Perhaps her brother wants to buy out her half, or they sell the house and she gets half the money.

We saw her in the previews telling someone that she had discovered some disturbing or incriminating evidence about Don. Maybe she's talking to the estate lawyer, trying to figure out a way to keep this inheritance herself, without having to split it with Don/Dick.

Plus, any divorce settlement would still leave her with half. I think Mona Sterling is doing okay financially.

We shall see.

--Itsjustme


Yeah, Bedford is 189 miles away, today, with Interstates the whole way. In '63 it was longer and a lot slower -- four hours for sure. Of course, he only made it as far as Framingham....


Brooke Schreier Ganz

Was this episode the first time we heard it explicitly laid out that Roger Sterling is actually Roger Sterling, Jr., son of the man who was a founder of Sterling Cooper? So all those bragging mentions Roger has made of "my name up on the wall", it's really his father's name, technically? Call me dense but I never put that together before; I thought our Roger was the Sterling in question until the scenes in this episode where Roger talks to Bert about the old days and Roger gives the speech at the firm dinner.

It just emphasizes the widening crack between Don and Roger. Roger has his father's name, his father's business, and considers himself an extension of that world. Don is running away from his father and his name and his world.


Roger had mentioned his father before, and since he has apparently worked at the agency all his life he is not unjustified in seeing the firm as his baby.


>>What's happening in the office is ten times more interesting.

Wow, I don't agree at all. Even when the series was more office-focused, I thought the most interesting bits were the personal stories of the employees away from the office.

Certain people seem desperate for Betty to have some sort of revelation based on reading a book. If her reading The Group is meant as some kind of shout out to those few people who keep harping on Betty to read The Feminine Mystique, then I don't think it's meant as a supportive shot out. The Group is set in the 1930s, is fiction, and while it's about spirited women with independent minds, is about as unlikely to spark Betty's liberation phase as her reading Where the Wild Things Are would. (A book that also came out in 1963. Why isn't she reading that? Huh? Huh? It's published and available and it's popular now and it's 1963 on the show so it must be in a bookstore nearby!)


Anon,

Next season, when Gene is old enough to appreciate fancy picture books, I guess we can look for some Maurice Sendak and Margaret Wise Brown.

Although Where The Wild Things Are is not as revolutionary as Sendak's poetry.

The Drapers don't need Where the Wild Things Are, they need The Giving Tree.


Fave lines this ep:

Roger to Cooper, re the faded picture: "Remember her?"

Lane to Cooper, re Cooper's vanity: "It's obvious."


As for Suzanne: not crazy. Assessing her this way seems to me an extension of the same misogyny so well depicted on Mad Men itself. She is dangerous to the stability of the Draper universe, but that world is begging for tidal forces to rend it anyway. A man behaving the same way would simply be thought of as impetuous or wild.


I'll assume you caught the sarcasm in my comment and chose to play it straight up anyway.

>>I guess we can look for some Maurice Sendak and Margaret Wise Brown.

God, I hope not. If so, Weiner would be kowtowing to current perceptions of what is popular and important about that era with a wink and a nod, rather than letting his characters live in their own moment -- which so far he has been refreshingly willing to do.

I could research sales figures for Sendak's WtWTA during its first year of publication, but that's not really my point. My point is, yes, Betty Draper the individual would be much, much more likely to read a then-bestselling popular novel that's been largely forgotten today than she would read a rather ponderous sociological text that is familiar to educated people in 2009.

And for recognizing that and going with it, and not taking the expected or easy route, Weiner should be lauded.


I, too, don't see Suzanne as crazy; I think that would be too pat and simplistic for Weiner & Co. There will be no boiling bunnies. What Suzanne IS, however -- quirky, free-spirited, unmoved by social convention, overly-empathetic -- will be more than sufficient to bring Dick/Don's crisis to a head. In a weird way Suzanne is the embodyment of the 60's which is about to come crashing down on all of them and turn their world upside down.

As for the Draper marriage itself,
I suspect it will survive the 60's. The 70's, however, is another matter entirely.


In a weird way Suzanne is the embodiment of the 60's which is about to come crashing down on all of them and turn their world upside down.

If by "weird" you mean "obvious," I agree.


Actually, I see Suzanne as the embodiment of the generation that dominated the 1960s - free spirited, open-minded, careless and sometimes stupid.

Yes, I had added that last description. Any woman who tracks down her MARRIED lover to his commuter train, because he had failed to answer the phone when she called his HOUSE must be lacking in some serious common sense.


I'm just glad that the crappiest secretary (I screamed the same thing when I saw her) is with the crappiest copywriter. I liked Paul fine last season, but all he's been this season is a pompous ass who deserves his come-uppance IMHO.

Ohhhh, I hope Betty confronts Don before the end of the season. At the same time, though, what is she going to do? She seems ok with the idea of the divorce' neighbor, but Betty doesn't seem capable of running her own show - she is used to being taken care of.

Last night's episode was so good.


OK, I think Suzanne is a definite bunny-boiler.

And my first thought on seeing the cash in the drawer? It's the money Don/Dick gave Adam to go away--that's why it's with the box.


Interesting things to me/ questions
1. Betty doing laundry throuought the show leading up to her finding Don's "dirty laundry"
2. Suzanne baking bread and offering it to Don along with offering to make food for Don and her brother. - Suzanne is definatly that care taker/mother figure... seems like Carla is doing more of the cooking in the Draper house lately.
3. I noticed Don eating something during the Aqua Net scene, was that Suzanne's date bread? I have never seen Don bring any reminance of Betty to work, but he is letting Suzanne go there.
4. Don is ignoring Connie Hilton, as I understood his service called Suzanne's house (?!) and Don didn't bother responding.
5. I don't understand Don's reaction to Suzanne, is he nuts about her? She seems totally overboard "Why didn't you call" - does this annoy him? I can't get a good read on why he keeps going to her, constantly it's not just every once in a while like it was with perveious women... what is different with her?
6. What was the music playing during the credits, usually that has some symbolism.

Can't wait for next Sunday!


I soooo wish this episode could have been called "Dick in a Box" ; )


Also - why wasn't Suzanne confused that it didn't take Don 8 hrs. to get back?


Ok, so I'm a history geek, but for me the best line of this episode was "Churchill rousing or Hitler rousing"

LMAO


Also - why wasn't Suzanne confused that it didn't take Don 8 hrs. to get back?

Framingham is only 30 minutes from Bedford today-and at night, it probably didn't take that much longer then. So Don would have been gone 6-7 hours, which I'm sure seemed like plenty to Suzanne, who probably was a little vague on the time anyway. I figure Don left around 6-7 pm, hit Framingham around 10:30, turned around and got back to Suzanne's around 2:00.


Does anyone else think that this season will end with the news of Kennedy assassination and the sale of Sterling Cooper arriving at the same time?

I've also been wondering if the Sterling Cooper powers-that-be didn't lie to Don about Hilton wanting him to sign the contract; obviously the agency is a more saleable commodity with Don than without him.


Jared Harris (as Lane Pryce) has been such a great addition to the cast. It will be a shame if/when he leaves. Loved his scene with Bert Cooper--the quick exchange about Cooper's vanity was cute, and was one of several moments that showed Lane's growing affection for the people at SC.


I don't know if Sal is coming back. I found him Friday night on "The Ghost Whisperer" telling Camryn Manheim's character that he was in love with her. In a phony Italian accent no less.

Maybe he'll be putting down roots in haunted downtown Grandview for a while.


Gidget Bananas, I was thinking along the same lines. Is Don's contract with PPL or with Sterling Cooper?


_The Group_ is a wonderful book, even for somebody like me who is a generation younger than Betty Draper. Also, going to PA for Thanksgiving is the second reference (Roger's daughter's wedding is the first) to the time right around Kennedy's assassination. Maybe just a small thing but I wonder if the season is going to end with Don going to the wedding with Suzanne, Betty in PA with Henry, and, generally the whole world turned upside down because of JFK's death.


Well, nobody else has mentioned this - so maybe we are the only ones - but my husband and I laughed out loud at the end of the scene where Peggy takes Paul's comment about the "faintest ink" and turns it into a good advertising idea and Don polishes it with the caption "You can't frame a phone call." Paul's realization that it had happened once again (Peggy putting a swirl on his idea) was really funny.

To Paul it is failure to show up for the meeting and not have his perfect idea. To Peggy it is no big deal - she says offhandedly, "C'mon we've failed before."

I thought that the way those two (Paul and Peggy) see the color blue was spotlighted in that moment. Paul sees his job as a competition. He thinks *winning* is having his ad idea adopted wholecloth with his name signed on the bottom of it. Peggy looks at her job as coming up with germs of ideas to throw out in an open forum and having one idea bubble up to the surface and be shaped by the team into the final ad.


Atlantaseabreeze

Another favorite scene--"mother, that's not Margaret; it's my wifr Jane"
Mother-"Does Mona know?"


On Betty:
I have mixed feelings as to why Betty didn't reveal her new knowledge. At first, I thought she was just worn down by it all. So, at the end of the day - she just gave up. But, I am intrigued by the idea that she might be compiling a case. Looking for evidence. Finding out for herself about the house in California, Dick Whitman, the whole thing.

Maybe Betty is at the point where she *knows* (knows fully and deeply and to her core) that she doesn't know anything about Don. And she knows she will never get the truth from him. So, she is not going to bother confronting him until she is in possession of the facts.

I just wish the show could follow every story and character every week. I am so worried about Sal, and what the hell happened between Peggy and Duck (just hoping she comes to her senses before she hears the pitter patter of little webbed feet), and JOAN.

I love this show.


FWIW, "The Group," a novel about women at Vassar, one of the Seven Sisters, was practially required reading among the students and alums of all those schools back in the day. It's a great gossipy book, btw.


I think Don, consciously or unconsciously, wants to get caught, wants his life as he knows it to end.
The contract made him fell trapped and it was the final straw. He wants out but can't just walk away.
He has an affair he doesn't really try to hide, he "accidentally" leaves the keys in his pocket, he has all that stuff in a drawer in the first place instead of someplace really safe. Or burning them if he really wants to put that life behind him.
He's created a new life for himself before, he can do it again. I think he wants to.
If everyone finds out that he's not Don Draper, that life is over.


I think TNisheaven is right. Don is being utterly passive-aggressive -- he WANTS to be caught, he wants to be able to free himself of this life and move onto his next incarnation, and he doesn't really care what happens to his wife, kids, business partners, etc. But he doesn't want to take responsibility for the carnage that will ensue, so he's getting reckless, leaving trails and clues everywhere.


The second that Don put that key in his pocket, I knew it was a matter of time before Betty found it. I just thought that would happen at the end of the episode or next week and felt a little letdown when she did, like "aww, already?" Then, she put it back, and the tension rose again.

Perhaps the Sterling Cooper sale brings that Duck storyline back into play. If Grey buys SC in the last or second to last episode, and the sale occurs right about the time of the Kennedy assasination, then the season would end with some symmetry to last season: a catastrophic historical event serving as a backdrop to a company sale, only Duck might end up on top rather than out of a job. This could have some interesting ramifications for the Peggy storyline, too.

Betty, however, might keep her secret until next year, with it serving as the mystery that Betty's baby served last season.

Betty also tends to do exactly the opposite of what we want her to do. For instance, in Season 1, when she found out that Don was spying on her at her analyst's office and also suspected Don of cheating on her, rather than kick him to the curb, she manipulated the therapist to make Don behave. She may very easily use Don's secret -- whatever she does or does not understand it to be -- in the way Bert Cooper did: as a means to control Don in one way or another.


Yours is the most astute analysis yet in my opinion, Clio Bluestocking.


this episode made me listen to the Kind of Blue album by Miles Davis. I think Kinsey definitely had that in his hi-fi collection!


The difference between Paul and Peggy: Paul has the education (and literary pretension) to quote Chinese proverbs, but Peggy is the one with the talent to make use of them.

And now Betty has knowledge, but the question is whether she will find the inner resources to make use of them...

What I read on her face——and yes, January Jones was brilliant——as she went through the box: she knows Don has lied repeatedly to her, she has suspected, at least at times, that there is something deeper, beyond his infidelities, that she does not know, but what she finds goes beyond anything she could have ever imagined. How can she make sense of it all?

At first I was disappointed by the clear telegraphing* in both scenes: the moment Paul uttered the proverb, I knew Peggy would turn it into the working line for the campaign, and the moment we saw Don with the key, I knew the time had come for Betty to find the box. The foreshadowing seemed to lack Mad Men's usual subtlety. But now I wonder if this is an underlying theme: something about chance and what one makes of it. (Henry James' late, great novels all turn on such chances.)

Perhaps I am over-reading here, but...

On a different level, another sign Don is heading for a fall: for the past few weeks, as has been well-noted here, he has been monstrous to the members of his creative team, but now, caught in the illusion of happiness with which his new infatuation veils him, his response to Paul's failure is simply "I hate when that happens," and he then takes up Peggy's idea and works with it (and her), ends by speaking reassuring words to Paul.

This cannot last.


*Ouch. That pun was not intentional.


OK, Betty is supposed to take a trip next week. She now knows Anna Draper's address from the divorce decree. Could she be traveling to California to see Don's first "wife?"


Yeah, I tend to agree that Betty simply decided to wait and see what she could find out about the deed and divorce before confronting Don. I mean, she probably knew he'd just lie or get super pissed and she would still know nothing. It's smart thinkin'!

One of the things I've had to come to terms with as far as Mad Men is concerned, is that these characters may not end up the way I want them to. Don may simply continue to ride a wave of popularity and success, for as long as the series runs. Betty may never blossom into the happy, self-aware woman I want her to be. Joan may always be under the thumb of her crappy husband and Sal may unfortunately become a sad casualty of the closet. I want and expect these stories to end happily or satisfying because it's what I expect from TV but what is so great and maddening (sorry) about Mad Men is, they may not.


Well, I think my favorite episode so far this season is still the lost-foot one, but this one had me on the edge of my seat once Betty found the keys.

I think you're right TLo, there was very much the feeling that Don was at the apex of his career and things were about to go tumbling down.

What's always so interesting to me about MM though is that I'm not sure that Don won't be happier after a good crash and burn. I don't really think his marriage to Betty will last, but they really would be happier with other people--she could use someone a lot more honest. He needs to be with someone less traditional. We'll see if Weiner and co. gives either one a break.

Betty is in a quandary--the one true thing about Don Draper is that he is truly successful--and that really is his money and his position. As far as Betty knows, reveal the truth about him and the whole house of cards goes tumbling down.

The interesting thing about Don/Dick is that people do find out about him, but then let him continue the deceit. In a sense, Betty may be taking Bert Cooper's tact--let Don hold his secret as long as it's useful. In a sense, people profit from knowing about Don/Dick--Anna as well as Bert. Why not Betty?

I found it funny that once Don bagged the annoying school teacher, he was showing the old Don Draper magic back at work. Bet Betty inspired some great copy when he was back writing about furs and she was modeling them.

I have a soft spot for the Group--among other things, it was known for its blunt, explicit depiction of one character losing her virginity during a one-night stand with an alcoholic and getting birth control. A couple of characters have affairs with married men, another's husband has her committed, while another is nearly date-raped and, yes, one is a lesbian. There's also a character who's a bit trapped in the whole motherhood thing--there's an entire chapter on her trying to produce enough milk while nursing.

Bryn Mawr Betty would have found a lot to interest her in those Vassar girls. I actually think it's a kind of underrated book and worth reading--certainly more Betty's cup of tea than the Feminine Mystique.


Well, I think my favorite episode so far this season is still the lost-foot one, but this one had me on the edge of my seat once Betty found the keys.

I think you're right TLo, there was very much the feeling that Don was at the apex of his career and things were about to go tumbling down.

What's always so interesting to me about MM though is that I'm not sure that Don won't be happier after a good crash and burn. I don't really think his marriage to Betty will last, but they really would be happier with other people--she could use someone a lot more honest. He needs to be with someone less traditional. We'll see if Weiner and co. gives either one a break.

Betty is in a quandary--the one true thing about Don Draper is that he is truly successful--and that really is his money and his position. As far as Betty knows, reveal the truth about him and the whole house of cards goes tumbling down.

The interesting thing about Don/Dick is that people do find out about him, but then let him continue the deceit. In a sense, Betty may be taking Bert Cooper's tact--let Don hold his secret as long as it's useful. In a sense, people profit from knowing about Don/Dick--Anna as well as Bert. Why not Betty?

I found it funny that once Don bagged the annoying school teacher, he was showing the old Don Draper magic back at work. Bet Betty inspired some great copy when he was back writing about furs and she was modeling them.

I have a soft spot for the Group--among other things, it was known for its blunt, explicit depiction of one character losing her virginity during a one-night stand with an alcoholic and getting birth control. A couple of characters have affairs with married men, another's husband has her committed, while another is nearly date-raped and, yes, one is a lesbian. There's also a character who's a bit trapped in the whole motherhood thing--there's an entire chapter on her trying to produce enough milk while nursing.

Bryn Mawr Betty would have found a lot to interest her in those Vassar girls. I actually think it's a kind of underrated book and worth reading--certainly more Betty's cup of tea than the Feminine Mystique.


Lacking in themes and motifs?
Try classic tragedy! An impending fall from grace complete with references to Achilles, Caesar, and Roger as Brutus.


1. Don is getting sloppy, like he wants to be found out. Having Hilton call him at his mistress's place, sleeping over when he knows Betty's gotten much wiser to his tricks... Can you imagine the Don of last season forgetting to hide his keys, or letting Bobbi share part of his morning commute with him? Maybe he's getting so lonely in that marriage he's desperate for affection. He looked pained during Roger's bitter toast to him. Who does he have that's really on his side, anymore?

But I have to say, he makes a terrible boyfriend and is surely going to screw up this thing with Suzanne like the others...

2. OMG SHE OPENED THE BOX!!! I wonder what she's going to do? Thought it was a nice ironic play on the "a phone call fades, a telegram is forever" idea; the hang-up is quickly dismissed, but the written information Betty finds in the box is not so easily forgotten.

3. It was SO Betty for her to get up when Don said he wanted to show her off. Nothing appeals to her more than being objectified.

4. Like many others, I realized this episode how much I liked Lane and would be sorry to see him go.

5. "That's not Margaret." Priceless!

6. Hard to feel sorry for Paul when you see his process of boozing and jerking off until inspiration strikes side-by-side with Peggy's carefully recorded brainstorming work.

7. Couldn't believe Lois still works there, either. I love to hate her even more than Pete.


Hmmmm, just remembered the newest lesson Betty learned - when you have no power, you have to delay things. Looks like she's putting it to use....


I love to read everyone's comments - it's like re-living the episode, kind of an on-line book club gathering. I think Suzanne's defining characteristic is her youth and age-appropriate exuberance and refusal to worry about the consequences of her actions. She is attracted to Don partly because of his looks/ sophisticated older man vibe and partly because of the thrill/danger of seeing a married man, the parent of her own student. Also the flattery and smugness she must feel knowing that Don's own wife is pretty hot, too. Not unusual for a never married girl to be ignorant in the way of how much damage she can cause when she takes up with a married man. I may be all wrong - she may be a diabolical bunny-boiler. It certainly wouldn't be the first time Mad Men took a turn I wasn't expecting. I really enjoy and appreciate all the constructive criticism and intelligent speculation on this site, but after almost 3 seasons of watching (and watching the DVDs) I have faith that these writers will continue to surprise and please me!


Surely the name Achilles was intentional in this episode.


I screamed "She found the Whitman Sampler!"

Betty's face as Roger stroked Don at the party? Brilliant. Absolutely amazing subtlety.


Did anyone else notice the potential foreshadowing in Bert Cooper watching a soap opera in the middle of the day? JFK's assassination was most famously revealed to the nation when a CBS News bulletin interrupted As the World Turns (even if only a small percentage of people were watching that soap that afternoon, that's perhaps the most remembered way the news was broken.

Also, normally I'd let this one slide (in a world in which trees in movies set in March in the Midwest are brimming with green leaves), but in a show as obsessed with detail as MM I'll take it at face value: we are awfully close to the end of October/beginning of November now, aren't we? The trees passing outside the train window were in peak color, something that seems to happen in the New York area at the end of October, usually.

Gawd, they really are going to tackle the JFK tragedy, aren't they?


So thinking about Suzanne--Don's taste has always run to independent, free-thinking women--from Midge the beatnik chick of season one, through Rachel Menken and Bobbie. I've always thought of them as the anti-Betties, but in some ways, Midge/Suzanne, even Rachel reflect aspects of the first Mrs. Draper, a woman who was kind to Don, with whom he created the first family he ever had, whose opinion about poetry and music he really cares about. He craves beauty and youth but on some level the first Mrs. Draper is his ideal.

I wonder if Betty was ever close to that? As people have pointed out, she is educated and modeled in Europe and New York against her family's wishes. But now they are both adhering so rigidly to the roles demanded some 1950s ideal, whatever there was is gone. Maybe the tiny bit was recaptured or more likely remembered in Rome, but it's gone the minute they get home.


Does anyone understand how Conrad's service called Miss Farrell's house? I suppose it seems to me risky that he would give them her number, but then again in a era before reverse lookup, and with a nameless service secretary relaying the message, it's not really as risky as, you know, parking your car in front of her house all night.


LOL to hell with betty & the drawer! we get to see joan next week! XD

no, seriously, wtf is betty going to do with that info? could she really head off to CA to confront the 1st mrs. draper? shed certainly get an earful of some common sense. i dont think shes mature enough to handle a confrontation. she might be packing a bag instead to run off for a while w/ that guy in the governors office (i keep forgetting his name). or just packing to head up to her dads house before its sold.

also - peggy - i freaking LOVE her! she is so badass. shes like an advertising ninja! the guys have no clue who they are messing with. she hands their butts to them everytime. maybe this will put paul squarely in her corner. she managed to defended him in front of don, play up his intelligence, spin out a great idea & smooth everything over with don, all in 2 minutes flat. bad-ass!

suzanne - whacka-doo! the girl stalked his ass on a train. wtf is he doing getting so attached to her? don's looking more and more like the opening credits - the falling man. youre right - its no where but down from her, unless he pulls out some kind of wonderful with hilton & everything takes a major turn.

i wonder if hilton becomes a prospective buyer or SC?

also, too - JOAN!!! <3


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola said: "Always remember to write it down before you pass out."

Thank you for my new personal motto.


Alas, I have to download the show, so I'm late to the party, BUT...

I'm really, really, really hoping Sal comes back, but I'm having my doubts. He just appeared as a new character on Ghost Whisperer (don't look at me like that. I was visiting family and I screamed "SAL! NO! DON'T GO!" when he became more than a bit character).


Can't wait for the entire show to implode when JFK is assassinated! Nothing will be the same.

How will these characters change? How they perceive their jobs/lives/marriages/etc.?

I predict it will be the season finale chiffhanger. Yea!!


Oooh! Speaking of Sal, have you boys seen the little clip of Bryan Batt holding a party in his carriage house?

Mad Men inspired entertaining

And a faboo little video on the same site about decorating the place. "Don't be afraid of color. What did it ever do to you?


There's also a sweet little interview with Bryan Batt in House Beautiful about his bed and bedroom. Sounds like he was doing designing at one point and owns a shop in NOLA. Man, what a great bit of casting for Sal.

I think he'll be back--everyone else comes back to some degree. The only one we haven't seen return in some way is Freddy and Sal was a much more central character--with his own very unfinished plot arc--than Freddy.

I wouldn't worry about seeing Batt elsewhere--MM is a short-season show, there's time to do more than one thing for the supporting characters.

If SC is sold again, doesn't that mean MoneyPenny's out? And there's a shot at bringing back Joan? Though would Joan return?

We've seen little of Roger's marriage--suppose they're waiting for the next season to blow it up? Seems even more doomed than Don's and Betty's. (Is that even possible?)


Far be it from me to dig too deep or read too much into one thing, but watching last night one thing struck me as really conspicuously (potentially) meaningful - the Janitor's name, Achilles. It was just so random and odd and boom, in your lap for analysis.
My memory from college Greek literature was just un-foggy enough for me to remember at the time that Achilles was, of course, the warrior-hero champion of the Illiad, the bravest and most handsome, virile man in all the world etc etc, the. But also his name literally translated means "the grief of a nation". So, glory and grief, grief and glory. Seems a pretty fitting theme for the rest of the episode, but I could just be forcing it.

Such a good one, though. Thanks as always for the write up.


Achilles was a huge theme for me. Achilles was an unstoppable warrior with but one fatal weakness, his heel (hence Achilles heel) I think the episode also reveal each character's weakness(es) or fatal flaw. Paul's drinking/excess, Don's arrogance and love of acclaim (his glowing during the final awards dinner was palpable), the old boss' vanity, Betty's inability to actually say what she wants, the brother's actual physical flaw/weakness, the young teacher's recklessness and excess of love taking over judgement. Peggy...hum...she seems flawless!


I'm probably wrong, but to me that ugly white plastic clothes basket seemed so out of place for the early '60s, esp. in a setting where every little detail is of the times. It was so distracting. When did they start selling those awful things? Was plastic all the rage even back then? A nice wicker/wooden basket would have done the trick.

When crazy old Hilton held him close to his heart and then slammed him down, Don broke open for good and became his old real self. He gave up on his pretenses. Lonely and hurt, he's hanging with a poor but interesting girl whose depressing place looks like some room he grew up in. He's very comfortable there.

I agree with those who say he wants to be his real self and is on some level very tired of his life as Don. He relates to Suzanne, who solidly represents both his past (poverty) and his future (freedom). I think it's nice. The Draper marriage is going nowhere anyway; the sooner it ends, the better as far as I'm concerned. Free Betty!

After reflection, Betty has probably decided to play her cards close to the vest with the thought of using this info to win a great divorce settlement. As expected, she bypasses the info in the box that gives clues to his real background.

To those who commented on the treatment of epilepsy, from what I understand, this illness was given a bad rap back in the day. Ignorant people saw something mysterious where there was just a prosaic electrical short, much like a heart malfunction. With better medication today, epilepsy is no big deal for most patients. But if this kid did not have access to good medication, you can see how employers would be put off by having a worker who falls down. He just had bad luck. I'm glad that Don saw in him an opportunity to redeem himself for the shameful treatment of his own little brother.


Why did Don's "service" call him at Suzanne's house?
- Alex


How come Suzanne does not have a boyfriend or a husband?

Apparently the actress who plays Lois likes to be on shows with t he title Mad.


As expected, she bypasses the info in the box that gives clues to his real background.

We're led to believe she spent hours in that office by herself. I don't think it's a fair assumption to think she bypassed anything in that box during that time.


>>Why did Don's "service" call him at Suzanne's house?

In an era long before cell phones, important people would give their services the number where they could be reached during any given stretch of time. "Between 7-10 pm on Monday, I'll be at WI5-4192" etc. It doesn't mean Hilton himself had Suzanne's number, just that Don let his service know at what number to reach him in case he had important messages. The service was, you can assume, uninterested in where that number was physically located.


That being said, it did seem an odd detail to include considering the confusion it might arouse. Either it was meant to show how quickly Don and Suzanne were integrating their lives and letting their guard down (about a month at least has passed since episode 9) or (less likely) else the service will somehow play a role in Don's downfall later. It did seem an odd detail to throw in there for no reason.


Who ever said Paul is Matt Weiner is mistaken. Peggy is Matt w.


I'm not sure if Paul's background has primed him for success. His education certainly has. It's been revealed to us he was a scholarship student from New Jersey.

In a way, he's as much a fraud as Don. His office mates knew he went to a good school, but probably the Paul they see is the one he manufactured. His whole persona seems designed to camouflage his background and give himself a distinct self-chosen role at the office.

He's probably from a workingclass background. He probably had to lose his Jersey accent. He probably learned to put together that bohemian wardrobe he insists on wearing at Sterling Cooper to differentiate himself.

Joan was probably right that he chose his former girlfriend not because of who she was as a person, but how the color of her skin suited his needs. For someone who wants to seem progressive, he shows no traits of that when dealing with the women in the office.

His reaction to Peggy clearly illustrates that. Here's this workingclass girl, who has risen from the secretarial ranks. When she makes his idea better, he has to tear her down out of fear. She stole his idea; she humiliated him in front of Don; Don likes her better anyway because she's his favorite, because she wears a dress (i.e. because as a woman she must be using sex somehow to get ahead).

I loved when she riffs off of his lost idea. He sees she really is meant for such work. He sees how well she and Don riff off of each other. He sees two other people much better suited to the career than he is. He can no longer denigrate her talent. He can only sit struck with awe.


I hope I'm the only one who gets taken out of the moment every time St. John Powell appears -- since he's the guy who played against Fran Drescher in The Nanny. I can't help but think of that awful show.


re the "ugly plastic clothes basket" referenced above:

Such plastic tools were new and cool and classy in 1963. They were clean, smooth and modern. The idea of using laundry tools as part of one's design scheme is very recent- part of what I think of as the HGTV event horizon. And, being a green (clothesline) laundry person, let me just say that as attractive as whicker might be, it has some serious drawbacks as a part of laundry technology- it gets slivery and snags delicates, it rather quickly breaks and falls apart, and it harbors spiders.


Thank you, S, for identifying that actor. Every time I've seen him I've been bugged by the thought that I know that guy from somewhere but can't think where. Alta


thanks, julie. then it makes sense that betty would have a plastic clothes basket as for her, it's the new clean thing. i guess i didn't realize how long plastic stuff in the house had been around. and it's true, cutesy laundry decor is a new/old retro thing. and yeah, wicker can mar delicate clothes, but my cat loves my scratchy wicker basket and looks cool in it.

forgot to say i really like the way this lane character is shaping up. i hope he helps sterling cooper somehow to navigate the coming storm and i hope he stays in nyc.

maybe suzanne is there to provide a vehicle for don's character to morph gently into dick whitman right there in the suburbs. i can't see where it ends, though.


I believe that Don has always been Dick Whitman. Always. I don't believe in the argument that he is some kind of split personality. Even if Dick had never stolen the real Draper's identity, remained and survived Korea and returned to the States; I suspect that he would have turned out to be the same man or at least a similar man if he had managed to attain professional success.

I believe that the superficially super smooth ad man and the cowardly, yet licentious womanizer is the same man.


After reflection, Betty has probably decided to play her cards close to the vest with the thought of using this info to win a great divorce settlement. As expected, she bypasses the info in the box that gives clues to his real background.


I realize that Betty's reaction to the divorce decree was more apparent than her reaction to the photos and dogtags, but she had plenty of time to examine the entire box after she asked Carla to keep the kids out of the house until dinner. I wouldn't be surprised if she found herself wondering about "Dick Whitman", as well.

Even after examining the box's contents, Pete had taken the trouble to investigate a little deeper for more information.


When did you boys start posting about Mad Men? I am still on the first season and would love to see when you first started writing about these yummy men and fabulous women.


Was I seeing things, or did it look from the preview that Joan and Roger are face-to-face next week, with Roger somberly saying, "What are you doing here?" Is that why we got a glimpse of the marital discomfort between he and Jane ... because Joanie is back in his neighborhood?


Re: Sal. Like Joan, I doubt he's going anywhere (for very far or very long at least). I have a hunch (out of left field) that he turns to the Belle Jolie client from season 1 for help. That could be the "an old client returns" bit from the AMC-released summation of the episode (which are usually as obscure as the titles, so who knows). He may not be back yet this season, but if I had to guess, I say he will be back.


Re: calling in to a "service" so they know where you are.

I believe it's the Tony Roberts character in Woody Allen's Play It Again, Sam (1972) who is forever calling in to his service to tell them the nearest phone number to where he currently is, much to every other character's annoyance.


I wonder if Suzanne's 'free-spirited' ways are part of the attraction, like the jet setters he met in CA. Seeing all the money in the drawer made me remember how those growing up in want sometimes exhibit hoarding tendencies. Don would have been a child during the Depression. I knew someone who used to carry around a huge wad of money because of the Great Depression. Cooper also alluded to knowing something about Don in order to make him sign the contract. I remember when Pete saw Don’s box and tried to use it as leverage. Also Roger made a reference to finding Don working for a furrier. I’ve been wondering how Don got his position at SC. Betty’s father always harped on the fact that no one knew Don’s people; now Betty may know. When Dick visited Don’s wife to get a divorce, it was because he wanted to marry Betty.


christy, it's not joan. i initially thought the same thing, but i watched the teaser trailer on the amc website, and apparently it's an old client/flame of roger's.

and THAT certainly looks interesting!


It was rather ominous when sleepy Don dropped the keys into his robe instead of his briefcase to respond to baby Gene's wails. Sleep deprivation is a bitch!

Loved Peggy's Aqua Net pitch. Of course she would get it right; she represents the target market - women! It's questionable whether she is consciously befriending colleagues or just playing the female role as she helps Paul out of a bind. I love her character, but she does have some mousey qualities that makes me wonder how she will survive in the ad world. Did she ever move out into her own Manhattan apartment??

I too noticed the gaudy couch, afghan, and clam diggers Betty was wearing. Made me cringe!

Love the show, love your blog, and greatly appreciate all the feedback and insights.


Im watching Mad Men that I DVR'd and found it ironic that Peggy's Western Union " you cant announce someone is getting married on the phone" just after Betsy almost discussed the "box" on the phone with Don.

I said to my hubs..."you can't tell ur husband you know his true identity over the phone..send a telegram!"
lol


Something someone brought up and is now bugging me is that $500k Don got when SC was sold. DOES Betty know about it? Not that it is chump change now, but back then that was a LOT of money and I just don't see her (even knowing she comes from a monied background) not doing something big/spendy in regards to that (a nice as her living room redecorate is, it's very much in keeping with what Don's "normal" salary would be and not including that spiffy half-mil, so I don't count it).

I'm with the camp that thinks she spent the entire afternoon pouring over the contents of that box and took in the Dick/Don connections. However, we don't know if there was any info in there that proved Don Draper was a completely different person and that Don (as we know him) just hasn't led a double life with two IDs. Ie, I mean she knows that Don is Dick, but from what we could see of the box, there wasn't a picture, etc. IDing the real Don as someone else entirely.

Be interesting how that will play out. I don't see her confronting him with the info without backup of some sort (proof, people, etc.), especially now that she has returned the box and key to their hiding places (and likely won't have access to either again unless Don slips up again). Of course what I want her to do is go to CA and meet the first Mrs. Draper, but I don't see that happening.

Have to say, I really hate Don more and more with each episode though. I'm past disliking him but thinking WOW he's good looking to just, "so what if he's good looking, he's an asshole".


Did anyone else catch the symbolism in Achilles CHANGING LIGHT BULBS while Paul was searching for an elusive idea? "Achilles" + "dead light bulbs"... :-)


Anonymous said...
Lacking in themes and motifs?
Try classic tragedy! An impending fall from grace complete with references to Achilles, Caesar, and Roger as Brutus.

I was thinking the same thing. Paul, talking down to Achilles..."that's a big name" implying it's a big name for changing light bulbs. (P.S. Stephanie, I like you line of thought there.) Perhaps Paul's Achilles' heel is his snobbery about Peggy and not being ivy league and coming up thru the typing pool. And of course, Don is Caesar. Roger would be a good Brutus. But Betty would be a better one. E tu, Bets? And all of Sterling Cooper would be the senators, getting their knives in. Good stuff.

Maureen


"Was I seeing things, or did it look from the preview that Joan and Roger are face-to-face next week, with Roger somberly saying, "What are you doing here?" Is that why we got a glimpse of the marital discomfort between he and Jane ... because Joanie is back in his neighborhood?"


I believe that Roger might be referring to a woman from his past. Someone other than Joan.


I truly believe SUZANNE = FATAL ATTRACTION!! Get ready...


If we follow the Cesear line of thinking, what about Peggy as Brutus? Not that she would try to figurately stab Don -- remember her reaction to her promotion following Freddy Rumsen's "leave." Still, let's say that Gray and Duck return to at least try to purchase SC. She once more might benefit from the change, and be seen as a betrayer. Pete could easily fall in that category, as well. In fact, a Peggy, Pete, and Don power game could be fascinating.


Betty saw a picture of a child (who resembled Don) and a woman, and a divorce decree, and a bunch of cash.

What does that add up to? It adds up to a family he deserted. She's thinking, "Are we next"?

Don parallels a lot of the politicians we're seeing today: you get busted for the minor stuff and absolved or find minions to cover your butt so many times, it comes to the point where one can't help but see just exactly WHAT sort of behavior will send it all crashing down.

And I think Suzanne's honesty's fake. She told him she doesn't care about the wife or the job but there's a needy hunger in her that's almost tangible. She's a scary mess and her brother isn't the only one who's tweaked in that family. This will start careening out of control.


Anonymous @ 10/19/09 11:04 AM said...

Don't you think it was Suzanne who did the hang up? Of course it was. You boys had her pegged as crazy from the gitgo.

I don't think it's a given that it was Suzanne. I'm more inclined to think it was a wrong number, and that the point was Betty's and Don's different perceptions of who was calling.

I'm mixed on what I think of Suzanne. On the one hand, I think she's dangerous to Don's status quo, because she either doesn't know or doesn't care about his rules. Her following him onto the train, and her comment that she doesn't care about his marriage or his job set off huge alarms in my head. On the other hand, I do think she's a harbinger of things to come, so her need to be close to and emotionally open with him might be a rejection of "keeping up appearances" and holding your feelings inside all the damn time. Either way, she makes me nervous.

But no matter what Don does, he will remain in a good place on the show, because it all revolves around him. Betty may or may not confront him, but she will also figure out that it is in her best interests to keep up his charade. Little Miss Perfect sure wouldn't want to do without all of her nice "things."

At this point, Betty doesn't care about nice things. Her story, through most of the show, has been about her very slow realization that a handsome husband, a beautiful house and nice things aren't enough for her. And, as has already been noted, she didn't give that money a second look. (Although I imagine that she counted it down to the last dollar while she was checking everything out.)

I think Betty could be a very fast, heat-seeking missile in Don's life, but I can see her deciding to keep going along, at least for a while. She might want to wait until she has all the information before she confronts him with his cardboard box o' truth.

I'm really curious about whether Don's life will come crashing down around him. I'm not convinced it will. Suzanne is unpredictable, Betty is pissed off and tougher than he thinks, and S&C has him in a headlock with the contract. But he's damned wily, and I'm not writing him off as being a broken man by the end of the season.

Favorite throw-away moment:

Roger: Remember her?

Bert: Ack!


I am really wondering whether Lois is still at SC because of the rampant sexism - i.e., "of course a woman could not operate a power mower." I would think Ken would be the one fired in that circumstance.


I'm really curious about whether Don's life will come crashing down around him. I'm not convinced it will.

Nor am I. I'd put even money that the season will end not with a bang but with a whimper, like last season. Or, more precisely, but a huge bang (made even bigger this time because of the concurrent tragedy in Dallas?) followed by a whimper-- i.e., Don and Betty getting back together and pretending to pretend as before.

Consider the times, and how real life usually works out, that's a fair bet. One reason it might be different this time is because the '62 season ended that way, and Weiner may want to spice things up and stay unpredictable.


but a huge bang --> by/with a huge bang


The reason Don gave his answering service the number at his girlfriend's house was so that Connie Hilton would not call him at home and alert Betty. His alibi was always that he was working on the Hilton account at all hours.


Interestingly, I had sort of the opposite thought: wouldn't she be suspicious now that Connie is no longer calling but Don says he still has to work late with him? But your point is even more valid.


I haven't had time to read all these comments so forgive me if it was already mentioned, but I was struck by little Sally Draper in a pretty red dress and makeup getting all excited to play lady of the house and answer the phone. Quite a change from the tomboy from earlier in the season!


I haven't read the other comments yet, but I wanted to point out that there seemed to be at least a subtheme about class and expectations based upon education. "No one has asked me what school I went to," Lane Pryce said to his wife. (Or something like that; I only got to see it once.) Where you went to school was (is? hm) an indicator of one's class, especially in the UK. I got the impression from Lane's tone that, while his wife was desperately missing her old life, he didn't mind leaving class-based prejudices behind in London, as while thing same thing used to hold true in the US, this was changing, as illustrated right there at Sterling Cooper. There are many pairs of ruling class v. working class, with the ruling class being out-classed by the the up-and-coming working class, going from blue-blood Pete v. rural Cosgrove, to ivy-league Kinsey v. secretarial school Peggy, and finally Sterling (who got his job through his father) and past-free Don. The latter, though, shows signs of failure, because Don Draper got the position, not Dick Whitman. While unknown Don Draper got this working-class guy into the corner office, only honestly working-class Dick Whitman could keep him in power. (I could be wrong.)

Is it just me, or does Don drop the Don act with Suzanne, the way Connie tried to get him to do? I think the reason he goes for her is he gets to be more Whitman than the trapped Draper. "You don't know him," Suzanne said to her brother, but that was because when he put on those clothes and walked through that door into the living area of her apartment, he went from being Dick Whitman to Don Draper, who, you're right, Mr. Farrell, is a judgmental jerk. Danny didn't get to meet Dick Whitman, not until he saw a little bit of him flash from under the Draper surface in the car.

I think Don wants to stop being Don. I think the reason why he keeps telling strangers about his real self is that he's hoping it will come back and blow up the false Don Draper life. Maybe not intentionally, but subconsciously. He may have the American dream when he's Don Draper, but he's happier and more relaxed when he's Dick Whitman (what a beautiful smile Whitman has, compared to the tight grimace Draper flashes at us). He's getting more and more risky in his behavior (having an affair blocks from his house, giving his card to Danny) because, somewhere in his mind, he wants Draper to disappear, no matter how bad the experience and aftermath might be. (I could be entirely wrong.)


I actually felt badly for Kinsey when he realized he hadn't written down the brilliant idea. Gladis did a brilliant job of acting out the ah-ha moment, as well as the realization he'd lost it.

How perfect was it that he was masturbating to his past failed work? (Work in which he patently ignored Peggy's advice, mind.) That was Paul Kinsey in a nutshell.

But the most beautiful moment was his "My God" as he watched Peggy pull a brilliant idea out of his tossed-off Chinese aphorism. What he does with his Princeton education is get drunk and wank off to failed ideas. What Peggy does with just this tiny piece of it which he shared with her is weave a miracle that saves their meeting and possibly their account. She really is that much better, that gifted, and Kinsey finally realizes it. I hope.

She also read the situation much better than Kinsey, knowing that sharing the lost idea moment with Don would bring out Don's sympathy (I should imagine Don's been there, hence the notebook on the bedside table and home desk full of scraps of paper with campaign ideas) and save Kinsey's bacon. She's out-Donning Don. Go, Peggy!


The most vulnerable victim of Don and Suzanne's affair will be Don's daughter. She will discover that she has been betrayed by the two people she cares most about. So much for the "good father" Don and the idolized teacher.

Don and Suzanne are equally reckless. She'll probably ask Don to give her brother a job eventually. Don's previous affairs never carried the risk this one does which has the potential to be one of the most self-destructive things he has done. Is he that far off balance.

Some people have asked about what Don did with the bonus money. The reason he was carrying the key around was because he put the $$ in the box.


T&L, one note of appreciation here: this is most certainly my favored place of discussion for all things MM.

Having thought about this for a bit, I'm submitting that the essential theme of Mad Men is the Compartmentalized Self; that fractured yet neatly stored set of identities within each person. Of which also privilege affords greater capacity and opportunity for segmentation and storage.


I'm trying to figure out what a particular image means, as they held on it so long: Betty in the bathroom, matching the colors of the bathroom almost exactly. That was deliberately done, but I can't figure out why, as "she's feeling shitty" seems a little too pat and crass (even if it is what a friend tossed off to me).


The bathroom is the one place in the house where you can be completely alone. And earlier she was reading "The Group" while taking a bath.


JVL says: the essential theme of Mad Men is the Compartmentalized Self


I am going to be thinking about that.

It is interesting how the idea of the "Compartmentalized Self" dovetails with the time period of Mad Men. The 60's-70's (as I experienced them growing up) were very much about opening up, being authentic, being honest about feelings. So, I guess you could say that the decades following the 50's were all about cracking open the "Compartmentalized Self."


mochizuki-senpai said...

But the most beautiful moment was his "My God" as he watched Peggy pull a brilliant idea out of his tossed-off Chinese aphorism.



My favorite moment, too. You said it so well.


everyone's mad here

Yes, Betty opened the box. But she didn't know what she was looking at when it came to the dog tags and the pictures. It was the divorce decree that really messed with her mind. She saw the past the "he doesn't like to talk about" (season 1) involved a marriage to someone other than her. That's really all she's got, folks. Her marriage. She's beautiful, yes. But not the brightest bulb in the pack, has three (count 'em 3) kids, has expensive tastes, can't even take care of household tasks--hence Carla (who I adore--you can literally see her thinking "Crazy effed up white folks"), has no job skills (but apparently speaks Italian?) and is only getting older by the day. This is 1964. What the hell is she gonna do if Don did leave her? She'll never find another man as successful or handsome, especially with the aforementioned strikes against her. She's good for one thing and Don summed it up, "I wanna show you off."

One last thing on Betty. I found quite pathetic her sitting up all night drinking and smoking, just ready to confront him (which by the way, she wouldn't have done. Don would have come home, seen her and the box and she would have froze. He would have picked up the box and the keys, locked it away again, and walked right back out the kitchen door.)

And I think I've figured out why Lois still has her job...she must be screwing the flip out of everybody!!! Maybe even Cooper! She dresses up like a geisha and caters to his old man whims.

Where is Sal?


Simple question: Why was it called "The Color Blue"?


I was at a "Mad Men" screening with Matthew Weiner in attendance last night (at the Austin Film Festival), and someone actually asked him why Lois hadn't been fired. He said, "Why would they fire her? She did them a favor!"


Simple question: Why was it called "The Color Blue"?

Have you seen the episode? It's actually a clearer connection between title and episode than in some ("Seven Thirty-Three," for example, where you have to look quickly at Don's contract to get the connection.)

Suzanne tells Don early on that a student of hers has asked if everyone sees the color blue in the same way, an in-your-face stand-in for a larger motif if there ever was one.


Hi, has any one seen the preview for this weekend? Filly burgers? Really?


Not only did Lois still have a job, it appeared as though she had been PROMOTED! No longer tied to the switchboard, Lois is free to reek havoc all over the office as a secretary! Remember when she had that clueless crush on Sal? She must have gotten her "gaydar" from the same place she got her driving skills! LOL!





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