Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mad Men, "The Mountain King": Mergers and acquisitions

Spoilers for the penultimate episode of "Mad Men" season two coming up just as soon as I break a Popsicle in two...
"It means the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone." -Anna Draper
"What if that's true?" -Don
"Then you can change." -Anna
"People don't change." -Don
"People don't change" may as well have been the motto of Matthew Weiner's previous series. "The Sopranos" was an 86 hour argument against human beings' capacity for real personal growth. As "Mad Men" borrows so many other visual and thematic elements from its mobbed-up predecessor, it would be easy to assume that Weiner, like David Chase, doesn't believe change is possible. But "The Mountain King" makes it clear that, in the world of "Mad Men," people can change -- provided they have a partner to aid their transformation. If you think you're alone, then you're stuck.

The episode is filled with partnerships both old and new that enable major changes, some more welcome than others. Anna Draper, widow of the woman whose identity Dick Whitman stole, helped our Don step more concretely into his new identity. Betty, fearing that Don may never come home (or that she may never want him to), enlists her daughter as an ally for her potential new life as a divorcee. Pete breaks off his business relationship with his father-in-law rather than be forced to lose his role as dictator in his marriage. Roger wants to use the possible merger with Putnam, Powell & Lowe to pay for the transition into his new marriage, while Bert Cooper fears it will render him an irrelevant old man. And, in the episode's most horrifying moment, Joan discovers what her fiance really thinks of her and her career when he rapes her on the floor of Don's office.

Let's start there, because I haven't been able to get the image of Joan lying on that floor, staring vacantly at Don's coffee table, out of my head since I first watched this one. Yes, rape (and, engaged or not, that's what this was) can be easily used for shock value, but on a show about gender politics at the dawn of a cultural revolution, it was sadly, horribly fitting.

In the first season, we saw that Joan moved through life as an independent. She preached the old rules about marrying your way into a house in the country, but she didn't seem particularly interested in actually achieving that fantasy. (Certainly, she could have talked Roger into leaving Mona if she'd wanted him to.) She had her freedom, and her adventures (sexual and otherwise), and seemed in no hurry to land a husband. And then, for whatever unexplained reason -- and one of my great frustrations with the chronological gap between seasons is that they have to gloss over life changes like this one -- she decided to go for conformity and landed the demographic ideal: a handsome young doctor whose impeccable resume she feels compelled to recite near the end of the episode, less to impress Peggy than to reassure herself that she's making the right decision in spite of the way he violated her. We had already seen signs that Dr. Greg was an old-fashioned sort who just wanted a trophy wife who'd sit on the couch, watch soaps and eat Bon Bons. But this episode made it clear that he was actually threatened by Joan's independence, her career, her sexual history, the works, and he responded to that threat by showing her who's boss on the floor of her boss' office.

As we watched Joan struggle to compose herself afterwards (speaking in a quiet, broken tone of voice you'd never expect to hear from our resident queen bee), and especially as we watched Joan try to put on a good front for Peggy, my wife said, "Wow, I never thought I'd feel sorry for Joan in a scene where she talks to Peggy." Yet for all of Joan's attempts to show that her path was the superior one, she's in a job that she now knows is beneath her, and engaged to a grade-A bastard, while Peggy, for the most part, is the happiest, most personally successful, most well-adjusted employee in that office. Joan and Peggy are both changing, and Joan not for the better.

It would seem like Peggy's also the only character in this episode not involved in or contemplating a partnership. One of the most striking images is of her wandering around the Sterling Cooper offices late at night, stealing a smoke out of a secretary's desk, stretching and surveying her kingdom. And while Peggy's to be commended for both her talent and her boldness (she's the only one with the guts to ask for Freddy's office), she couldn't have done it without Don as her tutor. The Popsicle sales pitch was classic Don Draper: finding the emotion at the heart of the product and selling that feeling direct to the client. It may seem obvious that people tell the Popsicle exec that "people love Popsicles," but that's the genius of good advertising: it tells you something you didn't quite realize that you already knew.

Salvatore's ad mock-up, with the orange circle around the mom's head like a halo, was one of several bits of religious iconography sprinkled through "The Mountain King." (The Popsicle guy thinks she looks familiar because he's probably seen someone like her on a stained glass window at church.) In addition to the halo, we got the Popsicles as Communion wafers, and Don wading into the Pacific, hoping to be baptized into his own life so he can live it and stop being an observer. As he tells Anna, "I have been watching my life. It's right there. And I keep scratching at it trying to get into it. I can't."

Some people speculated that the woman Don called at the end of "The Jet Set" was the wife of the real Don Draper, while others guessed she might have been a former wife of our Don. Turns out, they were both right. Once Don admitted the truth about what happened in Korea (well, most of it; he fudged the part about being responsible for the mistaken identities), he and Anna entered into a relationship more or less resembling a marriage -- and one that, for legal purposes, was exactly that.

It's unclear precisely what Anna did for Don that made him thank her so profusely for making his new life possible. It may be as simple as her agreeing to keep his secret and to support his identity theft. But watching Don be around Anna in her beachside San Pedro bungalow was striking, because he was so unlike either of the two faces we're used to. He wasn't confident and reserved Don Draper, but nor was he cowardly Dick Whitman. He was a human being, capable of opening up to another human and making her a part of his life. Don was so relaxed around Anna, so unreservedly happy -- in both the 1962 scenes and the mid-'50s Christmas flashback, where he talked about Betty like he was a schoolboy with a crush -- that it's obvious just how much his secret is costing him. Because Anna knows who he really is -- and doesn't care -- Don can let down his guard, where he's terrified to open up to Betty, and as a result places her in a china cabinet and seeks sexual and emotional gratification elsewhere.

As for Betty, we get both her good and bad sides tonight. Her phone conversation with Sarah Beth confirms my suspicions from "Six Month Leave" that she pushed Sarah Beth and Arthur towards an affair so she could feel morally superior to both of them. (Remember, earlier in that episode, Betty grew frustrated listening to Sarah Beth talk and talk about how kind and understanding her husband was.) That moment where she chides Sarah Beth for going through with her adulterous impulses was as cruel and calculated as anything Livia Soprano might have tried.

But I was pleasantly surprised with how Betty dealt with Sally throughout the episode. Yes, she sent Sally into the closet after catching the little girl smoking in the bathroom, but that wasn't an uncommon punishment at the time. And once she realized just how acutely Sally was feeling Don's absence, her tone changed. She buys Sally the riding boots she's been asking for since the season premiere, then is candid about the separation, but she does it in a way that doesn't make Don into the villain. She's not buying Sally's loyalty (well, not entirely); she's trying to soften the blow for this 8-year-old girl.

Our other overgrown child, Pete, also displays his good and bad sides here. He has no interest in letting his marriage be a true partnership, and so he severs the business relationship with Clearasil to assert his authority. But the business decision is one of the more mature (if stubborn) ones Pete's ever made. If Pete really doesn't want kids, he shouldn't cave for the sake of an account, professional consequences be damned. As Pete only got Clearasil in the first place as a bribe to start making babies, it seems only right that he should give it away once the deal is off.

And, unlike last year, Pete doesn't try to take advantage of secret knowledge about Don for political gain. It would be so easy for him to run to Duck Phillips and explain that Don abandoned him in mid-trip, to spread gossip far and wide. But he keeps it to himself, confiding only in Peggy -- who, in ways both personal and professional, is the closest thing Pete has to a partner. Their dialogue in Peggy's new office was between two equals, as evidenced by the ease with which Peggy told the joke about sleeping with Don to make her way to the top.

While all the other characters are scrambling into and out of alliances, Bert Cooper is very much afraid of entering into one of his own. For all the talk that the P,P&L deal will be a merger, Bert knows he'll be a figurehead -- even more than he is already -- and that's a hard thing for an aging master of his universe to accept.

"The Mountain King" featured more Cooper backstory than previous episodes combined: his late wife introduced Roger to Mona, he has a cattle ranch in Montana, his mother considered him a failure, and his sister (hilariously named Alice Cooper) acquired a stake in Sterling Cooper by loaning Bert money during a rough patch. Alice also mentions that her brother isn't "well," though if that's a reference to more than his age, we don't know. Robert Morse did a lovely job of showing Cooper's fear of his own irrelevance -- and, then, death.

Some other thoughts on "The Mountain King":

• This is the 12th episode of the season, and like last year's 12th episode it was directed by Alan Taylor and featured some significant Dick Whitman backstory. I'm not sure if they can stick to the latter pattern next season -- and AMC just ordered a third season, though Weiner is currently not signed for it -- simply because I'm not sure what untold secrets ol' Dick has left.

• If I've done the math right, then P,P & L is buying Sterling Cooper for a little over $4 million, which in 2007 dollars would be more than $28 million. Don's take, meanwhile -- largely a result of Cooper's panic when Roger had his heart attack, which gave Don his 12% stake -- would be almost $3.4 million today.

• The scene where Don happens by the hot rod mechanics at first seemed out of place in the rest of the episode, but on watching it a second time, it became clear: just as Don succeeds through his partnership with Anna, the mechanics take parts of two different cars and meld them together into something that's greater as a new whole.

• Still more speculation about the woman on the other end of the phone had people guessing that Don not only had another wife, but other kids, and for a moment while Don listened to the little boy's piano lesson, I began to think those guesses were right, too. Nice fakeout.

• I'm always impressed by how a show set 45 years in the past manages to successfully pull off so much product integration. The bit where Joan and Greg were watching the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" -- when Jon Hamm is co-starring in the remake -- was a particularly clever one.

• John Slattery, comedy machine. I can't decide which Roger moment was funnier: his frustrated "What do you want!" at seeing Peggy outside his office, or him staring at Alice's two-headed mink stole and saying, "I'm sorry, I don't know whose eyes to look at."

With one episode to go in the season, I again want to remind you of one of the few rules we have around here: no talking about anything in the previews. Any comment that mentions them, even in passing, will be deleted.

What did everybody else think?

180 comments:

JoeE said...

I'm 99 percent sure that the actress who played Anna Draper was Svetlana from The Sopranos.

I thought her having a bad leg was a nice homage to the role.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Anna was played by Melinda Page Hamilton. Alla Kliouka played Svetlana.

Stef said...

I really, truly loved both Don and Peggy in this episode. I guess I should say Dick, though, as his letting down of the guard and being the closest we've seen to his own true self was so refreshing. As Alan said, it makes it so clear how much he is sacrificing emotionally to be Don Draper, Master of the Universe, when we see just how light-hearted and relaxed he can be. I'm glad he has a person who knows him and can help see him through. Anna was great, and I'm thankful that she was the mystery woman of the season rather than some other torrid affair.

And Peggy was perfect! My take on the scene with Joan was a little different though - while I can see her trying to list Greg's pluses in order to remind herself, I also very much noted the fact that Joan was talking about personal stuff with Peggy, which she always said was against her own rules. I think she's trying to enlist Peggy as an ally, maybe even a real friend for down the road. Our Joan is going to need one. I hope that those two strong, smart, yet very different women can be there for each other.

Joee - the actress was Melinda Page Hamilton. IMDB doesn't list Sopranos in her credits, but I've never seen the show so can't say for sure.

Zack Smith said...

Don's "baptism" at the end was sort of reminesent of James Mason wandering into the sea in A STAR IS BORN. I've no idea if there is an actual connection.

It's doubtful that Joan would bring charges against her fiance, but it is interesting to note that marital rape wasn't a crime at that time -- legally, what happened was a gray area (morally, it's another story), so it would be difficult to get anything to happen in court, especially with no witnesses.

Joan probably got engaged because she's 31 and it was "time to settle down." Poor Joan. She's had such a terrible year.

Pete actually acted like a human being for most of this show. That said, I suspect he might cave in to his father-in-law after all. But still, he displayed some guts standing up to an authority figure, and some self-awareness about the consequences.

It's almost a throwaway moment, but note Paul was dumped by Sheila. It makes sense, but it is curious to see if this storyline has any long-term consequences.

Now that the chipmunks know just how much Peggy has advanced, they're already starting to buck -- she might not be one of the guys for much longer.

No idea if the merger will go through -- Don could conceivably stop it -- but if it does, it would be a typical MAD MEN irony. Last year ended with Don selling himself on the idea of his family, only to find it wouldn't be that easy. If the merger goes through, he might come home to find that his career, like his marriage, isn't on stable ground. I suspect he and Betty will work things out, for now.

ACyclcUniverse said...

Between the Don's son fake-out (which worked on multiple levels, as the shot that introduced us to the boy was reminiscent of Don's back-of-the-head shots) JOAN'S RAPE(!!!!) and the beautiful imagery of Don wading into the Pacific as a pseudo-baptism ceremony, The Mountain King entirely made up for the surreal and odd experience of last week's ep.

I loved that we at last were given a glimpse of Dick Drape-Man, neither Don nor Dick but the true, human individual that has lay dormant for many a year now. It was cathartic and beautiful, a great set-up for the finale.

And,of course, Roger slays as usual! I couldn't be more excited for next Sunday!

Paul Matwychuk said...

Jesus Christ on a Popsicle stick!

Stef said...

Also, just have to add major kudos to Jon Hamm. He is very believably playing one man who really is 2 characters. The subtle changes in his face, his hair, his smile, how wide he opens his eyes, even his walk and mannerisms, between Don and Dick really make the story work.

Nicole said...

I was really hoping that the kid at the piano wasn't Don's. Either as Don or Dick he doesn't seem the type to abandon children like that. His children are what will eventually pull him back to New York, although perhaps not still married to Betty.

Is it ironic that Joan's fiance chooses Don's office to rape her when Don arguably did a similar act earlier this year? It was Roger who slept with Joan and not Don and so the fiance could have reasserted control in Roger's office after hours.

I was so happy that Peggy got her office, but that was seriously dampened by what happened to Joan. Isn't there another way to show how the genders weren't on a level playing field back then without resorting to rape? Having it happen twice to the "aggressive" women in one season is overdoing it. I never liked the Sopranos for its treatment of female characters, and I am not liking this trend on Mad Men. I hope it's the last time this happens.

M.A.Peel said...

Re: Christian themes. Don't forget the Tarot Card resurrection.

Robert Weber said...

Roger was great but I loved how Alice out-Rogered him with her comment about him being able to take care of his children.

katie said...

Having it happen twice to the "aggressive" women in one season is overdoing it.

Your quotation marks imply that this is some sort of sexist code-word for independence, which it is in Joan's case, but Bobbie Barrett was most definitely a quotation marks-free aggressive woman.

Also, I loved the George Jones in the last scene. What a surreal, celebratory note to end on.

jim treacher said...

I would watch a show with Christina Hendricks in the lead. Until that day...

Teri B. said...

I always felt that Joan HAD been looking for a husband from the beginning, she just hadn't been willing to sell herself out to get one, and didn't mind the occasional detours on the way. I felt that in addition to her age, it was Roger's heart attack that motivated her to take it to the next level. I am not sure she COULD have talked Roger into leaving Mona back then, or that her pride would have let her--I felt that some of her jabs at Roger when they were together indicated that she wasn't entirely satisfied with her status as just his office girl, but he didn't react to the resentment in the way she would have wished.

I have to say I am puzzled by Joan's doctor, and would have loved to see how they met, and the initial part of their courtship. I just don't understand how a man who seems to want his woman to be pretty, dumb, silly and virginal would have courted Joan in the first place, and what expectations he'd have of her. If you want Mary Anne, why would you approach Ginger? How could anyone look at Ginger and expect her to be Mary Anne?

It's interesting to see Peggy rise to the top though. I love how the passage of time shows the old order, that seemed to nostalgically appealing in the season one pilot, falling apart--all the characters that were so on top of things in that episode seem to be unraveling in this one.

Ginny said...

Nice that Don will fix a chair for Anna, but not for Betty. Poor Joan. That was just horrible beyond words. Do we have to watch Don/Dick at the racetrack next week? Interesting that he introduced himself as "Dick" to the neighborhood guys. And he's looking for work? Hmmm....

cinnette said...

I like how Dick/Don fixed Anna's chair...it reminded me of the chair he neglected at home that Betty subsequently destroyed.

The scene with Joan was awful for me. I'm sure these things were common, but man! His hand pressing her face away from him...I had to pause it and try to recover a bit before watching the next scene.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nicole said...

Bobbie Barrett wasn't any less raped than Joan. In both circumstances they were sexually manhandled without consent and saying that Bobbie was aggressive and more sexually adventurous so it's okay would be akin to saying that prostitutes never can be raped. Joan's situation falls more easily into the category of rape because marital rape has now been recognized, but this is only a recent phenomenon. It's easier for us to sympathize with Joan because despite her queen bee attitude, we are supposed to like her, however, in both cases the man asserted his power over the woman in a sexually aggressive way. Both instances would fall within the definition of sexual assault today, not just Joan's. Neither instance would be considered rape at that time.

Anthony Foglia said...

I find it interesting you ascribe the "People don't change" quote to Don, and not Dick. I don't think he's referred to himself as Don since the end of the last episode. Anna calls him that, IIRC, but he introduces himself to the hot-rodders as Dick.

Ironically, he's the person on the series who's changed the most, from meek farmboy to powerful businessman, albeit at great personal cost.

All the scenes with Anna and Dick/Don were excellent. The scene on the porch where Anna basically tells Don not to worry about being unable to be open with Betty. It's love, being a little secretive is understandable, felt very odd to my modern ears, but probably true at the time.

Do you think there's any proof of Anna's existence in the desk drawer/door Betty's been trying to open?

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm going to be a while. My roomie had me watching ancient civilizations, I came in to watch Brothers & Sisters but had to peek into the baseball game as I am from Boston but living in Tampa Bay. Now that that's over I have to get thru B&S and then MM and then... (if my sinuses have not exploded my head by then...)

if anyone reading this is from TampaBay and environs - congratulations. We* won, finally - and we won twice, and best of luck to you in The Series.

*Boston

-Pam from Boston

cgeye said...

Y'know, when I saw how that punk of a fiance withheld sex *as soon as Joan showed her stronger sexual experience* -- experience in the past, but experience he knew enough about to be threatened by, unlike Betty's willful ignorance about Don's shenanigans-- I said to myself, "unmanning's good enough for him"

Was I right, or was I *right*?

Any man who wants to marry a bombshell, but refuses to understand what it took for her to be that beautiful and charming and in tune with what men want, is a dangerous fool. I know Joan will tell no one about this, but it would have been nice for Roger to have sponsored a tasteful hit (an O.D. of barbituates, the doctor as incipient junkie, nothing too dramatic), for old time's sake.

Yeah, I know, another show, and even in that Dr. Melfi never leaned on Tony for help.

Another observation: Mr. and Mrs. Draper were made for each other. Too bad making their marriage complete would have cost both of them time in Federal prison, but folks learn how to make do....

Mr. Garr said...

you didn't mention anything about betty's bleeding after giving sally the riding boots. what do you make of that?

Girl Detective said...

I noticed several close up shots of women's fingernails painted red--Betty's, Alice Cooper's, and someone else's. I'm going to go back and look again, but my bets are that Anna and Peggy don't have the red nails that others do, showing them as different and more modern.

Karen said...

What a great, great episode.

Joan's rape--oh, yeah, that was rape--was agonizing to watch, not least because Joan is always so in control in every other aspect of her life. Her fiance appears to be the only man she can't actually wrap around her finger. The rape was clearly the fiance's way of keeping her in her place; he was put off by what he saw as unseemly sexual initiative the night before, and he reasserted his role as the aggressor. Whatever flaws Joan and Roger's relationship may have had, he always treated her like an equal. Dr Greg represents quite a come-down for her.

Kudos to Jon Hamm for a spectacular job tonight. He looked exactly the same, superficially, when he was excitedly telling Anna Draper about this wonderful model named Betty, but his excitement and lightheartedness made him a completely different person from the Don we've seen for the past two seasons. How does he do it? With posture, with a clenched face? It was really remarkable. As was the change in the actress playing Anna, between the tense and suspicious wife in the first scene, and the relaxed and happy widow in the rest of the episode.

I also loved that they showed him fixing Anna's chair in the present. Betty had wanted him to fix a chair at home, and he hadn't gotten to it; she ended up smashing it to bits. With Anna, clearly, his comfort level is such that such tasks aren't the burden they seem at home.

I was glad that Sarah told Betty what a horrible woman she is, because it's TRUE.

Maultsby said...

Somebody clarify this for me? Was the scene with the hot rods in the "present" or was it a flashback?

Fantastic episode, BTW, and thanks again to Alan for this blog.

I learned the first time you told us that it was not the same actress as Svetlana, but the limp makes for such an uncanny resemblance -- was that added this time? And what *was* it she said about her sister in the scene in (I guess) Don's apartment? I could not make it out either time I watched it and can't review (kept my promise to drop my cable DVR after The Sopranos ended :-)~

Jane said...

Interesting that he introduced himself as "Dick" to the neighborhood guys. And he's looking for work? Hmmm....

Yes, that reminded me of the Vito character in the Sopranos, who ran away to a small town.

I think Joan was unsuccessful in making Peggy beholden to her for long and sees the need to form a different kind of relationship to her, even if it is to keep her secrets as she does for the male executives in the office.

I agree that Joan's treatment by her fiance was chilling, but didn't you notice how she alsways coos girlishly to him in a way she never does in the office, where she likes to see herself as the benevolent queen of all she surveys?

I agree that her script reading adventure seems to have made her see what a small cage she has built for herself, and perhaps the fiance has been sensing that, although I think Joan's earlier adventurousness in bed and Roger's knowledge of her likes and dislikes may have added to the buildup of resentment he vented so horribly on her, making her a receptacle rather than a person.

Anonymous said...

Consider me completely nervous until Weiner signs on for Season 3 - here's the question: to what could the holdup be attributed?

Gayle said...

I have no idea where we're headed, but it's fascinating to watch.

I'm not so certain that there's an overt or subtextual message about people never changing. I'm more inclined to believe that the show is telling us that people only attain happiness by being true to themselves and honest and unburdened by society's moral expectations.

Don/Dick could be a case study in itself but looking at the other characters while examining their level of honesty (with themselves and with others) is striking. Betty has been a more appealing character to me in the last few episodes as she opens up more to friends and her daughter. Joan is less happy and less able to hide her emotions as she buries her feelings about her job and the abuse by her fiance. Pete, although unlikeable, seems to have a weight lifted off his shoulders by putting his foot down about the adoption and maneuvering his FIL to pull the account. And the list goes on.

Remarkable how this show entertains me for an hour and then makes me think for many more hours after each episode.

Maultsby said...

Can anybody capable of doing a screen shot get a close up of the check that Betty endorses Don's name on in the beginning scene?

Sorry if this is reposted -- I'm having trouble with the word verification.

Maultsby said...

He almost married my sister, she looks just like me ...

Is that what she says? Watching the 1:00 a.m. replay.

And what about that turkey/platter toss off the Campbell balcony? LOL Did we skip Thanksgiving completely this year?

Andrew said...

Consider me completely nervous until Weiner signs on for Season 3 - here's the question: to what could the holdup be attributed?

Money most likely. Weiner's initial contract with Lionsgate was for two seasons. During that time the show has become a major buzz show, has increased in viewers season to season, and won a bunch of awards. Consequently, Weiner probably wants more money (and possibly a development deal). I wouldn't be nervous though. Both Weiner and Lionsgate know they have a good thing going. It's just a matter of agreeing on a number.

arrabbiata said...

Things I loved- Peggy exercising her creative muscles and coming up with a winning idea for the Popsicle campaign. (her line about the Catholic Church knowing how to sell things turned out to be true on multiple levels) I hope that Don comes back to SC, but it's nice to see that they have someone to carry on the tradition if he doesn't. And with the confidence of that success she's able to get that great new office. But she better not turn her back on the Chipmunks.

And the scenes with Dick in California. His decision to take the trip now seems to be as much running to something as running away from something. He seems so much more relaxed and happier with Anna than we've ever seen with Betty (which is not to say that he's never had that with Betty, but probably before we enter his story in 1960). I guess this is the one person in the world that he can be honest and open with. It's great to get some of his back story, though it does leave me with some questions- Did she do anything for him other than keep his secret, how much time did he spend with her, and how did he find his way to NYC where he eventually met Betty the model?

I was also faked out by the kid at the piano. He looked like he could have been about the right age...

Pete was right to walk away from the Clearasil account, and right that the decision about children was between he and his wife and no one else. Of course, it would help his case if he hadn't thrown a tantrum about it.

When Dr Greg was walking around the office, my first thought is that he looked like he could have been a member of Omega House at Faber College. Not that there was anything funny about what followed. One of most disturbing minutes of television this season. I'm hoping that Joan comes to her senses before Christmas. There is no way this is going to be a good marriage.

Another image made an impression on me- after the partners meeting, Bert by himself, looking out the door of the office, obviously not as excited by the merger as the other partners, or by the thought of his future. At least his exit from SC will be more comfortable than Freddy's.

Anonymous said...

Of course Don fixed Anna's chair. She let him take a shower and lie down.

Question Mark said...

Points awarded to Alice Cooper for the ice-cold burn of the night on Roger with that "take care of your children" line.

John G said...

Did anyone notice that Don was repairing a chair in Anna's dining room? This was something that Betty had asked him to do in his own (present day home)in a prior episode (I belive it was the one where the Drapers were hosting the dinner party). It sort of lends more credibility to Don/Anna's relationship as the 'real' marriage, where Don/Dick is able to open up more and communicate more freely, and assign himself more willingly to the traditional husband roles.

Holly G said...

Two notes about the music in the show. The young boy played "The Hall of the Mountain King," which, according to Wikipedia:

The sequence illustrated by the music of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is when Peer sneaks into the Mountain King's castle. The piece then describes Peer's attempts to escape from the King and his trolls after having insulted his daughter.

It's obvious that Don/Dick is the Peer Gynt character who comes back to California after "ruining things" in New York. But maybe also Joan, who is running back to a conventional married life rather than push for a more challenging (or different) job?

Also, I loved the George Jones selection -- it's a nice salute to the Okie Migrants who significantly changed the culture of California while re-making their own identities from Dust Bowl refugees to thriving sun-belters.

kat said...

This may be a dumb question, but I don't have the first episode saved and can't check for reference, but the book Don picked up at Anna's house--"Meditations in an Emergency"--was that the book that Don mailed in the season opener? We haven't learned who he sent that to. Given this latest revelation, I'm assuming it was Anna he was in communication with.

Blogenheimer said...

I thought the "The Day the Earth Stood Still" reference was also a joke about what was not happening in the scene, since "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is the opposite of "The Day the Earth Moved."

Anonymous said...

I was also wondering if the hot rod scene was a flashback or not. I assumed it was a flashback during the show, but some of the comments suggest otherwise.

pixelwax said...

anonymous 1:54 am
Thank you for the laugh!

anonymous at 2:31 Flashback, I'm almost positive. I tracked the time periods by Dick Draper's hair and clothes. It's coming up again, I'll post what I see. Unless I fall asleep.

This episode was dropping to earth with a tangled chute until it was cut and the second chute saved it it :40 or so. But that's almost always how the shows have gone this season, basically between the first commercial and somewhere in the early :40s this show sucks. But I'm always amazed by how the "sucky bits" are pulled together in the last 15 minutes. It's TV pacing that I miss and respect. You just don't see networks willing to do that anymore.

FWIW, I could do without the constant Sopranos references. At times the comparisons are appropriate but the reminders seem to belittle a show that I feel is much better.

john g Yes, three or four people did. RTFC. :) And Stephen at 11:47, RTFP, no comments about previews.

Ah, photo copy repairmen in the '60s... The only difference from today is the suit!

pixelwax said...

kat I don't think so. Wasn't the cover of the copy Don mailed a color print?

Pamela Jaye said...

was confused by untimestamped flashbacks.

loved various bombshells

more later.

R.A. Porter said...

@holly g, glad someone else picked up on the Peer Gynt references. I was feeling like a snooty theater geek. I'd never thought of Don in that light before, but I certainly see him now, constantly reinventing himself but in his case, not even believing he is always himself.

I thought the hotrodders provided Don a happy look at his past - the car itself - and fit his belief that anything can be refitted, repainted, and made better. There was also, probably just a little bit of Dick Whitman in there, just thrilled by the fast cars and the men who knew how to build them.

More of my thoughts here.

Pamela Jaye said...

ddid Doon get Roger's old office? cause if so, it would add a layer to the rape scene...

also disliked Peggy smoking. she rareely does, pete never has, joan - can't recall

pixelwax said...

re: hot rods scene
I now realize I haven't paid attention to tonight's show. While I'm still leaning that it is a flashback scene, I now have my doubts.. Jon's voice also seems to cue which character he's playing. Though he introduced himself as Dick Whitman, that was most definitely the in charge and inquisitive Don Draper I've liked so. Which is how I saw it first when I thought there was more Dick voice in it. Maybe Don is gonna start up a surf board shop cum hot rod dealership!

Alf said...

"He wanted to marry my sister. She looked just like me, but with two good legs."

Dr. Fiance said he could pretend to be Don Draper. Eh, someone beat you to it, and his name is Dick.

And OMG a woman on top?!?! That's some kinky stuff you could only learn by being really experienced. (eyeroll)

ripvanruben said...

The hot rods scene was definitely in the present. Don/Dick talks about how he used to sell them as used cars. Referring back to when he first met Anna in the 50s. The scene is clearly set in San pedro andhe is wearing the same outfit he is wearing when his fixes anna's chair and gets his tarot reading.

Oaktown Girl said...

I knew there were going to be Peer Gynt themes simply based on the title of the episode. The only question for me was how exactly were they going to work In the Hall of the Mountain King into the episode.

That it came in the form of a piano student's piece was a wonderful surprise. (Perhaps because I was never a piano student?) Maybe piano players saw it coming.

And yes, shout-outs to all the theatre and classical music geeks!
Grieg, baby!

mitty said...

I thought a very poignant moment was Peggy's enthusiasm for Joan's wedding. And then she walks into her office and closes the door and Joan stares at it.

OH PS I understood the "bleeding" to be menstrual spotting and just another example of disconnect and reality when explaining things to the kids.

mitty said...

WHO PLAYED ALICE COOPER?

Anonymous said...

The kid playing piano, "Teddy," looked like Glen to me so I paid attention to the credits and he seems to be another Weiner offspring. Thought that was cute.

When was Bobbie raped by Don? I don't remember that at all unless everyone is thinking of the hand up the skirt at the restaurant when Jimmy is supposed to apologize. Is that what everyone's talking about?

I thought there'd be more speculation about Betty bleeding. Betty is BLEEDING!

I can't believe we're talking about the penultimate episode already. I'm bummed there wasn't more Joan this season and that she's had such a sad year. I love Joan!!

Daniel said...

What a sublime episode.

--Following up on the Peer Gynt discussion, I was a bit confused by the placement of the music in both the flashback and the present-day scene. We know Anna's student was playing "In the Hall of the Mountain King" on the piano -- we see him playing it -- but where is it coming from when we hear the piece in the flashback?

--I'm always fascinated by the way "Mad Men" pairs different characters together in scenes involving very similar situations. I was particularly struck by how Don reacted in the flashback when Anna pressed him about his identity. Don tries to sell her on his story, but Anna persists and finally extracts the truth from him. Contrast that with the multiple times Betty has confronted Don, and how he's essentially stuck to his guns. Same results for Don's brother and Pete.

This may just be my interpretation, but following along with the Christian themes of the episode, I couldn't help but see Anna as a Christ-like figure in each of her scenes. Her serenity, the truth she brings out in Don, and the peace and comfort she provides him.

--Anyone notice the similarities between the way Peggy described Don's absence to Pete and the way Betty described it to her daughter?

--I'm still unclear about how much Peggy knows about Don's past, but since the episode in which Peggy comes to pick up Don and Bobbie Barrett after their accident, I've been watching "Mad Men" as if Peggy -- along with Pete and now Anna -- are the only ones who know the truth about Don. True?

--I have to admit, after hearing Dick describe to Anna what he loves about Betty -- the way she laughs, the way she looks at him -- I started to miss the Betty Draper of old, especially after her jarringly manipulative phone conversation with Sarah Beth. Her scenes are becoming increasingly difficult to watch.

--When Don tells Anna the inseam on the pants he's wearing is 38 inches, she mentions the name "Harold." Anyone know who she's referring to?

Alan Sepinwall said...

The hot rod scene is definitely not a flashback. As others have pointed out, Don's wearing the same clothes as in other 1962 scenes. He introduces himself as Dick because that's what Anna calls him, and so long as he's in her world, that's what he needs to use to avoid confusion.

Also, the show tends to have specific visual rules about flashbacks. When Don flashes back to his first meeting with Anna, he's standing outside her door and then we see the door to his 1952 apartment being opened. When he flashes back to their last Christmas together, we see her cross in front of a bookshelf in her house, then cross back to show it obscured by a Christmas tree.

There's always some kind of past/present visual transition like that for the flashbacks, where the hot rod scene was just Don wandering past these guys working on their cars.

Alan Sepinwall said...

When Don tells Anna the inseam on the pants he's wearing is 38 inches, she mentions the name "Harold." Anyone know who she's referring to?

An ex-boyfriend, as the rest of the dialogue in that scene makes clear.

Anonymous said...

So, two big questions...

1) Is Dick intending to stay in San Pedro? Hence, the job search.

2) What was up with blood on the couch? I take it to be menstration, but...why?

sean said...

The scene of Don/Dick walking into the ocean waves while wearing some sort of dress pants . . . I did think "baptism" with the music theme.

But it also made me think of Bruce Dern's suicide at the end of "Coming Home." Since there is a final episode and another season (we hope) it can't be real suicide.

But baptism in Christianity has always been equated with the idea of dying to an old life and being born again into a new life. For him to continue staying in California would certainly be "career suicide."

Karen said...

pamela jaye, thanks for bringing up that Don is in Roger's old office. That explains my own nagging suspicion, during Dr Fiance's rape of Joan, that she was staring not at the coffee table but at the couch where she sat so many times with Roger, and where he thanked her so eloquently (for Roger) for the ride they'd had. I was confused, because it wouldn't have made sense for her to be staring at Don's couch, but if he got Roger's old office then it would.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Don is not in Roger's old office. He's in the same office he had last season. And, despite my confusion earlier in the season, Roger's in the same office he had in season one. (It's just so large and has so many different areas that, depending on what angle you shoot it at, it can look like two or three different rooms.)

kathy said...

What a superb hour of television. I think this may well have been the best episode of the series. Jon Hamm was amazing (and could he BE any handsomer?) in the scenes with Anna. Betty was chilling, I'm not inclined as kindly towards her as you are Alan, I think she's a bit of a monster and yes, defintiely shades of Livia.

The scene with Joan was devestating as was the follow-up scene with her and Peggy. In terms of what changed between S1 and S2 re: her attitudes towards marriage, I think it may simply be explained by the scene with her driver license -- it's one thing to be a free-spirited party girl in your 20s but Joan is nothing if not practical and clear-eyed (for the most part) and she knows that she was rapidly aging out of that role.

I never thought I'd say it but good for Pete.

JustJoan said...

First, I doubt I have seen a scene more disturbing to me in both seasons as Joan's rape. I've said before that my name preconditions me to care for her, but to see her brought so low -- literally so low -- by that undeserving ass of a "dream" fiance has haunted me for hours. I understand the confusion some have made between the floor being part of Roger's office rather than Don's. To me, this reflects a confusion in the doctor's mind between the man he assumes has been his sexual predecessor. Roger may "know and awful lot" about Joan's preferences, but Roger appears too old to be her lover. Joan's having recently become Don's secretary may have led Dr. Lummox to superimpose Don's younger features onto the interloper's image.

I saw something new in the scene between Joan and Peggy, beyond the changes in their confidence levels. Where once Joan would provide office-related assistance begrudgingly, here, when Peggy wondered how she might get her name on her office door, Joan actually volunteered to do this. She who only a few months ago had punished Peggy by making her room with a Xerox machine. Now I saw a possible future in which Joan could become Peggy's secretary, but in doing so, forge a winning combination to take the new British SC (and did anyone flash on Sterling being part of the British currency terminology?) to new heights. So perhaps Peggy is not without a partner in the future, after all.

Anonymous said...

a few random thoughts...on Bert's sister's comment about him being hill....take a close look at the last scene with Bert, and you can notice a little tremor in his right hand....maybe to reinforce what his sister was saying?
And the scene with Peggy and Joan....that relationship has changed so much, from Joan being the one looking down on Betty as nothing more than a little country bumpkin, to now, her looking at her with envy. I think Joan respects Peggy, wants her to continue to do well, and unlike the last time she got involved with her promotion by punishing her by putting her in the copy room, she genuinely respects how far Peggy's come and realizes with a few breaks here or there, she could have the careed as well, as evidenced by her script reading capabilities.
And Roger's line to Peggy....about the women there being aggressive, and him saying she was the only one who had the balls to ask for what she wanted...just wonderful.
Can't wait til next week.

Anonymous said...

I just can't help but wondering if the Campbell dinner killed anyone on the street below. Or did it just land on the balcony?

osofine said...

I found this to be one of the better shows of the season. I had become pretty frustrated with so many open questions and lack of a fluid continuity from one episode to the next. Mad Men was starting to remind me of Nip/Tuck, and that is not a good thing. It wasn't so much that this episode had any shocking revelations, but I liked the way it gently unfolded a lot of information [NOTE: Except, of course, for the rape of Joan, which was the opposite of what I just wrote!]

Joan's rape was beyond horrible. I think that what set Dr. SOB off (and even as I write this, I know that this won't be the last time he abuses Joan...it just has the distinction of being the first) wasn't so much that he is threatened by her career but by her show of "experience" in bed and then Roger's familiarity with her dining preferences. Rodger who is an older, successful, confidant man, very much like Joan and side-by-side they must make the baby-faced intern feel even more meek and unworldly.

I think Betty's bleeding was to show that she hadn't become pregnant after sleeping with Don at her father's house. Or, to set up a scenario where she was spotting and assumed it was her period, therefore not realizing that she is pregnant until - well, until the writers decide the dramatic time is right. Certainly a pregnancy would be one way to get Don back on the Right Side (of the country ;>).

There was an inconsistency with the Tarot spread that Anna did - it appeared to be a Celtic Cross Spread, which is probably the most popular way to arrange Tarot cards (especially in the early 60's). The Universe card was in the final spot in the spread which means, I'm pretty sure, the "Ultimate Outcome". The card that would symbolize the person that the cards are talking about (The Signifigator) would have been in the middle of the left side (didn't catch what it was unfortunately - and it is usually covered anyway). I don't know if that was a mistake, or if they intended for Anna to be fudging about what the card meant in order to get her point across to Don (her interpretation was pretty unique - a little too perfect, if you know what I mean). I may be a little rusty - it's been awhile since I read about the Tarot or played with any cards. If anyone knows more or noticed anything else, I'd be curious what you thought.

I vote for the "I'm sorry, I don't know whose eyes to look at" remark - I almost choked when he said that!

Alan - "It may seem obvious that people tell the Popsicle exec that 'people love Popsicles,...'". Actually the Popsicle exec said that "when asked, the first thing people say is, 'I love Popsicles'" - which is exactly what Peggy said at the beginning of the episode.

Thanks again for another great blog!

anon said...

Alan,

I am sympathetic to your reading of the rape scene, but I don't buy it. Given that the fiance went from being mostly a nonentity all season -- mildly distasteful, at best -- to rapist in this episode, this felt like some lazy writing to me. I don't think it was just used for shock value, but rather as an overblown way to suggest that Joan's fortunes are falling while Peggy's are rising. It didn't feel quite as lazy as the show's tour of the civil rights movement (Did you know the elevator man's name is Hollis, and he's writing a novel? Also, doesn't Kinsey sound pompous on that bus?); but it seemed rooted in a similar desire to gesture a the social change going on in the world without engaging it in any meaningful way (like Kurt's outburst last episode). Now maybe all these threads will be picked up in the next season, or at the very least Joan's, but they've all felt a bit superficial to me.

It's things like this that make me wish Mad Men was just set in the present day. Given that the show has become primarily a soap, it wouldn't be that hard to translate, and it would eliminate the temptation to use history for these sorts of symbolic purposes. Closeted gay men, unfulfilled secretaries, sexist bosses, overbearing parents, alcoholics, women stigmatized by abortion, and the military-industrial complex all exist in the modern day, too.

They'd have to cut back on the smoking, though.

Anon

Anna said...

Anthony Lafoglia wrote (wayyyy upthread) "All the scenes with Anna and Dick/Don were excellent. The scene on the porch where Anna basically tells Don not to worry about being unable to be open with Betty. It's love, being a little secretive is understandable, felt very odd to my modern ears, but probably true at the time."

I believe Anna was referencing the fact that Dick has a hard time being completely honest with Betty because he thinks she will leave him for who he really is. So he goes about in a passive aggressive manner (cheating on her) attempting to create a situation where Betty leaves him for his behavior - not because of who he is or has been.

Because we can't change our personalites (we can only change behaviors) it's much easier to accept rejection on the basis of our actions, than it is to accept rejection of who we intrinsically are.

Millhouse said...

I didn't think baptism at the last ocean shot even with all the water - Don was standing in the same Jesus at the Last Supper pose as the mother in the popsicle ad. It was definately an impending doom moment. Joan on the floor in the office also felt like a Jesus being nailed to the cross shot. I remember it maybe from 'Last Temptation of Christ', from Jesus' POV looking off to the side.

osofine said...

LOL! I was wondering about the people outside Pete's building, as well! Plus, is it a Doorman Building?

Didn't Pete's in-laws help them get that apartment in Season 1? Seems like if Pete doesn't make nice with his father-in-law, he could be following the chicken (Why did the chicken fall out of the apartment building?)

This also reminds me of a point that I wanted to, but forgot to make - Alan, you wrote that Pete doesn't want to have children. Isn't it more accurate to say that he doesn't want adopted children? He certainly went along and tried everything to have a biological one with his wife - including participating in the fertility tests (which, it could be argued, he did to affirm his virility and now that he know he's "potent", he's not as interested). I think he is far too narcissistic and immature to be a father or want to be for the right reasons, but at least for show I think he would be happy to have his own kid(s).

The plotline bugs me a bit, as it's too convenient, too much of a coincidence, to know that Peggy's son might be available for adoption and Pete's wife wanting to adopt... Having said that, when Pete finds out that he had a child with Peggy, I'm sure he'll be furious that other people are raising him.

Girl Detective said...

Two quick things. One, I noticed that Marti Noxon was a writer on The Inheritance episode. I remember complaints about the sexual, and specifically rape, motifs that often characterized her episodes on Buffy. She isn't listed as a writer on this ep, but it makes me wonder if she was an influence on the awful scene with Joan.

Also, I'm becoming certain that Peggy's dad was an alcoholic--her defenses of Don and Freddy, her diplomacy, her picking of wrong men.

LA said...

Quick thoughts:

I took Betty's bleeding to represent a miscarriage.

I loved how free and easy Don/Dick was with Anna. She's like the supportive mother/big sister/friend he's never had. It's great to see how he blossoms with someone so nurturing.

Sarah Beth is right. Betty is a horrible woman. I didn't miss her at all during The Jet Set. If they put her and the whole Ossining part of the show out to pasture, I would be perfectly satisfied. I'd only miss Sally and Bobby.

Joan. Oh. My. God. I didn't think she loved her fiance, but I wasn't expecting that.

I haven't read all the comments, so maybe it's been clarified, but Don is NOT in Roger's old office. Don's in the office he was always in; ditto Roger. And the hot rod scene was "present" day (i.e., 1962). And yes, that was the same book Don sent earlier in the season. Surprised there's any confusion; it was crystal clear to me.

I love this show so much, I can barely stand it until the next episode airs, but of course, then it will be over for the season which fills me with dread.

After all the religious symbolism featured in The Mountain King, I'm tempted to light a candle and pray that Matt Weiner's contract negotiations resolve ASAP. I can't fathom Mad Men without him.

star said...

Alan, thanks for another great take on this latest episode. I enjoyed both very much.

Just wondering about the bleeding from Betty. can't figure out what it signifies. I think it may be the precursor to a diagnosis of some kind. maybe something to make Don need to come back to care for their children.

also as far as Pete and Peggy's baby. I remember a scene from a few episodes back where a baby was shown in a crib in her sister's house. I assumed this was Peggy's baby being raised by her because before she left the house her sister asked if she was going to say goodbye to him. so he wouldn't be available for adoption, right? did anyone else think that?

Tom said...

Meeting the hot-rod guys, Don is discovering his inner Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flaked Streamline Baby and when circumstances (The Cuban Missile Crisis?) draw him back to Madison Avenue he will emerge as a space-age advertising god at the reborn Sterling Cooper.

That's what I think.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I assumed this was Peggy's baby being raised by her because before she left the house her sister asked if she was going to say goodbye to him.

But a later episode showing a flashback to Peggy in the hospital right after the birth showed that her sister Anita was very pregnant at the time.

I seriously doubt we'll ever see a storyline where Pete accidentally adopts his own child, but Pete Jr. does not appear to be living with any member of Peggy's family.

Sandra said...

Will somebody draw me a map of the Dick/Don thing? I did not see season one--should I go back an reciew the tapes? This is very confusing for me. I want to see Don back in the office! Shouldn't everyone be speculating about his whereabouts?

Hurray Peggy! Ask and you shall receive girlfriend!

Alice Cooper!! Bwahhaaahaaah

Alan Sepinwall said...

I did not see season one--should I go back an reciew the tapes?

Um... yes.

Andrew said...

I would like to echo pixelwax's comment about Mad Man NOT being similar to the Sopranos.

The Sopranos was like wandering through a garden of Goodfellas & mob artifacts. Mad Men seems to have a *much* more tightly scripted story arc, complete with meticulous foreshadowing.

If anything, that makes it more reminiscent of The Wire (major plot developments occurring off camera; subtle, small dialogue often conveying huge messages; layered storylines that reward and almost demand repeat viewing, etc.).

Alan, can you weigh in on this?

Kara said...

Re: Betty bleeding, there's a great analysis on Basket of Kisses: http://www.lippsisters.com/2008/10/20/mommy-youre-bleeding/

Basically, it says that Betty getting her period in that scene symbolizes that she is becoming a woman (signing checks, leveling with Sally) and less of a child. Interesting take.

Francine said...

*Fantastic review & comments.
*"People can change-provided they have a partner.." Is Peggy's partner...God? (uses Church and Christ image to sell Popsicles, which gets her the office.)
*Betty's pointed red nails, sitting at Don's desk, signing his paycheck for $945 (It says Sterling Cooper, but I can't make out the amount)
*Bert isn't well: I thought of "Happy Birthday" during baby shower. Reminded me of Frosty the Snowman.
*Joan & Peggy: Both have "made it" - Peggy in office & Joan's marriage, but Joan's look at end of scene tells me she's not happy. Also, I giggled at the choice of having an office boy move Peggy.
*I disagree. I think Dick and the hot rod guys is a flashback - cars are from 30's and 40's. He'd say he could help them sell the cars, because he was in advertising. I think this is how he gets his start in the business. He needs experience to work at Sterling Cooper. It's not the same shirt as in the tarot card scene. That music sounds like 1950 music. Don't know that song. Liked how Walt was from Indianapolis - home of Indy 500.
*Paul seems changed from trip - Not so pompous.
*Jon Hamm hosting SNL Oct 25.

Anonymous said...

Sandra:

Costco is now carrying the first season in the metal cigarette lighter box (as opposed to Target, which has it in a boring cardboard trifold).

Get it now.

--bad dad

Susan said...

Good to see that I wasn’t the only one who thought, for a moment, that Don had a child with Anna Draper.

The rape scene was horrifying, especially in how well it was done – the fumbling struggle, the boring image that Joan stares at while it’s happening, her numb affect afterwards. I so wanted her to walk out of that office and hand her ring back to her fiancé and walk right out. But of course, that wasn’t going to happen. But I think what killed me most was her scene with Peggy afterwards – there’s Peggy, powerful and independent, speaking from her own, impressive office. And Joan, who always seemed so strong, is the one sitting at a typewriter, touting the achievements of her fiancé. In that moment, it almost looked like Joan was Peggy’s secretary, and it was clear how far the tables had turned from the start of season one.

To the anon who questioned where the show went with the rape, I have to say that it felt - while horrifying - utterly natural to me. They set up his character earlier as someone who wanted a wife who would sit home all day and house hunt and fetch him drinks - he clearly wants to dominate her, and picked the wrong girl for that. Then they showed hoe intimidated he is by Joan's sexual experience, then brought him into an environment, Joan's office, where he is directly confronted by her past, her skills, and people who know her better (in many ways). While obviously not every man turns into a rapist in these circumstances, I am positive that the doctor would never believe that what he did was rape. I'm sure he would think that it's his right to have sex with his fiance whenever and wherever he wants, no matter what she says, and it's this belief that led him to having to assert his dominance.

On another note, I really liked how Peggy isn’t afraid to bring her religious background into the office – if it will help her work. She must be aware that not everyone is religious as her family is (the crack Pete made when the priest came into the office, for example), but if it will help the popsicle campaign, she’ll bring it on in. Also, another good episode for Peggy’s style evolution - the dresses are getting way better. And I loved that Pete suggested she put up family photos on the wall, and Peggy would rather put up her campaigns.

I didn’t see Pete maturing in this episode like some others did. He and his wife are both being children. If she wants to make an appointment with an adoption agency, they should discuss it first before she goes ahead and does it and tells his secretary to put it on his calendar. Perhaps it was the only option she had, given Pete’s resistance, but it was still a bad way to handle it. And Pete’s yelling at her and throwing the chicken out the window was the act of a child. And yes, he won't be blackmailed by his father-in-law with the Clearasil account, but the dad was right - he has treated his wife horribly.

I very much enjoyed Bert and Alice Cooper’s several references to Roger’s dalliance with Jane (and other young secretaries before her) – they both clearly know who they’re dealing with. I especially enjoyed Alice’s reference to Roger’s “children,” plural. I also loved the shot of Bert looking out from his office, with the final, full image focusing on the doorknob in the foreground – the ones that Roger said would now be made of diamonds.

I wonder why didn’t the real Don draper marry Anna’s sister (the one who looks like her, without the limp) instead of her?

Maura said...

to see her brought so low -- literally so low -- by that undeserving ass of a "dream" fiance has haunted me for hours.

God yes. It was shocking and horrifying and I wanted to cry. I can only hope that TPTB will not let Joan marry this bastard. She deserves so much better than that. I'm sure that many women have married men who treated them the way Dr. Bastard treats Joan (maybe not as far as actual rape, but the difference is minor), but I hate the very idea that Joan would be condemned to a life with that schmuck. She has to come to her senses. She just has to.

RE: Betty's bleeding. It could be something more serious, but I think she had just started her period, an indication that she's truly becoming an adult. She's paying the bills, running the household, and telling the truth to Sally.

It was downright weird to see Don relating to someone the way he does to Anna. I love that she became his friend, his mentor even, as opposed to them having been romantically involved. And I will never figure out how Jon Hamm can show so much of a character with just the smallest changes in his face.

Francine said...

More thoughts:
*Pete's secretary (first time she is kind to him must mean something) is happy that he's adopting an "abandoned" baby. Loved that we could see him processing this at the end of the conversation. Reminds me of what his mom said about her distaste for adopted children (sorry, can't remember her exact words.) I thought that was why he freaked out. Loved his conversation w/father in law. Pete set the tone by calling him by his first name.
*Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather folks take the time to read all of the comments before they comment and say something that's been said already.

Allison said...

@ anon 10:20

I agree about not really buying the rape in the context of the show; it smacked of rushing a storyline along before the season ends.

Also, Betty's phone call to Sarah Beth was disappointing...it was like someone behind the scenes saying "If you had any sympathy left for Betty, don't bother." I really like Betty as a real, flawed character and don't want to see her become a villain.

Anyway, loved the rest of the show, especially getting so many answers about the mystery woman and Don's double life.

Anonymous said...

I'm (sort of) with Tom a few posts above. The shelved "two sides" campaign for Playtex coincided directly with Marilyn's suicide -- and I can't help but wonder that on some level Don realized he wasn't all that pro-nukes after all, and the Cuban crisis might in some way vindicate him.

Don -- actually, Dick -- leads a supremely charmed life. The wife of the man whose identity he assumes is thankful to him, he juggles some fascinating mistresses, and success seems relentlessly inevitable for him. Plus, "The Jet Set" is STILL blowing my mind. But is a charmed life necessarily a life?

There's a line from the movie "The Abyss," which sort of goes "Do me a favor and don't agree with me." That's sort of how I felt about Pete.

And I know realism is not bound to any cosmic mechanism of justice, but I hate hate hate hate HATE Dr. Greg and want something horrible to happen to him. He was at best a non-entity before; he could have settled for that.

No one plays Alice Cooper like Vincent Furnier -- but that's a whole other discussion.

Debbie said...

As much of a womanizing, male slut Don has been, I’ve always rooted for him. That’s been a bit puzzling to me since I really hate adultery. But I think this episode explained to me my own feelings. I guess it isn’t fair for me with my modern values to blame Betty for being a passive wife who rather sweep unpleasantries under the bed than discuss problems head on, but, alas, I do. Yes, Don brought a secret with him into their relationship, but isn’t it Betty who should have created a safe enough environment for him to share everything with her? Shouldn’t she have prodded him, even a little bit? We’ve never even seen her ask him about his childhood.
I’ve started to think that what Don was doing in the first season (whoring, disappearing and yelling about bikinis) was subconsciously punishing Betty for making him keep his secret. And maybe Betty’s starting to pick up on that and feel guilty for playing a role in the disintegration of her marriage. For instance, her defensiveness while telling Sarah Beth she didn’t make her do anything—it’s like Betty telling herself that she didn’t make Don keep his secret, but she did make it almost impossible for him to be truthful.
I’m wondering, though, if Betty’s pregnant because unexpected vaginal bleeding is common in early pregnancy, and Betty seemed pretty taken off guard by the bleeding for it to be just her period.
And strange that Anna gave off a kind of disparaging vibe when talking about the real Don Draper. She didn’t really seem to trust him that much apparently, like how she said to Don that she didn’t know what her husband told him to do. Weird that she’d think her husband was trying to ditch her. But it was nice to see that Anna became a mother figure for Don.
On the Pete front, he isn’t nearly as autonomous as he’s being given credit for—he’s still answering to his mother. He was all for the adoption before his mother was appalled by the idea. So even though he solidified his dominate role in his marriage and in his relationship with his in-laws, he’s yet to escape his mother’s blueblood claws.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else catch the glimpse of Bobby as Sally is caught smoking? He was wearing a halloween mask of some sort...and I believe we've seen him numerous times before playing robot, etc. with masks...Is this just another allusion to the dual identities prevalent in this episode (Joan, Betty, Pete and of course, Don/Dick) or a foreshadowing of following in his father's footsteps some years down the road?

R.A. Porter said...

@anon-12:22, Bobby was wearing a Huckleberry Hound mask, just like the one Holly Golightly wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Though I can't think of how that might signify.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I noticed that in every scene she was in, Betty was wearing pants rather than a skirt or a dress.

Anonymous said...

Jane felt oddly absent in this episode. I know she's off Don's desk but is she not working there anymore at all?

Interesting to see how Ken Cosgrove doesn't seem to have a problem with Peggy's rising star and new office (unlike the other Chipmunks).

Others are equating Don's dip in the ocean at the end to symbolize a baptism of sorts, which is probably correct given all the other religious iconography in the episode, but I couldn't help but flash on a similar scene from Six Feet Under (so miss that show!) when Nate Fisher plunges headlong into the ocean in a dream sequence that seemed more suicidal than anything.

mj said...

Why has the smoking generally diminished? Unlike most (if not all) other MM episodes, there were only four incidents of someone smoking during "The Mountain King": Sally, Peggy, Don as Dick (very late in the episode), and one of Sal that was barely noticeable during the client meeting. Early in the ep, Betty wanted to light up but couldn't find her lighter because presumably Sally had it.

JustJoan said...

Okay, I've been living with ideas of Joan and Peggy, walking around in their shoes for most of the morning. Joan's been raped, and Peggy can't catch a break with the boys. Peggy's got a new gay friend. Joan had a roommate who made an unsuccessful lesbian pass. I think Joan and Peggy should be lovers. They could fly so far under the radar no one at the office would suspect a thing, and they could be happy together until the climate changed and they could come out. Just imagine! Together for 40 years and no one the wiser...

Anonymous said...

I think Bobby's mask is just a way to establish a time frame, that it's near Halloween.

Anonymous said...

Alan, why are you calculating 2007 dollars and not 2008?

Anonymous said...

Alan, why are you calculating 2007 dollars and not 2008?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Because the first inflation calculator I found online goes to 2007 dollars. I'm sure there's another one that does 2008, but I was in a hurry, and these reviews take a long time to do.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Forgot to mention this in the original post: the rule about not discussing the previews also applies to any preview text on the AMC website, interviews, billboards, etc.

Girl Detective said...

The more I think on an ep, the more questions I have! Was it in Don's office that Joan applied makeup to Roger, and where he told her he was grateful for their time together? That scene is what her look to the couch reminded me of.

And I'm beginning to get a vibe that Peggy and Ken C. might have a future together, as the most forward thinking and acting of the chipmunk crew.

Cervantes said...

Haven't yet seen anyone mention Pete's brief dictaphone scene before the conversation with Trudy's dad. I only saw it once, but it seemed like he was essentially delineating a new role for advertising in the world of big money defense lobbying.

Looks like he was paying attention in California, after all. As we've seen, Pete shows that he's ahead of the industry curve (or, in this case, the military-industry curve).

Maybe the Brits will recognize his vision and by next season he'll have a more powerful (and menacing) role at SC. God help us.

JustJoan said...

cervantes said:
Haven't yet seen anyone mention Pete's brief dictaphone scene before the conversation with Trudy's dad. I only saw it once, but it seemed like he was essentially delineating a new role for advertising in the world of big money defense lobbying.

Not only that, he seemed to be covering for Don, unless I misheard him dictating a reference to Don's presence in a meeting that must have been Pete's solo effort.

The Rush Blog said...

It's unclear precisely what Anna did for Don that made him thank her so profusely for making his new life possible. It may be as simple as her agreeing to keep his secret and to support his identity theft. But watching Don be around Anna in her beachside San Pedro bungalow was striking, because he was so unlike either of the two faces we're used to. He wasn't confident and reserved Don Draper, but nor was he cowardly Dick Whitman. He was a human being, capable of opening up to another human and making her a part of his life. Don was so relaxed around Anna, so unreservedly happy -- in both the 1962 scenes and the mid-'50s Christmas flashback, where he talked about Betty like he was a schoolboy with a crush -- that it's obvious just how much his secret is costing him. Because Anna knows who he really is -- and doesn't care -- Don can let down his guard, where he's terrified to open up to Betty, and as a result places her in a china cabinet and seeks sexual and emotional gratification elsewhere.


These scenes with Don and Anna really angered me. Why didn't he simply stay with her, if he found it so easy to be himself around her? Why drag Betty into some illusion in which he forces himself to be someone or something he is not? It seems as if he wasted nearly a decade of both his and Betty's lives . . . for nothing.

Susan said...

Interesting to see how Ken Cosgrove doesn't seem to have a problem with Peggy's rising star and new office (unlike the other Chipmunks).

I noticed that, too. I think Ken is able to be comfortable with it for two reasons: 1, he's found success elsewhere with his stories being published. And 2, he's not married, so he doesn't have to go home and answer to anyone about why he didn't get a promotion or a bigger office. Oh, and it was established at some point (when Harry? got Ken's paycheck by accident) that Ken already makes a higher salary than those guys, so he's probably pretty happy as is.

It's occurred to me as I read these comments that the episode wasn't just about partnership, but about dominance and power. Peggy asserts herself and gets a symbol of power, the office, far greater than a raise or title bump. The rape, of course, was all about asserting dominance. Bert knows that a merger will take away his power, and Pete struggles with his father-in-law for the dominant position. Betty finally puts herself in a position of parental authority with her kids, rather than blowing them off and passing them on to the maid. It's only Don and Anna who seem to be enjoying their time as equals here, and even there, there's interesting dynamics - Don's money supports Anna's life, and Anna's secret-keeping supports Don's ability to live his life as Don Draper.

R.A. Porter said...

I suspect Ken's less threatened by Peggy's ascension for the same reason Pete is: they're in accounts and not in competition with Peggy. In fact, the better she does, the better they do.

Paul's a copywriter, so he's directly threatened. Harry's just status-obsessed.

Chan S. said...

Although the episode doesn't track the Peer Gynt story precisely (nor should it), it (now) makes sense to me to think of the nomads from "The Jet Set" as creepy, repellent trolls. (Vicompte Monteforte, the Mountain King, indeed!)

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else pick up on the superbly named Alice Cooper being a lesbian? There was talk of her female companion?

pochosaurus said...

The best episode of the season, so far.

I do wonder about Don/Dick and what decision he will make - he can't really stay in California, although it seems like he would like to.
If Betty lets him go back home, will she keep throwing things in his face - will she let Dick back in the house, or Don?

I really enjoyed watching Peggy's rise, her pitch, her move into her own office. I just hope Pete doesn't mess things up for her.

Clearly, if Don comes back, things will have changed too much for him to go back to normal. I kind of don't want this season to end, but yet, can't wait for Season 3!

Great blog, Alan.

cgeye said...

So, okay, I'm going to be the bitch, again.

By no means is there any ambiguity about Joan's rape. She offered Dr. Soon-to-be-Castrated ways of having sex with a minor delay -- just don't do it in the office, please, was all she asked. But he raped her anyway.

In Season 1, the other coming-out story: Carol, her roommate. After Carol's confession, Joan promptly set up a double-date with men definitely below Joan's hot-girl standards, then contrived to leave Carol alone with Mr. Hands, as if a lesbian needed a sexual assault to set her straight.

Carol loved Joan for nearly 10 years (ages 21-29, college to 1960), and made not one untoward move that we know of. Carol might have been the most charitable and noble lover Joan never had.

Did Joan remember what she did to Carol, as she stared at the couch, disassociating? I hope she did.

cgeye said...

Not only "Paul's a copywriter, so he's directly threatened."

Paul's a copywriter who made office PDAs with a Negro woman, who dumped his ass, so he doesn't even have a heroic story to keep telling the boys over drinks. He's just made himself vulnerable should the takeover lead to a leaner budget and cutbacks. If he were in the civil rights movement for the justice of it, that would have been one thing, but no, he just wanted the hepness to rub off, and without Sheila, that's gone.

Whiskey said...

It's occurred to me as I read these comments that the episode wasn't just about partnership, but about dominance and power.
While I agree with everything else in the paragraph that follows this senstence, I'd like to propose that the series itself seems to go back and forth on the dynamics of partnership, dominance & power. Bert needed his sister Alice's money to rescue him during a hard time, Bert & Roger's somewhat forced partnership, Don's no-strings-attached partnership at SC, DickDon & Anna have a partnership that's more successful than their mariages were...

Some other random thoughts & responses to others' comments:
* in "The Inheritance" ep, Pete's mom referred to children up for adoption as being from other people's discard pile; it struck me hard because my husband was adopted at 8 months old in 1966 and he was watching the show with me. I winced at the reference, since that is exactly what my father-in-law's family thought about adoption back then. And we've heard neither Pete & his brother both say they're not into having children -- remember the big blowout Pete & Trudy had before their Valentine's dinner where she accused him of not wanting to have children just so he could watch Cape Fear a third time? heh. We HAVE seen scenes throughout this season that underscore the fact that most of Trudy's baby-craving has come from her parents' desire to have grandchildren. Like when Trudy says to Pete in bed a couple of eps back that she too thought adoption was unnatural until her parents convinced her otherwise.
* was I the only one here whose ears pricked up when Bert was asking after Alice's "companion"? I'll have to rewatch but I think it's possible Alice is in a long-term relationship with another woman and this was a subtle way to remind us that a woman with that much money could do & say whatever the heck she wanted to.
* we always focus on Roger's deadpan funny lines but what about that moment in Bert's office? These two men are supposed to have a loooooong history together, and I'm glad we were allowed in to get a glimpse of the tension a relationship like that accumulates. I loved that scene, even as I shook my head at Roger's spoiled pretty-boy 'tude & naivete.
* I think I've been pegged as a Betty-hater, which I'm not... I was happy to see her taking charge, until she dragged Sally into the closet by the hair. (did anyone else notice Sally standing next to Don's returned suitcase in the closet?) The phone call scene was brutal and I hated her for it, totally agreed w/ Sarabeth that she's awful -- Betty channeled her inner 13 year old Mean Girl during that scene. So for me, the "bleeding" represented a delayed onset of puberty, a symbolic way of Betty leaving her childlike ways behind and acting more like an adult... I'm sure I'm not explaining it well but suffice it to say that I think up until this ep Betty has been playing the part of an adult (which is what Sally was trying to do in a way, by smoking like her mamma does).
* rape is all about power and control. Joan has up until recently been able to exert a lot of a certain kind of power in her world and others this season have been taking it away from her in cruel ways, like when Jane went to Roger, when Harry & Roger overlooked her for the TV job, and of course last night when her fiance attacked her on the floor of her boss' office. I love her character and hope they write her some kickass arc where she takes her power back. And I want to take this opportunity to disagree with those who have characterized Don's scene with Bobby at Lutece as rape -- to me, that scene was charged with sexual tension/desire and I walked away from it feeling like what Don had done was turn her lust dial up to high and then left her frustrated & knowing that she'd never get satisfaction from him if she didn't do what he wanted. Too S&M for my taste, but we later see that she likes being tied up by him, so IMO it's totally in character.
* Alan, I usually agree with you but on Peggy & Pete's baby it seems we're not in agreement. I still think that Anita is raising that baby, and that the scene where we see her pregnant is because (a) she had to quickly fake a pregnancy (Peggy was hospitalized for three months? long enough for her sister to wear something and pretend she's "showing" during a 3rd trimester; it's as plausible as Peggy being preggo and no one knowing), or (b) she *was* pregnant and lost the baby, giving her & Peggy's mother the perfect cover for bringing Peggy's baby home to raise. I took her bitterness during that confession to Fr. McCutie as proof that here she was, the long-suffering sister who always has to cover for her prettier & smarter sister's mistakes. I'm looking forward to finding out if I've misinterpreted everything that has to do with the baby storyline...
* I looooooooooved that Peggy had an office boy moving her in to her new office. And that she felt secure enough about herself to joke w/ Pete about her "affair w/ Don" going well, since she'd know that's what the scuttlebutt would be at SC.
* oh, the scene where Pete throws the chicken out the balcony reminded me of Don & Betty leaving their garbage behind after their bucolic picnic. Something about doing things without regard for the consequence to others: he throws his hissy fit but in doing so ensures there is no mess in his tidy world; if he'd smashed the chicken & platter against the wall, he'd have had a less pleasant drink in his dining room afterwards with the mess at his feet.
* in hindsight, Don's hasty trip to CA seems less like a running away and more like a running to (a safe place) than it did at the end of "The Inheritance". I think someone else said that already but I wanted to bring it up again.

Anonymous said...

There was an inconsistency with the Tarot spread that Anna did - it appeared to be a Celtic Cross Spread, which is probably the most popular way to arrange Tarot cards (especially in the early 60's). The Universe card was in the final spot in the spread which means, I'm pretty sure, the "Ultimate Outcome".

Actually, the card at the top of the right hand column is the "final outcome" card. The card at the bottom of that column can represent "self in action, or self in the situation" which is different than the significator card, which in traditional tarot spreads is chosen, not drawn at random.

rachel best henley said...

I haven't been able to read all of the comments, but I just wanted to interject a thought... The blood on the couch must tie in with the Christianity theme, being a reference to the "blood of Christ", which is related to the Communion references in the Popsicle ads.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about Peggy's pitch. do you think that the woman in the ad is a carbon copy of the woman on the church's ad for the dance/social? When Peggy is talking about the pitch and states something about the church knowing how to sell things she picks up and looks at something that looked like the flyer she helped put together for the church social. And it would make more sense of the popsicle guy saying that the woman looks familiar with Peggy replying "its an original"

Anna said...

I don't know about yall, but to me watching Joan staring blankly, I got the idea that this wasn't the first time she has been in that situation.

What do yall think?

Bobman said...

I have a question about Peggy's pitch. do you think that the woman in the ad is a carbon copy of the woman on the church's ad for the dance/social?

Doubtful, as Peggy wouldn't be that involved with the artwork (that's Sal's job), just the copy and the overview of the ad itself.

Libby said...

Okay, this might make me a "what's alan watching" rabid fan, but I SWEAR as Anna was putting out the tarot cards last night, my first thought was, "I bet those are wrong. I bet someone picks it apart on the website tomorrow." :)

1. Roger's dead fox comment was a SCREAM (I heart Roger)
2. I assumed the hot rod scene was not a flashback because Don's hair is "unBrillCremed" (relaxed)
3. You could almost feel the breeze as Peggy passed Joan in power and status in that office. What a change from season 1!
4. I thought the baptism in the ocean was heavy-handed
5. That scene with Dr. Dumbass was so awful I couldn't watch
6. I can't get over how NO ONE is really worrying or asking about Don's disappearance. Makes you wonder how much power he really has there. Work *didn't* come to a halt with him gone...

emeraldliz said...

I'd imagine most sexually active women in that era had not had to blank-out some abuse or harassment, even from the ones they loved.

Very disturbing for me (it's kinky when it's consensual), to see Joan really try very hard to stop him and still try to hold back her tears.

Whitney said...

We always compare Joan to Marilyn because she's such a bombshell, but Marilyn was also a person whose life was filled with men that abused her sexually. Also, Marilyn, like Joan, had talents other than her body that she longed to be recognized for.

Willow said...

I got the whole baptism thing, although at first glance I felt terror at a possible suicide. But what puzzles me is what is he being baptized into? Is it supposed to symbolize that he will be renewed in his faith that his life as Don has meaning? Or is he being baptized into a new life as Dick--leaving Don behind?

Loved Anna, and loved especially Dick with Anna. How could he go for years without talking to the one person who gets him? I can't imagine myself walking away from a relationship like that. Although it was Anna who didn't want to meet Betty and become Don's "cousin". Imagining Anna at Draper family gathering is very intriguing however.

Joan--I so feel for her, and her dilemma. I agree with those who think she always meant to get married, she mentions that she'd been offered many rings, but waited until she found the right one. But he is so, so wrong for our Joanie. Dump him now Joan!

Betty--I found her especially calm this epi, considering how erratic she's been in past episodes. She doesn't know where Don is, and that has to bother her, even if she doesn't want him back, she will definitely want the checks to keep coming, and will soon be looking for him, especially if SC cuts him loose. I liked the Betty/Sally interaction with the boots, it may have been a bribe, but what little girl doesn't want to learn to ride? Can't imagine how this season will end, and can't decide if I want the Brits to take over SC or not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about yall, but to me watching Joan staring blankly, I got the idea that this wasn't the first time she has been in that situation.

Many victims of sexual assault distance themselves by mentally zoning out/separating themselves from their body during the experience, to lessen the horror...it's certainly possible that it's happened before, particularly with the huge amount of attention her figure attracts.

alf said...

Alan, I'm afraid I still don't understand who the three children pictured in "The New Girl" are. http://drop.io/x6fxbyb

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alf, they're Anita's kids.

alf said...

All three? OK. I think I got the episode title wrong, but it doesn't matter.

TheProfessor69 said...

I think I am on record about the Doctor a/k/a rapist being a big figment of Joan's imagination, MAN, was I wrong...what a douche' ...this show is really blowing my mind, I do not know what the He** is going to happen next...what a show, what a show !!!!!!

Colette said...

Alan,

I absolutely love your blog, and I look forward to reading your Mad Men recap every Monday morning.

I was so intrigued by this episode, and I wrote about the Peer Gynt allusions in my blog. I would love for people to think up some more because the similarities between Don Draper/Dick Whitman and Peer Gynt seem to be neverending.

Just as The Sopranos used music to correlate with their storylines, Mad Men uses literature. I absolutely love this show and how incredibly intelligent and well thought out the writing is.

Don/Dick vs. Peer Gynt
http://coletteslovebytes.blogspot.com/2008/10/mad-men-mountain-king.html

KATI said...

I remember "Meditations in an Emergency" being a book that was being read by a Beatnik in a diner where Don was earlier in the series.

The desk that Betty is trying to get into may have evidence of Don/Dick buying the house for Anna or paying for the house.

I also took Betty's bleeding to represent a miscarriage from the time her and Don had sex at her dad's house.

christy said...

Alan, I really think your assumption that the baby is definitely Anita's is premature, unless you know something we don't. I strongly agree that Anita didn't fake a pregnancy, but that still leaves two possibilities:

1. Peggy's baby was put up for adoption, and the baby is Anita's, or
2. Something happened to Anita's baby (miscarriage, stillborn, died at some point in the 18-month jump), and the baby we see is Peggy's.
(And I guess, given those two, there's a third, less likely option that Anita kept both kids and Peggy's died between seasons).

I think the first (your assumption) is certainly possible, but I don't think we have enough info to say so for sure. I think they've left it intentionally ambiguous. They strongly implied in the first few episodes that the baby was Peggy's, so just seeing a glimpse of Anita's pregnant belly around the same time isn't enough for me to come to such a definitive conclusion.

Remember, at this point last season most people were pretty sure Peggy's weight gain was due to stress eating and not pregnancy (as if those two things are mutually exclusive).

Anthony Foglia said...

cgeye wrote, "In Season 1, the other coming-out story: Carol, her roommate. After Carol's confession, Joan promptly set up a double-date with men definitely below Joan's hot-girl standards, then contrived to leave Carol alone with Mr. Hands, as if a lesbian needed a sexual assault to set her straight."

I think you're exaggerating. I don't think Joan meant for Carol to be assualted. I don't even think Carol was assaulted. First, I'm pretty sure the date was scheduled before Carol made her move. Second, Joan probably thought Carol's lesbian feelings would be fixed if she had a nice man (a cruel, but not a rare thought); the sex didn't need to be forced though, no more than a friend would force someone to follow their advice to go out or somesuch. Most importantly, and sad, Carol was so empty and depressed after taking such a risk and opening up to Joan, she ceded herself to the guy and didn't tell him no.

Yes Carol felt empty when she was with the guy, but it was the emptiness of rejection, not the emptiness to escape a physical violation.

"Carol might have been the most charitable and noble lover Joan never had."

Maybe, but Joan's not gay. Joan having sex with Carol despite not liking women would be almost as sad as Carol having sex with men despite not liking them.

alf said...

Well, here's what the Basket of Kisses website says about Anita and her husband: "They have two sons, Gerard Jr. and Mikey, and a third, unnamed baby boy in their care." I think I'm going with them. We don't know.

Anonymous said...

the bit with sally smoking - followed by bobby in the Huckleberry Hound mask - shoved me back 45 years.

ALL of the kids in my midwest, middle class neighborhood tried smoking well before they turned 10 years old. i first tried when i was five. the adults all did it, so it was natural for kids to try.

none of the kids tried liquor like sally did, though...

deering said...

"I wonder why didn’t the real Don draper marry Anna’s sister (the one who looks like her, without the limp) instead of her?"

Heh--that was yet another cunning biblical reference. :) Remember the Bible story of Jacob, who was in love with Rachel (the "desirable" sister) but was tricked into marrying Leah (her older, nearsighted sister). It sounds like Anna's family had established a "the eldest daughter has to get married before the younger one can" thing, so the real Don Draper took her as a consolation prize of sorts.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm coming to this blog late. But it's terrific; I look forward to it almost as much as the show.
.
I have a question: Does anyone know just why it is that Dick Whitman needs a new identity? At first I thought that perhaps just the shame of his background (being the son of a whore) might be the reason. But that doesn't seem to be enough. As long as he had a name, he could easily hide that aspect of his past life, even in the 1950s.
.
So why the desperation, in that little, unfortunate incident during the Korean War, to grab Draper's dogtags and start anew? Maybe he felt the need to avoid his family when he returned to the states. But, again, as an adult, that shouldn't have been too difficult as Dick Whitman.

Anonymous said...

can somebody help me?
It is a bit challenging to time travel during an episode but I'm having a hard time getting Betty and Anna close enough in physical space so that Don could talk to Anna about Betty.
Where was Don selling cars? I assumed that it was in upstate NY or at least on the East Coast.
Don met Betty when he was handling the advertising for a furrier. Betty is from the East Coast.
The house where Don talks to Anna about Betty seems to be the San Pedro house.
While I liked the episode very much, this was distracting me a little.

Britni said...

Joan & Peggy: Both have "made it" - Peggy in office & Joan's marriage, but Joan's look at end of scene tells me she's not happy.

Of course Joan isn't happy. The only sign that we have ever seen of Joan looking "happy" was when she paraded around the office with her new ring. Every scene leading up to tonight that involved Joan and her fiance always felt off. And JOAN HAD JUST BEEN RAPED BY HER FIANCE THE NIGHT BEFORE THAT SCENE. Unhappy is an understatement.

I disagree. I think Dick and the hot rod guys is a flashback - cars are from 30's and 40's.

Yes, the cars are older but the men are restoring them. It had been well established several times before this comment that the hot rod scene was in 1962 and was not a flashback.

Shouldn’t she have prodded him, even a little bit? We’ve never even seen her ask him about his childhood.

Betty has made several subtle references to the fact that she "knows nothing" about Don's past. She has said it to him before, acknowledging that she would like him to open up to her and tell her things about himself.

Jimmy Aquino said...

I don't understand AMC's Standards and Practices. The consensual sex between Pete and Peggy on the office couch and Don fingerbanging Bobbie both get the show a parental advisory, but Joan's rape doesn't? I don't remember seeing an advisory Sunday night. Was anybody weirded out by this?

cgeye said...

From the AMC recap:
"anapés.

As Joan puts up a memo in the break room, her friend Carol -- her eyes bloodshot -- walks in. She had just gotten fired after covering for her boss. “These men, we’re always building them up, and for what?” Joan says. “Diner and jewelry? Who cares?” They decide to spend the weekend on the town in search of actual bachelors.
....

Across town, Joan and Carol are getting ready in Joan’s bedroom. When Joan notices Carol staring, Carol reveals her true feelings. “I did everything I could to be near you -- all with the hope that one day you would notice me,” she says. “Joannie, just think of me as a boy.” As she finishes packing her purse, Joan simply asks if they can forget about it and just go out.

Later that night, Joan and Carol return with Franklin, a Fordham college professor, and Ralph, a carpenter. When Joan asks Franklin to change her light bulb -- in her bedroom -- Ralph makes a move on Carol."

Now granted Joan had plans for them both-- but what sort of friend pretends your profession of love for her didn't happen?

What sort of friend pretends nothing has happened, and goes through with a double-date with strangers?

What sort of friend forces you, a lesbian, to date and neck a man you do not know, lest your protests ruin the evening, or worse, cause a date rape situation (they did invite those men up to their apartment, and once that door is closed, it's their word against a Fordham professor and a plumber, gentlemen all.)

If lesbianism was as tragic as cancer, back then, would a good friend ignore your news of a diagnosis, offer no comfort whatsoever, then go on with the evening designed to make you at best uncomfortable?

No matter what Joan's personal opinion about Carol's offer of love, Joan was as callous as a date rapist in seeing Carol as a thing. It mattered how depressed Carol was at her rejection, it mattered that Joan counted on that depression for Carol not to make waves, and it mattered that even if Joan thought rejection was the best tack to take, than she could have gone on a date her own damn self, and left her roommate alone until the two of them parted company. What Joan did beyond that was cruel, and no excuses can really be made for it.

R.A. Porter said...

@cgeye, I don't think it's an excuse so much as explanation: Joan couldn't even accept the confession of love. To her ears, that was no different than me confessing to you and everyone else right here and now that I like to float through the air like a helium balloon with my friends the Easter Bunny and Count Chocula.

I believe Joan's assessment of lesbianism would be equivalent to yours regarding my confession. It's not real. It doesn't exist. It isn't true.

JustJoan said...

@cgeye, I think you are assuming knowledge generally available to us in 2008 was both available and comprehensible to Joan in the early 60s. Joan, for all her surface sophistication, seems truly naive about homosexuality. She doesn't speculate about Salvatore, for example, although she is mildly confused after their playacted kiss. The possibility that she would know a lesbian -- that one had been her close friend for a decade -- seems not to have entered her mind, and having had it spelled out for her I believe she just shut down. The date was a way of wishing away a distressing (to her, devastating for Carol) revelation.

Many women of that time and place simply denied that lesbians existed. My own mother once asked me , at about the same period of time, what homosexuals "did." When I told her, she gave me a long, hard look and then said, "Well, if you are going to make something up, just don't bother." She literally did not want to know, and could possibly not have been capable of belief.

What you see as cruelty today is likely simple ignorance in Joan's time. It does not excuse insensitivity, but it goes quite a way toward explaining it.

Anonymous said...

The hot rod scene is definitely not a flashback. The grease monkey tells Dick/Don that he rebuilt the car using a " '60 Nailhead" and other parts. This is a reference to a 1960 Buick V8 "Nailhead" engine, so called because the valves looked like the heads of nails. Case closed

Maultsby said...

Thank you, anonymous 9:06 AM -- for some reason, its been hard for me to accept this; maybe because Dick says he's looking for job?

Didn't "Little Deuce Coupe" come out in 1963 ... maybe the scene at the end is symbolic of Don going through the surfing safari stage? :-) sorry.

Mo Ryan said...

And Roger's line to Peggy....about the women there being aggressive, and him saying she was the only one who had the balls to ask for what she wanted...

I'm still working my way through comments here, but I just had to say -- when I read this, I flashed on something. Roger, for all his faults, approves of a woman taking charge. He actually loved that about Joan -- her independence, her intelligence, her elusiveness. They had chemistry in every way, especially sexually.

It's so sad to contrast that with Joan's fiance. The knowledge that she's been with other men and the idea that she would assert herself sexually is more than he can handle. It's so traumatic to him that he has to brutalize her.

Absolutely agree with what others have said -- the image of Joan's face staring at the coffee table has been impossible to get out of my mind. The idea that she's still with that guy after what he's done is just impossibly sad.

Mo Ryan said...

I hate hate hate hate HATE Dr. Greg and want something horrible to happen to him.

Would love for Pete to throw him out a window. Assuming there's no one on the street below, of course.

How could he go for years without talking to the one person who gets him?

I think, if you're asking why Don didn't just stay with Anna -- there are a few possibilities. The first is that he didn't feel attracted to her. The second is that he just wanted that friendship to remain a friendship -- which would be a really mature decision on his part. Third, he'd already taken Don's identity/name. He could not cross the line of taking the real Don's wife too. I think that's an honorable line to draw.

Hence he finds Betty, a sort of idealized copy of Anna, looks-wise anyway. You could almost say she's like Anna's sister -- blond but with two working legs, etc. Of course Don realizes too late that Betty is far too young, immature and self-absorbed to offer him the kind of companionship, friendship and real love that he got from Anna. But Betty looks the part and "has a good family," which goes along with the whole reason he took Don's name in the first place -- having a knockout, "well bred" wife like Betty is going to get him further up the ladder.

Re Betty wearing pants throughout the ep -- interesting observation.

Does anyone know just why it is that Dick Whitman needs a new identity?

That is a brilliant question. It goes to the heart of the show yet it hadn't even occurred to me. Why indeed?

First thoughts -- just practically speaking - Dick didn't go to college and wouldn't have the money to do so any time soon. Don was a former military officer who presumably did go to college or have a better resume than Dick. But that's probably only part of the reason. Hmmmmm... Why indeed go to all that trouble to get a new name/identity? Could it simply be because his youth was so awful that he just wanted to put any trace of it behind him?

I guess I had read the hotrod scene as maybe being a flashback. Why is he asking for a job in the present day? Wouldn't it be some kind of irony if he stayed in California with Anna -- and lived the life that Don might have had, had he lived?

Course that won't happen. Just seems like that's Don's current hobo dream.

Whitney said...

"Does anyone know just why it is that Dick Whitman needs a new identity? At first I thought that perhaps just the shame of his background (being the son of a whore) might be the reason. "

...Because, as Don stated in this episode, he just needed to get out. He knew that the real Don was due for release from the army shortly. He had just nearly died and was obviously shaken... so he grabbed the tags to get out.

He couldn't go back to being Dick Whitman once he got home, because legally, Dick was now dead.

John I said...

In terms of why Dick needed Don's ID, I would not discount the effects of the war on him. He must have been in shock when he took the dog tags, and probably was not thinking too far ahead of "gotta get out!"

And the look on his face in the scene with the MIRV slide show as the Russian cities turn to explosions seems to show a bit of shell shock.

I would not be surprised, as the 60's move on, if he doesn't become a bit of an anti-war type. He definitely seemed to have no interest in doing ad work for defense contractors.

Maura said...

No matter what Joan's personal opinion about Carol's offer of love, Joan was as callous as a date rapist in seeing Carol as a thing. It mattered how depressed Carol was at her rejection, it mattered that Joan counted on that depression for Carol not to make waves, and it mattered that even if Joan thought rejection was the best tack to take, than she could have gone on a date her own damn self, and left her roommate alone until the two of them parted company. What Joan did beyond that was cruel, and no excuses can really be made for it.

I don't disagree, cgeye. However, I've tried to be generous concerning your posts about what Joan did to Carol, and Joan's fiance raping her, but they sound perilously close to "she deserved it". And, you know, she didn't.

Where was Don selling cars? I assumed that it was in upstate NY or at least on the East Coast.
Don met Betty when he was handling the advertising for a furrier. Betty is from the East Coast.
The house where Don talks to Anna about Betty seems to be the San Pedro house.


I don't think anyone has ever said where the photo shoot for the furrier took place. Betty was a model. Models travel for work, so she could have been in CA. Or Don could have traveled to NY for some reason, perhaps for an interview with SC. And now it's bugging me because people brought it up. Beh! :)

Francine said...

Hi, again.
*Although I appreciate that someone read my comments, I must say that I'm uncomfortable w/the anger and frustrated they incited.
*I thought this was a friendly forum where everyone is entitled to their musings and opinions.
*Britini, according to what I know of communication via e-mail and posts, all caps means you're yelling at me. I hope this isn't the case.
*Cordially, Francine

Willow said...

"I have a question about Peggy's pitch. do you think that the woman in the ad is a carbon copy of the woman on the church's ad for the dance/social?

Doubtful, as Peggy wouldn't be that involved with the artwork (that's Sal's job), just the copy and the overview of the ad itself."

In looking at the ad again, I think the reason the image looks familiar is that the Virgin Mary is often shown in just such a pose, arms outstretched at just that angle. I think Sal picked up on the Catholic imagery Peggy suggested in the creative meeting, and went with it for his artwork. That's why the Popsicle man thought it looked familiar. Would make sense as Sal is likely Catholic.

Wordnerd said...

I have lots of comments regarding what I think was an incredible episode, but because I'm so late getting here there's probably a good chance most of it has already been said. I will say this much -- I think Anna is a fabulous addition to this cast and an incredible force for Don/Dick. I hope we see more of her.

My other comment is regarding Betty's bleeding -- I immediately thought that perhaps she is pregnant (unknowingly) and possibly started miscarrying -- what else is going to bring Don home, carrying a bucketload of guilt? (Assuming, of course, that they are able to find him.) Did this occur to anyone else?

Maultsby said...

Since the speculation about the bleeding is continuing, my $.02 -- first thing that came to my mind was that Betty had been cutting herself. I know it's way too soon for that kind of emo to be recognized but that doesn't mean it didn't happen back then. Since I'm still DVR deprived, can anybody glance through and see if she was wearing long sleeves throughout as she was pants? Also, any amount of blood that would have been enough for Sallie to notice would have stained the couch and elicited an involuntary reaction instead of run along now, it's nothing.

cgeye said...

JustJoan: I'll drop it, after this comment, but I don't think Joan can claim ignorance as an excuse for her cruelty.

Joan lived as of this season in the Village -- from Basket of Kisses, and her driver's license:
http://www.lippsisters.com/bible/characters/joan-holloway/

43 West 12 St, 4C
New York, NY.

I could get it if Joan lived anywhere else in NYC, but post-WWII she would have been hit on at least once by a lesbian, and if she attended an single-sex college, she would have encountered them there, too.

I guess where I'm at is whether Joan actually has friends, now, or that the compassion she desperately needs now might come from people she previously underestimated or discarded. That includes Peggy, as well as Carol.

Just wondered why we were all YAY! about Peggy's rapprochement, when Peggy herself is in just as much denial about her pregnancy and child as Joan is about her rape, when Carol at least told the truth about her feelings, and took the risk of rejection, to do it.

Sharon said...

I think there was an additional piece of religious imagery that wasn't mentioned above (at least that I saw). When Anna is doing Don's tarot reading he looks out the window, and the way the light is shining in it looks like a cross.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't see Joan as being all that mean to Peggy. She did try to let her know what the rules of the office were when Peggy started. And though harsh, she was right about the dressing like a little girl comment. No doubt Peggy's more polished & professional image helped when it came time to getting the promotion/office. Certainly Joan's been nicer to Peggy than say Pete to Don. Or Duck to any number of people, including the poor dog.

While Betty obviously enjoyed being puppet master to Sarabeth & Arthur, the fact is that they are human beings with free will. They did have the choice not to sleep together, but they chose to cheat on Sarabeth's husband & Tara.

I wonder if both Joan & Betty are being judged more harshly by some here because they're women and they're not being as "nuturing" as women are expected to be? Bobbie & Peggy have come under the same type of criticism.

I posted yesterday about the flying dinner. I was so obsessed with that, I actually watched it on Demand to see. Pete cleared the balcony. From the skyline, it looks like they're pretty high up. Does anyone know what street they live on? Considering that people are occasionally killed or seriously injured by things thrown from high up,

I'm suprised no one checked to see if anyone was hurt. I once lived in a highrise with a balcony in a less populated outer borough area. One night I accidentally dropped a glass on the balcony. Though as far as I know, the glass breakage was contained on the balcony, first thing I did was look to see that no one below was injured. I was so nervous I even checked the news the day after to be sure. And after that, I bought acrylic glasses and only drank out of them on the balcony.

Alan Sepinwall said...

From the skyline, it looks like they're pretty high up.

Pete's apartment is on the 14th floor. I forget what neighborhood.

la said...

Pete's apartment is on the 14th floor. I forget what neighborhood.

E. 83rd

Anna said...

It's on the UES 83rd and Park.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible a third party could buy Sterling-Cooper? Perhaps Don's Palm Springs "friends"? Bert tells the company lawyer to submit/prepare a "counter-offer".

Joan's rape in Don's office was a dealbreaker. She is capable of better, and knows it. The Dr. is a pig.

Where did Don get the money for Anna's bungalow? From Dick's GI life insurance? Or did he own the used car lot and sell that when he left town?

gpwhite said...

I find it interesting that Joan's fiance is studying to be a thoracic surgeon--a doctor who operates on organs in the chest, like the heart. This guy clearly doesn't have one.

Also, Don attacked Bobbie in the ladies room of the restaurant where they met so that her husband (the comic) could apologize for cracking cruel jokes about his sponsor's wife. Bobbie went looking for Don after that--and came to his office to attack him. She initiated the sexual contatc in his office--he tried to resist it.

Anonymous said...

Could we surmise that this is not the first rape the doctor has committed? If Joan crosses paths with any of his prior girlfriends, the crime might be alluded to in their conversation. A best friend of mine, also named Joan, was raped in 1974; sent the man to prison; he was released and subsequently raped and murdered another woman named Joan; Joan testified in the penalty phase. This real-life entangled violence is very ManManlike and thus a possible twist of events for future episodes.

jana said...

This is just a cheerleading post, but I. LOVE. THIS. SHOW.

I've been reading Alan's blog on Mad Men since the beginning...only 4 comments! It's amazing how many people have finally jumped on this bandwagon of amazing shows!!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought the scene where Bert Cooper is left alone in the office at the end of partners meetings was like a reverse of the end of the Godfather. The panning out to reveal him in the center of a room but nobody paying him respect.

Britni said...

Britini, according to what I know of communication via e-mail and posts, all caps means you're yelling at me. I hope this isn't the case.

Francine, I am not yelling at you as much as stressing that of course Joan was unhappy the day after her date rape. I put it in all caps more out of frustration in response to a few comments that seemed to be treating the rape as not as serious or traumatic because the perpetrator was her fiance.

I was more so just really trying to get the point across that is WAS a rape and Joan is (as she should be) clearly affected in a negative and devastating way by the event.

I had seen the rape being trivialized on several other sites, too, and had just grown frustrated. It was done to emphasize. Sorry if it didn't come across that way. I should probably have used italics instead of caps :)

Britni said...

No matter what Joan's personal opinion about Carol's offer of love, Joan was as callous as a date rapist in seeing Carol as a thing. It mattered how depressed Carol was at her rejection, it mattered that Joan counted on that depression for Carol not to make waves, and it mattered that even if Joan thought rejection was the best tack to take, than she could have gone on a date her own damn self, and left her roommate alone until the two of them parted company. What Joan did beyond that was cruel, and no excuses can really be made for it.

It has been touched upon by a few other commenters, but I want to add my $0.02 here. I agree with the others that homosexuality, especially at that time, was just not talked about. People didn't know about it. Joan was ignorant and just didn't understand the magnitude of Carol's confession.

I saw Joan's actions as (and it's something that, unfortunately, still happens today) her seeing Carol's sapphic confession as a case of her just needing to find the right man, or any man. Like, oh sweetie, once you find a man you won't feel this way anymore. Or, you just feel this way because you're lonely and single. Let's go meet men and have fun and forget this whole silly and embarrassing thing ever happened!

I don't think Joan was trying to be cruel, I think that she was trying to help in the only way she knew how. She just didn't know any better.

Sharon said...

This is a link to an interesting analysis of Don/Dick's tarot reading which was posted on another site:

http://cityweekly.blogspot.com/2008/10/don-drapers-tarot-reading.html

I agree with the author that everything means something on this show, and it's interesting to look at the card placement in this context.

LA said...

Another interesting minor tidbit about the tarot is that Matt Weiner's logo for his production company Weiner Bros at the end of each episode is fashioned after a tarot card.

jenskee said...

I have also been haunted by Joan's rape. In keeping with the literary themes others have noticed, I have found myself thinking a lot about Miss Lily Bart. Like her, Joan stayed a little too long at the fair (from the perspective of the times), enjoying her freedom long after her peers married. Like Lily, Joan has been afraid of being alone, then thinks she is on the verge of triumph, playing her cards just right at the eleventh hour--only to see it all come crashing down. (and then, there's the red hair...)

helga said...

Thanks for pointing out the halo/religious imagery of that popsicle ad. At first I thought the woman in it looked familiar to the client because of the resemblance to Peggy, new hairstyle and all, holding the artwork in front of her. The shot then moves to Sal, whose admiring expression I took to mean as something along the lines of Sal seeing Peggy in a new light, as a beneficent motherly figure, since witnessing her display of acceptance towards Kurt in his big outing scene last week. So I figured he projected this into the artwork by incorporating Peggy's features with those of the saintly mother image. Anyone?
Also felt a bit of soap opera manipulation with the timing of Paul's return. Just when Joan could stand to look him over again, and just as we find out about him getting dumped. For that matter maybe Peggy could use another shot at him too; I found the remark about hanging all those career trophies on the wall (instead of pics of loved ones) to be kinda poignant.
One more thought, I was interested in the idea of all this activity taking place at SC in Don's absence, and wondered about any significance of the rape happening in his vacated office. I suppose it could have happened after work hours even if he was still around, but for some reason i couldn't see it occurring with his presence nearby. don't know why it struck me that way.

Patrick said...

I just wrote the episode up on my blog, and delved back into the season as a whole. Pretty much the entire season has been about reaching the moment at the end of this episode where the 'Don Draper' identity is totally dissolved and abandoned. Over the course of the early episodes, the consequences of what he'd been doing caught up with him, the 'reputation' he had with Bobbie, the way he turned Sally into the sort of woman he wanted Bobbie to be, culminating in him getting tossed out of the house by Betty.

So, he heads out to California, a rejection of the home part of the 'Don Draper' persona, then when Joy gives him the chance, he leaves the business part as well. He indulges in pure hedonistic behavior, divorced of any personal history or real responsibility, interrupted only by the appearance of those kids, a reminder of what he left behind.

He then regresses through his past to the 'Dick Whitman' persona, and a time in his past before everything got so complicated. He plays at being Dick Whitman for a while, but when 'The World' tarot card comes up, he knows it's the end of the journey, and the time for rebirth. Out in the ocean, he abandons everything, he is not 'Dick Whitman,' he's not 'Don Draper,' he's a blank slate, and he can rebaptize himself as whoever he wants. I guess we'll find out what that is next week.

Anonymous said...

I guess most people don't agree with me, but I luh-uhved how Betty used Arthur and horse lady to make herself feel better.

Horse lady can be upset with Betty all she wants but Betty was right. No one MADE her sleep with Arthur.

Yes, it was a test for horse lady and a puppet-y way to rid herself of Arthur, but those two were begging for it. She gave them an opportunity to prove not everyone on the planet is like her lying, cheating husband and they failed.

Horse lady could have just flirted with Arthur at lunch and left it at that but she didn't. It was entirely her choice to get involved with Arthur and she can blame no one but herself.

If I were married to Don Draper I might do whatever I could to make myself feel better for five seconds too and poor Betty doesn't even have access to a Relaxacizer! Betty saw an opportunity to feel superior to these two (since she herself has never made the choice to cheat). Give her a break. I heart Betty.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. My 2 cents: As a creative director myself, I've often encouraged my colleagues who want to go to another agency, suggesting that it's a chance to "reinvent who you are." Freed from the politics of your current office, with little to no idea of the politics of the new shop, there's a liberating feeling associated with a job change like that.

That's what I see happening all across the show -- and directly tied into the shows original, killer tagline: Where the truth lies. It lies in the dynamics of the moment.

It's like that great line in "Big Night" -- "I am a business man: I am whatever I need to be at any given moment."

To me, every character is reinventing themselves based on the shifting politics and dynamics of the times, something that is universal, regardless of the era.

Go, MadMen. Every once in a while a show arrives where the writing, acting, and production "click" and become historic. This show is one of those shows...

Maura said...

Could we surmise that this is not the first rape the doctor has committed? If Joan crosses paths with any of his prior girlfriends, the crime might be alluded to in their conversation.

I'll surmise it. He's probably been doing that since college.

Unfortunately, what he did wasn't considered rape back then. And would Joan or his old girlfriends even know how to express it? "He makes me have sex with him" would get an answer along the lines of "that's his right". I wonder if unmarried women who don't each other well would have talked to each other about their sex lives. The tyranny of silence and all that.

tbrad said...

I looked up the reference in the title and in the music lesson to "In the Hall of The Mountain King." Get this - the scene the music accompanies is when the hero, Peer Gynt, sneaked into the King Troll's castle and is engaged to the King's daughter. He has second thoughts, and wants to escape, but the King confronts him asking, "What is the difference between troll and man?" The reply: "Man, be thyself." If that isn't what this episode is about, I don't know what is.

flightjkt said...

Came to this blog via Pop Candy - really digging the intelligent/thoughful commentary.

My two cents: M.Weiner does a great job of giving a glimpse of this decade's future while also giving a nod towards his favorite writers. Hence, the hot rod scene (like someone else noted) is a tip of the hat to Tom Wolfe's "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby," which introducted the rest of the country to the then emerging West Coast car subculture.

What's funny is that the pleasure seeking bohemians of "The Jet Set" and the surfers & hot rod greasers of "The Mountain King" are the two sides of the same coin - this cultural tug of war between the groups WILL be the story of California in the sixties. Just add Vietnam, LSD & Ronald Reagan...I can't wait.

Juanita's Journal said...

"Also, Don attacked Bobbie in the ladies room of the restaurant where they met so that her husband (the comic) could apologize for cracking cruel jokes about his sponsor's wife. Bobbie went looking for Don after that--and came to his office to attack him. She initiated the sexual contatc in his office--he tried to resist it."


In "The Benefactor", Bobbie first assaulted Don inside that car during the hailstorm. After resisting her, Don finally succumbed and had sex with her. Later in the episode, Don assaulted Bobbie in the ladies restroom of that restaurant.


It's interesting that many are assuming that Peggy has finally got her life together. All she is doing is emulating Don. To the point that she refuses to even admit to herself that she has given birth. I'm wondering when the bottom is going to fall from beneath her feet.

Juanita's Journal said...

"So why the desperation, in that little, unfortunate incident during the Korean War, to grab Draper's dogtags and start anew? Maybe he felt the need to avoid his family when he returned to the states. But, again, as an adult, that shouldn't have been too difficult as Dick Whitman."


Dick Whitman wanted to escape from the U.S. Army and especially Korea. Don Draper's death gave him the opportunity to do so. Dick Whitman is guilty of AWOL by assuming the identity of a military officer, due to leave the Army within a few months.

In other words, Dick ran from the Army and combat in Korea by assuming Don's identity.

Anonymous said...

cgeye:
"What sort of friend forces you, a lesbian, to date and neck a man you do not know, lest your protests ruin the evening, or worse, cause a date rape situation (they did invite those men up to their apartment, and once that door is closed, it's their word against a Fordham professor and a plumber, gentlemen all.)"

Joan never forced her to do anything, especially not neck the guy. As horribly sad as it was to hear Carol tell her date, "Just do whatever you want" -- and it was heartbreaking to witness her be so self-destructive out of despair -- she did give her consent. That's a far cry from saying no more than once and struggling to fight back physically before being overpowered, forced to the floor, restrained and raped. NO ONE deserves that fate, no matter how unintentionally insensitive she's been to someone else.

I agree with those commenters who think that Carol's declaration of love just did not compute for Joan. The expression on her face at that moment can be seen in certain scenes with Peggy (basket of kisses, etc.). It's a mix of annoyance and confusion. Last season, Joan had trouble grasping the fact that other women might not have the same goals or view her advice as gospel. She has gained more perspective this year (at great cost), and I hope it helps her to take the initiative to get the hell out of that engagement, find someone worthy of her -- a newly-chastened Paul? -- and pursue whatever it might be that would make her happier career-wise.

-- Kris

Anonymous said...

I am glad I am not the only one that watched the rape scene the first time and thought it was all a 'fantasy' that Joan had imagined. I could not think of any explanation why she would imagine something like that, but just kind of said to myself, hmm, that's wierd and moved on. I wished I had not deleted the show right after I watched it because now I want to go back and find how I could have interpreted it so wrong. Its just that one moment they are on the floor in Don's office, and the next they were outside like nothing had happened. I guess that was the point, to act like nothing happened. In fact, they did such a good job of acting like nothing happened that I didn't think it was real.

zanegraves said...

Everyone pretty much summed up what I had to say, though I'm glad we did get a little bit of "Old Joanie"

"Has anyone heard from Don?"
"Yes. He called. He wants you to get back to work."

Even though we have her trying to convince herself on being sold on having Dr Rapist as a husband, there's still a bit of spark in her that hasn't quite gone out.

It gives me hope for her.

Anonymous said...

"Joan never forced her to do anything, especially not neck the guy. As horribly sad as it was to hear Carol tell her date, "Just do whatever you want" -- and it was heartbreaking to witness her be so self-destructive out of despair -- she did give her consent. That's a far cry from saying no more than once and struggling to fight back physically before being overpowered, forced to the floor, restrained and raped. NO ONE deserves that fate, no matter how unintentionally insensitive she's been to someone else.

I agree with those commenters who think that Carol's declaration of love just did not compute for Joan. The expression on her face at that moment can be seen in certain scenes with Peggy (basket of kisses, etc.). It's a mix of annoyance and confusion. Last season, Joan had trouble grasping the fact that other women might not have the same goals or view her advice as gospel."

Kris, thank you for phrasing that so well and so civilly. That sums it up exactly. I had wanted to respond to that post as well, but couldn't find the right words to do it.

Francine said...

Britini,
Thank you. I appreciate your kindness in providing an explanation.
Best Wishes,
Francine

leor said...

sorry to be a week late on this, but just finally watched the last two episodes.

i loved the part when Pete suggested Peggy put up pictures on the wall, of "people, or family, or something". it was just one of his typically artificial means of small talk, not really feeling or meaning the words he was saying.

chris said...

Alan - I'm late to the series but wanted to catch up with all your posts before Sunday's season 3 premiere.

One minor point - I don't think that was Peggy sneaking a cigarette in the middle of the night. I think that was Sal in drag. Go back and watch it again. Pretty sure I'm right.

Raffaella Arnaldi said...

jenskee: nice paragon Joan-Lily Bart, but the LB in the novel is a brunette. It's Gillian Anderson's LB who is a redhead in the adaptation by Terence Davies (wonderful film, wonderful actress, btw),

Anonymous said...

One thing he missed:
"And then, for whatever unexplained reason -- and one of my great frustrations with the chronological gap between seasons is that they have to gloss over life changes like this one -- she decided to go for conformity and landed the demographic ideal: a handsome young doctor . . ."

Joan went for her young fiance because Cooper criticized her (and made her cry) on the night of Roger's heart attack.

boymaenad said...

And because she'd turned thirty and was forced to face it in front of the whole office.

I think Joan is a quick and thorough learner who finds it hard to adjust to new information if it contradicts what she knows. She has a firm and total grasp of how the office functions, in matters both business and personal. She is the Queen of 1960, Peggy is becoming the Queen of the Mid Sixties, and in a couple of seasons, I have my opinion about whom Matt W considers the Queen of the Late Sixties Revolution, but I won't spoil it for those of you watching and reading the shows for the first time.

Joan shushes how the 1960s shushed. The rape, like the secretaries crying in the ladies' room since the first episode, is simply one of the harder parts of How Things Work. Carol's lesbian confession is NOT part of How Things Work. To Miss 1960, lesbianism is wrong and Carol is in the wrong, and you have to fix it with booze and forcing yourself to focus on some old-fashioned male attention. That's just what you do, like how you don't take personal calls during office hours. In Joan's harmoniously functional world, things all go together in a nice neat rule-package, and Normalcy is attained. And that's good, right? And that's how it'll always be, right?

Joan's reaction to Carol is not personal. Imagine that someone in the office asked Joan what to do about her own roommate making this confession. Joan's reaction to Carol is Joan following Joan's sagely advice. Hand them a hankie, take them to drinks, and tell them to stop crying; this will pass.

For all we know, the wishful 'shippers are correct and Joan could have leanings toward the occasional girl - but you push those out of your mind just like when you stand at the edge of the grand canyon and it occurs to you to jump into it. Or when you're mad at a child and you wish you could just strangle them or something. These thoughts are simply wrong, and while we all have the occasional one, we all learn to push them out and return to Normal, to Function. That's what Sal's doing with his queerness, and to some extent, that's what Pete is trying to do, ruling his roost and trying to fit his awkward self into what he understands as the mold of The Man Of The House.

Peggy and Don (and Roger starting with this sudden Jane-inspired divorce) are open to reinventing themselves. Peggy wants it because why the heck not? Don wants it pathologically. I feel as though in the original vision of the show, this was a big part of why they were destined to be friends.

Thank you, Alan, as always, for this companion.