Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mad Men, "The Color Blue": I can see clearly now

Spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as you tell me if my speech was Churchill-rousing or Hitler-rousing...
"The truth is, people may see things differently, but they don't really want to." -Don
I always like to pick a theme or story to spotlight in these "Mad Men" reviews, but "The Color Blue" was so busy in terms of both that it's hard to choose just one.

I could start with speculation about how PPL's attempt to sell Sterling Cooper will impact all the characters we care about (and whether it might somehow facilitate the return of Sal and/or Joan), or with speculation about the atom bomb that just got dropped in the middle of the Draper marriage when Betty finally got a look inside Don's secret drawer.

Or I could note the number of characters in the episode who build up great plans or escapes in their heads - Paul with his glorious Western Union pitch, Mrs. Pryce with her desire to go back to England, Miss Farrell's brother Danny with his scheme to give Don the slip on the drive to Bedford, Bert Cooper with his desire to skip the anniversary party, and, of course, Betty with her plan to have a dramatic confrontation with Don about the contents of that shoebox - that don't work out at all in reality.

But I think I have to start with the pillow talk between Don and Miss Farrell about my favorite piece of shared little kid/stoner logic - How do I know that what you see as the color blue is the same thing that I see? - and how that applies to this episode.

There are plenty of moments in "The Color Blue" where two characters look at the same situation and see different things. Paul thinks Peggy is Don's pet, while Peggy (still shaken from Don's recent scolding) knows otherwise. Don looks at Danny Farrell and sees a junkie, when he's really an epileptic down on his luck; Danny, in return, sees Don as arrogant where Suzanne views him as merely secretive. Lane is horrified at the thought of PPL selling the company, where his wife sees it as a dream come true. Etc.

You could say that many "Mad Men" episodes are in some way about different perspectives, most notably season two's "Maidenform," which gets referenced here as Paul prepares to use the shelved campaign art as inspiration for a, um, non-productive endeavor.

But what's interesting in "The Color Blue" are those moments where one character after another briefly has their own prejudicial filters lifted so they can see the color blue (or its current metaphorical representative) for what it really is, and not necessarily what they always thought.

Paul discovers that Peggy is much more talented than he ever gave her credit for - and, worse from his perspective, that she's more talented than he is.

Lane sees St. John and his bosses for the vultures they truly are, and realizes they never had any long-term interest in this company he feels personally invested in.

In watching Suzanne's relationship with her brother, Don has to again look at what a terrible turn he gave his own brother, Adam.

And while Betty has often suspected Don was hiding something bad in that drawer, she could never have fathomed that it was evidence of a previous marriage.

The scary part of Betty's discovery, of course, is that she really hasn't seen the truth of her husband just yet. All the evidence is there, but she doesn't have the context that we do to put the pieces - the two sets of dog tags, the Whitman family photos, the divorce decree - in the right configuration.

And what does Betty do with what little information she has? She's all prepared to confront him that night - waiting way past bedtime in one room, and outfit, after another - but by the time she goes to sleep, she seems to have given up, putting the box back in the drawer, and Don's keys back in his robe. (Couldn't she at least have gone to the hardware store to make a dupe?) Maybe she'll go after him again down the road, just as she keeps going back to Henry Francis (who's starting to get frustrated as he realizes what an overgrown child she can be at times), but the Betty who went to Sterling Cooper's 40th anniversary party seemed a woman defeated, not one plotting her next move.

For that matter, Paul seemed quite deflated at the end of the Western Union pitch in Don's office. Paul has carved an entire identity for himself out of being the smartest, most cultured man in the room, and it hurts him whenever someone punctures that balloon. (Remember how upset he got in "My Old Kentucky Home" when his ex-roommate started poking holes in his stories of Princeton life?) He can only rationalize Peggy out-shining him with the thought that she's Don's pet, or that she has an unfair advantage as the only woman. But after he neglects to write down his brainstorm(*) and sees how quickly Peggy is able to take his Chinese proverb and turn it into a campaign - because she has natural instincts for the job, where Paul only has book knowledge - he can't be in denial anymore. As with Betty, I wonder what he's going to do with this realization. In general, Paul is a small and petty man, so he could grow to resent and snipe at Peggy more than he already does. But it might be interesting to see him treat her better, even if it's in a naked attempt to learn from her so he can one day pass her.

(*) Like Don and Peggy, I winced in sympathy at that story. It's happened to every writer, and it sucks. In fact, several of the points I make in this post came to me right before I fell asleep, and I quickly grabbed my phone to e-mail them to myself.

Paul subplots tend to be jokes at the expense of the character's sizable ego, but this was a more empathetic look, and very well-played by Michael Gladis, particularly during the drunken, sweaty, self-gratifying interlude in the largely-empty SC offices. Yes, Paul's a pompous twit, but he's worked very hard to make himself into one, and it hurts to realize he hasn't even done a very good job at that. Peggy, Kurt and Smitty have all overtaken him in terms of youth, hipness and, it seems, talent. So what's Paul's niche now? The guy who, if he shaved and put on glasses, could pass for Harry Crane?

And if he gets sent back to England, what's Lane's niche? Despite being constantly treated like a second-class citizen by St. John Powell and friends, Lane still has a capacity for being disappointed by his bosses. So now that he knows they only bought Sterling Cooper to flip it once Lane had cut down expenses(**), what does he do with that information? It's clear from his conversations with his difficult wife that he's become quite taken with New York, and with this company. Would he risk his marriage, and his professional standing, to stay in New York, perhaps by tipping off Bert, Roger and Don and giving them a chance to put together the money to re-acquire their own company?

(**) Or did they? On the one hand, that would explain their refusal to do the MSG deal, since it would be an increased expenditure for a reward that only the next owner would enjoy. On the other, they did seem to have grand plans for a Guy Mackendrick-run Sterling Cooper, and perhaps only decided to sell the assets once he lost the ability to golf.

It's obvious that both Cooper and Sterling would welcome an opportunity to be relevant again, and maybe with Alice Cooper's help, they could compensate for whatever money Roger has spent on his divorce and trophy wife. And in the chaos that creates, I could certainly see Joan being begged to return. (Sal is a trickier problem, but I don't want to say goodbye to him yet.)

But whether Sterling Cooper becomes Sterling/Cooper-owned again, or whether we get yet another new ownership group in place, I do wonder what the point of this British ownership arc has been. Yes, it's introduced the terrific Jared Harris to the cast, and it gave us the black comic masterpiece that was "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency," but if the status quo is restored, or if we just get a new owner, why did we bother at all with these guys? There hasn't been as much culture clash as I might have expected, as this season has been a bit more Draper marriage-centric than the first two. I know Matthew Weiner resists comparisons to "The Sopranos," and to the idea that Duck was this show's Richie Aprile, but depending on what happens with PPL over the final three episodes, it is starting to feel like "Mad Men" needs its own annual equivalent of Richie/Ralphie/Vito/etc. to provide a little (in this case, very little) external professional conflict for Don.

And given what's going on with the two women in his life, I'm not sure how much time and energy Don's going to be able to focus on his British overlords over the next three weeks.

Based on the comments here, opinion seems about evenly split between whether Miss Farrell is cuckoo bananas or just someone on a different emotional wavelength from our repressed 1963 characters. I tend to go back and forth (though "cuckoo bananas" is fun to say, which prejudices me), and certainly a lot of her behavior in "The Color Blue" could be read either way. Yes, she follows Don onto his train, but with no cell phones, or e-mail, or possibly even a work number (I wouldn't be surprised if Don gave his card to Danny before he ever gave it to Suzanne), and with her smart enough to not call the house(***), how else is she going to get ahold of him when he doesn't call as promised?

(***) Or did she call it? There's a long pause after Don asks her, but that could just be annoyance that he would suggest such a thing. I don't believe it was Henry Francis, but it's funny to think that both Drapers have good reason to suspect entirely different people of the hang-up.

But whether she's nuts or just passionate, it's clear that she is very, very into Don, even more than he's into her (and he's very into her), and I still fear this ends well for no one. She tells Don, "I don't care about your marriage, or your work, of any of that, as long as you're with me," and in fact seems so untroubled by the adultery aspect that, when she asks him if he feels guilty about something, it's his career and not his cheating. But there's going to come a point where she will care, and/or when Danny gets into trouble(****) and uses that business card, and then what happens to Don's marriage?

(****) Not only does Don feel like a bastard when he sees Suzanne taking care of her little brother when he drove his own to suicide, but he also sees something of himself in Danny, who, because of his epilepsy, feels the need to constantly stay on the move, hobo-style.

Or will Betty's glimpse, however incomplete, into the man her husband truly is lead to another Draper separation long before the Farrell family comes into play? For all his creative struggles this season, Don seems ascendant in that moment on the dais at the company's anniversary dinner, but has his life peaked? With all that's going on away from his field of vision, is it all downhill from here?

Some other thoughts:

• Baby Gene's another season-three-long subplot that hasn't led to as much as I was expecting (other than the outstanding hospital interlude in "The Fog"), but at least one of his nighttime cries leads to Don forgetting to put his keys back in his briefcase.

• Because people keep asking me about it, here are my brief, completely uninformed thoughts on the situation with both Kater Gordon (who shared the writing Emmy with Weiner for "Meditations in an Emergency," and who co-wrote this episode with him) and Robin Veith (twice nominated for eps she co-wrote with Weiner) leaving the show's writing staff, which Nikki Finke has tried to turn into a scandale: I don't know the specific dynamics of the "Mad Men" writing staff, but I do know that on some shows with meticulous and demanding creators (David Milch, David Kelley and Aaron Sorkin, to name three), any relationship the other credited writers have to the final versions of scripts can be tangential at best. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was, and therefore it wouldn't surprise me if any writers either chose or were asked to leave because they were viewed as fungible.

• As I've mentioned in the past, "Mad Men," like most primetime series, is under restrictions on how many episodes most of its cast (with the exception of Jon Hamm and January Jones, and maybe Elisabeth Moss) can appear in, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Pete, Trudy, Alice Cooper and several other characters who hadn't previously been in the episode pop up on the dais for the anniversary dinner. Maybe because they had no dialogue, the budget people were able to work a little mojo? Or can a regular castmember like Vincent Kartheiser not work at the rate a non-speaking extra gets?

• A small touch, but I like that we're seeing these little glimpses of Allison and Don developing a rapport. She's gone from not being able to read his moods to having the kind of telepathy that we've only seen Joan share with him before. She arguably seems like a better secretary for him than Peggy, who was too caught up in personal drama and then distracted by her copywriting career.

• Danny Farrell was played by Marshall Allman, probably best known for playing Lincoln's annoying son LJ on "Prison Break."

• Heh. Lane and Mrs. Pryce hate Moneypenny just as much as the Americans do.

Of course 40 is the average lifespan for someone in the ad game, given how much these characters drink and smoke.

• Trying to figure out how Don has his old Dick Whitman dog tags. Did Adam include them in the box of photos he mailed before he hung himself? Did Don hold onto them when he refused to get off the train and see his family? Or did I forget some other reference to them in seasons 1 and 2?

• Roger's mother is just as good with the one-liners as her son, albeit perhaps not as intentionally. Loved Mrs. Sterling assuming Jane was a grown-up Margaret, and then, when Roger explained this was his wife, asking, "Does Mona know?" The tone of Jane's voice as she said, "Yes, she knows" suggests she's getting really tired of all the baggage that comes with this marriage.

• Still more tension between Betty and Carla, as the kids express interest in going to church every Sunday, just like Carla does.

• Also, I like that Sally's starting to not let her mother get to her as much; check out her "Geez, Louise!" after Betty yelled at her for asking too many questions about the hang-up.

• A sign of how well Lane has adjusted to this office: the funny "Who told you I was vain?" / "Please, it's obvious." exchange he has with Cooper to cajole him into attending the party.

• "How do you talk to Achilles?" "He's a janitor with a very bad memory." I have no point to make here; it just makes me laugh every time I think about it.

Once again, we're going to stick with the slightly modified version of the commenting rules for these posts, so let me repeat how it works. Until we get to 200 comments (i.e., until the comments are split into separate pages), the original rules apply (skim everything before posting to avoid annoying duplication). After 200, if you're going to ask a question, or if you're going to suggest a theory or observation that you don't think has come up yet (i.e., "I think that guy Connie from the country club bar might be Conrad Hilton" or "Do you think Joan's bloody dress was supposed to be a Jackie Kennedy analogue?"), or if you want to answer or correct something from a previous comment, I want you to do a word search (every web browser has one, usually listed as Find in the Edit menu) for some possible keywords you might be using. (In those cases, try "Hilton" or "Jackie" or "bloody.") If you don't see any of your keywords - and again remember that Blogger splits the comments into multiple pages once you get past 200, so check 'em both - then ask/opine away.

It may seem annoying or laborious for you to do this, but I want everybody to show respect for - and not waste - everyone else's time and effort, and this seems the best way to do that.

What did everybody else think?


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Fernando said...

I always try to predict ur comment b4 the jump and i finally got one!

Anonymous said...

The scene where Betty was going through Don's drawer felt very "Hitchcock".

Mauimom said...

I just kept thinking they should be playing "I Can See Clearly Now" in the background/for the fadeout.

Don't know what the dates were for its creation.

Anonymous said...

Nothing substantive to say, but in his first scene, Miss Farrell's brother looked kind of like the young Horace Goodspeed---which reminded me that a certain Benjamin Linus was born just a few months after this episode took place.

Maybe the series will end in 1970 with Don Draper running away one last time---to join the Dharma Initiative.

Dr Linda said...

Thank you Alan for clearing it up. I really didn't want to have to ask if Paul was getting ready to do what I thought he was going to do.

No thoughts of Roger's "finding" Don as a fur salesman and going to nightschool?

nancy said...

WHY on earth is the secretary who ran over the British Boss' foot still employed there-??

SandiKS said...

Agree with Linda - have been wondering how Don got to where he is so quickly and would love follow-up on Roger's comment.

Also - the picture over Pryce's left shoulder in his office in the scene he shared with Moneypenny. I think it was an ad that had a tag line something like "Saving Americans." Now, I find that ironic.

Anonymous said...

Team Bunny Boiler!

Alan Sepinwall said...

WHY on earth is the secretary who ran over the British Boss' foot still employed there-??

Probably because Roger was so grateful to see Guy sent hobbling on his way.

Fernando said...

How does Lawnmower Louise still have a job?

Alexis said...

It was interesting to see Lois was still at SC

seaver78 said...

I felt that Don's treatment of Miss Farrell's brother was a contrast to how he treated his own brother in season 1. Instead of handing him "5G" and telling him to stay the hell away, he makes sure he gives him the means to stay in touch and ask for help in the future, if needed.

But if there's any connection between the money he gives to his brother and the $5000 signing bonus that makes Don smile, I haven't figured it out yet.

Zack Smith said...

-Gah, Betty finding the box was a freak-out. And she could figure out the truth -- PETE figured out the truth. They had better have a full-on confrontation with this. For all her faults, Betty deserves the truth -- and Don has to face up to his life.

-At the beginning, Don asks Sally about her day. Bobby points out Don never asks HIM. Of course, it takes sex with a teacher for Don to show an interest in his children's lives.

-I'm still on the fence as to whether the teacher is Ms. CrazySauce or not, but she's getting clingy, and at the very least, DON could read something into their affair that's not there. The worst would be if he decides to leave Betty for her; that's another long-term committment that won't change his life for the better.

-Cooper recalled the 1929 crash while looking at photos with Roger; this season has had several parallels to the current economy, which makes me curious as to whether it'll pay off by season's end.

-Ohhh, poor Kinsey. Ironic how Don was sympathetic.

-I wondered if Don would give the brother his signing bonus, the way he did to Midge and Co. in Season One (and let's not forget the $5k he gave Adam). Had he done it again this time, he would have seemed a mite TOO charitable.

-Roger's mother still being alive kind of threw me.

-Hee hee, no one likes British Pete.

-Henry might not have called, but he has Betty's number. Bazinga! Seriously, he's got her figured out -- and if Betty goes for him, it might turn into something full-blown.

-I really don't want S-C to buy back their company -- it's too much of a cosmic reset button. If there's some way that the sale could shake up the status quo in a unique way, I'd like to see it.

-Finally: Forgot to post this last week -- an article about Draper Daniels, one of the inspirations for Don:

jayne said...

I wondered how Don had the dog tags too. Assumed he kept them when he accompanied the body back home.

I loved the look of glee on Betty's face when she finally got that drawer open. Also loved Lane Pryce's line about nobody asking him what school he attended.

I too keep waiting for the pretty school teacher to boil a bunny.

Anonymous said...

Excellent write-up, as always - thanks, Alan - you hit almost everything and then some that I wondered about.

The ONE thing that struck me was how ironic it was that it was the divorce decree, a legalistic nicety that allowed Dick to remain Don and had no relationship to an actual marital relationship, that destroyed Betty so. But, as you pointed out, she had no clue, no context, for the rest of the evidence she was seeing.

Mauimom said...

OMG how I loved "does Mona know."

I wonder how many takes of this scene they had to do in order to get one in which the actors weren't cracking up. I know I would be.

What a classic!!

Chris Littmann said...

@Alan -- Given the inevitable comparisons to The Sopranos, did you also think of Carmela Soprano's move in Mergers and Acquisitions when she took the money from the bird feed out back?

They'd both been long suspicious of what was in a place. In Betty's case, it was the drawer. In Carmela's, it was that place where the bird feed was out back. Just the first thing that popped to mind.

These last three hours should be a lot of fun.

Devin McCullen said...

When watching it, I was annoyed by having Betty sit up with the box waiting for Don, and then deciding to put it away at 2:30 in the morning. It's a type of mainpulation I really dislike - setting up a confrontation, and then having it not happen for contrived reasons.

But, given that Don was apparently never going to come home that night, I don't mind it so much. (And I know it's still contrived, but it just doesn't feel that way. Maybe I'm weird.)

The other thing that struck me about Betty finding the secret is that she has absolutely no support system for dealing with this - and she could really use one.

Caveat B said...

This episode made me think that, just as Don is chained down by contract, Betty is, too. Where is she going to go? Henry? He doesn't seem to have much more to offer than Captain Awesome. Sal, Joan, Roger, Bert, Kinsey, and Lane's wife seem like they are looking backwards for better days. Is Peggy the only one with real upside right now? But I don't see how Betty's life gets better than the one she is trapped in. And its perspectives like that which makes this show so dark, as well done as it is.

jayne said...

"Probably because Roger was so grateful to see Guy sent hobbling on his way."

I can't resist...

Guy was hobbled and sent on his way.

April said...

It seemed there were definite prominent mentions of Chinese people (proverb, limo driver) this episode. Thoughts?

Cassandra Marcella said...

I was annoyed when I read Benjamin Schwarz's essay on Mad Men in the November issue of The Atlantic.

Though I found some of his comments about Don Draper in this season versus previous ones insightful, otherwise it was smug. "People like Mad Men for the wrong reasons" - essentially.

What bugged me most was how he characterized Betty Draper being "clumsily performed" by Jones. Did he not watch the second season? After tonight's episode I don't think anyone - not even Ashton - could say January Jones can not act. Her performance was as powerful and nuanced as Hamm's. My heart was racing while her face conveyed so much. Bravo!

(he was wrong too about Bryn Mawr being the brainiest of the 7 Sisters too!)

April said...

Oh, my husband also wants to point out that Achilles' light bulbs were indeed the proper diameter for the period.

grat said...

great cinematography work when betty collapses after opening don's locked drawer. like something out of american beauty.

Garrett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Ely said...

Certainly a big deal episode with the giant revelation, but I've just got to say I do enjoy every appearance by Allison. More screen time for her, please.

Anonymous said...

Loved the lighting in the bedroom scene before Don and Betty left for the party. Bodies glowing in the light, faces (and true feelings) obscured in the shadows.

gma said...

Betty finding Don/Dick's box -- stunning. Her look at the anniversary dinner was priceless - as though she was wondering how many and what kind of lies Don has told.

And what has happened to the Conrad Hilton phone calls? I kept waiting for the calls to destroy Don's cover.

Paul's lost commercial/pitch: People in a room, the Western Union guy enters and says "telegram" and as Achilles says: "all the men turn their heads." But Alan was right on about Paul and his invented persona.

We are in the Fall of 1963 -- coming up: Margaret's wedding, on November 23rd ....

Stephen S Power said...

I love the Western Union theme, "You can't frame a phone call." As Don's box of photos and documents show, there are some things that are best disappeared. And of course Western Union recently ceased their telegraph operations as technology overtook them. You can archive an email

BTW, how can you not see who's going to buy Sterling Cooper? It's Duck's company. He'll want to be put in charge. And now Don has a contract.

The Aqua Net commercial was too wordy. Here's a much simpler way of doing it. Aqua Net lady in the front passenger seat; no Aqua Net lady behind her. During the drive the lady in front smiles, enjoying the fresh air. Meanwhile the lady in back looks at her with increasing jealousy as her hair blows worse and worse, unable to be controlled, until at the end she puts on the frumpy head scarf, defeated.

Re 40th anniversaries, during a round table discussion on TV of the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, someone made the astute point that 40th anniversaries were more celebrated that 50th ones because most of the people who were involved in an event are still alive for the 40th, but not for the 50th. Clearly, Cooper and Sterling can hear the cold footstep of death approaching.

Given that the janitor's name, Achilles, gives erudite Paul the idea, I have to think that his idea had something to do with the Trojan horse, the worst message ever received.

Melanism said...

Is this the first episode we've seen Lois since the incident with the mower? How does she still have a job?

Anonymous said...

May not be the best quote of the night, but one that speaks to Pryce's comfort with The States: "Since we've been here, not one person has asked me where I went to school."

Obviously, he is sick of class conscious England, where all is judged based on your forebears.

Totally agree on the analysis that this episode is all about perceptions and not seeing things the same way.

The testimonial to Don's humanitarianism waas the exclamation point to the whole thing. Betty may be defeated but now she knows her husband and their life together is a sham.


Blair Waldorf said...

Ok, maybe the jury is still out on whether Ms. Farrell is cuckoo bananas but she definitely doesn't know the rules.

She introduced him to her brother? She followed him on the train because there was no other way to get in touch with him... when he didn't call her? Um. Yeah. Ms, Farrell, I don't know how else to tell you this but... he's just not that into you. And you need to calm down.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And what has happened to the Conrad Hilton phone calls? I kept waiting for the calls to destroy Don's cover.

Miss Farrell mentioned that Don's service had forwarded a message from Connie to her house. Clearly, Don has plenty of experience at making sure Betty doesn't get calls on nights when he's supposed to be home but isn't.

Garrett said...

Things that give you rare insight into Don Draper's character: dementia, epilepsy and finding the key to the desk drawer.

In a less squicky "Maidenform" callback, I thought Betty's uncomfortable look during Roger's introduction mirrored Don's unease when Sally applauded him at the Memorial Day country-club event.

And it's nice to know someone besides Jimmy Barrett noticed Don and Betty look like the bride and groom on the wedding cake.

Pamela Jaye said...

hopefully before anyone else gets to it, I'd like to note that Don has gotten himself an answering service - so that if Connie calls, Betty won't suspect.
Problem solved (I think)

Lisa said...

Sometimes at the end of an episode of "Mad Men," I feel like I've been staring at an object for so long my head starts to hurt. So, in no particular order, random thoughts:

1. OK, so S-C's up for sale. Does that mean Don's contract goes null and void, thus removing his foot from the trap (but not the $5K from the valise)?

2. I'm now blanking on where Duck is (Grey or DDB?), but I wonder if the S-C sale is how that slimy dog-abandoner returns to the picture.

3. I think Don has left Betty with no choice. It's time she call Alfred Hitchcock for a job. While she's out in Hollywood, she can look up the former Mrs. Draper and they can have lunch.

4. I think Miss Farrell is going to get back at Don for springing her brother go by becoming his first truly effective stalker (despite how quickly he dispatched Bobbie in S2).

5. So...who was on that hangup call anyway? Weird old Connie would have said something, and it was a little early in the evening for him anyway.

6. I'll bet Lane dumps Mrs. Bucket back in London and sticks with the Yanks somehow. I think he's come to love the Colonies, and I'd kind of like to see him stick around.

7. I like how Paul's greatest idea emerges in front of a guy named Achilles. Paul seems to get so close to success than it all slips away. Hence, the...heel.

8. Oh, and that next-to-last scene of Betty sitting on the tub in that gown? Breathtakingly gorgeous.

Zack Smith said...

Stephen S. Power wrote:
"BTW, how can you not see who's going to buy Sterling Cooper? It's Duck's company. He'll want to be put in charge. And now Don has a contract."

Jeezum Crow, that would be AWESOME. What a great power play, the perfect revenge. And it would put Don at a company where his superior hates him, and Pete and Peggy are appreciated.

Not sure if Duck is that obsessed with Don to pull this off, but that would be a killer twist.

JoeInVegas said...

Wasn’t that Sal’s bag lunch that Paul took the apple?

Jape77 said...

Trying to figure out how Don has his old Dick Whitman dog tags. Did Adam include them in the box of photos he mailed before he hung himself?

That was my guess, and makes the most sense: They would have been returned to the family with the body, and Adam no doubt kept them along with his other few keepsakes of his older brother.

Alan, I'm surprised you didn't discuss the themes of memory and change (though admittedly this ep was chockablock full of themes) ... Paul's forgetting the best idea he ever had, Mrs. Sterling the Elder forgetting the Waldorf had moved.

Other than 'things aren't what they appear to be', change is probably THE central motif of the show, and here, on the cusp of what WE know is about to change, we had numerous reminders of lost worlds, from the Sterling-Coo of the Roaring 20s to, hell, ancient Greece.

As for the Brits bailing early, and what was the whole point -- if Weiner and Co. decide to skip ahead another 2-3 years inbetween seasons, at least they'll have gotten their 'British Invasion' in ...

just a thought

Pamela Jaye said...

I'd like to now add my wish to find out how Roger "found" Don and how Don got from a guy getting off the train, possibly to selling used cars (?) to being an Ad Man. There's a big gap there that interests me.

As for what Paul was about to do, it's either my obliviousness or my naivete that made me totally miss that.

I do, however, love that Peggy was able to take Paul's comment and run it into a campaign.

I was also reminded of Betty's last run-in with her washing machine...

As for Sally, I was worried that her last little comment would send mommy round the bend. In my house it would have. Happily (or not) Betty is too much in her own little world to care.

MTA said...

I liked how the laundry basket falling off the bed seemed to represent Betty's will power of confronting Don failing. She just simply didn't care anymore. I also liked how she ALMOST told him off when he called but remained the timid child not willing to call out her "superior" which Sally seems inching closer to doing with Betty.

Don Draper said...

Memo to self:

Never shake hands w/ Paul Kinsey after he's been drinking alone.


Anonymous said...

"Look how things turned out for him [Caesar]" -- the analogies to Rome seemed apt for this episode. Roger and Bert, the names on the building, were seeming incredibly superannuated, peevish about the upcoming party and waxing nostalgic about the past. Don's at the height of his public powers, laureled and heralded as he approaches the podium, but we've never been so aware of how far he has to fall. The question is, who's going to wield the proverbial knife? Betty? Pete? Suzanne? Bert?

Annette said...

I thought that Peggy had stayed at the office in hiding and had stolen Kinsey's idea off his desk while he was in his drunken stupor/blackout. Of course - who was to say he wouldn't have remembered it anyhow. But I thought a lot of fuss was made about whether or not she was still there working.

Stephen S Power said...

Pamela Jaye

Here are your clues as to what Paul was going to do:

1. Office door closed.
2. Picture of ladies in their underwear.
3. Towel.
4. Leaning back in his chair and pulling his zipper down.

Re his forgetting his idea, remember what Alvy Singer said after sex with Annie Hall: "As Balzac said, 'There goes another novel.'"

Betty said...

Any idea what relevance the book Betty was reading in the tub has? I'm not familiar with it.

dylanfan said...

Curious if there is any more to come from the old photo of the woman and Roger's "remember her?" to Bert ... Probably just recalling a secretary from the early days.

When did drugs become available for better control of epilepsy?

Cassandra Marcella said...

I also wondered if at the anniversary party Conrad Hilton might say or reveal something that would clue Betty into Don's lies regarding his late night or all night absences.

Anonymous said...

Smiled when Moneypenny said "London calling, Mr. Ford." Would have been a WWII callback for the Brits, but also a sly reference to the punk-killed-disco beatdown the second half of the decade is about to put on the first.

Anonymous said...

How could Betty not figure out at the very least that Don is not Don, and is Dick? The back of the photos say, "Adam and Dick," etc. She has to put together at least that Don has gone by another name. The whole story would be hard to put together. (Didn't Pete make some calls to his connected cronies to find out that Draper is AWOL?) I hope that Betty calls Anna and just gets the real deal. She's never going to get truth form Don/Dick. He'll run first.

Anonymous said...

I loved the bombshell moment in this episode, but I am sorry to say that I never believe that the moment is incongruous with the Don Draper character and that is unfortunate. A man who is so concerned with his past, and with protecting even the most inconsequential details of his personal life to both his coworkers and wife would never ever leave those things simply in a desk drawer at home.

Scimommy said...

Betty reacted to the divorce decree with more dismay than to the evidence that her husband's real name is Dick. Seems backwards but is consistent with Betty's character.

Whether Miss Farrell is crazy or not, she is dangerous. She doesn't respect the boundaries that his previous mistresses respected. And I wonder what the heck is going to happen when her brother calls Don.

The episodes are just ratcheting up tension. I am afraid they will keep it up until the end the season and end without a "resolution". The wait until Season 4 will be unbearable.

Devin McCullen said...

Oh yeah, Peggy burping on the dictaphone and then apologizing to the secretary really made me laugh. (Although that sort of illustrates why I'm pretty sure she didn't steal Paul's idea - she's just too innately nice to be that underhanded.)

Blair Waldorf said...

Oh, and after Peggy's brilliance here, let's all take a moment to remember that Peggy is getting paid a lot less than Kinsey.

groovekiller said...


The other day, you mentioned in a post about something you were considering using as your "As soon as I..." comment for this episode, but you nixed it because it was too puerile.

My guess was that it was "as soon as I close my office door."

Do I win a prize?

LOTUS said...

I don't think anyone else has answered the dogtags question. When the real Don Draper was killed, I believe Dick Whitman reached over and took the tags off of him. They came up again when the real Mrs. Draper came by the car place. I think he got them out and said they belonged to her.

Anonymous said...

"The Group" is about, among other things, well-educated young women (Vassar grads) struggling in the modern world. (It's still a lot of fun to read.) Betty, of course, would have been drawn to it.

Anonymous said...

I found it perfect for those that complain about how nothing ever really happens on this show that Betty would finally discover Don's past life, but not confront him about it. However, I can't imagine she'll sit on this information for a long while, but I don't want to get too speculative. I'm just impressed with January Jones's acting abilities during the drawer reveal. She said so much with her eyes and it kind of proved Ashton Kutcher was an ass for saying she didn't have acting abilities.

Also, laughed out loud at Peggy's burp into Olive's tape recorder, but moreso with Mrs. Cooper's confusion about Mona/Jane.

Anonymous said...

I was yelling at the tv when Paul was celebrating, drinking more, sitting down on the sofa, "WRITE IT DOWN. WRITE IT DOWN."

But he didn't listen.

Peggy doesn't need to steal Paul's ideas - she has even better ones of her own. There's enough going on without looking for more intrigue than there is.

christy said...

So shallow, but I looooved the necklace Betty was wearing in the final scene. Gorge.

Shall we start calling Lois "Rasputin" like we did with Mikhail/Patchy on LOST?

Pamela Jaye said...

I thought perhaps Paul was going to look for Peggy's Achilles heel, but that would have taken longer than an *actual* idea.

Mart said...

Anyone else impressed that Roger was able to give a well-spoken but entirely wisecrack-free laudation to Don? Man, those ad men are good at talking.

I also found it interesting that Don said that Suzanne the teacher was the only person he knew that truly loved her job. She is a very kind, giving person -- to children, to her brother. But on the other hand, for her lover it sounds like she is willing to leave a path of destruction.

I loved "we're hopping the pond, so be sure all the flowers are in the vase (pronounced vaz)."

Pamela Jaye said...

@Stephen S Powter

of all you saw and noticed, all I noticed was women in their underwear. And all I thought of was Marilyn/Jackie.
If I saw a towel, I perhaps thought - boy it's hot in that office in the middle of the night.

I really do have to adjust the brightness on my TV.

But at least I could almost read the dogtags tonight.


btw, why is it, when people at S/C are staying up late, working, trying to come up with an idea, they do it in the office? (Especially if they are single?)

Sarah said...

I loved how Betty seemed tempted to confront over the phone with her angry "What's wrong!?!" then thought better of it.

It would seem she wanted that conversation to be forever ... perhaps she should have sent a telegram.

Anonymous said...

Was that the Singing Nun playing the background when Don met the schoolteacher (aka second-string Midge) for the first time?

Mauimom said...

Was that a Hermes scarf that Peggy was wearing in the Aqua Net ad mock up?

Anonymous said...

the dog tags being in the box - adam gave him.
it makes sense - that pete saw them also and it is why he was able to know dick whitman was killed in Korea

Anonymous said...

Sorry another thought-- Don having to sign the contract was not about Hilton but about selling the company.
As the UK owners had been burned once before by Don not having a contract

Mo Ryan said...

Never shake hands w/ Paul Kinsey after he's been drinking alone.


Pamela Jaye said...

yup Singing Nun - #1 hit in 1963, like SukiYaki was, although we heard it in an earlier ep in an earlier year, didn't we?

Anonymous said...

It sounded like "Dominique" playing in the background to me too. The story of the real singing nun is a sad one, but not sure if it's particularly relevant to the episode, other than as an audio "prop" for the era.

Yes, Betty's life does seem to run parallel to some of those in "The Group", particularly the girl who married the playwrite who was never home and always cheating on her. She went insane.

Do we know why Don is stashing money? Is he keeping some on the side in case he decides to take off for good?


Anonymous said...

Was the elaborate Aqua Net presentation another small reference to the Kennedy assassination? Thinking about the guy in the back seat wearing the headscarf as Kennedy. There seems to be one tiny retelling of that event in every episode this season.

Chipmunk said...

The pissing oneself thing still comes up from time to time. When the teacher's brother was talking to Don about epilepsy, he says, "...but then when I come to with piss in my pants, they stare at me like I'm from another planet."

Remember, the real Don Draper pointed out Dick Whitman had pissed himself, which caused Don to drop the lighter that caused the explosion that killed Don Draper. So when the kid said that, the new Don Draper made a great face that really said a lot more than any dialogue could have conveyed.

Also, that was the last straw for Freddy Rumson, when he pissed his pants. Don didn't join in the laughing about it with the other chipmunks, though.

One of the 1,000 reasons why this show is so great, I think is that it has so many little rewards like that where you can say, "that moment was interesting because remember in Season 1 when...?"

Anonymous said...

P.S. About what Paul was doing, I thought that he was just smoking pot, since they towelled up the door the first time we saw them do that, and it looked like Peggy was sniffing a bit outside his door on her way out.

Great post again Alan. :-)


arrabbiata said...

If Lane's wife doesn't like New York, I can't imagine what she'd have thought about the idea of relocating to India. (could he be fearing the return of that plan if SC is sold?) I had the same thought expressed by someone earlier, that Lane likes the absence of the entrenched British class system implied by the school question. But I'm also feeling that is one of the specific things that his wife dislikes. She acts like someone with an upper class background (I'm thinking higher than her husband's) and in New York no one knows or cares, leaving her with the indignity of waiting in line for a taxi.

When Peggy paused outside Paul's office before leaving, I wondered if she avoided going in because she didn't want another unpleasant confrontation with him, or if she suspected exactly what he was up to.

I remember one occasion in my college years, getting an evening call from the editor of a college publication for which I occasionally wrote, a list of several topics I would be responsible for. And this call came in after I had consumed a fair amount of alcoholic beverages. But unlike Paul I had the sense to know I'd better write it all down before returning to the party. He's not getting much sympathy from me in this case.

Dee said...

I can't believe that Lois still works there!

Not only is Ms. Farrell cuckoo bananas but she is also the most annoying character that has ever been on this show. She and Don have no chemistry, either.

So what can Betty do now? For all she knows, Don will try and kill her if she confronts him. And she has three kids with this guy.

And yes, January Jones is so brilliant in this role! It's a shame how under-appreciated she is.

Mauimom said...

Just re-watching the episode with my husband, who said, at the driving-the-brother to-Bedford scene, "hasn't Don learned that things never go well for him in cars?"

Anonymous said...

Vicki said...

Did anyone else see the ring of keys in Don's bathrobe as a reference to Bluebeard? Say what you will about English 11A metaphors but this one was great. Poor Betty had no idea what was in store, using the one forbidden key to open up the drawer full of bones and blood. Thanks for being such a smart and thoughtful bunch of people-I love this site!

Anonymous said...

I think another theme of this episode is the Achilles' heel, or the personality weaknesses of the characters.

Two obvious ones come to mind:
- Paul has a tough time coming up with an ingenious idea for a pitch, and just when creativity strikes, he gets drunk and forgets to write it down.
- Betty finally gains access to Don's locked drawer and all the contents of his secret past. But what does she do with that knowledge? Instead of confronting Don, she is defeated and depressed, just like she was in Seasons 1 and 2.

As for Ms. Farrell, I still think she's crazy cakes -- or at least, not emotionally stable enough to handle an adulterous relationship.

There was an interesting contrast in this episode in the way Henry Francis and Betty interacted and the way Don and Ms. Farrell interacted. Henry called Betty out on her mixed signals, while Don seemed to be getting sucked into Ms. Farrell's emotional turbulence. All their scenes together this episode were so dark and heavy, visually and emotionally, without the lightness (thinking mostly of Midge here) and lushness that characterized Don's other affairs.

Ms. Farrell is too lonely and needy and sad. What is she expecting from this affair anyway? She keeps talking like she knows what the boundaries are, but her behavior -- introducing Don to her brother, catching him on the train, and I'm betting my money on her calling the house -- indicates that she wants much more than an affair.

Oy, this will not end well for Don. I hope Betty leaves him again this time and he gets stuck with Ms. Crazy Cakes.

Manton said...

From Anon, "I loved the bombshell moment in this episode, but I am sorry to say that I never believe that the moment is incongruous with the Don Draper character and that is unfortunate. A man who is so concerned with his past, and with protecting even the most inconsequential details of his personal life to both his coworkers and wife would never ever leave those things simply in a desk drawer at home."

But in 1963, why would he assume she would try and find it? And it's locked in his office - that's pretty safe. We even saw Betty try and pick it (unsuccessfully) with a knife earlier this season. It seems rather well and safe until he forgets the keys.

It's a shame, too. He made it through the washer. Almost home free....

And I'm still eagerly awaiting the Duck/Peggy fallout.

berkowit28 said...

"A man who is so concerned with his past, and with protecting even the most inconsequential details of his personal life to both his coworkers and wife would never ever leave those things simply in a desk drawer at home."

Well, I'm not so sure. That's his Achilles heel, so to speak. His arrogance. He wants these things close - they need to be, especially the emergency "run away" money that might be needed at any time. He's so certain that he can control the situation: he doesn't care that his wife surely knows about the locked drawer, since what's his is his and she can just stew. He's not worried that she might someday get ahold of the key, because he's so smart that he could never let the key go astray in the way that he did.

The thoughtlessness itself is arrogant. The seed has been planted such a long time ago (the drawer, and Betty's attempts to open it). Weiner must have had this planned for a very long time.

Unknown said...

The contract does make sense as part of an effort to sell. It was only pushed for after the Brits' choice of men, Guy, got mowed down. Additionally, Pryce is very cagey when Don asks why it took so long for them to cut a bonus check. And St. John mentions trying to start a bidding war, implying that they had at least one interested party already.

It's nice to have some office intrigue, and I have faith that a sale will be handled in a way that doesn't merely reset the deck.

January Jones was fantastic in this episode.

Paul B. said...

Don having to sign the contract was not about Hilton but about selling the company.

I was going to suggest the same thing: that the Brits, not Hilton, wanted the contract. Having the star Creative Director locked in for three years surely raises the re-sale value of Sterling Cooper.

Anonymous said...

Alan wrote: Like Don and Peggy, I winced in sympathy at that story.

That scene reminded me of this from Seinfeld's The Heart Attack episode, where (from the script):
"Jerry's laying in his bed. He wakes suddenly, picks up a pen and scribbles something down on a pad. He laughs, shakes his head, then goes back to sleep, laughing."

As you'll recall, like Paul he forgets what he wrote but when his memory is jogged later, Jerry
"(Pulls the note out of his pocket) That's it! That's it! Flaming globes of Sigmond! Flaming Globes of Sigmond! That's my note! tha'ts what I thought was so funny?! ..That's not funny.. There's nothing funny about that.

Maybe Paul's idea was more along those lines.

berkowit28 said...

Somewhat OT: I wonder if this was mentioned during the first season, before I got here. I know it hasn't appeared in this year's 3000-odd comments, but maybe it's old hat.

Doesn't Jon Hamm, at least in his Don Draper guise, look and sound very much like Gregory Peck? I can't believe I never noticed the resemblance before. Last night, I saw a film of Peck's I'd never seen before, an early one from 1949 called Twelve O'clock High. Peck is in stiff-lip and stern mode, and the resemblance is amazing.

Even though it was a wartime movie, where he appears the whole time in uniform, he was the right age and really looks and sounds like Hamm. or rather vice versa. This may be the wrong era for that type, or Hamm would ought certainly have a big career as a big screen leading man ahead of him. Maybe he still does.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see more of Henry Francis. Is this guy really that much better than Don, or is this a fake out?

He seems to be as intelligent and classy as Don, but without the arrogance and emotional baggage. And he doesn't play games in relationships, whereas Don usually likes to hold all the cards.

Team Betty and Henry Francis!

Mapeel said...

Listening to Roger's recitation of Don's professional awards reached Entourage-strength insanity. Nothing that we have seen of Don is that good.
Outside of his personal life, he's just not that creative.

It was also funny for him to say to Paul, "See, things always works out."

smartypants said...

poor Betty - what do you do with the power of knowledge? With her need for perfection, I would have thought maybe she would make a copy of the key, keepone for herself, ask Don: will knowing what is in this drawer kill my vision of who I am and who we are? She needed time to process whether she really wanted to open that box. It would be interesting to see is she still went for it knowing that it would alter her well presented reality.

About the money in the drawer: I would imagine it is there so Don can bolt whenever he is feeling the need to run.

Perhaps Betty should have out the key back, but taken all the money. Let Don sweat about that turn of events!

dronkmunk said...

Interestingly, Pete and Betty looked into the box and saw different things. Pete gleaned that Don was an impostor back in season 1, and Betty interpreted the contents to mean that Don had a previous marriage her was hiding from her. Another case of two people looking at the same things, but taking different things away from it.

Rob Biesenbach said...

I stepped out of the room for a second and missed a bit, but I was almost certain that Paul's whole encounter with "Achilles" was a dream/booze-induced hallucination. But I guess it became clear it was real when Paul later said Achilles had a bad memory (meaning, I suppose, Paul later grilled him about his great idea). But I don't want to start another "was it real or was it memorex" debate. Seems everyone's certain it happened.

I was touched by Don's understanding of Paul's dilemma. And I thought at the end Paul seemed truly respectful of Peggy's gifts. That was my take, at least.

And I agree with one of the anonymous posters here. His idea probably sucked anyway. As a bit of a writer myself, I've found drunkenness almost never produces great ideas.

Bob in SA said...

As soon as I heard the company was for sale, I had that light bulb moment, "So THAT'S why they were so insistent on Don signing the non-compete."

I don't think Duck is necessarily crossing his t's behind the scenes in insisting upon the non-compete, but it does make you wonder. I don't think he's smart enough to be pulling strings like that.

And don't think Duck is that fond of Pete and Peggy. They're just pawns.

I disagree with most of the assessments of "poor Betty"; she hasn't grown as a person one-wit, and I don't see anything here that shows she is going to any time soon. She was child-like about staging the confrontation that never was, until it was time for her to go to bed. I agree the easiest way to get down to the truth is taking a flight to Long Beach, but she'll never do it. She'll just resent Don until the Bunny Boiler does something wacko enough to light the fuse on everyone.

Black people need to go to church every week, but white people don't? More unintended display of racism by Betty?
And why honor Don as a humanitarian. He's just a money maker who's never done anything for anyone but himself.

Finally, interesting that Betty wasn't upset at all about the money in the drawer. Her dad probably did the same thing.

Mark S. said...

I loved Cooper's comment: "I wouldn't have told Roger if I had planned on it remaining a secret".

Unknown said...

I think Miss Farrell gets a little too much grief. Though I think it probably was her who called an hung up (and probably felt guilty to hear Sally's voice), I think most of what is unsettling us is simply that she is very in touch with her emotions. Don's flings with Midge and Rachel both ended when they wouldn't join him on an impulsive, spur-of-the moment trip. I have the feeling Miss Farrell would go with him. (Also, they've clearly achieved a level of domesticity with Don sleeping there most nights and bringing her baked goods to work for breakfast).

I found Danny's comment that Don is arrogant and hates to have his plans ruined profound. Time and again Don has acted petulant when something has interrupted his vision (be it a client or a shaggy beatnik).

I glimpsed a shadow of the American Airlines pitch at the party where we were primed for Don Draper greatness and left unfulfilled. I'm straining the thread, but there the pitch was left unseen because the client had made up their mind already. I wonder if we missed Don's words here because he can say nothing at this point to persuade Betty.

Nicole said...

I have noticed that Don is looking more and more worn down as this season goes along. I presume it's some kind of comment on Don's mojo fading, and lapses in judgment increasing. This affair with the teacher is one of the lapses, and we can see the train wreck happening, and forgetting about his keys to the drawer is another. At the beginning of this series, Don seemed unflappable, kinda like Caesar, and we all know what happened to that guy.

Pirate Alice said...

I really believe the teacher, Suzanne, is the one who called the house and hung up. She called there before when she was drunk, why not now? Obviously she'd lie about to Don's face.

I too was shouting at my screen as Kinsey sat on the couch with his bottle, "WRITE IT DOWN!" I KNEW that was going to end badly for him.

I'm so glad Betty is learning the truth about Don. I feel like the only person who is deeply disgusted by his actions. I want to like Don, but the more I watch the more I hate him as a person. I kinda hope that Suzanne is cuckoo bananas. Her line about not caring about his marriage or job and just that he's with her... Honey, he's not really with you if he's married. I feel there's much more to learn about her in coming episodes. I think she may be the key or at least the first step in Don's undoing.

Susie said...

"There are plenty of moments in 'The Color Blue' where two characters look at the same situation and see different things." True, however, there are also many moments where the characters are feeling blue...Betty after her frustration (so many) and not knowing how to deal with it all, Miss Farrell and Don over their respective brothers, Paul for his inadequacies, Roger & Coop over what's happened to their agency, Lane and his wife for opposite reasons....I don't know why I mention...just another way of looking at things.

Devin McCullen said...

I do think Paul had a real idea - like gma said:

Paul's lost commercial/pitch: People in a room, the Western Union guy enters and says "telegram" and as Achilles says: "all the men turn their heads."

That's a variation on the classic old E.F. Hutton ads. Someone would mention that they use E.F. Hutton as their broker, and everyone else would stop talking to listen.

Barry Obama said...

is it another possible sub plot that don is gay with sal?

Anonymous said...

couple things:
telling that the clients in this episode were Western Union and AquaNet-- the former out of fashion and the latter on its way.

did Betty actually believe Don when he said he'd been with Hilton ("I told you about it." -- "I must have forgotten.") or was she just throwing up her hands?

the teacher may or may not be nutty, but Don is doing a great job of raising the emotional stakes all by himself. "I want to do this for you." nobody says that to a f-buddy.

and why did he leave that key in his pajamas this time? did he want to be caught? is he that cuckoo bananas for the teacher?

i am starting to wonder where next season will pick up. i would love to see a jump to 1966-- at the end of Don's contract.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sad for Betty, now more than ever - she finally got to open the damn drawer, looked in the box, and still doesn't know the full story. There was so much build-up to that moment, and what does she know now? Just that her husband was married before he met her. In itself this is terribly vexing for her of course, but I have a feeling Don will be able to smooth things over and she'll never know the truth about Dick Whitman.

HaroldsMaude said...

late posting, so a few follow ups to posts already made...

I agree that Don would have had the secret info locked at home. Yes, due to arrogance - and remember that he sees Betty as a child. If he simply puts a lock on his drawer, all the children won't get to it.

I didn't see the comment about going to church racist at all. Simply different between the place that church plays for African Americans and (some) WASPS. I smiled at Sally's mention of their going to church just on Christmas. Yep, just like in our WASPy household in the 1960s.

And, I don't see Betty as defeated by the newly learned information. I see her as a lionness waiting for her opportunity. Those looks in bed, at the table, sitting in bathroom, at the dinner - she was about to vomit she is so mad and feeling betrayed. I'm frankly on the edge of my seat to see what she does.

And count me in the camp that believes that Peggy a) did NOT take Paul's idea - he's just not that good and she's just not that desperate and b) stopped short of entering his office because she just knew what he might be up to (pun intended).

Nevertheless, I kind of liked the tenderness and sympathy she showed to Paul.

Another great episode. Sad there are only 3 left.

rhys said...

He could have easily taken the tags when he accompanied the body back home. Remember, he was on the train that took it back and Adam saw him. I doubt his family would have even realized there were supposed to be dog tags in the box, or even necessarily opened the box knowing it was just burnt remains.

Also, my theory is that Paul's idea was that everyone turns their head when someone announces a telegram.

I find it hard to believe that Sterling/Cooper will buy back the firm. PPL will be looking to sell the firm for more then what they paid for, which is why they increased its profitability. So to buy it back would mean Sterling/Cooper lose money. I wonder if Gray could buy them. Not sure if Gray is large enough, but could be.

Anonymous said...

Picking nits at a great series and a great episode, but I was slightly surprised to see a W.E.B Griffin novel from the 1980's rather prominently placed over Betty's shoulder during the scene where she goes through Dick's box o' treasures. :)

domino87 said...

The episode title and Ms Farrel's question to Don totally reminds of the Season 3 Homicide:LOTS episode "Colors". That episode started out with Bollander talking about the color green, and whether or not the green he see's is the same as the green that everyone else see's. It ends with the Bayliss' cousin (who may have been unconsciously racially motivated when he shot a stranger on his property) asking him to adjust the color on his TV set because the "green doesn't look right".

Zac F. said...

I've got a feeling that Don's/Dick's life is going to be turned upside down at the end of the season, with the double bombshell of Betty finding out who he really is and Sterling Cooper being sold out from under them.

Since we know that SC is up for sale, I wonder if Conrad Hilton could buy it and use it as his own advertising agency/PR firm for the Hilton hotel chain?

When Betty threw the bathrobe in the wash with the keys in the pocket, I thought for sure she wouldn't find them and Don would escape.

KarenX said...

I wonder how much money Betty is used to having. There had to be thousands and thousands of dollars stashed away in that drawer, and she didn't even pick up a single stack. Nope. Went straight for the shoebox. Maybe it was common for people to keep money around the house, but I distinctly remember her wanting to buy something expensive in the first season (a summer home?) and Don demurring because of "funds." Well, here's the family fortune!

The other thing that struck me was how Mr. Ford in London addressed Pryce as a good "lad" for doing the dirty work. It sounded the same to me as when Betty calls Carla her "girl." Absolutely Pryce wants to stay in the United States. I do look forward to him hopefully taking a stand against the home company, which clearly thinks of him as much of a toad as Mrs. Pryce thinks Secretary Hooker is.

domino87 said...

If there was an award for "Couple with the best accent" the winner would be Mr and Mrs Pryce, no doubt.

Love, love, love the fact they ended the episode before Dons big speech.

Anonymous said...

The hang could have been either the teacher or Henry Francis that's why neither adult showed concern for it.

The dog tags - usually people would have two and if they were killed in action one set would be taken and used for record keeping and forms and then given to the family and the other left with the body for id and once home the mortuary would probably remove it and give it to the family.

Betty was all set to slam Don for the other marriage but he ended up not coming home and she lost her mojo to do it - i still think she might the way she stared at him at the dinner.

Bert mentioned that he hated those parties because he thought of them as funerals since 40 years was the end of life in the ad game and guess who was the man of the dinner Don Drapper - foreshadowing...... - maybe we were witnessing his funeral and it is all downhill for the the last 3 episodes.

Wes covington said...

As someone who has a seizure disorder, I am grateful for the changes in the way the condition is treated now as opposed to 1963. While it still seems a disease not talked about much, it was hard for people with seizure disorders (aka epilepsy) to find work.

When I started fulltime work in 1988, I got into a heated argument with my mother about whether to reveal it to the doctor giving me a physical for my job. She was afraid I wouldn't be given the job. (I was and it's not an issue at all and my seizures fortunately are well-controlled.)

Unfortunately, one of the ways medical personnel use to determine if someone had a seizure (rather than just passing out from low blood pressure) is to ask if the patient soiled themselves in some way. This doesn't do much to help out with the image of people with seizure disorders.

There have been several people in my family with seizure disorders (and I drew the lucky gene!) and some of them did have a lot of trouble finding work.

Someone with seizures that don't respond to medication would probably have some problems with memory or cognitive development, although Miss Farrell's brother didn't seem too bad in that respect.

Susan said...

Don displayed a tenderness with Miss Farrell that we have not seen with Betty, Midge, Bobbie or Rachel. On the train he apologized to her not once, but twice. And it seemed heartfelt.

Sally's "geez Louise" was great. Best line of the whole show.

I have really come to like Lane and hope he sticks around. Brilliant how he handled Bert Cooper.

David Hauser said...

Ms. Ferrell is a return for Don to the more complex, well rounded woman that he flirted with in season 1 (the Jewish department store owner). The more complex and interesting the woman, the better a place Don is with himself. When he was at the lowest or most lost, he was strong arming the flight attendant into sleeping with him (in the beginning of season 3).

With that in mind, Don genuinely seems to have found a woman in Ms. Ferrall that embodies some of the qualities he is after in himself (generosity, loyalty, generativity).

The problem with having an affair with a "healthier" more well-rounded woman like Ms. Ferrall is that she won't take only part of Don. She is secure enough to go after what she wants. I don't think she's koo-koo bananas, but I think she will blow their cover in the next 3 episodes (likely the finale, although such cliffhanger would be a cliche that Weiner would never touch). Rather than koo-koo, I belive her "psychological healthiness" will force her to demand more of the man she is in relationship with.

With Don attracted to a more complex woman (than previous affairs), he will get a more complex/dramatic outcome when all comes to the surface in the next three episodes.

Anonymous said...

"No thoughts of Roger's "finding" Don as a fur salesman and going to nightschool?"

I found it ironic that Tony Soprano's late father's "goomar" (Polly Bergan), also sold furs.

Unknown said...

Wow. Holy shit. That last ~15 mins, seemed like I was feeling an echo of Betty’s feelings inside my own body. Tension. A kinda of nihilistic resignation. Depression, just giving up. The anti-climax when she waits ready for the ultimate confrontation and he never comes home. Knowing you have the ultimate weapon but that it would explode everything. I could imagine her telling him she knows in the car and how that would fuck him up for his award, or even that she might blow up with “What the fuck??!!” out of control emotion during the ceremony. (But no, Betty never loses it in public; she’s always a lady when the world is watching.)

Can anyone who’s disliked her not have felt for her when, looking particularly child-like and pretty, she discovered that box containing the artifacts of all Don’s secrets?

I did not see that coming.

Of course, as Alan said, she doesn't yet know what to really make of what she found. But if Pete figured it out maybe she will too eventually. Though, yeah, she did look defeated; but that revelation/discovery will *have* to come out. No one could hold that back.

(Re: her call to Henry Francis, a member of my household pointed out that at that point she was more interested in deducing whether a lover of Don's was calling the house--ruling out a call from Francis--then reconnecting with him. Might be her Don radar was beeping. That said, yeah, I think Francis is getting a tad disillusioned, but he'd still be there if she gave him the green light.)

--But everything is completely different now, b/c she saw the box. !!!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Kinsey's lost idea: There was a widely read study made during the '60s of college students who wrote exams under the influence of drugs. They often self-assessed their performance on the written exams as brilliant whereas the graded results were just the opposite. The fact that Paul thought he had a creative breakthrough while intoxicated does not necessarily mean that it was so.

Oz said...

Alan: I think you're missing a golden opportunity (or at least I think it looks golden) to title your post about this week's episode:

"Dick in a Box"


berkowit28 said...

I think that Paul's dumbstruck look at Peggy at the end of their meeting with Don was *mostly* one of admiration ("How does she do it?"), but there may be some regular envy there ("There she goes, getting all the credit again, from what *I* said") that may rebound with anger later on. For now, he's relieved she's saved the day, but later, who knows?

I do not see Betty as being defeated, as some of you do, just frustrated that she has not - yet- had the opportunity to have it out with Don. Her looks are daggers, at home, during the car ride, and especially at the gala dinner.

LA said...

Strange that the deed in the box was for a property with a Long Beach address. Anna Draper lived in San Pedro. They are neighboring cities separated today by a bridge that didn't open until November 1963. Seems odd that there would be a mistake like that, does Don possibly own more property in California? Just thinking outloud.

I'm delighted Lois is still on the show. She cracks me up.

Miranda said...

@mauimom -- You said:

"Mauimom said...
I just kept thinking they should be playing "I Can See Clearly Now" in the background/for the fadeout.

Don't know what the dates were for its creation."

The song was released in 1972, but it wouldn't be the first time "Mad Men" has used anachronistic music. In a season 2 episode, they had a montage of Betty, Joan and Peggy getting dressed for the day with the Decemberists' "The Infanta" playing, and that song was released in 2005.

Unknown said...

I'm about 80% sure that the jazz album Kinsey puts on before he, uh, does his business, is Kind of Blue - Miles Davis. I thought this before I found out the title of the episode, if that does anything for you...

Additionally, Betty's "What's wrong? WHAT'S WRONG??!!!" was some of the most stilted dialogue I've had the displeasure of seeing in a while. I don't know whether to credit January Jones (who I believed was a bad actress since I saw her on Showtime's Huff a few years ago) or Kater Gordon (who has been relieved of her duties as writer.)

Anonymous said...

And, I don't see Betty as defeated by the newly learned information. I see her as a lionness waiting for her opportunity. Those looks in bed, at the table, sitting in bathroom, at the dinner - she was about to vomit she is so mad and feeling betrayed. I'm frankly on the edge of my seat to see what she does.

I too. It occurred to me that Betty never had any real tangible evidence to warrant her anger with Don. She must have wondered often why she is so dissatisfied with the life she'd been taught to covet. She must have wondered if she was right about Don having affairs, because she never had real evidence he was cheating on her. First thing he did when she confronted him was deny, deny, deny, and then he tried to turn it around on her. He never confessed to a single thing. And she must have wondered if she was seeing things clearly, or if there was something wrong with her. The fact that upon her first complaints, her husband sent her to see a freaking psychiatrist can't have helped. Betty is really isolated and has no one to bounce ideas off of. Part of her isolation is because she makes such an effort in keeping up appearances, yes, but that doesn't change anything. There must have been times when she wondered if she was seeing things, and Don often reinforced that feeling when it was to his advantage.

I think this is one of the first times Betty feels she has real evidence that the origin of what is wrong in the Draper marriage is, for the large part, Don and not her. It gives her power, more than she ever had. I can't wait to see how she is going to use it.

Unknown said...

oz--very funny; I love both those SNL videos w/ sandburg and timberlake.

My husband asked me, in my thinking about Betty, did I forget how she fucked that guy in the bar. I asked what of it?, and he said it was very hard core, that one has to remember, she’s not some meek wife, some passive victim, but a very aggressive woman. At which point I thought and said maybe Betty will turn out to be a strong, Don-woman after all. (he agreed.)

Maybe that’ll be the surprise to come, that Betty will out maneuver Don and turnout to be, if not stronger than him, stronger than he ever expected.

Betty will never be overtly unconventional like Midge or Ms Farrell, but you sense that her upper-class upbringing instilled in her a certain self-confidence, kind of like Jane Austen’s Emma, that girls from less affluent families aren’t encouraged to feel.

(Meanwhile, it is weirdly touching to see those moments when, as someone here pointed out, Don is a supportive and tender partner to Ms. Farrell.)

a) is don’s new sec professional or what?

b) I agree with with the Q.’s re: lois, and alan’s A. made me lol.

c) Really, why are folks so persuaded S.F. is or may be “crazysauce.” Surely her long suffering support of her embittered disabled brother is noble.

jenae said...

David Hauser--

I more or less agree with you re: the character of Farrell.

I said on the last page of last week's discussion, I do see something on the edge about her, but also the admirable qualities you note. (Don't remember Don strong arming the stewardess....)

Maybe the show is showing us that a woman can show little remorse about being the other woman (playing the home-wrecker role), and still be compassionate and generous in many respects. (+ creative, free-thinking.) Don can be a bastard and also a deeply decent guy at times. People are (extremely?) complex.

Anonymous said...

Such brilliant comments-the astuteness of them all goes a long way in explaining why I have to watch MM at least twice to pick up on all that I miss the first time around.

Ok- my paltry contribution. Crazy teacher is "Suzanne Farrell". With the obsessive attention to detail paid by the show's writers, I don't believe I'm coincidence. Suzanne Farrell was a prima ballerina with NYC Ballet. A gorgeous muse under George Balanchine circa late 60's early 70's, if I recall correctly.

Annette said...

Just to clarify - I didn't think Peggy took Kinsey's idea to steal for her own - just to punish him for being disrespectful to her prior in the episode. Like, we'll see how you handle coming up short once again. I didn't think she was going to use his idea for her own gain. I figured she'd ride to the rescue with whatever ideas she was burping on in her own office.

Mart said...

Great observation by Chipmunk about the common theme of self-wetting as a precursor towards losing one's job or life, but after watching the Korea scene again I thought that Don's leg and the surrounding foxhole were covered with fuel as a result of the bombing, and that is why he dropped the lighter.

Brilliant puzzle-fitting by several commenters about Don's contract being for flipping the company. Still, I don't see why that would cause the delay in the bonus. Did they hope to sell the company immediately and so not have to pay him themselves?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Vis a vis Pete figuring out the whole truth versus Betty's ability to do it, consider two things:

1)This isn't the entirety of the contents of the box Adam sent. It's some combination of that stuff (pictures, maybe the dog tags) and Don's own secret stash (divorce papers, deed to Anna's house). I believe, but don't remember for sure, that when Pete intercepted the box, there was a letter in it that overtly referred to Don as being Dick Whitman.

2)As others have noted, Pete has an old boys network who can look into things like Army records. Betty doesn't.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And Peggy almost certainly didn't steal Paul's idea. She went home without going into his office because she feared whatever he might be doing in there. By the time Paul goes out to the kitchen, Peggy's long gone and Achilles hasn't seen a woman around. Then he has his Eureka moment, goes back into his office and, rather than writing anything down, sits on the couch with a bottle to celebrate - and is woken up on that same couch by Lois the next morning.

He never moved from there; just passed out in a puddle of his own drool.

Alan Sepinwall said...

My guess was that it was "as soon as I close my office door."

Do I win a prize?

It was from that scene, certainly. I hadn't decided on the exact wording by the time I decided to go with something slightly classier. (Hitler; always classy.)

Maura said...

jenae said: Don't remember Don strong arming the stewardess...

As I recall, he didn't. If anyone was the aggressor, she was.

Blair Waldorf said...

Ok, maybe the jury is still out on whether Ms. Farrell is cuckoo bananas but she definitely doesn't know the rules.

Ain't it the truth. Even if she isn't cuckoo bananas, she's still dangerous. She either doesn't know or doesn't care about Don's rules, and she has no compunction about affairs with married men (which I find interesting, to say the least, considering the contempt she seems to have for them). Don, in need of a muse, is completely smitten with her, and he's going to get careless. Actually, more careless. He's already held hands with her on the train, driven her brother to MA (as someone said upthread, nothing good ever happens when Don is in the car at night), and left his keys in his pants pocket. He's doomed, I say. Doomed.

RE: Peggy and Paul's brilliant idea. I don't think for a second that Peggy stole it. She's neither vindictive nor scheming, and she doesn't need to steal ideas from anyone, especially Paul. Also, like any good Catholic girl, even a fallen one, she's probably afraid that 1) she would be struck by lightning, and 2) her mother, with that special mother-radar, would find out. Or maybe that's just me. : )

Anonymous said...

My father (WWII generation) always kept a few thou in cash inside a hollowed out book. Right before he died he reminded me about it so it wouldn't get thrown away. I always thought that was in case the Nazis were coming to get us, but I'm sure he had other reasons as well.

So if you knew you might want to go on the lam on a moment's notice, or need to bribe or pay off someone(DD for sure!), you'd keep a stash of cash hidden around the house.

And of course Don has expenses he doesn't want Betty to know about. Cash expenses, like gifts for mistresses and their brothers.

Depression generation didn't trust banks...there were no ATMs at the time and banks had limited business hours. I remembery my dad cashing checks on weekends at local stores where they knew him well (news dealer, pizza place -- cash businesses). Finances were different then, pre-technology. You had to have your cash-getting systems in place.

Lane hates Moneypenny because he's a spy for the home office. Duh!

Anonymous said...

A poster said:
I thought that Don's leg and the surrounding foxhole were covered with fuel as a result of the bombing, and that is why he dropped the lighter.

WHAT???? Did Dick set Don on fire by accident, causing his death? I didn't notice that. Jeez, he really IS a first-class bastard.

Anonymous said...

I haven't finished reading everyone's comments so I apologize if someone already said this - but I am sure it was Ms. Farrell who called the house and hung up--she did it before - she just knew she shouldn't have and lied. And everyone believes her?!

No one mentioned the book Betty was reading in the tub! I haven't researched it online but I feel it had to be significant....

Anonymous said...

To follow up - again not sure if anyone mentioned this but Betty was reading "The Group" by Mary McCarthy - (I thought I remembered it being called the Club - but it must have been The Group). Seems like Betty might be educating herself with what other options might be out there for her and what other women have done and dealt with in their lives....

Graeme said...

As someone else above stated, for me the best moment in the episode was Lane saying that no one here asks about what school he went to. Lane loves America and American culture-- he's reading Tom Sawyer and thinks Pete is onto an idea with marketing to black audiences. He loves its progressiveness and excitement and classless ideas. He wants to stay. I think he's gutted that PPL are selling Sterling Cooper because he's found a place he loves. Given his wife hates it for all the same reasons, it's all going to end in teras.

Julia said...

In the lunch room Paul said "Did you see a girl come through here?", referring to Peggy. It wasn't just female people of color who were called "girls". We all were. SEE "The Golden Girls".
Calling someone a "woman" meant she was very elderly back then or it was a generic anonymous female, or said in anger - "Woman, what do you want now?"

Graeme said...

end in teras

Or even tears!

Tom said...

More portents of Dallas: Don noting that things didn't work out too well for Caesar. He says this to Farrell's bro, who, with his bandaged head, bears a passing resemblance to Oswald....

You can bet your pipe cleaners that Paul is going to accuse Peggy of 'stealing' his brilliant idea. Why, the silly woman obviously hasn't the education to tap into ancient Chinese wisdom...

Still, to Paul's credit, I think 'shaking hands with Achilles' is a great new euphemism that just might catch on with the kids.

Julia said...

I looked at the episode again and couldn't find a date on the deed or the divorce decree. I'm pretty sure the divorce would have occurred before Don married, but would he have had the money to buy the house for Anna before they married? Roger seems to have given Don the job before he married, but was he making enough to buy the house? Certainly a starting-out ad man wouldn't have had a signing bonus.

If he bought the house for Anna after Betty married Don or even after they became engaged, Betty would be really shocked. Maybe he was even a bigamist for a short time?

Perhaps Betty will just say to Don: "I know". And he will think she means the teacher and will spill the beans himself. That would serve him right.

Another possibility: the next episode continues with the party still going on. Betty talking with Connie finds out that Don has not been working so hard all week for Connie. Roger or somebody did say that Connie would be there.

A commenter spotted a kind of "gas lighting" going on. Don has plausible deniability because he has always covered his tracks so well. Betty wonders if she imagines things, but still has that intuition something is wrong. She finally knows that Don does have some big secrets - so she is now more likely to trust her own radar.

Betty has found Don's cash stash and I wonder if she has put it somewhere for safekeeping - like a safe deposit box with a fake name. She asked Carla to take the kids to the park for awhile. Wonder what she was doing during that time? Even if she hasn't removed the cash, won't Don notice that things are not in exactly the same place? Surely Betty won't be able to put everything back exactly as it was.

Perhaps she would replace all the bills in each stack below the top one with ones. All kinds of scenarios present themselves as the plot thickens.

Julia said...

Certainly the folks who own the house where Suzanne's garage apartment is located would have noticed Don's car by now - a big caddy convertible, right? Folks weren't so understanding of women tenants having overnight male guests back then. Most upscale landlords would not want to have a female tenant with the teacher's proclivities. It might even be the home of one of her student's parents. YIKES. She could lose her job because most teacher's contracts had morals clauses.

How can an unrepenant "home wrecker" be considered so psychologically together? Today she might get away with that. But in 1963, she was not a respecter of other people's boundaries. Today marriage is like going steady, back then it was definitely not. And in 1963 it wasn't "no-fault" divorce. Don may pay very dearly for this affair.

Another scenario that would not be as likely today: a carefree spirit like Suzanne might even get pregnant. Double YIKES.
She might really want a "love child", but Don and 1963 society would not be pleased, not to mention Betty. Just imagine what a John Edwards-like story in the news would do to somebody like Don's career 40 years ago.

Liam said...

Love that Lois is still there: she hasn't gotten that promotion...yet.

*Who* played Roger's mother? I scanned the credits several times and it seems she was not credited. But it looked like a cameo by Celeste Holm (but she's 92 now, so probably not).

Mo Ryan said...

I've wondered about Don's car outside Suzanne's place too. I've sort of assumed (and maybe I'm wrong to do so) that he's found a parking spot for it in a somewhat secluded spot a block or two away. He parks in a somewhat less noticeable spot and then walks over -- that's just a guess. And I also wonder the configuration of the stairs/entry leading up to Suzanne's apartment -- could the owners of the house see him coming and going? There still has to be a reasonable chance of being spotted that way.

Then again, Don might be relatively safe/unseen when he arrives and leaves Suzanne's, but she's just cuckoo-bananas enough to knock on the Draper's front door some day. If Don's *very* lucky (if that ever happens), Carla will answer the door and end up with one more Draper secret to keep...

christy said...

Re Gregory Peck: characters on the show have brought up the resemblance before. Jimmy Barrett called Don "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" in season 2. I feel like Roger may have made a similar reference in season 1, but I can't remember exactly.

Petite_Salope said...

I'm quite sure this is the novel that Betty was reading in the tub:

Very interesting reading choice for Betty. The novel is about a group of 8 women who graduated from Vassar in 1933 and go on to lead relatively emancipated lives...for the time period, anyway.

Karen said...

I don't think Betty knows her husband is an impostor. The only photo she turned over to see the names "Dick and Adam" was a photo of the brothers as children, and she has no idea what Don looked like as a child. The two sets of dog tags wouldn't have tipped her off, either. No, the bombshell for her was definitely the divorce decree, combined with the property deed for Don's "ex-wife."

And I disagree with Alan that Betty seemed more defeated than vengeful at the end. There's Don, accepting the adulation of the crowd (and, yes, that WAS an impressive intro Roger gave, considering how much he hates Don now), and there is Betty, face as cold as ice, looking at him calculatedly and sidelong. I looked at her there and thought, "Oh, geez, Don--watch out. She is going to tear you down."

About the hang-up: no was, in my opinion, was it Henry Francis. He was absolutely truthful when he said he didn't play games--he's been nothing but forthright from the moment he put his hand on Betty's pregnant belly. I tend to think it was Suzanne Farrell...but who knows? Maybe it was the other Mrs Draper? Maybe it was...Glenn!

Paul's look at Betty was priceless. I don't think it was admiration so much as newfound respect. He had put her down earlier as Don's pet (not entirely untrue) and a woman who could work only on women's accounts, and then he sees her spin his offhand comment of 10 minutes earlier into a brilliant campaign. He finally sees what Don saw when he made her a copywriter, and he can't quite believe it. Alan's right, though--where does that leave him? I felt sorry for Paul at that moment. But I loved the little smile that Don and Peggy exchanged at that moment--they really are so much alike, and they increasingly know it.

Rob Biesenbach said...

I'm no prude, but it's really struck me that at least three times in the last two episodes, we see Don coming home with the kids and Betty and Carla there and immediately reaches into the cupboard to make himself a drink. I know that was much more the culture then, but I always think of what must be on Carla's mind. The silent judgment going on there. The kid-raising, the church-going, the infidelity, the drinking -- she must really feel like the people she works for are on a different planet.

christy said...

Oh, and about Peggy and Paul:

I didn't think the Peggy actually stole Paul's idea, but I did think that Paul would end up accusing her. Otherwise I'm not quite sure why they went to the trouble of showing that she'd left her light on, and Paul calling out her name. He thought she was still there, though she wasn't. That felt a bit like a loose thread, but maybe it was just a subtle detail all along.

I did much enjoy how both Peggy and Don, separately, reacted in the same way to hearing how Paul lost his idea. They both dropped all sense of competition or anger and totally sympathized. And I liked how Peggy knew Don would, even though she's been caught off guard by his lack of sympathy lately.

Karen said...

Ack! My comment wasn't posted an hour ago, when I wrote it, because apparently my captcha wasn't entered correctly.

Well, now that it's posted, and I've gone back and read the comments people have left between when I wrote it and when it actually posted, I have to add that there's no way that Peggy stole Paul's idea from his desk. We see her leave. We know she was gone when Paul was talking to Achilles, because Achilles hadn't seen her (and kudos, by the way, to the commenter who noted that Paul's drinking and arrogance are his Achilles heel). And it was Paul's inability to remember his own idea that caused him to mention the Chinese proverb in the first place--the mention of which is what triggered Peggy's idea.

The fact is that Peggy IS a natural, and Paul is a poser, and he's just beginning to realize that. He respects her now, I think, but I could see it turning to resentment and paranoia.

Wes covington said...

Legally, I would assume that Don and Betty can't divorce unless somehow the story of his identity comes out.

Or, if he did it once before (divorce), could he do it again as "Don Draper"? What would be in Betty's interests? Would she stand to lose more financially if she exposed Don?

Karen said...

@Danger Boy: didn't you ever watch "Bewitched"? Samantha always had a cocktail pitcher of martinis ready for Darrin the moment he walked in the door. I think Don's behavior is not so unusual for his time, and I'm not sure this is something Carla would judge him on. Besides, there are so MANY other things that Carla can judge that family on!

Anonymous said...

It's kind of funny how many commenters here in 2009 are referring to the teacher lady as "Ms." Farrell, which she wouldn't have done herself in 1963.

Julia said...

For sure, Don(Dick) married Betty using the Don Draper name. If he gets exposed, then they are not legally married anyway. It was fraud.

I don't think Betty has figured out that Don is really Dick. It appears from Roger's introduction at the banquet that the Korea story is public knowledge. It would not be surprising to Betty that Don kept momentos of "Dick" who died so tragically in Korea when the two of them were attacked by the North Koreans or Chinese.

All the official documents in the box relate to Don Draper, not Dick. There would not have been an honorable discharge for "Dick" because he died.

Eyeball Wit said...

Another Sopranos parallel.
It was Tony's "fling" with Svetlana, which really was just a momentary lapse and already over, that pushed Carmela over the edge, and to a divorce attorney.

Betty's in the same boat, in a way, having seen the evidence of the paper marriage, while most of Don's other philandering has remained secret.

Any Top Chef fans out there? A TWoP thread suggested that Jen looks like January Jones. I don't see it.

Liam said...

Having a drink upon entering the home after a day's work was very normal behavior. People did not go to the gym to work off their tensions, as it were. This was a generation of people who learned to seriously drink and smoke under the pressures of wartime (in the armed services and at the factory), and it's getting harder for younger generations today to grasp that.

I think the phone caller is someone else from the past or yet to be revealed, not Miss Farrell or Henry Francis or Conrad Hilton.

Btw, I knew when Paul uttered the Chinese proverb to Peggy that it was going to be the hinge of whatever came out of the session with Don.

And Paul was not unbuckling himself to smoke a joint, and that towel was not big enough to fit the door. (He might have smoked a joint in addition to that indulgence.)

Jen said...

I definitely interpreted Betty's look at the banquet as more seething than defeated. She may be depressed most of the time, but she's also got some serious anger issues which is typically not helped by the way she's forced to repress those emotions leading to occasional outbursts of rage. After waiting all night and planning her confrontation to Don to the early morning phone call where she briefly lashes out, the rage is still there below the surface at the banquet. If not anger, at the very least, it's disgust.

Maura said...

Karen and DangerBoy: Whether Carla's judges Don or not (and as a good, church-going woman, she wouldn't. I hope), in the past she's certainly been smart enough not to get in the car with him when he's been drinking. However, I imagine she would pray for the souls of both adult Drapers.

Karen said: And I disagree with Alan that Betty seemed more defeated than vengeful at the end. There's Don, accepting the adulation of the crowd (and, yes, that WAS an impressive intro Roger gave, considering how much he hates Don now), and there is Betty, face as cold as ice, looking at him calculatedly and sidelong. I looked at her there and thought, "Oh, geez, Don--watch out. She is going to tear you down."

Oh, hell yes. She is *really* pissed off now. When it comes down to it, Betty totally has it in her to crush him. She might not now the whole story, but she has evidence that, if nothing else, he's been lying to her by omission for years. I don't see her lying down for this, on her fainting couch or anywhere else.

Eyeball Wit said: Any Top Chef fans out there? A TWoP thread suggested that Jen looks like January Jones. I don't see it.

Other than them both having blonde hair, there's no resemblance.

crone51 said...

The Group made quite a splash when it came out and affected many womens lives. I was a mere lass of 12 when it appeared but I read the copy my mom hid in the closet. It was very educational and was the first explicit description of the sex act I had read.
As I said in the comments on Mo Ryan's splendid blog- I don't think Suzanne is crazy- I think she is just a little ahead of her time and has probably already read The Feminine Mystique. The massive changes that occurred in what we think of as "the sixties" didn't just pop out of nowhere- there were rumblings and portents all through "the fifties"( which, of course, lasted well into the sixties). Farrell is a fair representation of a sea change in attitude about many things- the way we deal with our sexuality, rebellion against the repression of marriage, changes in attitudes towards children ( see Dr.Benjamin Spock)- the times they are a changin' in a major way.
So many folks hid themselves in closets and drawers in the fifties. Don Draper is the perfect metaphor for so much - Carrying that burden of hiding ones real self is exhausting. I think Don wants to get caught ,just as those folks living lives of show in general ( almost everyone) needed to give it up. Pretense is soul killing. Don could always have rented a safe deposit box for his revealing papers.

marianne said...

Couches, continued.

Once again, couches play an interesting role in the series. In the past, they had to do with fantasies. Tonight they harbingered realities. Paul lies down on his office couch, drunkenly congratulating himself on his brilliance, only to wake up on the couch at 9 am to the reality that he's forgotten his great idea. Later in the morning there's the reality that Peggy is more creative than he is.

Betty is lying on a shabby-looking (the den or family room?) couch, looking very forlorn, when she hears the "key" clanking in the dryer. The key finally opens Don's drawer, revealing to Betty the reality of his life. That scene also reveals a lot about Betty's life. With the kids at school she's in an empty house with nothing to do but do laundry. Quite a contrast with the characters in The Group, which explores autonomy and sexual independence. Don calls and practically orders her to be ready to go to the dinner and to look good. Judging from her dagger looks, maybe she's woken up to a reality where all her fantasies have dissipated and she finds herself living with a man she doesn't know who only wants her for her capacity to be beautiful and look perfect.
As someone else said, that shot of her dressed for the dinner sitting in the bathroom clutching the side of the bathtub (where she had been reading The Group) was really powerful. It said everything: anger, pain, entrapment, false glamour.

srpad said...

Did we always know that Roger wasn't the founding Sterling in Sterling-Cooper? If so I misssed it. I enjoy the character but this makes me respect him much less becasue for all his faults I always said to myself, "Well at least he worked hard enough at some point to found the firm." Now I find out he just had it handed to him.

MP (anon 4:58) said...

@christy: The scene with Kinsey, Peggy and Don reminded me of what Peggy told Pete once: Tell the truth, people respect that. I'm not sure if everybody does, but she knows Don will. If he's not in lash-out mode, that is.

I laughed when Peggy and Don reacted in exactly the same way to Kinsey losing his idea. I think the writers thoroughly enjoyed that line.

Susan said...

Peggy did not steal anything from Paul. She doesm't need to steal other people's ideas, least of all Paul. She came up with that idea while sitting there with Don and Paul. She reworked Aqua Net in the same way. We have seen her talent work this way many times before.

Bill White said...

The most striking visual for me was Hamm in shadow after Miss Crazy's brother first showed up. He had dressed quickly and his hair was messed up. When he stood silhouetted against Miss Crazy's front door, that was Dick Whitman - unkempt, insubstantial, stooped over a bit, uncertain. Definitely not the Don "Master of the Universe" Draper we know.

10 points to Jon Hamm for acting With. His. Shadow.

Julia said...

Liam said:

"This was a generation of people who learned to seriously drink and smoke under the pressures of wartime (in the armed services and at the factory), and it's getting harder for younger generations today to grasp that."

Hmmm Really struck a chord with me. My dad was from Kansas, a dry state (at the time). He went off to WWII which was rather Spartan in N. France, but then he spent a year in Occupied Japan. Lots of time spent in officers' clubs at the bar to ward off loneliness. I have lots of the photos. When he came back, he and all his colleagues (who had also been WWII officers) were used to cocktail hour - at home before dinner and out to eat or after golf with the guys. Upon reaching 21, I was included in the Manhattan and Martini before dinner. It was part of hospitality.

Before that were the "Thin Man" movies starting in 1934, which glamorized drinking before people had the bucks to emulate them. It looked like so much fun and getting drunk was treated as a humorous matter.

The switch to white wine and going to the gym was a radical break from the past. Check out the TCM catalogue prior to, say, the appearance of Yuppies.

Anonymous said...

Did you catch the slight hint that Peggy was still sleeping with Duck?

She was using the scarf he sent during the Aquanet presentation

Rachel said...

I am increasingly bored with Don's philandering ways. When I re-watched the episode this morning, I fast-forwarded through the Ms. CrazyBananas parts and felt that I didn't miss much.

Loved seeing more of Peggy's ability to think on her feet. I hope there was more admiration than jealousy from Paul. I also hope that Don is increasingly regretting his blow-up at Peggy from a few episodes ago. But when will the payoff with her encounter with Duck occur? (No idea whether that was a one-time thing or it has continued. Neither would surprise me.)

Agree that January Jones was great in this episode. She was perfect in the drawer scene and the subsequent scenes when she was in bed, in the bathroom, and then at the dinner. Very subtle.

Cannot wait to see how that Drawer Intrigue plays out as well as the Sterling Cooper Intrigue. Like others, I am worried about the Sterling Cooper plot line simply being a reset button. But if we get to keep Jared Harris (and hopefully get Joan back to manage the office), then I wouldn't complain too much.

MP said...

Farrell is a fair representation of a sea change in attitude about many things- the way we deal with our sexuality, rebellion against the repression of marriage, changes in attitudes towards children ( see Dr.Benjamin Spock)- the times they are a changin' in a major way.

Agreed. Also in the way she refuses to see herself as a home wrecker - the role society would undoubtedly have her take - and has no qualms about telling Don outright she wants to be with him, instead of putting herself in the part of the woman who needs to be talked into it and seduced. Bobbie did that too, but Bobbie was married. The stakes are different for Miss Farrell. But I'm afraid what might happen to her should any of the other parents - or her co-workers - notice what's going on, and I'm not sure she realizes they won't see it the way she does. If it happens, she will be out of a job in no time.

Unknown said...

The tone of the season was set back when Sally was reading to Gene. It has been the fall of the Sterling Cooper empire and the Don Draper facade, and "all hell" has certainly been "breaking loose".

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dammit, NO previews! RTFM!

Wes Covington said...

If Miss Farrell got fired, she probably would just be able to move to a different town to get another teaching job.

She doesn't have a lot of money. She doesn't own a home. She doesn't have a family it seems aside from her brother.

So, she can take many more chances than Don.

marianne said...

Suzanne likes children and is kind to them. No wonder Don looks so content during their pillow talk - the little boy in him has finally found a nurturing mother. By contrast, Betty snaps at her children constantly, no doubt alienating Don's inner younger self.

I don't mean this to be a criticism of Betty, though. I think the show does a great and balanced job of drawing out the challenges men faced at the time, in the workplace and in their personal lives, as well as the challenges that women faced coming to terms with their identities in the more modern era, with all its cultural changes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dammit, NO previews! RTFM!

Yes. No talking about the previews, ever. It's right there in the commenting rules.

Unknown said...

She asked Carla to take the kids to the park for awhile. Wonder what she was doing during that time?

I thought for sure that Betty was going to call Henry Francis and invite him over to the house. He had made it clear to her in previous conversations that because she was the married woman, the ball was in her court to arrange a meeting. I was thinking/hoping that in her anger at Don she would finally succumb to the temptation.

Alan, do you think the Betty/Henry affair is still a possibility or did Francis laughing at Betty end any chance of that?

Hatfield said...

RTFM = Read the fantastic manual?

Because I live so close to Long Beach and am generally a nerd, I attempted to find directions to Anna Draper's house. There is no E. Stanton, but a N. Stanton at the same number popped up. I wonder if it was just a random choice by Weiner that turned out to be real? Also, wasn't she in San Pedro, not Long Beach as the deed said?

Anonymous said...

Julie said Just imagine what a John Edwards-like story in the news would do to somebody like Don's career 40 years ago.

Obviously it wouldn't do too much damage since Strom Thurmond got away with raping the maid, ala Pete, and went on to become a spokesman for all things moral. Dan Burton got away with having a bastard child for decades too. It's that "it's okay if you're a fake religious asshole" defense, I suppose.

Pamela Jaye said...

I looked for all instances of the word lock (as well as a page 2) before noting:

So he has everything locked in his drawer in his office in his house. This seems slightly inconvenient when his wife kicks him out of his house... (and I don't remember him taking the stuff with him)

obviously his office at work is not the safest place to keep things (inbound packages, reports of the safety of cigarette smoking)

KarenX said...

I think Betty knows that Don started as Dick--the picture she saw with "Dick and Adam" written on the back had a recognizable Don/Dick. I'm thinking of the picture with the horse. Don/Dick is standing on the right.

Paul is not mad at Peggy; he is amazed. I can see him as a poseur and pretentious and not as talented as he wants to be, but I have never gotten the vindictive vibe out of him. He may be desperate to impress, but he recognizes ability and must admire it, or else he would not have bothered to imitate it.

Paul's last scene with Peggy reminded me of their scenes in the pot-smoking episode, where she informed him that he never considered her as a person/copywriter at all. He was startled, but her words left an impression on him. At that moment he understood she was a rival/competitor/comrade (however it is that he considers his coworkers). In this episode, he realizes she is a good person and a good worker. I think Paul can relaxed a little around her now that he understands her. It's good for people to have allies. It can only help Peggy and Paul in the future. It's already helped Paul once.

Anonymous said...

Quite surprised that Don would offer to drive him to Bedford, which is a FIVE TO SIX hour drive, easily, taking into account the quality of those older cars.

I love this time of year, you can always expect M. Weiner and Co. to shake things up a little bit (or alot) and make things more interesting.

Unknown said...

First, the hang up call could have been just a wrong number. Sally answered by saying their last name so the caller would know in advance if they made a mistake and likely just hang up. We used to get them all the time before caller id., etc.

I think it just served as a catalyst for both Betty's and Don's paranoia about their secrets being divulged.

As to his Don's new lover - personally, I don't see her as looney as some people do - I think she is just cut from a different mold, younger, educated, more conscious about the world around her and isn't the sort of person who is going to have an affair just for the sex. She expects an emotional connection and investment when intimate - and, frankly, Don seems to be giving quite a bit of that himself to her. For some reason, she seems to receive a lot of the slings for how she is behaving in this affair when they both are behaving recklessly. She seems to be very much on the cusp of the early 60s and the later 60s when the sexual revolution took off with a shot. I can certainly see that his involvement with her may cause some serious repercussions for him but it won't be all her doing.

Betty, I think, is mulling over just how to handle the situation. I can see her visiting the ex-Mrs. Draper to get more intel before she does anything else. I saw her as anything but deflated at the end. I think her mind is on overdrive.

Every night when my dad came home, he and my mom had martinis, then a scotch with dinner. It was the early and mid-60s, before wine became the libation of choice.

Eyeball Wit said...

So he has everything locked in his drawer in his office in his house. This seems slightly inconvenient when his wife kicks him out of his house... (and I don't remember him taking the stuff with him)

obviously his office at work is not the safest place to keep things (inbound packages, reports of the safety of cigarette smoking)

What? They didn't have safety deposit boxes back then?

Unknown said...

I don't think anyone else has mentioned this, but I thought it was interesting that Miss Farrell's brother said that Don reminded him of their mother. And put me in the camp of those who believe it was Miss Farrell that called - the pause when Don asked if she called and hung up was the realization that he was at home with his family when he could have been with her - I think she had convinced herself that something had come up at the office and that's why he didn't call or come to see her. Not convinced she's cuckoo bananas, but she's trouble, and for once I think Don is in over his head.

Sara Ann said...

Re: Betty: I don't know how the drawer bombshell will shake out in the short-term, but in the long-term I can easily imagine Betty becoming complicit in Don's cover-up. "The Group"-reading aside, I don't see Betty striking out as an independent woman just yet, and with Grandpa Gene gone she doesn't have a lot of traditional retreats left. Henry Francis hovers tantalizingly around the edges, but while he definitely wants Betty, he may not be as interested in Sally, Bobby and baby Gene. And unhappy as she is in her marriage with Don Draper, can you imagine Betty married to Dick Whitman? Better the devil you know...

Re: sea changes: I thought those were sort of the thematic key to the episode. Just as some enormous personal changes are on the horizon for Don, personally and professionally, we really saw two different eras bumping against each other here. As other commenters mentioned, Miss Farrell really is introducing Eisenhower-era Don to the age of Free Love. In the first act Don made a comment about Miss Farrell wearing her hair long and curly, and in the next scene we see Betty, perfect 50s housewife, wearing her hair in rollers to get that Eva Marie Saint look. Later, Don advocates the old-school boot-straps approach to Farrell frère, who explains to him that that ideal doesn't work for everyone - some people are disenfranchised not because they don't try but because they don't get the same shots (that light up ahead is the oncoming Civil Rights Movement; please move off the tracks).

Back at SC, Kinsey dismisses Peggy's work with a chauvinist sneer - until he can't anymore. Bert whines about how old he is while his young protege gets feted at the company's anniversary party. Mrs. Price whinges about the dirty, unfamiliar New World. Mama Sterling complains that no one gave her a reason why they moved the Waldorf-Astoria. The clients of the week are Aqua Net and Western Union. And it all culminates in that perfect climax at the Waldorf-Astoria, with Don at the apex of his powers - nothing more to gain, but more than he can imagine to lose. A change is gonna come indeed.

Anonymous said...

Apologies about the previews spoiler. I did RTM weeks ago -- previews at the end of the show feel like a legitimate part of the show, so I forgot they aren't for the purposes of this blog. (BTW, why aren't they legit here? Doesn't everyone see the previews at the end of the show?)

Anonymous said...

Sirens in Rome, siren in London

Pam R said...

Isn't Don's Achilles Heel the box in the desk? Isn't that what will bring him down?
Great recap. Thanks for posting it so quickly!

Pam R said...

Don knows how to play Betty. He got her up and dressed for the party by playing to her vanity. Do you think Betty was more concerned about the divorce paperwork she found because that would mean that Don could just as easily divorce her?
Glad to see we are semi back to the office.

Rachel said...

(BTW, why aren't they legit here?

Please see Alan's commenting rule #2.

Doesn't everyone see the previews at the end of the show?)

No. Many of us turn the channel/stop the DVR before the previews.

Karen said...

It occurs to me that Betty complained about smelly Rome and Mrs Price complained about smelly Manhattan.

I have no idea if those two things are connected--given that no one seems to have fully understood what was the point of Betty complaining about the stink of Rome--but it's an interesting call-back.

I can see where a woman accustomed to the suburban glories of Westchester County might find the close quarters and Vespa-lined streets of Rome a little stinky, but I'm surely perplexed as to how 1963 Manhattan could be any worse than London.

Anonymous said...

But Don did not run away when Pete discovered his true identity and tried to blackmail him. He confronted it head on. So, why would he run from Betty? Besides, Betty had secrets of her own - like her one-night stand with, who I suspect, is the true father of baby Gene and then there is Henry.

Anonymous said...

Umm...Betty was pregnant prior to sleeping with that guy. She most likely got pregnant when she screwed/used Don in "The Inheritance."

Hatfield said...

Anonymous, Betty slept with that guy after she found out she was pregnant.

Mark said...

One moment Alan didn't mention that I thought was great was Ken Cosgrove's comment about Western Union (after they did the Aquanet sketch) - "I always think it's great when I get a telegram, but I never get around to sending them." And then, obviously, Don shoots him down. That's just a great line foreshadowing the future - that the telegram was on its last legs. And then Peggy and Paul are trying to come up with this great ad campaign when we realize (and Ken just said) that it was a dying business.

By the way, why isn't Ken Cosgrove on more? He hasn't been on much at all this year. The only memorable thing was driving in the lawnmower. He's my favorite non-lead Sterling-Cooper worker by far. His character is hilarious. Everything he says is funny.

Anonymous said...

Umm, I don't think she was pregnant before her one-nighter. After they got back from her father's when she slept with Don, Sally said to her mom "Mommy, you're bleeding". So she could not have been pregnant and she did not let Don move back in after returning.

Hatfield said...

Go back and watch, the bleeding is why she goes to the doctor, and he tells her she's pregnant. Only then does she go out and hook up with that guy.

ps said...

"If Lane's wife doesn't like New York, I can't imagine what she'd have thought about the idea of relocating to India. "

Actually, India had only been independent for about 16 years at this point in time. It was still very colonial with a lot of British influence. Who knows? She may have loved it!

I don't like Suzanne at all. She feels a little unstable, like Holly Golightly without the endearment. I'm not sure if it's just the actress playing her, but the super intense way she looks at Don is scary. She doesn't care if Don is married, but she definitely wants all of him. I'm not sure Don has reached that stage where he can give his whole self to someone. It's not just his secrets; it's his hypocrisy and his flaws that he would have to share. Don does not like to see himself as something other than a "master of the universe" to use the 80s term (as evidenced by the episode where he had to sign the contract).

Karen said...

But Don did not run away when Pete discovered his true identity and tried to blackmail him.

Is that true? Wasn't it when Pete was about to expose Don's true identity as Dick that Don tried to run away with Rachel Mencken?

Anonymous said...

btw, Julie - this anonymous is calling you out. Alan says no political comments yet you seem to find a way to include some way to comment on Edwards constantly. He's no great shakes, but surely Mark Foley, Sanford, etc. are equally repulsive. Not to mention abandon-his-cancer-stricken wife Newt, Burton, as mentioned before, Henry Hyde, ad nauseum.

did you mention Larry Craig or that preacher... Haggart's hypocrisy in seeking out male prostitutes when Sal went to Central Park?

that would fit right in with your "trenchant" political commentary.

You cite Drudge as tho he were anything other than a political hack when he, with Ann Coulter, was one of the "pixies" as they called themselves, who tried to bring down a sitting president because they didn't like him - and in response, that President was overwhelmingly re-elected.

So, I'm asking you to respect Alan's policies here. If not, I suppose we'll both find ourselves out of the comment section because I'm tired of seeing your constant one-sided remarks. So I'll post my own for the sake of balance.

Jane said...

When Pete tried to blackmail Don, he said let's go to Cooper's office and they did and Cooper said he already knew all about Don and Pete looked like a fool.

Jane said...

Hatfield, I will go back and watch those episodes because how could Betty be pregnant if she was bleeding? Wouldn't that mean she had a miscarriage?

Just Me said...

Speaking of stealing - I was expecting Paul to steal Peggy's idea when he went down to her office. I was glad to have been proven wrong. I did like how Don was understanding of the "I didn't write it down and it's gone" reason, much more than "I don't have anything." Don writes on anything and everything when he's thinking. He knows that ideas end up on cocktail napkins when there's nothing else to write on and that if there's no cocktail napkin, the perfect thought can never be found again. That's reasonable to him. No ideas at all are unthinkable.

I also wanted to tell Lane's wife "You're not going back to London, you're off to Delhi. Ha." (But that may be misdirected anger after having just watched In Treatment season 1).

And I was also amazed that Lois still had a job. It's very odd what does and does not get you fired at Sterling Cooper.

Finally, why drop Miss Farrell's brother off in the middle of nowhere? Couldn't Don just drive to a city? or town at least? It seems like it would be kinder to go to somewhere with a population.

This is the first episode in a long time that I was on the edge of my seat. I wanted Don to come home. I wanted to see that confrontation. I still do. I'm not sure if I'm happy or not at the writers pushing that off for one more week at least.

And finally, the person who reminds me the most of January Jones is the actress who plays Brandi on "In Plain Sight." They speak alike with the same phrasing. Last summer, when I watched the shows back-to-back it was vaguely odd.

Hatfield said...

Jane, it totally confused me at the time, and I admit I still don't know other than to say that it was explained as 'spotting,' which can apparently occur even while pregnant. Perhaps Alan's recap of that episode provides an answer.

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