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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bryan said...

I've got to agree with multiple comments listed above and say that Duck has to make a play for Sterling/Cooper, or at least make a deal with Roger to become a partner to buy it back, and now Don will be trapped.

Trapped by young teacher who's less pure than we're being set up to believe. Trapped by a wife who will figure out she can use this new found info against her husband.
Trapped by a former friend/colleague and a professional nemesis into fulfilling an exclusive contract he can't get out of. Trapped by an ad game that's gonna change, leaving Don questioning his ability. And trapped very soon by a daughter that's about to "tune in, turn on, and drop out".

Don is screwed, and we're going to get a look at what happens when he can't escape. Great metaphor for the nation during that era, which saw the image it had of itself as a place so optimistic and positive anyone could start over, fall apart in the face of the Counter-Culture movement, the devolution of the Civil Rights movement into burning cities, and Vietnam.

Don, and like the country itself, is about to go through hell.

Joemo said...

So disappointed that the "Spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up..." reference was not "Spoilers for tonight's "Mad Men" coming up just as soon as I come to with piss in my pants"

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, Julie, Anonymous, etc., stop it with the political back and forth now. Are we clear? There's a reason for the No Politics rule, and it's because no one on either side of the aisle seems capable of discussing contemporary politics, even in passing, without turning into loud, angry jerks.

Next one of these leads to some deletions. Clear?

MP said...

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.

There's another bit of foreshadowing. During the phone call scene, when Don is sitting on the couch, there is a brief shot of his doodle underneath the Western Union logo. I believe it's an old man holding a hearing aid to his ear.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jane, Hatfield, etc.: I don't know why people keep getting confused about the chronology of this, but Don is clearly, unequivocally, the father of baby Gene.

Here's the order of events:

1)Don and Betty have sex on the floor of her childhood bedroom during "The Inheritance."

2)Sally notices that her mom is bleeding a little (spotting can occur early in pregnancy) in "The Mountain King."

3)At the start of "Meditations in an Emergency," Betty's doctor tells her that she's pregnant.

4)After spending several days contemplating abortion and/or inducing a miscarriage through horseback riding, Betty goes to a bar and has sex in the back room with Captain Awesome.

The baby is Don's. End of subject.

Karen said...

Yes, @MP! It was an old man holding a hearing trumpet!

Hatfield said...

Alan, thanks for the timeline. For my part I just couldn't remember the explanation for the bleeding, and I'm sorry if my attempt to clarify for the other commenters was irritating.

Scazza said...

Interesting. I haven't seen the Sopranos so I don't have the contmination of paralells. I thought that moment on the dias emphasized the distance, even more now, between the Drapers. I think Betty knows even less now than she did before since she's now full of speculation. She could think anything but the truth about the contents of that box. She knows he grew up on a farm and poor (I think the latter is true), so the pictures are just evidence of that. She obviously took some time to examine the box, and the divorce to her is the most scandalous thing because it is the only thing that screams out that its relevant to her. I find that in her childish, trapped state she has become very narcississtic. Back to the dias, I thought his success was a bit ironic considering Don's troubled year. And yet, wasn't it downhill for everyone in 1963? No one knew what was coming, and I think for Don & JFK (both philanderers) there must be paralells. I think there can no longer be quiet whispered endings, merely because of the time period.

BTW it's very difficult to make Mrs Pryce look dowdy and they really excelled. And whatever happened to India? Did I miss this?

With Miss Farrell I think she's crazy. Not in an illegitimate way, but she's one of those portraits of "the other woman" where she's obsessed & possessive.

Also wondered the significance of Betty's book. Read a summary of the plot online... didn't seem worth that huge shot of the title that it got.

Susan said...

Karen, Paul is vindictive. In an episode last season, Joan had a new red purse that Sheila complimented her on at Paul's party. Then Paul was not speaking to Joan, and when she asked him if there was a problem, she totally left him speechless with her "I'm not a phony speech." (My favorite Joan Holloway speech, BTW.) Later we see a male pulling the red purse out of the locker. Later a copy of Joan's driver's license with her date of birth circled on it appears on the bulletin board.

Julia said...


I'm not being political. Pick any famous person whose current piccadillos concerning a "love child" are in the news and causing a big stir other than Edwards - any politcal party or none, I don't care.

The people you mentioned I agree were cads, but their bad behavior didn't get into the news until many, many years after the fact. That's why I mentioned Edwards.

No more on that subject from me.

Susan said...

Scazza, I have never seen The Sopranos either so the comparisons always go over my head.

When Guy had his foot run over with the lawn mower, thus ending his career, they decided to keep Lane on and not make any changes. IIRC that's why Lane didn't go to India. It was amusing that Allison had to summon Lane immediately when his wife showed up, as if there was some big emergency.

Wes Covingon said...

Wives didn't drop in on their husband's workplaces at that time unannounced. It would have to be a big deal.

Even in the 1980s, when my mother would call me at work, she would leave a message with her first name instead of "Mom" because she didn't want to embarrass me in front of my coworkers.

Piston Hurricane said...

Sterling's remark about "finding" Don, working for a fur company, and his dismissive remark about Night School, combined with Cooper's earlier usage of his knowledge about Don's identity against him made me wonder if Sterling also knows about Don's (rapidly eroding) secret.

If so it seems to insinuate that possibly Don isn't as "self made" as he thinks he is. That last scene seemed very Manchurian Candidate to me.

Whenever he's advising someone else in a tight spot, he always alludes to his own past, and his "you can be whoever you want to be/forget the past" philosophy. This episode was the first where someone gets exactly what he's saying, and throws it back in his face. Danny has a real problem, that will follow him no matter what. He can't re-invent it away. Seems to be a lesson Don, in all of his arrogance, hasn't learned yet.

I also think it's interesting that the more Don's secret erodes, the further he gets away from his actual identity. This season has seen a constant chipping away at all of his escape routes. By the time everyone finds out he's not Don Draper, he won't have "Dick Whitman" to go back to.

I'm not sure about the social mores of the time, but would Betty have an expectation of being financially advantaged by divorcing Don? Or would the strain of keeping up appearances be too great? I can see where the initial shock of seeing the divorce papers coukld lead to her realizing she has that option as well. I wonder if that look she gives Don in the last scene was her realizing that Henry Francis is the real version of what Don pretends to be?

Anonymous said...

Well, more suggestions that Weiner may not be hopeless. There was still the usual collection of white folks doing their "I'm the most important thing in the universe"-thing (as suggested, the sibling devotion of wack-teacher doesn't count for much since she has no qualms about a man's betrayal of his family when it suits her "needs") and an annoying film-noirish, expressionistic interlude. But there was an interesting detail elaborating Carla as a thematic foil to poor Betty, another aspect of Carla's way of being that gives meaning to her contrasting lack of selfishness: her membership in a religious community, religion serving in part "to link fact and value, the routine conduct of everyday life with matters of ultimate spiritual importance" (Terry Eagleton from After Theory). Not only must she work for subsistence (lack of affluence) but her life has a narrative context not only in the struggle for social justice but "in the grandest narrative of all, known as eschatology" (Eagleton). So if Weiner is exploring the same ground dramatically that Thomas Frank explored in his revisionist '60s history, The conquest of cool --

The cultural changes that would become identified as "counterculture" began well before 1960, with roots deep in bohemian and romantic thought, and the era of upheaval persisted long after 1970 rolled around. And while nearly every account of the decade's youth culture describes it as a reaction to the stultifying economic and cultural environment of the postwar years, almost none have noted how that context—the world of business and of middle-class mores—was itself changing during the 1960s. The 1960s was the era of Vietnam, but it was also the high watermark of American prosperity and a time of fantastic ferment in managerial thought and corporate practice. Postwar American capitalism was hardly the unchanging and soulless machine imagined by countercultural leaders; it was as dynamic a force in its own way as the revolutionary youth movements of the period, undertaking dramatic transformations of both the way it operated and the way it imagined itself.

-- here's a suggestion of a piece Frank didn't deal with (Frank's focus was on the advertising and men's clothing industries), embracing culture as a substitute (Eagleton argues a poor substitute) for the tradtional functions of religion.

I note also a return to (what can now be called) a theme of "creative destruction" of capitalist urban development (see Max Page's The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940), raised before by the proposed demolition of Penn Station to make way for Madison Square Garden, in mother Sterling's comments regarding the development of Manhattan (in particular the move of the Waldorf Astoria): "Enjoy the world as it is, Margaret. They'll change it and never give you a reason."

Anonymous said...

Miss Farrell, I predict, will become a considerable force in Don's life. She appears to have a profound affect on him. Examples:
1) His reaction to watching Miss Farrell at the May Pole dance; his eyes closed as he touches the grass and fantasizes about her.

2) The comment regarding her "long and wavy" hair. He's drawn to her looks in a way that suggests she embodies a kind of woman that he only dreamed about.

3) His comment to her, "No one loves their job more than you do". And her job.. nurturing and teaching children. Don's cynicism had evaporated and he's mystified and drawn to because of her attitudes and values. He has become obsessed with her.

Don has grown up with very little love and affection. As a victim of an abusive childhood his character and motivations in life are complicated and conflicted. I think Miss Farrell is the first woman who seems to want nothing more than Don's unconditional love.

This relationship has affected Don on many levels already. His offer to drive her brother to his new job was an obvious attempt to rectify his own transgressions with his brother.

The fun is just beginning.

belinda said...

I'm still not sure what to think of Miss Farrell after all these episodes - on the one hand, she does possess qualities that can be interpreted as ahead of her times, and thus attractive to Don (though in the earlier episodes, I'd still think she's a little nutty even if she lived in present times, and as with everything on this show, there's a reason for her ambiguous nutty/intelligent nature), on the other, I wonder if she's ever done this with any other of her students' fathers.

But, I do agree with an earlier poster that I'm not particularly invested in this Miss Farrell character either, so I do think those scenes drag more than a little, but I am eager to find out if this would develop into some kind of major plot point with Don (that has something to do with her stalker-ish vibe).

With Betty, I expected her not to bust Don, so it'll be interesting to see if Betty will decide to embark on her tawdry affair with Henry now based on what she's found out (and what she hasn't figured out) about Don's secrets.

I'm also in the camp who believes Kinsey has a new found respect for Peggy now that he realized her talent. Obviously, he's majorly hurt and jealous too, but I don't see Kinsey as someone who'd cheat someone else out of their talent. He's a poseur, but he's not ... Harry. Maybe I'm being too kind, but I'm intrigued to see what Kinsey's realization would do to himself.

I am hoping that the lack of Cosgrove (who's always been this happy go lucky kind of guy)this season means there'll be a Cosgrove-centric story concerning Sal (re:golden violin) coming up. Yeah, I miss Sal. And Joan too.

I wonder if the company Duck works for could be one of the parties interested in buying SC.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to be referencing the Roman references in the episode. Pair that with the Paradise Lost themes and the question I have for the rest of the season is most aptly put as "Who is Brutus?" Don must loose what he has and with the emergence of all these Roman clues why can't Caesar start playing a bigger role. They even visited Rome an episode or so ago. For the fall of Draper who closest to Don deliver the final blow?

I believe it will be Peggy. Has to be in my opinion. She was hurt the most recently by Don and possibly the only one who hasn't moved on from it. While Betty moves on too quickly as revealed in that episode where they travel to Rome in that she's not ready to play house. But Peggy doesn't move on. She clutches to Don's disapproval reminding us of it as she argues with Paul at the beginning of the episode. What Don did to Peggy will have a bigger effect than what Hilton did to Don.


Suzombie said...

I think I read all the posts, but never saw this. Wouldn't Miss Farrell be suspicious that Don was back too soon from delivering the brother? Someone else mentioned 5 hours to drive there. How would Don have gotten back so fast? Seems like a stretch.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm sorry if my attempt to clarify for the other commenters was irritating.

Sigh... No, I appreciate the effort, Hatfield. It's just that "Who is the father of the Draper baby?" is one of those questions that just Will. Not. Go. Away. no matter how obvious it was on the show, and no matter how many times people explain it here and elsewhere. (See also, "Isn't Peggy's sister raising her baby?") And what's particularly frustrating is when people who are wrong about this subject (or about Peggy's baby) keep arguing from the incorrect point-of-view, no matter how many times people like yourself try to patiently explain why they're wrong.

Bill White said...

Suzombie: if I recall correctly, Don dropped off Miss Crazy's brother a few miles outside of Framingham, which google says is not too far from their destination (a VA hospital just north of Boston, I think). Today on the interstate, google maps says it's about a 3 hour drive one-way.

Lilithcat said...

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

Don likes, no, needs, to have those photos and documents nearby, for psychological reasons. I think it's rather like picking at a scab.

Susan said...

belinda, I believe Miss Farrell has had sex with other dads. I agree that Don seems deeply affected by her. Anonymous, you bring up good points about Don's childhood and his attraction to Miss Farrell.

Paul was amazed (as I was, and I expect Peggy to be awesome) but it will only serve to make him feel even more threatened. I think he respects Peggy in the sense that he realizes she is a force to be reckoned with. He is not a nice person imo and has done petty things (see my earlier post on Joan's driver's license and his cruelty about Freddie, to name a couple.)

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Don likes, no, needs, to have those photos and documents nearby, for psychological reasons. I think it's rather like picking at a scab."

And from a practical perspective, he can't retrieve them from a safe deposit box if he needs to light out during non-business hours.

Alan Sepinwall said...

He is not a nice person imo and has done petty things (see my earlier post on Joan's driver's license and his cruelty about Freddie, to name a couple.)

Paul's an ass, but in fairness to him, the drivers license prank was part of an escalating series of cruelties he and Joan were visiting on each other. See also Joan going out of her way to let Sheila know that she used to date Paul.

Matt said...

As much as Weiner may hate the "Sopranos" parallels, I definitely got a Gloria Trillo vibe from Miss Farrell, and there are tons of parallels between the two. Don sees Miss Farrell as somebody new and exciting, where she really just fills the same void as Rachel/Bobbie Barrett. Both Don/Tony are attracted to Miss Farrell/Gloria's free-spiritedness and independence, and not seemingly caring about Don/Tony being married, until that facade is scratched away to reveal somebody bitter and obsessive. Both women also had family issues that Tony (and Don) try to dodge and stay out of.

Another interesting parallel is that both men have torrid affairs with dark-haired women with an air of mystery/lonliness about them, while they're married to nice, typical blonde housewives.

Tyroc said...

I thought Don's mention of being attracted to "long and wavy" hair, was alluding to the fact that he misses Rachel from season one, who he blew it with.

Anonymous said...

wanted to post this last week but forgot...Suzanne Farrell running in Bowdoin sweater led me Sopranos famous 'College' episode in which Tony runs into Nathaniel Hawthorne quote "No man... can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which one may be true." at the school...seems to apply to Don more than ever.

Anonymous said...

Would it be too much to request no more Sopranos comparisons? I'm sure I'm not the only one who never watched that show...

Hatfield said...

Sigh... No, I appreciate the effort, Hatfield. It's just that "Who is the father of the Draper baby?" is one of those questions that just Will. Not. Go. Away.

I hear ya. I'm just glad that underlying frustration I read in your comment wasn't directed at me. I like this blog too much to get in trouble.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Would it be too much to request no more Sopranos comparisons?

I'm afraid that would be too much to ask, actually. Comes a point where spoiler protection has to expire and we have to be able to live in the world.

Unknown said...

Spotting can frequently occur in some women while pregnant - it is not all that unusual.

I thought that Paul was surprised that Peggy had left the office as he was still struggling mightily to come up with an idea he probably figured she was in her office too, tearing her hair out over ideas for the campaign.

I like that Peggy felt confident enough with Paul to be so insistent that he tell Don the reason he didn't have anything to offer - she hadn't been beaten back one bit by his previous dressing down of her as Don't favorite. Good for her.

Everything feels very tenuous right now - just before JFK's death - seems like everything is set up to either crumble entirely or survive. But, nothing seems on solid ground for any of the characters.

It's the first time I've enjoyed watching a show while having a knot in my stomach during the entire program. That's good television.

Anonymous said...

"I'm afraid that would be too much to ask, actually. Comes a point where spoiler protection has to expire and we have to be able to live in the world."

I didn't mean as far as spoilers--I have never had any interest in the Sopranos. I will just continue to gloss over any comparisons. Thanks for the great blog, Alan!

Anonymous said...

DoubleLifeofaSalesman here, technically Anonymous only for convenience's sake, some observations:

1. At long last, I predicted what Alan would lead with -- the "Churchill-rousing or Hitler-rousing?" line. I dearly wish Pryce could be that witty more often.

2. I think, now that the shock's over, it's time for a Sal retrospective (unless MM can get him back). Don's "You'll be fine" was lame, but thanks to MM Bryan Batt has as solid a resume as an actor can ask for. Looking bac k on it all, the only thing that bugs me that we got little sense of Sal apart from the one great secret of his life. I recall one contributor here remarking on Sal being a "dude magnet," but I think that's because the show tended to highlight particularly pivotal moments, and clearly places a high premium on sex and relationships. I only wish we could have had a slightly more rounded sense of him: his upbringing, his artistic career, something like that. "The Gold Violin" came closest to that.

3. For me, "The Color Blue," and in particular Don's point about people wanting to see the same thing, fell back on Don himself, because in this show womankind seems to insist on IDing him as "James Bond of advertising." Yet Betty is doubting just how "true blue" he is. Ideally she would also know about Miss Farrell and be able to say "You're not who you say you are, and you're still not loyal to me -- so what are you?"

4. Of course John Slattery is good at it, but it hurts watching his wit being more diplomatic than smart-aleck.

5. A VERY strong Peggy episode -- Peggy's at least as good an ad woman as Frances McDormand was a police investigator in "Fargo." She handled Paul so well.

I work with a client with a history of violence, and people understandably act a bit cowed and gingerly around him -- it's a little like how everyone seems to fear Don. But I seem to get along with him, by being calm and anticipatory but also acting confident and straightforward. Peggy understands this about Don: it hurts to be scolded by him, but you don't BS him, you say the truth and pay the consequences. Kinsey had a couple of revelations, about Peggy but also about Don's capacity for sympathy.

6. Speaking of Peggy -- where's Duck!? Not that I'm fond of him, but it seems inevitable he's going to figure again in a major way.

7. Danny Farrell's little talk with Don was brilliant. Not everything is sheer force of will -- damn straight. I appreciated him.

I shall return.

Nate said...

Two thoughts from last night:

1) The scene in Don's office with Peggy and Paul was fascinating for two small but great moments: first, Peggy saying, "No, Don" -- or words to that effect -- when Don's about to dress Paul down. Her tone speaks volumes about how her relationship with Don has changed. The second is Don's reaction when Paul reveals that he forgot to write his idea down. Don's obvious and honest sympathy -- and the subtlety with which Hamm delivers the line -- are perfect and in great contrast to his initial cold reaction to the AquaNet pitch.

2) I could not stop laughing when Roger kept referring to his mother as "Mommy." Says so much about his arrested development.

happyfeet said...

@Reuben/Anonymous -

What a fascinating question... If Don is Julius Caesar then "who is Brutus?"

I think you're bang on the money by predicting Peggy. I love the idea that Duck may reappear in this fresh development of Sterling Cooper being for sale. Early information was laid down with Duck angling for business and expressing interest. The scarves featured prominently at the beginning of the episode reminded us there is still some link between Peggy and Duck.

How tantalising that Peggy may be offered a choice between Duck and Don... Who know how true loyalty is born?

Brutus could also be Betty - she has the information to unseat him - and now he can't run. It would be unexpected and seem a betrayal - fitting with Brutus. Betty could even reveal her own infidelity. Perhaps Betty could be enticed by Roger, or even Francis to make choices that betray Don.


happyfeet said...

And a final candidate for a mini-Brutus could be Sally... she may uncover knowledge of Suzanne and her dad and be his unexpected undoing.

laura v. said...

all this talk about how miss farrell's actions are a result of her being younger, open and more aware of her feelings seems like we are trying to make excuses for her. unlike the rest of don's lady friends, miss farrell not only knows betty well (after having been sally's teacher for a year) but she also knows don's daughter. most likely she also knows bobby. her ability to pretend that neither of these three people exist or that her having an affair with don could possibly ruin the lives of not only don's wife, but his two children as well, is unforgivable. she talks of only wanting to be with him - she doesn't care about the fact that he's married. i wonder if she cares at all that he has kids??? she acts all sweet and teacherly, but deep down, she's a calculated homewrecker. i'm not saying don has no fault here - it takes two - but the thought that we should see miss farrell's actions as "ok" because of her age or her feelings is ridiculous.

i find their relationship boring, mostly because we've seen it before. sure, maybe miss farrell is a little different than the rest, but at this point, as others mentioned, who cares?? whenever we get to don and miss farrell scenes, i think to myself "move on, there's nothing to see here" because it's the same tune, just a different singer.

someone mentioned don's comment about miss farrell's hair and how that's the kind of girl he wants. so here's my question - why did he even marry betty?? she's not at all the type of woman he goes after, he consistently seeks women who are the complete opposite. he seems so completely bored with betty. so why did he marry her in the first place? we are supposed to feel sorry for him because betty's "holding him back" from the woman he's always wanted and been attracted to? did he HAVE to marry her? i can't believe a guy like don would simply marry her for her looks - it's clear he thinks she's "pretty" - but i'm just not getting why they got together in the first place.

i loved peggy's scenes....she's got so much to contribute and i feel SC and don lose out by not hearing everything she has to say. even if don completely flames out at some point, at least he will have brought us peggy.

re: betty and don. i too was on the edge of my seat waiting for her to confront him. but i'm so afraid that when betty finally does confront him, don's simply going to say "you're right, i'm a jerk. you would be right to divorce me" and that would be that. i want betty to be vindicated, but i see no way she ever would be. if she divorces him, i'm afraid everyone around them would blame betty and feel sorry for don. we all know carla's got a soft spot for don, and after seeing henry in the house, would assume that it was all betty's doing and none of don's. nobody ever seems to judge don, except for sterling.....

Andrew said...

Cosgrove's worthless comment & Don's smackdown was a twofer, not just for the foreshadowing but also because the tone was pitch-perfect for how creatives speak to worthless account guys who are dorkily trying to contribute to the creative process.

Andrew said...

And... while I will totally and happily respect the rules of this blog... help me with something:

Why *wouldn't* a fan want to watch previews for the next ep? Even if it's misdirection or just teasers, isn't it still part of the storytelling? Surely you don't miss out on the Previously On... as it clearly telegraphs what previous content will be relevant in that hour.

Happy to respect teh rulez... just curious about the practice.

K. said...

Posting late, so I’m responding to a number of things about this episode:

Regarding Betty’s discovery of the box in the desk drawer: Perhaps Betty wondered who “Dick” was, but was there enough evidence for her to conclude that Don and Dick are the same person? If I remember correctly, she was not aware of Adam’s existence at all. Therefore, the snapshot caption reading “Dick and Adam” may have been puzzling, but not enough information for her to make the leap to “Don used to be Dick.” The snapshot itself showed someone who looked somewhat like Don, but wasn’t without-a-doubt Don. Betty could have been left with a lot of questions about Don’s past life, yes, but I’m not convinced she’s quite to the point of “Don Draper is not my husband’s real name.” For all she knows, Dick was a war buddy who was killed in action, and Don has kept his personal effects.

Loved the look Paul gave Peggy when she spun a great campaign idea out of an off-the-cuff conversation they had had moments before their meeting with Don. And how classy was it that she didn’t just let him fall flat on his face at the meeting, but actually tried to help him save face? I sure hope he appreciates that. Paul may be egotistical, but I somehow don’t think he’s the sort of cold-hearted user who would try to get back at Peggy out of spite. This being Sterling Cooper, however, who knows.

Bob in SA – I disagree about Betty’s not confronting Don being “child-like.” As the late-night hours went by, she had lots of time to think about the confrontation, what she would say, how would Don react, and at 2:30 in the morning, was no doubt physically and emotionally exhausted. I believe NOT confronting him immediately was actually less childlike. She has given herself time to consider what to do with the information, which seems to me the more adult choice. That doesn’t make me oblivious to Betty’s flaws as a parent, a partner, or a person, but I think it’s just too easy to completely write Betty off as “an emotional child” the same way her psychiatrist did. She’s becoming an emotional adult while she’s already living the life of an adult, which is not an easy thing to do.

Regarding the phone call and hang up, and Sally’s response to it: “But they heard me breathing.” That just broke my heart. What a metaphor for her family life – “But you see me here, and you still ignore me.”

Marianne – I agree about that shot of Betty sitting on the edge of the bathtub, perfectly dressed and ready for the dinner, being really powerful. I just cringed when Don told her that morning that he wanted to show her off, the gorgeous, stunning Betty Draper. Of course, he had no idea that that was EXACTLY the wrong thing to say at that moment, when she had the day before realized her role in their marriage really was merely symbolic. I agree with others here that she totally has it in her to kick Don’s ass. (As a Top Chef fan, maybe that kick-ass quality is what makes people see a resemblance in January Jones and Jen. Looks-wise, I don’t see much of a resemblance at all.)

Andrew said...

Just one other way Arrested Development was brilliant: their epilogues were sometimes the funniest parts of the show.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that Carla would mention going to any market on Sunday when during that time there were blue laws on the books and virtually nothing was open on Sundays. I think this was a big mistake on the part of the writers.

Lois Strikes Back said...

I loved the little look of glee Betty gets on her face when the key fits the desk lock. It makes me think she has probably tried every key she has ever found on that lock, and by now she never expects it to fit. It's just a little game (just like how she tugs on the drawer every time she's in the study as revealed in a previous episode). Except this time... shazaam!

As for my girl Lois still being employed...I wouldn't be surprised if Roger had given her a raise for her run-in with Guy!

Paul Outlaw said...

Grey Advertising (Duck's boss) was founded (as Grey Studios) in 1917 and as such was only a few years older than Sterling Cooper in 1963. It's unlikely that it would have been able to swallow up SC at this point. Over the course of the decade and beyond, Grey blew up and became the international concern (Grey Global Group) it is today.

Anonymous said...

Cosgrove's worthless comment & Don's smackdown was a twofer, not just for the foreshadowing but also because the tone was pitch-perfect for how creatives speak to worthless account guys who are dorkily trying to contribute to the creative process.

True, though in the wider spectrum of 'creative' (other than ad copy) isn't Cosgrove a valid writer in his own right? He just never thought to pursue it anymore than as a hobby.

It's interesting that Cosgrove is the odd man out in the office - everyone else has been scrambling and worried about their jobs and (Paul realizing his lack of talent, Peggy being underpaid, Pete is redundant as the 'co-head', Don has to cater to Hilton's every move and signed a contract, Harry is Harry, Bert and Roger became insignificant, Lane has to cater to his London bosses, Sal is fired, etc) - but Cosgrove? He's sitting pretty as the head co-head of accounts. It's eerily good times for him - makes me wonder if something would happen to him.

Ashley said...

Who's the guy who exclaimed "Oh no!" in Kinsey's Aquanet pitch? Is he a new copywriter, or have we seen him before? Just wondering.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

I checked many of the posts, and did a search, but I don't think this was ever addressed- when Don got his official divorce decree from the real Don's wife....was Don already married to Betty?

If that was the case "Don Draper" could have been married to two women at the same time. I think that's called bigamy.

And if that was the actual scenario, Don and Betty might not have a legal marriage.

Just a thought.

Susan said...

laura v, I don't get the idea anyone commenting on Miss Farrell is excusing her having sex with Don. She is, as you say, a little different from Don's other brunettes. But to me the biggest difference is how deeply she has affected Don.

Don could not be married to any of the brunettes because they are all too strong. He could not have a strong wife standing up to him. Betty has no career, she can be nasty but for the most part is compliant, she doesn't challenge him. She is a beautiful accessory, as he pointed out when she said she wasn't going to the Sterling Cooper party.

Susan said...

Hugh, last season we saw a flashback of Don telling Anna he had met Betty. They talked about a divorce then. That makes me think Don is not a bigamist.

Andrew said...

Cosgrove laying low this season & somehow paralleling JFK's assassination is a great, great call. Obscure, yet in hindsight would seem plainly obvious - every main office character from Cooper to chipmunk has had their storyline in the sun for at least a minute. Except Ken. (other than the promotion)

And then, bang.

If so, anon, you called it.

Unknown said...

What Imamarilyn said, we saw Don telling Anna about Betty and how he was in love with her and then he said, pretty much, I'm going to need you to grant me a divorce which she immediately agreed to.

Julia said...

Imamarilyn & Mimi:

Thanks. I had forgotten that. It seems from that conversation with Anna that Don really did love Betty in the beginning.

I'm so impressed that January Jones' facial expression doesn't change all that much - she does her acting with her eyes.

We've seen Don at a younger age, I hope the writers will give us a look at Betty as a glamorous fashion model before she married.

Lilithcat said...

Whether Don/Dick married Betty before or after the "divorce" from Anna Draper is irrelevant to whether or not he's a bigamist.

He's not.

Why? Because the Don Draper who married Anna is not the same Don Draper who married Betty.

His marriage to Betty may be invalid for other reasons (fraud, for example), but it's not bigamous.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Lilithcat. It can't be bigamy when the real Don Draper never married Betty.

Don't like Suzanne Farrell. I think she and her brother are strange sketchballs.

Anonymous said...

Terrific episode, I loved the tension of a delay of any kind of Betty-Don blowout. A few small comments and a bigger one.

--Carla and Betty have been at odds at different points but I thought it was a nice moment where Carla asks Betty what was wrong. A genuine moment of empathy that cut through their differences for a brief moment.

--A lot of actions are viewed as a kind of social commentary and rightly so but I think not every action should be viewed as an act of a unevolved caveman. Pete has shown jealousy of Ken just as Paul has been jealous of Peggy. Does Paul have to be a woman hater? Maybe we can take a page from Peggy who seems flattered to be shown the respect of professional jealousy, just like the other chipmunks feel for each other.

--In "My Old Kentucky Home", we see various "talents" of the characters (and actors for that matter) outside the office: Pete's dancing, Don's dexterity mixing drinks, and the accordiob playing. Even at the office Paul sings. It was nice to see Paul and Peggy failing and acting uncouth what with Peggy's burp and whatever Paul was doing. And I thought him pulling out the Jackie and Marilyn ad was (in part)a reminder of good work he had done, in the face of trying to find a campaign idea.

--Here is a piece of Greek myth inspired by Achilles and perhaps linked with Paul forgetting his idea. In the Illead, Mnemon (root for mnemonic device) was tasked with reminding Achilles to not kill a son of Posidon on the voyage to Troy or risk the punishment of bad weather. Mnemon does not prevent Achilles from killing a son of Posidon, bad weather hits and Mnemon is killed for failing in his task. An interesting wrinkle in a episode with memory failure. Will "death" follow a failure to remember?

--Small question: the comment about having to wait for a taxi, is there a custom in London where class helps you get a taxi easier? I felt like I was missing something there.

--My final comment is that it is interesting that we assume Betty finding out Don's past is going to go badly. Everyones comments seem to suggest it and I admit Don is on top right now primed for a fall. At the same time, I think Betty knowing will Don's secrets will for Don bring Betty down from the pedestal of perfect wife and mother to a complete person in his eyes and for Betty knowing Dons past will be a relief and a bond of shared painfully childhoods. Don connects with other women through their childhoods: if Betty can break through the class distinctions Don feels, maybe they can connect better.

Karen said...

the sibling devotion of wack-teacher doesn't count for much since she has no qualms about a man's betrayal of his family when it suits her "needs"

Are you actually suggesting that it's impossible for a woman involved with a married man to care for a member of her own family? What is your basis for this?

I get what another commenter says, that there's something creepy about Farrell knowing Don's kids and still going for him. She put up a little fight when he first showed up at her door, but not so much. But I still don't see how this prevents her for caring for/about her own brother.

On a different note, someone asked how it is that Don has a "type"--strong, brunette, free-spirited--but ended up marrying Betty. I'd say that Dick goes for the brown-haired free spirits but Don believes he should be married to the long-legged blonde model, who is such a good company wife.

Anonymous said...

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

On one level, Don's comment shows he's clueless about the oncoming societal changes.

But, in terms of human nature, he's also absolutely right.

That's why I think Weiner's use of Achilles isn't just about fatal flaws.

He's also commenting on mythology and the mix of frustration and comfort resulting from the human desire to return to the same stories over and over.

Don knows this desire, properly applied, will sell a lot of soap. But he also knows it's a complete sham. Even as, by episode's end, he's being held up as the god of advertising.

NJPaul said...

The dialogue of Suzanne and Don in bed was important. They are discussing "blue", as Alan says in his review, a "true" color. Suzanne says, "but maybe half the people think they're looking at yellow." Yellow- which also means coward. Don replies, "Maybe. The truth is people may see things different, but they don't really want to."

Don may be a cowardly hobo, but most people in his life wants to see him as the sharp, intelligent ad man.

KarenX said...

To be fair to Betty, sure she was probably always a blonde, but she was living on her own in NYC, supporting herself as a model, and (at least) occasionally traveling outside of the United States. She was probably bedding him before they got married. We don't know how marriage and housekeeping has cramped her style or how much she might have resembled Don's "women" when she was younger; short of Bobbie Barrett, all the mistresses of his that we've met have been childless, and Bobbie's kid was (I think) at least a teenager. I'm not ready to judge Betty for what she might have been like before we met her.

Perhaps she was coming out of her shell and leaving her father's house/family baggage habits behind when she stepped right back into domesticity as the corporate wife. Remember when she was sharing her Italian modeling costumes with Francine back when she was shooting the neighbor's birds? Strange men fell in love with her, even gay ones. Betty had charm, and we've seen it bubble through with other men even on the show.

amanda said...

I have to say I don't understand all the assertions that Ms. Farrell is crazy. She is cut from the cloth of Don's other mistresses: dark-haired, independent, free-spirited or creative. As we've moved forward in time, she's simply closer to being a hippie than the others. And why must she be the one who should "know how to handle an affair" or "respect Don's boundaries" etc.? She saw what he was about and aside from her tipsy phone call (which was "dangerous") kept a distance until he actually came to her door and seduced her. Labeling her as crazy seems an act on the viewer's part to "protect Don" which I am not sure is deserved.

Elena said...

One thing I don't get is what did Don do with the extra time he had since he didn't drop the brother off at the right place. Or was it not that far from the destination, distance-wise. I thought he'd go home since "teacher" wouldn't expect him until much later. Anyway it was odd to me, perhaps my midwestern roots are showing.

I agree w you Alan, the Brits arc and baby Gene haven't gone the way I expected, or been as dramatic as expected. Sounds like they're in October now. Interesting to see what happens next. Would love a scene with Betty and Anna, the two Mrs. Drapers!

Anonymous said...

January Jones was amazing. She does so much just with her EYES.

Okay,I did a one has said anything about the suits of armor. Tonight you saw the one Lane has in his office a few times and then when Bert is lamenting his 40 years we see his Oriental suit of armor. It had been shown before,season one I think Roger said something about it...but I had forgotten it.

Given Matt Weiner's attention to detail,I don't see how it could be insignificant.

If anyone was going to steal an idea it would have been Kinsey. I was worried for Peggy when she left the dictaphone on Olive's desk.

How much did I love Don's unexpected moment of sympathy???
He's been SUCH a bastard lately "Give me more ideas to reject!" that i was braced. But to see him soften and say morosely I hate it when that happens!"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said"
"I find it odd that Carla would mention going to any market on Sunday when during that time there were blue laws on the books and virtually nothing was open on Sundays. I think this was a big mistake on the part of the writers."
No mistake that I can see. Betty is making the shopping list. Apples are mentioned,but Betty does NOT want the ones from the supermarket. She says she wants the ones from X Farm. (sorry, do not recall) But that's not a market,it's an apple orchard. We have Blue Laws on the books in Indiana to this day,by the way.

Apple orchards are always open on Sunday with roadside stand type sales.

Anonymous said...


Glad to see her and I hope she stays at S-C no matter who has the keys to the place.

My favorite Lois line is when she is letting the chipmunks bribe her and she tries to scare them by saying "...there will be...REDUNDANCIES!"

Jennifer said...

FAVORITE bit from the episode – Betty hollering at Sally re the phone call - “Don’t take everything so personally” – but she assumes the call was for her!

The Group – as I recall it – has some pretty racy scenes in it. Not that people don’t read in the bathtub for many reasons, but something about the cut, and the increasing absence of Don from the house, made me think that perhaps Betty might be resorting to a little self-help…

A little disappointed that so many are disapproving that Betty did not confront her husband about the box. When might she have? She waits for him to come home, he does not. He calls her on the telephone, she is half-asleep, and it’s not a phone call conversation anyway. Next time they see each other, it’s for the big dinner. When could she confront him? Reminds me, actually, of real-life marriages, where sometimes the fight has to wait until you can fit it in the schedule…

I can’t believe there are only three left!

Anonymous said...

Would love a scene with Betty and Anna, the two Mrs. Drapers!

Interesting indeed. If they met, I think Anna would try to explain Don, and get Betty to forgive him. IIRC Anna, like Betty, is a blonde.

During Don's discussion with Anna about wanting to marry Betty, you could see how smitten he was with her. I think he feared (or fears) if he opened up to Betty about himself at all, she would reject him. On some level, Don wonders if he's good enough for Betty. Betty's the the perfect girl -- from Mainline Philly, went to a seven sisters school who's willng to marry a guy going to night school writing copy for a fur company. He can open up to the mistresses -- there's really nothing to lose with them.

The real tragey is Don and Betty can't connect to each other they way they connect to other people. And, I wonder if the Dick truth come out will help them connect on a deeper level, in some odd way.

I agree with most posters, I don't think it's going to go well for Don over the remaining three episodes. He's heading for quite a fall. I think the many, many Rome mentions throughout the season are telegraphing that, including the book Sally read to grandpa Gene.

Marshall Steinbaum said...

Some apparent Manhattan geography puzzlers in this episode:

1. Mrs. Price says that her cab driver gave her a tour of Harlem before she had to bail at Sterling Cooper for lack of fare. Now, that entire scene was written with her a bit hysterical, so maybe she just got in a cab and had miscalculated the amount of cash necessary. But even so: we previously found out the Prices live in a furnished flat in Sutton Place. So the cab was going from there to some store or seamstress by way of Madison in the 40s. Which one? At least now, all the places I can imagine her going would be on Fifth or Madison north of 50th, not someplace such that SC is on the way or a waypoint on the route south from Harlem (if she's right about the cab running up the fare).

2. The dowager Mrs. Sterling comments that they've passed the Waldorf and Roger says that it moved to Park Ave. The prior location was at 34th and 5th, where the Empire State Building is now. So the Sterlings were presumably driving north on Madison or Park when that conversation takes place. But could Mrs. Sterling really live anywhere south of the Waldorf? I guess Gramercy is a possibility, but then they wouldn't have passed the prior location. And I can't believe she'd live anywhere other than the Upper East Side.

Anonymous said...

I've only seen Zak F. mention it, but my very first thought when we learned SC was going to be for sale was that Don would try and convince Hilton to buy the company and put him in charge, perhaps pushing out Roger altogether. (Though Roger was very charming in his introduction of Don at the party, and I though Don might've actually enjoyed hearing it.)

Duck would love to put together a group to buy SC, but I don't think he's got the pull.

Ms. Farrell is definitely cuckoo bananas.

I agree with the sentiment that we need to see more of Don's new secretary. She's getting good at the job, and seems to have developed the right chemistry to work with Don.

bmfc1 said...

I wonder why the previous owners of SC didn't have a "right of first refusal" clause in the contract when they sold the company.

Julia said...

I wonder why the previous owners of SC didn't have a "right of first refusal" clause in the contract when they sold the company.

Even if there was a right of first refusal, Roger, Burt, Don et al would have to match an offer from the outside - so there is still an incentive for Brits to ratchet up the sale price.

Unless - the contract contained some kind of formula to determine a price to buy it back if the Brits wanted to sell.

Duck facilitated the original purchase by the Brits; I'll bet he could pull off another such buy - but it would be Gray this time (with Peggy helping him behind the scenes?).

Susan said...

Karen, that's interesting to think of what Betty might have been like before she was married. She was pregnant when she and Don married, so you are right they were having sex. I tend to think she was not like the brunettes, given her parents.

I don't think Don is necessarily headed for a fall, either at work or at home. But I am continually surprised by the twists and turns of Mad Men.

My grandma would have said Miss Farrell is crazy "like a fox."

Alexis said...

Wait, was Betty pregnant with Sally when she and Don got married? When did we find that out?

Maura said...

Lilithcat said...

"Eyeball wit said What? They didn't have safety deposit boxes back then?"

Don likes, no, needs, to have those photos and documents nearby, for psychological reasons. I think it's rather like picking at a scab.

Good observation, lilithcat. I've always just put it down to Don not trusting banks (for anything, not just keeping his money safe), but yes. It's like he needs to remind himself what he's done. Someone (maybe here?) said that Don wants to be caught. With each woman he chooses, he gets a little closer to home. It's as if privately atoning for his past sins isn't enough, so he barely bothers. He thinks he needs a public thrashing.

Andrew said...

And... while I will totally and happily respect the rules of this blog... help me with something:

Why *wouldn't* a fan want to watch previews for the next ep? Even if it's misdirection or just teasers, isn't it still part of the storytelling? Surely you don't miss out on the Previously On... as it clearly telegraphs what previous content will be relevant in that hour.

Happy to respect teh rulez... just curious about the practice.

For a show like MM, I want to be completely surprised (not so much with most of the other shows I watch). We've decided we're not even going to watch the Previouslies anymore. Going in blind is more fun, and whatever happens has a bigger impact. I've always wondered why anyone would want to read spoilers. Knowing what's going to happen ahead of time would ruin the show for me.

Susan said...

Alexis, Betty told her psychiatrist in Season 1 that she was pregnant before she got married.

Carla said...

Delivered with a small sigh in the middle, Bert’s line to Lane (when the latter was trying to talk the former into attending the party) was, IMO, the best-delivered of the ep: “You pour on the honey… and then you lick it off.” I had to pause the playback while I laughed over that one. :-)

Anonymous said...

I really like this episode but I was a little taken aback, so much is going on and so much should happen next !!!
I really liked the arc between Peggy and Paul and his realisation of her talent.
I just want to add a little comment to give another fact on the Miss Farrel issue and because I know that Mad Men creators and viewers are all about details.
I was able to identify the song playing at her place when Don arrives the first time : she's listening to "Dominique" from Soeur Sourire, which is a 1963 song about the creator of the Dominican Order sang by a Belgium Noun who was very liberal for the time (she was a lesbian and didn't agree with a lot of principles of the Church) and had a tragic life because she never had the money earned with her worldwide hit. This song, despite the seriousness of the theme, is very well-known today because the chorus is a little dirty. It's "Dominique, nique, nique" and "niquer" in French means to fuck, to have sex with someone.
Again, as I said for the jai alai, I really think that they have a French intern on the show!!!
But, about Miss Farrel, I personnally think that she's really ahead of her time and not crazy, but she'll never be as interesting as Rachel Menken Katz, IMO...

berkowit28 said...

"is there a custom in London where class helps you get a taxi easier?"

Well, in New York, people push ahead of you to grab a taxi. She could be hailing one and someone else grabs the cab. In London, people would be deferential to her, not only if she was first, but, (back then, not now), showing the signs of being upper middle class, whenever she appeared. Possibly the cabbie, too.

John C. said...

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.

And others of us watch the show on the Internet, where there are no previews.

MadMeme said...

I disagree with those calling Miss Farrell either a home-wrecker or crazy; I think she's been getting clobbered here mainly because fans want the First Couple, Don and Betty, to 'make it'.

First, you can't wreck a solid home - the fact that it isn't solid, and that Don cheats, is the responsibility of Don, and Don alone. She's a single woman, free and clear, and clearly stated her opinion about philandering fathers to Don right from the start. She rebuffed him a few times (while also being attracted to him) and only succumbed in the face of Don's persistence (she certainly held out longer than Rachel).

Now if she takes steps to destroy Don's marriage if/when he decides he doesn't want her anymore or won't leave his wife, etc, I'd be willing to apportion her some blame, but until then, I personally don't think she's done anything wrong.

Secondly, I don't think she's exhibited any behavior that I'd call crazy. She's certainly emotional (as evidenced by the apology phone call, which, BTW, might have been answered by Betty as easily as it was by Don), and that high-level of emotion might boil-over and bite Don in the ass, but until it does, I think she's been more honest, straight-forward, and caring towards Don than any of his previous affairs.

I agree with the previous poster who mentioned that she will be a major force in Don's life (one way or another).

Paul Worthington said...

Many commenters here make what seem to me as apocalyptic predictions:
Betty will have it out with Don and lead to divorce;
SC will be acquired;
Peggy will cause Don’s business downfall, etc.;

First, I hope all these notions are wrong because to me, the show is about subtleties, and soap opera-like climatic actions would ring false. In real life, we all dread such big changes — but more often, things don’t change that much.
Second, I think most of the plot ideas people are floating here would just break the show.
It’s not an ensemble piece, it’s not about Betty and Peggy becoming modern women, or whatever else…
It’s really a one man show about Don Draper, his business and family life, and how he adjusts to the changes of the 60s.

And all the ideas about Don loosing his business standing, or his marriage, or his very identity and being revealed to all as Dick Whitman, would work only if this were a 2-hour movie or even just a three-season 36-episode mini-series.
But it’s an open-ended serial. And do you really think Weiner want to write a show about a guy who looses everything and is at the bottom? More to the real-world point, do you think AMC would let him? A large part of the show’s appeal is Draper’s master-of-the-universe vibe. While it’s dramatic and fun to show this attitude get challenged, if it crashed and Draper is yet another loser — the show loses most of what little audience it has.
Do you want to watch a whole season or more of Don Draper, corporate peon answering to Duck? Whether you do or not, do you think the majority of the audience does? Or would the ratings tank?
[Also, Grey is a real business: it can’t acquire SC, as then our cast would be working at Grey, and the artistic leeway the show now has to portray how the business runs would be lost: can’t have that much fiction flying in the face of real-world fact.]
To make the Sopranos comparison: Tony had challenges from other families and the Ralphs and Richies — but he never lost everything and became a thug on another gangster’s crew. That would be a different show.

We’ve already had Don and Betty separate — do you think the show would be improved if we had to watch them divorce? If it jumped years ahead again and they are leading separate lives, the show wouldn’t fundamentally change and be about two characters — it would be about Don Draper, divorced man, no Betty. But since January Jones is both a good actress and has audience appeal, they will neither write her out nor change the show to be about divorced people. [If I had to guess, I think Betty will meet the real Mrs. Draper and come to an adult understanding.]
Again, Tony and Carmela separated, but they reconciled and came to an understanding. It was a show about a family’s struggles, not a divorced guy. Same with Madmen: it’s about Don reconciling his urge to philander and hobo with his need for stability, and his desire to be better than he is.

Paul Worthington said...

Wiener said when this show launched that his motivation was writing about what it meant to be a man, and a father, in modern America. I think he started with such a broken, flawed character so as to allow that character to grow and become better — not to show a successful business man get stabbed in the back ala Brutus and fall from grace.
I think we will see Don get some comeuppance, of course, and face more challenges — but an award at a party where he is still way down the totem pole at what has clearly been shown as a third-rate company is hardly the apex of the man’s career.
So many are predicting an immediate fall from grace for Don — but I’d guess he is still on the rise. And the growth of the show will be showing him growing as a person, and earning that success — not in showing his abrupt downfall and wallowing in the misery.

Of course I could be way wrong, and Don could lose everything in three weeks. All the above is subjective, apart from the show-biz demands for keeping a series on the air long-term.
But I think many here are letting there hatred for Don as some embodiment of an arrogant rich white male blind themselves to the requirements of long-term drama, and to the show’s core story. [And to the fact that the character is hardly a cliché of class and male privilege: he’s the abused and impoverished son of a whore, trying to make good.]

Alan Sepinwall said...

I disagree with those calling Miss Farrell either a home-wrecker or crazy; I think she's been getting clobbered here mainly because fans want the First Couple, Don and Betty, to 'make it'.

Hi. Please don't psycho-analyze other commenters if their opinions don't track with yours... especially given that very few people here actually seem to think "the First Couple" has a healthy relationship, and since many people here are clearly very fond of previous Draper mistresses Midge and Rachel.

Anonymous said...

Did the show just jump in time two months? If I'm not mistaken, the previous episode took place in August, and here they're already talking about Halloween.

mmjoan said...

What an episode. After reading everyone's posts, I want to comment on 2 things. (Alan, thank you for addressing a recent post to keep me from making it 3 things.) :)

1. Don is so arrogant and selfish, he did not care (and barely noticed) Betty the entire ep. In the 1st scene, Betty asks him if he'll sleep at home and is kind about how hard he is working when he says no. Then it's straight to see Miss Farrell. By the end of the ep, I felt sick to my stomach. I hate how he handled Betty's outburst on the phone. There was no guilt when he lied about where he was the night before and told her he wanted to show her off. When she came out of the bathroom, he told the kids "Look how pretty Mommy looks" (and by God, JJ is STUNNING), but said nothing to her directly. He was too busy with his speech and enjoying the attention to feel Betty's aloofness in the car and at the party. When Roger thanked Betty for sharing Don with SC, Don was unfazed, even while knowing he's spending time on his most compromising affair yet rather than work. The man has no remorse because he is so selfish--wanting what he wants when he wants it and getting it at any cost. Ending the ep with him accepting praise then cutting to Betty was brilliant. He is so very arrogant and oblivious to what's in Betty's head and how it can affect him.

2. I'm afraid Don is falling in love with Miss Farrell. As others have posted, he has more of a relationship with her than he had with any other mistress. He quickly got over his suspicions over the hang up call and her finding him on the train when he could have just ended it there. He went back to see her and comforted her about Danny despite being denied sex that night. I figured she'd fall for him, but I so don't want Don to possibly lose his family because he's in love with a teacher at his kids' school.

Anonymous said...

jenae / Jude writing as Anon. 2 b expedient

I may have first used the phrase "home-wrecker" while speaking of S.F., but I did so in ()'s and said she was playing "that role."

In fact I agree with--

damned, can't locate the comment and name, but the person who said that to be a true homewrecker (for what that label's worth), you have to go after a married man aggressively

--I would agree with that.

(An example would be I think Assia what's her name shaking up with Ted Hughes while he was seemingly--but not genuinely--happily married to Sylvia Plath, though I'm not sure of the facts as to who pursued who.)

While a damaged relationship will tend to fall apart, it's not super graceful to help it along by shacking up with one of the spouses, especially when you have met the wife, know she recently gave birth, etc.

That said, i don't feel inclined to condemn Suzanne Farrell. I think the show is for the most part doing a good job showing how complex we all are--good in one respect, "bad" in some other way.

Meanwhile that scene with Roger and jane in the car makes me nervous, 'cause it seems to be pointing toward an extremely cliche "she married the rich old guy and now she's petulant and unhappy" story-line. I have to trust that Weiner et al will find some complexity in that R & J narrative, as Weiner seemed so enthused to do in the commentary. They've been skating too close to the cliches for my tastes there.

(I think People here know I take such cliches personally. I've gotten very sensitive to all the nasty stereotypes we bandy about this past couple years since I've been writing stories on that theme. Yet I'm sure I have my own simplistic and unkind stereotype-thinking I fall into unawares. Hence I wanted to clean up the home-wrecker comment.)

Anonymous said...

My decision to tag Miss Farrell as cuckoo bananas has nothign to do with my concern for the Draper marriage,thank you.

Let's review: Miss Farrell and Don are having a polite conversation about the weather,etc when Sally was in the camera obscura scene. All of a sudden it took a very dark turn when she bluntly told Don she didn't appreciate his come ons. Which,at the time he wasn't making.

She called the house drunk.

She got a little wierd at the teacher conf. with Don and Betty but reigned it in..

She has just shown signs of the veneer cracking.

Run Don RUN!

jenae said...


I agree with all your observations of Suzanne F., but don't think it adds up to crazy. Don't the men on the show do equally erratic things, just in a less, how shall I say, female style?

(Getting emotional during the parent / teacher conference could be interpreted as part of her desire to shake up the mainstream and be a crusader for emotional sensitivity. I think she's a proto-hippie.)

Could it be that we have a big "crazy promiscuous woman" archetype in our culture and that's why people are perceiving Farrell--with her blowsy, tipsy-dialing call to Don--as super-crazy? Just asking.

Not sure what was said here (came across an old article by Alan that was very even handed about Bobby), but I heard on the commentary that when the actress who played Bobbie read the blogs, she was shocked to see that viewers hated Bobby, thought she was gross, etc., which she took to mean that we still can't accept a sexually aggressive woman.

--Maybe this blog has always been more thoughtful than what she read.

K. said...

"It’s not an ensemble piece, it’s not about Betty and Peggy becoming modern women, or whatever else…
It’s really a one man show about Don Draper, his business and family life, and how he adjusts to the changes of the 60s."

This was more true of the show in its first season than of its second or current seasons. I’m thinking of another brilliant cable series here – The Wire. In its first season, that show was about cops and drug dealers, but as the series unfolded over a total of five seasons, its themes became much, much bigger, encompassing entire institutions as well as the individuals within them. The one character who found redemption at series’ end began season one as a somewhat minor supporting character (I won’t spoil anything by saying who it was). I’ve found myself wondering more than once who that character might be on Mad Men.

jenae said...

paul worthington wrote;

"(Don) is hardly a cliché of class and male privilege: he’s the abused and impoverished son of a whore, trying to make good."

I agree.

Hatfield said...

I think the opinion that Miss Farrell is crazy stemmed not only from her drunken phone calls and (possible) hang up from this most recent episode, but also, and perhaps mostly, from her weird conversation with Don during the eclipse. It's possible he was fishing for info about her, but it really did feel like small talk, and I'm of the opinion that he wasn't seriously considering going for her until she called him a philanderer. Also, as Alan said, cuckoo bananas is great fun to both say read.

Susan said...

jenae, Don is both. And that's what makes him so interesting imo.

Dennis said...

First off, I love the idea from the poster Sally that the tone was set with Gene's book.

It certainly makes a lot of sense considering the recent allusion to Caesar.

Anonymous said...

jenae speaking*

imamarilyn: good point good point!

(I think I was vaguely aware right after posting that that there was some duality there.)

i no longer feel quite so struck by the Don narrative as I did at first but his complexity is still the center of the show, and there's still something quite tragic about his story, despite his bad behavior.

* (no time to log on to my gmail right now and can't access username otherwise)

SJ said...

Cosign to Matt for the Gloria Trillo vibes. I have been watching The Sopranos again, and she definitely reminds me of her. She doesn't care about Don's family, and just wants him all to himself.

Not only that but she's also an independent woman who will try her utmost to get whatever she wants. And it's kind of obvious she is the one who called the Draper residence ("geez Louise" haha)

Elena said...

"Okay,I did a one has said anything about the suits of armor. Tonight you saw the one Lane has in his office a few times and then when Bert is lamenting his 40 years we see his Oriental suit of armor. "

Yes, I noticed the armor too, particularly in Pryce's office. It struck me as odd, I guess more by wondering how it got there, did he ship it from London, or pick it up in a NY antique shop? And it seems an odd accent for an office, doesn't really fit the Pryce we know it taking to the U.S. like a duck to water. In that scene I kept looking for the cobra in the basket, thought I might have spied it on a side table, anyone else see it?

Anonymous said...

Maybe suits of armor were de rigeur CEO office decor back in the day. When I worked on Mad Ave in the late 70s, the CEO at my company had one. Along with a taxidermied German shepherd and a 1950s aqua refrigerator, where he kept champagne to celebrate whenever on of our products won an award.

Things are SOOOOO boring now!
Part of the charm of MM, for me anyway, is that while a lot of things were buttoned up, other things were looser.

PanAm53 said...

Re: Betty being pregnant at the time she and Don married.

That supposition has been making the rounds of Mad Men talk sites, but no one has backed it up with documentation (Season/Episode) as to when this was made known. I'm sure many of you have access to review the previous episodes, and would be able to shed some light on this.

When Betty and Don differed on the length of time of their marriage when asked by the Brits, I had a suspicion that Betty may have been pregnant at the time of her marriage to Don and was trying to be discrete. However, I do not recall which one of the two stated the longer time. I also do not recall any time in previous episodes where it was stated that Betty was pregnant at the time of her marriage to Don. I am fairly certain that I would not have missed this, as I would have found it to be significant in the relationship between Betty and Don. Also, even though pre-marital pregnancy was not openly discussed at that time (there were a lot of “premature” babies born in the 50's and 60's), I think that Don would have told Anna that he needed a divorce in order to legitimize his child, rather than just convey that he was smitten with a gorgeous blonde model.

I would really appreciate any information from people who are willing and able to review Season 1.

Thank you.

Susan said...

PanAm, A few episodes ago in comments I did cite where we learned Betty was pregnant when she married. It's Season 1, Episode 9, "Shoot."

PanAm53 said...

Imamarilyn said...
PanAm, A few episodes ago in comments I did cite where we learned Betty was pregnant when she married. It's Season 1, Episode 9, "Shoot."

10:40 PM, October 20, 2009
Thank you, Imamarilyn. I don't know how I missed that!

Susan said...

PanAm, you're welcome. I think Don was truly smitten with Betty and didn't marry her just because he "had" to. But yes, I think when they were having dinner with Lane and his wife, that was the reference.

Josh said...

I have finally caught up! (explanation below)
I listen to the B.S. Report off and on and I heard you on there with Bill in early Oct talking about "Mad Men" and I had to start watching. (I also now need to start watching "The Wire")
Surprisingly no network in Canada chose to carry the 3rd season but, unlike Simmons, I have no problems with torrents (I'm a poor student), yet it took me a while to catch up. What an episode to stop at though. I was used to watching as many episodes as I wanted and then to have to stop after Betty finds the box. "Jeez Louise"
Anyways, I really appreciate your analysis. You've pointed out things I would have never thought about and it's made my viewing experience a lot more enjoyable.
I look forward to commenting in the future.

PanAm53 said...


Thanks again for the reference to Season 1, Episode 9: "Shoot"

I am a slightly (maybe more than slightly) technology challenged 64 year old retiree, who just now subscribed to iTunes, in order to see what I may have missed two years ago on "Mad Men". I still can't believe that I missed it, but in my defense, it was subtly referenced and I was under the influence of heavy narcotics, having just undergone spinal fusion surgery. But kudos to you, Imamarilyn!

Pirate Alice said...

Jan-Michael mentioned he felt the "What's wrong? WHAT'S WRONG??!" dialog as stilted. And wasn't sure whether to blame writer or actress.

I've you've ever been so blind with anger, rage and betrayal it is incredibly realistic to lose all words and just repeat the same thing over and over as you try to find them. I found that piece of dialog perfect for the moment, since I've been there and done that.

Tyroc said...

Over 300 comments?! Wow!

Way to go, Alan.

Is that the record? Or do the Lost ones beat it?

jack said...

Maybe its me, but I was a little surprised that of all the things that Betty saw in the secret drawer, the item that shocked her was the divorce papers.

The pictures of Don with "Dick" on the back, all the cash, and the multiple dog tags she simply went through with seemingly very little emotional impact

Anonymous said...

If Betty and Don aren't really married, what does that make Sally and Bobby? Bastards -- just like Dick!

How interesting.

Susan said...

Jack, like a child, Betty zeroed in on the things that directly affected her...the deed and divorce decree. She sat with the box out for many hours, so perhaps later when the initial shock wore off, she began to process the pictures and the dog tags.

MadMeme said...

Hi. Please don't psycho-analyze other commenters if their opinions don't track with yours...

Hi Alan. Sorry, but I thought I was being crystal clear that I was expressing my own personal opinion (e.g. 'I disagree', 'I think', etc). Also, there seems to be plenty of examples of speculation on this blog as to why other viewers MIGHT have certain feelings about characters or plot developments (e.g. the commenter directly after me: "But I think many here are letting there hatred for Don..."). So I'm a little confused as to why you singled out my comment.

And about your response:

...especially given that very few people here actually seem to think "the First Couple" has a healthy relationship, and since many people here are clearly very fond of previous Draper mistresses Midge and Rachel.

1) People don't have to believe that a couple has a healthy relationship in order to hope that they'll be able to turn it around and fix it. I feel that way about real-life couples who are friends quite often.

2) Midge and Rachel were both in Season 1; they were before Bobbie, Betty's humiliation, Don's expulsion from the house, Betty's minor growth, her pregnancy, and Don's hat-in-hand return. The backstory and history are much different, and I have to wonder if a Midge or Rachel-type would receive the same amount of viewer fondness if they appeared now, 2-3 years later.

berkowit28 said...

Jack, as another commenter already mentioned here earlier in the thread, it's not clear that Betty has any idea that the pictures of Dick as young boy are indeed Don. She might be a bit curious as to why Don would have family pictures of two boys called Dick and Adam Whitfield, but there's nothing to shock her there or lead to the conclusion that Dick is Don. Same for army dog tags for Dick and Don: she knows Don was in the army, and she has never heard of Dick.

Divorce papers for her husband Don Draper and a wife named Anna, and a deed ion a house for this same Anna, are quite another matter. So far, they are the *only* things that seem to relate to Don himself, and her, and they are pretty shocking.

I find it completely understandable. Way down on the list of things to ask Don would be "Who are those old pictures of?"

berkowit28 said...

Tyroc, a couple of weeks ago the comments made it to just short of 400 - I think it was 395 or so - which would have gone onto a third page at 401.

ps said...

Mauimom said...

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

I wondered the same thing; I think it was Duck's gift. Also, like a commenter above, the Aqua Net mock commercial reminded me so much of the Kennedy assassination. The pink of the scarf blowing off of the guy in the back, reminded me of blood and Kennedy getting shot. It was interesting the way, Don, in his clinical way, cleaned that up. No messy blood, just a moment.

Don lives in single moments. He doesn't want them all to string together. For all the parts of his life to get together would be a disaster for him.

laura v. said...

regarding why betty seemed only interested in the divorce decree and deed - i think that was because those were the last things she encountered while going through the contents of the box.

the dog tags and photos were the first things she saw when opening the box and she was probably just so interested/excited to get to the rest of the contents she didn't really comprehend or have the patience to sit and analyze them until later, as another commenter posted.

it's kind of like going through your christmas stocking as a kid. you just start pulling things out so you can see everything you've received as fast as possible!! it's not til later that you sit down and say "ok, let's take a look at everything i got...."

PanAm53 said...

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.

Last night, while researching another reference, I viewed S1, E9: “The Shoot”. In this episode, Betty said she was a terrible mother. Don, his face glowing, looked adoringly at her and told her that she was a wonderful, warm and loving mother, and that he wished that he had had a mother like her when he was growing up.

I am one of those people who always thought that Betty was not a bad mother, but rather a typical mother of that era. Has Betty changed so much over the past three years that Don no longer sees her as the mother he wishes he had had?

I would be interested in knowing whether the people who now view Betty as a cold, indifferent mother have always felt that way.

Unknown said...

Thanks to all for the many insightful comments. Here's something that's struck me over the last few episodes. Carla reminds me of Dilsey in Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, quietly enduring while the Compson family founders on the shore of a new order. I suppose noticing these kinds of parallels is not that helpful unless they were intended by the show's creators , but I couldn't get it out of my mind.

Susan said...

PanAm, I have always viewed Betty as cold. Some of what she does is typical for the era, but imo even for her day, she is cold toward the children. I would not call her indifferent to the children, and I have seen her make real efforts (the riding boots with Sally, giving her the Barbie from the baby and telling her she was important to her, the affection she has for the baby.)

I have noticed this season more of a negative reaction (many times just a facial expression) from Don to Betty's interaction with the children than in previous seasons. I don't think that Betty has gotten worse or changed. I think it has begun to affect him. I believe Don is a narcissist and as such, has his mother feelings mixed up with feelings for women with whom he is intimate.

Susan said...

ps, I couldn't tell if it was the Hermes scarf or not, but that would be interesting if Peggy kept the gift. I can't imagine taking an expensive scarf like that and letting Harry Crane put it on his greasy (from hair pomade or such?) hair. Ish. = )

Anonymous said...

I believe Don is a narcissist and as such, has his mother feelings mixed up with feelings for women with whom he is intimate.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to call Don a narcissist, as he has shown true empathy with other characters before.

I'm wondering, though, whether Don took up with Miss Farrell because she's just a little "beneath" him.

She's just a teacher, whereas he's this hot shot ad man. She's lonely and single and a stranger in their social milieu, whereas he's a member at the local country club. She's seen as being kind of odd, with her jogging and stuff, whereas Don is a master at fitting in when he needs to.

When he seduced her last week, the way he went about it was a little insulting: "I want you and I don't care. Doesn't that mean anything to someone like you?" There was no wining and dining, just him showing up at her place in the middle of the night expecting someone like her to fall right into his arms. Rachel Menken would've laughed and thrown him out. (Hmm, I think it'd be a good rule of thumb to compare all of Don's mistresses to Rachel, the only smart, independent, yet grounded and family-oriented woman he's found so far.)

Anyway, my point in bringing up Don and Miss Farrell was to say that Don is not a narcissist. He is just deeply insecure, and his bedding someone so obviously lesser than him is his way of making himself feel superior and in control. This way, Don gets to play the protector and the hero by doing things like helping Danny, even while he knows perfectly well that he's neglecting his own son in his own home.

Don's hallucination of his father saying that all he makes is "bullsh--" back in the eclipse episode was pretty telling as well. I think that deep down, Don doesn't feel that what he does -- and who he is -- is of any value.

He and Betty really both have the same problem: They both need to find greater meaning and purpose in their lives beyond just dealings with other people.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that PPL intended to flip SC from the start. I believe that Saint-John never seriously considered letting Duck run the post-merger SC but always planned to install Guy as the de facto leader (even if Duck could not be frozen out as Presdient of SC). Lane Pryce was sent in to clean up the finances and personnel at SC while Guy bided his time closing big accounts in Europe. That arrangement would let Guy avoid being viewed by SC as the hatchet man and give him added credibity as the Don Draper of accounts. In my opinion, the decision to sell SC came about only after PPL determined that Guy would never play golf again.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the recent posts about armor, I had not noticed those. Alwayss interesting the tidbits different people notice about an episode.

The armor could tie in with Achilles, who was dipped in an invulnerable substance save the "heel" where he was held (achilles heel being a "chink" in armor). If you want to believe their is a mnemon connection to forgetting the pitch connected to Achilles, you could imply that Don's achilles heel is his past revealed through forgetting to take the keys out of his pajamas, another moment of memory failure.

Anonymous said...

Several posts have mentioned the piles of cash in Don's desk drawer, but I am surprised that more people have not commented on Betty's just ignoring all that money. Granted that Don grew up during the heart of the Depression and that people who grew up during that time often did not trust banks and kept money at home, but that was still a large amount of money to keep in a drawer in the study. Betty should have remembered the latter years of the Depression and may not have trusted banks either; she probably knew that Don kept cash at home, but I doubt that she knew how much money Don had stashed away. Betty's lack of knowledge about the family's savings was shown in Season 1 when she asked Don whether they had enough to buy a summer house, and I doubt that Don had started saring more details about the family finances with Betty in the intervening three years. When Betty finally opened the drawer and saw all that money, wouldn't she have been curious enough at least to have counted the number of bundles of cash? Instead she had no reation to or interest in the money. I think that a real wife opening a desk and finding piles of cash would have paused first to estimate the amount of money, if nothing else, rather than zeroing in on an old shoebox.

Oddly, I am not bothered by Betty's lack of reation to finding Dick Whitman's personal items in the shoebox. Don has a reputation as a war hero, but no one other than Anna, Pete, and Bert Cooper (and perhaps Roger) knows that Dick Whitman stole the real Lt. Don Draper's identity during the war. Don must have a cover story about his stint in Korea, which Betty doubtless has heard, and what better cover story than the truth but not quite the whole truth? I agree with the commenter who suggested that as far as Betty knew Dick Whitman was just a soldier who died under her Don's command and left Don a few mementos. Betty never saw the letter from Adam that led Pete to investigate Don's past, and Pete had to investigate before realizing Don's true identity. Why would Betty jump to the conclusion that her Don Draper was an imposter and really Dick Whitman?

Anonymous said...

If St. John and PPL had wanted to flip Sterling Cooper for a fast profit all along, they would not have planned to send their star accounts manager to run the agency because the new buyers would expect his contract to be part of the deal.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Don Draper a college grad (he was an engineer, right?). He wouldn't have needed night courses. Of course no one in NY knows anything about the real Don Draper, I guess (not even Pete -- if he did find out more about the real DD, he hasn't said).

A poster said:
Betty was not a bad mother, but rather a typical mother of that era.

My mother's the same age as Betty, I'm the same age as Sally, and I grew up in a comfortable NY suburb.

I do remember that a few kids in my upperish middle class milieu seemed to have somewhat absent moms, and apent a fair amount of time with the maid/housekeeper. But it wasn't typical by any means. Moms were at home, or maybe at a civic or political meeting. A few moms worked (teachers, mostly). They weren't as self-involved as Betty by a long shot.

The other thing that isn't typical is the absence of extended family. Everyone had aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas & grandpas around. Visits were fairly frequent events.

The Draper kids are sad to me because they seem so isolated. Once Grandpa Gene died, their extended family life died too.

Betty doesn't seem to be concerned with arranging playdates or enrichment experiences (where are the music and dance lessons for Sally, sports for Bobby -- even back in the day we had those). All those kids do is eat, wash up, do homework and watch TV.

These are the things that strike me as really atypical.

PanAm53 said...

Anonymous @ 8:59:

The typical housewife of that era did not have maids and housekeepers taking care of her children. Note: they were housewives, not stay at home mothers. They were at home and tended to all the chores inside the home...child care was just one of those chores. Children were not considered the center of the universe in those days. They just came along with marriage.

Sally does attend ballet class. Children Bobby's age did not yet participate in sports. There was no soccer then for the younger children. Yes, the more privileged children like Sally and Bobby would most likely participate in after school activities, but the average child did not often have such opportunities.

Play dates did not exist. Children played with the other children in the neighborhood. There was no parental intervention. Children would go out and “call on” their playmates, and most often would play outside. If the weather was bad, a child would usually ask mother if was all right to invite so and so over to play.

And yes, the lack of extended family is unusual for that time. In those days people usually did not move around; they tended to stay where they were brought up.

Anonymous said...

Comments from a newbie--

The current teacher/mistress looks a lot like Don/Dick's stepmother might have looked had she had a happier life.

2, Is it me, or is Peggy suddenly quite a lot prettier? Looks like her whole face is smother or something. Also Betty's face this last episode.

3, Perhaps Peggy and Paul will be interested in each other . .

4, As this season ends, it would be a good time to watch or re-watch the fun Documentary, Berkley in the 60's.

Lastly, the teacher character would certainly have had to deal as a teenager with fathers of kids she babysat for, and also her college professors, many of whom would have happily seduced her. That's how it was back then . . . In a way, she is a female Don.

Julia said...

Re: play dates. They wasn't even around when my kids were growing up in the 70s. There were usually a lot of kids in your neighborhood. And neighbors felt free to tell you off and call your mom if you got into trouble.

I remember being told to come home when the street lights go on.

Lots of yelling for kids to come in for lunch by moms on the front or back porch. Wonder why Sally and Bobby aren't out playing at least sometimes. That's unusual.

Heck, I went on the public bus to the library on my own when I was only 8 yrs old. It wasn't that dangerous - or the world wasn't perceived as dangerous back before the explosion of drugs and riots.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Don Draper a college grad (he was an engineer, right?). He wouldn't have needed night courses. Of course no one in NY knows anything about the real Don Draper, I guess (not even Pete -- if he did find out more about the real DD, he hasn't said).

Dick didn't take over Don Draper's life. He took his name & his early ticket home, neither of which Original Don needed any more. He didn't put his degree on his resume or try to acquire any of his assets once he got back to the USA. And I doubt he applied for GI Bill benefits: Education & a Home Loan.

Not that Our Don knew much about Original Don; they had just met. Presenting himself all over the place as Original Don would be too dangerous. He settled somewhere & started over. He didn't even know there was a Mrs Draper.

--not Bridget

Anonymous said...

A Poster said:
"The typical housewife of that era did not have maids and housekeepers taking care of her children. "

Define "typical." Typical for an upper middle class NYC suburb, circa 1963? It only matters, for the purposes of talking about MM, if we're talking about a place just like Ossining.

Actually, people often did have (African-American and Latina) maids and housekeepers in upper middle class NY suburbs back then (such as where I grew up).

I even had one friend who had a houseman/chauffeur. But they were unusually wealthy.

We did not have the "mom threw you out in the morning and didn't see you except for meals until bedtime" kind of neighborhood. Not at all. Our time was structured, somewhat like kids today.

We did have arranged playdates (though they weren't called that).

In the summer we did wander around the neigbhorhood more, but not so much during the school year.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the show explores the story behind Roger's comment that he discovered Don working at a fur company. The show has explained how Dick Whitman became Don Draper but it really hasn't addressed how Don became a Mad Man and creative director of (even a second or third tier) advertising agency so quickly. Why did Don go into advertising and not, say, become an engineer like the real Don Draper or go back to selling cars?From Roger's comment and the timeline of the show, Don couldn't have been at SC much more than five or six years during Season 1 in 1960. That's a fast rise. No wonder Pete snd Paul (Princeton 55) have always been so frustrated about their careers. Don may be older but he hasn't been at SC much longer than they have.

Maura said...

Imamarilyn said...

Jack, like a child, Betty zeroed in on the things that directly affected her...the deed and divorce decree. She sat with the box out for many hours, so perhaps later when the initial shock wore off, she began to process the pictures and the dog tags.

Imamarilyn, is that childish? (I admit it. I'm really stymied by the idea that Betty is *always* childish.) As was noted upthread, the deed and the divorce decree were the easiest things to make sense out of when she started looking through everything. Is there a woman alive who wouldn't be shocked and horrified if she found out her husband owned a home in another state, and had been married before. At first glance, the photos, and even the dog tags, wouldn't be alarming. We don't know what she pieced together after hours of going through everything, but I think the documents would immediately set off some alarms.

Anonymous @ 8:08 PM, October 21, 2009 said...

Several posts have mentioned the piles of cash in Don's desk drawer, but I am surprised that more people have not commented on Betty's just ignoring all that money. Granted that Don grew up during the heart of the Depression and that people who grew up during that time often did not trust banks and kept money at home, but that was still a large amount of money to keep in a drawer in the study. Betty should have remembered the latter years of the Depression and may not have trusted banks either; she probably knew that Don kept cash at home, but I doubt that she knew how much money Don had stashed away. Betty's lack of knowledge about the family's savings was shown in Season 1 when she asked Don whether they had enough to buy a summer house, and I doubt that Don had started saring more details about the family finances with Betty in the intervening three years. When Betty finally opened the drawer and saw all that money, wouldn't she have been curious enough at least to have counted the number of bundles of cash? Instead she had no reation to or interest in the money.

There was a lot of money in that box, but it looked to me as though it didn't register to her at first. Her father probably kept a lot of cash around the house too. I imagine she eventually counted, and recounted, the money down to the last dollar.

Why would Betty jump to the conclusion that her Don Draper was an imposter and really Dick Whitman?

Good question. I don't think she would. Not because she's stupid, but because... who the hell steals someone else's identity? It's too far fetched to occur anywhere other than a television show. :)

Susan said...

One of the anonymous posters brings up a good point that Dick Whitman did not take over Don Draper's life, just his name and ticket home. He earned everything else himself. I would also like to see how he was able to rise so high so quickly.

Maura, only seeing what directly affected her was from a child's viewpoint, in my opinion. I think I did comment also that since she had the box sitting out for hours, she could have been processing the other stuff as well. I think emotionally Betty is a child. That being said, she is intelligent, educated, sophisticated in many ways as we saw when she was in Italy, and has mastered the art of conversation. Some of the childishness can be attributed to her upbringing (her dad even admitted that he over protected her) and to the type of life she lives. The best example of her being like a child, in my opinion, was her relationship with Glen. She was really comfortable with him.

JustMe said...

This may go without saying, the one thing the divorce decree will say is the date of the divorce. Betty now knows that when she met Don, he was a married man. And she knows that Don left his wife for her. According to that piece of paper, she was the other woman.

She now could reasonably believe that Don is more than willing to leave a wife for a newer, shinier model. While she knew that he was having affairs before, he still came back home. The decree was proof that under the right circumstances, he may decide to stay with the next "other woman."

dc said...

My favorite Lois line is when she is letting the chipmunks bribe her and she tries to scare them by saying "...there will be...REDUNDANCIES!"

LOL... I liked that moment, too. I assume that in 1963 (or perhaps even in 2009?) many Americans wouldn't know that "redundancies" are a common British euphamism for layoffs. So the look on the Chipmunks' faces -- I'm interpreting here -- might be one of a vague, slightly uncomprehending horror.

As in, "I don't know what she means by 'redundancies,' but it can't be good. Perhaps some of us may become 'surplus to requirements.'"

Unknown said...

Just a quick one since I've been busy this week and just got to Sepinwall's commentary today, but the end with Don in the tux at the podium was very Citizen Kane. I was almost shocked that my word search of the comments didn't turn that up. The 'carousel' montage from Season 1 is very Rosebud, no? Unlike Yeats' Revolutionary Road, which Weiner notoriously had not read before starting Mad Men and is on the record as stating that he wouldn't have attempted the show if he'd known how well the territory had already been covered, I'd be very surprised indeed if Matt wasn't a Citizen Kane fan. (Alan?) A lot of Don's secretiveness and desire for his own imaginary Xanadu serve as good influence points. There's a grad school thesis here if anybody out there wants to pursue one. 'Charles Foster Kane, the original Mad Man' etc etc.


luckystuff said...

re: finding Don selling furs....

This goes back to Season 1 (i think), around the time of the carousel episode, where don waxes about his first job in advertising, selling furs, when a mentor tells him about selling via 'nostalgia.' So that was his first job in advertising, and then he presumably works his way up SC from there.

Here it might be noted that Don and Peggy are both leading 'aspirational' lives compared to some other characters, and maybe this gives them some insight into what people want, the 'stuff that dreams are made of,' how dreams get packaged kind of ideas.

mmjoan said...

JustMe, that is a great point and one I never thought of. Betty not only thinks Don was married and never told her, but she also believes he divorced another woman to be with her. No wonder Betty's reaction to the divorce decree was so strong!

jenae said...

JustMe: I agree with mmjoan, that is a good point you make! (Betty could interpret what she found--the divorce papers and date of, overlapping with her relationship with Don--as evidence that Don would leave a woman he was married to for one of his mistresses.)

PanAm53 said...

Anticipating another great Mad Men episode in 48 hours. I have realized that one is better off not making predictions...thankfully, my predictions are never right, because I would really not want to be able to predict what the writers of a series such as Mad Men had in store for us. I would not, however, anticipate that Betty will be confronting Don about what she discovered in the shoe box inside the locked desk drawer. She waited up for him with the box in her lap, ready to confront him. But, as the hours passed by, she lost her momentum or her nerve, and put everything back just as it had been, including replacing the key in Don's bathrobe. Just like it never happened. Don would never suspect that Betty had viewed the contents of the box...his hidden past life. I admit that I don't know what to make of Betty's expressions at the party. Sooner or later, she may act on her discovery re: Don's previous marriage, but for now I do not believe she will confront Don with her newly acquired information about him.

I am also posting because I would like to appeal to the many anonymous posters on this site. Please consider the use of a posting ID. You don't need to have a Google account, and you will still be anonymous. No one will know your true identity. There are just so many anonymous posters on this site, and it really would be nice if we could differentiate all of you.

PanAm53 said...

Then there's Suzanne Farrell and her brother. I just don't know what to make of them...I get kind of weird vibes from both of them. While I don't believe that Suzanne is "Fatal Attraction" cuckoo bananas, I also do not get the feeling that she's just a pure, idealistic free spirit hippie. I think she could be trouble...not boiling bunny murderous trouble, but still trouble. The brother, Danny, might not have any ulterior motives of his own, but he is in possession of Don's business card, which does not bode well. Then again, this may be what the writers want us to believe. Who knows?

Lawrence said...

Suzanne Farrell is NOT a hippie. She's a paid professional, a tenured teacher (which I have never been), and an extraordinarily good one at that. She doesn't just dance around the maypole, she teaches her students social history. She takes time during her summer vacation to gather her students to not just go to the park to look up at the eclipse, but to build cameras obscura. She knows enough about current political/social movements (and far more than Betty or any other MM character, except for Kinsey) to recognize that MLK's speech is worthy of presentation to her young students. In other words, she is the prototypical school district candidate for teacher-of-the-year in 1963 or any other year. (If she taught in a low-income school, state or even national honors would not be out of the question.) She is probably at least as educated, well-read, cultured, intelligent, etc., as Don, and equal or superior in those regards to all his other women (except possibly Rachel). Add her youth, beauty, sensuality, warmth, generosity and I guarantee that a very substantial percentage of the nation's straight male professoriate and Cheever suburban executives, single or (especially) married would fall for her in a heartbeat.

So why her continual denigration, on this as on every other blog I have read? Loyalty to Betty? Disrespect for low-paid elementary school teachers? Assumption (hope?) that "Fatal Attraction" describes the just desserts for every no-good cheating film protagonist who can't keep his pants zipped? Given that Suzanne is only what Weiner shows her to be, the reaction by real people to this fictional character is perhaps the more interesting issue.

This affair is long past mere infatuation and lust. We last see the couple standing, in each others arms, after Suzanne has denied sex to a lover who has just undertaken a long journey on her behalf. He makes no effort to change her mind (cf. Joan's Dr.), says "It's OK" and embraces her. This is as profound a love scene as I have ever seen. Suzanne can say "I don't want to, I don't" knowing she could be completely honest and open with Don, that she trusted him implicitly. Don understands and appreciates the significance of both what she has done and of his own easy acceptance of her needs. This is mutual love, as real and mature as it gets.

For those who might like to know what Weiner and Hamm think of Suzanne, go to and select the "Inside Season 3" tab.

Jessamyn said...

JustMe, thank you. There has been so much repetition and going over old ground in the (normally sterling) comments this week, but your observation was the Aha! moment I look for on these pages (aside from Sepinwall's incisive reviews themselves, of course).

My only comment on the episode itself is that I saw the lengthening night of Betty waiting at home with the box for a Don who wasn't coming home because he was with another woman as truly tragic. The only way those two people can possibly be happy is if they talk about what's really going on. That in itself doesn't guarantee happiness, but NOT doing it guarantees unhappiness, and Don may have missed his chance. Betty's mother was very passive-aggressive, and I fear her anger will take itself out that way, now that the wind is gone from her sails.

As to why the "continual denigration" of Suzanne: Yes, Suzanne has many sterling qualities. And calling her outright crazy is a somewhat ridiculous oversimplification. But I don't think one has to have any kind of hidden agenda to recognize a certain kind of "off" quality in some of her exchanges with others. I personally know, and I imagine some of the other posters do too, someone who is bright and funny and passionate and exciting to be around - and also trouble, because she is just a little bit disconnected from the way other people think, which makes her unpredictable and socially dangerous. The older she gets, the worse it gets. If we're wrong about that feeling, well, we're wrong, but it has nothing to do with whom we want to see Don with, or what we find threatening in otherwise admirable women.

berkowit28 said...


I like your impassioned support and defense of Suzanne. It *is* odd how so many people want to attack her, specifically her emotional qualities, when those are being shown as good qualities which Don is missing in his home life with Betty. And thanks for the pointers to AMC's "Inside Mad Men". (In particular, if you watch all of the videos, we get the definitive reading from Weiner on Sal, which resolves about 4 different debates here.)

But, aside from the view that sees Suzanne as "crazy", maybe partly as a defense against her very emotional qualities (she will not be easy to "handle" when the breakup comes that she herself has predicted "cannot end well"), maybe there's also a suspicion that we're being set up by the writers for a fall: get too much involved with her, like Don is and as he was with Rachel earlier, and only bad will result. There may a desire not to be taken in, especially since the "bad end" has been signaled pretty strongly.

Lawrence said...

sorry, but nothing and nobody in a piece of fiction need have anything whatsoever to do with you, anyone you've ever met, any book you've ever read, or any dramatic production you've ever witnessed. It's an all new creation by someone you don't know, and therefore can only be judged objectively on the basis of what's shown or can be logically implied from what's shown. An "off quality" in her exchanges? That's not for you to say, it's up to the characters she's engaged with. All you have seen is Suzanne speaking one-on-one with exactly 3 people (Sally, Don, her brother), all of whom adore her at the current point in the story. (She's batting 3 for 3. What's your record with other people? Mine is dreadful.) Is she dangerous? When a spouse with young children falls in love with someone else it's always extremely dangerous, but "dangerous" refers to the generic situation, not the other person. She warns Don of the danger to him inherent in their situation, and it's his response of "I want you, I don't care" that tells her how serious he his and thereby finally closes the ad man's sale. We now know for certain that Don meant every word of his brief speech. As to the nature of the danger, Betty would not suffer too greatly shuffling off to Albany, free of the kids, to shack up with Francis and sip cocktails with Rocky, and if I were Don's father, I would be delighted if Suzanne took over the mothering of my grandchildren.

berkowitz28 (does that mean there 27 other berkowitzes on this site, or have homages to Son of Sam gone viral?),
a "bad end" is of course a concern of both parties, but an expressed worry does not a signal of future events make, nor would it necessarily be "bad" (per my comments, above). I have stated hypotheses of the nature of Suzanne and of her relationship with Don. Where I come from, abstract hypotheses should be accompanied by predictions of functional outcomes. They are:
1. Suzanne will not deliberately reveal the affair to Betty, directly or indirectly.
2. Absent some unexpected dramatic event, Don will offer to leave Betty for Suzanne. I do not know if Suzanne would accept, given that being married to an inveterate philanderer is no picnic, especially when he often really does have to work late.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Lawrence, lose the attitude, right now. As Miss Farrell would no doubt teach you herself, if you can't play nice with others, you don't get to play.

berkowit28 said...

Hmmm. Shame the direction this conversation turned. I guess I'll think twice before agreeing with someone again and commending them.

Anyway, there's no way to *know* what Weiner and the writers will do. We can only speculate. We can trust they'll be true to the characters, but they do like throwing in unexpected dingers in the plot - it's one of the biggest delights of the show.

Having already seen Don stray from marrage and return to "try harder" at being a good husband, they're surely not going to simply repeat themselves. I think it's quite possible that the marriage will break up - permanently. Betty is already at combustion point, and there are a whole host of pressure points on Don, any one of which (incuding Suzanne's brother, a phone call from Connie ) - or something new we haven't seen yet - could set off the final conflagration. Decline and Fall of the Draper household has certainly been heralded.

It's far too soon to know what would then happen to Don-Suzanne. It might well take until next season to resolve.

My earlier speculation, straying somewhat nervously into dangerous territory, which is why I kept it so vague I may not have been clear, was into *why* so many people fear Suzanne's emotional nature, when it seems to be portrayed mostly positively onscreen, as warmth and life. It could of course be because people have a natural suspicion of where this emotionalism will lead when/if the affair unravels and Suzanne is rejected by Don. That's what many people have said, more or less. I was wondering whether maybe it could also be suspicion that the writers are setting us up: something good for Don just ready to turn bad.

It could also be not wanting to imagine the possibility of the affair being one of the things actually ending the marriage. Such things don't usually happen in TV series whose premise has been set up. We'd then have to follow Betty into the demimonde of the divorced woman - that hell represented by Glen's mother Helen - though she could, by the end of the series a few years from now, come out of it much better than where she is now. And immense complications for Don and Sally, without knowing yet how long Suzanne would be involved. But I have a feeling we might be heading that way.

Meanwhile, back at Sterling Cooper, there are a whole ton of possible shakeups brewing. This could get very, very interesting.

PanAm53 said...


I've been away from the computer all day, so I'm just now getting a chance to comment. You have such skill expressing your thoughts with words! Re Suzanne: you have expressed exactly what I have been feeling about her. She does indeed have many great qualities, however something about her just seems a little off. I do think that maybe we are being falsely led to believe that, as we were falsely led to believe that Peggy's baby was being raised by her sister.

PanAm53 said...

Another re: Suzanne

For some reason, the 1967 Leonard Cohen folk song sung by Judy Collins goes through my head whenever Suzanne Farrell is mentioned. I couldn't remember all the lyrics, so I looked it up. Found it interesting.


(Leonard Cohen)

Suzanne takes you down
To the place by the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night forever
And you know that she's half crazy
And that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you want to tell her
That you have no love to give her
She gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And He spent a long time watching
From a lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said, all men shall be sailors, then,
Until the sea shall free them
But He, himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

Suzanne takes you down
To the place by the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night forever
And the sun pours down like honey
On Our Lady of the Harbor
And she shows you where to look
Amidst the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

Maura said...

PanAm said: you have expressed exactly what I have been feeling about her. She does indeed have many great qualities, however something about her just seems a little off. I do think that maybe we are being falsely led to believe that, as we were falsely led to believe that Peggy's baby was being raised by her sister.

I'm not sure if we're being falsely led or if we're just seeing several facets of Suzanne's personality so we can decide for ourselves. But I understand what you're getting at, PanAm. There is something a little off about her. She's certainly different than most of the women we've seen on MM, although she does remind me of Midge.

I originally did think she was a nutball. Now I'm not sure what to think about her. The thing that sticks in my mind is her responding "so what?" when Don says she's been flirting with him for months. I mean, was she testing him to see how he would respond? She appears to have a deep disdain for married men. I won't reduce it to her just being a tease, but it seemed a little too coy to me. And I'm more than a little bothered that neither Suzanne nor Don is considering how destructive their affair could be to both Betty and Sally. I can't say it's because I think they're soul mates. I don't believe in soul mates. Having a soul mate is one of the bigger crap ideas that's popped up on television and in movies of late.

Despite my confusion about Suzanne and the affair, I think there's something powerful and true between her and Don. Her possibly being a little nutty doesn't negate how they feel about each other. I think they're completely separate things.

As for her being a bunny-boiler, I'll be mighty disappointed if Weiner chooses the psycho-femme route for Suzanne. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but I expect more from MM than that.

Mauimom said...

Are there any lawyers around here?

I used to be one, but retired from practice many years ago. I ask because of the "divorce decree" and the effect on the Betty/Don marriage.

As I interpret it, even though the "real" Don Draper was [possibly]married at the time Dick and Betty got married, DICK was not.

It was, after all, a person [Dick]who married Betty, not an "identity" [Don]. Thus whatever the state of the marriage of "Don Draper," the marriage between Betty and Dick, even though he was using an assumed name, is valid.

I would think that if Betty confronts Don and asks "what's with this "divorce" and this deed to a house," he's trapped: as soon as he attempts to claim their marriage is valid[which is probably all Betty's worr4ied about], he has to basically say, "oh, that wasn't me[who got married and bought a house].

The natural next question is, "well who ARE you???"

As I recall, Don got the "divorce" to free up wife #1, as well as to make his own "identity trail" a little clearer.

I don't think there were the type of "identity inquiries" then like there are today --certainly not the internet and other means accessible to those other than professionals/private detectives, etc.

Anonymous said...

Joseph here, reporting once again from the year 2012, just to add one thing I don't think anyone else mentioned:

Paul on the couch, triumphant and swigging from the bottle, with his right arm flung off to the side, opening credits style. "I am Don Draper cool right now."

I thought it was a little much, but I guess it was subtle enough (or obvious enough?) that nobody mentioned it til now. It's totally something he'd do, even if it is heavy-handed.

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