Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


sure okay posted:

Two things I think about a lot from this season are

1. The scene where Paul is told Don's going to California in his stead and he reacts, "He can't do that!" The group's reaction is merely to laugh and no one even bothers to correct him. Of course he can. Like, these abstract qualities of "clout" and "authority" made manifest so swiftly and so sharply they humiliate a man to his core. Don obviously never meant that, but that didn't matter at all. I couldn't imagine getting so thoroughly owned by my boss in front of my peers, and to know (or even suspect) that it wasn't personal. At the very least I'd want such a slight to be personal.

2. Roger is so casual about Don's impromptu vacation that I honestly thought I had skipped an episode. I knew going in that this was a show that was, in part, about a guy who gets away with goddamn near everything primarily because of how he carries himself but wow. I think about how if he showed the slightest hint of guilt, or gave any sort of verbal mea culpa to Roger that whole outcome would've gone very differently. But his inscrutable, unapologetic poker face takes him so freaking far in life it is breathtaking.

Kinsey was such a great foil to all the other creatives/execs who are essentially his age/peers. He's pretends he's like a less monied version of Pete but with literally 0 self awareness and rides that dumb pipe and castro beard as literally his only personality trait. He always thinks of himself as this smug intellectual but every attempt he makes to act like it fall pretty flat. The black girlfriend thing was pretty eye opening too, aside from the weird racism it really did give the vibe that he felt like he was 'woke' for deigning to be with her.

also love when his old roommate shows up and brings up his old Jersey accent

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Nap Ghost

pentyne posted:

Kinsey was such a great foil to all the other creatives/execs who are essentially his age/peers. He's pretends he's like a less monied version of Pete but with literally 0 self awareness and rides that dumb pipe and castro beard as literally his only personality trait. He always thinks of himself as this smug intellectual but every attempt he makes to act like it fall pretty flat. The black girlfriend thing was pretty eye opening too, aside from the weird racism it really did give the vibe that he felt like he was 'woke' for deigning to be with her.

also love when his old roommate shows up and brings up his old Jersey accent

He's the 1960's male version of Britta from Community.

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020
Probation
Can't post for 9 days!


pentyne posted:

The black girlfriend thing was pretty eye opening too, aside from the weird racism it really did give the vibe that he felt like he was 'woke' for deigning to be with her.

That is still 100% a thing, weird racism and all. Woke white dudes deigning to date black women is something all of my straight black lady friends have experienced. The terminology changes but the experience doesn't. He's fundamentally a contrarian, so dating a woman below his status is part of tweaking his nose at the system. The woman is a prop and incidental.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


I love how Paul gets so upset and concerned over his lack of promotional success/recognition at Sterling Cooper, but how he doesn't actually go about doing anything to change that, because he basically seems to assume that it's just going to come along by itself. Kinda like his writing career, he gets panicked when he realizes that Ken has not only gotten published but already written TWO novels (most Creatives, as Don jokes (or was it Roger?), probably have one unfinished one in their drawers) but instead of lighting a fire under his rear end he just continues to do nothing, in spite of stealing a typewriter (which almost got a poor secretary fired) from work to write with. He proclaims he needs it because,"I'm a writer" but he doesn't actually write, he just loves the affectation even if he doesn't consciously realize that he's being all show (even when others tell him he is). Even when he does write, the best he manages is a first draft of a play that cribs heavily from life in the office for inspiration.

Similarly, as noted by others, his relationship with Sheila and his trip to Mississippi (which he was happy to put off when he got the California opportunity) are more about him being able to show off how enlightened he is. Joan might have been loving awful about it, but she was right when she called him out for being more interested in putting forward an image of himself. Every time he did anything involving race, even if technically he's saying and doing all the right things, all I can think about is season 1 and his,"I spent a night with some Negroes, and we got on, that's a great story!" like he's a loving anthropologist or some great explorer who went deep into the unknown or something.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 11:00 on Feb 3, 2021

pentyne
Nov 7, 2012

I just couldn't look at your old avatar anymore
Fucking nauseating!


Even better was the look from the others when Paul is almost breathless as he recounts his "negros and I got along" story.

They were extremely privileged white men in 1960 and even they could see how full of poo poo he was talking about black people like some mysterious discovery of his.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


pentyne posted:

Even better was the look from the others when Paul is almost breathless as he recounts his "negros and I got along" story.

They were extremely privileged white men in 1960 and even they could see how full of poo poo he was talking about black people like some mysterious discovery of his.

is he the one who eventually writes the star trek script about the Planet Negron

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



sebmojo posted:

is he the one who eventually writes the star trek script about the Planet Negron

Absolutely

VinylonUnderground
Dec 14, 2020
Probation
Can't post for 9 days!


Absolutely one of the funniest scenes in the show.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Started Season 3 yesterday in anticipation and there's so much incredible stuff I've forgotten about. Pete's college chum Ho-Ho and his absolutely insane obsession that Jai Alai is the future of American sport. I can't believe this storyline didn't stick with me, because everything about it has a sitcom-level escalation of absurdities. Somehow his ask that Sterling-Cooper produce a TV series with the sport's star player as the leading man - AND that it be aired on all 3 major networks, in color, simultaneously - isn't the craziest part of the bit. (I think that may be a later scene where he states to Don and Pete that the posh restaurant they're in will be serving "nothing but rum and Mexican beer" within a year, ostensibly tied to the meteoric rise of Jai Alai.)

MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

Cat Army


JethroMcB posted:

Somehow his ask that Sterling-Cooper produce a TV series with the sport's star player as the leading man - AND that it be aired on all 3 major networks, in color, simultaneously - isn't the craziest part of the bit.

"Can't you see him jet-setting around the world like James Bond, solving crimes and banging broads?"

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



"I'm terrified of him taking balls in the face."

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Trucking along, already onto Season 4. So glad to finally be in the SCDP offices. Always liked that space more than the original SC set.

Had to stop myself from posting a wall of black bars about the back half of season 3, I'll just have to wait until the recaps roll around to really start spouting off.

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Nap Ghost

Decided to take the plunge and find the time to rewatch along.

Jumped in with Meditations and Out of Town. I love this show so much. The conversation between Ken and Pete in the elevator was hilarious.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



The first half of season 3 is quite funny. I love when Peggy is looking for a roommate and she follows Joan's suggestion to write a really fun ad, and she ends up with a roommate who is obviously TOO FUN to be a good match for Peggy.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 2 Retrospective

The second season of any show always faces an unenviable task, to either continue the good work of a strong first or to try and overcome whatever weaknesses caused a show to not quite fire on all cylinders. Arguably the former is the more difficult task, maintaining or exceeding high quality now that the audience expects this as the baseline can be a daunting task.

Thankfully, Matthew Weiner, his crew, actors and fellow writers lived up to the very high expectations set in season 1, with a second season that largely uses the strong foundational character work from season 1 to start developing not just the main cast but supporting characters too, as well as bringing in some strong newcomers to further add to the show's remarkable depth. The show is more confident, largely discarding the at times too on-the-nose "Things were different in the 60s!" references, confident that the viewership knows what they're getting into now and no longer feeling the need to draw such explicit attention to it.

This is, of course, still a period piece, and the show certainly doesn't forget that. The skeleton of the second season's timeline relies strongly on the backdrop of some pivotal (and some not-so-pivotal) moments in US history: John Glen orbiting the Earth; Jackie Kennedy presenting a television tour of the White House; the American Airlines crash; the rise of Bob Dylan; the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs fiasco and its affect on President Kennedy; the suicide of Marilyn Monroe; the coming end of Floyd Patterson's reign as Heavyweight Boxing Champion against Sonny Liston; African-American student James Meredith registering at the University of Mississippi and the massive protests/riots etc that caused; and of course the biggest of them all, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But while all of the show's characters react to/are held in thrall by various events such as these, the strength of the show isn't "remember this!" but in having built a series where the writing/acting and development of characters means it's fascinating to see how THEY would react in these given situations. We know enough about the characters now to get a sense of how they would feel, or to want to know how they would react to things. Sometimes that's with fascination or shock or keen interest... other times, quite believably, it's with indifference or barely registering what is happening at all. Look at how quickly most of the men get over the death of Marilyn Monroe, or how the mid-tier executives quickly find themselves forgetting all about the Cuban Missile Crisis to worry about how a merger is going to affect their employment etc. Or the women's fascination with Jackie Kennedy's tour of the White House, and how it counterpoints with Peggy's later irritation at a group of men deciding that ALL women want to be either Jackie Kennedy or Marilyn Monroe: sure they were fascinated by a look into this women's life, but to claim they all want to be her or Marilyn (sophisticated or sexy) is such a gross oversimplification.



Besides Don himself, I think the most impressive thing about this season is the ongoing development of two women who are closely associated with him: Peggy Olson and of course Betty Draper. Peggy of course stands out thanks to her presence in Sterling Cooper, where she doesn't just interact with Don but a large percentage of the main cast, while Betty is - quite understandably - largely restricted in her interactions by mostly being housebound.

The fascinating thing about Peggy, beyond that Elizabeth Moss is fantastic in the role, is that it isn't a smooth ride for her to get to where the season ends, but each step and misstep she takes is a key in her overall growth. She starts the season as a junior Copywriter, pulling her weight with secretary/former switchboard operator Lois, and gets put in her place by Joan jamming the photocopier into her office as a quiet "gently caress you for messing with one of MY secretaries". As the season progresses, we watch her growth professionally where she initially stumbles over trying to fit in/be accepted, makes some bad decisions along the way but eventually comes to a point of comfort and confidence in herself.

Consider how many times during the season Peggy is given poor advice that essentially boils down to,"YOU are the problem, you need to change yourself to fit in" and how little it works for her. Joan tells her to stop dressing like an old maid, she allows herself to be sexualized so she can join in with her male co-workers and avoid missing out on the networking/business decisions made there, she lets her hair get cut to appear more modern etc. But each time she takes somebody else's advice to heart, she eventually pulls back into what makes HER comfortable in her own skin.

And it works, her abilities and talents have become undeniable, not just for Don Draper (and Freddy Rumsen) who saw her potential in the first place, but everybody else in the Agency who begin to just naturally accept the fact that she's far more than just a novelty. Look at her uneasy challenge of Don regarding their Mohawk Advertising, the way she offers alternatives timidly in hope of his approval etc... and then by the end of the season, she's pitching to Popsicle an idea that SHE came up with and doing so with the confidence of somebody who knows what she's about. You see the mid-ground of this in A Night to Remember where she bites her tongue with the dance committee but then chews out Father Gil for not supporting HER idea, knowing that what she wanted to do would work and that this is why they asked for her help in the first place.

The Peggy Olson who finishes season 2 is one of the few characters to do so with a sense of certainty, a knowledge that they have achieved based on merit. Throughout the season we're also given glimpses of not only her personal/family life, but brief flashbacks from between the seasons of her post-pregnancy condition, and the unexpected support and advice she gained from Don Draper. She values and respects Don for his help and advice during this terrible time in her life, but she also learns (not all the advice she got was terrible) that she has to start seeing him as a peer. He goes from,"Mr. Draper" to "Don" for her, and this familiarity already extends to the other executives.

It is a sign of the quality of her work that in a season that starts with bets on whether Don got her pregnant (the ONLY possible excuse they can think of for her promotion), it ends with everybody not only accepting her taking Freddy Rumsen's position (figuratively and literally) but how often men who once openly leered at her on the lift are now looking to her for permission/approval/inside information, because they KNOW she is somebody who gets poo poo done. Even Pete, who early in the season tries to claim her success as his doing ends the season not only genuinely congratulating her success but becoming freshly enamored (temporarily, she puts a real damper on that quickly!) with her not because of her looks but because of her admirable qualities as a person AND a professional.

None of this even starts to touch on her personal life, the complicated jealously/judgement/bitterness of her sister, the quiet desperation of a mother who fears for her soul but perhaps more importantly her community standing, or the erotic undertones of her relationship with Father Gil. Peggy starts the season at a party, making out with a man but quickly dismissing him with a confidence that is largely a front for her continued fears about messing up her second chance for business success. She ends the season entirely comfortable in her own skin, praying to a God whose mindset she has decided for herself rather than letting the Church do so for her, know that she truly belongs at Sterling Cooper and that she needn't worry any more about being left out or left behind. The start shows a woman pretending to be something, the end shows a woman who doesn't need to pretend anymore. It is a remarkable season for Peggy, especially since she is competing for time and space with so many other characters, and Elizabeth Moss of course is just as up to the task as her character is.



Then there's Betty. The devoted, adoring housewife of season 1 is gone, but her season 2 character feels like a natural extension of it. She has grown, matured, become more authoritative in matters of the household rather than letting Don run everything. He is, of course, still the man in charge, but she tells him when things need to be done, she insists on tasks he has forgotten or put off, she takes control in areas where it is socially acceptable for the time such as the dinner party, but also argues with him over the appropriate disciplinary action to take with their children.

At first it seems that the two have reached some kind of equilibrium, that Don has come to finally look at Betty as more than the infantilized figure whose problems and fears he dismissed or treated as an inconvenience. But the mid-season point where Jimmy Barrett reveals Don's affair with his wife also marks the point where Betty seems to finally move fully beyond her childish fantasy of Don and see him for what he truly is at last: a flawed human being and not the fairy tale Prince she convinced herself he was and that everybody she knows insists he must be.

She kicks him out, she refuses to let him get away with his attempts to talk past or around his infidelity, and a surprising thing happens... she realizes that life continues in his absence. Emotionally distant Don, who doles out moments of attention and care as and when HE sees fit, can be taken away and all she loses is those too infrequent moments of attention. It is an eye-opening thing for Betty, because of course even though she no longer feels that aching, desperate yearning she once felt for him she still loves him... but she can live without him. Knowing that, realizing that, must be simultaneously liberating and terrifying for Betty, who grew up having beauty and the validation of a man drilled into her head as the be-all and end-all of life. She certainly doesn't take it all in completely balanced, still seeking a target for her rage and confusion Betty does take it out in rather cruel ways on the likes of Sarah Beth, and takes her "revenge" against Don himself by finally allowing herself to break their marriage vows herself in a meaningless encounter with a stranger.

The season ends for Betty with some degree of uncertainty. She has taken Don back, but neither she nor he is certain if she has done so because she wants him or she needs him. Life was unchanged without him, but life IS changing with or without him now not only because of terrors like the Cuban Missile Crisis, but her pregnancy (surely the result of an emotionally fraught sexual encounter with Don while seeking comfort over the mental deterioration of her father) too. Betty learned she didn't need him, but now perhaps she does, and while the love is still there it has changed vastly from the pure if naive obsession she still felt for him in season 1 despite years of marriage and two children. Unlike Peggy she doesn't end the season with certainty, but like Peggy she has grown immensely from the start of the season. Similarly, she has made mistakes and undertaken some poor decisions along the way, but her character's growth and change are very welcome over the anxious, coddled and slightly deranged housewife of season 1.



Then of course there are the other supporting characters. There are a lot of them, and they're all great. There's Pete, coming oh so close so often to grasping that he can be free of the crushing pressure of the family name that he's also used to make it so far in life... and never quite being able to pull himself free. Becoming increasingly aware that his name really is the only thing that his parents have given (or can give) him, striving for freedom and independence but terrified of the unknown. He doesn't like himself, he doesn't like his life, he doesn't like his marriage or his in-laws or his brother or his mother... but he also likes them all just as much and doesn't know what to do without them. He is the type who is always looking for something else, something better, never satisfied because he doesn't (or can't, or won't) realize that the common denominator in his unhappiness is.... him! Surely being Head of Account Services will make him happy? Or having a kid? Or adopting a kid? Or telling his mother off? Or sleeping with some random model from casting? Or landing North American Aviation? Or refusing to do what his father-in-law tells him? Or going behind Duck's back to let Don know important information about the PPL merger? Or deciding that he loves Peggy Olson etc. None of these things ever work, because Pete detests himself even as he feels himself superior to everybody around him, and that's a recipe for disaster.

There's Harry, who survived the near destruction of his own marriage and is seeing his career raise to new heights, spurred on ironically by jealousy when he accidentally discovers how much more a co-worker is paid than him. He has foresight and a (to his great chagrin) work ethic, and he goes against his every instinct to actually stand out for once in his life and bring himself to the attention of the Agency's higher-ups, and sees it succeed. He is a complainer, the type who can both be upset at being overlooked AND miserable about being overworked when he actually gets people to take notice of him. He complains about his wife not wanting him to drink at a party (it was drinking at a party that lead to his one night stand with Hildy, no wonder Jennifer isn't a fan), he complains about not having an assistant, he complains about being stuck sharing an office, he complains about having to do the job that he fought so hard to get, he complains about protestors making a fuss and interfering with business. Which isn't to say he isn't without his moments of happiness, he understands his position in Sterling Cooper has improved a great deal over season 2.. it's just that he is the type of person who stresses himself out, gets anxious and always thinks the worst is going to happen specifically to him.

Then there is Paul, in many ways the opposite of Harry (and Peggy, of course) in that he also wants to be more in the Agency, he also wants to be valued for his contributions, to be promoted, to get the bigger office, to be a published writer like Ken, to be part of some big cultural movement like in Mississippi, to be at the forefront of the Agency's push into Aeronautics.... and he doesn't do a goddamn thing to make any of those things happen. Paul is the quintessential "I'm better than this!" guy who isn't actually better than this, or at least hasn't done anything to indicate he is. He steals a typewriter from work (and almost gets a secretary fired) because "I'm a writer"... who doesn't write. He is mad that Peggy got Freddy Rumsen's office, even though as Roger said nobody else actually ever bothered to ask him for it. He wants to be at the protests but only when it suits him. He is lambasted cruelly but accurately by Joan Holloway (who also manages to be deeply racist in the process), he is a tourist, somebody determined to present an image not only to the world but to himself. He wants to be thought of as a sophisticated man of the world AND the people but it's all purely a front, and the surly look on his face whenever he gets called out for being full of poo poo or useless often makes him look like a kid on the verge of a tantrum, even with that "sophisticated" beard of his and the affectation of his pipe.




Sal's development is no surprise, he's married a complete stranger (to the viewer, we later discover they are childhood friends) all as part of his ongoing effort to hide away what he truly is and knows himself to be. We are starting to see the beginning of his wife either realizing it or not being able to hide away her knowledge any longer, as their happy family life feels the strain of his true interests coming to the fore. His doomed crush on Ken filled me with dread, and "thankfully" only resulted in a deep pain in his soul when he had to stand there and listen along as Ken and Harry cracked multiple homophobic jokes. He knows now what he always suspected, that if he was to come out he would be a pariah, that men he considers friends (and one he desires more from) would turn on him immediately etc. So he continues to live a lie, spending his evenings sitting watching television with a wife he may genuinely love but does not/cannot desire, and his days in an office full of colleagues he knows would despise him if they knew the truth.

The object of his affection is perhaps the "weakest" of the supporting characters. Ken is an Account Executive who is actually the most driven to actually create in the Agency. He writes warm, charming and intimate stories that touch the souls of those who read them. He is not just cordial but outright friendly with Sheila, Paul's black girlfriend, and comes across as a creative, intelligent and modern man.. and he's also an unapologetic womanizer with a deep streak of - unsurprising for the time - homophobia whose callous and carefree bigotry deeply pains a man he considers a friend. Ken largely exists as "the other guy" in a scene, somebody to join in the conversation or help take it in a certain direction, but so far lacking in any real major characterization or development of his own. I'm sure there is more to come from him in following seasons, but it is ironic that the character who is envied by many of the other characters in the show, is also the character whose actor probably envies the others for the meatier roles they have - so far - been allowed to enjoy.

Cooper is largely background in this season, at first I felt like there was something going on with his mental state in the early half of the season. He appeared to be acting odder, not being as on the ball as often, often showing up purely to say a line or two and then beat a quick retreat. Towards the end of the season, his navigation of the merger offer seemed to put paid to that, though I'm still struck by a line by his sister that he is "not well". He is probably used more this season than the first, but he is one of the few characters that seems to have taken somewhat of a backwards step: in season 1, EVERY scene he appeared in felt important or pivotal in some way. In season 2, more of his scenes seemed there for comedic purposes (eating the cream cheese and ketchup, assuming a party for Harry was for his birthday etc), and it was really only the partnership meeting where they vote for the PPL Merger that felt more in line with season 1.

Roger on the other hand doesn't change, even if his circumstances do. He's still the same user as always, determined to always have his way, even if his determination is given a charming mask. He wheedles and pushes to get exactly what he wants, from the prostitute who he makes follow his whims outside of her own (important!) rules and guidelines, to his at first unwanted flirtations with Jane taking advantage of his position of power over her, to of course his decision to divorce Mona and throw Don under the bus by apportioning some of the blame to him right to Mona's face. But he wouldn't be a very interesting character if he was JUST a jerk. Roger genuinely likes Don and covers for him during his absence, he speaks highly of Freddy and takes him out for a celebratory bender after having to fire him, he is willing to reconsider and give Harry a new position AND a payrise (and later an assistant), he agrees to Peggy's request for Freddy's large, vacant office and shows appreciation for her moxie etc. All this while simultaneously fighting to keep his wife of 20+ years from getting as much as possible from a divorce that HE is instigating!




I'll crib largely from an earlier post for what I had to say about Duck Phillips, a character often referred to as the main character of a different show who somehow found himself in the Mad Men universe. It is quite telling just how quickly and with how much relish he throws his weight around the moment he has power, or at least thinks he does. He arrives a man who has burned his life down and desperately needs a fresh start, and is deeply grateful for the opportunity he is given. He clashes with Don though, argues over the direction to take the Agency, appeals to Senior Partners who back him at times but clearly like Don more etc.

Through it all he remains a team player, but only because he's in a position of relative powerlessness: despite being Head of Account Services he's very much low man on the totem pole. So when he makes that deal with Putnam, Powell & Lowe, and the VERY second he has power... he wants to lord it over those who previously were above him. Gone is the humble man, and he is 1000 miles away from being magnanimous about his new position despite paying lip service to respecting the Agency's founders. Given power, he wants to wallow in it, to make demands, to put Don in his place and grind him under his thumb for not respecting or appreciating him... which of course blows up in his face spectacularly.

A large part of what I love about this character arc is that while Duck is a prominent role, a lot of what he's doing and the things he cares about are very much secondary concerns of both the show itself and the characters who occupy it. While the final quarter of the season strongly features the merger and Duck being the driving force behind it... it's largely irrelevant to the actual main storyline that the audience is following along for. For Duck, the merger is EVERYTHING, his chance for leverage over Don is the most important thing in the universe. For Don... it doesn't matter, he's getting a shitload of cash and he can gently caress off if he wants (he doesn't want, but that's his leverage) and he has far bigger problems on his plate regarding Betty. For Duck, Don is this major obstacle to overcome, while for Don himself, Duck is largely outside of his thoughts and concerns.

Finally there is Joan Holloway. A woman with her feet in two worlds, straddling the gender power structure within the context of the time she lives, gifted some amount of power and respect by her position as Office Manager and content with it... right up until she isn't. Far from perfect (her lovely treatment of Sheila betrays a sadly predictable for the time streak of racism) she has done everything she is supposed to do in life and finally reached the supposed pinnacle of her life. She is going to be married, to a perfect handsome doctor who will adore her and give her everything she wants. She is the envy of all the other women at Sterling Cooper, she has made it, she is a success... at which point she discovers a whole new world she never knew she wanted.

She tells Peggy truthfully that she never wanted to be part of "her world", but when she finds herself unexpectedly taking onboard work to help out Harry she discovers something she never knew: she's good at something else beyond being an Office Manager, and she enjoys it. This of course immediately gets taken away from her, as she does such a good job that Sterling Cooper realizes they need somebody like her to do this job... and hire some other man to do it for her, and get paid for it too! But still, as disappointing that is, she at least still has her perfect fiance and happily ever after to look forward to.. at which point we discover that of course her Prince Charming is anything but. His rape of her is shocking, as much for the fact that Joan feels she has to pretend everything is fine directly afterwards. Joan making the conscious decision to continue to push the fairy-tale perfectness of her engagement to Peggy is heartbreaking: Joan got everything she wanted, discovered she could have something else, had it taken away, and then had the "perfection" she had achieved irrevocably soiled, and she feels like she has no choice but to continue to live in a lie.



But for all the laudable depth of the supporting characters, the core of the show, as last season, is Don Draper. In season 1 we came to know the character and saw the show end with him coming too late (and too selfishly) to the realization that he wants to be with his family. Season 2 develops on from this in very interesting ways, as we initially see Don seemingly having learned somewhat of a lesson and becoming a more present husband and father. He appears to have given up on his affairs, to even be less the authoritarian "pater familias" whose word is final and give his wife a little more say in how the household works.

This VERY quickly falls by the wayside, as he indulges in yet another affair and continues to take Betty for granted. It is fitting that as his professional career sails to ever greater heights (in addition to his partnership, he's getting groomed to become peers with the movers and shakers of business and society) his personal life completely falls apart. Betty goes from tacitly revealing her knowledge of his affairs via Dr. Wayne to just straight up accusing Don of it in person, and Don proves to have grown not at all by refusing to admit fault and then running away the moment he can't have things ENTIRELY his own way.

It is rather fascinating then to see Don, after his initial flirtation with the Jet Set (horrible, horrible trash people who somehow Don ends up being worse than!) go and meet with Anna and appear to be a better person, to demonstrate a vulnerability and willingness for introspection he never allows himself in New York. Anna tells him,"You can change" and her tarot reading tantalizingly suggests that happiness is at his fingertips, but of course the irony is that the Don she gets to speak with and know and appreciate acts and reacts far differently than the Don Draper everybody else knows.

He calls himself Dick Whitman when he is with her, repeats that name with the Hot Rodders etc... but that is not who he is. One of the key moments of season 1 came when Don's secret was revealed to Cooper who replied with an on-point,"Who cares?" - the point then was that the man in the room was Don Draper regardless of what he used to be known as. The same hold true here, he calls himself Dick but he hasn't been Dick in a long, long time. Don Draper used to be a fake name he took for himself to escape Korea and his hometown, but essentially from the time he followed that woman on the train Don Draper has been who he is, no matter what name it is under. It's part of why I'm not overly bothered with the largely glossed over look at his relationship with Anna, or why we go from him considering a new life in California to straight back to New York and telling Betty he wants to come home.

Because Don Draper never left. There's an old saying, no matter where you go... there you are. That's absolutely the case for Don Draper. In California, in Pennsylvania, in New York.... no matter where he might go now, he can't escape the man he has become. When Dick Whitman fled initially, he wanted to be somebody entirely new and he succeeded. But that man isn't going away now, if he had taken up Joy on her offer to join their entourage, or if he had stayed with Anna and become a Hot Rod Salesman... he'd still be Don Draper. He once told Roger if he left advertising it would be to do something else, but whatever that was, it wouldn't be like it was when he gave up being Dick Whitman. It would just be Don Draper in a new job, and that's putting aside the fact that while he could abandon the family he was born into as Dick Whitman, it is obviously far harder for him to abandon the one he created as Don Draper.



Just coming to that decision isn't enough though. Don still treats the world as if he is the center of the universe, nevermind his statement about the world continuing without us. While season 2 ends very differently to season 1, with Don reunited with his family instead of apart from them, both share a commonality... which is that he longs to be with them while simultaneously pushing them away or putting his place with them at risk. He told Anna it was like watching his own life, scratching at it trying to get in... but just as true is that he struggles constantly to pull free as well. Don always wants it both ways, the embrace of family and the freedom of being alone, and there must surely be a limit on just how many times he can be this contradictory towards his loved ones before the choice gets taken out of hands entirely.

Season 2 of Mad Men builds on everything set up so wonderfully in the first season. Characters are well established and developing nicely, there is an intriguing setup for the next season for both Don's professional and personal lives, and of course it's 1963. The show isn't beholden to covering historic events, but... well, there's a pretty loving big one coming up in November.

Season Two: For Those Who Think Young | Flight 1 | The Benefactor | Three Sundays | The New Girl | Maidenform | The Gold Violin | A Night to Remember | Six Month Leave | The Inheritance | The Jet Set | The Mountain King | Meditations in an Emergency | Season 2 Retrospective

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 02:23 on Feb 7, 2021

BrotherJayne
Nov 27, 2019

Cum Catapultae Proscriptae Erunt Tum Soli Proscripti Catapultas Habebunt


Jerru, that is an awesome wrap up to an awesome season!

Quoting from and summarizing your reviews got my wife to give first The Sopranos, and now Mad Men, a go.

Wanted to say, thank you tons!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


That's wonderful, always great to hear about people discovering these shows for the first time

Goofballs
Jun 2, 2011


I hadn't watched the show in a few years. Its really nice to read these conversations about it because back in the day we just watched then went immediately to gossiping about anything else.

I feel a little bad for Kinsey, he's a fraud and for show only not a racist. But he's not nearly as malevolent and cruel as other characters but I guess their virtue is the virtue of an rear end in a top hat, unafraid of being selfish or cruel. Kinsey is lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. I guess I feel a certain amount of sympathy for people who aren't good at anything. I want them to have a living too.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012



If he was merely mediocre he wouldn't have a problem. His problem is he's mediocre with a massive chip on his shoulder.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



Michael Gladis was so good at "looking kinda like thin Orson Welles" he got to play someone who "kinda looks like fat Orson Welles" in Eagleheart.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Goofballs posted:

I feel a little bad for Kinsey, he's a fraud and for show only not a racist. But he's not nearly as malevolent and cruel as other characters but I guess their virtue is the virtue of an rear end in a top hat, unafraid of being selfish or cruel. Kinsey is lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. I guess I feel a certain amount of sympathy for people who aren't good at anything. I want them to have a living too.

That's the thing, he *could* make a living off of his talent as a copywriter. He's just mediocre. Just because he's no Don Draper or Peggy Olson doesn't mean there's no place for him...there are a lot of agencies, and the majority of working copywriters are going to be merely average. The problem is that he thinks he IS a Don Draper, that he's one great idea away from proving his genius to everybody. It reminds me of a quote from S5 that Marie says about Megan: "she has the artistic temperament, but she is not an artist."

Where Paul winds up in "Christmas Waltz" feels like a logical progression of where he was in the S3 finale: not among the chosen, he tumbles down through lesser and lesser agencies until falling out the bottom. I doubt it was because Paul was that much shittier than his coworkers, or plainly talentless. I doubt he was that much worse at copywriting than Freddy or Mathis or other workman-type hired hands. He probably just refused to play the game, behaved as if he deserved special validation for mediocre work, and then shut down when he didn't get it. Joining the Krishnas is perfect, because of course this sad-sack failure with delusions of specialness would fall for a cult selling enlightenment.

That said, I don't actually think "The Negron Complex" sounds much worse than many actual Star Trek TOS episodes. Like, they probably wouldn't make an episode that transparently about antebellum slavery, but ham-fisted social metaphors presented really artlessly are a hallmark of that series. Paul is no Ben Hargrove, but original Star Trek was some real pulpy poo poo despite its very kind reputation.

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Nap Ghost

Xealot posted:


That said, I don't actually think "The Negron Complex" sounds much worse than many actual Star Trek TOS episodes. Like, they probably wouldn't make an episode that transparently about antebellum slavery, but ham-fisted social metaphors presented really artlessly are a hallmark of that series. Paul is no Ben Hargrove, but original Star Trek was some real pulpy poo poo despite its very kind reputation.

In an interview DeForest Kelley mentioned a very similar episode having been planned, but it was never filmed. Perhaps where Mad Men got the idea to begin with. It seems like a very Kinsey script.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


JARED HARRIS IS IN THIS loving SHOW!?!?!

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

gently caress YES he is

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Between this and The Expanse I've been missing out on a lot of chances for Jared Harris to be on my screen, God bless Robin Veith I guess for being the common denominator.

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

Mad Men is the first thing I and I imagine a lot of others really noticed Harris in, and it’s just one of the many gifts this show gave us

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.



Jerusalem posted:

JARED HARRIS IS IN THIS loving SHOW!?!?!

It's a testament to your writeups that I forgot, despite the thread title, this is your first viewing.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Jerusalem posted:

JARED HARRIS IS IN THIS loving SHOW!?!?!

o jerusalem u have no ideaaa

BrotherJayne
Nov 27, 2019

Cum Catapultae Proscriptae Erunt Tum Soli Proscripti Catapultas Habebunt


sebmojo posted:

o jerusalem u have no ideaaa

Seriously, this show is tied with 2 others for my favorite role of his.

We need to ready a receptacle of some sort, this is gonna blow Jeru's socks right off

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Jerusalem posted:

JARED HARRIS IS IN THIS loving SHOW!?!?!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 3, Episode 1 - Out of Town
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Phil Abraham

Don Draper posted:

I've been married a long time. You get plenty of chances.

In the wee early hours of the morning, a tired Don Draper heats up milk on the stove. The Cuban Missile Crisis is long over, and seemingly so is the domestic crisis that almost ruined his marriage, as he's still in the Draper Residence after the uncertainty of his final season 2 scene with Betty. As he waits, his exhausted mind strays to unexpected places. The crying of a woman draws his attention to what should be the kitchen table, but instead finds a woman lying in bed. The kitchen itself is gone past the stove, replaced by the interior of an impoverished farmhouse. The woman crying is Abigail Whitman, miserably asking why God is punishing her. The midwife with her holds a covered basket and assures her that God will give her a child eventually, and reluctantly shows her beneath the sheet Abigail demands to see "her". Inside is a baby, stillborn, far from the first such tragedy to strike Abigail's hopes for motherhood.

Archibald Whitman is far from sympathetic, entering the room to brusquely declare that Abigail has "killed another one", showing not a hint of guilt or unease when the midwife snaps back at him that things might go differently if he was to "stay off her", shouting at her to get out.

The scene shifts from the farmhouse bedroom to a room in a whorehouse, where a far less aggressive Archibald is calmly explaining to a prostitute that he only has 85 cents on him and if she wants him to buy a condom that will be less money to give her for her services. Despite the fact he's seeing a prostitute, there is a hint of the Don Draper watching from his kitchen in 1963 to the scene: Archibald has an easygoing confidence and an ability to get what he wants... when he isn't just being a violent, short-sighted drunk. The prostitute agrees, but warns him that if she gets in trouble she will cut off his dick and boil it in hog-fat, a threat that gets an approving smile from the observing Don.

Time shifts again, the prostitute is delirious as she lays in bed, sweating copiously and raving that she is going to cut off Archibald's dick and boil it in hog-fat. A healthy baby boy is crying, and the mid-wife asks the prostitute if she wants to hold the baby, but she's too far gone in her delirium and simply continues repeating her threat till the life fully drains out of her. In 1963, Don is snapped back to reality by his milk boiling over, and quickly pulls it off the stove. It's not over though, as time shifts yet again to later in that past evening.

Abigail Whitman receives a late-night visitor, the mid-wife has come bearing the now motherless child, telling her that as promised God has provided a child. Abigail is shocked but also intrigued, a baby to call her own? Any excitement drains from her as surely as the life from that prostitute, however, when the mid-wife asks where her husband is. She can easily put two-and-two together, the mother is dead but the father still lives, and God's cruel trick is to provide her with a son that is his but not hers. She doesn't even get the privilege of naming him, the mid-wife explaining he is named Dick, after a wish his mother should have lived to see.

Fully back to himself now, Don scoops the skin off the milk, pours it into a glass and heads upstairs. He's home, of course, and in their bed is his once-again loving wife Betty, heavily pregnant with a child he knows for a fact is his (even if he doesn't know Betty also cheated on him as revenge for his many infidelities). For all the issues they've had, their marriage and this pregnancy are far from the tortured and doomed relationship of Abigail and Archibald. He has her drink the milk, slides into bed beside her, and they speak lovingly of their coming third child, who apparently likes to wake up just as Betty nods off to sleep.

Don is being as attentive as possible, perhaps simply out of a desire to be a good husband, maybe from residual guilt over the near-collapse of their marriage last year, or perhaps to overcompensate for the fact he's about to leave town for a couple nights. Betty has packed his valise for him, and perhaps going a little too far treating her with kid gloves, he says she didn't need to make that monumental effort for him. She says the good news is he'll get to it all himself anyway, as she discovered the clasp was busted and learned from Clara that Sally hit it with a hammer.

She's taken to Don's tools like "a little lesbian" Betty notes, then laughs and lets Don gently guide her to sleep with smooth talk visualizing a relaxing day on the beach. They are once again the perfect couple, beautiful and loving and devoted to each other, rich and successful and bringing a third child into their happy home... that only a few months earlier was in serious danger of completely falling apart.



It's hard to say what to make of the "flashback" scenes that precede Don and Betty in bed together though. This is the start of the third season of the show, and it's wonderful to have it back.. but this felt very self-indulgent. There's no denying it was shot extremely well and the sets and art direction were top notch, even if the music (which felt straight out of a Ken Burns Civil War documentary) was a little much... but what the hell is Don seeing? These aren't memories, most of them were from before he was born. Did somebody tell him all this? That this is where he got his original name? What his prostitute mother's deathbed words were? How his mean drunk of a father negotiated terms for screwing her without a condom etc?

It's hard to think of anybody telling a sullen, lonely child like Dick Whitman any of this information. So what is it then? Don's imagination, surely? His creative energies driven to ponder the stark difference between his own conception and birth and that of he and Betty's upcoming child? Fantasizing what his mother may have been like? Crafting any kind of connection he can between his unknown mother and himself by imagining she had a part in naming him? Believing in Abigail hating him from the first? As a start to the season, it really doesn't feel like anything else that the show usually does.. but then, given where things left off last season, I'm expecting season 3 to be a season of changes.

At Sterling Cooper the next day, Peggy Olson puts a call through to her secretary Lola... and gets no response. Leaving her office, she finds her secretary flirting happily with a tall if slightly awkward looking British man. He compliments Peggy on how she looks today and she thanks him sweetly... and then gets straight to business, if he hanging around outside her office because he's here to see her? No, he explains hurriedly, he was just "verifying some information" and thanks Lola and makes a quick exit... though not before grabbing some candy from the container on Lola's desk.

Peggy cocks her head and gives Lola a pointed look, the secretary unable to hold up under the gaze for long and trying to make a joke of it all, saying how curious it is that he spends so much time around her to talk about the strangest things... like her engagement ring! Peggy isn't having it though, telling Lola to cut it out, and the secretary admits that there's something about the gormless young man's voice that drives her wild... she could listen to him read from the phonebook! Peggy wryly observes that once he gets to S, she can use it to get Howard Sullivan from Lever Brothers on the line, as that is the purpose she was trying to contact Lola in the first place. Peggy isn't interested in office flirting or engagement rings or exotic accents... this is a workplace and she's here to work, this is a place of professionalism!

Cue the shot of a Japanese lady getting it on with an octopus.

Bert Cooper is showing off his newest acquisition, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, and it is being admired with fascination by Sterling Cooper's new Financial Officer, Lane Pryce.... holy gently caress it's Jared Harris!?! JARED HARRIS IS IN THIS SHOW!?!?!



Cooper discusses the parallels between the art and their business, and ponders the man(Katsushika Hokusai!) who first imagined her ecstasy. Lane can't take his eyes of the work, marveling,"Who indeed?" before finally tearing his eyes away when Don Draper enters Cooper's office, apparently his status as Founding Partner affording him retention of his spacious Japanese-themed space. Roger is nowhere to be seen, Cooper rolling his eyes and says he is probably unboxing another Grecian treasure in his office (because Japanese erotic art is fine, but buying Grecian works is somehow foolish?).

Lane apologizes to Don for the necessity of him traveling to Baltimore, and says something extremely curious when Don notes that he'd like to think he could do more good in the office than on a sales call, noting that Don is the "face" of their business. What does this mean, beyond the obvious compliment/ego-stroke for Don? Obviously Don kept his high status post-merger after his contract-free status was revealed, but is there more to it than that? Does Don have a contract now? Is he still "only" the Creative Director? As a Junior Partner in the old Sterling Cooper, what is his ownership stake (if any) in the new? And where is Duck Phillips? If Don is the face, then does that mean Duck is not President after all? Or that he found himself in a ceremonial position with no status whatsoever after his embarrassing display at the merger meeting?

Those questions aren't answered, but we at least we find out who in Baltimore Don will be visiting. London Fog, a name that Lane finds ridiculous, complaining that there never was a London Fog, it was all coal dust made famous during the time of Dickens etc. Cooper and Don are both a little put off by Pryce's complaint, they both own and appreciate the London Fog brand raincoats and aren't particularly pleased to hear it mocked... or maybe they just don't like knowing that they can get wrapped up as easily in effective branding as anybody else.

The source of tension is quickly shifted though, as for the first time we see a character mentioned in passing multiple times throughout the last couple of seasons: Burt Peterson. The oft-maligned Head of Accounts (not Services), the most unpopular man in Sterling Cooper because he's the one who wants to know where the money is being spent (on booze) and why (for booze).

Don lets him in and he comes in with a smile... until Cooper tells him they NEED him to take a seat and Don offers him a cigarette, and he realizes exactly what is about to happen. Taking a seat, he listens as they tell him this isn't easy, and lets out an,"Oh God," admitting that he thought he had made it through the other side of the merger. More businesslike, Lane hands over an envelope, a "more than fair" redundancy check. He takes it, but all he can think is how he made it past so many others being fired, and asks why they waited so long. Lane's response is somehow soullessly empathetic, as he explains that it was thought the only decent thing to do was to wait to fire him, since they heard his wife was undergoing radiation.

But as Burt, still shocked, mumbles in agreement that this was decent, Roger comes bursting through the door apologizing for being late and asking if he missed anything... then offers,"...oh" with his usual slightly smug irreverence, a cavalier attitude to the devastation of a long-time employee's affair that does little to endear Roger to him... or to anybody else in the room, for that matter.



Now that the shock is passing, Burt has moved into the anger part of dealing with things. He growls that they'll struggle without access to his Rolodex of contacts, and then snaps harshly at Lane saying they're willing to take that risk by shouting that the British are the dying Empire while the Americans are the future. He storms out, ignoring the others attempts to make him calm down (to be fair, gently caress them, they just fired him, he doesn't owe them poo poo) and bitterly promises to see them all on the breadlines. Don asks if this is truly the last of the firings, complaining that he doesn't like how used to this he is getting. Lane simply shrugs, he has no more inside information than any others, or so he claims: he is the Financial Officer after all, for all his claims that the big decisions are being made well above his head by the top men at Putnam, Powell & Lowe.

Out on the secretarial floor, Harry is busy misunderstanding and badly explaining Marginal Tax Rates to Paul Kinsey, insisting there is no point in ever making 40k a year because you'll be taxed for 69% of it and essentially working for the Government (yeah, you can tell Cooper, Roger and Don are miserable and unsatisfied!). As Pete joins them, amused by Harry's essentially arguing for keeping his own pay down (and Paul's confused question over whether being married changes this), Burt storms out onto the floor and bellows out a "greeting" to his "Fellow comrades in mediocrity". He declares they can all go straight to hell, swiping the contents of one secretary's desk onto the floor.

Heroically, Pete, Harry and Paul simply stand and watch and do nothing as Burt storms off the floor. Their only concern is that perhaps Burt's departure signals the start again of firings they managed to weather in the immediate post-merger aftermath. Pete seems unconcerned... right up until Hildy takes a phone-call and informs him that Mr. Pryce wants to see him. Suddenly Burt's firing seems less a one-off and more the top of an iceberg with him next in the firing line, and when he tries to beg off due to a lunch appointment, a nervous Harry and Paul aren't above shoving him into the spotlight: after all, if HE is fired then they'll at least learn it from him, and if he isn't then maybe this is all a lot of panic over nothing.

They make a slow exit, Paul letting out a quiet,"Holy crap" as he goes, clearly thinking it's far more likely to be the former than the latter. Wanting to take out his aggression on somebody, Pete seethes at Hildy that she could have taken him aside privately to give him that message, then storms off demanding to know how the hell he is supposed to live like this?

The weaselly young British man - John Hooker is minding his own business (what is his business?) in the corridor by another secretary's (unoccupied) desk when he's suddenly startled by Burt Peterson shoving his face into Hooker's and screaming,"DROP DEAD YOU LIMEY VULTURE!" before barrelling into his (not for much longer) office and smashing things around. Joan approaches taking obvious pleasure in Hooker's discomfort, asking if he is capable of continuing to "handle" this matter while she soothes the freaked out secretaries.

Getting himself back under control, he comments that "you Americans" can't handle emotions, and it's quite unbecoming. Joan has a different take, pointing out Mr. Peterson has a sick wife and if they'd at least told his secretary she could have informed him so he didn't feel ambushed. Plus if they'd told Joan herself, she would have been waiting OUTSIDE his office with his coat and Rolodex to hopefully get him out without incident. Hooker dismisses this with a complaint of his own though, decorum is an issue in the office and he does not like being referred to by the Switchboard Operators as John instead of Mr. Hooker.

He isn't particularly pleased with her response, nor the tiny little smirk she can't help accompanying it with: this is how they have been trained to refer to Secretaries, a title she clearly enjoys giving him considering the gender-loaded nature of the title. With a sigh, Hooker starts to remind her of the difference between HIS role and that of the other secretaries, but she cuts him off: she doesn't need to be told anything twice and clearly doesn't appreciate his condescending tone. She knows that despite being Lane's Secretary he isn't a "secretary", even if she clearly finds his boast that he is Mr. Pryce's "right hand" ridiculous. As Peterson continues to roar and toss around furniture in his office, Joan makes her exit, though not without a parting barb at Hooker and Pryce both, saying she's sure he will inform Pryce once Peterson has finally left the building.



Pete walks nervously into the Lion's Den, where the terrifying monster carnivore Lane Pryce... sits behind his charming desk, greeting Pete pleasantly and looking for all the world like a kindly teacher at a boy's boarding school. He has a suit of armor and a model of a ship in one corner but otherwise his office is entirely unremarkable if cozy, all warm tones and the slightly rundown sophistication of the British Civil Service.

Lane solemnly informs Pete that Burt Peterson has "left" Sterling Cooper, and Pete has to pretend that everybody isn't fully aware of this fact. Still amicable and friendly, Lane lets him know that while he can't speak for everybody, personally he likes Pete, and the ever-unctuous and desperate to please Pete lets him know that he likes him too. "But you don't know me?" chuckles a baffled Lane, either not realizing and enjoying pretending not to realize that Pete is kissing his rear end. Pete of course pivots immediately upon being called out, saying he will make every effort to get to know Lane (and like him!) if he can just be given the opportunity, all but begging not to be fired.

He apologizes for not being more welcoming socially, babbling as he becomes more nervous, explaining that he didn't want to make things awkward by inviting him to dinner with himself and Trudy before his wife arrived in America... which also makes him immediately realize (out loud) that Lane being alone was all the more reason TO invite him. Lane continues to be baffled, finally cutting Pete off to ask him to sit, and now is when Pete shows the tiniest backbone by asking,"Why?" instead of just doing as he is told... as if he can cut off being fired so long as he doesn't play to the script and sit in his spot for Lane to deliver his lines. When Lane asks if something is wrong, Pete perhaps belatedly remembers Peggy's advice to tell the truth and does just that: the Head of Accounts just got fired and now the Financial Officer has called him to his office and told him to take a seat.

Realizing (or, again, relishing pretending to realize) what Pete is thinking, Lane apologizes for being "cruel" and gets straight to the point: Pete Campbell is the new Head of Accounts. Pete is shocked as Lane jokes that it seemed appropriate "despite the lack of hospitality", and then something beautiful and revolting happens... Pete Campbell feels hope. His eyes grow wide and his lips quiver, and he asks with the certainty of a man denied what he thinks is his due one too many times if this is really happening, his pathetic desperation practically screaming for positive reinforcement. "Oh yes," assures Lane, though the specifics and the announcement are yet to come and he wants it kept quiet for now. Taking yet another piece of advice, this time from Duck Phillips, Pete thanks Lane and says no more, especially when it becomes apparent from Lane leaning over some paperwork and his face going blank that the conversation is over.

Stunned, Pete leaves the office, not quite able to believe it's really true: after all this time Pete Campbell is FINALLY having something go his way, despite a lifetime of forever being denied everything apart from every opportunity and privilege imaginable! He returns to his office, happily telling Hildy everything is splendid and asking her get Trudy on the phone. Once safely ensconced in his office, for once he doesn't sit and brood in the dark but dances a happy little jig and pours himself a drink.

Hildy puts Trudy through and for once the Campbells have a phone conversation that is just full of life, love and happiness on both their parts. She was the first person he wanted to share his good news with, and she takes it with a satisfaction and pleasure near equal to his own. She's having a luncheon with two ladies from the Docents Committee at the Met, but has no problem putting them from her mind to cheer her successful husband on for his promotion. Pete tells her to make a reservation anywhere she likes and surprise him, which she is more than happy to do. The only sour note is for a moment when Pete considers calling his mother to tell her, and Trudy sadly offers some sage advice,"Don't go to the well. There's no water there." He actually grins over this, and they even joke about the fact he forgot to ask if he was getting a raise, for once both perfectly on the same page and just blissfully happy. He hangs up, and just sits and enjoys himself for a moment... he has finally gotten what he truly believes are his just deserts, and NOTHING can ruin that now.

Ken Cosgrove comes straight through Lane Pryce's door without even bothering to knock, not remotely intimidated or concerned about being summoned even if he does know about Burt Peterson's firing. Lane apologizes for interrupting his lunch but Ken shrugs it off, he just had a sandwich. He takes a seat without being offered one, openly pulling out a cigarette without bothering to check if that is an issue for Lane. He is the absolute opposite of Pete, which may be why Lane has called him in, as he tells him that Burt has left the Agency and for the first time, Ken shows a flicker of concern, should HE be worried? Not at all, promises Lane, in fact he's going to be the new Head of Accounts!

There's a moment, just the briefest moment when Ken is shocked... and then a broad smile overtakes his face and with complete confidence he declares a heartfelt thanks. Again proving Pete's opposite, he asks how much he can expect to be paid, Lane musing that the role currently pays 21 a year (Harry might be interested then, the Government won't steal it all!) but that will be reevaluated. Pulling the same trick of body language to indicate the meeting is over, Lane reminds him this is not yet a public announcement. Ken (subconsciously or just out of pure ignorant bliss) doesn't let him control the meeting though, sticking out his hand for a big ol' handshake that an astonished Lane gives him. Ken leaves as happy as can be, none the wise that the Financial Officer who claims not to be in the know on hirings and firings is now playing two of the Agency's top Account Executives against each other.





On the flight to Baltimore, Don and Sal drink and smoke and complain about a magazine advertisement for Fleischmann's Whiskey, ping-ponging jokes for the man in the ad carrying a giant bottle of whiskey to say. The TWA Stewardess approaches and asks if they'd like a refill on their drinks before the Captain announces the descent. Sal cracks a joke instead which she dutifully laughs at, and then asks "Mr. Hofstadt" if he'd like anything. Don is confused, and she explains she saw his name on his luggage. Realizing what has happened, he says his name is Bill and Sal's is "Mr. Fleischmann". "Sam" agrees Sal after a moment, catching onto Don's game, and shakes the Stewardess' hand as she introduces herself as Shelley.

When she learns they are going to Baltimore she asks if they'd like to join her and another Stewardess - Lorelei - at a restaurant where the other woman has made "in-roads" with the Maitre'D. Don has been enjoying this but says they really have to prepare for work, but when she discovers they're all staying at the Belvedere Hotel she insists that it will be a "hoot 'n' a half" and insists they meet for dinner at 7:30. She leaves, and an impressed Sal asks about the name mix-up, Don explaining that he borrowed Betty's luggage to replace his busted valise, and her brother William who took it on a trip put his name on it (like Betty he feels William is far too quick to claim things). Still, they've gotten a dinner invitation out of it, and Sal points out that he's flown a few times but never seen a Stewardess so game. "Really?" asks Don, a simple brag that leaves Sal - who of course is just putting on an act himself - feeling intimidated despite himself. This kind of thing just regularly happens to Don to the point he doesn't even really take notice of it anymore?

At Sterling Cooper, Pete joins Ken waiting for the elevator at the end of the day. They share a joke about Burt Peterson probably still being holed up at a bar in Grand Central Station, and their disdain for him not putting up more of a fight to keep his job. As they enter the lift, both do so with the belief that each is going to be THE Head of Accounts, but that they can't share the information. So instead they take the opportunity to tell the other what a fan of the other they are, thinking it will be good to have the next most senior Account Executive on their good side when they take over as Head of Accounts. Pete promises Ken that he has always been a fan of his work, and Ken in turn pays homage to Pete always being supportive of him and helping him have the confidence to do his job.

They part ways with a smile, each delighted with themselves, perhaps thinking the other got some inkling about who the new Head of Accounts would be and was testing the water. Neither has any idea of the cruel game that Lane is playing with them, or how they have effectively just kissed the rear end of who they don't realize will be the next Head of Accounts.

In Baltimore at Hausner's, Don and Sal have taken up Shelley and Lorelei's offer to join them for dinner, which they are enjoying a great deal even if Shelley's conversational skills are somewhat lacking (her most interesting story is the time she ate too many Fritos) and one of the pilots has joined them to scoff lobster with a bib wrapped around his neck. Don is amused that Shelley can't smoke while wearing her uniform (but knocking back martinis is fine!), but the conversation isn't stimulating and the pilot cracking a joke about how boring their job of being accountants is doesn't exactly encourage participation... so Don decides to make his own fun.

Joking to Sal that they don't usually call themselves Accountants, he notes that there are "different" types of Accountants, and belatedly Sal gets where he's going and plays along, warning "Bill" not to say too much. He agrees and shuts up, which of course makes the others (including the now fascinated pilot) want to know more. His arm "twisted" enough, "Bill" leans forward conspiratorially and asks if they've heard of James Hoffa? Of course they have, everybody in America has heard of Jimmy Hoffa by this point, and "Bill" explains that a lot of money has gone missing, with "Sam" adding the final touch that "they" don't keep receipts.

Hoffa would, of course, legitimately be indicted in May and eventually convicted less than a year later. 10 years after that, well, EVERYBODY would know Jimmy Hoffa's name.

The Stewardess' were already impressed with Don and Sal (Don especially) but now they're enthralled. Don, though he has been having fun, sees the way that Shelley is looking at him, the way she talks and stares, and something seems to click in him. Quietly, almost sadly he states that he's been to a lot of places but he always seems to end up somewhere he's already been, seemingly dismissing even the vague notion that he might follow through on her obvious attraction to him. Of course, looking sad and introspective just makes him MORE attractive to Shelley, who is REALLY staring with fascination at him now.



The pilot suggests a nightcap which Sal tries to politely decline, but the two stewardesses insist, telling them to order for them while they go to the ladies room together.

Sometime later, Don and Sal find themselves riding a lift with Shelley. Lorelei and the Pilot are nowhere to be seen, either still drinking or having gotten off on another floor (you'd think the two Stewardesses would share a room? So maybe Lorelei and the Pilot are together?), but the remaining trio have reached the tired point where they're content to just stand and not talk. A bellhop enters the elevator and rides up a couple of floors, giving the passengers a look before he goes. Once he's gone, and perhaps feeling safe now that there is no pressure on him to try and flirt, Sal is back to his charming best, cracking jokes about not being in uniform and bidding them both a fond goodnight when he gets off on his floor.

Don reaches his and prepares to make his exit and leave Shelley behind at last, but she makes a spur of the moment decision, stepping out of the elevator as well so she can see if the floor is "different" from her own. Don allows her to lead the way, she stumbling slightly and having "no choice" but to lean on him for support. She pulls him close and leans in for a kiss, and though he instigates nothing he doesn't resist. She pauses to ask what they're doing and he offers back nothing but,"I don't know" and a smile. He lets her kiss him, not passive but not active, and she seems like she's going to be able to stop what she started, pulling away to let him know that she's engaged... but also that he might be her "last chance."

Don considers this, an engaged woman who doesn't look a million miles away from Betty, clearly desiring him but knowing it is wrong... and then he offers the most horrific advice possible,"I've been married a long time. You get plenty of chances."

You unconscionable piece of poo poo.

They stand in silence for a moment, and then Don closes his eyes, takes a moment and then quietly lets her know it is his birthday. She is amused, after all his smooth talk and this moment between them he uses a line like this? Grinning, she asks to see his driver's license, but just as quietly he tells her that will make no difference.

It is no excuse, but his suddenly maudlin attitude at dinner and just now, as well as his "memory" of the circumstances of his birth, are explained away here by those words. Because of course Don Draper wouldn't be able to celebrate Dick Whitman's birthday, his birthday would have to be the same as the original Don Draper's. Every year on this day he is another year older and nobody can know, even Betty (to be fair, he doesn't tell her a lot of things), and it is only here with a stranger that he can admit this "truth".

In Sal's room, he collapses onto the bed exhausted. The humidity is intolerable, and with a sigh he forces himself off the bed to adjust the air conditioning... and snaps the knob off the wall. Irritated, he calls the front desk and tells them he needs it fixed immediately.

In Don's room, he's getting a birthday present as Shelley strips down for him as he sits on the edge of the bed, watching and appreciating. He is enjoying the control, refusing to strip himself until she is done. She removes her bra and tries to pretend she isn't self-conscious as she shields her breasts and asks if he likes, offering that people always ask if she was a model but she wasn't. She wants a kind word back, a compliment, craving validation, but Don simply stares and smiles, so she presses against him and leans him back onto the bed.

Sal is being more friendly now that he can see the person he is speaking to, as the bellhop from the elevator has answered the call and come to fix the air conditioner. Sal admits it is different from the one he has at home and he hopes he hasn't broken it, but the bellhop simply picks up the knob and... sets it back on the wall, as easy as that. The air begins to flow again and Sal thanks him, pulling out his cash to find a tip.... and the bellhop steps RIGHT up to him, face inches from his own.

And it's happening at last. The kiss he always dreamed of. The contact. Flesh on flesh, lips to lips. Sal's eyes widen in disbelief and then close in ecstasy as the bellhop presses close and kisses softly. When he breaks away, Sal's lips follow greedily and the bellhop, taking a moment to make sure he didn't misjudge, likes what he sees and this time kisses with more passion... a passion met with equal energy by Sal.

He stands frozen in awe as the bellhop begins to remove his clothes for him, unable to believe it's really happening. There's a moment's pause as the bellhop spots the leaking pen in his front pocket, and all Sal can offer is a mumbled,"Airplane" before they back to kissing and stripping again. Decades of repressed lust, all spilling out in one beautiful, perfect moment that he never thought would come, that he was resigned to forever being locked away from. The bellhop removes his own top and then begins unbuckling Sal's pants, and he lets out a moan of,"Oh God!" because he still can't quite believe it, that it's real, that every fantasy and dream and hope he ever had are coming true in this one, glorious, life-changing moment.

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 10:37 on Feb 10, 2021

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


The bellhop's hands slide down Sal's pants and cup his penis, and he moans out an,"Oh Jesus!"... but then it all goes wrong, as a sudden loud clanging suddenly fills the room. The bellhop leaps up and grabs at his clothes, explained to a stunned Sal that it is the fire alarm, coming at the absolute worst possible time.

A couple floors up, Don gathers his things and exits through the window to the fire escape, shouting at Shelley to forget her shoes as she grabs her own things, they have to go. She rushes out after him and they zip down the steps, Don pausing on a landing and seeing Sal through the window buckling his belt. Don taps quickly at the window, Sal whipping his head around to see as Don yells at him to come on... and then the Bellhop races past behind him, half-dressed himself, and Sal's face crumples in horror... he has been discovered.

Don just stares, brought back to action by Shelley trying to climb past him, and he continues on down to the ground. He and Shelley stand among the crowd watching the hotel, Shelley bumming a cigarette from another guest. It's unclear if the place is actually burning but they are all staring at the siren blares and the fire service arrives. Don only has eyes for Sal though, arriving on the ground with the bellhop who quickly races away to do his job, corralling the crowd and assuring them everything will be fine. Sal is obviously less sure of that though, perhaps wondering if his life has been ruined forever by the one perfect moment he almost had.

The next morning at Sterling Cooper, Peggy joins Joan waiting for the elevators on the ground floor. They share a pleasant good morning to each other, and Peggy wisely compliments Joan on her large ring by asking if she ever worries about taking it on the Subway. Joan assures her she doesn't take the Subway but does sometimes worry about being followed (the real threat is in her home, sadly), but when Peggy tries to turn this into a chance to complain about Lola, an exasperated Joan reminds her the working day hasn't started yet.

Peggy isn't taking the hint though, continuing to complain which Joan tries to mostly ignore until she refers to Mr. Hooker as "Moneypenny", at which point she snaps that he hates being called that. Peggy is surprised, she's defending him? Not at all, Joan finds him repellent "like a doorman" (oh God, it's always 1 step forward, 2 steps back with Joan), but he's also in a position of some privilege as Pryce's "right hand" so there's nothing she can do about it. Fed up as she enters the elevator, she grumbles that she can't wait till she isn't working at Sterling Cooper anymore... which I don't believe for a loving second.

Today Pete Campbell is DELIGHTED to be working at Sterling Cooper. He thrills to Hildy greeting him with a congratulations on his new position, which has seemingly been announced at last... until she tells him happily that Mr. Pryce has called a meeting for the HEADS of Accounts immediately. Heads? Plural? Confused, Hildy explains that there is a meeting for him and Mr. Cosgrove immediately, and just like that happy Pete is gone and bitter, angry, vengeful and on some level sadly not surprised Pete is back, demanding to know what the hell she is talking about.

At London Fog, Don meets with Morris and Howard Mann, where he assures them that even with Burt Peterson gone, their company is first and foremost on Sterling Cooper's mind and they want to stress on them the continuity of their business relationship. Sal arrives, extremely apologetic and admitting he somehow left his airplane ticket at the hotel. Morris - the older man - is pleased to see him, telling Howard - his son - that Sal is the man who creates whatever he tells him to, be it words or pictures. Sal and Howard shake hands, and Morris asks Sal if he has a family, admitting he can't remember.

Sal quickly notes that he doesn't have children "yet" but does have a wife, casting a worried look Don's way. Don just smiles and keeps his focus on Morris, who explains he asked because as his son, Howard is going to be part of running the business now. Clearly he has continuity of business on his mind too. He is happy for Howard to take them on a tour of the factory and they all stand to do so, but Howard has other ideas, asking his father if that is REALLY the end of the meeting? This is NOT a relationship like the Garners at Lucky Strike, Howard is a man with ideas and a drive to push them.

Despite Morris clearly being uncomfortable about it, Howard either reveals his father's private thoughts or puts words in his mouth, claiming he is worried about the future of the business and fearing that everybody who is ever going to buy a raincoat already has one. Don is confused, London Fog is doing tremendous sales and though Sterling Cooper isn't arrogant enough to take all the credit they feel their work has certainly been a strong help. There's clearly some family tension going on here, Morris complaining about his son not being happy with JUST being a raincoat company, Howard feeling they can diversify their product line.

The value in Pryce's statement that Don is the face of the company proves true here as he sees the tension and figures out just how to, if not resolve it, at least calm it. With all the smooth sincerity he can muster (which is considerable) he reminds the Manns that London Fog's value is in its name: it is a company that is only 40-years-old but sounds (to Americans) like it has been around forever. Hats, umbrellas etc, it doesn't matter WHAT the product line is, there will be fat years AND lean years... but one thing remains certain, it is ALWAYS going to rain. Sal can only offer a timid,"That's true!" when the Manns simply stare, but the wonderful thing is that the combination of Don's words and face have achieved what they do best... make everybody feel like they were the ones being spoken to. Both feel that Don has just given his personal vote of confidence in the lasting power of their brand and also tacitly THEIR personal take on the running of the company. All Don has actually done is make sure that whoever is in charge and whatever way they want to run their business, Sterling Cooper is going to be the one making their advertising for them.

Unfortunately, right at that second two of the people responsible for all the Accounts at Sterling Cooper are engaged in a war of pure loathing and hatred... that only on of them is participating in, and that the other is completely ignorant of. The Accounts have been divided up between Pete and Ken, effectively split in half to ensure they get a roughly even mix of big, medium and small accounts. As Joan reads out who is getting what, a happy Ken enthusiastically writes down notes unaware of Pete staring a hole through him. When Pete's own accounts get read (including North American Aviation, he landed that big account to make up for Clearasil after all), he belatedly has to break away his death glare to at least make the impression of taking notes.



Pryce is watching both men with interest, while Harry is also present and trying not to doze off. When the breakdown is completed, the only negative Ken has to voice is that he doesn't know why Pete got Utz, which was his Account in the past. Harry sparks to attention over this, explaining a variety of reasons were used to assign each Account and suggesting that Ken can figure out why he didn't get Utz (with Freddy gone, Ken eats most of the blame for Jimmy Barrett humiliating Mrs. Schilling even if Don was off watching a French film at the time). Pete jumps on this, asking if Harry is the one who decided this breakdown. Harry tersely reminds Pete that 42 cents of every dollar spent in the Agency is through the Television Department, before admitting that this was not his decision but something "we" did, indicating the watching Pryce.

This is even worse for Pete, not only is he sharing his dream job (well, he wanted Head of Account Services) with Ken, but Harry of all people is effectively managing him anyway? Harry is working side-by-side with the Financial Officer? Harry has an in with the Brits when Pete hasn't even had him over for dinner!?! And then to make matters even worse he asks a question he already knows the answer to, what are all the Os next to various Accounts? Why they stand for Peggy Olson of course, she's in charge of the Creative for those Accounts. He complains that she's all over them, Joan sweetly noting that they both know this isn't true. It seems that after her revelation at the end of last season, he's back to detesting Peggy again.

With great satisfaction, Pryce rises and notes that while they both have half the company it would certainly be easier if ONE of them was to distinguish themselves and earn the right to have the job entirely to themselves. That's bullshit of course, if they wanted a single Head of Accounts they would have picked one, he wants the two to scrap and claw to try and get one over on the other and allow the Agency to benefit from their aggression towards each other.

Everybody leaves, but as Ken walks out the door Pete pulls him aside to demand answers. Why did he accept the position? He's never shown any interest in it! Ken, baffled, asks why WOULDN'T he accept this position if offered, and in complete contradiction of the previous evening's kind words Pete claims that Ken isn't any good at it. Here's where Ken, who all episode has just been kind of jovially stumbling happily through things, reminds Pete that he's actually an extremely intelligent person. It's obvious to him that the Agency WANTS them to hate each other, to drive their productivity by trying to outdo the other etc.... and he's just not going to bother to take part in any of that bullshit. He got a promotion, extra pray, more prestigious Accounts than he could have ever hoped for before... he's always won, why would he trouble himself trying to get more than the bonus he already had.

Pete of course sees this as some crafty ploy by Pete, laughing nastily and "praising" him for his poker face, mockingly agreeing that they should run together holding hands. Ken simply walks away, baffled by a man he thought he was his friend losing his mind over the fact that they BOTH got a promotion. Pete is left feeling oddly hollow, sure he got the best of that exchange and thus not able to understand why he doesn't feel any better. He leaves, probably to go brood in his dark office again. Because Ken's way of thinking is alien to him, he can't accept that somebody might just be happy with their lot, or that they could see half of something extra as acceptable instead of getting it all to yourself.

It's sad, because that moment in the elevator wasn't entirely about positioning: Ken and Pete are friends, they do like each other in spite of the odd disagreement and a vast difference in their upbringing. The difference between them being that Ken is happy to share with a friend, and Pete is not only unwilling but distrustful of Ken's willingness in the first place. Pete is going to go whole hog, and maybe Ken will be forced to match his pace, or maybe he'll just do what he does and trust in the quality of his work. No matter how things end up though, Pete is likely to be dead at 50 of a massive heart attack purely from the tension and stress he puts himself through just dealing with his FRIENDS let alone his enemies.



On the flight back to New York, Sal sits pondering whether he is on his way back to his execution. Don is sleeping in the seat beside him, they have exchanged no words so far over Sal's exposure, but it is all that Sal has been able to think of. Don wakes when Sal lifts his window shade, and Sal gets nervous when Don notes they'll be back at the office by 3pm, pondering why Don would return to the office so late in the day when he'll usually take any excuse not to be in.... surely it must be to denounce to the entire office that Salvatore Romano is a homosexual!

Instead, Don leans over and tells him he wants to ask a question and wants Sal to be completely honest with him. Here it is at last, Sal knew it was coming, and braces himself for the end of his life.... and Don starts pitching an idea he had for London Fog. Sal listens, at first uncomprehending and then slowly realizing what is happening as Don discusses a man in a Subway Car, staring at a woman with her back to the viewer wearing a short, tan London Fog raincoat. The coat is spread open and her legs, the only part of her visible to the viewer, are bare. "We know what he's seeing," Don notes, and then gives the slogan that doubles as his clear message to Sal,"Limit your exposure."

Quietly, stunned but feeling a wave of deep relief washing over him, Sal nods and agrees that that's it, that's the slogan. Don nods and settles back in his chair, and Sal lets the moment breathe for a second. The most important thing is that his life and job will remain intact, but there's something else sweet beyond belief for Sal to savor too: after hearing Ken and Harry openly mock Kurt's homosexuality and spell out their clear contempt for the lifestyle, Sal has had his own homosexuality exposed to Don Draper, a man of power and influence not just in Sterling Cooper but the advertising world... and Don has tacitly told him he doesn't care. More than that, he has told him if he wants to indulge in his urges, Don is unbothered... so long as he limits his exposure.

It's a wonderful, beautiful moment for Sal... but at the risk of seeming cynical, it's also deeply selfish of Don. Not for any reasons related to Sal, whose only fear I have for him now is that after finally having his same-sex kiss he may never be able to put the genie back in the bottle. No, because Don is as always talking about himself at heart. "Limit your exposure" is a message directed to Sal, but one that applies to himself.

After last season, when Don returned to Betty the hope was that he had finally learned his lesson, that the relative openness of his past infidelity meant that they could have a fresh start. Indeed, for the first half of this episode it seems like Don has done just that: he's being a good, attentive husband, looking after his pregnant wife and keeping her happy. He's remembered his own father's awful treatment of Abigail (who Don disliked, but that excuses nothing) and his prostitute mother (who Don never knew). For much of his time with Shelley he seemed to just having some fun and enjoying the chance to bullshit with Sal with some strangers before moving on. Even in the elevator he appeared to be exhibiting self control, and then he seemed to be letting himself get carried away by Shelley but still not having his heart in it. Then there was the stuff about his birthday, a sadness he felt that didn't excuse him but helped explain why he was seeking comfort. But then no he's got her in his room with him and is just reveling in having her in his control. He only didn't have sex with her because of the fire alarm.

When Don says "limit your exposure" it isn't just a quiet show of support for his gay colleague, it's the identification of the only lesson he learned from season 2. Not to be faithful to his wife, not to stop lying and devote himself fully to being a good husband and father. The lesson he learned was,"Just do it out of town with people who can't eventually tie back to Betty." Anna told him he can change, and he has... but not for the better. He's just been smarter about covering up what he does, because why would he stop when he can get what he wants otherwise.

In the past he had affairs with women who fascinated or challenged him in some ways, and ignored or dismissed come-ons from the likes of Shelley. Now, his "change" is that he'll just indulge in one-night-stands out of town while his pregnant wife who took him back against her better judgement waits at home to greet him with a love he really doesn't deserve. And how is his message of his "change" delivered, through a line to a friend that of course makes Don look like the best person in the world, all while he continues to be a piece of poo poo.



At Sterling Cooper, Joan interrupts Mr. Hooker as he flirts with a couple of secretaries, asking to speak with him in private. She explains that she has realized that it makes sense for Putnam, Powell & Lowe to have an Office for visiting executives from England, but no sense for it to sit empty in the meantime. As a result, she has decided it would be best if HE occupied it between visits, and she would of course provide him with his OWN secretary to do any typing he needed doing.

Peggy bothering her in the morning really paid dividends, as she probably suspected it would!

Hooker is delighted, by the office of course but probably even more-so by getting to choose his own "girl" to do typing. The office Joan has found is Burt Peterson's, currently empty apart from the Ant Farm which Hooker assumed was Peterson's but which Joan explains actually belongs to Cooper but "lives" in this office (a nice little reminder by Cooper that this is (was) HIS building and he could do what he wanted?). She leaves, and he remains behind basking in the glory of having his own office.

Trudy,poor, poor Trudy pops into Pete's office to celebrate with her man, bringing the gift of a set of pen holders with "Peter Campbell The Buck Stops Here!" written on the plaque. As usual she finds her husband churlish and upset, bitterly moaning over the fact he has to share the job with Ken Cosgrove. She's saddened to hear that, of course, but puts a brave face on it and tells Pete that while he might not like to hear it, he is a lot like her father. She's right, he didn't want to hear that, but opens up a little more when she explains he and her father are both ambitious men who are never happy with what they've got.

Boy loving howdy is that accurate about Pete.

"Why does it always have to be like this?" sulks Pete, and then incredibly adds,"Why can't I get anything good all at once?"

But now she gives him good advice to go with the ego-stroke: there's no point going in to the Bosses and moaning and complaining that you just want the top job given to you. He has to fight for it, to prove that they have no choice but to give it to him... he has to beat Ken. He complains that he already knows what they want (well, only because Ken told him), and he doesn't know if he can live with this. Softly, gently, Trudy approaches and gives him a soft little kiss, then quietly tells him,"But you'll try."

In spite of himself he lets himself be mollified. His own mother offers no love or kindness, but while he and Trudy have no children, she's certainly living with a little boy and he's got a loving motherly woman in his life.

Sal and Don have returned, and an inspired Sal has already sketched up the "Limit your exposure" idea that Don had, which Paul Kinsey and Harry Crane are admiring. Paul asks about Baltimore, intrigued by the idea of being on the town with Don Draper, and Sal agrees it was First Class all the way. They want more details of course but Sal insists it was just two old married men and nothing exciting beyond a fire at the hotel. They go back to the ad, Paul asking what type they should get to cast for the man, and Sal - limiting his own exposure - betrays little interest beyond saying he should be handsome.

Don is typing away in his office when Roger just strides straight in carrying Stolichnaya vodka and Cuban cigars, telling him his secretary has already left for the day. It seems THESE are the "Grecian treasures" spoken of earlier, Roger was in Greece (on honeymoon, I guess?) and was able to send himself these hard to get products shipped on the cheap... hell, he jokes he probably could have sent himself a pound of opium if he really wanted.

Don comments on the Campbell/Cosgrove power-sharing arrangement, assuming it is some game Cooper is playing, and is surprised to learn it wasn't a Cooper decision, and betrays a little of his own thoughts/feelings regarding Pryce by asking if Lane ready about it "in a management book". Roger has another theory in mind though, he believes that this really did come as a directive from the "home office" in England, which of course suggests that they're not entirely done loving about with the status quo at Sterling Cooper.

Roger grabs a seat, unseen as Pete enters the room asking to speak with Don, who tells him to come in. He does, clearly ready to blow Trudy's good advice and complain that he doesn't want to share power with Ken... and then notices that Roger is there too. Suddenly this seems a little more daunting, Don was one thing but Don AND Roger? He has no idea they've both just been talking about how bad an idea the thing he came to complain about it, and so losing his nerve he puts on a smile and tells them he wanted to let them both know he feels honored by the promotion.

Taking some pity on Pete, Roger tells him to help himself to a drink... just not the Stoli. Pete doesn't need to be told twice, he needs a stiff drink, and so he leaves the doorway clear and yet ANOTHER person comes striding in (good thing Don came back to the office), and it's Cooper of all people. Spotting Pete, he speaks directly to him, saying he came to tell Don to pass the message on but can now give it direct. Closing the door, he takes a seat beside Roger and explains that a friend from the Mayor's Office wants to do a small campaign about something to do with Penn Station. He decided that Pete was the best person for the job, that despite being under British Rule they still had a "real" Yankee working for them.

Pete is understandably proud to have been thought of, and carefully uses Bert's first name when thanking him. Cooper surprises them all by asking for a brandy, and Pete quickly pours him one and brings it over. Roger and Don smoke Cubans, Cooper sips his brandy, leans back in his couch and complains that no matter what anybody says he still thinks that London Fog is a great name. And in the middle of these three, for the first time in a long time feeling like he's got the acceptance of the people who matter, is Pete Campbell.



Despite their ownership, the strangers are the Brits. Lane is served a cup of tea by Hooker in Hooker's new office, admiring the ant farm and commenting on the number of distractions. Taking a seat across the desk from a pleased Hooker, he considers for a moment and then asks a very dangerous question: WHY does he have this office?

Hooker is quick to try and claim credit for Joan's idea, explaining he felt it best to have an office for visiting PPL Superiors, and in the meantime he would occupy it so it didn't sit empty. Unfortunately for Hooker, Lane thinks this is a harebrained idea, complaining that after firing a full-third of Sterling Cooper's workforce now it looks like they're "going through their pockets as well", which he claims is unseemly. Perhaps if Hooker had told the truth that this was Joan's idea, he might have felt differently, but it is unlikely. They are British, and they do things in a very British way, and in Hooker's case that includes not having his own office and desk and simply wandering about until Lane needs him. The office can stay, it can be used as a place for visiting PPL Superiors... but NOT for Hooker, he sits out front.

Of course Hooker agrees, apologizing for being presumptuous. Staring at the ant farm, pondering Joan putting him in this position (she didn't tell him to lie!) he mutters that Sterling Cooper is a gynocracy, a laughable concept given the rampant misogyny. "Hadn't noticed," replies Lane simply, sipping his tea, with the simple confidence of somebody who is untouchable by any single person - man or woman - in the Agency, at least in New York.

Don returns home, Bobby (played by a new actor, of course) happily carrying his luggage into the room. Betty is worried about Betty things, she told Francine and Carlton they were too busy to attend something or other with them, and now wants to make sure Don tells the same story if he bumps into Carlton on the train. He promises her their stories are straight, and then Betty calls Sally in and sends Bobby out, it's time for her to admit the truth.

Sally admits that she broke his suitcase, and a tired Don tells her to find out how much it costs to repair and he will take it out of her allowance. "I don't have an allowance," she mumbles, and Don replies back immediately with,"Then don't break things", the perfect logic to give a child.

Sally starts to break down, saying she didn't want him to go. Don leans down and promises her that he will always come home and she will always be his girl. He gives her a kiss on the forehead and then wearily crawls onto the bed as Sally takes it upon herself to unpack his suitcase. Betty tells him he looks tired and he admits he doesn't sleep well when he's not a home, and she looks closely at his eyes and suggests he needs reading classes.

This lovely domestic scene is interrupted though by an excited Sally who wants to know if what she found in the suitcase is a gift for her? It is, of course, Shelley's TWA pin, and Don feels a moment of horror wash over him that must be similar to what Sal felt when Don tapped on his window. Within barely a second though he recovers, agreeing that yet this memento of an attempted one-night-stand is actually a gift for the adoring daughter he just sweetly promised he would always return home to. He watches as his pregnant wife attaches the pin to his daughter's robe, and what is he feeling? Self-loathing? Revulsion? Relief?

Sally peers down at her mother's belly and asks if she was REALLY in there for 9 months, and then wriggles in between her parents, pressing her head against her daddy's chest and asking him to tell her the story of when she was born. Don, only a day removed from his own secret birthday, struggles to get out the words, and Betty - perhaps simply thinking he is tired - takes over the story. Sally listens in rapt attention as Betty tells about the loving husband who set aside his own exhaustion to look after her out of love.

Does he feel guilty? Sally broke the valise because she associates trips with the near break-up of the marriage, which is HIS fault. Don promised he would always return to his little girl while Betty looked on lovingly, but the one time he wasn't able to was HIS fault. In spite of efforts to "limit his exposure" for the first time his tidy efforts to hide evidence of his affairs were not enough and it was pure luck that he wasn't caught out... which would have been HIS fault. He didn't sleep with Shelley, but not because he wasn't going to or he thought better of it, but because of the fire alarm.

Now here he is, face to face with the loving family and their happy memories of him - so different from memories of his own father and step-mother - that he is so willing to poo poo on even now after all these second chances. What is he feeling in this moment? Guilt? Disgust? Contempt? If he is feeling any of those things, they won't last or they won't be strong enough to stop him doing it all over again. We've seen that time and time again, just like he told Shelley, he might not have gotten what he wanted on this trip... but sadly there will be plenty more chances.



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 10:37 on Feb 10, 2021

Devorum
Jul 30, 2005


Nap Ghost

Jerusalem posted:

Season 3, Episode 1 - Out of Town
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Phil Abraham
He compliments Betty on how she looks today and she thanks him sweetly... and then gets straight to business, if he hanging around outside her office because he's here to see her? No, he explains hurriedly, he was just "verifying some information" and thanks Lola and makes a quick exit... though not before grabbing some candy from the container on Lola's desk.

Betty cocks her head and gives Lola a pointed look, the secretary unable to hold up under the gaze for long and trying to make a joke of it all, saying how curious it is that he spends so much time around her to talk about the strangest things... like her engagement ring! Betty isn't having it though, telling Lola to cut it out, and the secretary admits that there's something about the gormless young man's voice that drives her wild... she could listen to him read from the phonebook! Betty wryly observes that once he gets to S, she can use it to get Howard Sullivan from Lever Brothers on the line, as that is the purpose she was trying to contact Lola in the first place. Betty isn't interested in office flirting or engagement rings or exotic accents... this is a workplace and she's here to work, this is a place of professionalism!

Excellent post, as always. You've got a string of Peggy-Bettys early on.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



Old Bobby is dead, long live New Bobby

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



GoutPatrol posted:

Old Bobby is dead, long live New Bobby

You monster! Season 2 Bobby is the greatest Bobby.

Really loved your analysis of "Limit your exposure", Jerusalem.

I actually do think Don has improved as a person here. It seems kind of wrong to give him credit for it, when his sins remain so large and so obvious, but in the early part of this episode, he is putting someone else's needs before his own in a way that we haven't seen before. Except with Anna, but it's clear that he feels a sense of obligation to her that he doesn't feel to anyone else. I do think that Don is grateful to have been taken back by Betty.

But he thinks he can just compartmentalize his life, and he really can't! He can't NOT hurt people acting as selfishly as he does when he's on the business trip. It's delusional of him to think he can control things well enough to act this way and not end up badly hurting his wife. The fire alarm is evidence of that. The chaos of responding to that alarm is probably how that pin ended up among his things. It was completely out of his control. Another little aside related to that: You'd think Shelley lived in Atlanta or something, given her thick Southern accent, but she says that she's "based out of New York." She is, in fact, someone he could bump into on the streets of Manhattan. His exposure isn't even limited!

I think Don being tongue-tied at the end of the episode when Sally asks for the story of her birth is a callback to the beginning of the episode when he's making up a scenario for Betty to imagine to feel more relaxed. When Don is making it up, he's loquacious. When he has to recall something important from his own real life, he's completely out of sorts.

The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife has actually been present in Bert's office since season 1, just hanging around in the background in some shots. However, it is in a new location in the office, one that is much more visible. Maybe Bert is cutting loose a bit now that it's not his company. "I'm not the boss anymore? Here's my octopus erotica."

Bert is probably drawn to this painting because he lost his testicles. That would give him a reason to be fascinated by a piece depicting a woman being sexually pleasured by something other than male genitals. This is probably also relevant to the fact that the painting ends up in Peggy's possession. An oblique acknowledgement of the fact that Peggy and Bert both know that you don't need a pair of testicles to get the job done.

I only just noticed the last time I watched this episode that Morris, the head honcho at London Fog, is portrayed by the actor who played The Dude's landlord in The Big Lebowski. That's the character that asks The Dude to give him notes on his "dance quintet, you know, my cycle?" Truly an actor with range.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


I had forgotten about how quickly Hooker works to establish himself as the alpha of the office and his intensely smug attitude. His comeuppance-on-fast-forward at the end of this episode ("Let me just steal Joan's idea and claim it as my own. Oh, drat, my boss hates this idea and has promptly reprimanded me!") is immensely satisfying.

Jerusalem posted:

It's hard to say what to make of the "flashback" scenes that precede Don and Betty in bed together though. This is the start of the third season of the show, and it's wonderful to have it back.. but this felt very self-indulgent. There's no denying it was shot extremely well and the sets and art direction were top notch, even if the music (which felt straight out of a Ken Burns Civil War documentary) was a little much... but what the hell is Don seeing? These aren't memories, most of them were from before he was born. Did somebody tell him all this? That this is where he got his original name? What his prostitute mother's deathbed words were? How his mean drunk of a father negotiated terms for screwing her without a condom etc?

Season 3 was when I started watching the show as it aired, and I remember settling in on a Sunday night with a glass of whiskey and that opening really throwing me for a loop - just so, so uncharacteristic of what had come before. Though a few details enter "How exactly did the housekeeper hear Kane say 'Rosebud' when he died?" territory, I do think what we're seeing is the fact of the matter, not a Draper fabrication. There's some clarification as the season goes along where he could have gotten the whole story.

It's easy to fill in the blanks that Abigail - an abusive woman who loved to remind him that he's not her child - probably repeated a lot of those details to him over the years. I can also imagine a scenario where "Uncle Mack," who Don indicates he had a good relationship with, gave him the unvarnished turth in an attempt to help young Don understand why his "Mother" kept saying such terrible things about him.

GoutPatrol posted:

Old Bobby is dead, long live New Bobby

Bobby Draper is like Pokémon, just undergoing diverse evolutions until he achieves his final form ("Bobby Who Can Hold His Own in a Scene Where He Has More Than 2 Lines")

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



A few more things I thought about in the shower:

Jerusalem posted:

Not for any reasons related to Sal, whose only fear I have for him now is that after finally having his same-sex kiss he may never be able to put the genie back in the bottom.

This is the most delightful Freudian slip I have ever seen.

Bryan Batt said that Matt Weiner told him that there would be an episode where Don catches Sal with a man while out of town on a business trip but then doesn't do anything to Sal about it before they finished filming the pilot. Part of why this show is so good is that these character arcs usually aren't being made up as the show goes along. The broad strokes of most of these arcs were planned from the beginning.

I agree with you, Jerusalem, about the flashbacks in this episode being weird. They do help build Don's character, but it is kind of distracting that it's unclear how Don knows these things (or if he knows them). I've always assumed they are pretty accurate memories based on things people told him. It might be kind of weird to tell him some of this stuff, but they told him he was a "whore child", so maybe that's just how it was. But I really can't believe anyone would have told him that his dad cajoled his mom into having sex by saying he'd have to pay her less if he went and bought a condom. So who knows? I've also always thought it was kind of cheesy how Don stares into the distance in his house and sees people from the past walking around.

edit: lol Jethro, we have like, exactly the same take on the flashbacks

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

Yoshi Wins posted:

Another little aside related to that: You'd think Shelley lived in Atlanta or something, given her thick Southern accent, but she says that she's "based out of New York." She is, in fact, someone he could bump into on the streets of Manhattan. His exposure isn't even limited!

I noticed this too, and Don’s reaction to it. I think that while he was toying with the idea earlier, that revelation possibly that made him decide to take a step back and try not to sleep with her....which he obviously then backtracks on quite quickly.

As for the opening to the episode, I really enjoyed it. There’s a lot of Sopranos DNA there.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

I see past the sham that is society, and I'm into some incredibly fucked up shit.

Jerusalem, since you have the ability to make snippets of the eps and I can't find what I'm looking for on Google, I hereby formally request a gif of Peter's office jig. For posterity

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Yoshi Wins posted:

I've also always thought it was kind of cheesy how Don stares into the distance in his house and sees people from the past walking around.

edit: lol Jethro, we have like, exactly the same take on the flashbacks

Absolutely; I also found it to be an extremely cheesy presentation.

I was going to say "I don't care for the show's forays into fantasy at all," but then I remembered that Betty's absolutely incredible hospital visit is just 4 episodes away. The show's depiction of characters in an altered state - chemically-induced or otherwise - is very hit-or-miss. Maybe my one knock against it.

The Klowner posted:

Jerusalem, since you have the ability to make snippets of the eps and I can't find what I'm looking for on Google, I hereby formally request a gif of Peter's office jig. For posterity

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply