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ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



banned from Starbucks posted:

How does Pete only make $75 a week when the dumpy guy makes $200 and ken makes $300? Arent they all the same position? Is it just because he's there for his name and they feel like they can take advantage of him without him knowing better?

either seniority or the amount of accounts. I think it’s revealed later on that Ken brings in more business

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Season 1 is the most "things sure were different in the past weren't they? Huh?" season and it can feel like the show is nudging you on the ribs to point that out more than is seemly

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013


sebmojo posted:

Season 1 is the most "things sure were different in the past weren't they? Huh?" season and it can feel like the show is nudging you on the ribs to point that out more than is seemly

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I think it's fair to call it "heavy handed". They made a good adjustment to how those moments are handled in later seasons.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012


There's really only one other moment that's bad enough to really stick out outside of season 1 and that's in season 2. After that they seem to keep everything in period without drawing attention

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



ulvir posted:

either seniority or the amount of accounts. I think it’s revealed later on that Ken brings in more business

I forget how that looked in the first season, but eventually they make an explicit point of Ken being a better account man without trying. "[Pete] makes clients feel their needs are met, but Ken makes them feel they haven't got any needs." Which I fully believe, because Ken actually has charisma and social competence. Pete works hard, but constantly brings a real "desperate traveling salesman" energy to his job. And his private life, for that matter.

Ken's a total fratboy in S1, but he's one of my favorites by the end.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Yoshi Wins posted:

Yes, I absolutely agree with this. I think it's fair to call it "heavy handed". They made a good adjustment to how those moments are handled in later seasons.

The moment that most stands out to me is in episode 3 when the other dad just without blinking slaps Carlton's kid across the face, and Carlton comes storming over to... demand his kid apologize and threaten to give him another smack if he doesn't.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 1, Episode 5 - 5G
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter

Adam Whitman posted:

Who is Donald Draper?

Don and Betty Draper come home from an advertising awards ceremony, more than a little drunk and very, very happy. Don and Roger Sterling were presented with an award, and while Don pretends nonchalance and notes that Roger's satisfaction with the award is more about Sterling Cooper's reputation for selling being enhanced over any interest in creativity, he can't help but admit that he himself does actually care that he won the award.

Betty is proud of her man, and proud of how good he looks all dressed up in a tuxedo, herself in a lovely dress with a large diamond necklace. She shimmies out of her dress and they beam at each other with obvious pleasure, but any thought of adding sex to the celebrations disappears the moment they're both in bed. It's late, they're drunk and exhausted, and it's all Don can do just to pop his shoes off. He can't even work up the energy to reach a half foot to switch off the lamp, instead he just unplugs it directly from the wall. Betty has already crashed next to him, and he's asleep himself in a matter of moments.

Don wakes a little before 8am, still in his tuxedo and looking very much the worse for wear. He wakes Betty who didn't even get her necklace off. They both sit up, hacking and coughing and looking the exact opposite of the glamorous couple of the evening before, their heads pounding from their mutual hangover. Sally comes bursting into the room full of energy to declare enthusiastically that Ethel is downstairs making breakfast (presumably this is "the girl" who comes in as part-time maid/sitter). Betty, once carefully made-up hair now spilling in front of an exhausted face, mumbles that she has a headache.

Sally spots the award Don received on the dresser, it's a horseshoe which confuses Sally: daddy won an award for good horses? To beat-down to try and explain, he mutters for her to go eat breakfast, and staggers into the bathroom. Closing the door, the vibration causes the horseshoe on the award to come loose and turn upside down, typically seen as a sign of bad luck to come.



Don arrives at Sterling Cooper still feeling the effects of the night before. The front receptionist congratulates him on his award and lets him know that Advertising Age ran a picture, and he jokes that fortunately nobody reads that magazine. He finds Peggy complimenting Ken Cosgrove as she passes him back a magazine. She tells Don that Mr. Kinsey and Mr. Campbell were waiting but left, but she will go get them for their meeting now. Don, who is running a little late himself, seems more amused than put out when he says them leaving was rude. As Peggy puts up his hat and coat on the rack that he has to walk by anyway, she congratulates him on his NYOC Award, and offers a congratulations to Ken as well before leaving.

Don is confused, why is Ken getting a congratulations? With forced indifference, Ken explains that he just got a short story published and hands a surprised Don an issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Don is impressed, as are Paul and Pete when they arrive, but certainly not with the same surprised sincerity that Don is offering. Both seem actually alarmed, even more so when they finally offer their congratulations and learn that their old pal Ken has actually already completed two novels. Pete seems stunned, while Paul is even more disconcerted to hear what the novels are about and realize they actually sound like the kinds of thing he himself would like to read.

Forcing the point back to the actual purpose of the meeting (and safely away from Ken's intimidating creative accomplishments), Paul moves to discussing their current client: Liberty Capital Savings bank. Jack Konig wants Sterling Cooper to bring him "fireworks" to entice people to the bank since interest rates being level isn't conducive to getting people through the doors. The usual strategy is giveaways, appliances like toasters or blenders. Don however thinks this is a flawed strategy, it is banks courting family business but the fact is that the majority of women in America (Don Draper's America) are NOT involved with the family accounts/banking.

This is still a period where the wives didn't know how much money the family had, what their position was, how much the mortgage payments were, how overextended or flush they might be etc. So if this is the case, why are they trying to get people who aren't banking into the banks? No the key is to get people already banking to bank more, and the key there is private accounts: accounts separate from the family. All the men in the room immediately jump on the idea, especially Pete as a married man himself: an account that promises discretion. Paul adds an extra step, statements will be sent to the office and not to the home, an extra added level of "security" from a wife's prying eyes. He suggests the "Liberty Capital Private Account", but Don prefers "Executive Account" and they can all see the appeal of that: it suggests power, privilege, not something hidden away like a dirty secret but a marker of success.

They head out of the office to start putting the art together to go with the pitch. As Don makes his own notes, Peggy lets him know via the intercom that there is a call from Bix Beiderbecke waiting for him. He answers and it turns out that it isn't a Jazz musician who has been dead for 30 years on the other end of the phone after all, it's Midge. She's just had a phone put in at her place and decided to call Don and invite him over for the afternoon. Don is a little concerned that she's called him at the office, but he also can't resist her offer.

Unfortunately, he's not the only one getting this message. At her desk, Peggy has been typing away and turned to make a phone-call only to discover she hadn't hung up her end of the line when Don picked up. So she overhears Midge talking dirty to Don, telling him to come ravish her. Quickly, but as gently as possible to not let either "Bix" or her boss hear the click, she hangs up the phone. Moments later Don emerges with coat and hat in hand (he was able to get them off the coatrack by himself!) and tells her he'll be back after lunch. She nods, unable to speak, watching him go and knowing exactly where he is going.



While Don is off for some "executive" time, Pete Campbell and Paul Kinsey join Harry Crane in Pete's office to stew in disbelief over Ken Cosgrove's success. It's especially galling for Pete, who clearly looks down on Ken's working class background. Because as Don noted in the previous episode, Sterling Cooper is full of failed intellectuals, and Paul and Pete are both just two of many who have unfinished novels sitting forever unwritten in drawers and desks. Paul's story is, of course, about his own life: he once spent a night in Jersey City with some Negroes and got along with them! Pete though seems more concerned about the prestige than the creative recognition: The Atlantic Monthly isn't just some small-time periodical, it's a national magazine.

The "ravishing" done, Don and Midge lie in bed together in post-coital bliss. Midge is very satisfied, he gave her exactly what she wanted, and she declares that haven't gotten what she wanted he can go now. Don got what he wanted to, of course, but now there is the unpleasantness that must follow. He warns her that she can't ring him at his office, it's a risk he isn't comfortable with taking. At first she tries to play it off as a joke, teasing him that he must have enjoyed the danger a little bit. He agrees that he showed up so he's clearly not mad at her, though she points out he waited till AFTER the sex to bring up his concerns.

More serious now, she notes that his life is in a million pieces and she knows she is one of them, and she imagines life would be easier for him if that one extra piece was gone. He's quick to assure her he is in no hurry to end their relationship and he's sorry to have upset her, but what they have now works and he doesn't want to risk that. Allowing herself to be mollified (as well as perhaps being a little too desperate not to appear too clingy or emotionally attached to him and risk scaring him off), she tells him how much she loves that whenever he comes here he seems to completely change who he is, to drop whatever troubles he has been dealing with and just become her lover and nothing else. He promises her he is making no conscious effort to do this and she agrees, and that's part of why she likes it. She likes being his "medicine". He agrees that this is a good arrangement, and both appear satisfied with how things have worked out. I cannot help but feel, however, that Midge is becoming increasingly unsatisfied with the unchanging status of their affair but knows that pushing too hard will only result in losing him entirely, so forces herself to accept the status quo.

In bed that night, Pete sits in his pajamas waiting intently as Trudy reads through his own short story, completed but sitting un-submitted until Ken Cosgrove unwittingly lit a fire under his rear end. He can tell she hasn't enjoyed the story, but she insists she does, before warming more to the idea of him in the process of creation: sitting in front of a typewriter, drinking scotch, a romantic image of the creative at work. He doesn't care about any of that though, he just wants what creatives crave: recognition of their effort and compliments for their work.

She couches her criticism as lovingly as possible: she's mostly familiar with the classics, his style is very "modern" and she isn't the best person to judge that. Grasping at that, he proclaims this is actually a compliment... but also that he doesn't think she meant it in that way. She admits that what she most struggles with is that there is a talking bear, and with a sigh he explains that the bear doesn't talk, the hunter in the story merely imagines what he thinks the bear he is hunting might be thinking. In any case, she thinks it's been written well regardless of the style, and encourages him to submit it for publication.

Like so many creatives before him, he says that he was fully intending to once he finished dickering with it (aka, never), and then tries to smoothly slip in a rather unwelcome instruction: she can give it to Charlie Fiddich to consider. Who is Charlie Fiddich? Well apparently he's in publishing, but more than that as Trudy finally reluctantly reminds him: he was her "first" and that isn't a rock she wants to be lifting again. Pete knew, of course, though he pretends not to have remembered and forces her to bring it up again. In his desperation he's ignored his probably usual first territorial instinct to instead try to turn this to his advantage: surely Fiddich will have no choice but to publish if Trudy asks him.

Why is he so desperate? Because Ken Cosgrove is a nobody whose name is now out there, who is known by the right people. The Atlantic Monthly is a prestigious magazine, one that his father reads, and the idea of his father seeing that one of Pete's colleagues has a published piece in it fills Pete with dread. Enough to put his loving wife into a horrible position of having to go to a man she once slept with and ask for a favor. All to assuage Pete's ego and his daddy issues.



End of the last episode I pitied Pete. Already I find myself detesting him again.

The next morning a far less disheveled Don Draper arrives to the office and passes his hat and coat to Peggy, a little surprised that he has to prompt her to wish him a good morning. She lets him know that the traffic meeting is starting in the conference room and he turns and heads in that direction, leaving her to hang up his coat and hat (at least he isn't walking directly by it today). Don Draper is a different man to her today, he rejected her clumsy advance in the first episode and has been one of the only men not to openly sexualize her since she started working at Sterling Cooper. The realization that he is actively cheating on his wife came as a shock to her, one she now has to keep entirely to herself.

In the conference room, Roger Sterling is enthusiastically praising Ken Cosgrove's initiative and drive in getting published in The Atlantic Monthly. He freely admits that he didn't like or understand the story itself, but that this is irrelevant. It's a sign of drive, of commitment and dedication, something he would like to see from more of the account executives working for him. Most importantly, he recognizes that even if he doesn't understand or like the story personally, Ken wrote something that DOES appeal to people: as partner of an advertising firm, there is no greater quality that Roger can think of in somebody who works for him.

Don joins them and smoothly throws in self-deprecating jokes and a quip about the low pay Ken got for his successful submission, but it's a happy atmosphere. They move to business, Joan Holloway actually leading the meeting to inquire and push for firmer answers on the executives making deadlines. Nobody begrudges her this, it's entirely in keeping with her role in this setting, she wouldn't be doing her job properly if she didn't. Ken is reminded to follow up with a client on payment; Pete proudly reveals a magazine spread they produced did so well the client wants to follow up with another in Reader's Digest (Salvatore will need to find a way to fit the smaller dimensions of this VERY widely circulated publication); and Don explains that their Lucky Strikes campaign has resulted in great sales but they still need to come up with an advertising plan to counter a pending lawsuit against the tobacco company.

Roger instructs that this is something they will be able to more effectively deal with after the election (especially if they can help Nixon win is left unsaid). Peggy interrupts the meeting, apologizing and passing Don a note from somebody who has arrived insistent on seeing him. As first Don jokes that he's happy for any excuse to get out of the meeting, until Peggy tells him who is waiting to see him: Adam Whitman.

Suddenly the usually calm, cool and collected Don Draper is a stammering mess. He wipes his brow, struggles to articulate his thoughts, and finally declares he has to take care of this. Roger is fine with him going so long as he returns, and he lurches out of the room mumbling to Peggy that she doesn't need to bring Adam to him, he'll go to Adam.

At reception, a tall man in clean if rough clothing is waiting with a newspaper tucked under one arm. Don asks him what he wants, the man simply staring back at him. There is no recognition in Don's eyes, just a confused and polite hostility, but Adam isn't seeing that, he's just seeing what he hoped to see and now believes has come to pass: Dick Whitman. "It's you," he smiles, Don frowning and casting quick eyes towards the front desk when Adam declares himself to be his little brother. Quietly he insists his name is Don, but Adam is already moving forward, showing the paper he held under his arm. It's the Advertising Age, the paper Don thought nobody read, and on it is a picture of him and Roger accepting their NYOC award.

Happily, completely failing to read Don's mood, Adam - a janitor for the American Calculator company at the Empire State Building - explains how excited he was to spot the picture when he was emptying a trashcan in an office. Right there on the page was his older brother staring back at him, just with the wrong name attached to it.

Hastily, Don leads him out of reception and into the corridor, insisting this is all a mistake, he's not whoever Adam thinks he is. Adam isn't to be denied though. He's not angry, not demanding, just filled with wonder and happiness at finding his brother, and maybe slightly confused as to why his brother is denying this and pretending not to recognize him. Don, unable to even look him in the eye, tries again to insist he isn't this Dick Whitman, but it's the worse sell-job he's ever done and Adam isn't buying. When Adam notes he can come back later to talk more on this, Don jumps into action, leading him away down the corridor again while promising him he will meet him at the Deelite diner 3 blocks west of the building at noon. Adam is excited by this and doesn't even notice that Don has hit the elevator button to hasten Adam's departure.



Returning to reception, Don walks in a daze through the office and back into the conference room. He rejoins the others at the desk and sits uncomprehending through the rest of the meeting, eyes on his watch as it grows closer and closer to 12pm. Finally he snaps back to attention when the final matter of the day is reached: the upcoming Liberty Capital meeting. He manages to keep his voice calm as he acknowledges the meeting is set, and with that finally the endless meeting ends. He's quickly out of the room and straight out of the building itself, so fast that Peggy doesn't have a chance to ask him where he is going, though based on yesterday she has her own suspicions.

At Deelite's, Don joins an excited Adam at a center booth, shaking his offered hand but also staring around in fear of being seen by somebody he knows. Taking a seat, he gets right to the point: What does Adam want from him? Adam again can't understand this, why his brother is acting this way. Doesn't he want to say something? To ask about him and how he has been? This should be a joyous reunion, he thought his brother was dead(!) and it turns out he's alive and now sitting directly across a diner booth from him, a beautiful dream come true.

Don again insists he isn't Dick Whitman, but this rings even more hollow than before now that he's come all this way out to a diner to see Adam. Adam just stares him right in the face and asks him to say his name, and when Don does he ignores the follow up that he's not Dick to flood him with questions that I'm asking myself: what happened? Did he fake his death? Why didn't he come back? Don absorbs all of these and then answers, and it's the first truthful thing he's said and a final, tacit admission that Adam was right all along: he couldn't go back there. He IS Dick Whitman, or at least he was, and he's not talking to a complete stranger but his own younger brother.

Adam's responses simply raise further questions as to what exactly has happened in Don's past, as Adam claims that he was positive he saw Dick hiding in the window in his uniform "that day". Adam was 8 but he never stopped believing in what he saw that day, and when he saw the picture in the paper he immediately knew it was his brother, the only thing that had changed was the skin around his eyes. Excited, a little too loud for Don's taste, he asks what kind of name Donald Draper is, finding this whole thing perplexing but amusing while Don is in hell, his past a giant part of those million pieces Midge was talking about earlier.

Don shrugs, the name makes no difference, people change their names all the time. Adam accepts that (but then what's the deal with the purple heart in Don Draper's name? That was BEFORE he abandoned the Dick Whitman name, surely?) and in spite of himself Don finds himself asking questions about his own past, ones that give fleeting and tantalizing glimpses of his mysterious past. What happened to "her"? She was Adam's mother but not his, a fact she apparently never let Don forget, and he's pleased to learn she died painfully of stomach cancer. They have (or Adam does at least) an Uncle Mack who was apparently close to "her" and he died too.

But the questions aren't leading to the reconciliation that Adam was clearly hoping for. The longer and longer their awkward meeting continues, the more it becomes impossible to shake the fact that Don isn't happy to see him and isn't happy to be there. He tries to make light of it, to eat his meal, to get Don to join him, but finally he asks the question that is really weighing on him: did Don miss him at all? Don stares back with a mixture of longing and self-loathing, and finally manages to get out that of course he did. The sad thing is, it's hard to tell if he's speaking genuinely or just forced himself to say the "right" thing in this moment.



Trudy meets with Charlie Fidditch, doing her duty for her husband in much the same way she expected him to do for her when she wanted the apartment. She's arranged to meet him in his office, having been careful to reject an offer of a lunch date and at pains to "casually" drop in that she has an appointment to meet the decorator for the new apartment she and her husband own together, a reminder of her married status. Charlie doesn't need that reminder, he's painfully aware that she is no longer "on the market", and he's also fully aware of the point of this meeting. The small talk on whether he enjoyed Pete's story is irrelevant, and they both admit it: the point of this meeting is that she wants him to publish the story and knows it.

With that out of the way, Trudy feels more comfortable with just speaking as friends, and asks after her friend Laura who he has been seeing. He admits that she is "fun" and then takes the meeting into an incredibly uncomfortable direction. He misses her, he misses being with her, and he wants that again. Not love, not a break-up with Pete and reunion with him. He will force himself to be satisfied with simply being with her, an affair he will keep secret if only so that he can have her in the way he once did even for a little bit. She's horrified of course, the part of her life where she had to fend off men's advances was supposed to end with her marriage, and his offer is massively inappropriate.

In an attempt to let him salvage some small part of his dignity, she suggests that maybe many decades from now when they're both old (and Pete is dead) they might end up together again. He's not interested in romantic notions of two souls coming together in old age though, to put it frankly he wants to have sex with her and is willing to do anything to get that opportunity. All she can do is repeat herself and make it as cut and dried as possible: the answer is no. No. No.

Peggy is working away at her desk when her worst fear comes true. Two children come bounding up to her desk and a familiar voice calls out to them not to run. It's a voice she's heard countless times on the phone: Betty Draper. She has come in with the children to meet Don so they can go and get a family portrait taken, something that has completely slipped Peggy's mind until now. She has no idea where Don is (though she suspects) or when he'll be back, so what the hell does she tell his wife?

She stalls her way through a greeting as long as she can until an uncomfortable Betty asks if Don is in his office. Peggy leaves it at him not being there right now but offers them to wait inside, then rushes around the office looking frantically for Joan. She finds her in the break-room chatting with other secretaries, and pulls her into the corridor. Joan is surprised and a little irritated at this treatment, but amused when Peggy babbles out a jumbled explanation of what is going on. Calming her, she makes her repeat it all more clearly, and Peggy inadvertently lets slip that she thinks she knows where Don is but can't let him know that she knows.

Now Joan IS intrigued, and enjoying having Peggy where she wants her insists she tell her the secret too or she won't tell her how to get out of this situation. Miserable but caught, Peggy admits that she overheard Don talking on the phone to a woman before going out to see her and coming back "all greasy and calm". Joan thinks this is hilarious, but what is even funnier is that Peggy is completely over-complicating things. All she needs to do is entertain Betty and "her brats", say that she forgot to remind Don about the portrait and she doesn't know where he currently is, and when Don comes back he'll have an excuse himself and she won't have to worry about it not matching any she made up.

Peggy, who is grumpy at Don for having sneaked out before she had a chance to remind him ahead of lunch, is now mad at herself. Because this is what she probably would have done anyway if she'd taken a second to think, and now she's let Joan know one of her boss' secrets unnecessarily. Joan agrees that this was a mistake, and though she won't be telling anybody Don's secret either, it was something she should have never told Joan in the first place. Peggy leaves in a huff, leaving behind a delighted Joan, who is greatly enjoying watching this drama unfold from a safe distance.



Don isn't with Midge, of course, he's suffering through a miserable reunion with his confused little brother. He's been willing to finally admit that he is(was) Dick Whitman, but he's clamming up as Adam understandably asks questions about his current life: Who IS Donald Draper? Where has he been? What has he been doing? Is he married? Does he have a family?

Is Don suspicious of his motives? Suspect blackmail? I don't think so, I think he's just desperate to keep his old life and his new life entirely separate. Whatever caused him to run, to change his name, to become an entirely new person and refuse to acknowledge his past, he does NOT want the two to come together. If it was simply a matter, as he said, of changing his name like many people do, why would he care if his younger brother knew about his current life? Especially if he missed him like he said. There is much more going on here, and in spite of all the revelations in this episode I feel like it is the barest tip of the iceberg.

So Don stubs out his cigarette and declares he is going. He initially offers to pay for the lunch, but when Adam despairs that he just wants to be part of his life, the hardened Don Draper comes to the fore. With finality he declares that this isn't going to happen, that whatever fantasy Adam imagined from the time he was 8 will remain just that. He isn't even going to pay for the lunch, because as far as he is concerned none of this - the lunch, their meeting, Adam's sudden arrival in reception etc - none of it happened. He walks out the door without a backwards look, and leaves a stunned Adam behind.

Peggy's idea of entertaining is standing awkwardly in the middle of Don's office while the kids are bored and Betty is trying to maintain an awkward conversation. Following Joan's advice, Peggy has apologized profusely for forgetting to remind Don of the portraits. They talk briefly about Peggy's dating life, commiserating over the disappointment of blind dates. A brief distraction of the phone ringing is greeted by Peggy until she answers and finds Joan on the end gleefully asking how things are going. She politely declines as if she was offered lunch and hangs up, in no mood to play.

She might be regretting that though when Betty tries to joke about how sometimes Don can talk too much, since the last thing she wants to do is agree to a criticism of Betty's husband. Worse is when Betty only half-jokes that Peggy probably knows him better than Betty herself, an unpleasant reminder that she certainly knows at least one thing that Betty doesn't. So she jumps to the old tried and true, telling Betty she looks beautiful and complimenting the way the light plays on her features. Betty is flattered, and just then Don returns which relieves them both.

Don takes a moment to take in the sight, and winces as he remembers the portraits. Peggy is immediately to his rescue, apologizing for not reminding him, and he's quick to use this as a way to casually slip in his excuse without directly answering Betty's question of where he was. He simply states that it is his fault for going directly to the printer's from the meeting and not giving Peggy a chance to remind him. Peggy offers apologies again anyway to both Don and Betty, who says a pleasant goodbye to Peggy before casting a grumpy look Don's way. They all head out the door, and Don has the presence of mind to stop before he leaves to tell Peggy that she doesn't need to worry about this. She will, of course, but in this case Don isn't going to blame her for a problem entirely of his own making. He's got bigger fish to fry at the moment.



When Betty gets the results of the portraits back though she isn't happy, looking through them with Francine in the kitchen while the kids play elsewhere in the house. Don being late ruined the whole thing, and that is evident in the photos where the usually dapper and handsome Don looks like he's been spooked by a sudden noise or is intimidated by this strange invention called a camera. She also complains that Sally looks fat (Francine is quick to disagree), and she thinks the color is off, she's gonna need to get the photos done all over again and she knows that Don won't understand and will claim this first batch are fine.

What she's really upset about is that Don didn't seem to put the same level of importance on this family portrait as she did. That itself is symptomatic of a wider issue, one that Francine can commiserate with: they feel like outsiders at their husband's workplaces. Betty expects the royal treatment but rarely gets it, and Francine admits going to Carlton's office makes her feel stupid. It's a world neither of them know or feel part of, and it intimidates Betty at least that her husband fit in so well in a part of their life that does NOT include her. She has no idea how true that is, and how much it relates to other parts of his life as well. All she knows is that she prefers the Donald Draper she gets at home or out at dinner, and not the one who works in that office with strangers doing things she doesn't understand.

Jack Konig from Liberty Capital has come to Sterling Cooper for the pitch, where Pete is using those people skills he keeps being told he has to charm him. He greases Jack up by saying their concept was born from the basic principles Jack initially pushed: the use of products to appeal to the consumer. Except they went with banking products and not household products. He's sure to denigrate he and the others so as not to look arrogant, making up dumb ideas like bank accounts for children that they initially considered, before using "roman candle" in a nod to Konig's desire for "fireworks" to talk up the amazing quality of Creative Director Don Draper's genius idea.

Don, still not at 100%, lets the compliment sit for a second then calmly declares that Paul Kinsey has a good handle on this. It both removes his need to pitch as well as making Paul feel valued and grateful towards Don. He certainly looks grateful as he happily finds himself the center of attention, including from a slightly alarmed Pete who already has Ken Cosgrove's success to worry about.

Adoring the attention, Paul reveals the artwork Salvatore has mocked up and pitches the idea of a businessman with so many different aspects of his life he has to keep straight... and how Liberty Capital can help that with a private business account with statements that come directly to the office. Konig is no fool and immediately grasps exactly what they're pushing here, and with great pleasure declares,"Liberty for the libertine."

Pete laughs dutifully and follows suit by joking that the Statue of Liberty's torch which features in the mock-up reads,"Don't get burned!" to him. Konig chuckles happily, declaring that they can drop "Liberty" from the name and run with Executive Private Account. Don, his own life a mess of different aspects in danger of crashing together, asks Konig what he finds so funny. Konig, a banker through and through, admits that some of their customers are already doing something similar to this by themselves just without a name, but now the bank can charge them for it, and that delights him. He certainly has no moral objections to the idea that their bank is effectively advertising,"Hide your extra marital affairs by banking with us".

The meeting over, Don returns to his office, handed his mail by Peggy as he arrives. She's opened and checked through each of them except for one, which was marked private. Don heads inside and looks at the envelope, it is unstamped, Donald mispelled and no address beyond "Sterling Cooper Advertising" given. It was clearly dropped off directly to the building, the envelope taken from American Calculator's in-house envelopes, the address crossed out in pencil. Inside is a piece of paper from the Hotel Brighton in Times Square, with the message "If you change your mind. #5G." Also in the envelope is an old, often-folded photograph. A young Adam Whitman stands next to his tall, handsome older brother in his army uniform. It's Dick Whitman, undeniably the man who is today known as Donald Draper. One last reminder from Adam of a bond Don is trying so hard to forget/deny.



Paul enters the lunch room where he discovers Ken Cosgrove giving the summary of his novels to impressed secretaries. The Atlantic Monthly is tucked into his pocket, and by this point it's become almost parody that he's still carrying a copy around with him. Paul calls out to declare he's just finished reading it and was very impressed. Ken is delighted, thanking him for that... until Paul pulls the magazine from his pocket, claims he wants a copy for his girlfriend and tears the pages with the story in it out. The secretaries giggle while Ken is aghast, what the hell is he doing? Paul reminds him he told them he plenty of extra copies, and Ken snaps back that whether he does or doesn't, there are plenty of copies in newsstands all over town if he wanted one. Paul simply stuffs the remains of the magazine back into Ken's pocket, waves to the secretaries and saunters out, feeling like he has put Ken in his place... or at least knocked him down a peg or two.

Don leaves his office, telling Peggy he's done for the day. Peggy nods and Don hesitates, then clarifies that he's going home and she can reach him there if need be. She's thinking about Midge, he's thinking about Adam, and once he's gone Joan is just thinking about gossip. She sweeps over to Peggy and grins that she's always wondered why Don never made a pass at her, but given he's so handsome she figures he is able to go out to find women unlike many of the men working here. She seems surprised at Peggy not rising to the bait, and explains that whatever Don is doing in his private life is exactly that: private. It's why they love these men, after all, though Peggy is very quick to complain that she absolutely doesn't love Don Draper.

Joan doesn't care if she doesn't, but it's not on them to judge, and if Peggy wants to do that she's in the wrong business. She just has to make sure Don's home, work and private lives don't clash and make a mess for him, and if she can do that then she'll be set for a career with him. Peggy is a little disillusioned at the thought that THIS is what her job is, and an exasperated Joan tells her to lighten up. Whenever she comes over, Peggy looks like she needs a drink, she needs to relax. Forcing herself to do just that, Peggy puts on a smile and tells Joan what she wants to hear. She's getting good at that, it is ALSO part of her job, it seems.

Ken is leaving for the day too, but Paul stops him to apologize. Once the heat of the moment was over he realized he really went too far. Sheepishly he admits that he's been competing neck-and-neck with so many other people at Sterling-Cooper, but Ken's story being published made him realize he has been competing with Ken too. Ken considers that, considers the insult from earlier in the day, and with great pleasure informs Paul.... that he has already lost. He walks out triumphant, Paul watching him go in surprise, a tiny bit of anger and... at least a smidgen of admiration?



Pete comes home to dinner on the table, which directly after he was first married was a thing of wonder to behold and appreciate. He's still pleased to see it, and to be handed a drink and given a loving kiss on the cheek. But it's already becoming something that he's grown used to, and he always wants more. This is made evident when Trudy informs him that Charlie came to the house today with good news: he is going to publish Pete's story. Pete is over the moon, forgetting his initial poor reaction to learning Charlie was in the apartment. All until Trudy tells him that he'll be published in Boy's Life magazine. Not The Atlantic, now The New Yorker. Boy's Life. And he'll have to pay a $40 fee for the privilege to boot.

He's revolted, he put in a year's work and his story is going to be in Boy's Life? Glaring at his beautiful wife who he forced to have a meeting with an old boyfriend, who - unknown to him - had to face an unentirely unwelcome and indecent proposal, all to try and make HIM happy... he sneers,"You don't want me to have what I want."

She's furious, and rightly so. Just like he was angry when she essentially forced his hand into buying the apartment, except her anger is far more justified. He wanted to be published and she arranged that for him, and yes she could have gotten him into the New Yorker. She leaves HOW she would have accomplished this unsaid, but the meaning is clear, which makes Pete's response all the worse. Because he glares at her and demands why she DIDN'T get him published in The New Yorker, essentially telling her she should have whored herself out for his vanity publishing dreams. She can't believe him, and asks why he would put her into this position knowing that she didn't want to have to see Charlie. The two are left in uncomfortable silence at the table, the first active and serious fight of their still brand-new marriage.

No longer newly-weds, Betty and Don eat dinner together and discuss holiday plans. She's spoken to her father about them using the summer home at Cape May in August. Don is pleased, though Betty notes she wishes it wasn't quite so far from the city. Don continues to work through August, and only gets out to Cape May when he can to join them, which means they don't see him for a significant amount of that time.

She brings up Peggy, saying she liked her. Don, distracted, agrees she's as fresh as driven snow, and when Betty comments on that he actually smiles and jokingly asks if she read some terrible article in Look Magazine, implying that she might think he and Peggy are having an affair. Betty laughs too, it doesn't seem like she had any such suspicions, though she notes a wife can't be expected NOT to comment on her husband's secretary. Don's brief burst of humor is gone though, he's back to staring at nothing, fingers idly circling his scotch. So she outright asks him if something is wrong, and coming back to himself he assures her everything is fine, he's just trying to figure out if he actually needs to go back to the office tonight to take care of something. "I haven't decided yet."



In his study, he stares at the photo, a memento of a past he wants gone. He takes this literally, setting fire to perhaps the last image of himself from his time as Dick Whitman. He considers his options, the note from Adam, and comes to a decision.

At the Hotel Brighton, the manager knocks on Adam's door and tells him there is a phone-call. He walks into the hall and picks up the receiver, and is thrilled to hear his brother Dick telling him he'll be coming to see him soon. "From where?" he asks, excited, and Don simply replies he'll be there in 25 minutes. Hanging up, Don unlocks his desk drawer and considers what is inside very, very carefully.

Don arrives at the Hotel Brighton with attache case in hand. Adam lets him into 5G and apologizes for how terrible the room is, promising it is only temporary. He's so pleased to see Don, saying he looks more like himself now. But this still isn't the fairy-tale reunion he was hoping for, as Don settles down on a chair and explains to him that he isn't going to get what he wants from him. He has a new life now, and it is only moving in one direction: forward.

Adam considers for a moment, then refuses to acknowledge this and simply asks him what he wants to drink, showing off a bottle of gin he stole from an office at American Calculator. Don just wants coffee though, and as Adam prepares some, it is Don who asks questions: Abigail ("her" presumable) and Uncle Mack are gone? There's really nobody else left other than Adam? Adam agrees this is the case, and how strange it is, and Don casts a look at this attache case, which holds what he took out of the desk drawer in his house.

Everything seems pregnant with double-meaning, most of which is filtered through Don's paranoia. All these questions Adam keeps asking are about Don's private life: is he married, does he have kids, where does he live. He comments on how big Don's office must be, how the award indicates he is a man of some importance etc. All the while Don is glancing looks at the attache case, and the shorthand seems to be a fear that Adam is looking for blackmail material. What's in the case? The obvious answer is a gun, that Don has come and asked his own questions to confirm that Adam has nobody else, and that if he does away with him nobody else will come asking awkward questions about his past.

But this isn't The Sopranos, and Don Draper is an advertising executive. He hasn't come to kill Adam, and Adam appears to be for all intents and purposes exactly what he claims: a little brother desperately trying to reconnect with a beloved older brother he thought was gone forever. Inside the case is money, stacks of it that Don has been keeping in his drawer. He places it on the table and informs Adam that it is $5000 dollars, and it is the ONLY thing he will ever give him.



Adam is shocked, but also offended. He didn't come for money and he doesn't want it. Don knows this, too, for all that he kept demanding to know what Adam wanted and for all he hid as much of himself as he could, I don't think he ever considered Adam was being anything but sincere. It's just that it was a sincere desire that for whatever reason Don believes puts his entire life at risk.

Again, he tells Adam that he cannot give him what he wants. What he can do is give him $5000 to make his own life. Since he was 8 he's believed that Dick Whitman was dead, he just needs to go back to believing that, because it's true. Dick Whitman IS dead, Don Draper is all that's left, and he is not Adam Whitman's brother. He doesn't say this cruelly, though it is cruel. For the first time he actually speaks to Adam like a brother, with real and obvious love. He speaks openly and honestly, or at least as much as he can, and when his weeping little brother hugs him Don hugs him back, and even allows himself a moment to feel the agony of this parting.

But then it's over, he steps back, tells Adam it will be okay, and walks away. Once again it is without a backwards glance, and he strides down the hall without hesitation. His choice has been made, and it is final.

He returns home where Betty is still awake in bed. She asks if the crisis at work was averted and he tells her yes, he found the papers he needed on his desk. He gets changed into his pajamas, turning down looking in on the kids because he just wants to sleep. But his emotionally exhausting day isn't quite over, as Betty tells him she wants to talk to him about something and doesn't want him getting upset.

Tired, split into a million pieces, feeling hollowed out even after removing one of those million pieces (Adam, not Midge), Don also knows he can't just shut this down or it will cause more problems. So he braces himself and tells her to go ahead, and actually seems relieved when this is just about her being worried he is avoiding Cape May because he doesn't like being there or around her father. He hops into the bed and promises her that Cape May is great and he is looking forward to it, though he admits that he is unsettled by the way her father looks at him.

This actually pleases Betty, who smiles and reminds him that he took away his little girl. But she gets serious, she thinks they should buy their own summer house rather than using her father's, one closer to the city so he can be more present during the holidays. After all, from what he's told her (she doesn't get to do the banking, remember) they'd had a good year.

The horror for Don, of course, is that their own summer house WOULD be good, but he just gave away 5k to his younger brother she doesn't know exists to continue to protect the mystery of his own past/other identity from her and everybody else. So he has to lie, to say that actually they're not all that flush at the moment... nothing to worry about, just they can't afford to splash out like that right now, maybe next year, until then Cape May will be fine.

She accepts this, she has no reason not to believe her husband when he tells her things. She turns off the lights, snuggles up close to him, and says she's glad, because she likes seeing her dad. Did Dick Whitman? What happened to his father? Who was Abigail? Uncle Mack? Why did he fake his death? How did he become Don Draper? Why is he so desperate to prevent anybody from knowing his past to the point he paid off his brother to disappear forever?

These questions go unanswered, hidden away only in Don Draper's head. His wife sleeps happy and contented in his arms, but there is no sleep for him. Removing Adam hasn't removed his fears, and his life remains in turmoil. A million little pieces, so many different aspects, and it doesn't matter how many you hide away or pay off or segregate into a different bank account... eventually a man whose entire life is built on lies upon lies will discover that the center cannot hold.



Episode Index

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


The guy from the bank adding "Private" back into the Executive Account branding is such a nice touch. The SC creatives are committed to making all of this very discreet, yet the client insists on making the subtext text.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


I love that they all make fun of Konig for his clumsy advertising efforts like toaster wars and "fireworks", but then Pete is freaking out trying to get himself published while Paul is moaning about how his novel would be so good if he just wrote it, all because Ken happened to do it first.

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

When I was younger Don in 5G was like "wow what a jerk"

Now I understand it entirely. Although agree with it maybe not.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012


He really could've stood to be a bit more delicate with the delivery, I guess that's why he's creative and not accounts though.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013


algebra testes posted:

When I was younger Don in 5G was like "wow what a jerk"

Now I understand it entirely. Although agree with it maybe not.

Don seems like a sociopath viewing season 1 without more knowledge about his backstory and motivations. He's not. He's a badly traumatized person who uses coping strategies that hurt himself and other people, and he is cowardly in situations that require him to confront emotionally challenging situations. At this point in the series, he LOOKS perfect to everyone else and is on the verge of making partner at his agency, and he is suffering from a delusion that he can fake it until he makes it. And he is so close to "making it" that there is no way he is capable of facing the possible consequences of reuniting with his brother.

What really makes it tragic is that until Adam came along Don never experienced love from anyone. He turns his back on the first person who really loved him, when he was a pitiable whorehouse orphan, because he is scared. It never could have been worth it.

PriorMarcus
Oct 16, 2008

ASK ME ABOUT BEING ALLERGIC TO POSITIVITY


General Adam discussion.

Whilst Adam's fate and his presence loom large in the show after this I was always surprised they didn't do more with him and Don's relationship in flashback or ever confront it more directly. In the moment it always felt like a missed opportunity with Adam's character. But in retrospect I feel like it was probably the right choice.

lurker2006
Jul 30, 2019


algebra testes posted:

When I was younger Don in 5G was like "wow what a jerk"

Now I understand it entirely. Although agree with it maybe not.
I wonder how he might have reacted differently if Adam had ended up a little sharper, more worldly. There was such a gulf between them that Don probably would have seen their correspondence as being nauseatingly patronizing in addition to the other problems.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly



Xealot posted:

Yeah, you feel bad for him in the moment, but then he continues choosing to be terrible and selfish. It makes sense that Don would have such an instant dislike of him, because he's the antithesis of Don: a talentless social climber who leans on his name to achieve everything. For better or worse, Don is the epitome of a "bootstraps" success story. Meanwhile, Pete was born into everything and does nothing but complain about how he deserves more. That must be so repellant to someone like Don.

Pete's extreme fragility makes his relationship with Peggy make so much sense, though. Because she's the only person naive enough to actually be impressed by him. I think it's true that everyone who matters at Sterling-Cooper sees right through Pete...they tolerate him at best but nobody particularly likes him. But then there's Peggy, this rube from Brooklyn who's actually taken-in by his pretensions of status or importance. The scene where he waxes poetic about his romantic fantasy of killing a deer for his frontier wife is so cringy, and the fact it turns Peggy on is ludicrous. But it also makes the later scene - where Peggy tells him, "I had your baby, and I gave it away" - so effective. Eventually, even she comes to see him for what he actually is, which is equal parts devastating for Pete and intensely cathartic for Peggy.

I guess I'm kind of a sadist when it comes to Pete Campbell, though. A lot of my favorite moments involve him having a bad time. Perhaps my favorite episode of the show in general is S5E05 "Signal 30," a flawless takedown of the paper-thin masculine insecurity that defines every single problem Pete Campbell has. It's just a rock-solid episode.

I love that Pete is so much the anthesis to Don that the first time he keeps a mistress, he doesn't linger on her mind like Don does with all his women, but rather she has a mind completely wiped and doesn't even recognize him. I love how it's a warning that if he continues to try and emulate Don he will only end up lonely, broken, and forgotten.

The fact that he is antithetical to Don is the reason why he is ultimately a redeemable character.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



a new study bible! posted:

PETE CAMPBELL TALK

The fact that he is antithetical to Don is the reason why he is ultimately a redeemable character.

PETE CAMPBELL TALK

Maybe in the end, but it's not for a lack of trying that Pete is no Don Draper...he certainly WANTS to be for most of the show. At least, he aspires to the effortless competence and alpha posturing that people associate with Don. Pete's failure to be that fuels a lot of his most reprehensible moments: when he suggests Trudy should bang her male friend to get his awful story published, when he spinelessly pressures Joan into sleeping with Herb, when he fails to charm the German au pair into bed and instead rapes her, etc. etc. When he doesn't get the things he wants through competence or charm, he turns to far uglier and more sadistic methods, which in my mind makes him FAR worse than Don.

Of course, he DOES become Don in a wonderful monkey's paw sense: there's that shot late in the show where he tucks Tammy into bed with Trudy in the doorframe, a direct reference to the shot of Don from the pilot. He finally got his wish: his big boy alpha male roleplay in the city has alienated him from his wife and daughter, just like his hero Don Draper.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013


I don’t think either character is irredeemable. Both of them do a lot of terrible things, but they both finally appear to be making great strides in season 7 in understanding how much they’ve been the cause of their own problems because of how they’ve mistreated the people closest to them. Can they fully atone for their crimes? Perhaps that’s for the people they’ve hurt to decide. But both Don and Pete are a lot more compassionate and respectful at the end of the show than they are at the beginning.

I think Mad Men takes the perspective that we’re all flawed, many of us deeply so, and we do tend to repeat our mistakes a lot, but we do continue to grow and change throughout our lives-sometimes for the worse (Harry Crane is at his worst in season 7), but sometimes for better.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God


Yoshi Wins posted:

I don’t think either character is irredeemable. Both of them do a lot of terrible things, but they both finally appear to be making great strides in season 7 in understanding how much they’ve been the cause of their own problems because of how they’ve mistreated the people closest to them. Can they fully atone for their crimes? Perhaps that’s for the people they’ve hurt to decide. But both Don and Pete are a lot more compassionate and respectful at the end of the show than they are at the beginning.

I think Mad Men takes the perspective that we’re all flawed, many of us deeply so, and we do tend to repeat our mistakes a lot, but we do continue to grow and change throughout our lives-sometimes for the worse (Harry Crane is at his worst in season 7), but sometimes for better.


I thought the entire point of these was that nobody changes. pete may be moving to the middle of the country at the end but I don't think he will change his philandering ways. Don's weird sabbaticals just become what he does, he always comes back.

Gaius Marius
Oct 9, 2012


GoutPatrol posted:

I thought the entire point of these was that nobody changes. pete may be moving to the middle of the country at the end but I don't think he will change his philandering ways. Don's weird sabbaticals just become what he does, he always comes back.

I've seen that take before and it's absolutely insane. look at where don, Peggy, or even harry's at. it's been slow and they've relapsed into prior behavior but every one of them ends up in a totally different place then the first episode

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Gaius Marius posted:

I've seen that take before and it's absolutely insane. look at where don, Peggy, or even harry's at. it's been slow and they've relapsed into prior behavior but every one of them ends up in a totally different place then the first episode

I agree more with you. I absolutely think the characters change, in incremental ways that are slow day-to-day but striking if taken as a whole. I likewise think that's true of the setting: as you watch season-by-season, the changes to the broader culture accumulate fairly gradually, but comparing 1960 to the early 1970's is mind-blowing. To me, anyway.

MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending: But I also think the cynicism GoutPatrol brings to it is justified. Like, is Pete actually going to value his family this time or not? Did joyless workaholic Peggy actually fill the romantic void in her life, or is this a temporary distraction? Is Roger in an honest relationship between equals, or is he going to sabotage it with another 20-year-old next month? It's purposefully open-ended in a sense, Don's ending most of all. Is that smile at the end a moment of genuine catharsis or clarity for him? Or did he literally learn nothing, leaving there with a killer Coke ad and nothing more.

lurker2006
Jul 30, 2019


Xealot posted:

I agree more with you. I absolutely think the characters change, in incremental ways that are slow day-to-day but striking if taken as a whole. I likewise think that's true of the setting: as you watch season-by-season, the changes to the broader culture accumulate fairly gradually, but comparing 1960 to the early 1970's is mind-blowing. To me, anyway.

MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending: But I also think the cynicism GoutPatrol brings to it is justified. Like, is Pete actually going to value his family this time or not? Did joyless workaholic Peggy actually fill the romantic void in her life, or is this a temporary distraction? Is Roger in an honest relationship between equals, or is he going to sabotage it with another 20-year-old next month? It's purposefully open-ended in a sense, Don's ending most of all. Is that smile at the end a moment of genuine catharsis or clarity for him? Or did he literally learn nothing, leaving there with a killer Coke ad and nothing more.
Is he in a meaningfully different place when he gets the idea for the coke pitch compared to when he delivered the Carousel pitch? Could the latter have not implied the same character breakthrough? We know he regressed from that one.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013


People both change and stay the same. Both are true. Don (along Peggy and the other principal characters) is clearly different in substantive ways by the end of the show, so the message of the show can't be "people don't change." But we see several examples of people making mistakes that are similar to ones they made in the past, even in season 7. So the message also can't be "people always grow and change and move beyond their problems." I honestly think the thesis is: "Do people change? Well... sometimes! In some ways! Uh, it's complicated! Case-by-case basis, man!" Which I really appreciate, because that's REAL! I think the writers cared about emotional authenticity, and that made the show better and more impactful.

Poor Jerusalem. You're gonna be scrolling past black blocks of text for MONTHS.

I look forward to posting unspoilered takes in the future, but season 1 is so opaque and mysterious that it's just not gonna happen often for this season.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Got sidetracked by some real life stuff and haven't had a chance to do the next write-up, I'll try to have it done by tomorrow sorry.

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Yoshi Wins posted:

I look forward to posting unspoilered takes in the future, but season 1 is so opaque and mysterious that it's just not gonna happen often for this season.

Yeah, it's true. Don in particular is such a cipher early on. There are so many shots of him staring meaningfully at things in total silence. I mean, there are those shots the entire show, but at least later on you have some context to intuit what the hell he's thinking about. It's a real obtuse watch at the beginning.

I do think Don is in a meaningfully different place by the end, though. Those bouts of silent introspection happen because Don feels his internal struggles are his alone, that nobody could love him if they knew who he *really* was. At the start of the show, he won't share anything with anyone, refuses to show any vulnerability even to his wife or children, sends his only family away because of how scared and ashamed he is of his past. As Harry says, "nobody's overturned that rock. He could be Batman for all we know."

By the end of the show, he does so much to treat that wound. Betty literally didn't know his real name, but Megan knows all about him. Sally and Bobby go to Anna's house, see the whorehouse he grew up in. He cries in front of Peggy and accepts that she still loves and respects him. Especially in the last season, there are so many big deal things that happen: he swallows his ego to help Peggy with her career. He confesses to a roomful of vets that he killed his CO, and they don't judge him for it. The scene at Esalen where that random other guy describes his refrigerator dream, and Don breaks down with empathy, is monumental: the man's point is that no matter how his life looks, he feels unloved and incapable of love. And that's a feeling Don has felt alone in having his whole life. And he didn't need to.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 1, Episode 6 - Babylon
Written by Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Directed by Andrew Bernstein

Peggy Olson posted:

I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box.

It's a very special day, and Don Draper is doing a very special thing: he's making his wife breakfast in bed. It's Mother's Day, the one day a year a housewife might be able to expect being waited on by her husband and children. Though Don probably thinks this is simply yet another "invention" like love to keep people content or buying things, he also knows the value of a gesture. So he makes toast, orange juice and coffee and puts it all on a tray with a single flower in a vase. Still in pajamas himself, he quietly moves it to the stairwell to sneak up and surprise Betty... and disaster strikes.

Sally or Bobby have left a toy on the stairs, and Don - distracted by reading the paper in one hand and carrying the breakfast tray in the other - treads on it, slips, loses his balance and stumbles backwards, crashing to the floor and whacking the back of his head. He lies dazed for a moment, and then a voice calls out to him, warning him to watch where he's going or he'll break his neck. It's not a pleasant or comforting voice, and it belongs to nobody living.

It's Uncle Mack.

Where an adult Don Draper hit the ground, a child Dick Whitman gets back to his feet, holding back tears for fear of inviting Uncle Mack's further contempt. He passes a midwife with a bowl of bloody water and moves through the assembled members of his family. Seated in the bed is "her", his father's second wife and the mother of the newest addition to the family: Adam Whitman.

For the first but not the last time in his life, Dick rejects his brother. Uncle Mack is having none of that though - they have the same daddy, that makes them brothers. Dick turns and looks back to the floor, where his adult self lays staring at this unwelcome memory. The spell is broken by Sally's shout of alarm, and he's drawn back to the present where he sees Betty, Sally and Bobby staring in concern from the top of the stairs. Betty races down to check on him, and with signature smoothness he conceals both his pain and the fright of his unbidden memory and offers a somewhat sardonic,"Happy Mother's Day."



Last episode's encounter with Adam offered us a few hints about Don's past, but this episode brings us visuals to go with them. The family look, for want of a better word, "rural". Uncle Mack was short and not powerfully built at all, but looked the type who could put the fear of God into a small boy. "Her" (Abigail?) didn't appear as hateful or resentful of Dick as he made her sound, if anything this brief peek makes it seem that it was Dick himself who generated the resentment between them. But she does appear to have been strongly religious - noting God's blessing, naming Adam after "the first man" etc.

A picture is painted in this brief scene: a religious family, not particularly well-educated, proud but poor, riddled with early deaths and tragedies that strained familial ties none of them thought it was possible to sever. Until Dick Whitman faked his death and became Don Draper, at least, and Adam Whitman was left alone in the world and ended up working as a janitor for American Calculator. At least, this is the impression I'm given in this single scene: a stifling environment for young Dick Whitman, a miserable existence he was only too eager to leave behind forever, and terrified of ever returning to.

That's the past though and this is the present (of 1960). That evening they return from a long, exhausting but happy day celebrating Mother's Day. Betty carries Bobby and Don carries Sally, both already fast asleep, taking them to their beds before retiring to their own. In bed, Don reads The Best of Everything, enjoying the story of young women working in Publishing in New York City a great deal... particularly the "dirty bits" as he jokes to Betty.

She just hopes it was better than the film version, noting that Joan Crawford's attempts to fight aging had turned a once giant star into a pitiable figure. Snuggling up in the bed with him, at first Don thinks they're just having some fun joking as she talks about her own fears of growing old, of wanting to hide away if she lost her looks. He even defends Joan Crawford, who would have been a sex symbol of his childhood/puberty, mentioning that Salvatore in particular is enamored of her (another less than subtle reference to his apparenthomosexuality).

But she becomes more maudlin as she talks about her own mother, who was two years older than Joan Crawford (claims) but held herself together far more impressively. Don tells her not to be melancholy but she insists it is okay to be sentimental about her mother on Mother's Day, and notes that Dr. Wayne has told her this type of "mourning" can be helpful. He isn't particularly keen on her bringing up her psychiatrist when they're in bed together, and she doesn't like that he mocks Wayne by saying he'll only declare her cured when his summer house is completed.

But it's been too nice a day for them to devolve into an argument that neither wants, and so he cracks a joke about pygmies and they begin playfully flirting as they discuss her college days studying anthropology. Kissing and snuggling closer, they turn talk to "advanced reproduction" where Betty miscalculates with her own joke about Don being caught cheating, which almost dumps cold water over their romantic endeavors. Don considers for a moment, calculating whether it was a joke or an accusation, then goes back to kissing her.

She asks him to turn off the light, despite being married with two children apparently the idea of sex with the lights on would be considered sinful. Don, who has had plenty of sex with Midge with the lights on or in daylight, is a little disappointed but complies. But though Betty remains a product of her sexually repressed time, there is an openness she feels she can express to Don that she would never express to anyone. Slightly embarrassed but eager to convey the depth of her passion, she explains to him that even after all this time she yearns for him. Not just today, a romantic Mother's Day, but every day. Sex with him is all she can think of, she looks forward to it, enjoys it when she gets it, and is desperate for more once it is over.

Don listens to all of this and for once doesn't say a word. He lets her express herself, her desire, lets her get it all out. Finally, when she has unburdened herself of her guilt for having a healthy sexual appetite, of the fact that she wants him so badly, he assures her that she has him. Not just an empty statement, he looks deep into her eyes and in the moment at least he seems to genuinely mean it: they are husband and wife, a union before the eyes of God and Man. They kiss passionately and prepare to make love, the perfect ending to a perfect day.



The next day, Don joins Roger Sterling in a conference room where he's introduced to Nick Rodis from Olympic Cruise Lines, as well as Yoram Ben Shulhai from the Israel Ministry of Tourism (Roger pronounces it Urine) and Lily Meyer. Don greets them all warmly (there is no David Cohen from the mail room here today) and takes a seat, and they get down to business: selling Israel as a tourist destination. They have a visit with another advertising agency but wanted to see Sterling Cooper for a more traditional approach. This makes Roger wince, and Don carefully notes they don't see themselves as a traditional firm. Yoram shows his diplomatic skills by rephrasing this to mean "glamorous" - they want the glamor and sophistication that Sterling Cooper produces to be associated with Israeli tourism, in much the same way they worked their magic on Rio de Janeiro.

Lily passes Don a copy of the book Exodus, which at the time was a gigantic bestseller (it was also criticized - and sometimes praised! - as naked propaganda for Israel and being extremely anti-Arab). The book was regarded as generating a tremendous amount of sympathy and support from Americans for the then "new" Nation, and Lily wants to capitalize on this to draw more Americans to the country. Don thanks her for the book, quips about the Bible as his only other research (Yoram quickly suggests they steer clear of religion) and then gets back to work: what kind of tourists do they want, how much money should they make? The answer to that comes quickly: whatever Don makes. The implication is clear: they want him. Or rather, people like him: successful, urbane, well-off men of the world who have money to spend and enjoy the finer things in life, which Israel will be only too happy to provide to them.

The meeting over, Roger is on his way back to his office when he spots his wife Mona and daughter Margaret standing by his secretary Ginger's desk. He greets them happily with kisses, his daughter pointedly ignoring him. He was unaware they had lunch planned for today, but Mona explains they actually came in to get Margaret a haircut. Margaret finally responds when Roger notes he likes how her current hair makes her look young, acidly retorting that his current hair makes him look old. Irritated but not wanting to show it, he asks Ginger for advice on where Margaret should go, but she - buttoned up and as far from the image of a "sexy" secretary as you can imagine, she was specifically picked out by Mona - can't help, she cuts her own hair. Luckily for them, Joan Holloway - the exact opposite of Ginger - is coming by with Don and will be their saving grace.

Margaret lights up immediately upon seeing Don - like Betty and the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, she wants Don too - and clearly likes Joan as well. Joan knows how to flatter, likening Margaret to Brigitte Bardot, and promises to introduce them to a wonderful hair-stylist. They leave together, Mona in tow, and Roger notes with a mixture of amusement and self-pity that she used to love spending time in his office. This time, she didn't even poke her head through the door.

Later that day, Roger lies in bed discussing Margaret's issues. He complains about how her haircut is the least of her problems, she has no direction or focus: she doesn't date, doesn't want to work or go to College, isn't even interested in bullshit charity "work" to give her something to do. He unloads these problems to the one woman he knows he can rely on to share his problems and concerns with about his daughter.... Joan Holloway.

Yes, his wife may have picked out a homely secretary, but Roger Sterling gets what he wants and what he wanted was Joan. The two have been having an affair for a year now, and Joan maintains the same heady combination of sexuality and no-nonsense authority with him that she demonstrates in the office itself. She rejects his insistence they just spend the rest of the day here in bed, pointing out that he can take the day off but she can't. She dismisses the food he's ordered, noting that it reminds her of being in a hospital. She laughs off and even playfully slaps him for his comment about considering leaving Margaret. She gently turns down his suggestion that he buy her an apartment so he can have her all to himself, noting she doesn't like being alone and is happy with her current setup, and laughing at his solution of buying her a bird.

Each rejection is masterfully done, she never says no to him or gets upset, she simply diverts his attention or offers reasonable counters that put him onto another tangent. Used to getting his own way, he's also keenly appreciative of a woman who makes him work at it, and in some regard despite being far older than her he's essentially that little boy enamored with his nanny he talked about being in episode 2. Each rejection is a challenge to him, part of the fun of the affair, something to be worked at to convince her, while she knows that keeping him at arms length only increases the appeal... plus she's more than smart enough to know that she is at best his mistress and shouldn't be reliant on any kind of long-term relationship no matter what he says. As she outright tells him, eventually she'll find a more "permanent" situation (i.e, get married) while she knows he'll eventually want to change up to next year's model. She has a self-awareness and self-assurance that comes only from experience, and she wisely isn't banking her entire life on a wealthy man going through a mid-life crisis being her salvation.



Don is finding the idea of selling Israel to American tourists a little more troublesome than Lily, Yoram and Nick tried to push. Their research files, unsurprisingly, are mostly focused on Jewish experiences during and directly after the war, including pictures of concentration camp survivors and the experiences of the real life SS Exodus that served as partial inspiration for Leon Uris' novel.

His office is silent but he's not alone. Pete, Salvatore and Paul are also looking through the files and trying to figure out an angle for their pitch. Selling it as a summer destination is a no-go, Bermuda is only three hours away. Salvatore suggests parting the Red Sea to show a four-star motel called The Promised Land, which gets a giggle, but Don points out that religion is not to be part of their pitch. Pete has other concerns beyond Israel still being considered a dangerous place: it's communist! Communes were the order of the day in Israel at the time, and to Pete that reads as Soviet and therefore bad... even if only from a PR standpoint.

The thing is though, despite American hatred of Soviet Russia.... plenty of Americans are active supporters of Israel and the plight of those who survived the Holocaust. The Daughters of the American Revolution have been pushing sales of Exodus and they're about as far from Communist as you can get. Salvatore's mother cried when she read the book, and Paul found the story exciting, dramatic and inspirational. America really does have a love affair with Israel, but everything about Israel seems designed from an advertising standpoint to be the opposite of what Sterling Cooper would usually try to push: it's quasi-communist, the women have guns, hotels get blown up, and despite the previously mentioned love-affair with Israel there is still an unhealthy amount of casual Anti-semitism from Americans, but they'd be asking Americans to go visit a place full of Jewish people. But there is one thing that cuts across all this, a universal constant in advertising that can be exploited. It's stated by Salvatore explicitly but also Paul Kinsey in passing earlier: there are a lot of exceptionally attractive Israeli women.

Don considers this and makes a decision. He calls a halt to the meeting, asks Peggy to give him a private line, and then puts through a call to Rachel Menken. Against her better judgement she takes the call, and isn't pleased when he declares he needs to see her. It's purely business, he assures her, but she won't meet him for dinner, claiming to already have plans. She will agree to lunch though, tomorrow at The Pierre. He agrees and hangs up, already ready to move on to other things in his day. On her end, however, Rachel sits holding the phone, perhaps already regretting allowing him back into her life after being so pro-active about getting him out of it.



That night in bed, Don has made significant progress reading through Exodus, absorbed enough to barely pay attention to Betty chatting to him as she prepares for bed herself.... until she mentions that the first boy she ever kissed was Jewish. That gets his attention fast, and he lowers the book and asks her how on earth that came to be. She explains her friend Deirdre knew a Jewish girl who invited them to a mixer at her synagogue, where she danced with a very attractive if gloomy boy called David Rosenberg all evening.

Don is fascinated, asking what type of kisser he was, laughing at her suggestion that he might have been disappointed in her lack of experience. She explains that he was only interested in her because she wasn't from the synagogue, and she did get teased about it on the bus the next day... but all the girls quickly dyed their hair blonde to match hers not long after it.

It's yet another example of the complete lunacy of bigotry that Don is surprised and almost intellectually fascinating at the thought of his wife once having kissed a Jewish boy. He at least doesn't react angrily or with disgust, but it's clear he finds the entire notion somehow alien. Yet he also sees absolutely zero problem with the fact he's intensely attracted to Rachel Menken and wants a relationship with her.

In any case, Betty has taken the discussion as a prelude to their own chance to do far more than kiss. But as she leans in for more, he doesn't reciprocate, instead complaining about the heat and reminding her he has to finish reading Exodus. She quickly accepts this, though is plainly disappointed, especially after baring her soul about her sexual desire to him on Mother's Day... but she also believes a wife's lot in life is to be sexually available to her husband but not vice versa. She heads into the bathroom to freshen up before bed, but stops to suggest they put an air conditioner in, leaving unspoken that then it won't be hot and they CAN have sex. Don just nods distractedly and says they'll see, and goes back to reading while his beautiful, loving wife is left unsatisfied.

The next day, Freddy Rumsen is enjoying the breakfast of champions in his office: a small amount of orange juice and a LARGE amount of vodka. He isn't embarrassed or try to hide his drinking, openly leaving the bottle on the desk and happily greeting Salvatore and Ken when they pop in to discuss their current account. Freddy is a Senior Copywriter, name-dropped in a previous episode as a heavy drinker, and he lives up to his reputation... but he's also no fool. When Ken Cosgrove drops in a little tidbit about lipstick mimicking the color of a woman's cheeks post-orgasm, Freddy openly mocks him for trying to pass off something from the same research report they ALL read as if it was something he found out for himself.

The product they're trying to advertise is lipstick, produced by Belle Jolie, and they're stumped. The company makes a wide product range offering every color imaginable, but sales are not doing well and they can't figure out how to turn that around. Offering a mixture of insight into his own limitations AND deeply entrenched sexism, Freddy suggests that since none of them "speak moron" they should "throw it to the chickens", indicating the secretaries outside. Whatever disdain they might have for women as somehow being "lesser than", they also know that none of them will ever know lipstick as well as women do.



Joan is recruited to lead the secretaries - expecting lunch - into a survey room where multiple mirrors have been set up on benches. At first the secretaries are disappointed until they discover they'll be getting to test out all kinds of new lipsticks. Eagerly they move to take seats, none noticing that Joan has quietly locked the door so none can leave till the testing is done.

All this is watched through a large one-way mirror on the wall. On the other side, Freddy and Ken have settled in comfortably onto seats while Salvatore pours himself a drink, enjoying the thrill of watching without being seen. As the women all excitedly grab up lipstick and begin trying them on, Salvatore on the other side of the mirror takes pleasure in making acidic comments about their taste, clothing and wigs, enjoying being so close and being able to openly mock and deride the women who are actually helping THEM out by taking part in this "brainstorm".

Greta Guttman moves around the room, flanked by Joan, taking notes and asking questions. This part of the process is not so enjoyable for the secretaries, who feel somewhat intimidated by Guttman's severe appearance and no-nonsense tone.

Paul Kinsey has joined the party, and Harry Crane slips in as well, treating the entire process like they're schoolboys who have managed to peek through the window of the girls' changing room. Pete rushes in with his lunch to snack while he enjoys the show, and even Roger Sterling zips in to be part of the sophomoric antics. His amusement ends though when Joan - knowing full well the men are watching on the other side - makes a point of bending over to present her rear end to their view. Wriggling it a little, she then stands and turns as if she was checking her own make-up, while Ken Cosgrove leads the others in standing up and saluting Joan and her tremendous buttocks. Roger though just stands and stares, not happy that other men are looking at what "belongs" to him, or that she made the showing to the others in the first place.

Paul - who once made an unsuccessful move on Peggy - notices that during all this she's been quiet, simply sitting at her mirror and barely trying on any of the lipsticks on offer. Indeed Peggy simply sits, but not passively. She takes in the entire room, every woman, every lipstick, every reaction and move they make, absorbing it all while doing nothing herself.



At The Pierre's tearoom, Don is drinking as he waits. Spotting Rachel's arrival, he stands and pulls out her seat for her, offering pleasant small talk and flattery while she goes out of her way to try and maintain a stoic face and keep this purely business. She orders a coffee and presses him for the business he so desperately wanted to speak about, and isn't impressed when he admits he wanted to talk to her because she's Jewish and he is trying to get Israeli Tourism as a client. She points out she is far from the only Jew in New York and that there are plenty of books to read. He rejects both though, because she is his "favorite" and the books are all sentimental war trivia.

He spills some of his drink on his hand and tie, breaking his composure. Surprised and pointing out he is usually so well put together, she gently dabs at his tie for him, a small intimate moment beyond the business this meeting is supposed to be about. He happily lets her, and she offers him some advice: don't cross the Israelis. She dismisses his claim that the people he met were Zionists, noting that Zion is just another word for Israel, and critiques his own dismissal of "sentimental war trivia", reminding him that Eichmann was just arrested in Buenos Aires last week: these wounds are still fresh for the Jewish people, and particularly the Israelis.

He accepts the admonishment and explains his focus: he's trying to convince tourists to go to Israel, and it has to be something different from what everybody else is already doing. Again she points out that she's not an expert just because she's Jewish herself, hell if her mother had lived she might have called her Marilyn and she could have grown up as "just" an American, nobody would have known the difference. Don asks a very pertinent question without seemingly grasping how much it highlights the idiocy of his own casual anti-Semitism: what IS the difference between an American and a "Jew".

All Rachel can offer is a very generalized sense of what it means to be Jewish. To know that your people have spent hundreds if not thousands of years in exile: in Babylon, Shanghai, Brooklyn... and every place they've managed to survive and even do business with people who actively hate them. Don is quick to assure her that he doesn't hate her, and she can't help but smile and agree.... individual people are great, the problem is that groups aren't.

That is why Israel is important. Because after all this time, all the exile and being shunned or treated different or second-class... there is a country that is THEIRS. It belongs to them, and even Rachel can acknowledge how important that is. That doesn't mean she's going to immigrate and live there: her life is America, her home and family and business are here. She will visit Israel, she will be one of those American tourists... but just because it is THEIR country doesn't mean that SHE has to live there.

Don can feel the germ of an idea there: Utopia. Rachel considers that and points out the term can have two meanings: Eu-topos: the good place, but also ou-topos: the place that cannot be. Without meaning to, they have drifted from Israel to themselves: they both want to be together, but as much as they would want it to be good, they know that it cannot be. Or at least she does, while Don clearly wants it to be eu-topos. Rachel announces her departure, she's already given more time than she can spare. She warns him (half-joking but also very serious) that she better not have this lunch charged to her account at Sterling Cooper, then leaves him to consider the words of wisdom she has given him.



The brainstorming session is over and the secretaries have to return to work after using up their lunch-break to provide unpaid research material for the agency. Freddy explains to Joan that now they have to count the shades the secretaries tried to see which were most popular. Spotting that Peggy has been collecting up the used tissues the women were using to blot with, he asks her to bring them over. She does so, and as she passes them over a thought crosses her mind, and with a grin she can't help but quip,"Here's your basket of kisses."

Freddy is immediately struck by the phrase, and asks her where she heard it. Confused, Peggy says she just thought of it now. Freddy is intrigued, but as he asks Peggy further questions, Joan spots them talking and mistakes Peggy being confused by Freddy's interest as her potentially causing issues. When she tells Freddy that she didn't pick any other colors because her favorite was already gone and she's too particular to take another, he's further intrigued and asks what she means. "I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box," she explains, and Joan is immediately in place, assuming Peggy is critiquing Freddy (or that he will take it that way, after all she isn't immediately agreeing with everything he says). She instructs Peggy to get back to her desk, and leaves Freddy contemplating the most useful actual information he has gleaned from this brainstorming session... all because he actually spoke to a woman instead of spying on them.

Don is considering in his office, still wrapped up not only in the Israeli Tourism problem but Rachel's warning about utopia's double-edged sword. Coming to a decision, he gets on the intercom and tells Peggy to clear his calendar, but she reminds him he has a 3pm meeting with Snider's Catsup. That's easily enough solved, he instructs her to send a box of cigars to Jim King with his apologies and is pleased when rather than asking what brand, she says she will find that out for herself.

Before he can go though, Freddy pops his head through the door followed by Salvatore. Freddy is straight to the scotch to pour them all drinks (when Don declines, Freddy doesn't miss a beat and pours the third glass into his own) while complimenting Peggy standing out during brainstorming. He gives him the basket of kisses line (Salvatore insists bucket would be better, which is why he sticks to the art), but more than that her line about not wanting to be one in a hundred caught Freddy by surprise. He's impressed by her if a little flummoxed. It is 1960 and he is a middle-aged alcoholic businessman after all, don't expect groundbreaking awareness of gender-equality from him, he likens the experience to watching a dog play the piano. But what he does know is talent, no matter who has it, and all three men find themselves staring at earnest Peggy Olson with new eyes as she sits at her desk working away, forcing a smile as endless paperwork is dumped on her because she knows how to sell what people want to see.



Rachel calls her sister Barbara because this is something she can't talk to the dogs about, prefer them as she might. Barbara is a house-wife and new mother, smoking and enjoying a moment's peace now that the baby is asleep and eager to talk to anybody. Rachel admits that she thinks she might have met a man she's actually interested in. Barbara thinks that is great and peppers her with questions: does he work at the store? Would daddy like him? The answer is no, to both questions. Barbara immediately guesses that means he's not Jewish, but she also doesn't particularly care what their father thinks. After all, she doesn't want to end up like Aunt Rosie with her fake stories of failed engagements (Rachel had no idea they were fake), and at the ancient and haggard age of 28 (!) she needs to find a man soon.

Rachel isn't sure, though she admits she does want to be with this man, though it means she will have to ignore everything she knows about him in the process. Barbara tells her to stop overthinking though, he doesn't have to be the perfect man and she can pursue and marry somebody she loves rather than somebody who makes a good match. Or if she doesn't want to marry, then its 1960 so why not just enjoy the time with him and not worry about the future? Barbara herself is married and has a kid, and as she sits rocking her now crying back in its crib, she admits that right now she would do anything for even a little romance in her life.

Peggy is finishing up the extra filing she was given when Joan approaches with even more folders.... and some news. "Mr. Rumsen" (no longer Freddy, this is business) wants her to come up with copy for Belle Jolie Lipsticks. Peggy is shocked, but that quickly passes and is followed by pure pleasure. Paul Kinsey mentioned female copywriters to her but she probably put that from her mind after he tried to make a move on her in his office. But now, they want HER to write? Joan reminds her that she's still expected to perform her duties on Mr. Draper's desk and any writing will be on her own time, and Peggy quickly agrees to this extra work, mind racing with the sudden unexpected opportunities. But is she also getting a raise? Joan laughs at the idea, but agrees that she might possibly be entitled to a little dinner money.

Being Peggy, she immediately wants to go and find Freddy and the others and thank them, but Joan quickly assures her this is unnecessary and they instructed her to pass on the message to Peggy, and that's enough. Peggy quickly agrees, and Joan walks calmly away. I have to wonder about that last part though, did they tell Joan that or was this her own addition? After all, Joan is queen bee of the secretarial pool and enjoys a level of authority and even respect the other women are not privy to. Now here is this new girl, the new model she mentioned to Roger earlier, and within only a few weeks of starting at Sterling Cooper she has been picked out for an opportunity as a Copywriter? Does Joan see this as a challenge? Does she fear being technically subordinate to another woman in the office, particularly a former underling? Or can all this be taken at face value and the men simply want Peggy to go work on some copy and hand it over for them to review?



Don cleared his calendar for one reason: he wanted his medicine. After being rejected by Rachel yet again, he's rushed to Midge's to have sex with a different mistress, since apparently his beautiful young wife who desperately wants to be with him physically every night is not enough for him. She opens the door and accepts him with open arms, dangling a small potted plant from one hand as he lifts her and carries her to a pillar in the middle of the room and presses her against it.

The pot ends up smashing on the floor as they try to set it aside, and her top comes off as their embrace becomes more passionate... but then there's a knock at the door and she extricates herself to answer it. Don settles on the edge of the bed and removes his shoes, watching suspiciously as she answers the door to a young bearded man named Roy Hazellit who gives her a familiar kiss and happily invites himself in. Spotting Don, Roy isn't offended, upset or devastated, just shrugs and notes that he guesses Midge was already busy. She introduces the two, and Roy explains he came by because their mutual friend Ian was going to be playing down at the Gaslight, and he wanted to invite her along.

Midge is keen to go, but she wants Don to come to. Roy is happy to invite him too, though more because he thinks Don will say no and he gets to make a few barbs at his suit and his status as a "visitor" to the city rather than somebody who lives in it. Don, well beyond caring what the likes of Roy thinks, comfortably declares he'll just be staying right here, but is convinced when a cheeky Midge whispers to him that she'll wear a skirt... and nothing else.

Joan arrives to her hotel room for a rendezvous with Roger, though she's late. She's amused by the reason why though, a media buyer tried to convince her to go to the ballet with him and she had to get clear without offending him. Roger is a little miffed at somebody having the gall to hit on the woman nobody knows he's sleeping with, but then smiles and admits that they can't help it, given how she "glides around that office like some magnificent ship". His hands are all over her, groping her as she giggles... till she hears a chirp, spots a cage with a sheet on it, and realizes that Roger's only gone and bought her a bird after all.

She laughs about it but her initial reaction upon seeing it is angry disbelief. Roger treats it as a joke but the bird IS for her, and she knows there is a serious undercurrent to his moony talk about not wanting to share her and trying to convince her to move into an apartment he pays for. Roger loves to sell, he loves to convince people of things, and he's already convinced himself he wants her. Joan is caught between a rock and a hard place, if she alienates this man she risks blowback to her careeer and life - plus she does seem to be enjoying the relationship, just only as it currently stands. She's been completely open with him, she doesn't want anything more from him that what she's already got, and he's running the risk of ruining that... but she knows she'd pay the price if that happens.

So she giggles about the bird and lets him strip her down (but does make him cover up the bird again) and tries to get him back to what this is supposed to be about - sex and a good time and nothing else.

At the Gaslight, a man on stage is stumbling through reading wedding announcements out of the newspaper, facing away from the crowd and barely audible above the background murmur of conversation. Don, Midge and Roy arrive, the latter two talking about an exciting new artist (he jams monument souvenirs up his rear end) while Don grumpily notices there is nowhere to hang his coat (or give to the likes of Peggy to hang up for him). He notices Roy has taken the seat next to Midge and tells him to swap, but Roy refuses, and a grumpier Don settles down at the table as Roy eagerly talks about creating REAL theater and not the middle class mediocrity born on Broadway. Don, amused at his efforts to get under his skin, looks up at the droning artist on stage and notes that if it is born on Broadway, it is conceived in the Gaslight.

The rounds that Roy ordered arrive but he makes no move to pay, and Don has no hesitation in handing over cash, getting a genuine thanks from Midge and a sarcastic "L'Chaim" from Roy. He does however ask Don what he does, and when he realizes he's an ad-man he is thrilled, because now he gets to be angry! He accuses Don of creating the "religion of mass consumption", an accusation that doesn't bother Don in the slightest, retorting that people want to be told what to do. Roy, who considers himself a free-thinking artist/revolutionary is ready to go several rounds of philosophical aggression with Don, who responds with the rather immature retort that Roy puts more work into his hair than Midge does. It's a kind of lame if on-point for the time bit of toxic masculinity, but it also goes towards Don's ability to spot a product being sold. In Roy's case, the product is himself, the image of the poet/artist/co-operative theater director, and he's putting a lot of work into generating that image.



Midge of course just wanted to hang out, support an artist friend and maybe have some good conversation, and shuts them both up by mockingly asking if they want to go compare dicks in the rest-room. Roy wants to create a cooperative theater and wants Midge to (or rather, like Roger with Joan, he declares Midge will) paint some flats for it. Midge reminds him she only said she'd think about it, and then they're interrupted by the new artist, a woman who has good voice projection but whose idea of poetry is proclaiming she dreamed of having sex with Fidel Castro while Kruschev watched through a window. Somebody in the crowd bellows at her to take off her shirt and she does without hesitation. Maybe it's a laudable comfort in being a sexual being, maybe it's a desperate desire to shock or get attention, maybe she can't think of any other way to be heard without this kind of performance?

Whatever the case, neither of the last two artists have impressed Don, and Roy is an actively aggressive element he really doesn't feel like bothering with. He wants to go, but Midge convinces him to stay as Ian is finally coming up, and she promises they'll go after. Don doesn't leave, but he isn't happy, glaring at Midge for taking him out of his comfort zone: this isn't his medicine, he wanted an afternoon/evening of guilt-free sex and then either sleeping there or heading home. Instead he's had to sit through an evening with people he doesn't like, putting on an act he likes to drop when he's with her, being "on" and actually catering to her needs for once.

But there is one benefit. Ian is actually talented. With two backing musicians, he sings By the Waters of Babylon. It's an especially topical song, a lament of the Israelites who wept over the destruction of Jerusalem and their captivity in Babylon. As it plays, for the first time this season we see a montage: Rachel continues to work late into the night at Menken's while considering for the first time a man she would rather be with instead; Betty applies lipstick to Sally, already at a young age teaching her daughter to be "pretty", having established in this episode and Ladies Room that she ascribes a woman's value being in her looks; at the Gaslight, Don watches and listens to Ian, his face trembling with either rage or fear... what exile/lost home is he remembering as the song plays? Finally, Joan and Roger finish up their tryst and leave the hotel.

Joan carries her unwanted bird with her, a reminder of his attempt to control her life for his own pleasure and benefit. The passion of the hotel room is replaced by blank faces, they leave the hotel separately but stand on the same road waiting for a taxi, giving no indication of awareness that the other exists. Separated by a dozen feet, there is an insurmountable gulf between them.



Joan already knows their time together is temporary. Now she just has to figure out how to survive it long enough that Roger realizes it too and lets her go without destroying her in the process.

Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:37 on Oct 19, 2020

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


Another great one. This series really rewards your analytical style, I think, since it leans heavily on themes and nuance.

God Hole
Mar 2, 2016


Jerusalem posted:


That night in bed, Don has made significant progress reading through Exodus, absorbed enough to barely pay attention to Peggy chatting to him as she prepares for bed herself.... until she mentions that the first boy she ever kissed was Jewish. That gets his attention fast, and he lowers the book and asks her how on earth that came to be. She explains her friend Deirdre knew a Jewish girl who invited them to a mixer at her synagogue, where she danced with a very attractive if gloomy boy called David Rosenberg all evening.

lol that's either a great freudian slip or I really didn't pay attention in season 1

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

sebmojo posted:

Another great one. This series really rewards your analytical style, I think, since it leans heavily on themes and nuance.

Agreed!

This is a fantastic episode and it has one of my favourite quotes from the series:

quote:

“Look, we’ve got oysters Rockefeller, beef Wellington, napoleons. If we leave this lunch alone it’ll take over Europe.”

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


It's a bit heavy-handed perhaps, but I love the shot of the pretty Israeli woman showing lots of cleavage being dropped on top of photos of holocaust victims - they're advertisers, image and appeal trumps everything else.

Also Christina Hendricks really comes into her own in this episode, I loved watching her carefully navigate the power dynamics in her relationship with Roger.

God Hole posted:

lol that's either a great freudian slip or I really didn't pay attention in season 1

I keep doing that as I write and having to go back and correct it! Thanks for the catch, I've edited it out now.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013


This is the first episode where Freddy Rumsen has a memorable role, so now is a good time to point out that he is played by Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill Murray. Had no idea the first time I watched the series. I think he does a great job with the character.

Forktoss
Feb 13, 2012

I'm OK, you're so-so

Yoshi Wins posted:

This is the first episode where Freddy Rumsen has a memorable role, so now is a good time to point out that he is played by Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill Murray. Had no idea the first time I watched the series. I think he does a great job with the character.

He does, I really like Freddy and especially his relationship with Peggy. He remains paternalistic and sometimes a bit condescending towards her, and she never stops being grateful to him for giving her her break, but neither also has any disillusions about her success being anything other than her own achievement. He'll always think of her as a dog that plays the piano, but he has no compulsions admitting that she plays it better than him.

Forktoss fucked around with this message at 06:15 on Oct 11, 2020

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God


Yoshi Wins posted:

This is the first episode where Freddy Rumsen has a memorable role, so now is a good time to point out that he is played by Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill Murray. Had no idea the first time I watched the series. I think he does a great job with the character.

That's what Mad Men, more than any of the "Mount Rushmore" of TV dramas (Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire) does world population the best. Every character feels like it is a living, breathing part of this world. And it is very good at bringing people back when needed for that to work, and knowing when a character should be walking away and never seen again.

Annabel Pee
Dec 29, 2008


It might be obvious trivia, maybe its obvious if your from New York, the gaslight cafe is also featured in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Inside Llewyn Davis and started the career of lots of famous people including Bob Dylan.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Season 1, Episode 7 - Red in the Face
Written by Bridget Bedard, Directed by Tim Hunter

Betty Draper posted:

You're painting a masterpiece. Make sure to hide the brushstrokes.

Don Draper is going behind his wife's back yet again. He makes a call, apologizing for not being in touch, explaining he hasn't been able to get alone. But this isn't Midge or Rachel he's speaking to, it's Dr. Wayne. As before, the doctor has not the slightest qualm about openly talking to his patient's husband about the supposedly private revelations she makes to him. If anything, his only objection is that Don is calling him so before the day is done: while Don is packing his things to go home, Dr. Wayne still isn't done with his sessions, and he prefers to violate doctor/patient confidentiality in the evenings.

He notes that so far Betty has only really offered surface level material, consumed by petty jealousies and overwhelmed by everyday tasks. It's anxiety, and it's becoming increasingly uncommon among housewives, though clearly neither Don nor Dr. Wayne can figure out just why educated women left to sit around the house all day and be treated like children are not a picture of mental health. Wayne has no problem with casually insulting his patient, saying it's like dealing with the emotions of a child.

Don meanwhile is looking for the easy answer as always, jumping on Wayne mentioning the recent death of Betty's mother as the be-all/end-all excuse for her problems. Wayne at least understands it is more complicated, saying this is just the jumping-on point and what she really needs is more talk and more time to delve deeper into her issues. He's not wrong, but Don isn't wrong in his prior suspicions that this also works to the doctor's benefit: the longer a patient needs him, the more money he makes.

Speaking of grown children, Roger Sterling is having a big glass of milk at his wife's insistence... just with a large dose of vodka thrown in. Talking to her over the phone from his office, he insists she take their daughter Margaret to Mont Clair to help improve her mood. Bertram Cooper knocks and enters and Roger ends the call, promising he'll try to join them by Sunday afternoon.



The news is good, the United Fruit Company has organized for representatives of the Nixon Campaign to stop by at the end of the week. Cooper didn't even blink when he saw Roger was drinking vodka and milk, but reacts disapprovingly when he sees him lighting up a cigarette. He complains it is a sign of weakness, pointing out that Hitler got Chamberlain to agree to his demands at the Munich Peace Conference by holding their meetings in a smoke-free building.

Remember when a smoke-free building was a novelty?

Roger, who is clearly the junior partner in this relationship in more than just a business sense, doesn't just accept this chiding though. With a grin he points out that all this story tells him is that Hitler didn't smoke, and he's just fine with not being the same as Hitler. Cooper can't help but smile at that, and wishes him a good night.

Everybody else is wrapping up for the evening as well, some heading out to Chumley's for a drink or 10. Roger walks onto the floor, waits for it to empty out a little more, then steps up behind Joan who is checking her make-up (and observes him approaching). With great pleasure he informs her of the good news: his mother-in-law fell down the stairs! What he means, of course, is that Mona and Margaret are going to be visiting her which leaves his place free, and he wants her to come join him for the weekend.

Joan has plans though, carrying a small suitcase and making a not-too-subtle reminder that she doesn't wait around to come running at his beck-and-call. She's joined by another woman and introduces her to Roger as her roommate, Carol. He greets her politely then requests that "Miss Holloway" answer an accounting question for him before she goes. Carol doesn't look stupid, but that means she's also not dumb enough to give indication she suspects there is something going on here. She waits as they walk away, Roger declaring (not asking) that they WILL go away some weekend even if it isn't this one. He tries to impress her by suggesting Puerto Rico, but she's no fool and not easily swayed, especially after his recent bullshit with the bird. She informs him back that she doesn't care if it's Cuba (lost to dreaded Communism a year earlier), the point is that if he wants her to go away with him somewhere, he MUST give her notice.

Don is about to head out the door himself, though he's having a brief discussion with Peggy first. She's working late to produce copy for Belle Jolie in her own time, and Don reminds her that as admirable as this is he doesn't want her overworking just for dinner money and then being in no fit state for work the next day. Roger approaches and asks about plans for the evening, and an alarmed Peggy quickly proclaims she'll be working late and then going home. Delighted, he says he is tempted to let her keep thinking he was asking her, but he was actually talking to Don.

She's a little embarrassed but more relieved not to be fighting off yet another unwanted suitor, though Don isn't so lucky. Roger, having struck out with Joan, has decided that Don is going to take him out for a drink. Don is pleasant, polite, joking, but also continually pointing out that he was planning on heading straight home and that Betty is expecting him and has made dinner. Roger waves that off, plans with your wife are the "easiest" to break he insists. When Pete arrives and tries to horn in on the conversation, Roger takes great pleasure in letting him down roughly (which Don also greatly enjoys), going so far as to call him Paul as he takes Don away with him.

Pete is left standing like an idiot, humiliated by the rejection. Turning, he tries to hide his embarrassment by asking if Don is pushing Peggy hard considering she's still working. She surprises him by revealing she's working on copy at Freddy Rumsen's request, assuming it must be on a "sanitary napkins" account. She explains it is for Belle Jolie, and he takes the chance to offer to look over her work for her if she'd like, noting he does it for the others too (I'm sure they love that). Hildy arrives to pointedly remind him his WIFE is waiting at the Four Seasons. He thanks and dismisses her and she leaves with a quick look Peggy's way - not accusing Peggy, but clearly not trusting Pete all that much either. With Hildy gone, Pete makes the offer again, telling her they're all in this together. With that he leaves, and Peggy is glowing: not only is she working on something beyond secretarial work, but the man she - bafflingly - is enamored with is paying her attention AND treating her like a peer. Life is good!



The Oak Room Bar is crowded with people and smoke, Don and Roger sitting at the bar to have their "one" drink. Roger spots a couple of young, attractive girls at the bar and gets their eyes. He comments on "the glow of pure youth", complaining that when they hit 30 "somebody puts out a light" without for a second thinking that maybe that somebody is people like him. Don is appreciative of their looks too but also cognizant of the fact they'd be lucky to 30-years-old between the two of them. Maybe they're not underage, but they're certainly too young for him - a man in his late 30s - though he passes no judgement when he suggests that Roger - a man in his late 40s - might have a go at them.

Realizing how this one quick drink is already running late, Roger is far from subtle when he comments that Don must be starving because he is, then complains that Mona hasn't cooked since Margaret stopped eating. It's all boo-hoo poor him as he complains that he's the one who gets hurt by their fighting, and Don takes the hint and declares that he'll call Betty and tell her to expect Roger for dinner too. Roger quickly declines for politeness sake then asks almost before finishing if Don is sure he wants him around. Don promises him it will be fine, in fact Betty will be delighted to learn she suddenly has to prepare an extra meal!

He leaves the bar to go make the call, and Roger is pleased to see the two girls smiling at him again... until Don passes and they turn and watch him with hungry eyes. Don is tall, handsome, powerfully built and at an age where he still has appeal. Roger, for all his wealth and success, has to face the fact that his own prime is behind him, suffering yet another rejection like earlier with Joan.

Betty carries Bobby out of the bath as the phone rings, only half-dressed herself and distractedly telling a cartwheeling Sally not to do gymnastics in the house. She's irritated at the thought Don might be calling to say he'll be late, but when she hears the bar in the background she sighs and asks if he is coming home at at all. He is, but she's not pleased at all to hear he's bringing Roger with him. Don commiserates, this is clearly an obligation neither of them want to deal with but he IS Don's boss and has backed him into a corner where not inviting him would lead to bigger problems than having to put together an extra meal.

So it is that a half-drunk car ride in Roger's car later, they're all sitting at the dinner table so Roger can enjoy a home-cooked meal.... Betty's meal. He and Don are eating steak while she suffers through what could charitably be called a salad: consisting mostly of lettuce, a couple of olives and a couple thin strips of bell pepper. Roger is raving about the meal, asking Betty if she's sure she doesn't want steak herself (of course she loving did!) but she assures him that she is fine with the salad, she's a vegetarian "sometimes".



But hey, she's making the best of this situation Don dropped in her lap. She talks about being pudgy as a child, and how swimming helped her to lose the weight. It's the kind of talk she usually gets to enjoy with Don, and she is appreciative of it now and offers the usual little witticisms he likes to drop in to make her laugh... but Roger's there too today. He offers his own story of swimming at night in a pool when he was younger, making a point of noting he sometimes did it in the nude.

Once again, Roger makes a little probe into Don's mysterious childhood, asking if he ever went night swimming (or skinny-dipping) too. Don actually offers something back this time, and instantly regrets it. He mentions he used to swim in a quarry, and a surprised Roger notes that he has noticed sometimes Don drops G's when talking so assumed he was brought up on a farm. Don absorbs this quietly, doesn't let his smile drop, takes the moment to keep himself composed, then smoothly decides it's time for a commercial break "brought to you by more liquor", and goes to some vodka to replace the wine they're used up.

The evening continues. The children are long ago in bed, the food is gone and cigarette after cigarette has been smoked as Betty has enjoyed coffee and the men have REALLY enjoyed booze. Roger is self-aware enough to be horrified when Betty brings out a cake with "mommy and daddy" written in frosting, asking if he's injected himself into their anniversary. Betty is quick to assure him this is not the case, they bought Sally a frosting machine and she used it to write the message on the cake.

Relieved, Roger immediately uses the opportunity for another probe (dig?) at Don's past, noting that Sally's writing is simple, to-the-point AND colloquial, she writes just like her father! He lets that slide of course, and they all pull out cigarettes to break the quiet. Roger lights Betty's and his own, but tells Don to do his own because of "three on a match". Betty has heard the phrase before but never really understood it, and Roger explains he got it from his father: a World War I veteran who learned in the trenches that by the third time you light somebody's cigarette, the enemy will have zeroed in on you.

Don, as always, credits it to simply being another clever advertising story to sell matches, and an amused Roger asks if he told the kids there is no Santa Claus too. Betty though is intrigued, this dinner was dumped on her but she's enjoying getting to sit around and drink and talk with other adults for a change, especially about things other than children. She asks Roger for another story, and this leads to an interesting little sideline as they discuss "their" wars. Don had the Korean War, which was "the war" to him but not to Roger, whose "the war" was World War II. For Roger's father "the war" was World War I, and both Don and Roger share the mindset that the older man had the true glory.



Don never talks about Korea, but Roger is eventually convinced to talk about World War II, telling them a story of his naval service running oil down to the islands in the South China Sea: he served in the Pacific Theater, not the European. Three days into a convoy run they started being circled by a Dinah doing recon for enemy submarines. They were able to shoot it down, and Roger found himself unable to resist going off course to check on the wreckage, morbidly fascinated with seeing the plane go down with so little fanfare, knowing that a man had died in a way that somehow felt unreal. They found the wreckage but no body or parachute, and it clearly struck him deeply how somebody could be alive one moment and then more than gone the next: dead but also disappeared, swallowed up forever into the seemingly infinite deep of the ocean.

Snapping himself out of it, he notes the vodka is empty and - not wanting to switch to gin - asks if Don has anything stashed away in a golf-bag (where obviously he likes to stash his own booze). Don agrees he might have something leftover from New Years in the garage, and heads outside to track it down. Betty meanwhile clears the table and moves into the kitchen to wash up, and Roger follows her like a puppy - an enormously wealthy, powerful and drunk puppy.

Sliding up behind her, he "seductively" notes that he "ate the m in mom" on the cake and slides his hands over her waist, moving in close to sniff her. She pulls away with a disheartened,"...Roger..." but he ignores her discomfort (story of his life) and grips her waist tighter, marveling at the notion that she has had two babies. Quietly she asks him not to do this, and leaning in uncomfortably close he declares that she has been making eyes at him all night and it's obvious he is giving her "hot pants". Desperately trying to extricate herself without making a scene, she suggests she make coffee, but he continues to lean in frighteningly close, informing her as if she'd ever want to know that he will be "thinking all about you" tonight when he goes to bed.

Luckily Don returns and, hearing the door, Roger pulls away. Don enters the kitchen brandishing another bottle of vodka, but immediately picks up on the tension in the room and Betty's troubled look his way. As if he hadn't just groped and harassed his friend's wife, Roger cracks a joke about Russian, grabs the vodka and strides back into the kitchen. Don gives Betty a suspicious look as she tries to maintain a facade that everything is fine, not wanting to admit what just happened and put Don in the position of having to confront his boss. That's how people like Roger get away with this poo poo, of course, the victim feels like they'd only make things worse by revealing what happened.

He's not do drunk not to realize he's overstayed his welcome though. He bellows - no thought for the sleeping children - to Don and Betty to join him for a bon voyage drink. Don simply stands and lets Roger talk as he rambles about enjoying your children while you have them, then offers to walk him out when Roger declares he is going (and taking the vodka and the glass he's drinking with him). Don stands in the doorway and watches him leave, never once thinking (or willing) to claim Roger is far too drunk to drink despite trying to get into the wrong car and forgetting to turn on the headlights once he's in.

Once Roger is gone too, Don turns his fury on his wife. Straight back into the kitchen he demands (NOW he demands) to know what happened. Betty tries again to not cause waves, leaving it at Don's drunken boss ruining a nice evening. But Don isn't having it, he clearly knows exactly what happened but in his impotence at being able to do anything about it, he's turned his anger on the victim of the whole thing. He snaps that she made a fool of him by batting her eyelids at Roger and giggling at his stories, that she somehow practically threw herself at him. For once Betty sticks up for herself, pointing out that what he calls "throwing herself" at Roger was her being a good host and being friendly towards HIS friend (and also his Boss). She doesn't throw in that he hauled said friend over at the last minute with very little warning.

Don doesn't want to hear that though, he wants to vent his anger, and actually grips Betty tightly by one arm and snarls at her that he doesn't like being talked to like this in his own house. Betty has already had to put up with unwanted aggression from one man tonight though, she sure as hell isn't going to put up with it from her own husband for the crime of be sexually harassed. Looking him right in the eye, she asks him if he wants to bounce her off the walls, would THAT make him happy?

Stunned, he turns Dr Wayne's words onto her, snapping that he feels like he's living with a little girl, and storms away. Yes, Don Draper - pouting, being physically aggressive, all but throwing a tantrum at his calm if understandably upset wife - is the clear adult in the room here.



The next morning at Sterling Cooper, Pete carries a large box into his office while telling Paul and Ken about his evening at the Four Seasons with Trudy and her parents: rubbing shoulders with Norman Mailer and Mayor Wagner. They of course were at Chumley's getting extremely drunk, but what really intrigues them isn't Pete's social life but the box he's carrying. He explains it is a wedding present he needs to return: a Chip 'n' Dip. They've never heard of such a thing so he shows it to them, a garish tray shaped and colored like two giant lettuce leaves with a giant tomato in the middle.

Warming to explaining the concept, Pete explains you fill the center tomato with dip, then place chips on the side. He can't quite grasp why they find the whole thing so ridiculous, noting he and Trudy attended a party that had one and he thought it was a neat idea. He just needs to return it since they got two despite it being listed on the Wedding Registry. It cost $22 so he's going to return it for the cash (near Peggy's weekly salary!), even forgoing a wet lunch at Ratazzi's courtesy of Freddy Rumsen's cousin at General Mills. Paul and Ken mock him for following his wife's instructions to get the return done today, but he is happy to admit that he enjoys running errands for her, it makes him feel good.

Don is smoking in his office when Peggy informs him over the intercom that Roger Sterling is here to see him. Taking a moment to prepare himself, flipping open a file and pretending to have been hard at work researching, Don tells her to let him in. Roger, looking remarkably composed despite the heavy drinking of the night before, has come in to beg forgiveness. Or rather, to playfully admit to being a little over-the-top. He's brought a good bottle of wine, admits that he stopped at the Knights Inn off the Taconic rather than drive all the way home, and then tells a story of the time he drunkenly staggered into the wrong building and tried to get into an office that wasn't his own.

The parable is obvious, and he admits that "having your name on the building" can sometimes make you forget that everything isn't yours. What he's doing without explicitly coming out and saying it is that he knows he went too far the previous night (mostly because Betty is Don's "property", not because she's a person in her own right) and wants to apologize.... while at the same time suggesting that hitting on your friend's wife is just something that happens sometimes to everybody. Don pretends confusion, acting like there was no problem at all both as a way to avoid a conflict with his Boss but also to make him feel uncomfortable: a passive and petty revenge but also not an undeserved one.

The trouble is, Roger's still his Boss, and as friendly as they are this is not a relationship of equals. So Roger essentially forces Don to forgive him, if not in so many words on either of their behalf. The best Don can manage is an admonishment to Roger to return the glass he took, and Roger decides to be "magnanimous" and buy her a whole case. He walks out the door, a spring in his step having unburdened himself without actually suffering any consequences. Don meanwhile is left staring at the bottle of wine, his acceptance of it effectively setting a price for his willingness to let another man get away with being sexually inappropriate towards his wife in Don's own home.



Pete is good to his word and waits in line at the Returns desk, commenting at how long it is taking. The other women in the line enjoy his freshness, marking the blue box as a sign that he's a newlywed... as well as the fact he was willing to come to the store to do the return himself, this is the kind of gesture they don't expect any husband past that initial honeymoon period to engage in. He finds himself caught up in chatting with the woman behind him, her husband is Jim Wallace, a Media Buyer for BBDO, though he admits he hasn't heard of him before. Her response of,"That's because you're here at lunch" hits hard for him, he knows the value of networking that comes from these long drunken lunches.

He makes it to the front desk, explaining the Chip 'n' Dip isn't damaged but needs to be returned since they got two. He stifles his irritation when he's told he should have registered to avoid duplication, since they DID register. Nor does he have a receipt, given it was a gift. She passes him over to another woman, Rosemary, to check the register, though she finds nothing under his name. He's surprised to learn that Wedding Registers are under the wife-to-be's maiden name, and has them look under Vogel.

As Rosemary looks, Pete is surprised to be greeted by Matherton, a friend/associate who has popped in to get his squash racket restrung. Tall, well-built and attractive, Matherton has Rosemary flustered with a big goofy smile as she gives him directions to the men's room. At Pete's less than charming direction to keep searching, Rosemary goes back to looking while Pete makes small-talk with Matherton, explaining what the Chip 'n' Dip is and why he is returning it. Matherton doesn't seem particularly enamored with the eyesore as an entertainment set-piece, but does enjoy letting Pete know that his cousin Bethany at the wedding was a real "bridesmaid's bridesmaid", leaving Pete in the uncomfortable position of having a knowing laugh over the objectification of women - hardly a rarity for him - while having to acknowledge this is his own flesh and blood they're talking about.

Luckily he's saved by Rosemary finding the registry entry, so Matherton says his goodbyes, though not before pointing at Rosemary and declaring confidently (having just openly bragged about his conquest of another woman in front of her) that he's coming back for her. But he's tall and good looking and obviously doing well, so Rosemary is charmed rather than disgusted. The opposite is true with Pete, who tries to turn on his own oily charm (despite her literally knowing he's a newly-wed) when she informs him she can only give store credit. He offers to take her out to lunch if she can get him cash instead, but she's not interested in his "charm" and just repeats that without a receipt the best she can do is store credit. Grumpy at his clumsy moves falling flat, he cattily informs her that Matherton has the clap. It's probably the most childish thing he could do.



Nevermind.

Paul, Keny and Harry are delighted of course. They settle in at his office as he shows it off, it's a .22 caliber bolt action and it's all his. "Boys will be boys, right?" he laughs, and then... and then he starts pointing it each of then. Harry and Paul flinch while Ken actively recoils at the sudden movement, throwing a hand up and leaping out of his seat. Pete loves that, the instant reaction, and jumps up himself and steps into the doorway of his office. Without any hesitation he begins aiming the rifle around the room at various different secretaries, moving with them as they walk.

Nobody in the office reacts, after all it's 1960 and a guy with a gun in an office is hardly cause for alarm, what's he gonna do, shoot up the place!?! The others giggle behind him as he happily picks out targets, until Hildy steps right up in front of the rifle and with a school-mistress like glare lowers it down with one hand and gives him a file with the other, informing him it is time for his 4:30 appointment. Sullenly he accepts the return to work, straight up just tossing the rifle without a care in the world into Paul's hands who holds it gingerly. As they follow in Pete's wake, Hildy offers a polite smile but puts out her hand leaving no illusions that she expects him to hand the gun over. Paul does and they're on their way, all of them little boys who got caught playing when they should have been doing their schoolwork.

Roger leads the meeting of the Nixon pitch, the group consisting of himself, Don, Pete, Paul and Harry, with Bertram Cooper present to oversee everything and make final decisions as required. The Nixon people are coming in tomorrow, the Republican nomination is already locked down and what they need now is to know who Nixon's opponent is going to be so they can plan accordingly. Cooper, gobbling down grapefruit, assures them that rumors of Lyndon Johnson making a play at the convention will come to nothing, the opponent WILL be Kennedy.

They run through Nixon's pluses: knowledge of foreign affairs and a strong record against Communism. Don notes that Nixon's silence on Castro isn't doing him any favors, but Roger feels the fact he isn't Catholic is already a huge plus. Pete is surprised to hear that, pointing out that political opponents who have attacked Kennedy's Catholicism have seen it backfire, all of them forced to apologize to Kennedy which is something Nixon can't afford to do. Roger disagrees with Pete's assessment, getting in yet another dig at his youth in the process. Pete's reasoning is sound, but Roger is absolutely right in his read on Nixon's character: none of them should EVER expect Richard Nixon to take the high road.



They all get into the multiple obvious weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Kennedy as a Presidential candidate. He's too young, he lacks experience, he's the Catholic son of a millionaire who only knows how to go on vacation, he doesn't even wear a hat!

Pete however points out that some of these weaknesses may be strengths: Elvis Presley also doesn't wear a hat, and that's who they're dealing with. What he means, of course, is that Kennedy is a "star", somebody that attracts and excites people. All they hear is Pete making a bizarre comparison between a politician and a rock 'n' roll star. Cooper cracks a joke about hiring young people,but Roger takes it a step further, complaining about only wanting the adults in the room to talk, snapping at Paul to write down the points he is making or does he need "a girl" to do that for him. Don watches all this uneasily, seeing Roger in a different light: an entitled brat who belittles underlings and feels free to insult or mock them at will.

When Don returns home that night, however, he is still taking his bad mood out on Betty. Despite being the victim, she has gone out of her way to try to "make up" for the crime of being sexually harassed. She's prepared a roast beef for him, she greets him sunnily when he walks in, she does everything she can to make him feel appreciated. In return for all this what does she get? A sullen look, a "surprised "oh roast beef?" followed by asking her cruelly if she knows it is just him she'll be dining with tonight. Her face falls, he continues to glare at her, then silently leaves the room, making her feel miserable for absolutely no good reason: it doesn't even make HIM feel better about himself.

They're far from the only couple having troubles though. Pete is getting what can only be described as a scolding. Sitting in his chair with the .22 on his lap, he sits staring at nothing as an unseen, weeping Trudy yells at him for using the money from the return of her Aunt Letty's gift to buy a gun of all things. Pete takes it in silence, a child being told off and thinking the entire time how unfair it is, how he's not even getting credit for doing the return in the first place when he could have been out drinking it up with his buddies on an expense account. It's not the first time today he's been humiliated due to his age, not the first time he's been made to feel small and unnoticed, and that gun is like a security blanket as he takes more of the same from his own wife.

To be fair, Trudy is throwing a bit of a tantrum herself, but to her credit she throws back in Pete's face a comment he has apparently made to her in the past himself. Much like Don to Betty, he's told her she needs to grow up, obviously thinking of her a daddy's girl who is also a bit of a brat. She reminds him of this, and points out that HE also needs to grow up, instead of going out and buying toys.



At Sterling Cooper the next day, a far happier Don waits for the elevator. The doors open and Pete emerges wordlessly carrying his rifle. Don is surprised and amused rather than concerned, he and Hollis the elevator operator quietly watching Pete go. With this odd distraction out of the way, Don takes Hollis aside to ask him a question.... and fork out some money?

In his office, Pete sits on his couch brooding when Peggy knocks at the door and enters to ask if she can take him up on his offer to look over her copy... unless he's busy? He waves her over and takes the folder from her, setting it to the side and going back to staring at the carpet. She spots the gun and asks about it, shutting down when he explains it is a wedding present. She thanks him again for his support and he, still wrapped up in himself, asks if she's ever been hunting?

He's amused when she says she doesn't know, saying you either have or haven't. He has, his uncle took him a couple of times in New Hampshire, and they're obviously treasured memories, especially given the subject of his short story. Peggy explains she meant she once saw her cousin shoot a rabbit near Coney Island, but he's really more interested in having an audience so he can talk about himself. He explains the thrill of the process, tapping the couch beside him for her to seat as he explains how hunting works before admitting a fantasy of how he wished it ACTUALLY worked.

Peggy listens adoringly as Pete wistfully speaks of his dream life. Of being a hunter who stalks his prey, kills it, drags it back to his cabin in the woods where his "woman" is waiting for him. He'd cut off a chunk of the meat and give it to her and she'd cook it in a cast-iron skillet on an old wood-burner stove. She bring him the food on a plate, he'd wipe his knife on his knee and then he'd eat it, he'd eat and she'd sit there and she would watch him.

Unspoken is that she wouldn't chide, she wouldn't question, she wouldn't scold. She would be there to serve him, to never question, to simply be. Not a wife, not a girlfriend, not even a name, just "woman", an archetype to fill some space in his heart. It's his fantasy, but Peggy listens and indulges in her own version of the same fantasy, of being that woman, that person to fill the empty space in his heart and make him (and thus, herself) feel whole. "That would be wonderful" she gasps. Pete smiles and nods, and then the spell is broken and he agrees he'll look over her copy, and she leaves with a thanks and returns to her desk. She can't bring herself to sit though, she's too fired up by the unexpected arousal of the encounter and the emotions she's tried to suppress regarding Pete since his return. So she grabs her purse, heads to the lunch cart, and buys some food to comfort eat her way back to normalcy.



Betty has gone grocery shopping, filling her cart when she spots Helen Bishop passing by. Helen looks her way and then right past her, but they've made eye contact so Betty calls out a pleasant greeting. Stopping, a clearly uncomfortable Helen tries to be polite but short in her responses until Betty asks how Glen is doing. That's crossing a line for her so with a sigh she notes that she was willing to just walk by without making this a thing. Because, of course, she found the lock of blonde hair. She confronted Glen about it and he told her that Betty willingly gave it to him.

Betty is horrified, of course, and tries to explain the situation. Helen doesn't want to hear it though, and even though Glen did pull some creepy poo poo that she probably doesn't know the full extent of, Helen is right to shut down Betty by pointing out that he's a 9-year-old boy and she's a grown rear end woman. Betty has no answer to that... until Helen says the magic words,"What is wrong with you?"

Infantalized by husband and doctor both, suffering and being blamed for being groped by her husband's boss in her own home, constantly told there's something wrong with her by people who have plenty of problems of their own, Betty has finally had enough. The fact that Helen Bishop of all people - a divorcee who Betty pities! - is now smirking at her, judging her, asking her what is wrong with her? That is Betty's breaking point, and she slaps her right across the face. Helen is shocked, other women moving through the grocery store turning to stare in surprise. Betty starts to walk away with her trolley, then leaves that behind too, taking her purse and getting the hell out of there.

Roger and Don are enjoying lunch before their meeting with Nixon's people from the GOP, and it seems all is forgiven and they're back to their old happy medium once more. They're eating oysters for lunch at theGrand Central Oyster Bar, and Don is slurping them down right alongside Roger despite never really being all that keen on them before. Roger finishes his martini and asks if Don has had enough, but is pleased when Don agrees to keep going until Roger himself is satisfied.... hell he'll even keep drinking martinis with him rather than his usual Rye.

Delighted, Roger orders more drinks and more oysters, and Don orders more oysters for himself too. He compliments Don on being a "man who could keep up", and keep up as he does as they gulp down oysters and martinis both, over and over. With the oysters done, Roger takes the chance to wallow further in excess given there seem to be no restraints on today and he doesn't have to worry about going home to a wife who wants him drinking milk to keep his ulcer from flaring up. He raises the prospect of cheesecake and Don orders too, Roger making it clear to the waiter that he wants the martinis to just keep on coming.

The lunch is supposed to be a chance to review material ahead of the GOP meeting, but nobody is going to question Roger putting this on the expense account. So instead they just shoot the poo poo about anything and everything: the Russians sending dogs into space, Desi and Lucy getting divorced AGAIN, Roger's love of redheads and Don's hatred of cows. Roger admits that if they keep at the martinis at the pace they're going, Don is gonna end up with a ulcer of his own, but doesn't object when Don suggests one more for the road.



Betty sits smoking alone at home, dressed up and drinking wine in the middle of the day. Francine pops around to drop off one of Bobby's shirts she claims she had at her house because Bobby spilled grapejuice on it while over there playing one day. Betty is confused, this is clearly one of her son Ernie's shirts, and the pretext is obvious: Francine wanted an excuse to come over so she could find out what the hell happened at the grocery store.

She has to work her up to asking though, so she notes the wine and asks if there is a party. Betty's excuse for day-drinking (men don't need one, apparently) is that she was testing wine ahead of a dinner party she is planning so she develop her palate. She offers a glass to the heavily pregnant Francine who accepts, then finally gets down to brass tacks: Jill Sandifer told her what happened and she wants to know if Betty is okay (and also why she did it).

Betty admits that ever since she did it, she's been asking herself if it REALLY happened. She doesn't want to know what other people are saying, her own version is plenty enough for her. Francine though wants to stress that nobody is going to be taking Helen's side on this - they like Betty and they dislike her, she's an anomaly in the neighborhood (Francine once more complains bizarrely about the WALKING) who doesn't fit into their dynamic... and also reminds them that there IS life without a husband or other man defining you.

They bitch about her pathetic job at the jewellery store, Francine complaining that she almost threw a gift of earrings from Carlton back in his face when she realized he bought them from the store Helen works at. Betty, who takes her cues on voting from Don, has also decided she hates John Kennedy, surprising Francine who probably has no idea what the connection between Helen and Kennedy could be. Betty does allow herself a moment to cringe at what people are probably thinking at last, and Francine assures her again. It's actually nice to know that she isn't soft, she's so sweet and perfect that everybody kind of assumed she had no malice or fight in her and it's nice to know she does. Besides, if Betty doesn't like Helen then none of Betty's friends will have any problem with excluding the single mother who didn't want a grown woman encouraging her 9-year-old son's romantic infatuation with her.

Talk turns to Betty's mother, as she remembers her mother telling her that when you paint a masterpiece you hide the brushstrokes. This has come up frequently over the last few episodes: Betty's obsession with beauty, or rather her fear of ugliness, all of which clearly stems from lessons learned from her mother that she is starting to pass on to her own daughter. Dr. Wayne has been no help there, in spite of what he told Don about Betty not really getting beyond the surface level, he's done nothing but simply sit and listen to her talk and every so often say,"Tell me more." He offers her no insight, doesn't lead her towards any self-awareness or discovery, in fact the only person he offers his analysis to is her husband in clandestine phone-calls.

In fact, Wayne might be part of the same problem, she's sure she caught him trying to look down her neckline at a recent session. She admits that when she catches mean looking at her she feels it somehow justifies her, that she is "earning her keep", another bad lesson learned from her mother. But sometimes she admits that the looking discomforts her, it feels wrong and she doesn't want her husband to see it.

I can't quite tell if she means that she is discomforted by the severity/inappropriateness of the leering, or if she is concerned she is enjoying the leering too much. I like to think it's the latter, the look she gives Francine when she says this and her happy reaction to Francine admitting she loves to be looked at in that way too seems to point in that direction. It is, I think, the first stumbling of realization for Betty that it is okay to be a sexual being independent of her husband's knees.

Francine's admission is a relief to Betty, a reminder that there's nothing wrong or unusual about her. It's a reminder she desperately needed in a world where she is constantly told to look pretty, be quiet, be available but also chaste, to be friendly and polite and not make a fuss but also to be blamed when men misinterpret that or try to take advantage. In short, it's a reminder that she's a person too.



Meanwhile, the means of Don's revenge finally becomes clear. Returning to Sterling Cooper's lobby, Don and Roger discover from an apologetic Hollis that the elevator is out of order. They're already overdue to meet with the GOP on the 23rd floor, but Hollis can't give them an ETA on when service will resume. Don makes sure that it is Roger who makes the suggestion that they take the stairs, offering instead to just go back to lunch since they have a good excuse not to attend. Roger has belittled or insulted those beneath him recently, but one person he will never cross is his Senior Partner who is up there on 23 waiting, so he braves the stairs instead.

Up they go, wearing heavy suits and full of oysters, martinis and cheesecake. Flight after flight, step after step, Don happily smoking as he goes and joking as Roger gets tired that they could bring the GOP down the stairs and present to them on the 8th Floor Landing. It's all about appealing to Roger's ego to keep climbing, to keep pace with Don who is a decade younger, stronger, fitter and doing this all while smoking. Don is cheerful but insistent and Roger of course has to take the lead, which means he has to up the pace, especially when Don asks him if he wants to rest and then talks up his fitness as a Navy man. Earlier Roger said Don was a man who could keep up, now Roger is the one struggling to maintain the pace.

They pass an office worker and secretary making out on the 18th landing, the two quickly pulling apart and then racing back to their floor after Roger and Don pass. She was a redhead which makes Roger speak fondly of redheads with big breasts (he at least has the self-awareness not to mention Joan by name), and Don promises they'll find him one if they both manage to avoid being fired... then adds insult to injury by asking Roger if he wants him to "run" ahead. Roger, sweating heavily now and laboring for breath, insists that they can wait for him: his name is on the building after all.

So they keep on climbing, making it to 20 where Roger actually trips. He quickly declares he's fine and is just bending over to collect his tie-clip, and tells Don to go on while he looks. Don asks if he is sure, then to Roger's horror rushes on ahead at a light, easy jog like it was the easiest thing in the world. Waiting a moment to catch his breath, he calls up that he "found it" and then braces himself for the last three floors.

Don arrives on 23, coughing heavily now that he can show a little of the exertion his own fitter but still horribly abused body suffered with all those oysters and martinis weighing him down. He steps through the door, straightens his suit and hair and is joined by Pete who is impressed at the fact he just came up 23 floors. They walk together to join a clearly relieved Cooper, who introduces the three GOP men to Don who apologizes and explains the elevator was out of service.

They're all fine with that, eagerly shaking hands and getting introductions, Cooper joking that Pete will be handling their account but in reality running everything by him. They all laugh, including Pete who really doesn't find this particularly funny after a long week of being talked down to. They're all distracted by the arrival of Roger Sterling at last, soaked with sweat and staggering, hand on his protesting stomach. He can't even speak, just nods and tries to maintain composure as the GOP men declare that United Fruit have given him such glowing recommendations you'd think he invented the banana. Everybody laughs and Roger, though still pained, seems like he can at least stand up str-

https://i.imgur.com/MjNWwRf.mp4
Nevermind.

Don quickly calls for ice water, while a dazed Roger mutters,"Oysters" as Pete helps lead him away. "I can see that," nods Cooper, the entire contents of a long boozy lunch out for all to see. This gets a laugh from the GOP men, who joke in turn that they would have preferred lunch with Don and Roger to the cottage cheese they ate with some Quakers instead. Cooper is relieved that they're taking it all in stride, and suggests they leave Roger to regroup, and Pete quickly leads them away.

Don tells Cooper he'll be right in, waiting behind for a moment with Roger as he's given a glass of ice water to help settle his stomach. He asks Roger if he's okay, and Roger takes a moment, mind racing as he joins the dots at last. "Yeah, fine," he grunts, and Don gives him a attaboy slap on the shoulder, says,"Good" and walks away with a smile on his face: his revenge is complete, he has humiliated Roger in front of "adults" whose opinion he deeply cares about. Roger watches him go, knowing that Don did this but also knowing that he can't reasonably accuse him of anything, after all at every single step of the way Don followed his lead and offered him plenty of outs... knowing all the time that Roger's own ego would direct him more efficiently than Don ever could.

It's a fantastic ending to a rather fantastic episode. It's just a shame that Don's revenge was, as always, entirely about himself. He's taken out his aggression on Betty when Roger was to blame, he's accused her, he's thrown a tantrum (a recurring theme of this episode, the men who think of themselves as "adults" are all a bunch of petulant children) and now after doing all that damage, he feels great because HE got HIS revenge on Roger. But still... as self-serving as it is, there's something to be said about the satisfaction of watching Don's plan unfold to perfection. The episode title refers to a number of characters being left embarrassed, but most especially Roger (also red in the face from the physical exertion) who here at the end is left behind to suffer, for the first time in a long time, the consequences of his actions.



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 04:24 on Oct 13, 2020

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


It's been quite some time since I've laughed quite as hard as I did for the vomit scene the first time I saw it. It just KEEPS coming and something that gross-out happening on a show like Mad Men was just such a wonderful surprise

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 15:27 on Oct 12, 2020

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

I love Hildy

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?


Escobarbarian posted:

I love Hildy

The gun scene stands out for obvious reasons (I'm also imagining Pete just walking down the street or riding the subway casually holding his gun) but I also love Hildy coming over to Peggy's desk to remind Pete that his WIFE is waiting for him for dinner

Alan G
Dec 27, 2003


Pillbug

Jerusalem posted:

It's been quite some time since I've laughed quite as hard as I did for the vomit scene the first time I saw it. It just KEEPS coming and something that gross-out happening on a show like Mad Men was just such a wonderful surprise

It still makes me laugh a lot on a rewatch. But that first time when you don’t expect that kind of gross scene is amazing. Really enjoying these write ups of a show I return to for rewatches every few years.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God


Always the good excuse to post the chip and dip video

It is interesting to see Jerusalem's takes on Betty early on in season 1. There is a big push and pull up to around season 2 on whether Betty will somehow find Betty Friedan or do something else, and alot more of the "suffering housewife" aspect of her character...which by the end of the series she pretty much embraces that idea of her role being the housewife.

I also forgot that there is such an antagonistic relationship between Don and Roger as well.

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Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004




Grimey Drawer

I’ve always been a bit confused as to whether they actually got two or not. Why would Trudy be so mad if they already had one?

(I mean, obviously because of the rifle, but the specific wording she uses makes it seem like it was something she kinda treasured?)

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