Monthly Archives: April 2014

Season 7 Episode 3 – Field Trip

Is Don really so gullible, so naive?  Does he believe he is among friends at SC&P?  When I ask myself why he would accept such vague and potentially disastrous terms for his return, it is understandable only if the answer to both questions is yes. The four partners believe that the Don Draper Era is over. He is now a large financial liability. They have turned a problem (Don’s reappearance) into an opportunity (ridding themselves of Don and that liability). Bert and Jim will conspire with Lou to ensure that Don will fail (“There were always people to snatch at one, and it would never occur to them that they were eating one up. They did that without tasting.”). * Roger and Joan will, at first, be resistant, but will sign off, as, deep down, they always knew this was where they were going (“…half lies that were worse, for the hypocritically justifying element of truth in them, than frank whole lies.”). **  Peggy will watch from the sidelines, first, uncaring, then with compassion, and, finally, disgust. Michael Ginsburg will be the only one to express his outrage.

Don Draper has propped them all up at least once.  He orchestrated the coup that became SCDP.  He picked up Joan when she was down, has taken care of and nurtured Peggy. (What has happened to that nice Catholic girl!)  But Don has not chosen wisely; he let Lane, the only other mensch among them, the only one who would have stood up for him, slip into the abyss. Don does not understand men like Bert; “…you’ve got to know about the evil in the world too; otherwise you’ll never have any real power.” ***

Once again, Betty shows that she has the emotional maturity of a fourteen year old girl.   Will Bobby be drawn to women he will never be able to satisfy when he grows up?  It doesn’t look good.  

Is Peggy now blind with rage and stilted with cynicism?  Her Messiah has arrived, but she has lost her faith. 

Bert is a true survivor; such a sordid old bastard.

Oh Joanie, you were nearly my heroine!  

 

*   from The Wings of the Dove by Henry James

**  from Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley

*** from The Sailor Who Fell With Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima

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Season 7 Episode 2 – A Day’s Work

Well, it didn’t take long for Pete to lose his cool, did it?

Peggy is a mess, and Ted looks like his dog just died.  The only paradise is a lost paradise.

When is Don going to realize that Sally just wants him to be honest with her? For that matter, when is Don going to realize anything? Even when things are not going well for him, he has so many options.  Women will fall in his lap, and he will be offered good jobs.

Lou resents the hint of Don’s presence, leading to Dawn’s displacement and, then, a promotion. Kudos for JIm, who gave Joan a promotion without her having to fight for it. When did anyone there ever do anything so thoughtful for her?  And Joan was quite bold promoting Dawn; she knew that no one would approve it and that no one will undo, so she just did it.   Joan is really on a roll this season.

Stan is so detached; I would like to see the next episode from Stan’s point of view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Season 7 Episode 1 – Time Zones

Before I begin, I’d like to apologize to my readers for not writing about the last few episodes of the last season. I guess I didn’t have much worth saying.

It is easy to define oneself by what one does for a living, what one owns, or, generally speaking, the image one presents, but in that we are allowing others to define ourselves, because most of us believe that it is feedback from others, whether it is money, praise, gratitude, etc., that define us as successes or failures. And, it seems, that we need continual reinforcement of this.  The late 1960’s was a time when people were trying to free themselves from this miasma. It was a time when self-help books were more about self-knowledge than self-aggrandizement.   

So, one might think that a perceptive man, such as Don Draper, in desperate need of reassessing his life, would avail himself of such contemporaneous currents, and plunge into this endeavor.  After all, he is a well-grounded man of means,  with a talented and supportive wife.  He has never been satisfied with what he has, never been able to define what more he wants, and, is keenly aware of this.  Yet, he seems to be unwilling to let go, even for a little while.  Why? Is it a fear of reverting to the poverty of his youth? He doesn’t seem to place excessive value on his wealth, like so many noveau riche. Is he afraid to recognize that he can’t be faithful to one woman and be comfortable with that recognition? Is it a recognition of the pointlessness of his profession? Or, is there some deeper existential fear, a deep void he may fall into if he lets go?  If this were a medieval drama or a Dostoyevsky novel, I would attach great significance to his recent assault on the Christian preacher as resistance to humbling himself before God as his problem. I guess we  shall arrive at the reason(s) for his descent into the Slough of Despond as the season progresses.

Like so many of those in the 1960s, Roger Sterling once used drugs as a vehicle of personal epiphany, but, again, like so many of those same individuals, drug use has led him down a different road, one of sloth and degradation. He could not comprehend his daughter’s forgiveness of his flaws, cannot understand Joan’s continual refusal of his advance; she knows that he has not changed. Roger and Don are two weak, arrogant men, with the means to sustain their self-destructive lifestyles.  

Has Peggy Olson hit that wall that is inevitable among upwardly-mobile professionals, a new boss that does not appreciate her work, or does Lou see her as a threat to his position?  With Don on leave and Ted on the West Coast, Peggy is vulnerable.  She has to learn to adapt, or risk a breakdown. And, why hasn’t she sold that building yet?

Only the once-uptight Pete Campbell seems to be mellowing; he no longer seems to care what Ken Cosgrove, or anyone else has. Ken is now the uptight one.

It is great seeing Joan adapt to a new age of opportunity for women.  She was a master (or should I say head mistress) of the old school, and now a top student of the new, without sacrificing any of her femininity. It was also cute seeing her mild, momentary embarrassment when she realized the business professor wanted to barter for information, not sex.  It’s a new world, Joanie!

 

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