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