“Strange days have found us
And through their strange hours
We linger alone
As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone.”
from “Strange Days” by The Doors
In Severance, ties to SC &P’s former reality have been cut. It is a surreal carnival, with Roger appropriately mustached as the carnie barker, only in need of straw hat and cane. Step right up, folks. His strings are being pulled by the bloodless blood suckers of McCann. Bert Cooper was right; he is not a leader. He led a coup but naively thought he would be free; a fleeting fantasy.
Don is now unmoored, adrift in a sea of women and alcohol. He is on the run from his past; rudderless, he attends Rachel Menchen Katz’s shiva. “What do you think you will find here?” her sister asks. He is clueless. Life is too hard to fathom.
Joan and Peggy take abuse from sexist, snot-nosed McCann punks, and then from each other. For what? To get a client’s pantyhose into Macy’s. Neither one has to take it, especially Joan, who, as Peggy points out, is now rich. But they do. Joan goes shopping to blow off steam, but she will be back the next day. Peggy gets a blind date, which looks promising, but steps back a bit, somewhat gun shy.
Ken no longer wants to be a writer. It is too hard. He prefers to be a vindictive company man, taking out his anger and frustration on SC & P. He has made the transition from easy-going gentleman to raging cyclops.
Pete has lost his California cool.
Except for Ken and Peggy, they are now rich, but all are trapped. The money may not have been worth it. They are now isolated, out of touch, and world-weary, running from the day to the end of the night. Who will be able to save themselves? We shall see.
Finally, why was the waitress reading U.S.A. by John Dos Passos? (You may recall I mentioned this book in my discussion of Season 6’s Episode Four, To Have and To Hold.) It is, I think, because this masterpiece is a grand indictment of the dehumanization which is the product of American corporate capitalism, with a specific indictment of its growing public relations (advertising) segment, its propaganda arm, if you will.