“You’re a monster.” – Peggy Olson
Who holds the quality of mercy? Certainly not Don Draper, and ironically so being that of all our Mad Men players he’s likely the one most in need of it. Rather than humbling himself after last week’s gross indiscretions, he seems to be out to punish everyone in his path for theirs. Or at least, the main object of his resentment, Ted Chaough.
Megan awakens to the sound of an alarm clock and Don’s vacant side of the bed. She finds him asleep, fully clothed in Sally’s bed. After letting him know she waited up the night before, he insists he didn’t want to wake her. She tells him to “pull back on the throttle,” burns his breakfast and then asks him to stay home from work and sleep it off. He chugs his orange juice and watches her leave for the studio.
Meanwhile, Ken enjoys a hunting excursion with his Chevy crew before being shot in the face. Don takes Megan’s advice and sits home for the day, watching propaganda laden Nixon campaign commercials and stumbling across Megan’s soap opera. He quickly turns the channel and answers the ringing phone. “Your girl said you were home,” Betty clips on the other line. She’s called to inform him that Sally’s done visiting the Upper East Side. “What do you want me to do about it?” he asks. She also informs him that she’s expressed a sudden interest in boarding school. “I’ll pay for all of it,” he quickly answers. The two carry on a mildly flirtatious conversation and he tells Betty to let Sally know that he and Megan miss her.
At the SC&P offices Peg and Ted make insiders in front of the entire creative team. Ginsberg suggests they take a break. “I just wanted to see if I could get him to respond to an idea that wasn’t hers,” he tells the others after peg and Ted leave the room. Megan returns home to Don Mid-day, and is annoyed by Harry Crane’s phone call. He does however, have good if not conflicting news. Although SC&P withdrew from Sunkist on account of Ted’s affiliation with Ocean Spray their media plan made a lasting impression, and they reached out to Harry to seal the deal.
Don and Megan head to movies to see the “scary” and “disturbing” Rosemary’s Baby and run into Peg and Ted allegedly conducting “research” for the St. Joseph’s spot they’re crafting. The four make awkward small talk, after which Peggy sprints off to her “date” and Ted heads home to Nan and the boys. Pete sits with Ken in his office sympathetically (and opportunistically) listening to his Detroit-centered tale of woe. Given Cynthia’s pregnant, he wants to remain close to home and out of harms way. Pete feigns support, telling him to stick it out, but soon offers to take his place if he backs him up. The two shake on it.
“It’s very complicated.” – Don Draper
And complicated it was. “Favors” was literally about good turns. Asked for, refused, honored with ulterior motives and gone wrong, the moves that were made just two episodes shy of the season finale are setting the stage for some major changes.
As Peggy gets ready for work she sees an unwanted visitor in her apartment. She screams and runs out the door. Don arrives to the office to find Roger juggling oranges. They talk media strategy for Sunkist and Don advises Roger to “Get Harry Crane on it.” Manolo escorts Peter’s mother to the office, and he has Peggy entertain her. As they sit and chat she mistakes her for Trudy and implores that her and Peter reunite. “If nothing else then for the child you have together.” Peggy is flustered, and then disgusted as she hopes for them, the love her and Manolo allegedly share. Pete slides Manolo some extra cash.
Betty calls Sally into the kitchen. She’s just gotten off the phone with her friend Julie’s mother and learned that she and Sally will be the only girls on the trip to the City to visit the United Nations. “You hate that Daddy supports my dreams. He doesn’t think I’m just a pain in the ass,” she throws at her after suggesting she stay at the Draper residence instead. Meanwhile on the Upper East Side Don returns home to Megan sitting with Mitchell Rosen. He’s gotten himself enlisted; classified as 1A by the draft board and available to serve in the military and is seeking advice on how to run away to Canada. “He can’t spend the rest of his life on the run,” Don tells Megan pointedly.
In a strange subliminal love triangle, Peg, Pete and Ted have dinner and drinks to celebrate their Ocean Spray acquisition. Pete notices the spark between Peg and Ted and calls her on it. “You don’t want me to talk about his wife,” he says, followed by “I’ve seen that look.” He soon switches to self-pity mode, lamenting, “at least one of us ended up important.” “Please tell me you don’t pity me,” he pleads. “Because you really know me.” She tells him she doesn’t, and then lets him know that his mother believes she’s in a relationship with Manolo. Pete is completely grossed out, and the two share inside jokes. When Ted returns, he in turn notices the chemistry between Pete and Peg, and seems uncomfortable with it.
“You can’t put yourself in the right place at the right time, you’ve got to be in the right place all the time.” – Bob Benson
Episode 10 fell flat for many viewers, but I was still able to glean some interesting relationship dynamics and explore the themes that Weiner loves to recur. Bob Benson sums it up in his pep talk to Ginsberg, and our characters follow suit. Meanwhile on the other side of the country our main protagonist does what he does best – flirt with death.
August 1968 – Don sits in his living room watching Chicago Mayor Richard Daley avoid talking about the war at the Democratic Convention. He and Megan discuss police brutality at anti-war protests. She calls him cynical. He suggests she accompany him on his upcoming trip to California. In the boardroom, Ted gives the partners the low-down on Ken and Chevy out in Detroit and plans his trip to the Midwest to make nice. Apparently an executive named Jack’s feelings were hurt as the agency hadn’t “kissed his ring.” Don and Roger fly out to LA to schmooze with Carnation and Sunkist. In the air they discuss their would-be approach. “Be slick, be glib, be you,” Roger advises.
In lieu of working on a Manischewitz presentation, Cutler and Ginsberg hover over a radio, hearing breaking news of the Democrat proposed Vietnam Peace Plank rejection. Jim Cutler enters demanding an update on their work. “I refuse to be distracted by events in which I have no participation,” he chides. Ginsberg loses it and accuses him of hating blacks and Jews and other anti-hippy sentiments. Bob Benson shows up randomly, in that way that he always does, urging him to respect his superior. Both Ginsberg and Cutler lash out at Benson.
“We fired the wrong people,” Cutler tells Ted, and urges him to allow the sack of Ginsberg on the grounds of “failure to complete tasks and insubordination.” Ted suggests he play nice, as they have to work together. Joan arrives to what she thinks is a date, but turns out to be a business dinner with an Avon exec. She kicks it into gear and makes a play for their business.
“I realized I had regrets because I didn’t understand the wellspring of my confidence – my family. Manage that or you’re not going to manage anything.” — Duck Phillips
Last night’s episode was about family, and the connections that add meaning to our lives. By Season 6 we’ve watched these characters grow, and career has almost always been the focus while their personal lives have spiraled in and out of control. Now, home life is front and center for most of them, and most seem to be grasping for peace and purpose.
Pete, Ted, Don and Harry sit in the office conference room discussing their Fleischmann’s pitch. As usual Ted and Don take two polar opposite sides. Don calls Peggy in to ask her opinion. She’s reluctant to choose a side, which upsets Don. He and Ted leave the room and Harry advises Pete to visit a headhunter. Cut to Megan’s set and she’s having trouble and taking direction.
Don visits Peggy’s office after their face-off. He asks about her work and when she declines to elaborate he jabs her for not taking a stand. She accuses him of only caring about his side. He assures her Ted cares about his own side as well and cautions her not to be fooled. Betty is bored at a political event. She smokes a cigarette while Henry makes a phone call. One of his colleagues hits on her.
Peggy returns home that night to find a policeman in the apartment interrogating Abe. He was stabbed exiting the train station and refuses to identify his assailants. He derides Peggy for siding with the cops in her attitude toward the neighborhood thugs. Don returns home to dinner and remnants of Megan’s bad day. He decides he doesn’t have an appetite after all and the two decide to go to bed. As Henry and Betty leave the event Henry presses her for details about Stewart Dell’s advances.
“You have to let yourself feel it. You can’t dampen it with drugs and sex. It won’t get you through.” – Peggy Olson
But oh, did they try. From Don mending his broken heart, Stan getting over a family tragedy, to poor Frank Gleason’s young daughter Wendy dealing with her dad’s death, the characters tried their hardest to drown it all out with vices. As usual, the one with the highest stakes is our dear Don Draper – just now catching up to the impetus for his mind-numbing behavior. But the high only lasts for so long before the inevitable crash.
Ken appears to have been kidnapped, careening down the highway with a gun to his head, jeering clients covering his eyes. Don stands by the service entrance to Sylvia’s apartment leaving cigarette butts as parting gifts. He listens through the door to her asking Arnold what he wants for dinner. The following morning at the office, the partners sit in the conference room playing checkers and eating sandwiches. Roger tells everyone they need a nap. Ted replies that it’s easy for him to say, as he has nothing else to do. Ken enters with a cane, relaying the Chevy executives were less than pleased with their latest pitch and took him on a “joy ride” in the Empala which almost lost him his life. Don rests in a chair, his face looking as Roger described, “like a bag of marbles,” frustrated by Chevy’s resistance. Ken does however have a souvenir from his excursion; a calendar with three years of monthly deadlines. Jim Cutler offers words of wisdom, “This is what Chevy’s paying us for. It’s their clock. What’s another weekend?”
Ted and Don are pulled out of the office for calls and Jim resolves to call his doctor in to the agency. “I’m going to get Kenny fixed up. I’m going to get everyone fixed up.”
Back in Don’s office we discover it was Sylvia on the line. She’s angry and wants him to stop loitering in her hallway. “I don’t think you understand,” she tells him. “Right now I’m wondering how I ever trusted you.” Don is relentless and attempts to get her to see him. She refuses and hangs up on him. He throws his office phone and tells Dawn he’s going to take a nap. He begins to cough which summons flashbacks of a cough he had in the old brothel of his childhood.
Sometimes when you’re flying you think you’re right-side-up, but you’re really upside-down” – Ted Chaough
I always consult with Matthew Weiner before I write these recaps, and he’s assured me that “Man with a Plan” is about power. Throughout the episode our characters are grasping for it; wielding it in both responsible and irresponsible ways, and ultimately left without it.
Don is on an elevator again, no surprise here. But at a routine stop on the Rosens’ floor he’s privy to another tiff between the two. Sylvia orders Arnold to leave as his bags sit in front of the elevator. Later that morning, Peggy arrives at SCDH headquarters where everyone exchanges pleasantries but remains skeptical of the inevitable changes on the horizon. Joan directs the CGC transplants to their new spaces, but walks her old friend Peggy to her office personally. She winces as she welcomes her, massaging a sharp pain in her side.
Later still, Pete bursts into a partner’s meeting demanding a seat at the table. When Ted’s assistant Moira offers up hers, he erases chivalry from his vocabulary and gladly takes it. Ted adds further emphasis to his douchebaggery, then insisting she take his seat and hopping onto the credenza. The team discusses new business – Fleischmann’s wants in with the new merger. On the old business front, the NYS Thruway feels threatened by Mohawk Air, and the team must develop a way for both accounts to coexist. Don insists he and Pete (and Ted, an afterthought provided by Joan) will visit Mohawk and put out the fire. Ted; a pilot, says he’ll fly them up there. Pete is called out of the meeting to attend to his mother who appears to be suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.
Sylvia summons Don from the office. “I need you and nothing else will do,” she purrs. He tells her to meet him at the Sherry-Netherland. Roger calls Burt Peterson into his office and promptly lets him go again. “No one fought for you,” he states with subdued joy. Poor Bob Benson; who’s been instructed to report to him, introduces himself on the staircase. “…stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye,” Peterson advises.
Turned on by the fact that Sylvia “needs” him, Don blows off the creative meeting at 1:00pm. Meanwhile the creative team free associates on Margarine after Peggy fails to crack Dawn for Don’s whereabouts. “She’s an excellent secretary,” she observes. “She wouldn’t tell me anything.” Still reeling from their morning argument, Sylvia complains to Don about Arnold, which turns him all the way off. A power trip ensues.
“It’s a common mistake to not ask questions when you want something because you’re afraid of the answers.”
Some let it go, either wanting for an eternity or forgetting their desires altogether. Then there are those who act without asking. “This is a story about impulse,” Weiner declares in “Inside Episode 6” and all through this story we find our characters leaping before they look. They’re making snap decisions left and right before thinking about the consequences, and the next episodes will only tell whether they pay off handsomely or fail miserably.
SCDP (Can we just agree to say SCDH now?) toys with the idea of going public. An underwriter sifts through their paperwork regarding it spotless. He leaves, saying he’ll be in touch after further analysis. Roger canoodles with his new lover; a flight attendant named Daisy who he has spying on executive passengers in hopes of a lead. Meanwhile in Cos Cob, Peter climbs into bed with a still sleeping Trudy, only to be hit with the curve. “So we’ll just maintain every aspect of this marriage except the one that matters,” he asks sullenly when she refuses his advances. “You’re going to be sorry when this is over. I have big things coming,” he promises. Trudy doesn’t seem impressed.
At the Drapers’, Marie Calvet lets on that she hates her grandkids. We’re marginally surprised. Arnold Rosen drops by in search of wrapping paper for Sylvia’s Mother’s Day present. Marie regards him as talented and handsome and says she wouldn’t leave him alone. “There’s poop on the stairs again,” Peggy announces as she walks into her new fixer-upper. Apparently she and Abe moved to the west 80’s after all. At the office, Pete attempts a private dinner with Don after Jaguar cancels. Don proposes they enjoy their reprieve and enters his office to find Roger inside. According to him the meeting is on but Pete’s not invited, and he requests Megan’s presenceto prevent any major blow-outs. When Don rebuts that she has plans with Marie, he insists she come along also.
During a CGC creative meeting Frank Gleason breaks the news to Ted that he’s fighting pancreatic cancer. Daisy calls Roger with a tip and he heads to the airport, blowing off the Jaguar meeting. Megan admits to Marie that Don has been distant. Marie offers up the possibility he feels she’s slipping away. She encourages her to dress sexier and cater to the carnal more often. Without Roger’s charm at dinner, Marie is acutely disgusted with Herb Rennet’s wife Peaches.
“This is an opportunity. The heavens are telling us to change.” – Randall Walsh
On the night of April 4, 1968 our Mad Men crew is grappling with the shocking assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For them, and no doubt the world, it called to question everything they held dear. Some clung to the ones closest to them, stuck in that moment of time; some grieved in silence and pushed forward; some avoided the pain. Others missed the mark altogether, failing to note the significance of the fall of a great man.
Peggy has her back to us– she’s staring at the East River from the windows of a potential new apartment. As a broker reads off a list of amenities she envisions herself in the space. Abe arrives and offers little feedback other than the obvious –the walk from First to York is a doozy. Cut to Bobby Draper showing the first signs of OCD likely brought on by his parents’ dysfunction. He peels away a section of wallpaper that doesn’t quite line up. Betty’s voice startles him as he’s called to dinner. He moves his bed to hide the tear.
Don and Megan run into the Rosen’s in the lobby. Don seems distracted as they tell him they’re off to DC for an event. They make small talk about the ANDY award that Megan’s up for. “My goodness, you’re really good at everything,” Sylvia says. Megan downplays it, saying she was just a member of the team. Ginsberg arrives home from work to find a young woman named Beverly sitting with his father in the living room. “I was led to believe that you knew about this,” Beverly apologized.
At the Advertising Club award ceremony Roger introduces Don to a trippy gentleman named Randall Walsh. In different parts of the city Megan and Peg discuss their successes while Ginsberg and Beverly discuss their parents’ motives over a meal. In typical neurotic Ginsberg fashion he discloses his virginity. “Michael, I’m just doing a favor for my parents,” she assures him, easing his expectations. Paul Newman takes the stage at the ANDY dinner and pledges his allegiance to McCarthy. Someone in the audience announces that MLK has been shot. There is uproar, and a break in the program.
Abe gets called to cover the reaction Uptown by the New York Times. The Francis family follows the events on news radio as Betty’s afraid of what they’ll show on the television. Henry rushes out to help Mayor Lindsay assess the situation in Harlem. Peter calls Trudy asking to go out to Cos Cob. He wants to make sure she and Tammy are safe, but we can tell he needs their comfort as well. Trudy says no. Ginsberg and Beverly hear the news and cut the date short. He returns home and watches reports of violence by “young negroes” around the country on the tube. There’s trouble in DC, and Don is worried about Sylvia. Megan calls her father, whose Marxist remarks upset her.
“There’s nothing better than being known for your loyalty.” - Ken Cosgrove
This week was all about the varying degrees of loyalty in both business and personal relationships. Our characters either place a premium on the virtue or don’t, and the episode quickly becomes a study of disclosure versus secrecy. When things are done in private it’s easy to utter the Don Draper signature “this never happened.” But as some of players in the SCDP universe fail to note, non-disclosure doesn’t right your wrongs, and being upfront doesn’t always pay.
“To Have and To Hold” opens in Pete’s New York City apartment while he and Don court Timmy from Heinz’s Ketchup division. They make secret plans to pitch their ideas, and Timmy assures them that Raymond will fall in line should they be pleased with the outcome. Don and Pete agree that only Stan will work on the secret campaign.
Dawn walks into a diner; obviously uptown judging by the sea of brown faces. She meets a friend to discuss her wedding; for which Dawn is the Maid of Honor, and Dawn’s difficulty finding a date. Cut to Joan’s mom getting her makeup done by Jane’s old friend Kate who now works for Mary Kay. Gail commandeers their reunion; she’s made dinner and wants to be a part of things although Joan clearly had other ideas. She cancels reservations for the two of them after learning she has an interview with Avon in the morning.
Don meets Sylvia in the elevator and they kiss. “Where have you been I missed you?” she asks. She’s on her way out while Don’s on his way. She’s mysterious about her destination and Don is curious. Back at Joan’s Gail lets on that she is proud of her daughter and her accomplishments at SCDP. Joan seems surprised, and starts to look at herself in a seemingly new light when Kate chimes in that she’s also impressed.
The following morning Ken and Harry have a talk about his struggles with his in laws; namely, Ed Baxter of Dow Chemicals, which has been catching major slack for its production of napalm used in the Vietnam War. With protests popping up left and right, including more than a dozen folks showing up to the company lobby, Baxter is concerned about public perception of their brand. Harry tells Ken he has an idea to help him.
Meanwhile Ginsberg and the new female copywriter speculate on the details of Project K. Stan walks into a room marked “Private” and Don follows soon after. Inside, Stan hands Don a joint claiming, “it clears the cobwebs.” Don actually takes a hit, and they discuss his Ketchup ideas. Dawn and Harry’s secretary Scarlett discuss their colleague Clara’s birthday and an outing to purchase her gift. Scarlett asks Dawn to punch her out when she leaves because she’s not coming back to the office.
Somehow I thought there was some dignity in granting permission” – Trudy Campbell
verb (used without object), col·lab·o·rat·ed, col·lab·o·rat·ing.
1. to work, one with another; cooperate, as on a literary work: They collaborated on a novel.
2. to cooperate, usually willingly, with an enemy nation, especially with an enemy occupying one’s country
In “Inside Episode 3” Matthew Weiner confirms that “The Collaborators” was about “the unspoken rules” and “how you get around this agreement that you’ve made.” The characters and the audience are confronted with several collaborations; some known and some unbeknownst to the players. Mistresses and wives are seeking comfort in each other’s arms and alliances are tested. Some break the rules, some make the rules. Some have yet to decide if they want to collaborate after all.
Episode 3 opens with Pete and Trudy seeing their dinner guests out the door of their Cos Cob pad. Pete helps the two blondes into their coats and brags that he can score them tickets to “Hair.” Meanwhile Trudy schmoozes with their husbands about neighborhood events. It appears they are both flirting; “Do you dress like a bunny,” one asks when she let’s on they’ll be hosting an Easter egg hunt. She assures them it’s a wholesome event. Peter offers his card to Brenda; one of the blonde wives, and offers to meet her in the City with the tickets. As indicated by their certain glances, this is obviously code for “Let’s meet in the City and have an affair.”
“What was that about the pool?” Pete asks Trudy of a comment made by one of the husbands as he exited. “He’s insistent we all go skinny dipping,” she replies. So very inappropriate, but it appears as long as they were all in the same room the flirting was fair game. Pete sits down to watch war updates on the tube.
Cut to Sylvia and Dr. Rosen fighting in the hallway over money while Don waits on the elevator. Awkward. “You’re lucky your wife works,” Arnold says after revealing that he suspects she’s sending her allowance to their child. Don presses 18, letting Arnold know he’s forgotten his cigarettes. This is obviously code for “I forgot to have sex with your wife.” Arnold issues another cigarette warning while Don heads back upstairs. “I knew it would be you,” Sylvia says as she opens the door in her lingerie. He promptly has a whorehouse flashback from his childhood when he and his pregnant step-mom arrived at Aunt Ernestine and Mack’s.
“That’s all there are: doors and windows and bridges and gates and they all open the same way and they all close behind you.” Roger Sterling
According to hearsay, Sunday night’s season premiere was disappointing. Still, I feel there was a lot of valuable material stuffed into those two episodes titled “The Doorway.” Maybe viewers weren’t ready to get all cerebral from the get-go, but Weiner took it there and I’m pretty sure he’s setting the stage for some major action and drama this season.
There were many doors opened and closed in those two hours; the doorway between life, death and the afterlife – a few times over. Winter of 1968 finds our characters grappling with death, rebirth, and the public perception of it all.
A woman screams, and through the lens of who we later find to be Don and Megan’s doorman Jonesy, we see who we will later find to be their neighbor Dr. Arnold Rosen attempting to resuscitate him. We hear someone, (Megan?) repeating “Oh my God,” and then that abysmal roar of the ocean. Suddenly we see Don reading Dante’s Inferno on the beach. “I woke to see myself in a dark wood.” Megan wonders aloud how long she’s been tanning and if she should be tanning at all. When her watch doesn’t work, she lets time stop. “You know what, who cares what time it is.” Don seems introspective, but calm. Back at The Royal Hawaiian Megan offers the doobies she’s scored and they mix THC with oxytocin.
Later at a traditional Hawaiian luau, a Sheraton exec encourages Don to “relax and get into the spirit of the island.” It appears he’s doing just that, until Megan is approached by a fan of To Have and to Hold. “You just have a way,” she gushes. When she asks for Megan’s autograph Don seems mildly amused, then mildly irritated. Megan is ecstatic.
Don doesn’t speak aloud for the first eight or so minutes of the show and Megan appears not to notice. Alone at the bar when a drunk veteran begins talking his ear off; he breaks his silence. Coincidentally Don and PFC Dinkins have the same cigarette lighter. He’s getting married tomorrow and needs someone to walk his wife down the aisle. Don is apprehensive, but Dinkins assures him it’s all in the name of good karma. “I believe in what goes around comes around.”
A compelling enough argument for Draper, for when Megan wakes up without him she need only look to the sand where he’s witnessing their vows. Cut to the Francis women at the ballet, plus Sandy, a violinist friend of Sally’s. After The Nutcracker Betty is pulled over for reckless driving and Grandma Pauline tries and fails avoiding a ticket by name-dropping her son.
“I can’t imagine it getting any darker than this” she overstates. “My mom’s dead,” Sandy offers as an alternative, and Betty laughs like she’s one of the girls. They make it home intact and Sandy is coerced into a violin performance which leaves everyone enraptured. Henry so much so that Betty suggests he rape her while she holds her arms down. *blank stare*
Meanwhile the Drapers are back in the city. As they enter the building Don has a flashback of Jonesy falling to the floor. This time we can see Dr. Rosen jump into gear, and Don freeze. He looks helpless and terrified, not even capable of following instructions. But then we’re back in the present and Jonesy is fully recovered. Megan blames their vacation for her minimal screen time in the new script.
And little, troubled, precocious Sandy is up late smoking a cigarette at the Francis residence. Betty finds her in the kitchen and sets her up with a snack and a heart to heart. Sandy hips Betty to the fact that she wasn’t accepted to Julliard, and she’s dying to move to the village and commune with other hippie teenagers in abandoned buildings. Betty tries to relate and offers encouragement, but her new and improved matronly steez only seems to alienate her.
Somewhere in the city Peggy and Abe come home from a dinner that’s left him with stomach problems. She receives a call from the job that their ad for Koss headphones needs to be changed because of a Tonight Show comedian’s poor taste in jokes.
The following morning Don and Dr. Rosen share an elevator and talk Leica cameras. Don invites him to the office to pick one up, gratis. Roger visits his shrink and attempts stand-up while lying down. “What exactly are you joking about?” the doctor asks. Don’s in the elevator again, this time at SCDP. There’s an interesting unknown along for the ride who just happens to have an extra cup of coffee with Don’s name on it. “People will take a few extra steps for a superior product,” he says. As if Don doesn’t know that.
Once off the elevator we see that joints have replaced booze in the office, at least with the creative team. Everyone has lots of facial hair, and there’s a mysterious old woman. “I had an experience. I don’t know how to put it into words,” Don tells everyone inquiring about his Sheraton pitch. Dawn emerges, almost a bit too perky and doe-eyed but seems right on top of everything. Pete’s taking portraits at the staircase leading up to their new build-out on the 38th floor.
As Don prepares for a shoot in his office; which he’s not very happy about, he gazes out of the window. There goes that abysmal ocean roar again. He lectures the creative team on the misappropriation of the word love in a mock-up of a Dow oven cleaner campaign. He’s not sure that verb belongs in the kitchen. He tells them electricity is the name of the game. “What’s the difference between a husband knocking on a door and a sailor getting off a ship? About 10,000 volts.” Dr. Rosen watches from the door, swept up in Don’s analysis.
Roger’s secretary Caroline bursts into his office in tears. She’s just received a call that Roger’s 90 year-old mom passed away. Roger on the other hand, doesn’t seem surprised or even touched in the least. She downs the drink he’s given her and almost collapses. Peggy tries to reach Ted Chaough to no avail. Still, she hunkers down and rallies up the troops to come up with a solution to their Koss problem.
Don is visibly uncomfortable with the photo shoot. He lights a cigarette and realizes he traded his lighter for PFC Dinkins’. He’s flustered, losing focus and knocked out of his orbit. Next thing we know he’s awakened by Megan leaving for work and thankfully regrettably missing the Sterling funeral. She tells Don to relay her condolences.
As Roger entertains the geriatric crowd, Jane strolls in looking fabulous. They have a short conversation about his mother’s ring, and he assures her she should keep it.
Hazel Tinsley from Palm Beach insists on speaking first and rants about how much Roger’s mom loved him. Don hurls and Roger is set off when Mona shows up with another man. He kicks everyone out.
After Sally informs Betty that Sandy’s gone to Julliard early, Betty ventures into the city to find her. The contrast between her ritzy “ladies who lunch” apparel and the hollow village tenements is striking. She stands near the doorway for some time before crossing the threshold, and with good reason. The dirt, mice and darkness that await her are hardly worth the trip, until she discovers Sandy’s violin case.
Within the walls of that building Betty gets a good look at herself, from the point of view of her polar opposites. “What are you some kind of social worker?” she’s asked after explaining that the girl she’s looking for is not her daughter. The squatters ask her how to make Goulash, and she actually entertains them for a while, waiting for Sandy’s return.
Back at the funeral Roger gives his daughter water from the river Jordan that they were baptized in. She appreciates the gesture, but is more interested in Roger helping her and Brooks with a business opportunity. She’s looking for money and inheritance, and although Roger takes it in stride it does hurt him a bit.
Megan returns from a hard day’s work to Don back in bed. After Pete and Ken help him home, (where he all but attacks Jonesy asking what he saw when he died), he recuperates in the dark. She hands him Dinkins’ lighter that he trashed, no doubt in an effort to trash the mixed feelings that experience evokes. Much like the feelings it symbolizes, it keeps reappearing. Once Betty is sure that Sandy’s not coming back, and has been sufficiently insulted by the teenager she allegedly sold her violin to in order to make it to the West Coast, she heads home, only to have Sally close the door in her face. Peg gives her underlings a taste of Don Draper and gains some inspiration from Abe.
Don asks Dawn to return Dinkins’ lighter. Roger keeps insisting he doesn’t feel anything. Ken reams the mysterious dude from accounts for lurking and trying to be seen. Don has to make an impromptu mini pitch to Sheraton. He’s obviously still not able to put the experience in words - at least, not ones that will entice folks to Hawaii. The Sheraton execs find it dark and ominous, not to mention lacking any visuals of their hotel.
Roger finally reaches his breaking point when he receives notice that his shoe shiner Giorgio has also died. Don and Megan have an intimate NYE party in their building with two other couples, including the Rosen’s. They show the stills from their Waikiki getaway, and there goes that old feeling again. Next click shows Don at Dinkins’ wedding. Peggy and Stan have a late night call when Ted Chaough appears dressed to the nines. He loves her new Koss idea, but hates that she’s made the rest of the team work on the holiday when she had a genius solution on deck.
Doctor Rosen gets called to a patient at 1:00AM. He actually skis there in the thick of a snow storm. Now that’s dedication. Finally, Don answers the question from Season 5. He knocks on the Rosen’s door after Arnold has gone to save a life in the inclement weather and makes love to his wife. Turns out she’s the one who put him on to Dante. Is he alone?
Roger calling Don “Don Ho” upon his return from Waikiki made me chuckle.
While we’re on Don, I wonder which circle of hell he’s in right now. I thought it was limbo throughout the episode, but after the final scene he may have made the transition to lust.
So many things in this episode scream of the impending 70’s, from the décor in Don’s office to Megan’s outfits to Pete and Roger’s sideburns. Janie Bryant did the damn thing with wardrobe.
Is it just me or was Peggy’s face beat into submission. Props to whoever did her makeup in this episode. Also, that navy suit with the emerald buttons she wore when meeting with the Koss representative was to die for.
Roger telling Caroline to “Talk to Joan, she’ll know what to do,” after his mother passed was just a little bizarre. Especially considering she offered not one word of sympathy to him and didn’t show up to the funeral. (I’m assuming she was invited. She did bear one of Roger’s children after all.)
And taking things a step further, was Stan calling out Joan’s slight in Roger’s time of need a sign that things done in the dark are about to come to light?
Does Betty’s ripped coat symbolize something else? Those squatters really did get under her skin. That bottled blonde comment was enough to send her running to the salon for a drastic change.
Wait, while we’re on Betty, wtf with those rape references? I blame Rick Ross.
I adore all of the ‘stop smoking’ warnings in this episode.
The notable quotes in this episode were abundant. It seems every other scene there was something profound and/or hilarious said. Here are my favorites:
“Bob Benson SCDP? Who the hell is that?” There goes Roger again, saying the very thing we’d been wondering the entire episode.
“So you’ll still love me even if I’m a lying cheating whore.” – Not an accident that Megan says this to Don and not the other way around.
Oh, speaking of lying and cheating, kind of cool he’s cheating on Megan with Lindsay Weir. (Linda Cardellini)
“It kills you to be out of control” followed by “We don’t like your life any more than you do.” That darned squatter hit Betty with so many zingers.
“I hate cops.” Oh, Sally. A bit young and privileged to already be anti-establishment. The Summer of Love did show its effects all across the country.
“I hate it! You’re ugly!” followed by “What happened to you?” The kids’ reactions to Betty’s new hair were priceless.
“People will do anything to alleviate their anxiety.” Ain’t that the truth Dr. Rosen.
“It’s incredible how fast some people come up with lies.” Betty was getting it from all sides this episode, but she took it in stride. We have a feeling Sandy started the job that the squatter finished when it came to Betty’s changed perception of herself.
“Are you on dope.” – Sandy wasn’t, but everyone else sure was!
Need to catch up on Season 5 before tonight’s premiere? I’ve got you with the highs and lows of all 13 episodes.
Episodes 1&2: “A Little Kiss”
Quotable: “Dissatisfaction is a symptom of ambition. It’s the coal that fuels the fire.” – Trudy Campbell
Major Themes: Discontent, Perception vs. Reality
Cultural Significance: The Equal Employment Act played a major part in this episode, and that time period.
Do Remember: It’s the spring of 1966: We’re thrown into an SCDP world where Lane Pryce is beginning his descent, Joan Harris is struggling with new motherhood, Harry Crane is a weirdo, and Betty Francis is missing.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Scene aesthetics: set design and wardrobe pointed to the change of the times and were a nudge in the direction of the 70’s.
Possible Season 6 Clues: Season 6 may find it hard to gloss over civil rights and the changes in the workplace.
Episode 3: “Tea Leaves”
Quotable: “When is everything gonna get back to normal.” – Roger Sterling
Major Themes: Dealing with change, particularly the changing of the agency guard.
Cultural Significance: With equal employment in the air, there’s more focus on the hierarchy of the oppressed in the workplace. The British Invasion has teenage girls in frenzies all over the country.
Do Remember: Episode 3 reveals Fat Betty Francis and her cancer scare, and humanizes her just a bit. Until she discovers that she doesn’t have cancer. Then she’s back to spoiled, childish Betty. We’re also introduced to Michael Ginsberg, whom we get the sense will give Don a run for his money. Hollywood Harry surfaces and rubs everyone the wrong way.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Harry trying so hard to impress Don and falling so short, mistaking Styx for the Rolling Stones and telling Don to feed himself before his family.
Possible Season 6 Clues: The brewing rivalries ofPeter vs. Roger and Ginsberg vs. Don may spill over into Season 6.
Episode 4: “Mystery Date”
Quotable: “That’s for nothing, so look out.” – Pauline Francis
Major Themes: Expect the unexpected, manifesting manhood
Cultural Significance: The Richard Speck Murders and Chicago’s Division Street Riots had everyone shaken up one way or another.
Do Remember: The surprise appearance of Andrea Rhodes spooks a sick Don as much as the horrors going on around the country. Joan and Greg’s relationship issues come to a head when she finds out he’s returning to the Army voluntarily. She kicks him to the curb and continues wearing the pants in the family.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Peggy taking Roger’s money for copy, Henry’s mom drugging Sally, Peggy pegging Dawn in spite of herself.
Possible Season 6 Significance: Without jumping the refresher course gun, Joan goes through some traumatic shit in Season 5. Will she find love again in Season 5? Will it ever come out that she’s had Roger’s child?
Episode 5: “Signal 30”
Quotable: “It might have been living in the country that was making him cry. It was killing him with its silence, and loneliness, making everything ordinary too beautiful to bear.” – Dave Algonquin
Major Themes: The value of what you have vs. what you want; the pursuit of happiness
Cultural Significance: The episode’s namesake driver’s education video shows actual carnage on the road. England bests West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Final. A disturbed Charles Whitman opens fire on the University of Texas campus.
Do Remember: Lane drums up new business and effectively loses it when the boys have a night on the town. Peter succumbs to Trudy’s dinner party plans and has the gang on up to Cos Cob. Don reminds everyone that he’s Superman, and Cynthia (Cynthia!) reminds everyone that Ken is a writer. Pete finds manhood in prostitutes and Don cautions him not to lose what he has.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Peter and Lane’s boxing match has to be one of the highlights of the season. Megan continues to take Don out of his comfort zone.
Possible Season 6 Significance: The brewing rivalries ofPeter vs. Roger and Ginsberg vs. Don may spill over into season 6.
Episode 6: “Far Away Places”
Quotable: “Your mind is always elsewhere.” – Abe Drexler
Major Themes: Escapism, rebirth, “Bardo Thodol”
Cultural Significance: “The Naked Prey” and “Born Free” movies, the surge of LSD as the new drug of everyone’s choice, the marketing of Howard Johnson as a getaway destination.
Do Remember: Don and Megan’s first major blow out, and the first in a series of tiffs that chips away at their relationship. Don; who has been slipping at work, gets a reality check from Bert Cooper. Roger and Jane call it quits after experimenting with mind-expanding drugs. The balance between a woman’s career and family is weighed.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Peggy lets Abe see her soft side. Roger’s LSD hallucinations were masterfully shot and intricately linked. We start to realize that Dawn Chambers is just for show and we’ll never know much more about her.
Possible Season 6 Significance: Roger and Jane on LSD rendered this possibly my favorite episode of the season. If anything, their split has us wondering who will be his leading lady in Season 6.
Episode 7 “The Cod Fish Ball”
Quotable: “Nothing I had was mine because the game was thrown.” – Roger Sterling
Major Themes: Disillusionment, Disappointment , Getting what you want under uncertain terms
Cultural Significance: Don’s ACS debacle reminds us that up until this time it was still debatable that cigarettes were bad for your health.
Do Remember: Peggy’s sudden hopes for marriage culminate into an invitation to shack up. Still, she rsvp’s as if he’s proposed.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Don and Megan’s tag team, Don’s realization that she’s actually good at advertising, Megan’s realization that she actually hates advertising.
Possible Season 6 Clues: Roger boning Megan’s mom was pretty inappropriate, yet still awesome. Always on the look-out for Roger’s next romance, we wonder if they’ll rekindle that spark this season. We’re sure to see more signs of Sally’s precociousness, and perhaps the reveal of her undetected lie about how Bluto hurt her ankle.
Episode 8 “Lady Lazarus”
Quotable: “I used to be like this; just reckless.” – Beth Dawes
Major Themes: Rising Phoenix, Rebirth, Old vs. New
Cultural Significance: There go those Brits again. The Beatles’ “Hard Days Night” is the song of choice for yet another ad campaign. Reference to Sylvia Plath’s suicidal novel of the same name gives this episode context.
Do Remember: Don is noticeably lagging behind in this episode, and even mentions to Megan that he can’t keep up. With the music, that is. Megan’s acting bug surfaces, Joan’ s shift from office vixen to mother hen…vixen
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Peggy answering the phone “Pizza House.” Nothing else needs to be said about that. There is however, much to be said about Peggy holding her own with Don Draper. This was one of the first times we saw her adequately standing up for herself. Pete’s foreshadowing of SCDP employees needing suicide coverage sent us .
Possible Season 6 Clues: We already know Megan’s been acting, and mini-spoilers point to her having acquired some notoriety of her own. Pete’s infidelity is getting a bit out of hand. Is 1967 the year Trudy finds out about his transgressions?
Episode 9 “Dark Shadows”
Quotable: ”It’s every man for himself.” Roger Sterling
Major Themes: Selfishness, Jealousy, Revelations of secrets
Cultural Significance: Betty at Weight Watchers. Was that the start of support groups for overweight women? The onset of Dark Shadows and America’s obsession with soap operas. Killer smog, yo? Who knew.
Do Remember: Don starts to realize Ginsberg could give him a run for his money and commences to get back in the game, even if it means playing dirty. Speaking of playing dirty, Fat Betty is up to her old tricks again, this time using her own daughter as a pawn.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Roger paying off everyone to do his work, Remembering that Jane is Jewish
Possible Season 6 Clues: Will there be more head-butting between Don and Ginsberg, or have they settled into a comfortable coexistence?
Episode 10 “Christmas Waltz”
Quotable: ”Surprise, there’s an airplane here to see you.” Joan Harris nee Holloway
Major Themes: Avoidiance, Transference, Deception
Cultural Significance: The onset of Hare Krishna, “America Hurrah” and the anti-consumerism movement, Star Trek - a cult classic
Do Remember: Lane’s financial troubles and unorthodox way of dealing with them is revealed. Paul Kinsey makes a surprise visit and Joan receives divorce papers from Greg - insult to injury. Don and Joan’s intimate exchanges are exhilarating. Megan gives Don the business after he shows up late and drunk for dinner. Betty she is not.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Joan refusing to be bought by Roger, unlike everyone else. Weiner seemed to be calling out Hollywood in this episode, with Harry as its mascot and representing for all disingenuous peeps.
Possible Season 6 Clues: We notice Don and Joan have a special connection that we hope will be fleshed out this season. We asked this last season, but are we in store for any more blasts from the past? We so love those.
Episode 11 “The Other Woman”
Quotable: ”A wife is like a Buick in the garage.” - Megan Draper
Major Themes: Infidelity,Man’s obsession with the unattainable, Everyone has a price
Cultural Significance: Jaguar, a luxury vehicle signifies the turn of cars being desired more for fashion and status than function.
Do Remember: The way everyone (except Don) pimped Joan out in this episode left many of us with bad tastes in our mouths. Don does however cross the line with Peggy - throwing money in her face was the ultimate low blow. But she gets the literal last laugh when she scores a new job and salary increase at a competing firm and makes Don beg for mercy. Acquiring Jaguar - a much needed account to keep SCDP afloat, is tainted with scandal.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: The many comparisons of women to cars (and planes) kept us on our toes. Megan refusing to help Don with ad business, the juxtaposition of Joan and Peggy putting themselves in better positions financially and in their careers. Joan by “selling out” and Peggy by refusing to. Ultimately, who has the handsomer reward?
Possible Season 6 Clues: With Joan as partner, we’re looking forward to seeing what she imparts on the agency with new authority.
Episode 12 “Commissions and Fees”
Quotable: ”Everything you want to do, everything you think is gonna make you happy, just turns to crap.” - Glen Bishop
Major Themes: Paying the price, Out with the old, in with the new…Again
Cultural Significance: Clear The Catcher in the Rye references add value to Sally and Glens misadventures.
Do Remember: Sally makes the symbolic transition to “womanhood.” Not only does she sneak out; galavanting through the city with her old friend Glen, but she gets her period that very day. After Don laments the illusion of success, Lane’s Jaguar won’t start. Lane hanging himself in the office is truly the season shocker.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Don relives his brother Adam’s suicide by hanging years earlier, which also came at the helm of being offered him money to go away. Glen Bishop writing a paper on Nat Turner was everything. Sally taking a cab from Manhattan to Rye for $25 bucks, which was actually almost $200 in 1966 evoked commentary on the evolving value of the American dollar. How’d she get that much dough anyways?
Possible Season 6 Clues: At the end of this episode, we think Don allowing a teenage Glen to drive was symbolic. Perhaps in Season 6 he’s ready to relinquish some control and trust his youthful counterparts a bit more.
Episode 13 “The Phantom”
Quotable: ”Easy to have, not easy to win.” - Peggy Olson
Major Themes: Menacing optical illusions, Perils of success
Cultural Significance: We think Peggy’s about to own a Virginia Slims campaign after she’s thrown a pack of lady cigarettes by her new employer. Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice”
Do Remember: Don’s visions of his brother Adam and Beth Dawes having shock treatment were eerie. We can’t believe Megan’s succumbed to good old nepotism to get what she wants. Either that or we can’t believe she’s waited so long. Maybe she liked the novelty of the initial struggle. Also, seeing her relationship with her mother take a few sour turns intrigues us.
The Best of The Good & The Bad: Easy shots at Dawn’s ethnicity are so not cool. Also not cool was the fact that lane cost more in death than his debt in life.
Possible Season 6 Clues: We’re positive that Season 6 will reveal whether Megan’s role in the Butler ad is the reason or springboard for her sudden fame. I mean, the sudden fame we’ve heard rumors about. The venom with which Rebecca Pryce handled Don Draper has us wondering if that was the last we’d hear from her. On the contrary Don running into Peg at the theater lets us know we definitely haven’t seen the last of her. The gloom and doom that Peter displayed in this episode has us wondering if he’ll be up to the usual or gain a little happiness in those sideburns (and his own apartment in the City) from the Season 6 Episode 1 pics. How will Don answer the pretty blonde’s question? Is he alone?
You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
PS You have to be brave.” —Jeanette Winterson
If you do not repair your broken heart
It will continue to malfunction
Wreaking havoc upon your life
Not the life of the one who broke it.
If you do not repair your broken heart
Other organs, like your brain, will suffer the strain of overuse.
Your neglect could cause a broken mind or spirit
Adding to the agony.
If you do not repair your broken heart
You will forget how it feels to be alive
Strong-arming those sensations
When they too closely resemble how it feels to be loved.
A reminder of the pain that follows when your beloved ceases to love you.
Good thing is, you’ve got a lifetime warranty.
Ed Yong breaks down recent compression breakthroughs that allow for all of Shakespeare’s sonnets to be stored in DNA speck.
But, as Vannaver Bush poignantly and timelessly reminded us in 1945, compression is only half the equation – we will always need the “trail-blazers” who help us consult what Bush so poetically called “the common record,” making sense of all that stored information and transmuting it into actual knowledge.
If you’re interested in making sure kids learn a lot in school, yes, intervening in early childhood is the time to do it … But if you’re interested in how people become who they are, so much is going on in the adolescent years.
It turns out that just before adolescence, the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain that governs our ability to reason, grasp abstractions, control impulses, and self-reflect—undergoes a huge flurry of activity, giving young adults the intellectual capacity to form an identity, to develop the notion of a self. Any cultural stimuli we are exposed to during puberty can, therefore, make more of an impression, because we’re now perceiving them discerningly and metacognitively as things to sweep into our self-concepts or reject (I am the kind of person who likes the Allman Brothers). “During times when your identity is in transition,” says Steinberg, “it’s possible you store memories better than you do in times of stability.”
At the same time, the prefrontal cortex has not yet finished developing in adolescents. It’s still adding myelin, the fatty white substance that speeds up and improves neural connections, and until those connections are consolidated—which most researchers now believe is sometime in our mid-twenties—the more primitive, emotional parts of the brain (known collectively as the limbic system) have a more significant influence. This explains why adolescents are such notoriously poor models of self-regulation, and why they’re so much more dramatic—“more Kirk than Spock,” in the words of B. J. Casey, a neuroscientist at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. In adolescence, the brain is also buzzing with more dopamine activity than at any other time in the human life cycle, so everything an adolescent does—everything an adolescent feels—is just a little bit more intense. “And you never get back to that intensity,” says Casey. (The British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips has a slightly different way of saying this: “Puberty,” he writes, “is everyone’s first experience of a sentient madness.”)” —Fascinating read on how adolescence shapes who we are. (via explore-blog)
two of you, one of me-
one of you petting and stroking,
the other teasing, pushing me away…
so when we kiss it is like
i want to taste who you really are.
you can traipse in and out of yourself so easily-
or maybe that is just the you that i know.
maybe i can’t accept that there is more than one you;
come to grips with the fact that the you that i want is not always around.
why can’t every you be into me?
i’m beginning to feel like when my favorite you is gone, maybe he misses me a little
and when he comes back he will try and repair the damage that the other you’s have done.
i’m getting used to it, in spite of myself,
creating other me’s to go with you
hoping that you will never leave me.
our interactions are an unintentional routine.
what we do together so similar to what we do by our lonesomes.
unsettling, don’t you think?
difficult to keep someone out when they are already in.
complicated when they are in on their own.
stumbled upon the entrance and had a fitting key- the same key to themselves…
so alternately you can let yourself into them if you so choose.
sometimes i choose to.
familiarities left unspoken manifest themselves through actions so subtle to the rest of the world, but blaring, blasting between us.
though sometimes your silence is unsettling, your thoughts are your own.
i agree (reluctantly).
still, wishing you could gather the strength to actually invite me in.
i want to do that for you.
it is almost effortless to me when i am roaring, but your snapping, nipping causes me to think that gentle nudges may be best.
soft pawing and deliberate licks.
when your claws close i bat you from side to side playfully,lovingly
when they are out i keep my distance
i let you burrow in your sand castle because i know you will find me later, and give me a light love pinch.
we could kill each other, because we do not know our own strength.
(with regard to the other, that is.)
i am never sure if what i do will affect you.
why would i be, when we are the same and i am so desperately clinging to an insouciant guise?
when you, slightly more demonstrative choose to show the piece of you where i have left my mark
my exaggerated humility forces me to call you insincere.
we could kill one another, because a clashing of our wills easily becomes an epic.
we have battle scars.
we both lost.
i lost my desire for you.
you lost me.
deeply terrified to really be someone’s
since I know from life
one cannot love another,
ever, really” —
Marilyn Monroe on Parkside House stationery
Susan Sontag —04.11.1971
As Consciousness is Harnessed to the Flesh: Journals & Notebooks, 1964-1980