“Young people don’t know anything.. especially that they’re young.”
Well hello! We find ourselves in February 1962, 15 months after the end of Season 1. Valentine’s Day! Let’s twist again!
Turns out Don’s day to day blowing butts of 2 packs’ worth of Lucky Strikes and a gallon of Canadian Club aren’t doing his health any favours. Shocker. “You live too hard, and not just at the office. It’ll hit you all at once”. No shit, Doctor! Don is getting older.
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Peggy is in a meeting with the guys of Sterling Cooper, holding her own. She’s become more confident, and even gives dim Lois some tips as to how she should talk about Mr. Draper. We saw glimpses of this confident, cocky young woman last season, but now she’s really getting more comfortable with herself.
Once Don’s done at the doctor, he hits the bar for a lovely fried egg breakfast with a side of whiskey, as you do. He’s sitting next to some vaguely young guy, who’s reading a copy of Meditations in an Emergency. According to that guy, Don wouldn’t like it. Maybe because he reads as “old”? Who knows.
“I get on a plane I don’t care where I’m going, I just want to see the city disappearing behind me. It’s about adventure. It’s about a fantastical people taking you someplace you’ve never been. Blah Blah Blah. You want to get on a plane to feel alive, to see just the hint of a woman’s thigh because her skirt is just this much too short.”
Escape artist at work here.
Don believes that advertising is about standing out, not fitting in. This is coming from a man who so desperately wants to fit in, so desperately wants to read as ideal and normal, that it’s almost comical. We also see that he and Duck don’t get on in the least, their relationship is pretty strained. Don resents the younger person idea, and Duck doesn’t understand the creative process in the least. They don’t listen to one another, because they both think they know best.
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Valentine’s Day, eveningtime. Picture perfect Betty descends a gorgeous marble staircase, and Don is momentarily entranced. This is the first time I feel there’s some semblance of love between them, which is fitting considering this scene is all about those cinematic moments in life. Far from cinematic, Betty spots her old roomate Juanita from her Manhattan days. Turns out she’s a high class hooker.. awkward.
In their hotel room, Betty takes out the valentine Sally made for Don, then flashes her diaphragm.. and then Don loses his hardon a little bit later on. Also awkward. Betty tries to make him feel better, saying she’s drunker than she is, insisting she doesn’t know where she is. Her tone conveys that she’s just a touch over his fragile man feelings.
Meanwhile– Jackie Kennedy is on TV giving the iconic White House tour, so Betty flips that on. While the tour goes on, Joan is making out with that hot doctor we heard about, and Sal is more interested in seeing JFK himself. This TV special was a big deal- this was the first time the American public got to see the $2mil restoration done to the White House.
Some days later, Betty’s gigantic yellow car shits the bed. Like her old roomate, she realises she can maybe wield her sexuality as currency on a gamble with the mechanic who comes to help her when she comes up short cash-wise. It works, but it’s definitely weird.
Another thought from this episode, is this the beginning of the end of the Man(TM) era? It’s the cusp of feminism, after all. Pete can’t seem to knock up his wife, Don can’t perform in bed with Betty. At this time, these are not things that MEN(TM) do. There’s some brash younger dudes in the elevator yapping about banging broads, and Don seems bemused by their banter until a Lady pops on from another floor. Suddenly he changes, telling the guy to take his hat off as a sign of respect. Oldschool.
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We close on Don reading Meditations in an Emergency, and he sends it to an ~unknown recipient~. Time will tell!
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.