Mad Men s3e11: The Gypsy and The Hobo

“You were adrift, you didn’t do anything but spend money. You walked around like you were hoping to be a character in someone else’s novel.”

Fucking iconic episode right here; the shit is about to hit the fan. Betty’s let that mystery box marinate for a bit now, and is planning on taking the kids outta town for Halloween to see her brother and sister in law.

An old flame of Roger’s from years ago is at the office, lamenting her dog food company’s PR crisis; the horse meat secret is out, and the brandname is market poison as a result. Annabelle refuses to let Don change the brand’s namesake, since her late father coined it; her saying this to a man who knows a thing or 20 about the power of rebranding is pretty good.

Recently widowed, she’s convinced herself that Roger was the love of her life and she his, and can effortlessly snag him again. At their French dinner, Roger is sauced and a touch harsh about the facts. Annabelle is hurt and stunned to be both knocked back in the present and repudiated re:the past.

Essentially Annabelle broke his heart, and then she comes back all these years later saying that he’s ~The One~ like a slap to the face.. and it turns out she wasn’t The One in Roger’s realm. Ouch. I’m guessing the Honeymoon Hypnosis will wear off with Jane as time goes by, but for the time being, Roger is interested in being faithful to his wife.

Suzanne laments that Don is unhappy in his life, which is pretty much the biggest boner killer to a guy like that. In classic Don form, he pretty much rolls his eyes at her Emotions(TM) and goes to lie down to let her ride out her temper tantrum. She wanted more than she thought she would want (Taaaaale as old as tiiiiiiiimmeeeeeee). Don transposes a bit of his runaway fantasy onto her, as Betty is headed out of town with the kids for the rest of the week, and suggests a getaway to Mystic.

Joan is encouraging to her trash husband for his Psychiatry interview, being way nicer than he deserves. It’s pretty hilar as Greg would be the earth’s least fucking astute psychiatrist. His new focus means more school, and Joan needs a legit non-department store job. Ringing Roger the next day looking for work, he’s happy to hear from Joan. “You want to be on some people’s minds. Some people’s.. you don’t.”

Natch, Greg doesn’t get the psychiatry gig and bombs the interview. Joan comes home to a husband that’s deeply steeped in manpain. In a fit of defeat and utter frustration, Joan has the most appropriate reaction to his horseshit manbaby feelings I’ve ever seen.

“I don’t want to be a psychiatrist.. it’s not medicine. I might as well work at a bank.”

“I don’t care what you do, as long as you do something. We need money.”

“I did everything I was supposed to do. Everything they told me. College, med school.. I wanted to be a surgeon since I was that big.”

“I’m sorry, Greg.. Maybe it’s time to move on.”

“You don’t know! You don’t know what it’s like to want something your whole life, and to plan for it, and to count on it and not get it! Okay?”

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image courtesy of Photobucket

As if Joan wouldn’t know how that feels, you trashbag of microdicks.

Betty consults with the family attorney about her marriage, seeking advice and getting some bleak shit in return. Looks like it’s harder to divorce than she thought. He can take the children, adultery must be proven in a court of law, yadda yadda yadda. Is he a good provider for the children? You’re not scared of him, right?

Welcome to 1963, I guess.. but, fuck that noise; that’s not what it’s about for her. Time to take matters into your own hands, Bets.

Don goes home to what he thinks is an empty house to grab some stuff for his mistress voyage to Mystic, and surprise! Betty is there waiting for him. Time to get your ass cornered, Don. Here’s hoping Suzanne, waiting in the Caddy, catches the hint and doesn’t entirely blow up his spot.

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image courtesy of Tumblr

Watching Don completely crumble as Betty takes the wheel with the conversation is shocking; this is essentially his worst nightmare, after all. He initially fights her, but once Betty confidently reveals she knows what’s in that drawer, he falls apart. What else can he really do?

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image courtesy of Slant Magazine

He tells her who Anna is, about how his name is really Dick Whitman, his family, the whole nine. Growing up very poor, seeking any escape possible. Being in Don’s shoes, this is probably the most terrifying thing he’s ever had to face. This image of his life and this idea he’s so carefully curated, the uniform and game face he wears in the day to day, it’s been stripped. He’s lied to Betty for the better part of a decade at this point, every single fucking day; that’s really deplorable.

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image courtesy of IGN

Once Don starts talking about the people in the photos, his family and how they’re all dead, he really loses it. Betty asks about Adam, and he looks at her as if he’s seen a ghost; how does she know? “The little boy in all the photos”. Explaining that Adam came to the city find him, wanting a relationship and he callously turned him away, taking his own life as a result, Don breaks down. This is the only sort of softness and empathy Betty shows him, sincerely.

Brass tacks, Don’s life story is pretty fucking sad. Betty is sympathetic, but who knows how long that will last. It’s a pretty gargantuan lie.

Latenight at the office, Roger rings around trying to help Joan land a job. At home, she’s made soup for dinner; Greg comes home in better spirits, flowers in hand, to let her know that he’s up and joined the fucking army (without consulting her); apparently his tiny dick led him there, since he’ll go in as a Captain.

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I SEE YOU. || image courtesy of ONTD

So.. it looks like Greg is headed to Vietnam. Bon voyage!

This is the closest we’ve ever seen Don and Betty to having a real emotional connection, but it may be too little too late and under probably the most dire of shit circumstances imaginable. With the curtain down, do they have a shot at a real, honest relationship? Or will it create a whole new slew of issues?

“And who are you supposed to be?”

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image courtesy of Tumblr

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Mad Men s3e10: The Color Blue

“The truth is, people may see things differently.. but they don’t really want to.”

It’s a touch before Halloween. Don pops over to Suzanne’s for a bang, and later we see him looking slightly guilty as Betty expresses worry and that she thinks he’s working too hard. He’s really milking that Hilton excuse to sneak out every night to get it in.

The Aqua Net ad idea is pretty similar imagery-wise to the upcoming JFK assassination, though the characters of course don’t know that yet. Peggy is doing well at work, freewheeling creatively and pissing off Kinsey in the process. She’s really talented, and that raw talent is something he just can’t crack. Go Pegs!

Missing the mark as usual, Kinsey assumes her perceived brilliance is due to the fact that she’s Don’s favourite; but Peggy knows that’s not the truth. This is proven later on in the episode during the Western Union idea exchange with her, Kinsey (and his lost idea), and Don. Kinsey is one of those guys who carefully curates this image of himself as the smartest guy in the room, and he works to be the most cultured and intelligent guy he can be; and when it’s consistently chipped away, he becomes deflated. Kinsey ain’t a bad guy– he just needs a reality check, and to find his real vocation, a place where he fits.

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image courtesy of BurnThisMedia

In the midst of a bang, Suzanne’s epileptic brother Danny shows up unexpectedly, and Don has a weird fucking meltdown about it. While he’s determined to sneak out, she insists on introducing him. Reminded of his own brother Adam, Don visibly stiffens, then shows him a little kindness with a handshake and well wishes. Danny is similarly down on his luck, and looks to Suzanne for help and guidance and she happily obliges. As soon as Don splits, Danny calls a spade a spade, talking shit about Don being arrogant and upset that his plans with his sister were interrupted. Suzanne chooses to see it as Don being secretive.

As Lane rehearses his speech for the upcoming Sterling Cooper 40th Anniversary Party, London rings to let him know that Sterling Cooper is once again for sale. Turns out the party is more of display. As a result, Lane has to charm Bert into attending by playing into his inherent vanity. And hey, it works!

But now, Lane sees his superiors for the smarmy dicks they really are; they had no interest in his future, nor any sort of personal investment in the company as Lane has. That’s a pretty big matzah ball for Lane to grasp. Maybe once Guy MacKendrick got his ass run over by a John Deere PPL re-examined hanging onto Sterling Cooper.

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image courtesy of Tumblr

The dryer is rattling, and Betty fishes out a pair of keys.. oh shit, will these open that desk drawer that’s been thwarting her for a season?? AND OH FUCK, THE KEY WORKS!

Equal parts relieved and fretful, Betty unlocks the drawer. There’s an astounding amount of cash, along with a beat up shoebox. Cautiously opening it, the box reveals a plethora of old photos with Don labeled as Dick, a pair of dogtags, old timey photos of his family, a Deed to a house in California, a Divorce Decree to an Anna Draper.. it’s all too much.

Of course, we all know how the pieces fit together– but to Betty, there’s no context for this secret information overload. She had a sneaking suspicion that Don was hiding something (or things) from her, but surely nothing as big as all this.

As everything washes over her, Betty goes wan as Carla brings the kids home. It’s all so overwhelming, as if an H-bomb has been dropped on 42 Bullet Park Road.

In this episode, I feel a little more for Suzanne as a character, Don’s intense hard-on for Good and Wholesome mommy issues galore aside. Previously I wrote her off as your run of the mill Thirst Trap(TM), but maybe she’s simply on a different level than the other emotionally repressed characters; she’s inherently more open, and contrasting with everyone else we encounter on this show, it seems like she’s totally fucking bonkers.

Suzanne manages to swing a job for Danny, to help him out; a foreign concept to Don who pushed his own brother away (and unknowingly nudged him towards a noose) back in Season 1. And perhaps reflecting upon sins past, Don offers to drive Danny up to his new job in Massachusetts.

Danny ain’t as grateful as Don had expected, though. Then again, Danny is living Don’s hobo dream; drifting from place to place, figuring shit out as he goes.

“I know what’s waiting for me at that place. I’m 25 years old, Don.. I don’t want to be cleaning toilets until I die. Just pull over.”

“Hold on– I’m older than you, and I’m telling you it seems bad now.. but you can still change things.”

“Pull myself up by the bootstraps?”

“Does that just sound stupid to you?”

“How do I explain this? I can’t do anything that you can do. Everyone knows, sooner or later, that there’s something wrong with me. They’re kind and they try, but then when I come to with piss in my pants, they stare at me like I’m from another planet. I am afflicted, okay? It’s not a question of will. I can’t change that.”

Another curveball thrown at the Don Draper “just move forward” mantra. Natch, Don throws some cash at the guy as he lets him out of the car, but not before imparting his card with a little support and insight.

“I swore to myself I would try to do this right once. I want you to call me, if you ever need to. And I want you to remember, if something happens to you.. your sister will never forgive herself.”

Baby steps, I guess.

Sitting up until 2am with that shoebox, Betty slowly realises Don isn’t coming home yet again. Accepting defeat, she places it back in his desk drawer, locks it, and puts the key back in his robe. Startled by his phone call the following morning, she’s apparently supposed to be dressed to the nines and ready to be shown off at the Sterling Cooper 40th later that evening.

En route to said SC 40th, Lane is totally nerve-wracked and stuck in traffic. Thinking it’s the traffic that’s getting him down, Rebecca tries to soothe; Lane lets her know they’re selling the company, and she takes the news with glee, wanting him to take comfort in returning to England. Nope. Lane is a man who has done nothing but obediently follow orders all his life, and he’s sick of it. There would be no place for him at the company in the event of a sale and he knows it.

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image courtesy of PopSugar

As Roger makes a speech lauding Don’s work achievements and character, Betty looks equal parts heartbroken, betrayed, and pissed off. And we know that Roger ain’t too chuffed to make that speech either. Cue thunderous applause.

“Well, he knows how to leave a room.”

Mad Men s1e13: The Wheel

One of my favourite episodes of this series, The Wheel is a sincerely magnificent episode of television. It’s nearing Thanksgiving 1960. Rachel Menken is on an ocean voyage to Paris for a few months, Don finds out via Cooper and his light ‘cowboy’ jab as Cooper knows pretty much everything. Don has no interest in joining Betty’s family for the holiday, and Betty doesn’t understand why he can’t make her family his, and is at her wit’s end. The struggle is real.

A visibly shaken Francine pops by, and confides in Betty that she’s found out that Carlton has been banging around in the city, and right before a huge family holiday to boot. Francine confides in Betty because she thinks she’ll know what to do, and Betty is alarmed at her implication. It seems so obvious to Francine on the outside, and if Carlton is doing it, what’s to say that Don isn’t doing the same?

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image courtesy of TomandLorenzo

(Real talk for a hot second though, who would fuck Carlton anyway? He gross.)

Betty knows deep down that Don is unfaithful to her and won’t admit it to herself, but for what? Out of pride? Wanting to keep up the illusion of the perfect life? She’s been told all along to want this and to be that perfect wife, but is that really any way to live life?

Self-deception never ends well, as reality will always barge in to fuck things up. She seeks out the phone bill to see if he’s been ringing any ladies, and instead finds a more intense form of betrayal. Don has been calling her therapist to get the scoop on everything she’s been yapping about during her sessions, keeping tabs. She’s both relieved and infuriated.

Doctor patient confidentiality wasn’t a thing in 1960, apparently. When Don comes home later on that evening, Betty tells him about Carlton, pointedly saying how awful it is to do something like that to the one you love, asking how can someone could do something like that to the one they love, to gauge his reaction.

“Who knows why people do what they do?”

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I SEE YOU, DON.

Don immediately changes the subject to the whereabouts of their photo slides, and maybe they have an offscreen night of looking through memories together. Sounds nice on paper; but Betty knows it’s hollow because of what she’s found out re:Don’s calls to the shrink, and that their life will most likely be used as part of a pitch.

So naturally, Betty stirs the pot at her shrink’s office. She decides to drop the “my husband is having an affair” bomb not even yet admitting to herself that it’s true, but as she says the words she feels it. I love the crafty switch of her saying this to the shrink, and then at some point in the future Don will be calling him, so he’ll know that she knows. The seed was planted with Francine’s visit, and the wheels in Betty’s head start turning.

“The way he makes love, sometimes it’s what I want.. but sometimes it’s obviously what someone else wants. I suppose it means I’m not enough.. but maybe it’s just him.”

Absolutely spot on, Bets. She’s slowly coming into her own sort of sentience, gradually becoming the person who is strong enough to get on with it and get out of a bad marriage. Breaking out of denial is the first step, gotta yank your head outta the sand.

Let’s talk about the importance of photos in life for a hot second. There’s a scene with Don and Harry latenight in the office; Harry having told his wife about bonking Hildy for whatever reason so he now lives at SC, and Don having just learned his half brother hanged himself and promptly boozing it. They speak about cave paintings and photography, and how these are evidence of someone being there for future generations to see and to wonder. The impact of these things on the time to come.

My apartment is absolutely blasted with photos, its walls adorned nearly everywhere you look. Family, friends, people long gone and the places that I love, beautiful things. Anytime I feel discombobulated, all I have to do is glance at my walls and I am right back to where I need to be again. I am home. Photos are grounding; the very physical essence of connections you have with others, with places, with a time in your life. You can revisit it all.

And this Carousel pitch, it’s fucking iconography right before our eyes.

Fun fact: I have never watched this scene and not cried. Home run. To me, there’s nothing more innately human than seeking out those movie moments in real life, capturing them. Looking at pictures and knowing that whatever you’re doing is OK.. You are OK.

(I also love that Don does exactly what he tells Peggy not to do in a pitch, re:using Latin and sounding like a Valedictorian..)

Pete’s father in law is really hammering him to knock up Trudy, which is sort of terrifying and wildly inappropriate. As he sits down with Pete and states that he wants to treat him as a son, Pete takes this to mean some new business; after all, the guy is an exec at Vicks Chemical, and he wants to look good for Don and Duck. Having a baby isn’t exactly on Pete’s radar right now, and instead, he gets Clearasil.

Don loops in Peggy for Clearasil, and Pete is pissed.. Don therefore promotes her to Junior Copywriter. The way she wrangled the radio auditions with Kenny is pretty impressive as well– here’s a woman finding her way in a man’s world, and owning it.

At the same time that she gets a new office and promotion, she gets a baby she doesn’t want, and it belongs to Pete Campbell. Christ on the Cross, this is my actual real life nightmare, being on an episode of TLC’s I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant. The way she acts about learning she’s pregnant in the ER and how she acts post-birth are telling; she’s far more interested in getting on with her life and getting back to work and her new copywriting job. Her name is Don.

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No thx.

image courtesy of Imgur

There’s this elaborate fantasy of the man Don wants to be, but back here on earth it’s stark, desolate; false starts and empty promises. He portrays such an idealistic existence in the Carousel pitch, but the reality is that he’s disconnected and unreachable to those that should be closest to him. He learns his half brother committed suicide via a phone call with an uninvolved hotel manager. His lover has bounced on some Euro cruise. He’s cruelly alienated his wife.

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image courtesy of Imgur

Betty undeniably has nobody to talk to, so when she spots Glen in the bank parking lot, she expresses her profound sadness to him. It’s upsetting to watch; her desperation and longing to connect with someone is palpable. When the show began, her and Don’s marriage was ostensibly broken beyond repair, and now the cracks are turning into canyons.

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“Adults don’t know anything, Glen..”

image courtesy of Imgur

Don is a man living on the outskirts of his own life, a truly isolated guy on the outside looking in, but this season finale shows that perhaps he yearns for something deeper. Coming home alone to an empty house with Betty and the kids already gone for Thanksgiving, he slumps on the stairs as the idea of his loving fantasy life evaporates. He knows it’s his own damned fault.

He started this episode not wanting to spend time with his family and being flippant about joining Betty and the family for the holiday, and he ends it being unable to spend time with his family. As much as this guy wants to escape all the time, he profoundly yearns to come home to a place where he knows he is loved.

Is it too late? Can he really connect with Betty and be a legit family? Can he be a damn person already?

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image courtesy of Imgur

Time for a brief hiatus between seasons. But fear not, I shall return! Thanks for following me throughout Season 1 of Mad Men. More to come.

And hey, you can find everything I’ve written thus far over here. Adios for now!

Mad Men s1e11: Indian Summer

Fun fact: I loathe unseasonable warmth. Hate it. The irony that I live in Los Angeles, a dusty city in the midst of a 5 year nightmare drought, is not lost upon me.

In Indian Summer, a heatwave appears to be shaking everyone’s baseline.

Adam hangs himself. He’s wearing a nice suit, and leaves behind a pile of Don’s cash. This is awful not just from a death standpoint, but from the idea that we don’t know a hell of a lot about Adam yet to understand the ramifications of his desperate act. He came to the city to reconnect with his long lost half brother, and it turned out that that man wanted nothing to do with him. Devastating.

Cutting to the office, there’s some wonderful bits of Don and Peggy’s fledgling relationship in this episode. Ahh, The Relaxicizer! As it’s a product aimed at ladies for slimming purposes, Freddy suggests bring in Peggy as the guys seem more than a little clueless. Enter Peggy in her fat suit, and Don sees a glimmer of potential when she asks if she can change the name of the product. She brings this thing home, and learns of it’s masturbatory benefits.

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Dafuq?

image courtesy of Contemplatingmedia

Peggy goes on some trash date with an idiot. It’s becoming clear that she’s not like other girls her age, and she’s on this date seemingly as a formality to please her mother.  She chats about her job and work a lot, which turns him off. It’s funny to think that perhaps she started working at Sterling Cooper to meet a husband, but has ended up on a totally different path discovering something she really enjoys.

Their entire exchange is bizarre, it’s like they’re just shouting facts at one another. He makes some dickhead jab that she’s not as hot as ‘those Manhattan girls’, and Peggy leaves this schmuck with a sick burn.

“Those people in Manhattan? They are better than us, because they want things they’ve never seen.”

Enjoy your free Wise potato chips in hell, guy!

Back at the office, Don digs her pitch, and Peggy is proud of herself. That scene shows how the men of this era infantalize women; when the ‘real’ benefits of the product come up in code, it’s implied that women simply cannot achieve sexual satisfaction without the touch of a man; a point which Freddy Rumsen almost decks Kenny over, when it’s slipped in that his wife has one.

Speaking of infantalized women, enter Betty. It’s hot as hell outside for October, and she encounters an absurdly attractive door to door aircon salesman. He’s like Don 2.0 — a bright-eyed handsome salesman, completely saturated with Brylcreem. She lets him into the house to hear his pitch, but thinks better of it and shoos him away. Later on, Betty relaxicizes on the dryer, and fantasizes about having a bang with said Don 2.0.

Against better judgement, Roger comes into the office for a Lucky Strike meeting, way earlier than he should have been doing much of anything post-coronary. Bert thought he would restore faith in the agency by saying Roger could make it, but Lee Garner Sr. called his bluff.

Due to her discretion, Don and Bert call in Joan to put some slap on his face, and she thinks he might be sentimental with her for a beat but he just says she’s the finest piece of ass he ever had. Disappointing, and G R O S S.

(See also, #thingsmensay)

Aaaand, in the midst of holding a delicious pastrami sandwich, Roger has another heart attack. Mona rightfully says, “Go to hell, Bert”, as he’s taken away on a stretcher. Yikes.

After Roger is wheeled out, Don goes into Roger’s office to have a chat with Bert. He makes him a partner, and Pete Campbell is watching with an eagle eye. Thinking that Don will be moving up, Pete wants to snag a promotion. Pete vacillates between admiring, idealising, and loathing Don.

Pete: Tell me when they come out of there, will you?

Hildy: Sure. I’ll just sit here and watch the door. That’s all I’ll do.

Pete:WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO??!

God bless Pete’s extravagant outrage at absolutely fuckall.

Don Draper seems to give a lot of advice that only realistically applies to Don Draper. Telling Peggy to be more like a man about what she wants re:raise, telling Adam to start a new life with the pile of gifted cash, and more examples to come. This shit makes sense in the context of someone who’s essentially concocted and moulded their life as Don has, but does it really apply to anyone else?

Don grants Peggy her raise, and they both split for the day. Trying to imagine having the corner office and the big man desk, Pete creeps in Don’s office when a mysterious package gets delivered. Like a complete fucking weirdo, he takes the box home with him. We know that it’s from Adam. Shit is about to get real.

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image courtesy of Contemplatingmedia

We close with Peggy’s new BFF, The Relaxicizer.

Mad Men s1e5: 5G

There’s a lot to unpack in this episode, but first we go from the metaphorical Who is Don Draper to the .. wait .. hold the goddamn phone, Who literally IS Don Draper?

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image courtesy of Vulture

Adam Whitman pops up in the city, and Don is not pleased. Apparently someone does read Advertising Age after all. He comes to Don with love and acceptance, just happy to see his half brother after all this time and is met with stone cold rejection.

Mad Men gives us this suave untouchable symbol, this Don Draper and his illusion of complete control. He weaves bullshit webs, and Peggy gets stuck in one when she accidentally overhears his phone conversation with mistress Midge. When Betty and the kids turn up at the office for portrait day, Peggy assumes that Don’s gone off to get it in (when he’s really at lunch with Adam), and momentarily panics. As an honest person, Peggy doesn’t really know how to handle it but to Don, it’s second nature and he’s back with an effortless excuse.

He’s got it all in check until Adam shows up; his entire demeanour becomes the Don we come to know in the rest of the series moving forward. It’s almost like that Don didn’t exist until 5G. And then when he admits to Adam that he missed him, we see some warmth and hope, a glimpse at who he was.

“Of course I did”. The way Don’s face changes says it all. However, he stiffens at the end of the lunch, and his “this never happened” mantra begins. I feel like he’s not sure he believes it when he says it at this point, but it becomes true to him in time.

At first glance, this is a man who’s so deeply ashamed of his past that he’s pretty much panicking and launching money at the problem. But looking deeper, he feels isolated and this helps shed light on his actions; yet he does it to himself. He’s a self-haunted guy.

His entire façade crumbles then hardens– the tone of his voice resets, the whole nine. These are the roots of Don being a million miles away. He’s looking at an old photo of himself with Adam, whiskey in hand, burning it in an effigy to his past. He’s really driving home the tryhard THIS NEVER HAPPENED approach and it’s all so fucking dramatic, but it works in this context.

Brass tacks, all Adam wants is a connection with Don. Love, family, and companionship. Don isn’t prepared to offer any of these things, and only withdraws further over the course of the series/decade or so as the show goes on. It starts off as mysterious and interesting, but ends up being fucking depressing and infuriating.

“I have a life, it only goes in one direction — forward”.

Don’s fundamental misunderstanding of how human connection works is on display here. He’s plying Adam with 5 grand and quite literally cannot understand why he’s upset, cannot get why that isn’t enough. Don figures that he salted the earth of his past self and started over, why can’t Adam do the same?

One of the B plots in this episode is Kenny Cosgrove getting a short story published in The Atlantic, making the other Sterling Cooper guys jealous. Pete convinces Trudy to talk to her vaguely oily ex, and Pete is apoplectic that all she can “get” is Boys Life magazine.. haha. Roger jokes in a meeting that everyone at Sterling Cooper has the first ten pages of a novel locked in a drawer somewhere, Don quips that it’s actually five.. but all we see in his locked drawer is a bunch of Go Cash and things he’d rather forget. It’s all about projecting that image in whatever small way possible.

Seeing the stark contrast between Adam’s hellscape hotel room and Don’s lush master bedroom at home is pretty jarring. This thing Don has built for himself, he doesn’t want to lose that. He’s leaving behind that dismal past he doesn’t want in lieu of the persona he wants to attain, to play out.

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God-awful portrait aside..

image courtesy of Mad Men Wikia

At the end of the episode, Betty expresses to Don that she likes seeing her dad, a feeling he can’t relate to in the least.

“We gave you everything- we gave you your name”. 

“What difference does it make? People change their names”.