Mad Men: The Doorway

Posted on April 08, 2013

“Life will eventually end and someone else will get the bill.”

“The whole life and death thing, it doesn’t bother me.”

“What did you see when you died?”

“My mom’s dead.”

“I like the case. It looks like a coffin.”

Well, one thing’s for sure: the fatalism that defines the show hasn’t gone anywhere.

Despite the occasional Zou Bisou, Mad Men season openers tend to be slow affairs with few surprises. It’s only after the season nears or comes to its end that you can see how many of the themes and motifs that defined that season were laid down in the premiere episode. Looking back at last season’s opener, for instance, Lane finding that wallet signaled his entire arc that season, from his general unhappiness to his money problems. And Zou Bisou, for that matter, signaled Megan’s desire to get back into performing, a storyline which pretty much dominated the entire season.Mad+Men+S6E1+SP+1

So what can we divine about the coming season based on what we saw with this episode? More of the same, it seems. More fatalism, more upheaval, more dysfunction and more glimpses of people completely un-equipped to deal with the changes in the world around them. If nothing else, you’ve got to give Matthew Weiner credit. The show and its themes have remained astonishingly consistent over five-plus seasons. In fact, this episode contained an unusually high number of unusually overt callbacks to previous episodes and imagery. From the back of Don’s head, “Drapering” out his office window, to the ad campaign that called back to Don shedding his clothes and walking into the sea in season 3, to the use of the Carousel to show the Drapers’ vacation shots, there was a lot of signaling in the script to remind the viewer of where these characters first came from, how much they’ve gone through since then, and in some cases, how little they’ve changed from it all.

Roger’s highly amusing, witty and well-delivered monologue to his shrink about life being an endless succession of meaningless doorways leading straight to the grave pretty much set the tone and openly stated the theme of the episode for us. It seems the tendency of last season’s scripts to be just a little too on the nose at times is continuing into the current season. But as much as we may have complained about the too-obvious theme-announcing last season, we’re more convinced than ever that it’s deliberate, and it refers to the coarseness and bluntness that entered American life by the time of the late sixties. Think back to those incredibly glamorous and genteel client dinners with Betty and Don wearing the finest clothes and entertaining some other couple in equally fine clothes, in a fine setting, eating fine food. When was the last time you saw anything like that in the worlds of these characters? It’s all gotten loud, crude and obvious. Probably no image in the series could illustrate this better than perfect little Betty Francis with her fine coat and sensible pocketbook, standing in the middle of a filthy flophouse, arguing with a bunch of counterculture types. Then again, maybe Betty gleefully  indulging in some shockingly dark rape fantasies would illustrate that point just as well. “I Mad+Men+S6E1+SP+5can’t imagine it getting any darker than this,” says Mother Francis, very much on the nose, as usual.

Why did Betty take such an interest in this girl’s fate? Because the girl’s despair over the fact that she’s already too old to have the dream she wanted for her life reminds Betty way too much of all the dreams she deferred herself. “My feet are already in wet cement.” Choices being taken away, little by little, one by one, until you don’t recognize the life you’re living or where it came from. This was called back to by the reference to Betty’s modeling days, the death of her own mother, and the comparison of Juilliard to her own alma mater of Bryn Mawr. You could take the less generous point of view and say that Betty’s so self-centered she makes everything about her, even young violinists who run away from home, but we don’t think that’s the case. Yes, it was about once again showing how Betty is damaged by the pressures and expectations of upper middle-class housewifery, but it also illustrated something very rarely shown: that Betty is a pretty good mother, when she gets past all her own bullshit, which is something we suppose you could say about any good mother.

Further signaling of the coarsening of the culture came from the references to atrocities committed by American soldiers in Vietnam. First you had the drunken soldier making casually racist and violent quips throughout his conversation to Don, then you had the comic making jokes about severed ears, and finally, in that perfect way that Mad Men manages to blend social changes and business, it echoed in the ads for headphones, which turned Peggy’s world upside-down briefly.

As for our Pegs, she’s fully Don Draper, but just the good parts, so far as we can tell. She’s as smooth, competent, and polished as he ever was at the top of his game. She seems to be surrounded by clients, subordinates, and even a boss who all treat her with tremendous respect. And when she’s up against the wall, she can manage to come up with an utterly brilliant campaign at the very last second. She’s the one character in the entire story whose current situation is a joy to see. Although we predict Abe is not long for her world. We’ll get into the style stuff later, but you see the two of them side by side and you see people living on different planets.

As for Don, he remains the center of the story and he remains every inch the same fucked up mess he always was. Neither divorce, remarriage, or the success of his own company changed anything significant about him. He’s still drinking to excess and publicly humiliating himself, he’s still screwed up over his own mother and his stolen identity, and worst of all, he’s still cheating on his wife. “I want to stop doing this,” he says, and we believe him. For the first time, his cheating really seems to be bothering him terribly. Not that we’re suggesting anyone should feel sorry for him or that he’s likely to make a change for the better anytime soon. But all episode long, we just couldn’t figure out why Don seemed to have such a mancrush on his doctor friend. Don doesn’t get crushes at all, and he sure as hell doesn’t fawn over another man Mad Men (Season 6)like that. He’s way too hung up on appearing like the Alpha Male at all times. But once it was revealed that Don was sleeping with his wife, we understood. For once, he’s so ashamed and guilt-ridden by his adultery, that he’s seeking out the person he’s perpetrating it against (well, one of them anyway) and becoming obsessed with all the ways he appears to be a better man than Don. It’s part penance, part punishment – and it’s all 100% Don.

“What’s it like to have someone’s life in your hands?” Don asks Arnie, with something that sounds like awe in his voice. We can’t answer that, but we’re pretty sure Don’s going to know the answer before this season’s up. The darkness isn’t lifting and he’s right back to his old ways. We’re not going to get a replay of the quiet detonation of the first Draper marriage. 1968 is coming, and it’s going to get ugly in a whole lot of surprising ways.

Two final things:

Our Mad Style post will be up by Wednesday. Those things take a hell of a time to put together.

“I’ll do without your sarcasm, young man.” We LOVE Mother Francis. We want to drink gin and play bridge with her while we all talk about stupid people we know who don’t have the good sense God gave them.

 

[Photo Credit: Michael Yarish/AMC]

    • charlotte

      Yay! Mad Men is back, your recaps are back, I’m happy. I still have to make up my mind about the episode, but I had to get that out of my system.

      • C. C. Winslow

        Agree. I was almost bored. My mid-20s son, however, provided an analysis after the show that amazed me. I never was good at foreshadowing and symbolism. :) Really enjoyed TLo’s recap. They catch everything. Can’t wait for the style recap. My daughter and I turned to each other at the first glimpse of Ginsburg and grimaced. I said, They ruined him. She said, Ugh, he has a porn stache! Peggy’s boyfriend, however, looks great as does she. There’s something physically different about Megan, I can’t put my finger on it.

        • Sweetbetty

          I felt the same way about Megan and decided that they were showing her with no makeup in situations where most woman wouldn’t have been wearing makeup. Getting ready for bed, waking up first thing in the morning and finding Don participating in a beach wedding, at home in NY in the privacy of their apartment, she didn’t seem to have the mascara/false lashes and her skin had a rather uneven tone to it. It was like they were trying to de-glamorize her.

          • dashransome

            I noticed the same about her look, but actually found her more beautiful with a clean face! I was trying to figure out if there was any significance and noticed that she was missing the mascara/false lashes when smoking weed. Not sure what that would mean.

          • Kwei-lin Lum

            She also looked quite fragile and thin-boned, in retrospect with a hint of skeleton–toned-down eyes, very light lipstick and small teeth jutting out a bit.

            • MK03

              But that’s how Megan has looked ever since her fist appearance. She was more done-up when she worked at SCDP, but she’s always been very thin and they have a tendency, for some unfathomable reason, to give her nude lipstick or very subtle lipstick. She really needs more color, because you don’t want an actor’s mouth to disappear on screen.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              “Fist appearance?” LOL! That’s one heckuva typo. ;)
              Nude lipstick was really in then, and no one was really focused on teeth. I think they’re trying more for veracity than making her look pretty in a conventional way.

        • SJ Alexander

          I was looking at Megan closely too. Did the MM makeup/costume people tweak her teeth a bit so they look “fixed” or closer together? I just finished rewatching S5 and her teeth always stand out to me, though I think she’s lovely and I love diastema in general. I was wondering if her character made this change in order to go more mainstream–and now Megan’s on a soap.

          • C. C. Winslow

            Interesting, now that you mention it, I didn’t notice her lips/teeth as much.

    • H2olovngrl

      The “fatalism that defines the show” is what keeps me coming back for more, well that and the style, of course, but it is also what tends to fill me with dread and unease when I watch it.

    • Sing4yursupper

      Brilliant analysis!
      What did you make of Betty’s brunette looks?

      • http://www.facebook.com/bela.rafti Bela Rafti

        She looks like Henry’s mom!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

          Yes, uncannily so!

        • Sing4yursupper

          That was my first impression too. Betty is really headed toward the dark side, for example, her pillow talk with Henry about the fantasy rape, then hanging out with the squatters.

          • editrixie

            That rape talk disturbed me in a huge way, and then when she came in with his mom’s hair, basically, I was just… Augh. It makes me want to run away.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

      Don came up with a brilliant ad. It might even have been art. Not to sell a vacation in Hawaii. For suicide. And everyone could see it but him.

      • MilaXX

        Even worse he was unable to course correct and spin the ad into something better

        • Spicytomato1

          That was a great scene. Vincent K knocked it out of the park with his facial expressions as he realized Don was falling flat and he was going to have to tap dance for the client.

      • Moriginal

        I actually didn’t see “suicide” in the ad. The first thing I want to do when I get to paradise is shed my real life clothes and jump in the water, I thought it was brilliant. It wasn’t until after the clients hated it that I was all … oh. Yeah. Don Draper.

        • AViewer44

          Yes, me too. I thought it was brilliant. And I am sure I’ve seen an ad like that, too.

          • AViewer44

            Meaning: I too thought the ad was brilliant, and it didn’t make me think of suicide till after the meeting. And I am SURE I’ve seen an ad just like it.

            • ohayayay

              Yes, but on those ads you saw, did the ad copy reference how “Aloha” means both “Hello/Goodbye”…and your soul departs to the otherworld via water? Also, footprints leading out to sea, but no man in sight! “where did he go?”

            • AViewer44

              I don’t remember if it mentioned Aloha–just the shedding skin-footprints out to sea visuals. (If it were in front of me, rather than a vague memory, I’d obviously be able to be more specific, but I do feel I’ve seen that visual trope before.) Also, the whole Aloha thing doesn’t seem such a shocking concept in re: Hawaii, because that really the feeling you get there when you arrive from the mainland–not necessarily suicidal, but more like: I’m stepping out of my skin and becoming who I’m meant to be.

            • ohayayay

              Your point is taken – I am reading the ad in the context of Don’s issues in this episode, not as a document in and of itself. It is true that within the show, the account managers didn’t see the suicide message, and I think only one of the guys he was pitching to even saw it overtly as a problem. The other guy just said it was very “poetic” and abstract. It wasn’t until he made the movie connection that other people started to see the suicide/escape subtext.

            • AViewer44

              Yes, it’s true. Just saw this:

              “They’re going to pitch that work for five or six years, but by 1975, someone will do that ad.”

              http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/mad-men-matthew-weiner-on-the-season-6-premiere.html

            • H2olovngrl

              Makes me wonder if they are going to change “jumping off” to “jump in to Hawaii” or something like it.

        • Violina23

          Yeah, I didn’t see it that way at first either. But I’m with @MilaXX:disqus that it was more telling that Don couldn’t course-correct once it was pointed out, and it was clear that the client had fixated on it.

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            Good point. It was the moment that Peggy actually surpassed Don in the advertising business.

        • Lilithcat

          Suicide was the very first thing I thought of when I saw the ad.

          • roadtrip1000

            Me too. That tie reminded me of a noose.

        • MK03

          I thought it was a great idea that conjured up images of relaxation and ocean paradise…until he said the tagline. Eurgh.

          • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

            lol the jumping off point.

      • http://twitter.com/jptrostle JP Trostle

        More importantly, this was Don Draper MISSING A MOVIE REFERENCE! “A Star is Born” was from, what 1956? Don had to have seen it, had to have processed it — and completely missed the point. That can’t bode well

        • Munchkn

          No, the Judy Garland remake of ASIB came out in 1954. Don might not have seen it as the film may not have been his cup of tea.

          • CozyCat

            My interpretation was that he knew exactly what movie they were talking about, but didn’t want to admit how morbid his idea was, so he pretended he didn’t know the movie.

          • http://twitter.com/jptrostle JP Trostle

            Ah, ok — that’s just believable enough, given Don’s timeline. It would have been early in his career as an ad man and he might not have been as compelled to soak in pop culture at that point … it was also around the time he married Betty, so he might have been otherwise preoccupied.

            Then again, if he was seeing Betty, I can’t believe SHE didn’t want and go see it. I still find it hard to believe he missed so obvious a reference — unless he was truly off his game

          • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

            Don has said he goes to a lot of movies though

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          Don’s been off his game for a long time. When was the last time you remember Don having a really successful interaction with a client?

        • AmeliaEve

          I think the Star Is Born reference was also about Megan’s career. The way Don looked at her at the luau was a mix of pride, possessiveness, and bitter envy. When that woman wanted “Corrine”‘s autograph, Megan was outshining Don in a very public way. A Star Is Born about a hard-drinking man who is emasculated by his wife’s success as an actress. Perfect pattern for this episode.

          • Froide

            The show is filled with star imagery; here are a few prominent examples:

            - The light fixture seen above Arnold Rosen’s head while he’s resuscitating Jonesy is in the shape of a starburst.
            - In the elevator, Arnold asks Don how his vacation was, and in response Don quotes from the Carpenters’ song “Superstar”: “It’s ‘so long, and oh so far away.’ “.
            - Later, when Peggy’s copywriter is recounting the “Tonight Show”, Peggy paraphrases a lyric from the same song: “There won’t be a second show.”
            - The decorative star on mini-Christmas tree ornament on the reception area table where Ken Cosgrove chews out Bob Benson is hollow, while the star broach worn by the receptionist is sold gold.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I could see how they could easily change the angle to add a horizon line.. clothes scattered on the beach, starting with a heavy coat,, and then the rest of it.. a blurred image of a man walking on the beach and the hotel in the back looking like a palace.
        Fine, but as the client pointed out, then he’d would be left in his birthday suit and that kind of ad would have been way ahead its time.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

        The necktie looked just like a noose. It was the first thing I thought.

        • editrixie

          Yes! That was exactly what I was going to say.

      • fursa_saida

        I LOVED that he’s completely unaware of his obsession with death. I also thought it showed how much he’s in his own head and disengaged from work or anything else around him that he laid on the mythology and textual interpretation of Hawaiian culture way, way too thick. There’s no room for that much concept in an image-heavy print ad like that. People won’t pay attention long enough to get it, and he didn’t do enough to connect the ideas to what he’s selling. He was just ruminating on his own feelings.

        Also, Stan’s “Of course [it made me think of suicide]. That’s what makes it so great!” may have been my favorite line of the episode. It’s no “PIZZA HOUSE,” but it’s up there.

    • Jennifer Coleman

      I also was struck by the end of the episode – Don’s infidelity exposed as he slips into bed, first with the doctor’s wife and then with Megan harkens back to the pilot. And that lighter, the violin, Roger’s mother – so much non-personal loss and attempted retrieval for our main characters.

    • rumcg66

      Can we talk about that whole scene in the Francis bedroom? Because that REALLY crossed a line for me, somehow. Betty revoltingly references raping a 15 year old, and short of a “that’s enough” her husband just sort of moves on? I need to discuss this but I don’t quite have the words yet to say anything intelligent about it.

      • C. C. Winslow

        That disturbed all of us terribly. Where was that coming from? Did it take her back to something that happened when she was a teenager?

        • rumcg66

          I know. I’m rarely shocked, but that shocked me. I really hope they don’t just let it drop, because that would be horrible.

        • ohayayay

          Yes I wondered that too…or maybe Betty sees rape as a normal expression of male desire. See my rather long comment below.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

        Betty’s husband is essentially a decent, solid citizen. He’s gonna stay inside the lines. I think he’s resigned to Betty’s darkness and will blind himself to it to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
        I think his solid citizenry is part of the walls of Betty’s prison, one she’s built around herself, and she has a compulsion to bash against it. Also, I think he, just being who he is, forces Betty to see and feel how Indecent she is, and she has a compulsion to drag him down to her level so she’ll feel less indecent and inadequate.

        • Violina23

          Yeah, this is how I read it too. She was trying to find the must repulsive thing possible to drag him down into the gutter of how crappy she feels about herself. Didn’t make it any less disturbing, but it made sense with her character.

      • http://twitter.com/sarahofcroydon Lil

        I think the point of that scene is that Betty is shaming him, taking his fantasy to its most extreme to show how disgusting it is. He’s casually fantasizing about someone who is still very much a child and when she takes that and puts it into an extreme context, it shows it for what it is… revolting. She says ‘shame on you’, and while she’s almost a little gleeful I think the contrast between the image of Betty we’ve always had (prim polite ice-queen in public) and this foul-mouthed world-aware woman is an interesting one. It’s a cruel world, and nobody’s going to look after you… but then Betty does go to find the girl, to look after her if she can. It’s one of the weirder scenes involving Betty but she’s always been a fascinating (and polarising) character.

        • rumcg66

          See, I don’t get that at all. I’ve never been a Betty-hater, but I think she’s out of line here. I just don’t see Henry lusting for that girl, and I think Betty saw something that wasn’t there and reacted to that. Not that there aren’t plenty of characters in Mad Men who WOULD react that way to a teenager, but I don’t see it in Henry.

          • http://twitter.com/sarahofcroydon Lil

            I don’t think Henry would fantasise in the way that Betty described, but he was engaging in a little bit of idle fantasy and Betty took it to the extreme (and showed how inappropriate it was).

          • roadtrip1000

            I agree. There was nothing in that scene to indicate that Henry was lusting after that girl. Plus Betty also commented that both Henry and her son were looking at the girl the same way. So apparently she assumed her son was lusting after the girl too. Another aspect I found disturbing was how Betty injected herself into the rape fantasy. That would be horrible for anyone but considering that she is the mother of a teen-age girl makes it especially creepy.

            • 3hares

              I think it was more that she was saying they were both just looking at her romantically because she was a pretty girl. Henry played along by saying he’d run off with her. Then Betty tried to turn it into sex talk and the crazy fantasy she went for was raping the girl. She put herself in there because it was about spicing up her sex life with Henry. The whole thing sounded bizarre and horrible to me (I had my mouth hanging open through the whole endless monologue) but I can totally buy it as Betty’s attempt to do dirty talk.

      • VanessaDK

        It was brutally shocking. Perhaps it was Betty trying to shake her husband out of his rose-colored view of things, and push him to make him angry at her, the way Don was. it seems no matter what happens he has something nice to say — like calling her Elizabeth Taylor when she dies her hair and looks both dowdy and like his mother, as TLo pointed out.

        • Logo Girl

          I think you nailed it.

        • rumcg66

          Hmm… Yes, I could see this interpretation. It makes sense for her.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

          No doubt, Don probably would’ve hit her if she said something like that to him. Or at least had a strong reaction. But she probably never would have said it.
          Betty misses the volatility. Passion of any sort. Henry is a good guy and gorgeous, but very bland and not passionate.

          • ohayayay

            Yes! Don was definitely more dominant and agressive in the bedroom. Henry, not so much. perhaps Betty views that as a sign that he’s not attracted to her – and maybe the way to “spice things up” is to have him act like more of a predator. Disturbing.

        • Froide

          I think Betty and Don used to relate that way, when they were younger.

      • Jasmaree

        I read an interview with Weiner somewhere that said that scene was supposed to be an indication of what Betty’s really like with her guard down, and it’s supposed to display her crude sense of humor and confidence. I didn’t get that at all; sometimes Weiner does not get his point across very well.

        • MK03

          The fact that he keeps putting Creepy Glenn in episodes and his insistence that Glenn isn’t supposed to be a major-league creeper is proof enough of that. Just because he’s your son doesn’t mean he can act, Matty.

        • editrixie

          Well, wow, that disturbs me even more. Spoken like a true man who can’t even imagine what a woman actually thinks and feels. Jesus.

          • roadtrip1000

            Weiner also gave an interview in which he expressed his belief that Joan sleeping her way to a partnership was somehow empowering.

            • http://twitter.com/kerryev kerryev

              I’m still not over his uber-defensiveness over that. He really didn’t get why Joan fans might be upset.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              It was; literally so.

            • 3hares

              It was, literally. She’s now financially independent in ways she never was before and she’s got the power of a partnership. So it was just as empowering for her to become a partner than it was for anybody else. Some people would find the sex part undermined all that, but if Joan doesn’t then it was a good deal.

            • Froide

              Becoming partner was empowering, but not the way she had to do it. However, that seemed like the only route available to her, and she struck a better deal than Lane did (and didn’t have to kick in a partnership fee). Interestingly, some of the other guys slept their way to their positions, too (Pete’s father-in-law was his Vicks connection, the guys regularly took clients to brothels and drank themselves under the table – some becoming alcoholics in the process – to secure deals with sleazebags like the British Jaguar guy and Lee Garner, Jr.

            • roadtrip1000

              You made some very interesting points. Thanks!

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            Some women have rape fantasies.

            • editrixie

              Oh, I know. I get that. But it felt a lot more like a man’s fantasy of what a woman’s rape fantasy would be like.

              Maybe I’ve just worked rape crisis lines too much, or maybe it’s because Weiner and co. made it seem a lot more like an evening with Karla Homolka than a housewife’s rape fantasy, but it just came across as sick and disgusting, and very male-centric, to me. I realize that mileage may vary on this, though.

            • 3hares

              I thought it was supposed to be a male rape fantasy. She was projecting it onto Henry and keeping herself out of it, even asking if he wanted her as part of it or not.

            • editrixie

              Fair enough. Doesn’t work for me, but as they say, YMMV.

      • phoebenorth

        Wow, I read this scene totally differently, even sympathetically. In her marriage to Don, both Betty’s confidence and her sexuality were totally obliterated. She’s muddling through being a good, supportive, sexually open wife here, and though she misreads how Henry wants to “spice things up,” her expression is sort of gleeful through the whole exchange. Betty’s not a sexually violent person; everything that comes after with Sandy shows that she *identifies* with her. Saying those things to Henry reveal at best some pretty run-of-the-mill rape fantasies, not any real need for sexual violence or dominance. This wasn’t Betty being a mean, angry person. This was her being a *teenager*, expressing transgressive sexual thoughts because for the first time she’s safe and supported enough to do so.

        • not_Bridget

          “Rape fantasies” are found in some romance novels–in which the “good girl” is carried away by a handsome, strong pirate/bandit/barbarian. Who then has his way with her–but she responds sexually. (And the couple eventually winds up happily married.)

          Talking abou holding a young woman down for your husband’s pleasure is something else again. It would have been upsetting back then & is upsetting now.

          • phoebenorth

            Oh, for goodness’ sake, she wasn’t serious. From her expression, it was very clear that she was *teasing* him. Is it crude, transgressive humor? Yup. Is Henry clearly not into it? Yup, again. But she’s not actually talking about enacting any of that violence (notice that she goes downstairs and promptly makes the girl a PB&J.)

            • Violina23

              I agree it was clear she wasn’t serious, but it didn’t make the fact that she said it any less revolting. She wasn’t just talking about a fantasy of sex with a younger woman, she was talking about raping (and might I add VIOLENTLY) a young teenage girl. I don’t think she was in ANY way thought this was something her husband would enjoy, she said it all very spitefully. It was, as it usually is with Betty, a reflection of her own issues/insecurities.

            • phoebenorth

              Eh, guess I just disagree. Betty wears her bitchface pretty clearly. She wasn’t at all in that scene, from where I was sitting.

            • 3hares

              I didn’t see that either. She really seemed like she was trying to be spicy and funny. And there’s a lot of references to men having sex with girls younger than 15, and to violent rape fantasies from around that time.

            • Violina23

              That’s half of the fun of shows like this, we can all interpret things in our own ways :P

          • Missy Covington

            I don’t know if she was serious or not, but the first thing I thought of was Karla Homolka and that creeped me out bigtime.

            • roadtrip1000

              That’s exactly who I thought of as well.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          I thought the shocking part wasn’t the just rape fantasy but how much thought she had put into it and all the gruesome detail. “I’ll hold her down and you..”

      • ohayayay

        I felt that Matthew Weiner was trying to show Betty being sexually jealous of a 15-year-old. There really was no indication whatsoever that her husband was interested in the girl beyond politely listening to the music, was there? But seeing Bobby’s huge, obvious (little boy) crush seems to have triggered some weird, Oedipal jealousy in her that she then transferred onto her husband. Who – again – does not have any sexual interest in young teenagers from what we have seen.

        • rumcg66

          yeah, I agree that Betty is projecting her own jealousy on to her husband. I don’t see him being sexually interested in the girl at all. I just feel like it crossed a line. I’ve always been someone who had some sympathy for Betty; her behavior is appalling, yes, but she’s obviously SO damaged, and such a victim of the era and her upbringing. But this leaves no room for sympathy.

          • ohayayay

            Yes, her comments were so beyond the pale that I am sure the “joke” would not have been allowed out of anyone else’s mouth. Let’s just have the bitchy housewife make a joke about rape, ha-ha! But remember when Henry’s mom had a similar, dark rape fantasy last season that scared Sally half to death? This continues with that fascination/fixation on sexual violence. The difference is that Betty is painting herself as an accomplice in this scenario.

            Maybe Betty’s “joke” reflects her complicity and continued conformity to a culture that sees women as objects. Betty has always complied with her role as a woman who must be beautiful, admired, enjoyed by men – and now she is probably adjusting to not being the object of such attraction anymore. Her “joke” has some truth to it, in that she still wants to be loved even though she is no longer as young and beautiful as she once was. She also does feel some rivalry with a girl who is young, talented, and has a whole life ahead of her.

            Unfortunately I’m really sick of seeing this storyline play out again and again in tv shows, both period dramas and in contemporary shows. They are doing this whole thing with Cersei on Game of Thrones and Betty’s line sounds almost exactly like something that would come out of Cersei’s mouth.

            Other thoughts: Do you think Betty sometimes imagine Sally being raped too and does that thought worry her? Does she think that all men desire teenagers, and does this come from her own experience? Does she view rape as some kind of a compliment about being desirable?

            • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

              The definition and viewpoints on rape within the 1960′s context was very different than what it is today. Back then, there were no laws to protect a woman from marital rape, there were no advocacy programs and no sensitivity training for law enforcement. People still had a “blame the victim” mentality and large numbers of rapes were not reported.

              I think that Betty’s invitation to Henry was based on the views at the time that any young, attractive female could be had for the taking and that the lines between rape fantasies and the horror of the real thing were often blurred then, as they still might be today.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Spot on. No offense to those who want to engage in it, but we think the extensive examination of this exchange doesn’t warrant it. We don’t think there’s any hidden meaning here, nor do we think it indicates too much about Betty’s mind or foreshadows anything to come. It was just a particularly dark, nasty joke (in an episode with encroaching darkness as one of its themes) from a character who’s been known to be dark and nasty, especially in such an awkward manner. She called her daughter a little lesbian because she picked up a wrench one time, remember?

            • Violina23

              I dunno, I still can’t shake the idea that she was mostly trying to get under the skin of her husband who, based on the expression on his face and the tone of his response, would never dream of raping a teenage girl no matter how socially accepted it might have been.

            • VanessaDK

              True. But good upper/middle class women did not talk about it either. What was shocking was not the suggestion per se, but her describing in graphic terms holding down the girl’s arms or putting a rag in her mouth so as not to be heard.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              How do we know for sure what all good upper/middle class women talked about in bed with their husbands fifty years ago?

            • VanessaDK

              Sorry– I had edited that because I knew the first part of the remark would derail the point.

            • sarahjane1912

              Variations on rising house prices and ‘there goes the neighbourhood’ chit-chat if my mother is to be believed. ;-)

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

              True.
              And if you don’t believe that, just think of the Pete situation a few seasons back. “Force my nanny into sex? Fine, I understand, she’s cute and asking for it. I just don’t want to find a new nanny, ok??”

            • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

              She was raised to be desirable and she made money out of being beautiful for the camera when she was very young. I can’t imagine she has experienced less sexual harassment than Peggy did in early season 1. And then, of course, Don taught her a lot about how men can treat women.

        • http://twitter.com/sarahofcroydon Lil

          There was some indication that Henry was idly engaging in a bit of teen fantasy;

          B: You’re so calm from all that violin.
          H: She plays beautifully.
          B: You and Bobby had the same look on your faces while she was playing. She’s a year older than Sally, shame on you.
          H: No-one would blame me for leaving you for a teenaged musician.
          B: She’s just in the next room. Why don’t you go in there and rape her? I’ll hold her arms down.
          H: Betty, what the hell?
          B: You said you wanted to spice things up. Will it ruin it if I’m there? Y’know, if you want to be alone with her I’ll take Sally for a ride. You can stick a rag in her mouth and you won’t wake the boys.
          H: All right, Betty.
          B: My goodness. You’re blushing.

          She takes his idle fantasy to the extreme and makes it horrific, which is kind of the point… this teenaged girl is still a child and that even lovely reasonable Henry can have an idle fantasy about a young girl shows us how endemic the sexualisation of young women is in society. That we’re focusing again on Betty and her neurosis/anxieties/horrible personality/etc says a lot, really.

          • KateWo

            Great point, thanks for voicing it!

          • ohayayay

            Hmm. I thought about it and looked for clues and just did not see any evidence that Henry was sexually attracted to the girl or that he had said or done anything to indicate any untoward interest, so Betty’s needling seemed to come from nowhere. But if you read my comment further down I agree that Betty is responding to/riffing on the damage caused by a oversexualization/objectification of herself, and other women, from a young age.

            • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

              I thought Betty was being purely sarcastic, as only Betty Draper Francis can.

          • ohayayay

            And I agree that blaming Betty for her neuroses and anxieties is not the point here. She is a product of her times and our society.

          • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

            That conversation doesn’t say “Henry admitting to sexual fantasies about Sandy” to me, at all. It sounds like he’s picking up on (what he thinks is) Betty’s teasing, so he cooperates by making a joke about leaving Betty for Sandy. He’s not the kind of guy to immediately get angry when Betty’s being weird — he cooperates and tries to take the conversation to a less weird place.

            Notice how he’s not even sexualizing Sandy in his joke. He’s not talking about leaving Betty for a “pretty teenager” or a “long-haired teenager” or anything; the only way he can even talk about this child as attractive is by saying that her being a “teenaged musician” sounds somehow glamorous.

            My first thought was that Betty was being vindictive because he had suggested spicing up their sex life and that made her feel insecure and unattractive. But it’s also possible that she’s just being wildly inappropriate because she doesn’t know where the boundaries are. She knows how to be elegant and mannerly, but ever since she let go of the Grace Kelly costume she was wearing in season 1, we’ve seen that there’s no real grasp of social norms and morals underneath. She says and does horrible things and never realizes.

            I do love Betty, though. I loved her in season 1 when she was desperately holding on to the ladylike persona, and I love the insanity she discovered underneath. She also has a brilliant side to her when she sees right through people and tells them the truth straight on — as when she told Sandy “That’s an arrogant generalization.” She’s too much of an expert bullshitter to let other people’s bullshit slide.

      • AnotherJulie

        I agree it crossed the line…. I’ve always thought Betty was awful, then I liked her for a brief moment when she comforted Sally after she got her period, now I’m back to hating her again. All that trouble looking for someone else’s daughter does not redeem her, or make her a “good mother” to me.

        • Kathleen Gillies

          Really? I tend to look more at a person’s actions rather than their words. Betty’s words were quite shocking. Unfortunately, I was putting the dog out when that scene was on and only heard the beginning/did not see the interaction. After watching the remaining show and thinking about it, I wondered too, at Betty’s reckless driving (chauffering the two most personally critical people in your life might have stimulated a little passive agressive behavior). Throughout the show, she exhibited a lot of risky behavior. I wonder if she said what she said to see if Dick actually listens to her. He loves her without really wanting to know who she is, ie. the idea of her. I think Betts wants to stop “all” this too.

          • AnotherJulie

            Great point re: talking to see if hubby is listening. But it was still awful. I have a hard time getting my head around a mother of a 14-year old (or however old Sally is) making comments to her hubby about his interest in raping a 15-year old – regardless of the reason behind it. Disturbing.

          • roadtrip1000

            Did you really mean Dick or did you mean Henry?

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I recall when she made another strange remark about wondering if Sally was a lesbian when she was just a child.

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        If Henry couldn’t ignore a lot of darkness and out-of-line conversation and behavior, he wouldn’t still be married to Betty. He’s good at letting things slide.

    • Pennymac

      Oh, good. I thought perhaps I wasn’t “getting it” because this episode felt so dark and full of forboding. Even the little Drapers were angry and dark; Kiernan Shipka played the angst ridden spoiled teen (preteen?) to perfection. Don’s and Megans New Years fondue party seemed a gloomy way for them to celebrate, when considering their former glamorous social life. And Don’s “I want to stop doing this” felt just sad, to me.

      • Meg0GayGuys6

        Kiernan did play the angsty teen very well. I was shocked when she referred to her mom as “Betty” and no one batted an eye.

      • formerlyAnon

        I loved Don’s “I want to stop doing this.” If he didn’t have those moments, he’d be far less interesting and feel far less like a “real” person.

    • juliamargaret

      I loved this episode, but I have to admit, I was thinking, if they can bring poor Burt Peterson back, can we please please please see Sal again?

      • cpjones79

        I was waiting for the guy at Don and Megan’s NYE get together that told the story about catching a gay guy getting it on at Bloomingdale’s to tell Don it was Sal that was caught, but relieved that he didn’t, in hopes that Sal is still out there somewhere.

      • janierainie

        I just knew Sal was going to be the guy the New Year’s guest was talking about. I guess that would be too much of a coincidence.

        • awesomesabrina

          yea that would make it seem like there was one gay man in all of Manhattan.

        • CozyCat

          I read an interview where Weiner said that he knows Sal is the most missed character, but that to be true to the way he would have been treated at the time, he just ain’t coming back.

          So sad. And that’s kind of the point….

      • MK03

        Also, a great bit of continuity: Burt mentioned that he’s a widower. When he was fired from Sterling Cooper in season 3, Joan mentioned that his wife was getting cancer treatment. Looks like it wasn’t successful…

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        Ha ha.. when they were talking about the “assignation” in the men’s room ( a story they were telling), first thing I thought was..is that REALLY the best way to bring Sal back into the show??

      • H2olovngrl

        Isn’t he the one who trashed his office when he was fired? Awesome! I knew I recognized him!

        • juliamargaret

          Yes, I think he threw a chair out the window and/or defecated on his desk.

          • roadtrip1000

            Wasn’t that Duck who attempted to do the defecating?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

        Effing Matt Weiner. “Man, I miss Burt Petersen, I wish there was a way we could see him again”- sad no MAD MEN fan, ever.
        ETA- he actually added a lot to the episode, I guess it was better than some new character- but just like Weiner, teasing us all, knowing whose return the fans are clamoring for.

      • GinaGeo

        I watched that first scene of the Creative room over and over again hoping that guy sleeping on the couch was Sal.

        • Froide

          The guy sleeping on the couch reminded me of Dinkins’ passed-out-drunk best man at the bar in Hawaii.

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Just a few comments: (1) Betty being a good mother – to someone else’s child. I found the new creepy/sad/realistically not yet thin Betty interesting and sympathetic (2) Peggy has become Don, mostly for the good, except that she didn’t realize that she was speaking too harshly to her staff and didn’t tell them that they could leave on New Year’s Eve – she’s still my favorite character (3) Don turning into Roger even more by cheating on the second wife so soon and throwing up in public (4) Kiernan Shipka’s voice was lower and more mature and she is not listening to Betty one bit. Yes, she is a teenager. (5) Not enough Joan and Pete yet.

      • makeityourself

        Very good, Girl with a Pearl. I concur on all points, and had forgotten about Roger puking in the office.

    • Joan Arkham

      Did I totally miss any explanation of who Violin Girl was? A relative? A friend?

      My own dark moment: I’m glad she’s gone. We don’t need a Cousin Oliver in the mix.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

        She was a friend of Sally’s, and I think really just a device for expanding upon the darkness and restlessness that is Betty Francis.

        • Chickadeep

          And also, perhaps, a way to show Sally’s transition from tween to full-on teen, right down to the slightly-older friends and ever-sharper commentary (“Betty got a ticket”). Even last year, the dynamic between Sally and others was different…slightly more hesitant and innocent and less openly sardonic than she is now. There has always been friction between Sally and Betty but this year is the first time I feel like we’re getting a preview of their grown-up relationship.

          • sarahjane1912

            And — using an occasionally used ‘this is how teens behave’ plot device — Sally calls her mother ‘Betty’ when talking to her stepfather. And Betty didn’t correct her; she just let it slide. I thought the ‘Betty’ was funny. Was less sure of the burgeoning mother/daughter dynamic when Better didn’t reprimand her. Interesting.

        • rkdgal

          Considering her dead mother, I wondered if she was the daughter of Betty’s friend with cancer from last season.

          • awesomesabrina

            She’s just Sally’s friend.

          • not_Bridget

            Yes, she could have been that woman’s daughter. As well as a classmate of Sally.

            • sarahjane1912

              Hmm. Not sure about the classmate angle. After all, Sally is dismissive of her [though that could have been jealousy in that teenage angsty sense] and they don’t seem particularly close; it’s more as if Sandy has been forced on her. Plus, Sally spent a lot of the ep’ chatting on the phone to her ‘real’ friends. Plus, Sandy didn’t discuss her future with Sally; she lied and said she was leaving early for Julliard.

              Sally really dialled up the abominable factor in this opening episode. More of her mother in her than I suspect Sally realises at this stage.

            • CozyCat

              I got the feeling that Sally picked up on how much Betty liked the new “friend” and she was jealous. She may “hate” her mother (no more than any other teenage girl), but she wouldn’t want her mother to like some other girl better (especially when mom is as critical as Betty and the new friend is so talented…)

            • sarahjane1912

              Hmm … good take on the scene.

              I come from an ‘old-fashioned’ era when just about EVERYONE older than me was considered a person worthy of adulation/adoration. They all seemed trendier, cooler … a person I aspired to be, in fact. I can’t recall flipping that feeling on the basis that my mother showed ‘interest’ in said person. But that’s just me!

              That’s why I thought that Sandy — still haven’t worked out exactly how she fits into the Francis dynamic — was some daughter of a friend or a relation [on the Francis side] … Or something.

              I can absolutely see though, that with certain obnoxious teens [eg Sally] the teen worship/friendship could be flipped and resentment could set in rather quickly. Teen hormones are funny like that. ;-)

            • fursa_saida

              I definitely thought she was jealous when Sandy was playing the violin. Here was this other girl being “special,” with all Sally’s family’s attention on her, and the obvious adoration of her little brother. I can very easily imagine wondering, in Sally’s place, what was special about me?

          • ybbed

            I agree. I think she’s the daughter of Betty’s friend from the old neighborhood that had cancer last season, when Betty had her “scare”.

      • Vlasta Bubinka

        On the other hand, the Hawaii scenes did need Oliver the tiki. “Oh, Oliver!”

        • Lynn Landry

          I thought Cousin Oliver showed up AFTER the Hawaii vacation. I don’t think he’s in the episode, but I could be wrong.

        • Vlasta Bubinka

          I don’t remember when Cousin Oliver showed up, but in the Hawaii episodes, Vincent Price starred as a frustrated archeologist living in burial caves. His best friend was a tiki statue he called Oliver.

      • Laylalola

        I had no idea who Violin Girl was, either, and must have missed Roger’s connection to (Invisible?) Shoeshine Guy who apparently died at the end.

        • Laylalola

          (Just adding — Violin Girl’s relationship with the family seemed far more intertwined than her just being a friend of Sally’s. For one thing, she’s significantly older than Sally. For another, she used her (extended?) overnight stay at this conventional family’s house as the launch for her run into the great wild — where is her family? Why didn’t anyone in the family contact her family to tell them she was gone? SO SO STRANGE.)

          • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

            I’m not sure she’s significantly older than Sally. She is 15 and I think Sally is 14. She seemed older, but is only 15.

            • OrigamiRose

              Yes, at one point Betty says that Violin Girl is a year older than Sally.

            • Munchkn

              Sally is 14 or just about to turn 14. We’re the same age.

            • sarahjane1912

              Agree! Significantly older but then again, she does have to be judged by sixties ‘convention’ rather than ‘now’. Remember how there were so many references to all sorts of things particularly in the early seasons that we wouldn’t countenance now? Rubbish left after a park picnic, a parent hitting someone else’s child, smoking while pregnant etc etc …

              When I saw Sandy blithely fagging away in Betty’s kitchen, it still shocked me. But Betty was fine with it. Maybe a lot of people were still fine with a 15-year-old doing that in those days [I don't know!] but as we all know from the Lucky Strikes campaign — and the sentiment was mentioned a few times in this ep, by Don’s doctor ‘friend’ and others — smoking IS bad for you. Seemed weird that Betty would just … let this girl smoke in her kitchen at her age. But then … Betty is a strange fish.

            • Spicytomato1

              I had the feeling that Betty let the smoking slide since the encounter happened in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep. Betty was happy to let the girl smoke while she could forget her diet for a little bit. The scene took on sort a conspiratorial quality for me. I’m thinking Betty wouldn’t be so tolerant, or as inclined to binge on Ritz crackers and PB, in the light of day.

            • ohayayay

              I always heard rumors that my high school used to have a smokers’ lounge for both teachers AND students to use. In the 70′s.

            • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

              My h.s. had a smoking area for students. Not sure if teachers hung out there too since I never was there. But the teachers could smoke in the teacher’s room.

            • formerlyAnon

              In the ’70s, at my high school, teachers could smoke in the teacher’s lounge. Students could smoke in the parking lot. It was technically against the rules, but only enforced for being there during class time, not for smoking. In the ’70s in a tobaccco producing state, places where one *couldn’t* smoke were rare. I can recall elementary teachers overseeing recess taking the opportunity to have a cigarette.

            • decormaven

              Hear, hear. Also from Tobacco Land. Teachers definitely could smoke- and did- in the teachers’ lounge. Students could smoke off campus, but there was a regular meeting in the bathrooms for “smoke breaks,” which were rarely targeted by administration. Everybody smoked; unfortunately, I now know way too many people with COPD, circulatory problems and CA.

            • 3hares

              My high school definitely had an area outside that was meant for students smoking in the 70s.

            • sarahjane1912

              Ooh. Good point.

              It still rankles a tad [!] but I now see that the ‘midnight snack’ situation, imbued with the furtiveness/conspiratorial aura with which such occasions are so often imbued, would put paid to any judgment issues, especially in this instance. I think Betty really wants to help this teen, be a friend as well as some titular ‘big sister’ figure, which is obviously played out in her search for Sandy in the NY doss house, and despite the weird rape fantasies in which she indulges as some bleeding edge fantasist with Henry.

            • AmeliaEve

              In the 1970s, my California high school had a student smoking area. It was set up specifically to keep kids on campus, where cigarettes were not the only thing they were smoking.

              Moreover, when I was in 4-H, summer camp included all ages from about 8-18. Kids over 15 were allowed to smoke at camp if they had a permission letter from their parents. Again, part of the issue was keeping smokers in the main area. Fire danger is a major problem in California, so campers sneaking off to smoke could be hurting more than just themselves.

          • Melanie

            Betty even says to Henry, “She’s only a year older than Sally. Shame on you.”

          • Froide

            Sandy didn’t run away from the Francis’ house. Betty learned Sandy had “gone to Julliard” when she asked Sally if the girl were coming over.

        • MilaXX

          Shoe shine guy was just that. The guy who did Rogers shoes for years. It appears the guy was alone and the only person who called about him was Roger, and that was only because he wanted his shoes polished.

          • Sweetbetty

            And Roger had casually mentioned he was going to get his shoes shined and something else, maybe a haircut?, earlier in the episode. I have vague memories of Roger having his shoes shined in previous seasons so this guy was probably one constant in his life, someone he could count on to always be there to do what he was expected to do and to do it well. No doubt Roger unloaded some of his deepest thoughts onto him, knowing he would not be judged or further probed, like his therapist did. Such a contrast between how he reacted to the news of the death of his own mother and the news of the death of such a lowly person of servitude.

            • Laylalola

              That’s an interesting take. Not remembering Shoe shine guy myself, I sort of read Roger’s breakdown at the news of his death as really underscoring for Roger what he had told his psychiatrist about all these doors not opening to new worlds at all or to a great life path but just being a random collection of meaningless daily events leading straight to death. And it was clearly somewhat unexpected — the guy’s parents were still around to forward his stuff to Roger — so you had all this meaningless combined with the fact that on top of it the guy hadn’t had the full 90-year-lifespan of Roger’s mother that really makes it somehow even worse.

          • VicD

            When my mother died, I couldn’t cry at all. Then about a month later, Dr. Mark Green died on ER, and I completely lost it. I was reminded of that on last night’s episode with Roger and the shoeshine guy. It’s like you can’t deal with the big issue at all, so something else has to give you that catharsis.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

              THIS.

          • Froide

            Roger didn’t want to die alone like the shoeshine guy, but he expressed feeling alone except when being used to write checks.

            I’ll be the shoeshine guy gave Roger the polish Roger used to as makeup for his blackface performance in “Old Kentucky Home”.

    • StelledelMare

      Wonderful review, as always. I am so beyond glad that the show is back. And I can’t wait for your Mad Style post because all of the male hair changes that were going on? I didn’t like them one bit.

      • Spicytomato1

        I found the “I hate it” line to be completely realistic, too. My sons hate any change in my appearance and never hesitate to express it, no matter how much better I may think I look!

    • http://profiles.google.com/awilsongirl Amy Wilson

      Was I imagining things or did the encounter between Don’s secretary and the Dr outside of the office closet very odd? You know, when Don was giving him the Leica (which totally made my little camera hoarding self squee a little bit). It almost seemed as though she knew him? Or was it just seemingly awkward because she thought she might have made a mistake on the schedule?

      Also, add me to the chorus who was totally freaked out by Betty’s rape commentary in the bedroom. And did the Violin Girl (Sandy?) not have a dad? I know she stated that her mom was dead.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

        Yeah, it did seem Don’s secretary and the doctor knew each other.

        • VanessaDK

          Or were attracted to each other….

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          There was definitely something going on there. I thought she was offended by something he had said at first.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            To us, it seemed like she was surprised to see Don taking a social call in the office. He doesn’t really have any friends, after all.

            • Violina23

              I thought they knew each other too, but this explanation makes far more sense. It’s funny how we’re all so wired to think that everything has a secret/double meaning.

            • lurker2209

              True. As Meghan pointed out, she had to invite his accountant to his birthday party.

            • AViewer44

              I agree. Dawn’s main concern was that she wasn’t on top of Don’s schedule.

              So didn’t you guys feel that the relationship between Don and the doctor was mutually admiring to the point of romance? I guess it’s partly a result of the affair with the doctor’s wife, but it still doesn’t explain why the doctor seems so enamored of Don (including his comment “Stop flirting,” followed by the long up-and-down he gave some passing girl, while Don went inside the storage closet to retrieve the camera). In fact the episode seemed full of new and unexplained people flirting with Don, including the blonde neighbor, and the new accounts guy–though none quite so blatantly (or reciprocally) as the doctor.

            • fursa_saida

              I agree. I don’t expect any kind of coming out moment for Don (who is as heterosexual as they come), but it was remarkably homosocial for him. I’m really interested to see where that relationship takes us.

      • StelledelMare

        Glad I’m not the only one who thought that it seemed like they knew each other. Hopefully that’ll be touched on at some point because I think Dawn definitely needs some sort of story.

        • awesomesabrina

          hear, hear! She really needs a story.

          • AnotherJulie

            Agree. I want them to expand her role. There are SO many opportunities for role expansion…. I hate it when I hear of the show ending after 7 seasons…

          • Joe M

            I think 1968 is the year she’ll get one. Can’t imagine them showing that April without more elaboration on Dawn.

        • ideated_eyot

          Pretty sure it was just awkward blocking. They don’t know each other, but I would like a D
          awn subplot.

      • KateWo

        Maybe Dawn has suspicions? As TLo mentioned, there were a lot of call backs to moments in earlier seasons, and it could be a call back to when Peggy discovered his cheating as his secretary.

      • janierainie

        I noticed it too. There was definitely some recognition there.

      • MK03

        YES. Betty’s rape monologue was… I don’t even know. Deeply disturbing and bizarre. Though Betty is nothing if not punitive; I suppose that was her “that’ll learn him” to Henry for daring to suggest they spice up their sex life.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          I didn’t see it as punitive. It was definitely weird, but I think she was just trying to be funny, and I don’t think she really knows how. Betty was not awful in this episode, and it was striking, because I feel like Betty’s always been awful in the past.

          • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

            I don’t think she’s awful. But I agree she probably doesn’t know how to make a joke.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          I think her husband was a bit repulsed.

      • Alanna Wisteria

        There was also a weird sneakiness to the whole camera subplot, from the moment Don mentioned it to the shot of Dr.Rosen walking out of the office. They acted almost like they were doing something illegal or at least shady, even though I assume that gifting cast-off sample models is perfectly acceptable.

        • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

          Probably because Don feels guilty about sleeping with his wife and ALL his dealings with Dr. Rosen feel a little bit shady.

      • MissAnnieRN

        We don’t know what kind of doctor Dr Rosen is, but some type of surgeon. Perhaps Dawn was his patient? And the rape talk was creepy.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          I thought he was a heart surgeon. I thought there were a lot of references to it but then I’ve only watched it once. :)

          • snarkykitten

            Don does talk to him about him performing an open heart surgery

          • Girl_With_a_Pearl

            Yes and they met when the heart surgeon saved the doorman’s life (he was having a heart attack). Also, there was a model of a heart in the doctor’s bedroom where we see that the doctor’s wife and Don are having an affair.

        • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

          They said he did the first heart transplant. Or was going to (I don’t think it was done in the US until 1969, but I could be wrong there).

          • sarahjane1912

            I think it was @Sweetbetty:disqus who mentioned in an earlier post that the first US heart transplant was performed on 3 December 1967. I just looked it up — she’s absolutely correct, of course! — and while it was considered a success, the patient died, sadly.

      • Little_Olive

        Well, remember there were insinuations as to Betty having been molested by her father as a child (when Sally went to her useless therapist and the whole thing with grandpa Gene). She may be overly sensitive to the issue, as she is with most things related to womanhood when not applied to a grown and married woman (such as herself). It’s like she needs clear categories for things.

        Also, I think Betty’s unease is meant to play off to Sally’s defiance of rules (while still being somewhat scared), and at the same tome to portray the changes and challenges that were coming to traditional, post war, family values. They are after all, issues that may be hard to process for a woman, a girl and a society.

        • 3hares

          There were no implications that Betty was molested as a child. As MW confirmed, that was a simple case of her father being senile. He thought she was her mother in that moment.

      • http://twitter.com/1tsplove sara

        Yeah, WHAT was the deal between Dawn and Dr. Rosen? Some have said it was her surprise and finding out Don has friends, but I really don’t think so. Could it be that Dawn knows about Sylvia/Mrs. Rosen? Or maybe she has her own connection to Dr. Rosen?

        In any event, I feel like Dawn had more personality in this episode than all of Season 5, so I’m looking forward to (fingers crossed) more of that!

        • H2olovngrl

          Hmm, I wonder if has to do with Mrs. Rosen, as you speculated. To me, it looked like she thought he was there to see her.

      • Tafadhali

        I thought Dawn’s weirded out facial expression was because Don had a friend! Don…doesn’t really have friends?

      • http://twitter.com/maschultz Margaret Schultz

        Amy Wilson I squeed too when he brought out the Leica M2. I *have* an M2. Mine is a 1956 model. That sorta surprised me, because the M4 was launched in 1967… continuity error?

        • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

          The ad agency might have been given the “old” models to get rid of them.

        • Froide

          “M2″ recalls the names of numerous firearms and military equipment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

      ” For once, he’s so ashamed and guilt-ridden by his adultery, that he’s seeking out the person he’s perpetrating it against (well, one of them anyway) and becoming obsessed with all the ways he appears to be a better man than Don. It’s part penance, part punishment – and it’s all 100% Don.”
      I’m just thinking that fine upstanding doctor is going to use that camera for all kind of great family things, and then find out what’s going on and never be able to look at those pictures, or think of those events, again. Don will have made this innocent man’s memories as filthy as Don is.

      • VanessaDK

        The affair put me in mind of an old scene from (of all things) the original movie “Bedazzled” in which one character has his wish granted (by the devil) to have a world in he and the woman he has a crush on are madly in love with each other and in a relationship. the world that the devil creates allows them to be madly in love, but she is married to a saintly man that they both respect and the pain they cause him ruins the affair, and leads to lots of crying.

      • AViewer44

        Hey, it takes two to tango. The good doctor’s wife seemed just as practiced about all this as Don.

    • http://classversussass.com Class Versus Sass

      so excited for the style recap:) I can imagine they take awhile to put together. This show has always been dark but this episode is even darker.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661256074 Mars Tokyo

      My Mad Men experience wasn’t complete without your recap. Brilliant, boys! just brilliant!

    • formerlyAnon

      I comment only to express my awe at how early this was posted. Thank-you.

      • formerlyAnon

        P.s. Yay Peggy. I am afraid to trust that her path will be smooth, however.

        • Little_Olive

          Yay indeed! If only for a second, please give us women credit in being able to perform well at a job while NOT being a bitch and not having it go up to your head -and keeping a nice personal life.

          • formerlyAnon

            In the context of Mad Men, though, she’d be the ONLY ad executive to accomplish all of those things (unless there’s a successful-on-all-fronts character I’m forgetting). So it’s unlikely to last, especially for a woman in the late ’60s.

            • Sweetbetty

              Did you notice, though, that there is now another female member of the creative team at Peggy’s old company. She’s a bit chubby, though, so there’s no chance of her following in Peggy’s footsteps. This coming from an abundant woman herself.

            • sarahjane1912

              Indeed. Not sure of her provenance, and not sure how much of her we will see, but she did add a certain dynamic to the group. I’ll bet she wasn’t a secretary that was bumped up a la Peggy though.

              What I LOVED about that group scene — and scenes dotted throughout — was the abundance of facial hair from our previously ‘clean cut’ creatives. At several stages, I had to pause to ‘peer through the hair’ in order to work out who they were! :D

            • AnotherJulie

              Agree! It took me forever to figure out that was Stan!! And I laughed out loud at Ginsburg’s new look.

            • sarahjane1912

              *Chuckles* I’m normally grrrreat with facial recognition, but the new looks just slayed me! The only one I knew for sure that was new was the woman in the team. Took me a while with the others! :D

            • H2olovngrl

              Oy, Ginsberg and Abe, don’t get me started! They look like a couple of my uncles in 1973.

            • AnotherJulie

              LOL – me too – only our town wasn’t as fashionable so we didn’t get that look til 1977 or 1978

            • http://twitter.com/kippinsk KKipp

              OMG, that was STAN?!

            • H2olovngrl

              Did you see the mini on the photographer’s assistant? It won’t be long until we see that around a more traditional office place.

            • fursa_saida

              Dude, I want to work in that room.

            • Little_Olive

              Yes.. sigh.

              On a totally and completely different front, why ooh why did Disqus eliminate the possibility to see who has “liked” your comment? The narcissistic need is not as fulfilled as when you know. Or am I just being a klutz?

            • formerlyAnon

              Not JUST the narcissistic need. As I told Diqus in their complaint form (never acknowledged and I doubt they care), the ability to see who “likes” a comment (even one not your own) builds an interactive community, as posters gradually come to assign preferences and personality to other commenters. Not everyone has the time or desire to type up a comment that basically says “yes, I agree.”

            • Little_Olive

              Absolutely! I though I was the only one who saw that. For what it’s worth, thanks for complaining! And while we are at it, I liked the former layout better.

            • charlotte

              I saw it as well, and I also miss the former layout.

            • 3boysful

              But I agree! I despise this new format.

            • kentiesgirl

              thnx for complaining to disqus. i just keep crabbing on the boards like it will fix something. ;)

            • H2olovngrl

              I concur.

            • Jackie4g

              We can “like” your omment. Although I sent three emails to Disqus Help without a whole lot of results. I undid Internet Explorer version 10 and loaded v.9. Every time I want to see and reply to comments, I have to remind IE version 9 to use the version 9 document form not the IE 7 to which it defaults. Now I can “reply” or I can vote up or down using little carat like characters. Annoying, but better than two weeks out in the cold.

            • http://dontmakeitlikeimdumb.blogspot.com/ annabelle archer

              I miss that too.

            • sarahjane1912

              You’re right — as far as I know — about MM executives not being able to accomplish all of those things [as far as I can remember too!] but in real life? It has been known to happen.

              What about Jane Maas? The woman who wrote ‘Mad Women’? Apparently a LOT of Peggy came from her and women like her. She was married, with children, and did the I heart NY campaign [or at least, was instrumental in its creation]. It seemed to me that she was also able to maintain her self-awareness and self-worth, despite the many obstacles in her path … Just like I hope Peggy will.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I think Peggy’s storyline is eventually going to come out as “Work won’t make you happy.” Which makes me sad, because I *really* want to be happy for Peggy.

            • formerlyAnon

              Oh yes. I’m hoping she gets “work can make you happy – but with regrets for what you had to give up.” I figure that’s the absolute best case.

          • flamingoNW

            Did anyone notice that the new woman who I guess replaced Peggy is kind of just an older less threatening version of her?

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              From the back, she looked like Peggy. Pretty sure that was intentional.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527150091 Pat Biswanger

              There was a nice little glimpse into age discrimination too, something that starts to become an issue at about this time.

          • Violina23

            I suspect that being tough on her subordinates might [maybe] come back to bite her later, but I love seeing her get the respect that she clearly wasn’t getting from SCDP. Nobody throwing money at her face here.

        • MisScarlett

          YES. Love Peggy with moxie!!

    • decormaven

      I’ve got mixed feelings about this opener, and am mulling them. One thing I hope will come from this season is showing Henry’s work in John Lindsay’s office. I hope Betty told Henry about her foray into town to find the missing Sandy. It may segue into Lindsay’s office’s work in revitalizing the the city. This is an interesting link: http://archpaper.com/news/articles.asp?id=4766
      Don is on the fast track to destruction. I think we’ve seen him get so close to the flame so many times, we’re all just waiting for the burn.

    • Wendi126

      I believe New Years Eve rang in 1968 not 1969. 1968 will bring the assassinations of RFK and MLK as well as the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

      • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

        I have to re-watch the New Years Eve party scene. When Arnie got the phone call from his service and he had to depart, and Don said he’d do out for cigarettes, didn’t Megan say “Oh but it’s New Years Eve! And it’s a Sunday!” as if to say no stores would be open at that hour for him to get cigarettes. I checked the calendar – New Years Day was actually on a Monday in 1968, on a Wednesday in 1969. (’68 was a leap year/election year.) THIS is why I have to re-watch that scene cuz it’s bugging me.

        • http://www.ellenciompi.com/ NurseEllen

          That’s the kind of detail that Matt Weiner would never leave un-checked. WTF?

        • nycfan

          Then they got it right, yes? If New Year’s Day was Monday, New Year’s Eve was Sunday and at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning in a snow storm, might be tough to find an open kiosk? I think most people keep calling the day what it started out as (here Sunday) until they go to sleep, notwithstanding the actual change of days at 12:01. So Megan would still say “it’s Sunday” even at 1 AM b/c she is still living Sunday. It will be Monday when she wakes up.

        • KateWo

          It makes sense then, technically it was Monday because it was after midnight but Megan said its New Years Eve on a Sunday. So if NYD in 68 was Monday then they were celebrating a Sunday NYE

        • MissKimP

          I think Megan’s comments were about the fact that the doctor had to go to work, even on New Year’s Eve, even on a Sunday, not about Don looking for cigarettes.

        • TheDivineMissAnn

          At one point in the evening Megan says “Oh, we missed the New Year” or something to that effect. Shortly after that the Dr. gets his call.

        • not_Bridget

          She said it was a Holiday, not Sunday.

          • Sweetbetty

            If you’ll re-watch the scene I believe you’ll see that she does say it’s a Sunday in addition to it being NYE and during a snowstorm.

            • Joe M

              I’m not seeing the problem. The day she’s just lived through was a Sunday. If it was 1 a.m. on a Monday and I was thinking about the full context of the day just passed and getting a cab etc, I would place it still as Sunday even though it’s been Monday for an hour.

        • Joe M

          Alabama played Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl at the beginning of 1968. Come on, why would Mad Men skip over the most important year of the 60s??

        • Lilithcat

          Right. If 1/1/68 was a Monday, then NYE 1967 would be Sunday. Her comment was actually in regards to the doctor not being able to find a cab, which is why he went and got the skis.

        • Lisa_Co

          It was 1967. Remember Megan tells Sr. Rosen he will never find cab on Sunday, New Years plus snow.

      • http://twitter.com/chavelaque Cheryl Klein

        You’re right — there was a lot of talk about the first heart transplant, and that took place in December of 1967, so the new year is 1968.

        On another note, I kept looking at all the fashion & thinking, “I can’t wait to see what TLo will say about this!” So glad to have a Mad Style post on the way, and your commentary on the show as always. (And congrats on turning your book ms. in.)

        • Sweetbetty

          My second child was born, a month prematurely, on December 5, 1967, and I remember all the news about the first heart transplant, which took place on December 3 of that year, on the news and in the papers during my hospital stay so I had no trouble placing the year.

          • Munchkn

            That must have been scary to have a baby prematurely in 1967. Thank goodness the baby’s lungs are pretty much developed by 36 weeks. Baby ventilators were developed around then, but I think it may have been in ’68 or ’69.

      • MK03

        Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I kind of hope that we get to see 1968 unfold; I want to see how everyone handles the assassinations and the violence that’s coming. It would be an ironic callback to the newspaper headline about “ringing out a violent year.”

      • Kwei-lin Lum

        My husband looked up the football game between those two particular teams (sorry not sure who exactly) and discovered that it was the new year ushering in 1968. We stopped the DVR and interestingly a blurb in the newspaper that Don picks up near the end of the show mentions the violent year just past. Oh, boy, everyone is in for a doozy soon.

    • MisScarlett

      First, I have to say: I found this site a few months ago when I “discovered” Mad Men on Netflix (and subsequently stopped my life for a week so I could watch every.single.episode of the show consecutively). I have been so excited to join in for this season. TLo’s commentaries remind me of really good lit classes in college, where the professor facilitated smart discussions and texts took on all kinds of new meanings and interpretations… such fun.

      Second, I just have to say I really enjoyed Roger’s storyline this week. It was a little disconcerting to see him finally break down, but in a “thank God he has it in him” kind of way. I always enjoy how Mona handles her role as his ex-wife, and glad to see her encourage him to spend some time with his daughter. Interested to see if/how this relationship develops. (Also: Refrigeration? Good concept to invest in, no?)

      • Violina23

        I’m a relative newbie too: I started watching last spring and devoured the series as fast as a part time working mother could. I caught up just in time for the last 2 episodes of season 5, and the “joy” of waiting nearly a year with the other devoted fans. I’m excited to be enjoying it in real time now with the other bitter kittens :-)

      • Froide

        When Margaret’s daughter first began describing the refrigerator theme, I thought she was referring to cryogenics. In any case, the hot new technology/ refrigerated cars is another addition to the fire/ice, hot/cold contrast shown throughout the premiere.

    • Ogden1990

      Mad Men. No longer brought to you with limited commercial interruptions.

      • MilaXX

        And the commercials trying to mimic 50/60′s style ads is getting really old.

        • editrixie

          Especially when they do it so very badly. It’s really hard to watch them get it wrong so consistently.

      • CheriCPat

        THIS!!! I watched in real time, reasoning that Mad Men interrupts itself less frequently than other shows. Will never make that mistake again.

      • H2olovngrl

        Egad, I watched it on the website, and I was able to take a shower during one of the commercial breaks. IT WAS THAT LONG.

    • Angela_the_Librarian

      Thanks for the super early posting!

      A few observations: Discipline in the Francis household seems almost non existent. Sally calling her mom by her first name, Bobby calling Betty ugly to her face…it all seemed to smack in the face of the traditional family (more social constructs falling?). Also I loved that Betty changed her hair color almost entirely based on a verbal jab made at her by a teen ruffian.

      The photographer asking Don to “be himself” during the photo shoot was the most telling of the episode…he doesn’t really know who he is, so it’s hard for him to act naturally or act as himself. Also, it was interesting to compare Don’s lack of emotions during the Hawaii slideshow compare with his emotions during the Kodak pitch. True he wasn’t try to sell something to a client this time, but he just seemed more wistful and emotional when showing pictures of Betty and the kids than Megan frolicking in Hawaii. I also wondered what he was watching on TV prior to the Sterling memorial service?

      Ah, I could go on and on (but I won’t). Thought it was a strong start to the season. Can’t wait for the Mad Style post!

      • VictoriaDiNardo

        Do you mean what was on the screen while the housekeeper was vacuuming? It looked like “the Donna Reed Show” which would have been a daytime rerun by 1968.
        EtA: I just remembered that Donna reeds husband one show was a doctor.

        • Angela_the_Librarian

          Yes, that was probably it (the actress looked familiar but I didn’t know the show). It just seemed strange to me that Don was watching TV alone and wondered if the program had any significance.

          • Joe M

            Very little significance, I think, other than he was watching reruns from a show filmed back in the glory days of his career, which by then seemed long ago even though it wasn’t in terms of years. Oh, and the fabulous horizontal lines on the TV from the vacuum cleaner!

        • Melanie

          I thought it was an amazing touch that they had those fuzzy lines on the screen when Don was watching, since the housekeeper was vacuuming – that totally used to happen!

          • dashransome

            Yes!!! I noticed the same! So fun to see these little anecdotal things play out on Mad Men.

        • Sweetbetty

          Yes, it was The Donna Reed Show. I knew that immediately but never made the doctor-husband, perfect housewife connection; thanks for that. Oh, BTW, in the mid 60s we had one of those vacuum cleaners the Draper housekeeper was using.

          • Munchkn

            We had one too, but ours was a beige model. It was a Hoover, IIRC.

            • VictoriaDiNardo

              Love that bit of knowledge about Donna Reed, thanks! – I still have a long folding Christmas card with that saying hanging in my studio. It is of coarse avocado green.

        • Joe M

          Personally, I though the point of showing that TV was to see the effects the vacuum cleaner had on the image, the two horizontal lines. How long has it been since using other appliances affected a TV image? It actually doesn’t seem that long ago to me!

          • ferngilly

            I’m “only” 29 but I remember! I remember being so confused during Mr. Rogers because i would see four Lands of Make Believe while my mom would vacuum (and, incidentally, smoke. As a suburban 80′s housewife).

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          We owned a vacuum JUST like that.. it sort of freaks you out to see “old friends” like that.

        • Lisa_Co

          I knew they were either going to show “Leave It to Beaver” (the perfect Cleaver family) or Donna Reed.

      • janierainie

        It was definitely The Donna Reed Show. I was wondering if he was waiting to see Megan. I think she’s in a soap right?

    • FloridaLlamaLover

      The jury’s still out for me on the episode. Felt disjointed to me and depressing as hell. Great way to start the day! My biggest question: Who is the actress who played the doctor’s wife? I’m googling her, she’s not listed on IMDB for the episode, etc, etc.

      • Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

        Linda Cardellini, from Freaks and Geeks.

        • StelledelMare

          And also Velma from those pretty bad Scooby Doo films

        • KateWo

          What!! Can’t believe I didn’t recognize her!

      • annrr

        she was also on ER as a nurse

      • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

        The actress is Linda Cardellini. When I saw it was her, I immediately wondered why they had a well established actress playing a bit part. Then we found out!

      • Lisa_Co

        I also thought it started slowly (but was better in the 2nd hour) and depressing. Actually, I often feel depressed after seeing Mad Men. Don’t know why….

    • AnotherJulie

      I’m looking forward to exploring the plot line re: why Joan didn’t come to Roger’s mother’s funeral.

      • http://twitter.com/lauraklenda Laura K

        Joan is done with Roger. That’s why she wore the fur he gave her when she slept with the Jaguar guy. Roger didn’t step in and “save” her.

        • AnotherJulie

          Wow – you’re right! I missed that little tidbit. But it makes total sense….. but do you really think she expected him to save her? She has been rejecting his offers of support for her son… I find their whole thing confusing.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I think she was done with him long before, but the Jaguar thing was the nail in the coffin.

      • Brad Watson

        I agree… She’s a full non-silent partner in the agency… Bert was there. Not about Roger, per se, but about the biz.

        • AnotherJulie

          Exactly. But do you think Joan was, in her mind, taking the high road by staying away because Mona and his daughter would obv. be there, and she (Joan) was The Other Woman Who Knew Her Place in 1967?

    • maryellen

      Wait, where did we see Don having an affair? How did I miss that? Sometimes I watch and try to see all the nuances but only TLO helps me to understand whats really going on…

      • MilaXX

        At the end. The doctor gets called away. Don says he’s going out for cigs. Later we see Don in the doc’s apartment with his wife and then we see them in bed.

        • Sweetbetty

          I’m wondering why Megan didn’t question why it took him so long to go get cigarettes. I’m assuming she didn’t get undressed and dive into bed as soon as Don and the doc went out the door and she didn’t seem to be deeply asleep when he slipped into bed with her. I was waiting for her inquiry and wondering what lie Don would make up but she didn’t seem to notice the time gap at all.

          • Lilithcat

            I thought that was odd, too, particularly as he had his jacket off, his shirttails untucked, and was generally disheveled.

          • MK03

            Maybe she’s not as innocent as she seems. I was struck by her line (oaraphrased) “will you still love me if I’m a backstabbing whore?” I know it was in relation to the character she’s playing on the soap, but still…

          • Joe M

            Do you live in a place where it snows? Snowstorms can seriously impede progress on foot. And even in the city that never sleeps, you can’t always find a store that’s open at 1 am, not right in one’s neighborhood, and that was probably more the case in the 60s than now. Moreover, I don’t think Don’s assignation with the wife lasted all that long, if you know what I mean.

        • Lisa_Co

          What was weird was the hallway and door seemed so bright and ugly, I thought Don might be going into a cleaning closet.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

            Is there maybe a service entrance? Or maybe that was just the stairwell up from the storage.

      • Joe M

        What? Did you see the last two minutes of the episode? It couldn’t really have been made any clearer.

      • Violina23

        It was the VERY end, maybe did your DVR cut it off? Trust me, you wouldn’t have missed it :)

    • nycfan

      One of the themes they hammered home toward the end of the episode in Don’s failed pitch was “A Star is Born” and that certainly seems to be the arc we’re looking at, the older, successful man who brings along the ingenue, only to be depressed (and in ASIB, to the point of the suicide Don was trying to sell to the Hawaii guys) when her star eclipses his own and he fades into obscurity, choosing the “better to burn out than to fade away” path. That arc applies to Peggy (including a call back to their brief encounter in the theater last season, when he awkwardly expresses his frustration at helping her and seeing her move on) and Megan, whose character is not exactly on a path to stardom but is young and starting an upward trajectory.

      Meanwhile, Don is flailing, reading Dante’s “Inferno” at the suggestion of his apparently perceptive and also depressed (empty nester with a husband married to his job) in-building lover. Don seems to think the has wandered through the thicket of middle age into Hell, notwithstanding his material success.

      Great post, guys, and especially good read on the mancrush Don had on his doctor “friend”.

    • decormaven

      Very mixed feelings about this opener. I was intrigued by Betty’s foray into the city to find Sandy; I was hoping she would talk with Henry about the squalor she encountered so it could segue into the work Lindsay’s office was doing on NYC revitaliztion.
      Don is hurtling toward the fire now. For all of us who have followed his progression, the flames will be inevitable. (Please forgive if there is a similar, but earlier post in this same vein. Discus is having a little agita this a.m., I think.)

    • Frank_821

      I had a mixed feeling to the episode in terms of structure. I felt it would have been better to show this as 2 1 hr episodes. Too many plotlines going on.

      I loved peggy glowing but glad also glad it was noted she was turning into a slave-driver. My favorite small moment was the phone call between her and Stan. They are 2 people who have become good friends. A long ways off from the strip off they did in the hotel room

      I enjoyed Betty as a good mother. she empathized with that girl but in a weird way she looks like she’s coping with her world better than Don is in his. Henry is a good husband to her and the affection they show to each other was nice to see. It’s a contrast to Don who really does not know how to be happy or knows what he wants. We all knew eventually he would cheat on Megan

      However I have to come to really dislike Henry’s mother. I find her rather crass and entitled and ill-mannered. It’s amazing Henry came out as well as he did. and yes Betty looked like her after the dye job

      enjoyed Sally entering the bloom of teenage brat-dom

      Poor Roger

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        About the Peggy thing. At first viewing, I was also put off by her attitude but then, upon reflection, I think it also shows a kind of double standard that we all have about powerful women. If that had been Don, it would have appeared like leadership but when Peggy did it, it was excessive.
        After all, she didn’t assign people to work and then leave the office. She stayed there on New Years too. Don’s done a lot worse than that to his workers. What I think it did show was the importance of working your way up through the usual channels. When the workers tried to pass off third rate work on her, she instantly noticed it for what it was.

        • Frank_821

          Oh I agree about the double standard. The only person who was shown to call Don out was Peggy. I took that scene as a minor wake-up call how much she emulates Don and that’s not always a good thing. I should clarify my “slavedriver” comment was in reference to Ted commenting on her not sending people home on New Year’s eve once she solved the problem. Personally I felt she handled those 2 lackeys perfectly. she took them to task and was tough but she didn’t denigrate them like many bosses would. The fact she gave them her dinner was a nice subtle touch that she wasn’t being completely like Don

    • Jasmaree

      I actually think that this is a little different than previous seasons’ Don, but I don’t think it’s guilt weighing him down. He seems sick of just about everything to me. Did you notice that he stopped speaking? For almost a full 10 minutes of the show, he was in every scene doing something that others would love to do–spending a vacation in Hawaii with his sexy young wife smoking weed and having sex. And he didn’t say a word to anyone throughout the entire ordeal (his first word? Army). He barely smiled. He starts talking a bit later on, but not very much. There’s a quip here or there, but no conversation is drawn out (except the one with the doctor). He stands at his window, hearing the ocean calling him (and supposedly hoping his soul would leave his body, if the morbid ad he pitched is any indication). He wants out of it. All of it. When he said “I want to stop this” I think he meant everything, not just cheating. His life, his work, his marriage. Everything. Doesn’t help that his past keeps catching up with him. Can’t throw it away if he tried. I think this season we might get to see Don try and become a little more Dick.

      • KateWo

        On Inside Mad Men on amc’s site Weiner says Don’s silence is related to a sort of dream like feel they were going for. It follows the pov heart attack opening scene where you hear Meghan and assume its Don on the floor, so it’s supposed to make the viewer unsure of where exactly Don is, as if its not reality at first. They also say It illustrates Meghan’s a bit self absorbed with her fame because she’s unaware that Don barely talks to her.

        • Jasmaree

          Meh, I don’t go very much by what Weiner says because what he was going for often runs counter to what was displayed. I commented further down that Betty’s rape-talk was supposedly meant to show us that Betty has a good sense of humor when she lets her guard down. Weiner can be way off sometimes.

          That said, I didn’t feel like there was much dream like imagery in those scenes, especially with the mood created by that Inferno quote. Didn’t put the vacation in a bright or optimistic light. Maybe a trance-like state?

          • ideated_eyot

            I thought the rape reference was one more example of period oblivion; something glaringly awful seen as more innocuous in context of its time.

            • H2olovngrl

              I think you are right, but it was a little too much, even for back then. Sometimes I think the writers go to the extreme with them

            • fursa_saida

              Yeah, and Henry was obviously freaked. I had my hands over my mouth.

            • Froide

              I think the writers drink too much of their own Kook Aid; they need to get out more – separately.

            • H2olovngrl

              Exactly. You put this much better than I did. Thank you.

        • MilaXX

          it never occurred to me to think that Don was the one having the heart attack

          • flamingoNW

            It did to me. I spent a good portion of the show wondering if it was him who was going to fall. i ended up rewatching it later after I knew so I could catch what I had missed.

            Weiner’s intention did not seem to come across to me (did not at all wonder where Don was or whether it was reality), except that it seemed like Don was very removed from the surroundings. I felt Don was more self absorbed/in his own world than Megan – he was in one of his obsessive moods the whole time. I was looking for signs that they still loved each other and it did seem like they really do, that they weren’t damaged so much – he didn’t look at her with disdain like he used to with Betty. He’s clearly still very attracted to her. I wasn’t surprised that he ended up in bed with another woman by the end, though, especially given last season’s ender. But I think it’s different than with Betty. I feel like it’s more about his own emptiness than about Betty’s and his together or Megan’s.

            • MilaXX

              I think the only difference is that the lies Don has told Megan are not as big as the ones he told Betty. In both instances I think Don’s cheating is primarily about his own emptiness.

            • fursa_saida

              I agree that I felt, if not unsure about where he was, at least a sense of dissociation and a dreamlike quality. In a way it almost seemed like he wasn’t really in his body, a sort of reverse It’s A Wonderful Life (no doubt I’m influenced by the Christmas trappings) in which everyone can see and hear him but he’s oblivious to the world around him. I thought he was remarkably subdued and self-contained. Half the time he didn’t even give basic monosyllabic responses to anyone when they spoke to him directly.

          • Sweetbetty

            Me neither. But I did find the scene confusing since it seemed to be replayed, once with the doorman healthy and once with him having the attack, and I didn’t know what to make of it. I purposely watched the replay immediately following on AMC and noticed the different clothing and that the doc and his wife were coming in the door with the Drapers when he had the attack, only then did some of the comments about the doorman and the doc make sense to me.

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            Really? That’s the first thing I thought. And now I think it is a case of foreshadowing for the finale.
            But then I am the person who swore every season somebody was actually going to jump out the window. First Duck and then Layne.

            • formerlyAnon

              Yes. I thought Don having a heart attack now would be a little earlier than I’d have expected in the story arc, but that’s who leapt to mind.

            • MilaXX

              nope. I was waiting to see who it was but I didn’t think Don.

            • H2olovngrl

              I have always, and still do, think it will be Pete. He always seems so fatalistic to me and has that fakeness about him, that reminds me of someone who is never ever really happy.Just so long as he doesn’t take Trudy with him! That girl is a survivor!

            • Pinx

              I agree with you about the foreshadowing, or maybe flashback is a better term. If you listen to Megan’s lines in each of the CPR scenes, they are different as well as is the emotion in her voice. The opening scene is much more personal to her. I’m guessing everything from the opening Hawaii scene until the finale is a flashback, Don’s life flashing before him.

      • Sweetbetty

        I noticed Don’s not speaking too and wondered if the whole episode was going to be that way. I think that could be a very effective episode; showing Don as a part of everything going on around him but never verbalizing more than one word at a time and nobody thinks anything of it since that’s the man he’s become, only needing one word to communicate what he wants to communicate.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

        The entire point of the lighter was to remind him of how he traded lives with another soldier once, and that his old self is dead. Dick Whitman is, legally speaking, dead, and the real Don Draper is dead, too. The one person who made Don a real person was Anna–she knew his real name, but accepted his new identity–and she’s gone as well. I don’t think he ever recovered from Anna’s death, mostly because it cut the final, tenuous string to his old life and made him 100% fake, just like the things he promises in the ads he makes. I don’t think it’s surprising that in his latest ad, the macabre promise he made was not for a shinier, happier life, but death–release from a false life embodied by his suit and tie and career, and return to some more real primal self. Maybe Don will join the counterculture. He left his life once before, and has the ability, when he lets himself go, to be a sort of chameleon, blending where he needs to. I could see him leaving everything again, and this time going back to being Dick Whitman, a vagrant and a wanderer, because I think that’s who he is on the inside.

        • CozyCat

          Re Anna being the only one who knows the real don/dick: if I recall correctly, Meghan knows the story and his real name. But she doesn’t know (and probably doesn’t want to know) the real Dick Whitman. The only time we saw him comfortable as Dick was when he visited Anna.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I think Megan accepts the facade that is Don Draper and believes Don is reality. She doesn’t think Dick Whitman matters, but Dick Whitman matters a lot, to Don most of all.

            • Froide

              Great post. Megan once told Don (was it on his 40th birthday?), “Nobody loves Dick Whitman”. This same Megan, when recognized by fans in Hawaii as “Corinne (sp?)”, told Don: “they really know me”.

          • ideated_eyot

            The list of living characters who know of Don’s identity: Betty, Megan, Pete, Bert. Anyone else?

            Btw, just wanna mention that Dick killed Don by dropping his lighter. I’ve not seen it mentioned so far.

            • putonabus

              Oh, good catch, ideated_eyot.

            • http://profiles.google.com/ameliaheartsu Amelia Logan

              faye

            • ideated_eyot

              Ah!!! How could I forget? I was kinda fond of her, hope for a follow-up.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              Faye was such a fantastic character. I wish she were still around.

            • Froide

              Rachel Menken.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Rachel doesn’t know about Dick Whitman.

            • ideated_eyot

              Yeah my memory is that she only understood Don wanted to escape something.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              I’d forgotten about how the real Don Draper died. That really brings it home, doesn’t it?

      • H2olovngrl

        ‘”Become a little more Dick”. I couldn’t help it, this gave me a chuckle.

        • Jasmaree

          It was definitely intentional. I had “the little Dick inside him is growing” at first, but I thought it was too overt.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=783500814 Amelia Pitts

        if this keeps up, i’m going to be wary of a dream sequence…

    • MilaXX

      It took me a minute to settle back into the pacing of Mad Men. The way things ended last season with Don walking off the set of Megan’s commercial it was a given that it was only a matter of time before Don went back to his philandering ways. I didn’t expect it to be the doctor’s wife, but I wasn’t surprised.
      I guess now we get slightly plump Betty. I must say Mad Men has excellent makeup up/fx artist. Not sure how I feel about the darker hair just yet.

      Not much else to add that hasn’t been covered. Everyone else is exactly where I would expect them to be given the time.

    • par3182

      I was kind of excited that Don had a (male) friend outside of work; he revelation that he was banging his wife was a huge disappointment and totally ruined it.

      Peggy, on the other hand, just gets better and better.

      • Missy Covington

        For some reason I *totally missed* the part about the affair (we were trying to do laundry/refill drinks during commercial breaks and I came back late once or twice) until I read this recap…and I was just really delighted that Don had a friend. I guess notsomuch.

        Gee, I wish he could do that for real.

        • ohayayay

          Somehow I missed that revelation too. Can someone tell me where the reveal happened? Was it before Don barfed at the funeral?

          • Missy Covington

            From what I hear, it was the LAST part of the show. Which makes sense because we thought that the show was over–all signals pointed to credits–then they went to commercials and had about 2 more minutes of show.

            • http://www.lindamerrill.com Linda Merrill

              Yes, the show ran several minutes after the 2 hour mark and the affair happened right at the end.

          • Lilithcat

            No, it was at the end of the show. While the Rosens and the Drapers are celebrating New Years Eve, the doctor is called out, Don walks him out saying he’s going to get cigarettes, and then he goes to the Rosens’ apartment to screw Mrs. Rosen.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

        Yeah, it was too good to be true. Such a decent guy- SKIING TO THE HOSPITAL? Who does that? Then, after the affait reveal, I said (way too loudly)- “Son of a bitch, Don, really??”

    • Eva_baby

      Peggy was the MVP in an episode I found rather subdued and disjointed. Also thought that Teddy Chow-guh-guh (thanks Roger!) seemed human and sympathetic and not as weasely as the SCDP has always felt him to be. And now he’s a regular. So Peggy won’t be marginalized which I was afraid of. Also, can’t wait for Mad Style and your thoughts on everybody’s hair!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

        I wonder if Ted is really that religious or if the church retreat was all for his wife. Either way, the phone conversation between Peggy and the pastor was hilarious.

    • NDC_IPCentral

      Love your recaps of my favorite television show. When I first thought that the premiere was startling slowly, I remembered that Weiner foreshadows and builds. I thought that yesterday’s two hours were meaty and presage a lot of change and upheaval for every character in the program.

      Boy, Don looked tortured the whole time, and his complexion – unhealthily ruddy – shown like a warning signal.

      By the way, I had the SAME “The Inferno” paperback for 12th grade English in 1967-68. Memories.

    • Tatiana Luján

      I do feel sorry for Don, since the first season. Mad Men is so full of unhappyness it’s hard to watch sometimes.

      • Little_Olive

        I oscillate between sorry and not sorry; I guess it’s the old question of which is worse… a grown man who deep down has values but is not man enough to live according to them, or a man who simply has no values, knows he camn me an s.o.b. an does not apologize for it (I see it every day).

        But I am fully with you on the second thing. This show has its ups and downs, but its is invariably gloomy. Everything is *serious*. A certain humor and lightness does not necessarily oppose a dark tone, IMO.

      • HengRu

        Ever since I got sucked into Season 1, I have said that the testament to the strength of the writing is the fact that although there are very few characters I actually *like*, I care about them all and want to know what happens to them.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dorothymichael Dorothy & Michael n/a

      It was fun to see Ray Abruzzo as the doorman who survived the massive heart attack in this episode. He also played Little Carmine Lupartazzi in The Sopranos.

      • hellkell

        I thought that was him!

      • Frank_821

        He use to be a hunky in his youth. I recall seeing him on the last season of Dynasty as a police detective wooing Fallon. He was also in a few major films back in his day

    • http://twitter.com/hifigoddess Ann-Marie Kirshon

      Thanks, TLo! I discovered your Mad Men recaps last year and have stuck around for the hilariously bitchy commentary since then, but so very excited to see this recap. Can’t wait for your consistently revelatory Mad Style Post.

    • Logo Girl

      I find it interesting how much Mad Men pulls from parallel period Mad Magazine, in terms of visual style and commentary. If you were to look at a 1960 issue it is full of big-boobed secretaries and observations about alcohol and the suburbs, and if you were to look at a 1967 issue, it is full of the contrast between stuck-in-the-50s housewives and the ratty edges of the counterculture. This episode seemed very jarring at first, in terms of style continuity over the seasons, but then I realized it actually is not, when viewed from this angle.

    • KateWo

      Thank you TLo for posting a great recap so early for all you anxious BK’s! Just watched it this morning (and wtf to Amazon Instant Video splitting it in to two episodes and only having part 1 available?? Thankfully iTunes had the whole thing) here’s a few initial thoughts:

      I like the visual theme of Dons long walk away from Megan last year leading to all the doorways in this episode, with Roger summing it up as life being a straight path through all the doorways that lead to death. I think there’s something there related to ‘jumping off point’ that’s tied to other ‘jump’ references: Don’s fall in the opening credits, the elevator shaft last season. Maybe Don won’t keep walking through doorways maybe he will take some sort of leap?

      Bobby’s ‘you’re ugly’ reminds me of Sally’s ‘it’s dirty’ in season 5

      Betty’s hair and crass comments make me think Henry married his mother. And of course Betty responds by changing her appearance. She’s one of my fav characters and I think she’s written wonderfully, there have been so many on point references to her controlling eating disorder psyche that I can’t believe it’s coincidence.

      Of course socially awkward Peggy doesn’t get people want to be out on NYE. Her employees probably were going through what she did when Don kept her there on her birthday dinner night.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

      Thank you for getting back on the Mad Men horse and riding it all for us! My random comments:

      - I thought most of last night’s episode was EXTREMELY funny. So much dark humor. So much slapstick, even.

      - Even when Roger broke down and cried at the end, I found it hilarious. Because it took the death of a “servant” to open the floodgates. In the context of all that Roger is, that is uproarious.

      - I’m glad they’ve given Fozzy Bear a role on this show. Oh, wait, that was Abe?

      - I wish Betty would learn to just call someone an asshole.

      - I forgot how broken the East Village was back then. I wasn’t born yet, but did grow up in NYC in the 80′s and heard a lot of stories of its worst days. Some of the original underground comics people lived there and drew stories about how hairy it was at the time.

      - Also: goulash made with melted snow. Revolting. Good lord.

      - How do the manage to make Kiernan Shipka look like Don Draper’s daughter? I think they must fill her eyebrows in, and she’s such a good actress that she knows how to do subtle things with her face & body to resemble him.

      - Predictions for the 70′s: Sally will either go to live on The Farm (Ina May Gaskin’s midwifery commune in Tennesee) or will move to the Lower East Side and start a No Wave band. Bobby will join a cult. Gene will fade into accountancy. Betty will have the same hair until the day she dies, in the early 90′s.

      • Logo Girl

        Totally agree with predictions for Sally and Bobby, though I actually think Gene will go on to invent the .jpeg.

      • Munchkn

        I posted on another forum (FreeJinger) that the Summer of Love semi-references makes me want to read Monday Night Class by Ina May’s hubby Stephen. Man, he’s an even older hippie than me.

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        I love that you specified No Wave. Hahahhaha! Yes. It would have to have existential roots. Awesome call!

    • deathandthestrawberry

      I know I’m a minority in Mad Men fandom in that i’m always rooting for Betty. I really like her this episode. She’s got work to do yet with her relationship with Sally, but she’s got some flint in her. I’m excited to see what this season has in store for her.

      My first reaction when Don threw up at Roger’s mother’s funeral was remembering when Roger did the same thing in the lobby of their old agency. That was shortly before Roger had a heart attack, I believe. I’m not sure they are going to go that route with Don, but his downward trajectory seems just as certain going by the events of this episode. Roger is far from perfect, but he is a much better place than Don is these days.

      • awesomesabrina

        I love Betty. I think there are a lot of layers to her beyond “horrible mother, monster” etc but we only get to see so much of her. Interesting that she was so sympathetic this episode.

        • MrsAtaxxia

          More than an other woman in Mad Men, Betty makes me FEEL. Peggy I identify with, Joan makes me yearn and she breaks my heart but Betty more often then anyone zaps me into really strong FEELINGS; of shock, of anger, of horror, of pity and even occasionally of real empathy and happiness. She’s fascinating because she can turn on a dime and my heart is always a little in my throat in a Betty scene.

          • deathandthestrawberry

            Well said.

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            I was at one site when MM had just started and there was one person who wrote that he hoped Better would commit suicide. Well everybody- including me- took a dim view and he said, “Hey, you do know she is only a fictional character in a show, don’t you?”

            Fair enough point. But sometimes easy to forget.

          • Violina23

            Very true. You don’t have to agree with a character’s actions/choices to relate to them or understand why they are the way they are. Betty’s always been a somewhat tragic figure to me. She does some horrible/spiteful things, but she hasn’t had it easy either. I hope she turns things around for herself. I am rooting for her!

          • CozyCat

            As a plot device, I’ve always thought that she’s completely necessary to balance Joan and Peggy. Both Joan and Betty were raised to rely on their looks to get the perfect husband. Joan relied more on her sexuality, Betty repressed her sexuality for a more pure, motherly image. Both found out that perfect husbands are hard to find and relying on your looks gets difficult as you age.

            Peggy, on the other hand, is the slightly younger pioneer, trying to rely on her brains rather than her looks and putting other goals ahead of finding a husband. The three together allow the show to explore lots of the issues facing women during the changes of the 60s

            As a character, I’ve always felt sorry for Betty. She was really damaged emotionally by the messages she was given in childhood, She doesn’t have the economic survival skills or street smarts that Joan has. So the best she can do is trade her first deficient husband a newer, much better model (Henry really is much better to her than Don ever was!). And trade in Grace Kelly for an aging Liz Taylor….

            • ferngilly

              This is a conversation I had with a friend last night. The friend said, “Betty is actually…really…a…sweet person even if the execution of her good intentions is misguided.” Betty is not so bad. I mean, god, yes she can be a horrible person but honestly, who can’t be? We’re all complex people. Betty thought what would make her happiest was a life as the ultimate paean to beauteous suburban housewifery. Sandy touched upon that in the kitchen.

              I have been following MM fan boards and Peggy and Joan are no doubt smart women but…has anyone ever discussed how sharp Betty is? Her intellect? Her ability to organize and mobilize others to do her bidding (the Ossining Reservior campaign)? Her curiosity about the greater world and her proclivity for examining cultural forces (evidenced by a studying anthropology and proficiency in foreign languages)? Sandy probably also brought up those aspects of Betty that she has long suppressed within herself. Betty isn’t the first person who quelled the passions deep inside that made her tick for what she thought would make her happy. Don has done it. Peggy was about to do it, but didn’t. Ken is doing it.

              in this same vein, I feel that Sally is less smart than Betty – and definitely devoid of any real compassion. She’s like her dad, but without the intense ability to observe and engineer. Also…Sandy was such an odd friend for Sally.

            • CozyCat

              I agree that it’s easy to underestimate Betty’s intelligence. She found that her perfect husband was a complete fraud–even his name was a lie! And he hurt her on so many levels (remember the “gas lighting” he did when she began to suspect his infidelity) But given her training and her social class, being a single divorcee was a horrible fate. So she cleverly engineered a new marriage (Don was PISSED when he found out how clever she had been). And really, she did a pretty good job of finding a good second husband and step father. Henry’s a man of his times in many ways, but he is a far, far, far better husband and father than Don! Perhaps his only shortcoming is that he is in politics, and that fact constrains Betty to a very conservative lifestyle. Of all the characters on the show, Betty is the one who could benefit the most from some 60-70s style consciousness raising!

              And, of course, getting a degree from a “seven sisters” school in the 50s was something to be legitimately proud of.

              I think a lot of Betty’s coldness is the result of how deeply she was hurt by Don. He was everything she was taught to love, and his betrayal was so complete that it must be hard to believe in anyone or anything afterwards.

            • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

              you are spot on in that last paragraph, been there, done that, wrote the book, got the tee shirt.

            • http://twitter.com/maschultz Margaret Schultz

              Betty was cold before then. She’s cold because like most women raised during that era, she was fed fairytales of how her life could/should be and it all turned out to be a lie. She’s supposed to be fulfilled by motherhood, she wasn’t. She’s supposed to be fulfilled by being a dutiful wife, she wasn’t. The whole thing with Don/Dick was icing on the cake.

            • Froide

              I found it interesting that Betty, Megan, and Sandy all flocked to New York (in Sandy’s case, to St. Mark’s Place) in search of a creative dream. Betty was modeling, met handsome, dashing Don, and then traded her professional career for one as a housewife and mother. Megan failed as an actress, took a job at SCDP, and then married handsome, dashing Don, who helped jumpstart a successful acting career; but unlike Betty, she’s determined to NOT get sucked into the same rut as Betty. And then there’s Sandy; I wonder if her character’s just a plot device that will never return, like the Russian in The Sopranos: Pine Barrens?

            • 3hares

              Re: Ken, do you mean he’s not writing? Because he’s still writing.

            • fursa_saida

              I disagree about Sally. I don’t think we know enough about her older self to tell how smart or perceptive she is. I’m hoping we’ll get a deeper look at what’s in her head this season.

            • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

              Though in RL Elisabeth Moss is an attractive woman, on the show remember Peggy started off as a very childlike, rather plain person. I don’t think it was her choice to rely on her brains over looks, since she had none to speak of, or hadn’t figured out what to do with them yet. She just made the best of the cards she was dealt which happened to be brains over beauty, imho.

        • deathandthestrawberry

          I know. I thought Betty showed a lot of promise in Season 1 to be an interesting character. Love the scene where she’s shooting the pigeons with the shotgun and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, but then she became a something of a stereotype of a bored housewife/shrewish mother. We’ve seen Joanie change over the years, maybe we’ll get some growth with Betty’s character too.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Sympathetic but shallow. After the counter-culture guys threw her Sandy-quest back in her face, it appeared that the only thing she got out of that conversation was “He said my hair color was out of a bottle!”
          Actually I am hoping the color change will be symbolic of greater social awareness.. Betty of the youth shelter?

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            I don’t think that’s all she got out of it. Betty is one of those people who truly believes that appearances, what’s on the outside has deeper meaning. She changed her hair color *believing* it could change something meaningful about the rest of her. It is shallow, but it’s not empty.

            • Vlasta Bubinka

              And hair is and has been extremely symbolic to women. As punishment after WWII, women in France who had supported/ slept with/ befriended Nazis in France had their heads shaved by locals. Women concentration camp survivors often commented that having their heads shaved was one of the most dehumanizing experiences they had. And after great life change– divorce, graduation, loss, etc.– many women get a haircut or other change (dye, permanent, etc.) that vastly differs from what they’d get or even consider previously. Hair is noticeable, easy to change, can be changed in many ways, and most of them don’t last if you hate it. Great way to signal publicly the inner shifts.

            • fursa_saida

              I completely agree with this. And Betty, of all people, would never give up blondeness lightly. She likes it, you could tell by how she was smiling when she came in. And finally, the last thing said in that scene was Henry saying, “What have you done with my wife?” If that’s not hitting us over the head with the significance of her time with the squatters and the subsequent color change, I don’t know what is.

            • Froide

              True. And another signal she didn’t leave the squatters’ digs unscathed was the torn coat.

          • H2olovngrl

            Change on the outside to promote change on the inside?

          • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

            She doesn’t look or act like Grace Kelly anymore, perhaps she’s come to terms with that.

          • AmeliaEve

            The whole hair color thing was also prefigured in Roger’s monologue with his psychiatrist when he was musing about the women in his life and talking about what age women start bleaching their hair. (I believe he said 29.)

      • AnotherJulie

        I thought he threw up because Roger’s mother loved Roger so much, and Don had no such loving mother.

        • MK03

          I think it was a combination of that and the gallon of whiskey he’d had before he got there.

          • AnotherJulie

            LOL that didn’t help! But I think M. Weiner always has a deeper meaning in every little incident – which is why this show is so fantastic.

        • deathandthestrawberry

          Sure, but he was also drunk. Much like Roger was when he threw up in the lobby in front of the clients, embarrassing himself and the firm, and that wasn’t the end of it. It seems Don can’t even control his worse impulse anymore. I mean, you don’t come to your partner’s mother’s funeral drunk. You just don’t, even if you did have a shitty childhood. He even brought in his own drink. Don is on a downward path, and I think there is something to comparing his current state to Roger’s, who at least is seeing a shrink. But, to your point, I agree, Don is stuck in the past. You will pry his fedora out of his cold, dead hands.

          • AnotherJulie

            Agree! I didn’t realize how drunk he was until afterwards. You’re absolutely right – downward path… and no chance of EVER seeing a shrink… pathetic because in his mind, he’s too much of a man to admit he needs to.

            • Froide

              So instead,he sleeps/talks with Sylvia.

            • AnotherJulie

              RE: Sylvia – Pretty heavy handed but exactly. She is the shrink substitute.

      • sarahjane1912

        Well, he IS getting therapy. That’s something. Not that I’m a therapy buff or anything, but I think Roger is one person – because he doesn’t have anyone in which to confide – needs to talk to someone.

        But ohhh he’s so lonely. He can banter with his exes [and his shrink!], rely upon them to give him support at his mother’s memorial … he can use Joanie to organise everything [just as she would have when she was SDP office manager] … but didn’t your heart break a little when he cried for his shoeshine guy? I know it wasn’t totally about the shoeshine guy himself [I suspect there was a vestige of self-pity there, as well as some residual angst about his mother's death and possibly his broken relationships with exes and his daughter] but essentially, Roger ‘has it all’ but really has nothing.

      • Inspector_Gidget

        You’re not alone. I’ve always found Betty kind of endearing. I can certainly see why a lot of fans love to hate her, but I find her mercurial nature interesting. She’s one of the only characters to occasionally launch herself right out of her normal existence and do something unusual (at least for her). Shooting birds, her weird connection with Glen, telling off a neighbor and now her search for the young girl. She is unlikable at times, but I she seems to genuinely try, which is more than almost anyone at SCDP can say. That she fails so often just makes her even more interesting.

      • Violina23

        I’m rooting for Betty, but she has to earn it too, in my book. The rape conversation was pretty abhorrent, and I know there are some disagreements on her intentions, but it was full of spite and self-loathing to me — like she was trying to turn her husband into as horrible a person as she feels she is. I do hope things turn out well for her, but she’s gotta deal with her own emotional baggage too.

        • H2olovngrl

          That is what I felt as well. Like Betty was testing the waters of Henry’s psyche or something. It seemed like she was trying to pry some sick, dark secret out of him, like she wants for him to be some kind of monster to justify her own unhappiness .

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        You are the exact opposite of a minority in Mad Men fandom.

        • deathandthestrawberry

          Really? I disagree. There are a lot of Peggy fans. There are a lot of Joanie fans. Of course, Don has lots of fans, but you don’t see many people sticking up for Betty. She is the one stuck in the suburbs with the kids. She does objectionable things (so does Don, but that’s different story). She can be childish and petty, and fandoms can be cruel to mothers, especially those who are not seen as being good mothers. I remember when she and Don got divorced a lot of fans hoping she was going to be written off the show.

          • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

            “you don’t see many people sticking up for Betty.”

            Yes you do, constantly. So much so that Huffington Post TV critic Mo Ryan has to actually head them off at the pass every time she criticizes Betty in a review because she knows a host of outraged Betty fans will rise up and defend her. She is known for having a highly supportive fan base who defends her. Matthew Weiner and January Jones have both mentioned it. This very comments section is filled with people defending or explaining her.

            Yes, people criticize her, but that’s true of every character on the show, more or less. She gets criticized more than Peggy and Joan, perhaps, but not more than Don and Pete – and about the same as Megan.

            • deathandthestrawberry

              Haha. Fair enough. I don’t read Mo’s column, so I wasn’t aware of Betty’s rabid fan club.

      • fursa_saida

        I LOVED her scenes with the bohos. Once I realized she was going to help this dude make goulash I was all. in.

    • hac51

      Jessica Pare looks so much like Toni Collette in that header pic.

    • OrigamiRose

      Wonderful recap – bought out many things that I noticed but hadn’t given much context to, thank you. My only complaint with the episode was not enough Joan.

      Looking forward to Mad Style!

    • Crystal

      The scene where Roger’s secretary told him that his mother died was so sweet. I really enjoyed this episode!

    • KateWo

      Another interesting comment: Don says he’s going out for cigarettes when he’s going to cheat, and later the Dr tells him quitting smoking is a good New Years resolution.

      • Froide

        I hope it doesn’t portend Don’s either having a heart attack in Sylvia’s bed (forcing Arnie to save him) or accidentally burning down the building – turning it into a real inferno, if you will (just as he burned up the real Don Draper).

    • http://www.facebook.com/judy.julian77 Judy Julian

      I loved this episode! I can’t wait to watch it again sans commercials so I can pick up on all the details I missed on the first viewing. It’s like my old friends have come back and we have so much to catch up on. The storyline with Betty was of particular interest, I guess in part because we saw so little of her last season. I realized just how much I missed her.

    • AViewer44

      I loved the episode–especially the fact that tourist luaus don’t seem to have changed at all in nearly 40 years!

      I want to know more about that pushy guy who keeps coming down from accounts, who looks like a well known actor. And I loved Roger’s reaction to his mother’s death–pouting on her bed like an adult baby covered in furs, which must have been hers.

      • Frank_821

        I love how Ken Cosgrove of all people put him in his place

        • AViewer44

          But who is he? That’s not something that’s going to just be left dangling.

          Also, I was fascinated by the other couple at the New Year’s Eve party. She was so all over Don, yet not the one he was sleeping with!

        • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

          Just glad to see he and Harry are still around. Nobody’s said much about poor Harry, I thought he looked a bit trimmer and pretty good for the few seconds he was on.

      • Lilithcat

        I think the furs belonged to Mona and Margaret. The bed was probably being used to pile up guests’ outerwear, and they were the only two left in the house at that point.

        • AViewer44

          I think that you are right.

    • Joe M

      1969 is coming, but first we have to get through 1968. I won’t spend time mentioning all the clues that this was the end of ’67, but they are there and they are concrete.

    • schadenfreudelicious

      i thought it ususal when we see Don reading The Inferno on the beach in Hawaii, not exactly light holiday fare..but when the doc’s wife asked him “have you read my Dante” it all became crystal clear…along with the many Dante-esque themes Weiner is throwing our way…

      • Lilithcat

        I take Dante on vacation.

        Is it somewhat scary that I took one look at the cover and knew immediately that it was the Ciardi translation?

        • schadenfreudelicious

          impressive! :), i imagine Don reading about hell while in “paradise” has all manner of underlying meaning for us in the episodes to come

        • NDC_IPCentral

          As I mentioned in my post I read that very paperback version, the Ciardi translation (and I’d forgotten that detail) at that very time – 1967-8 – in my senior year high school English class.

          • carolynmo

            This is why I love this site so much! Fashion and Ciardi’s translation together??

        • formerlyAnon

          Not scary. Just means your tastes are more literate than average.

    • Claire Scott

      Wait, I missed the part where we saw that Don was having an affair with Linda Cardinelli, can someone refresh my memory?

      • 3hares

        The ep ends with the two of them in bed together naked and she’s asking him if he read the Dante she gave him. She asks what he wants for Xmas next year and he says to “stop doing this.”

        • Claire Scott

          Oh gosh, I watched it online and it cut off before then!

        • Sweetbetty

          And did you notice Mrs. Doc’s reaction? Not upset that he didn’t want to continue the affair; just sort of accepting, like she understood since she felt that she should stop having affairs too (I doubt this is her first).

        • Inspector_Gidget

          I also thought it was interesting that Linda Cardellini is a blonde wearing a pitch-black wig, just as Betty has dyed her own hair black.

    • MK03

      Wait, so we’re at the end of 1968? Are we sure about that? I thought it was the end of ’67.

      • MK03

        I just remembered something: In the behind-the-scenes video on AMC’s site, Matt Weiner remarks that they had just gotten out of the “summer of love” and he wanted to show the winter after, to see some of the fallout from it. That would place this episode firmly in the end of ’67-New Year’s ’68.

      • Joe M

        TLo are great, but they’ve got this one wrong. Please fix it, TLo! Cotton Bowl reference, Super Bowl reference, newspaper headline from 1/1/68. Please, TLo, please! I can’t stand to see this question being asked over and over again.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Fixed. It was a typo.

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

          Well, 1969 is still coming even if it’s 1968.

      • awesomesabrina

        yea I think we’re at the end of ’67 too.

    • Lilithcat

      As for our Pegs, she’s fully Don Draper, but just the good parts, so far as we can tell.

      I’m not so sure about that. Her obliviousness in her treatment of her underlings (“they know they can go home” “no, they don’t) is not one of the good parts.

      • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

        I noticed that! I assumed it was a strong callback to the fateful night of Peggy’s birthday. I’m almost certain Peggy at one point responded to someone telling her to go home (or come out) “I can’t.”

      • Laylalola

        It was all the more confusing because she quite explicitly told them they weren’t going anywhere (and then handed them a sandwich, for example).

    • hmariec19

      I really enjoyed Peggy and Stan’s phone conversation. For some reason, I like that they’re friends now.

      • AnotherJulie

        I loved Peggy’s conversation with the person who answered the phone when she was trying to track down her boss… I loved how she alternately challenged him for not adequately taking her message, then chatted with him (super bowl teams, her parents’ religion, etc. ) Hilarious!!

        • CozyCat

          The “and also with you” was such a perfect touch for a lapsed catholic girl.

          • AnotherJulie

            I know! That was just a great conversation with so many great lines… Peggy’s character was the best in this episode, in my opinion.

            • CozyCat

              It was like one of those classic Bob Newhart telephone routines!

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I laughed out loud at the point when you hear his tinny voice on the phone, “I heard that….”

    • AnotherJulie

      Why did Joan not attend Roger’s mother’s funeral? After all, Mrs. Sterling is her son’s grandmother….

      • sarahjane1912

        Because Joanie, as ever, is the supremely-organised behind-the-scenes fixer that Roger depended upon to make the memorial service ‘work’. She would never put herself front and centre in such an intimate setting. Roger might have wanted to see her there; I don’t think Joan would have seen it as appropriate or within her remit, even as a much-loved former lover. As ever, Joan would maintain a perfect ‘shop front’. Something Don and Roger didn’t manage of course.

        • AnotherJulie

          Interesting. I find the whole Joan/Roger thing confusing – largely because I can’t figure out why she won’t take Roger’s support $$… esp. after getting divorced from the Soldier- unless she is still trying to keep up appearances that he is the father? On the other hand she took $$ for having sex. Confused!

          • Angela_the_Librarian

            I think Joan is just fiercely independent. After getting rid of her sorry excuse for a husband she didn’t want to rely on someone else. Though the logic may seem twisted, I think in her mind sleeping with the Jaguar exec in exchange for a partnership helped to secure her financial well being without needing to owe anyone or be dependent on anyone.

            • AnotherJulie

              Makes some sense, but as is the case with so many of the characters on this show, I have a difficult time understanding their twisted logic!!

              Roger is the father, Roger is wealthy, she and Roger are obviously fond of each other/ have been intimate, and Roger is offering to support and educate his child. As opposed to basically being a prostitute with a disgusting stranger? And all of the other partners know and essentially (except Don) facilitated this? I just don’t get it.

            • 3hares

              Roger’s money comes with strings attached and she wants independence. Helping the firm get Jaguar in return for a partnership gives her that.

            • formerlyAnon

              This.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Roger is irresponsible and childlike and told Joan under no circumstances would he ever acknowledge the child as his own. She’d be an utter fool to rely on help from him for the next 18 years, if he even makes it that long.

            • AnotherJulie

              I kept flashing back to the episode when R kept offering Joan $ for his education, etc. Not to mention how he always has a wallet full of cash which he throws around to everybody in sight. But you’re right that there would have been strings attached….

              But obv Joan feels using her sexuality, without shame, is her thing. And now she regrets not sleeping with Lane. Fascinating!!

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              What’s twisted about that logic? It makes perfect sense.

          • Danielle

            Remember back in S1 when she scolded a secretary for crying in the bathroom, and told her the appropriate place for that would be her apartment? Joan is very concerned about keeping up appearances, and even though she’s done some things that may not be seen as respectable, she’s always tried to keep them private. That’s my theory from way back when as to why she didn’t yell out for help when Greg raped her in Don’s office. Maybe it could have been stopped, but in her mind it would be way worse to be seen by her coworkers as ‘the girl who got raped.’

            She took the money and the partnership for sleeping with the guy from Jaguar because that was on her terms, and she could take care of herself and her son without struggling or taking a handout. A mistress who attends the funeral of her (ex)lover’s mother with his wives there is something a tramp who doesn’t care what people think of her does. Joan has her own rules to follow, whether or not they make sense for everyone else.

            • AnotherJulie

              You are absolutely right. She is a very interesting combination of not wanting to be a victim (i.e. being raped) but is perfectly comfortable using her sexuality for anything and everything else.

    • MelVT

      How about that “A Star is Born” reference? Don is clearly disturbed by Megan’s rising star. (And Peggy’s also on the rise.)

      • Brad Watson

        Has anyone called out Roger’s wonderfully typical shout-out to From Here to Eternity… Tropical vacations merely being another opportunity for Ernest Borgnine (God rest his soul) to chase one thru an alley with a knife.

    • dickylarue

      I really don’t have much to add since I’m still processing the episode. Props to TLO for being able to get this up so soon. I would’ve gladly waited till Wednesday for their take.

      What I love about last night’s episode is how Weiner creates a bridge movie between seasons that is subtly and not-so-subtly setting up the season to come. I hear morons proclaim how slow the past 2 season openers are & how “nothing happens! no one dies or anything” and I just want to slap them with my shoe. This isn’t Walking Dead, rubes.

      I loved last night. In one way I’m watching it & in another I’m trying to piece together a puzzle for what they’re telling us is to come. After spending all the past Sunday’s watching Walking Dead, it was almost like going to calculus class for the first time and it makes your head hurt. Watching the show last night knowing that every line, shot and moment need your attention or you might miss something wonderful is challenging when you’re used to be spoon fed pablum.

      And the rash of people posting who didn’t see Don cheat at the end of the episode? Were you asleep or too busy looking at your iPad? Don’s most pivotal line in the episode was spoken in that moment. How anyone missed that scene is beyond me. If you need people to tell you what happened in that moment, perhaps you should go to AMC on demand and watch it. This show demands you watch it, not be told second hand what happened. End rant.

      • artsykelly

        AMC went to a long commercial that lasted past 11pm. I wasn’t sure if it was going to return, but I didn’t feel like the previous scene was the last one, so I kept on watching. Glad I did, because it came back and showed the scene of Don with the girl from Freaks and Geeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if people thought the show was over before the commercial.

        • dickylarue

          You guys are right. That must be it. I didn’t realize the show went past 11pm because I was watching it on DVR after Game of Thrones.

          • Missy Covington

            Yup. This is exactly what happened to us. We weren’t distracted or
            anything, but it seemed like the Hawaii slideshow could be a plausible
            ending and then the commercial break afterward was looooong. We looked
            at the time–it was almost 11 on the dot–and figured that it was
            unlikely there was anything afterward. And then we switched over to GOT
            on DVR. :)

        • Beth513

          Thank you so much – Freaks and Geeks – it was driving me nuts that I couldn’t place who she was.

          • Danielle

            She was also on ER, Legally Blonde and the Scooby Doo movies.

            • forward_slash_PRS

              And she made a big impression with a small role in Brokeback Mountain.

            • https://www.facebook.com/GOODGODGIRLGETAGRIP?ref=tn_tnmn Fisher&SonsFuneralHome

              THAT’S RIGHT! I always forget she was in it. Im so used to seeing her with dark hair.

      • NDC_IPCentral

        I think, to be fair to the folks that missed the denoument, the show ran over the allotted two hours. It went until around 11:04 or even a smidge later. As the clock was approaching 11, and a series of commercials came on, with the show clearly not having aired the final scenes I realized that AMC was letting the program spill over into the 11 o’clock time slot. I bet that’s part of the agreement reached with Matt Weiner when AMC wanted more ads and fewer minutes of “Mad Men” to accommodate the expanded commercial revenue time.

    • sarahjane1912

      Just wanted to give a big Sale Of The Century wave to all you MM/TLo stalwarts. I have been counting down the months/weeks/hours to get back into things. Of course, there were a few ish-shoes [grrr!] with getting onto Disqus due to upgrading my lappy [for some reason, even though I have IE 10, Disqus didn't recognise that so I had to upload Chrome] so I’m 100s of comments behind now … Will be absolutely back into the comment swing-of-things next week, promise.

      What a start! I had to watch it twice because that first scene — where Don’s heart surgeon ‘friend’ is giving resusc’ to the doorman — had me thinking it wasn’t a rescue op’ but rather some weird sex-under-duress moment. Obviously I have to dial my assumptions back a tad! Great to be back though. Thanks again, TLo and all you lovely Bitter Kittens. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/seelebrennt Christina Diaz

      part of the joy i get out of mad men now is getting to read these recaps. i get so much more insight into what’s happening and i think about the episode in a totally different way. i didn’t even think about it as being Don having a man crush, though i did feel there was something different about how this friendship was being shown; i just couldn’t put my finger on what it was that felt different and why it was being highlighted in that way. thanks, TLo!

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I agree! I learn to see the show in a completely different way when viewpoints are shared like this. I salute you all.

    • AViewer44

      Is that the same floppy sunhat that Megan was wearing in the pool in California, or just one in a similar shape? I know that you will tell us!

      • editrixie

        This kind of reminds me of something that I think about from time to time, and that I believe Mad Men does really well — they show items of clothing or accessories over the years for people, and keep them around. Back then, we did not get rid of things from season to season or trend to trend. It was such a different time — things weren’t so disposable. And it’s such an interesting little thing when you filter it through the backdrop of the consumer culture that Don and his fellow Mad Men and Women were creating at the time — in a few years, we will have started to throw everything out on a constant basis, and buy new things to take their places.

    • sweetlilvoice

      Thanks as always for the post! Lots of good nuggets both on last night’s show and in the blog (as always!). I cannot get over the casualness of the SCDP (thank God they kept the name!) offices. A guy asleep the whole time on the couch, smoking dope right out in the open, the awesome colors, the furniture, Stan’s beard. It was all a rush. I love the relationship between Stan and Peggy now, they are equals. I also think that Ted has a thing for her. And she looked great as did Betty. More Joan please! And Pete! And everyone else. New guy who wants to be in creative is very interesting too.

      • Joe M

        I thought the pot-smoking in the open was a bit much. Yes, young people smoked lots of pot by then. But there were still severe criminal penalties for getting caught in 1967, and it was still very much something done in the privacy of one’s home or a friend’s home. It wasn’t something done in an open office in the Time-Life Building, no matter how “creative” your department was.

        • kentiesgirl

          I agree, that was a bit much,right? Megan was sneaking around with it in a resort in Hawaii but an office just has it all lying around? I don’t get it, maybe someone who worked in that atmosphere could enlighten me? BKs, help please. :)

          • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

            I agree, I too thought the open pot smoking was a bit much but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I think because it was between the two holidays and there was the distraction of picture taking going on I”m assuming this was just for the occasion. Can’t imagine it being a regular practice, people would be kinda shocked despite it being the “swinging sixties”.

        • editrixie

          Word. Having worked in agencies a long time ago, I was kind of annoyed by that. Stan would have been out the door.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

          Don’s on vacation, Bert’s always holed up in his office, Roger doesn’t give a shit about anything– Joan can’t do EVERYTHING (although she comes damn near close), especially with the photoshoot going on. Clearly she was annoyed by the pot smoking. I don’t think it will keep up.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Yes,, I didn’t quite buy that either. There would have been some rooftop reefer meeting zone maybe.

    • kduffin7

      Part of my immense pleasure in watching Mad Men is reading your take on it afterwards. I checked my facebook page and it hadn’t appeared yet, so went to your website – and here it is…fast work, TLo. As I am English, I couldn’t work out who the comedian was who made the ‘ear’ jokes – a bit late for Lenny Bruce – can anyone enlighten me?

      • Joe M

        They never said, and Slate has actually done a whole post on not being able to find the answer either. http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/04/07/mad_men_premiere_season_6_vietnam_zippo_and_tonight_show_stand_up_comic.html

      • Joe M

        They never said, and Slate has actually done a whole post on not being able to find the answer either. I can’t put a link to the Slate piece here but go to Slate’s site.

        • kduffin7

          Thank you – I checked it out and the general consensus appears to be Milt Kamen. Matthew Weiner must have known we’d be checking…

      • Joe M

        Sorry for the multiple posts. Here’s an update in that article: ” On Twitter, Bill Geerhart tells me that the comic in question is Milt Kamen, who, he says, appeared on The Tonight Show on Dec. 22, 1967, with guest host Phyllis Diller. We’ll look into it!).” I’ve never heard of Milt Kamen either.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          I love it when they interweave reality and fiction like that. It shows a love for detail that’s usually lacking in other shows.

    • AnotherJulie

      I love this show yet strongly dislike most of the characters. How is this possible?!?!?

      • gracedarling

        Good writing, my friend!

        • AnotherJulie

          Right you are! How awesome was that little scene where Peggy calls to reach her boss when he is at that religious retreat? Where she is reprimanding the guys who answers the phone, while simultaneous chatting and

          • AnotherJulie

            (sorry) discussing her parents’s religious backgrounds? Then ends conversation with “And also with you?”

          • gracedarling

            I think, based on this episode, I could happily watch a one-hour special entitled ‘Peggy on the Phone’. Elisabeth Moss is such a joy to watch – good writing is one part of the equation, but I really should have mentioned phenomenal acting, good direction, nice pacing, great set design…

            • AnotherJulie

              …. great individualized clothing selection, hilarious little tidbits thrown in (humping dogs in last season’s finale as Peggy looked out hotel window on her first big business trip? OMG) Agree with every sentence you wrote!

    • MK03

      I love how Peggy and Stan are besties now. Is it weird that I’d kind of like to see them get together, considering where they started?

      • sarahjane1912

        Aw! I agree! So cute. He just ‘gets’ her, in that way that great friends that ‘could’ be more rub along together. Got the warm fuzzies when he had to leave the phone conversation and told her to NOT hang up [and then heard the whole chat with Peggy/her boss]. Chuckle, chuckle. Sweet.

      • H2olovngrl

        I love how the show writers have allowed him to grow, change and evolve with the times just like they have with Peggy.

        • Beth513

          I agree. And you know, beards don’t really do it for me normally, so it must be the more mature attitude that has me thinking Stan is kind of hot. Well that and he’s always been funny.

          • H2olovngrl

            Well, you are definitely part of a small, yet vocal group of Stan lovers, myself included. But, really, what’s not to love? He is a big, good looking, lantern jawed man who can grow a heck of a beard. The fact that he has turned into someone so cool is an added bonus!

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              He looks like a living Leyendecker illustration. I love his face! Stan’s my favorite character.

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            Future radio show host in the 1990s.

        • avidreader02

          I agree! And I hated him and his treatment of Peggy when he first arrived on the scene. For a show about how people never change, he really has grown. And I like the fact that he seems closer to Peggy than the people in his own office. And i like the way Peggy has figured out how to have a work buddy and still be everyone’s boss… her work buddy works for someone else.

      • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

        I’ve always liked Stan, even when he was a fratty douche, because he reminds me of talented creative guys I worked with in college. If you roll with their punches, they’ll be your best friends and biggest supporters. You know what’s interesting is, Stan is the only person who has actually changed, and I think his dramatic appearance change in the show is deliberately reflective of that evolution. No one else has changed all that much. Peggy earned Stan’s respect after she eviscerated him in the Waldorf. Even when Peggy fell for the “old yogi” trick, she and Stan went right back to being friends. What I like about him is that he knows when to let her shine, and he makes it clear that he has her back. They share a hated client (Heinz) which is also a bonder, and they’re both annoyed by Ginsberg. I do think they’re going to get together, if not romantically (which would be adorable), at least they connect on a business level.

    • Lynn Landry

      I thought Roger’s breakdown at the end to be so powerful and made a lot of sense in how that character would have such a breakdown in private over the death of the guy who shines his shoes.

    • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

      My first thought at the end of the episode: LINDSAY WEIR YOU SAUCY MINX.
      Sorry, I just love Linda Cardellini and was happy to see her, even if under less than desirable circumstances.

    • siriuslover

      It’s only 8:30 AM PDT and already I’m late to this party. Nevertheless, some thoughts:

      1. The first 10 minutes last night I thought was post-modern Mad men, as I watched Don just observe and not talk at all. I kind of saw a manifestation of 1960s Frankfurt school and emergent post-structuralism in those first few minutes up to the final bit with Jonesy the doorman.
      2. Joan gets one line, “I don’t know if it’s the photographers or the writers, but it smells like reefer in here.”
      3. I enjoyed the intimate friendship moment between Peggy and Stan
      4. Roger’s best relationship was with his shoeshine fellow
      5. I too noticed the interaction between Arnie and Dawn.
      6. Betty is disturbing, especially with the rape conversation in the bedroom.

      • gokobuta

        Just a thought but maybe Dawn knows about the affair. Remember how awkward Peggy was when she had to cover for Don in Season 1 (“THAT’s my job?”).

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Yes.. I think you hit the nail. Dawn knows who calls the office and in a flashback I assume it will show that Dawn has put two and two together.

    • procrastinatrice

      I am trying to catch up with the comments and I don’t know if this has been said, but I don’t think we are done with the scene at the beginning where somebody was dying and Megan was screaming. Of course, we find out later that it was the doorman, and that he came back to life, but at the beginning, Megan’s piercing screams suggested that it could be a flash forward to something happening to Don. I still think this is what this scene signaled, particularly because the episode gave a clear indication of how the idea of death will be very much with Don…I don’t think they would go down the suicide path again, but maybe some near-death experience that will remind Don that life still has some value, despite what he may have thought.

      • kentiesgirl

        catching up is impossible right now ;) I agree. It seemed the timeline was wonky. It was over 6 days? It didn’t make sense to me, but I may have missed something. He was dead, then Megan was wearing the same clothes and saying “I can’t believe you’re back at work”, and doorman made a wife was sick of me joke-it seems way to quick. Also the elevator scenes were blurred, i couldn’t tell if it was work or home. The episode was so confusing, and the superbowl reference made me think we were flashing forward/backward. Someone else was talking about Roger/Don parallels, the puking and heart attack would make sense.

        • decormaven

          I think Jonesy had the heart attack prior to the Hawaiian trip; we are seeing a flashback to the heart attack scene when the Drapers are returning from their trip.

        • http://twitter.com/1buddhasmom SH

          Megs was in a completely different outfit. I rewound and watched it twice last night while I tried to figure out what was going on.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        Foreshadowing of the show’s finale?

    • shopgirl716

      Am I alone in thinking this episode was boring? Betty has loosened up quite a bit and Peggy and Abe are going to be dunzo before too long. I thought the most interesting part Betty’s conversation with Betty was when Sandy told Betty to quit denying herself to please a man. Betty then ate the cracker. Foreshadowing of Betty’s liberation?

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I think MM is more literary than most shows. (rather than cinematic) So you often have boring opening episodes and things get more interesting as the season progresses. That seems to have been true for the other seasons.

    • Paula Pertile

      No one has mentioned the cheesy Royal Hawaiian emcee guy! I’ve been to one of those luaus there (in the 70′s, as a kid with my parents) and although I don’t remember anyone like him, the rest of it was pretty accurate.

      Can’t wait for the style post! All that HAIR to discuss.

      • Kwei-lin Lum

        The aloha shirts of the male performers were extremely like the Class of 1968 aloha shirts worn by my male classmates in Honolulu. (deja vu!) The style of the luau performers really looked late 60′s to me. The island accent of the cheesy emcee was right on–heavier than it might be now but understandable to the general public. And even the style of hula, which if I’m correct has moved on in the 2010s from the seamless graceful flow of the late sixties.

        • http://www.facebook.com/leela.corman Leela Corman

          I’m not an expert in Polynesian dance forms by any means, but the first number looked like Tahitian to me, and the end like “new-style hula”. Am I right? I forced myself (& husband) to attend a tourist luau on Maui a few years ago, because I’m a dancer and really wanted to see some great Hawaiian dance. I knew that as a foreigner, I couldn’t just go knock on doors and see the real deal, so I submitted. We weren’t there as tourists, we were teaching art to kids, so it was weird to go to Lahaina and be surrounded by that world. But the dancing was gorgeous and top-notch, if soundbite length. I had also just come from a dance research trip to Egypt, and I could have sat through many hours of every style of dance in Hawai’i.

      • Joe M

        I went to a luau in the 90s, and it was exactly the same then. I imagine they’re still the same today.

        • kentiesgirl

          They are, even the “oh no” joke, haha.

          • sarahjane1912

            *Chuckles* The Hawaiian version of English panto’. GRIN!

    • Pants_are_a_must

      Sally is going to explode this season. She’s showing all the markings of someone who’s well and truly over their life situation.

      I wonder if Megan is cheating on Don as well. I wouldn’t be surprised. I also wonder if the marriage implosion won’t be kept quiet, and out of the courthouse, since it benefits them both.

      Roger is going to die this season.

      • pookiesmom

        I actually think the best possible situation for Don would be to have an open marriage with Megan. Not sure he would ever be able to swing that level of emotional intimacy, though.

        • Pants_are_a_must

          Don? Open-minded and emotionally mature? I think not. Every time he tries to go with the flow, he lands on his face. But Megan probably is mature enough.

          • formerlyAnon

            Megan might be able to do it short-term. But she’s got baggage from her parents’ marriage, and sooner or later she’ll go back to seeing infidelity as, well, infidelity. (There being all the cultural conditioning, as well.) Something that happens, sure, she may accept that calmly, but it then spawns half-hidden rocks and shoals in the marital harbor.

            • inchoate

              Megan’s previously made it clear that she doesn’t want Don going back to former habits (recall what she said in “Mystery Date” after they ran into Andrea in the elevator). I don’t think this is solely a matter of “immaturity” or “cultural conditioning”; some people are cut out for open relationships and some are not. Don clearly sucks at monogamy AND at honesty so no configuration of marriage will work for him.

            • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

              As long as you’re lying about who you are at the most basic level, you’ll never be able to sustain a healthy marriage.

            • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

              So much of accepting infidelity is related to the loss of independence. Besides the emotional side of cheating, there are also practical considerations.
              Often a partner feels she/he has little choice, generally for economic reasons, but to remain with a cheating spouse. For the sake of economic security, a spouse will simply turn a blind eye to a LOT.

              But given how her career is going, Megan very soon won’t need to worry about that.

          • pookiesmom

            True that. It’ll never happen, but I can’t help but have a tiny part of me that hopes for happiness for our favorite emotionally stunted ad man.

        • CozyCat

          I don’t think an open marriage would help. Don would keep pushing the boundaries until it finally went too far for the current Mrs Draper.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Open marriage is fine as long as the husband has the openness.( Maybe wife swapping?)
          Beneath it all, Don is emotionally insecure and I am not sure if he can even handle watching Megan (in her blooming soap opera career) kissing another man on TV. On the other hand, he didn’t seem phased by the Hawaiian guy flirting (albeit in a silly way) with Megan. Who knows, maybe it would be a big turn on. I don’t think I am prepared to see Don get kinky.

          • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

            Don has already gotten kinky in several episodes. In season three he tied the infamous Bobbie Barrett to a bed and left her there. In season four he instructed a prostitute that he was bedding to slap him repeatedly.

      • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

        Sally? Sally seems like a pretty typical 14-year-old girl to me.

        • Pants_are_a_must

          A 14 year old girl who calls her mom by her first name intentionally, and her stepdad is totally okay with it? Who lords over everyone in the house but her mom? Talk about an unhealthy relationship. Sally already has enough family trouble to merit a lot of therapy later in life.

          • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com heartbot

            She was teasing by calling her Betty, and I don’t know what you mean by lords over people? She’s a little surly and rolls her eyes, but that’s pretty much every 14-year-old girl ever.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Yeah, we kinda thought it was refreshing to see Sally and Betty have such a normal relationship. Tom has 4 sisters, and that’s pretty much exactly what all of them were like from the ages of 12 to about 17.

      • Brad Watson

        Her first words this season were “I hate the cops”…. Uh-oh…

    • kentiesgirl

      Okay, oops if this has been stated, the new format and furiously fast commenting are difficult to keep up with (23 new comments as i’m typing!). Wasn’t the superbowl not around yet? I think it was a slip-up, but they’re so good at that stuff and, ugh I need 2 viewings to get it, I guess. Also Megan’s pretty full of herself, no? She like literally noticed nothing about Don all episode, especially the silence in HI and the cheating…I mean c’mon, he would smell. I am at defcon zero (lol, Peggy) levels of annoyed with her, although Matt thinks we should <3 her. He also apparently thinks that rape stuff means a happy and healthy marriage too, so…yeah.

      p.s. you guys should, if you aren't, be getting advanced screeners. those mad style posts turned people onto the show. i think i made this same comment last year, haha. can't wait for the style post, the partners all in blue while Don was in black had me squealing.

      • gsk241

        The first Super Bowl was 1/15/1967, so it was around then. Just very new. I did wonder if it was already a big deal for advertisers even at that point.

      • Joe M

        Weiner and staff would no more get something wrong like the year of a Super Bowl than they would… [insert your favorite metaphor here]. The second Super Bowl was played in 1968, and yes, it was a big deal even then, because football was a big deal and this was the championship. It hadn’t acquired the gold-medal status of the ad show of the year, and a famous time for agencies to show their best wares, but it was highly watched, so attention was paid etc etc.

        • kentiesgirl

          i was looking into it and it seems it wasn’t called the superbowl yet? in another post i was wondering if it was flashfowarding…i dunno. :D

          • Joe M

            It WAS called the Super Bowl then. I do see that first line in the Wikipedia article about “called later,” but it’s wrong or misleading. If you know how to search Google Books, see page 48A of Life magazine for January 12, 1968, for example.

            • kentiesgirl

              my bad. thanks! I was really into the warped timeline thing for a bit. :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1208138556 Sara Munoz Munoz

        No kidding right, don’t even shower, Don. Just take your lips from one woman to the next. Like he’s not even trying to cover his tracks. That part kind of grossed me out more than anything.

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Okay, maybe I am a bit too detail obsessed but he was supposed to have gone out for cigs. He comes back- presumably a couple of hours later, making it past 3 in the morning, with his shirt-tails hanging out, smelling like another woman and well, fresh sex. Isn’t that just daring to be caught?
          What if his wife had opened the door? She would have immediately sussed the situation? What woman wouldn’t? I mean, you’d think a serial adulterer like Don would have had more sense.

        • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

          I thought about that too, but just figured he did a quick rinse off before leaving her place. He’s an expert at cheating with years of practice on neurotic Betty, I don’t think he’d make a slip up like that.

    • VCR1

      Thanks for a great recap! I was wondering about the guy who was so eager to make an impression to the SCDP partners. It seems the “crudeness” extends to the workplace. I don’t know if this guy will succeed with his brown nosing–Ken really put him in his place!

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        “It was like you thought you were invited… but you WEREN’T!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/georgina.brown.1675 Georgina Brown

      That late night phone call on NYE with Peggy and Stan left me all mushy. Especially because you could tell it happened often. It kills me because Mad Men is NOT a show to ship couples, but I cant help myself.Him saying “Im going to get coffee, dont hang up!” was so cute.He obviously misses her.

      • girliecue

        I love Stan and Peggy too! They remind me of what Aaron Sorkin once said of Josh and Donna on The West Wing: they’re completely in love with each other and have no idea. They just think it’s a really great friendship. If anyone could escape the whirling vortex of loneliness, self-unawareness, unhappiness and emptiness that Mad Men mostly is, I hope it’s Peggy. I like to imagine her realizing she’s attained the career success she hungers for and moving on to attaining a more personal success. Which would be her and Stan shacking up, both leaving the corporate world and doing something fun and surprisingly fulfilling together , like writing and illustrating children’s books. I really want them to get together!

        • http://victoriapavlova.com Victoria Pavlova

          I loved that little moment so much! Stan was relaxed and cute and absolutely not douchey, and Peggy was obviously having fun. And yes, that feeling that it happens often.

        • fursa_saida

          I read them more as epic bros who still talk and bounce ideas off each other and who clearly have a deep friendship, rather than any tinge of romance. Stan’s “He liiiiikes you” comment read as 100% nonsexual/nonjealous friend talk to me, and if anything I thought Peggy was maybe a little excited by that prospect. I’m wondering if she might start an affair with her (handsome! young!) boss.

          • http://www.facebook.com/georgina.brown.1675 Georgina Brown

            Oh, I agree they are just platonic friends now,But that could change eventually, it does alot.I do agree something will probably happen with Ted, but I dont think that will end well, judging from EMs comments about her path this season, and the fact that her boss is married,We shall see,

            • fursa_saida

              Yeah, I completely agree that any involvement with Ted will be bad news bears. Probably it’ll make a nice contrast to Don and his contemporaries in terms of gender and office affairs.

            • http://twitter.com/creeple Alice

              I don’t know. Peggy’s been around a long time to see what happens when office affairs happen, and she already screwed up with Duck and Pete. She’s come too far to let that temptation go further. I think an interesting twist would be Ted as the polar opposite of Don Draper in every respect. We’ve been led to believe he’s a creep because he’s been so mischievous in the past and drove people nuts at SCDP, but I think it would be funny if he were genuinely a really nice guy. I don’t think Peggy knows what to make of him because she’s so used to being treated as a subordinate. What I think would be awesome is if she nabs Stan and brings him into her creative network, infusing those dorky underlings with real talent. Remember, Don once told her that Stan was good at his job, and she’s mentioned before that she likes being surrounded by creative people. She’d be more about surrounding herself with a trusted and talented workforce to make herself look better, than taking the cheap affair route.

    • sarahjane1912

      Perhaps a small thing … but I just remembered Megan’s fondue supper for NYE.

      *Shakes head* Possibly she thought she was being original, but surely anyone with a bit of culinary savvy knows that one should NEVER serve a savoury fondue followed immediately by a sweet one. It’s one or the other; having fondue for both courses is really … lame. Doesn’t she know the form?! ;-)

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I wondered how many fondue pots came with that set!

        • sarahjane1912

          Ha ha! Maybe she just used an ordinary enamel pot for the chocolate fondue!

          Since chocolate — even with kirsch or some sort of sweet liqueur mixed with it for fondue — requires a double boiler ‘arrangement’ to melt it without burning, some fondue cookbooks recommend cooking the chocolate ‘sauce’ separately and then decanting it into another bowl/pot to serve. Even putting this chocolate over the fondue-stand flame can be a risk, so lots of people simply serve it ‘as is’. It stays warm and ‘liquid’ for some time … long enough to dip fruit/macaroons/marshmallows/etc into it for a fondue dessert at any rate!

      • Lilithcat

        Maybe you shouldn’t, but back then people did. Fondue parties like the Drapers’ were all the rage back then. (Every bride got at least one fondue set, most of which ended up gathering dust in a cupboard.) And restaurants specialized in fondues. Indeed, one of them is still in business here, serving nothing but fondues.

        • formerlyAnon

          Exactly. They were considered enormous fun, maybe even a tiny bit of a triumph – mark of a “with it” hostess – out in the ‘burbs where we lived at the time.

        • sarahjane1912

          *Chuckles* I’m old enough to recall fondues! I have THREE fondue sets — one copper, two enamel — and two of the aforementioned sets are inherited from my mother [who is bang on Betty Draper/Francis age]. I was actually [apologies] making a wee joke, courtesy of my dear mother, who ALWAYS advised one should never serve two fondue dishes in the course of a dinner. Main OR dessert, she said: that was the Done Thing. :)

          PS. Even into the 80s in my home country, there were Swiss restaurants in my home city which had fondue as a ‘specialty’. Mostly, the go-to dish was Fondue Bourguinonne [the one where meat is cooked in oil -- or fish cooked in stock -- and served with a variety of sauces] but cheese/chocolate were also favourites. We never ordered a whole session of them, however; fondue was always preceded [or chased by] a dish of a ‘different’ nature, even if it was flambeed bananas. Or something! *GRIN*

          • Qitkat

            @MilaXX:disqus mentioned The Melting Pot earlier. I’ve been once, and had the works, and it is a real gut bomb. Never will make that mistake again. But it’s a very popular option. And in 1970, just as
            @Lilithcat:disqus mentioned, we got the obligatory fondue set wedding gift. We actually used ours for several years, and then it somehow disappeared. Never made anything but cheese in it. I still think a good cheese fondue is yummy :-)

      • MilaXX

        Chain restaurant The Melting Pot makes it’s bread and butter off doing just that.

        • sarahjane1912

          Cheers for that: I googled The Melting Pot [had never heard of them, not being US-based].

    • ThaliaMenninger

      Anybody think maybe the scene with Don barfing at the funeral was a call-back to Roger barfing in front of clients way back when? Peggy has turned into Don, Don has turned into Roger, and New Guy who sent the deli has turned into Pete. Yeah, I haven’t fully thought this through.

      • kentiesgirl

        I see it now you pointed it out. Don and Roger are both at breaking points for sure. I definitely felt for Roger this episode and not at all for Don, it used to be the other way around for me.

        • gsk241

          I agree. And of the two of them, I think Roger is the one who is going to be OK.

          • kentiesgirl

            I hope so.

      • ohayayay

        Like Peggy, the young PFC from Honolulu is also the new Don, right? Going to war and coming home a new person? The young man envisions himself old and gruff someday, disenchanted, like Don. It’s almost like when they switch lighters, they switch identities. The cycle continues and this really seems to send Don into a depression.

        • kentiesgirl

          i suppose it would be too obvious but the switching lighters and Don saying he wasn’t married when real Don was stuck with me, like it would come up again later-he would be found out and run off or something.

          • AnotherJulie

            Agreed. I kept thinking the whole lighter storyline can’t just be symbolism – perhaps Dinkens will try and track down Don and that will open up the whole stolen identity thin – but it seems too obvious so it probably won’t happen.

            • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

              @AnotherJulie:disqus Or the lighter will be returned because the soldier had died. I can see this ending an episode. Could anybody read what was engraved on the lighter? That may provide a clue to how it will re-appear.

            • sarahjane1912

              “In life we often have to do things that just are not our bag.” — with the name Pfc Dinkins on the base of it. Couldn’t help but be reminded of My Lai and other atrocities when I read this [and of the ear necklace, natch. Shudder].

          • ohayayay

            I think the question was “were you married while you were in Korea?” [because Dinkins' fiancee told him that married men are more likely to survive] and Don said “no” – not “are you married *now*.”

            I do think the lighter will get shipped home to Don – after Dinkins dies in the war. ETA: So what does it mean if Dinkins is the new Don Draper, and he dies in the war, like the real Don Draper did years ago? Woah. Don’s identity gone.

            • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

              Oh yes.

            • Lilithcat

              I think the question was “were you married while you were in Korea?”

              You’re right. Because my reaction was “The real Don Draper was married when he was in Korea!”

            • ohayayay

              Ah yes. THAT is probably what @kentiesgirl:disqus meant by the “real Don” being married. It all gets so confusing! Sorry to over-correct.

      • Spicytomato1

        Yes. I also thought it foreshadowed a heart attack for Don. And I thought of the same transformations, except I thought New Guy was the new Ginsberg. But he makes more sense as the New Pete!

    • NDC_IPCentral

      Maureen Ryan, former TV critic for the Chicago Tribune, now TV critic for The Huffington Post and friend of Tom and Lorenzo, has a fine, long recap and analysis of last night’s premiere, too.

      • decormaven

        Thanks! That was indeed an excellent review.

        • Qitkat

          You might also enjoy Alan Sepinwall on hitfix. He blogs about several shows and had a very insightful review of MM. I find reading TLo, Mo Ryan and Alan, and as many comments as I can, give me the most thorough understanding of the show. MM is the only one I go that far for. Time intensive.

          • decormaven

            Thanks to you as well! That was a very good recap. He & I were both intrigued that Don had found a new person to share deep thoughts with in Sylvia. Remember how he sent Meditations in an Emergency to Anna? But Anna had a much sunnier outlook on life. I’m afraid Sylvia is going to be the flip side of that coin.

            • Qitkat

              Would that we might see someone enter the MM sphere again as stabie and well adjusted as Anna. One of the few, if not only, characters to unequivocally love. I miss her. A sunnier character written with some depth that gave a little bit of balance to the always darker themes of the show.

              I agree with you about Sylvia; we may finally be coming to the time when Don has gone too far into betrayal, of his friendship(s), his vows, possibly his children, and any remaining work ethics. We stand on the balcony watching that metaphorical or literal spiraling, twisting, inevitable fall from what little grace that remains of his life, that the show has set us up for from the very beginning. A Shakespearian level tragedy.

            • decormaven

              Remember what Anna told Don in The Mountain King: “It means the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.” I’d give a nickel to have his tarot cards read now!

    • flamingoNW

      I loved this episode. SO glad to have it back.

      Have to say, though, that i was un-enthralled by the Betty story line, and I find Henry utterly flat as a character. His reaction to her rape comments was a big nothing, revealed zilch about his character, and I’m not sure if it was Betty’s delivery/performance or the writing itself that made that whole scene a big WTF. Very jarring.

      Excited to have Linda Cardellini on the show! Hope she sticks around.

      • AnotherJulie

        Agree re: Betty. Disturbing scene – her comments and his non-reaction. Also, I have an automatic anti-Betty bias so the whole Sandy/runaway storyline bored me. I simply don’t care whether Betty had a similar experience.

    • aquamarine17

      thank you, Tom & Lorenzo, for your great recap!! i too, found humor in the new episode. I laughed out loud when Don threw up, which is not my usual response when I see that onscreen. did anyone else notice how his eyes were really really big and strange when he was standing there just before getting sick? I am glad to see Don sleeping around again. i wonder if Don doesn’t like being with Megan now. she seemed really boring to be around and seemed like a daughter on vacation with her father when she got up in the nightclub. let’s face it, these two did basically rush into marriage. so happy to see LInda Cardellini from F & G, a show I adore. Don seems to really like women who are a little older, this lady’s daughter (or son?) is in college. loved seeing Peggy and Stan being friends. And sometimes a person needs a trigger to actually break down and cry from a death and I think the death of the shoe polisher worked that way, Roger was crying for the shoe guy AND his mother. i once experienced a trigger for a death where I had not really experienced the deep grief yet. and it was a year later

      • MilaXX

        I think Don’s problem is that he hates himself. I think he married Megan because he still wants the happy family life. Once Megan proved herself to be less than the fantasy trophy wife that Don imagined, he once again lasped into his lying cheating ways. Don isn’t happy because deep down inside he doesn’t think he deserves to be happy.

        • formerlyAnon

          Absolutely. Doesn’t matter who he marries. *HE’s* still there, and one of his multiple strands of f**ked-up-edness is going to poison it. There are plenty of people who, for one reason or another, can’t be happy and that poisons relationship after relationship. Often, they don’t see it themselves. Part of Don’s tragedy is that he DOES see it, he just can’t seem to help it.

    • bluefish

      Thank you for the wonderful analysis. SO happy this show is back! And I’m with you in my fondness for Henry’s mother, awful as she is. I have hope for Betty. Her cool and poise at the flophouse, and her unspoken sympathy for the two young men who were reasonably polite to her, bode well. I would love to see her flourish 60s style. The fashions, as always, are just outstanding. Was Peggy wearing knee socks in her first scene? So many memories.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        What about the photographer’s assistant?? She was very Nancy Sinatra.

    • Sara

      I think you give too much credit to Weiner for his heavy-handed use of imagery and symbolism (he’ll always be there to explain it to us, in case we missed it, thought). Otherwise great recap.

    • Maryanne525

      I missed these reviews almost as much as I missed the show itself. Thanks for doing them, and looking forward to the style entry, soon! Also, one problem with last night’s episode: NOT ENOUGH JOAN.

      • AnotherJulie

        ….and too much Betty!!!! I have tried SO HARD to find one thing redeemable about Betty, and found it in ONE tiny scene last year, where she was comforting Sally after she started her period.

        Now – I’m back to hating her.

        • http://www.facebook.com/cathy.naghitorabi Cathy Naghitorabi

          But the point of the show is not “let’s write these characters to be lovable”. It’s about tragically flawed people who mostly will not change. And I’ll bet if we look closely and honestly we can find ways they’re just like us.

          • AnotherJulie

            I realize we aren’t supposed to love these characters. But some are created to be worse than others! I can’t fully relate to Joan, or Peggy, or Megan – but I like things about all of them. Betty? Not a thing.

        • Maryanne525

          Hahaha, I love how we both got negative votes on here…I hate the new commenting system. I totally agree – Betty is insufferable. I want her to be great, I do. But that dialogue about raping that girl put me over the edge.

        • Maryanne525

          Hahaha, I love that we both got voted down for having an opinion – the new commenting system is GREAT! ;) I totally agree about Betty. I was really taken aback by the whole rape dialogue.

    • Spicytomato1

      Crap. I missed it last night, no DVR, thinking I would watch online today. AMC doesn’t seem to have full episodes. Anyone know of a legit place to catch it online?

      • Joe M

        Buy a season pass from iTunes (pick SD, not HD, and save several bucks). Each episode is then ready for you early on Monday morning.

        • Spicytomato1

          Great idea, thanks! Off to enjoy MM over lunch…

        • sarahjane1912

          Sigh! Wish I could do that. I’m an iTunes UK subscriber; no access. Can’t wait until the rest of the world catches up with the way the US runs its programming [and access].

          • Joe M

            It works both ways. I was on pins and needles waiting for Downton Abbey to run here. (I guess some people here found it online first, but it seemed like a big hassle to me, so I waited.)

            • sarahjane1912

              Heh heh. I do see that, but I’m in the Middle East; we have to wait for EVERYTHING [well, all the good stuff anyway!]. The shows that they advertise on OSN [our pay TV network here] that assure the viewer they’re on ‘the same time as in the US’ are usually [gags, sorry] American Idol, X-Factor, Survivor and other less-than-attractive reality-type offerings. All the good shows take forever.

              A big part of my enjoyment of MM is being able to come onto TLo and dish about it afterwards; not much fun if it’s months and months after the initial screening. And I *hate* having to avoid recaps/social media comments/etc online.

              That’s why House of Cards was so much fun for me; I could binge and be up to date on all the dirt’n’drama right when everyone else was experiencing it. :)

      • Missy Covington

        http://www.amctv.com/mad-men/videos/season-6-premiere-mad-men Not the best quality, but it seems to be the full episode.

      • Guest

        Um … really legit or merely available? I live in the Middle East and MM will probably appear at some ungodly hour in about a year or something. So yes, my access is somewhat dodgy.

        Anyhoo … not sure if this is legal or not, but it’s on putlocker. Do a search. PS. I pay for putlocker but you can watch this as a free user. :)

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          In Turkey, they blur all of the cigarettes. You start to feel like you have glaucoma or something. They used to put daisies over all of the images of cigarettes.

        • siriuslover

          My friend turned me on to TunnelBear. I wondered how he possibly saw all of Downton Abbey months before the rest of us and he said he uses the service and he watched DA when it aired in Britain. I downloaded it, but haven’t quite figured out how to use it, but it may be an option for you. Good luck.

      • MilaXX

        legit – Amazon or iTunes
        ETA: Just saw on AMC’s website that they are showing the premiere ep online. You’ll probably need a source for the rest of the season, but you can at least see last night’s showing.

      • ohayayay

        ch131 is a good website to stream pirated shows right after they air! just make sure they don’t cut off the end ;)

    • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

      Great insights!
      The significance of the lighters was part of that death theme. We assume that Don had such a negative reaction because he felt he had exchanged his lighter for a man who was sent off to die. And that also ties in to Don’s exchange of identities with the dead man to become Don Draper.

    • Inspector_Gidget

      Competent Peggy is a fun development. I just hope they please, please, please don’t go for the super obvious and make her responsible for the “You’ve come a long way, baby” ads. (I mean, she IS working on the Virginia Slims account.) On-the-nose may be period appropriate, but it’s not much fun to watch a drama for hours after everyone’s figured it out.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I doubt they would do anything that obvious like the Virginia Slims ad.

        • AnotherJulie

          Agree. Better to just assume it happens (Va Slims). Peggy was awesome last night. I loved the dynamic between her and Stan – hanging on the phone like 2 teenage girlfriends.

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            I can imagine he will supply Peggy with some critical information that will lead to her (somehow or another) returning to the fold but as a partner. That would provide a nice balance to Joan’s story of literally sleeping her way to the top.

            • AnotherJulie

              i would love that. As cool as Joan is in many ways, I can’t get my head around the whole “being a prostitute” thing – esp. when Roger has been begging her to let him support his son and she wanted no part of that.

              Not that Peggy is pure as the driven snow but her sexual forays (having sex with Pete the night before he got married, which she knew; the incident in the theatre with the random guy, etc.) aren’t for $$

      • NDC_IPCentral

        One of the admirable aspects of Weiner & Co.’s treatment of the agency’s clients and output throughout the series is that there is no re-writing of advertising history to give SCDP campaign outcomes that were, in fact, created by other agencies. “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” came from the venerable Leo Burnett agency.

        • MisScarlett

          Wow, I had always wondered about that. Interesting tidbit, thanks for sharing!

        • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

          Season 1, ep 1 — the “It’s toasted!” slogan was actually used by Lucky Strike since the 1910s, according to Wikipedia, so they did some serious re-writing of advertising history there. They talk about it in the season 1 commentary.

    • AutumnInNY

      Excellent recap Tlo. Disappointed that we saw more of Joan in the commercials than on the show. Hoping this won’t be another season where she seems to take a back seat to Megan. Joan was in maybe one, two scenes? Wtf? Now that Megan has had her acting career handled to her on a silver platter hopefully she will get some big job and move on. Forever. And ever. Maybe it’s just me, but I find her tedious and uninteresting.

      Joan is a major character with an an intriguing story line. I’m more interested to see how she and Roger and baby- and her partnership will evolve.

      I’m sure Weiner has his reasons but turning a pretty Grace Kelly type into what looks like Henry Francis’s mother is puzzling. The whole Betty story seems off-track and fantasy like. And that St. Mark’s Place set? Not up to the usual MM design standards. It looked like a couple of flats from a high school production of “Rent”.

      • AnotherJulie

        Agree, agree, agree. Dislike the Megan character and truly can’t find a single thing to like re: the Betty character. I find it fascinating that this entire show, which I love, is built around so many characters that I hate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527150091 Pat Biswanger

      One slight disagreement with the Masters: I am thinking there’s something to the fact that both Peggy and Don had pitches that bombed, hers because she is tune-deaf to what is going on in the world (Vietnam), and his because the pitch too closely reflected his own highly personal need to run away and not be identified. But that’s what I love about Mad Men: it makes you think.

      • 3hares

        Peggy’s add wasn’t tone-deaf, though. The only thing that connected it to Vietnam was a joke somebody made on Johnny Carson 3 weeks after it was running. The story had been in the papers before then, but people didn’t immediately associate ears with the Vietcong. As she said, it was all in the client’s imagination.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Peggy’s pitch didn’t bomb. It was a perfectly good campaign that was rendered problematic by external events outside her control, like the United Airlines crash affecting the Mohawk ad buys in season 2 and the Kennedy assassination forcing them to scrap the Aquanet campaign in season 3. It’s a classic Mad Men technique of viewing the events of the period through the lens of ad campaigns. She had no way of knowing American soldiers would be caught with severed ear trophies. She wasn’t tone deaf. She was simply unable to predict the future.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527150091 Pat Biswanger

          Fair enough. But I think the more important point is that Peggy was able to recover and produce something really good from the wreckage of the rejected ad, and Don (apparently) wasn’t.

          • Violina23

            Yes, this exactly. I don’t think it was an accident that Peggy & Don essentially were facing the same “problem”, but Peggy adjusted and found a new solution, whereas Don had nothing else to do but double down on the idea that the client had rejected.

            • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

              He simply is too wrapped up in himself and unable to deal with ideas in an objective way anymore.

            • 3hares

              To be fair, they weren’t in exactly the same situation. Don was trying to explain his “experience” in Hawaii so it was more personal to him that people understand where he was coming from. Peggy was just dealing with a technical issue of ears=ears, and she had to deal with it fast. With Don, as I think Pete said to placate the client, they were just in the opening stages of discussion so he had plenty of freedom to fight for his choice–which Peggy herself wanted him to do about Heinz, for instance.

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Yes. Peggy’s scenes were to demonstrate how well she’s doing professionally, but I think it’s a mistake to consider Don’s scenes through the same lens. That really wasn’t a disastrous meeting. Client pitches get rejected constantly. It was, however, a scene to illustrate Don’s creeping fatalism and how he hasn’t recognized it before now. He made something he though was beautiful – and to be fair, it was – but was shocked to find out that other people found it morbid and disturbing.

            • Violina23

              I feel like it can kind of be both — I can’t remember the last time that Don had a “Carousel”-like moment with an ad. The juxtaposition of Don & Peggy’s stories in the same episode drove home [at least to me] the idea that Peggy is now doing what Don “It’s Toasted” Draper used to be capable of doing, but not so much anymore: e.g. Be brilliant when nobody else seems up to the task. Which, when combined with the morbid undertones of the ad, just makes Don’s current state even MORE sad and tragic.

    • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

      So what’s the deal with the new ambitious guy?

      • sarahjane1912

        How kind you are. All I kept thinking was: what a rabid little brown-noser this chap seems to be. And I’ll just BET that whole ‘My business card wasn’t supposed to be on the canapes’ line was a big fat fib as well. ;)

        • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

          Yeah.. I didn’t buy that either.. If he was telling the truth then he certainly screwed THAT up. On the other hand, we KNOW how Don got his job. He basically got roger so drunk he thought that he hired him. So the new guy is a mini-Don.

          For some reason, I see Megan and this guy somehow getting together. Perhaps revenge when she learns Don has been the apartment building Don juan?

          • sarahjane1912

            Ooh, interrrrresting! He’s certainly good looking [a la Don] but being an accounts man — not a creative — I wonder how that will play out. I actually thought that this guy was bucking for a job in Creative rather than just being some general ‘wanna-climb-my-way-up-the-company-ladder’ guy. Uncomfortable reminders of Pete in his earlier seasons, of course, but this new ‘ambitious’ guy seems even more determined.

          • AnotherJulie

            I don’t see Megan sticking around if/when she discovers Don’s infidelity. Last season she had a pretty good lifestyle for a struggling actress, but now things are going well for her…. this will be an interesting plot line.

            • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

              Me neither, Julie. But who can blame her?

      • Joe M

        I imagine we’ll find out.

    • http://twitter.com/AShinyOConnor A Shiny O’Connor

      Why was Dawn so taken aback by the doctor/mistress-husband/neighbour being in the office? Does she know?

      • bellafigura1

        Yes, I wondered that too.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        It’s a hint of a future revelation, I assume.

      • AnotherJulie

        Either she knows and panicked thinking he was there to start trouble w/Don, or she recognizes him for other reasons… a bad experience as a patient perhaps? I really want them to expand Dawn’s role…….

    • DessertWratt

      No time today to read the comments, sorry if this has already been pointed out.

      I totally get Don’s mancrush on the heart surgeon: He’s a Successful Guy doing something that actually matters–heart surgery. He saves people’s lives! Weiner even showed it on camera. Don sees how meaningful his work is, and wants that, and tries to get in the only warped, damaged, and ultimately ineffective way he knows how — by screwing the guy’s wife. She is a sweet, neglected housewife, how can he resist? It’s the one thing in his life that he’s perfected to where it’s almost effortless, and definitely compulsive, a sexual encounter with a vulnerable woman, but is doesn’t really get him what he wants, and in fact prevents him from getting it.

      The amazing thing is that Weiner et al has me analyzing him like he’s a real person.

      • bellafigura1

        Don must possess her/ruin her to get back at the guy for being the better man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josefina-Madariaga-Suárez/100002964685796 Josefina Madariaga Suárez

        Either he tries to get his life or he’s trying to tarnish it so his success doesn’t feel so threatening.

    • bellafigura1

      I thought the Betty-Henry rape pillow talk was about the most bizarre thing I’ve heard on Mad Men. “Why don’t I take Sally somewhere and you can go in there and have your way with her 15 year old friend. Maybe I could join you.” I read somewhere else that Wiener wrote the scene to convey Betty’s unique sense of humor. That’s just not now, and never was, a jokey topic …

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josefina-Madariaga-Suárez/100002964685796 Josefina Madariaga Suárez

        Actually, I laughed with Betty during that scene. Then again, my friends think my sense of humour is way far into the dark and cruel side of life, so I guess you have a point there: I would totally make a joke like that, but even today it would be met with shock.

        • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

          Betty didn’t even understand he was shocked, though — she thought he was “blushing” because she was too naughty. She didn’t realize what she said was horrible. Oh, Betty.

          • sarahjane1912

            Not sure I agree with you there. I think Betty was trying to make him blush — push his buttons, if you will — and her not-really-surprised “You’re blushing!” was because she caught him out blushing. Just like she’d intended. It’s like saying: “Ha, ha: gotcha!”

            That was my interpretation anyway! :-)

            • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

              Maybe I wasn’t clear — I agree that that’s what she THOUGHT was happening. What was actually happening was he was horrified by the wrongness of what she said, not blushing because of the frank sexuality or “naughtiness” of it.

            • sarahjane1912

              Ah! I see now. Sorry about my confused take on your post. :-)

            • 3hares

              I’d have to watch the scene again, but I’m not sure she wasn’t right. That is,Henry wasn’t treating rape as lightly as Betty was there, but I’m not sure he was reacting to it at all the way I was.

          • golden_valley

            I thought Betty was jealous of the way he looked at Sandy as she played violin. She ascribed the child rape intent to him to make him squirm.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        I wrote it off as just another difference between then and now. Like the way the Draper family all went to the park and trashed it and drove off. I agree it was never a jokey topic but it also wasn’t treated with the seriousness it deserves.

        But I don’t think a person like Betty would have used the word “rape” – which crossed the line. Clearly even her husband was shocked. But why shocked? Shocked because of the subject of rape or shocked because Betty was talking so openly (and so graphically) about it. I am not sure.

        Sadly. there are still people- some who are in high office too- who still can’t understand the topic of rape and feel comfortable classifying rapes as “legitimate” and the other kind.

        • 3hares

          When did The Fantasicks come out? It has a whole funny song about fun kinds of rape. Some people (women) protested it at the time, but it’s still a classic show and they still do the song: “You can get the rape emphatic, you can get the rape polite, you can get the rape with Indians, a truly charming sight. You can get the rape on horseback they all say it’s new and gay, so you see the kind of rape depends on what you pay. It depends on what you pay.”

          • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

            Geez.

          • Violina23

            To be fair, that song’s about staging a rape, not actually raping someone, no?

            • 3hares

              Yes, it’s about attempted rape and kind of commenting on how that’s a cliche in the classic love story. So it’s ripping off the pretty cover. But it’s still a guy singing RAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE dramatically and comically because it’s part of romance. And he’s the romantic bandit (that she later pines over) and she’s 16. And her dad’s arranging it with him.

    • Josefina Madariaga

      When I saw Don visiting the doctor’s wife, I recalled that scene in the very first episode, when, after you see him being this uber confident playboy of advertising (after being with Midge, kind-of flirting with Rachel and getting wooed by a naive Peggy), he goes back home and we get to see he’s got a suburban wife. It was such a shock back then and it was a shock now, and both times I thought “Wow, what an asshole”.

      I loved that Betty, for once, wasn’t portrayed as a bitch. Divorce and being Mrs. Francis has done some good stuff for her, she’s not the porcelain doll she was back when she was married to Don. Little Sally’s becoming a mini mean girl, it seems.

      There was a noticeable lack of Joan last night, I hope they give her a more triumphant storyline this season. And that phonecall between Peggy and Stan was kind of sweet. I hope you’re wrong about Abe, though.

      And I reallyreally wish Megan makes it as an actress, even if that signals the end of her marriage.

      • NoGovernmentName

        I think Henry is a much better husband than Don, and while Betty is still a freak, being married to a man who is decent and loves her has helped her mental state quite a bit.

    • H2olovngrl

      And also, FONDUE!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004171571688 Michael Strickland

      Beautifully written wrap-up, and your point about the coarsening of public culture from the late 50s to the late 60s is fascinating. Only one disagreement, which is that Mother Francis scares the hell out of me.

    • http://twitter.com/1buddhasmom SH

      What was the deal on the door that had No Storage Mad Men written on it?
      PS – excellent post!!

      • Laylalola

        Didn’t catch that — but “Mad Men” was supposedly the name Madison Avenue advertisers gave to themselves, so it wasn’t necessarily a slip.

        • http://twitter.com/1buddhasmom SH

          It was at the end of the episode – the scene where the doctor had an emergency call and went down to the storage closet for his skis, and Don followed him. Maybe a blooper or something else entirely?

          • Joe M

            I saw “No Storage,” but not “Mad Men.” Where did you see those words?

    • http://www.facebook.com/mwwgrimm Mariah W Grimm

      Great review. I also suspect we’re going to hear some more about cultural differences in this season. It wasn’t talked about pointedly except with Peggy’s call the the pastor, but I read Don’s mancrush on the Jewish doctor (and his absurdly stereotypical Italian wife) as him being able to connect with people more fully who are outsiders, albeit those who have, like him, “made it.” We’ve seen this a few times before with his mistresses, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen him socializing outside of hidden spheres.

      • Brad Watson

        What I love now is how much Betty now looks like the doctor’s absurdly Italian wife.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mwwgrimm Mariah W Grimm

          :) I look forward to the day she starts wearing ethnic-lady bling (those rings!)

    • Brad Watson

      Beth Dawes is in the booby-hatch somewhere but, by gum, Dark Betty Lives!!!

    • ideated_eyot

      I thought this show made a huge comeback in this opener, setting the tone for a more hard-edged story after some meandering for the past two seasons.

    • LuLusLemons

      Is Linda Cardellini the doctor’s second wife? Doesn’t she mention a kid in college?

      • sarahjane1912

        She could conceivably still be his first wife with a kid in college. After all, if one was going to be literal about it, Linda Cardellini IS 37, and could well have been a ‘child bride’ ie married at 18, 19 or something … and yes, have a freshman in college. Perfectly do-able mathematically. :-)

      • vandeventer

        Well they never said how old the character is. She could be 40 – 42, something like that.

    • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

      Ahhh, finally got my fix, now life is complete. Favorite Betty line, “are you on dope?” I’m tired of seeing her as this frumpy suburban housewife, where’s the bitchy fashion plate? I know she’s supposed to have mellowed with Henry but jeez. I wonder how January Jones, who’s regularly seen in lingerie laden photo spreads with lots of skin, feels about playing her this way?

      Loved the symbolism with the lighter, very telling about what the future holds. I felt Don’s uneasiness when he discovered that his had been taken by mistake. It’s not only a solid reminder/comforter of the role he’s portraying, it’s also like a talisman to protect him and the charade. Losing it in the way that he did is definitely a bad omen. The fact that the imposter lighter reappeared is likened to the way his lies and their inevitable discovery keeps popping up.

      Interesting that Don and Megan completely missed celebrating the NYE countdown, I guess this is in keeping with whole death, doom and dark tone to the episode, though by contrast the sets were almost overly decorated with bright holiday stuff.

      The whole funeral thing was like a French farce and the St. Mark’s scene with Betts wasn’t believable to me. Bryn Mawr Betty and rats and filth? I don’t think so. Betty could look humane in more realistic ways.

      I just have to comment on Dawn once and for all. Having the inside scoop on all things African American, I must say without any malice intended, an AA woman of Dawn’s complexion would rarely be hired to work in such a highly visible position at a major Madison Avenue ad agency in ’68. Though they would want an identifiable AA woman to satisfy the quota, she would most likely be much lighter in color. That’s just the way it was. Girlfriend Dawn would be lucky to get a position in housekeeping or elevator operator. That’s just the way it was. MW failed on this one. I’ll be happy to be a consult, lol. I’ve written WAY TOO MUCH!

      • http://twitter.com/omg_dora Dora K.

        That’s very interesting (and tragic) about Dawn’s complexion.

        • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

          ikr

      • AnotherJulie

        I hope they expand Dawn’s role… she seems really decent, not the norm among most women on this show!!

        Also, several commenters have pointed out that Dawn seemed flustered when the Dr. showed up unannounced in Don’s office, and not just for secretarial /scheduling reasons. Possibly some recognition? This may be totally off base because I’m not sure what type of Dr. he is- but could Dawn have had an illegal abortion? Or is this another little subtle moment which isn’t going anywhere? That’s why I love this show!!

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          He’s a heart surgeon.

          Perhaps she got illicit heart surgery from him and doesn’t want anyone to know.

          • AnotherJulie

            LOL But seriously didn’t all sorts of doctors perform abortions back then? Think where this could go….. Dawn was abused / incest/ got pregnant…. wasn’t there some mention of living with her brother? Or do I have a really twisted mind (plus don’t remember all the details like you guys!)

            • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

              Honey, you’re taking the analysis way too far.

              Let me just say this: Every season, the comments section is full of wild speculation about where the show is going to go. And every season 99.99999% of that speculation turns out to be way off base. It’s just not that kind of show. It’s quiet and it builds over time and every once in a while something out of the blue happens – just like life. But it’s not a wild soap opera with insane twists and turns. It never really was, despite the occasional shocking development.

            • AnotherJulie

              There is a reason commenters speculate wildly about where the show will go. It’s fun!!

            • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

              That WOULD be interesting, you might have something there, especially since Peggy, who has her own secrets in that area, was paired with Dawn last season when she stayed at Peggy’s for the night. I’m also curious to see if MW and crew will be adventurous enough to have any kind of interaction other than strickly professional for Dawn and Don. (hmmm, anyone catch that their names are homonyms, or am I doing too much?lol )

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        My favorite line in the show was when the psychoanalyst tells Roger “You are clearly not afraid of being boring.”

    • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

      Btw, Thank you TLo, you have made the show so much more…

    • Michelle G

      I thought the references to A Star Is Born were especially on point. Don Draper is James Mason, and Peggy Olsen is Judy Garland. Watching the episode(s), I saw Peggy talking, but all I heard was Don’s voice.

      And wasn’t it interesting seeing Don throwing up at Roger’s “It’s my funeral!” funeral? That was a call back to when Don basically made Roger throw up by taking the stairs after a six martini lunch.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        Or… Don and Megan too. She is a rising star while Don is slowly but surely sinking below the horizon.

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        Wasn’t it funny when Roger threw everybody out and then they all looked at each other and just sat there. In the end, he had to throw himself out.

    • GinaGeo

      I don’t know if this means anything at all, or if it was just background noise, but what was with the guy sleeping on the couch in Creative? He’s there in the first scene when they are smoking pot and he’s still there when the Dr. comes by to get his camera. At first I thought (hoped) it was Sal. But then I thought maybe it had a deeper meaning.

    • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

      It took me some time to put together the whole doctor-Don relationship. The camera gift from Don’s Perk Closet and then watching the vacation (research perk) slides on the slide projector (another job perk) showed how he’s enjoying the perks of the job even though his pitches are falling amiss of their targets.

      My favorite quote from the night was from Stan responding to whether he thought the Royal Hawaiian pitch looked like “death”, “Yes, that’s why I thought it was so great!” (I’m paraphrasing.)

      • http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/ Nomad

        Like all the MM shows, there are so many good lines that are thrown at you so fast you are bound to miss one.

    • LC3203

      I’m calling it now: Meagan is sleeping with Roger. That phone call he had before he found out his mom was dead had to be her. “They can replace you.” That’s a thing you say to an actor.

      • bellafigura1

        Nah, I don’t think so. Megan has departed the advertising world — she’s on another plane now. Sleeping with Roger would be a come-down from Don. I think she’s still faithful, but not for long … Don is sleeping with the doctor’s wife because he’s gotta betray Megan (and ruin his marriage) because he’s afraid she’s going to leave him behind for her newfound fame … His insecurity is that crushing. Megan will find a director or another actor … or actress!

        • AnotherJulie

          Agree that she’s not sleeping with Roger, but will not be faithful for long. Also agree that Don absolutely MUST be self-destructive. It is like breathing to him.

    • http://www.wordydoodles.com WordyDoodles

      LOVE these brilliant MadMen posts, every time. This was the one thing that struck me though: ‘”who all treat her with tremendous respect.” With the client, at least, it was the opposite for me. He barely lets her finish a sentence and gives her the limpest handshake at the end of the meeting, followed by a conspicuously heartier one with her male colleague. Her colleagues and boyfriend do treat her with respect, which was great to see. But she’s not at all home free.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Thank you, but I’m afraid I disagree with your point. One thing we always have in the back of our minds while watching this show is the birthdates of the older characters. It helps to put the period in perspective when, say, Miss Blankenship dies and you find out she was born into a much different world than the one she exited. It even helps to know that Don was born in 1926 or Joan in 1931. It reminds you that, no matter how modern they may seem in the context of the story, they are definitely of a much different generation. They would be 87 and 82 if they’re both alive in 2013. Think about that.

        Anyway, our point is, in that scene, we watched that client and figured him to have been born roughly around 1908. Here he was, debating a business issue with a young woman, asking her what she thinks should be done about it, and ending the meeting by agreeing to give her – specifically her – more time to work on the issue. That’s an amazing amount of respect, given the period and the age of the man we’re talking about.

        • decormaven

          Absolutely. I entered the working world in 1977, and the Old Boys Network was still in full flower in the South. The fact that the client listened to- and accepted- Peggy’s idea was a huge win in my book. People, tolerance doesn’t just happen. It comes from a daily effort from countless people we may never know who broke the way for us.

        • AnotherJulie

          It helps to be reminded of this (i.e. characters would be 87 today etc.). I have always done this as I watch the show (i.e. I relate these characters to my parents’/relatives’ ages).

          I think MM is the best thing on TV by far – but to me, it exists as pure delicious fiction. Too many scenarios, mostly dealing with sexual situations, don’t quite seem realistic as behaviors at that time.

          Granted I grew up in Baltimore, as did Matt Weiner – not Manhattan – so perhaps I’m being very naive – but really? Every single male character (except Ken Cosgrove, so far) cheats at the drop of a hat? And every female character is willing to have sex with Don, immediately? Was Manhattan really that different than everywhere else? ;-)

          • nptexas

            I grew up in the city in Texas. I’m a bit older than Sally. I think the sex/in-the-office thing is right on the $$. We didnt smoke reefer at work, but there were plenty of 3-martini lunches always paid for by some guy on the prowl. It’s real IMO .

        • http://www.wordydoodles.com WordyDoodles

          Well said, and I appreciate the compassion you have for the characters to think about their histories in that way. I agree that relative to the time period and his own experiences, that client is giving her more respect than she might otherwise expect. I still think the bar for respect is set fairly low, though!

    • Jecca2244

      we finally watched the episode last night because we’ve had family in for a few days. definitely gave me pause because my uncle was killed in Vietnam in 1968 during his second tour. so that struck close to home. Dawn was a breath of fresh air throughout the episode. and for some reason I already like Peggy more, although now she is fully Don-like. still soaking in everything that transpired in the episode though.

    • GTrain

      Thanks for the analysis. I was really confounded by Don’s man crush on the doctor but your thoughts make total sense.

    • popculturepie

      I loved all the call backs to earlier episodes in this season’s opener. Roger getting therapy after previously saying it was “this year’s candy pink stove” and then the ad that Don reviewed with the “Love is in the air slogan” had a candy pink stove stove in it.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        Nicely done!

    • fursa_saida

      Funny, I sort of read Don’s crush on Doctor I Forget His Name the other way around. For whatever reason (no doubt tied to his own subliminal obsession with death), he’s drawn to this guy in a way he isn’t to anyone else–he seemed remarkably quiet and lacking in his usual wit, very, very shut down from everyone around him–and he was sleeping with his wife as a kind of way to be close to him. This sounds weirder now that I type it out, but that was how I read it. I can’t shake the feeling that his relationship to the good doctor (and seriously, wow, that guy is who you want on call) is more important than just a side effect of his new outlook on cheating.

    • GinaGeo

      I’m not sure if this has been touched upon, but did you notice a continuity problem between the very first scene of the Dr giving CPR (before Don’s voiceover of Dante) and the one later? In the first scene the Dr’s tie is loosened and his top button undone. In the later scene it seems to be a different tie and it’s not loosened. Maybe that just means the Dr did CPR for awhile and loosened his tie at some point….or it’s a different situation altogether.

      • GinaGeo

        Never mind. It’s the same tie.

    • ZnSD

      I play a mean rubber of bridge and adore gin. Just sayin’.

    • http://twitter.com/DallasDiner Infinine®™

      Did anybody else pick up on the fact that Roger’s shrink is MW in disguise? Sneaky devils, I LOVE THIS SHOW!

    • nptexas

      I’m not so sure don is finally feeling guilty about his affair with Sylvia. It seems more like it is finally dawning in him that he’s not getting what he wants from his chronic philandering. Sometimes he really tries introspection, but he’s got zero discipline. He’s driven in his work but really just does whatever he feels like whenever he wants. I actually knew men like him in the 60s when I was first entering the work force. Their testosterone-driven behavior makes menopause look like a hangnail.