I started this post weeks and weeks ago. And now, look where we are.
Last season, the curtain opened on Don Draper. And as we, the viewers, discovered first Don and then Dick Whitman, we also discovered that Don wanted no part of Dick. Almost, perhaps, to the point where he was starting to forget.
Like, he may have, in some part, believed that the man on the train was mistaken.
And it was a little gray there, when he was telling Adam he’d never seen him before how much of that was him trying to send him away, and how much of it was that he’s been living his life so convinced that his past could not catch up with him, that when it started to, he would not accept it. Like a criminal who does not believe they could possibly land in jail. And then when they do, it feels like a dream. A really bad dream. Like that.
Except of course, Don-sans-Dick was the dream, and these intrusions were waking him up.
He never discussed his childhood, not with Betty, not with Roger and Mona over dinner. Betty didn’t even know that his parents were dead. She certainly did not know how he grew up for all she knew, he could have had a nanny. She didn’t know where he was from or anything.
But Don is different in 1962. The events of 1960 changed him.
Curtain opens on Don telling the doctor that his parents are dead.
Now, maybe he was always honest with his doctors. But it was jolting for us to hear it out of his mouth. And so I see it as Weiner’s message to us that something is different.
He told Bobby (Draper, not Bobbie), ˜I told you your grandfather was a farmer’. (I paraphrase.) This was a revelation. I have no evidence of course, but I am pretty certain that the Don Draper of 1960 never spoke to his children about his own past. Not even in that very safe way where he could integrate a farm into the Don Draper storyline and have it go unquestioned. Nuh-uh. I don’t believe he did that before the events of 1960.
And he told Betty that he was beaten. He lies to Betty and withholds from Betty. A lot. But this he told her.
Basketwriter Marly K called him a Moebius strip of a human being. I love that.
Don and Dick have been starting to swirl together, and it has challenged everything that he was and is. We looked at the two men, split in the bathroom mirror, so shaken by who he is that he made Sally leave the room, leave him alone with his fraying selves.
And now is he finally whole?
I can’t wait to find out.