Rewatching Hobo Code: Part 2—Pete & Peggy

 Posted by on April 23, 2009 at 10:49 am  Season 1, Season 2
Apr 232009
 

As I was watching The Hobo Code, I was profoundly struck by the scene between Pete and Peggy in his office after they make love. Physically, it is almost perfectly echoed by the scene between them in Meditations in an Emergency.

Consider this:
Hobo Code: Pete & Peggy are the first ones in the office.
Meditations in an Emergency: Pete & Peggy are the last ones in the office.

Hobo: Peggy stops by Pete’s office just to offer him coffee, he invites her in.
Meditations: Peggy stops by Pete’s office just to say goodnight, he invites her in.

Hobo: Pete tries to get heartfelt with Peggy, at first she stops him, but he persists.
Meditations: Pete tries to get heartfelt with Peggy, at first she stops him and he points out that it’s always hard to talk to her, and then he persists.

In both, they sit side-by-side on a couch, facing each other, Pete leaning forward on his knees, Peggy holding herself in a more restrained way.

Hobo: As she leaves, she touches him on the head in a comforting way.
Meditations: As she leaves, she touches him on the shoulder in a comforting way.

Hobo: After Peggy is gone, Pete sits alone in his office, holding a drink.
Meditations: After Peggy is gone, Pete sits alone in his office, holding a shotgun.

These are the bookends of this relationship. In The Hobo Code, Peggy was full of longing for Pete, she was trying to find a way to extend and rely on the intimacy, while in Meditations in an Emergency, she appreciated him, was kind towards him, but was done with all that.

One more thing: In Hobo Code, a few hours after Peggy had accepted this intimacy from Pete, he rejected her with great cruelty. In Meditations, we can see that she was self-contained, that her rejecting of Pete’s love was about who she was and where she was, and not about Pete at all. Yet can we truly say that she doesn’t feel, somewhere within, where accepting Pete ultimately leads?

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  18 Responses to “Rewatching Hobo Code: Part 2—Pete & Peggy”

  1. I think Pete and Peggy are in love with each other. It's one of those relationships that really shouldn't happen, but do. Doesn't everyone have a friend that is just with this "guy", and you have no idea why she can't move on from him? And they always seem to be together, but not really? That's what they remind me of. Love doesn't have to make sense.

  2. Doesn’t everyone have a friend that is just with this “guy”, and you have no idea why she can’t move on from him? And they always seem to be together, but not really?

    Nope, no idea what that's like. Nosireebob.

  3. The post coitus hobo talk is all about Pete. He admits to not having read her copy and considering how the episode unfolds he only offered in order to keep her around as an audience. She is fine with being an audience to his frustrations and fantasies until she realizes that he is not willing to reverse the roles. So it is really necessary that she demonstrate all of this to him in her rejection in Meditations in an Emergency.

    The Hobo Code's ending also brings about how Peggy and Don are mirrors for each other. They both reach the end of their extramarital sexual relationships that have defined them (or they used to define themselves) and move on by acting like nothing has happened. Meditations ends with them reconciling with things that did not seem important to them in the earlier episode.

  4. portias, yes, and this is also the episode where Peggy says she's going to start keeping a spare shirt. Like Don. To facilitate affairs.

    I can't say enough about this, though. I mean, the quality of the writing—we've been talking about symmetry and echoes, but to do it across two episodes in different seasons is mind-blowing. That's real professionalism.

    And it's mostly physical. It's mostly in posture and movement. Which is a deft use of the medium; it's TV not a book, and also makes it work subliminally. You don't have to realize that there's a symmetry in order to feel it.

    Because Meditations feels like an echo of the moment when Pete and Peggy were most intimate, their closeness, and the importance of what Peggy says, is reinforced.

  5. The symmetry is achingly beautiful. It's like listening to Glenn Gould play Bach.

  6. [...] emailed Matt Weiner about my Pete & Peggy post (very alliterative) and asked if this was something he did on [...]

  7. Because Meditations feels like an echo of the moment when Pete and Peggy were most intimate, their closeness, and the importance of what Peggy says, is reinforced

    I would posit that they were actually more intimate in Meditations, because they were each being honest about themselves with each other.

    I never thought I'd feel sorry for that rat bastard Pete, but Meditations did it. I think he really does love Peggy and he missed that train.

  8. What exactly will the future bring for Pete and Peggy? As of the end of Season 2, Pete's marriage to Trudy is near collaspe, he has learned of the existence of an illegitimate he has conceived and Peggy has emotionally rejected him.

    Peggy's life seemed to be on the positive side of the ledger right now. Which makes me wonder what is in store for her. If she continues where she has left off at the end of Season 2, there is no story for her. Not really. So what will the future bring for her?

  9. If she continues where she has left off at the end of Season 2, there is no story for her. Not really.

    I don't follow. For most if not all of season two she has taken her self out of situations where she has much risk, both professionally and personally. Re-entering them is going to be difficult and require negotiating with people who are not used to having to negotiate. She has also kept herself sheltered from social causes, and I would love to see her pick a cause and fight for it. Hopefully nothing that makes her as miserable as the unwanted pregnancy.

    As for Pete, well I wold like to see more of his plot be about professionalism in a way that really does counterpoint season one, both where he is and where the business is.

  10. Pete's own arc is certainly about his growth and development, personally and professionally.

    However there's a neat kind of parallel to be made between Pete's knowing Don's secret (and how it blew up in Pete's face) and Don's (potentially) knowing Pete's secret.

    The second parentheses indicates a big question: does Don know that Pete's the father? If he does, there could be additional symmetry in Don using it to blackmail Pete in some deft way. Too soapy?

  11. The EEO passed in 1963. I think that may have an impact on Peggy. I think her awareness of herself as a professional and her place in a man's world has only begun to be explored.

  12. If Don knows Pete's secret, then woah. :o

    Actually, since Don seems to have faith in Pete's abilities and commands more of his respect at this point, I really think if Don knew, he wouldn't need to use it to blackmail Pete.

    Maybe to blackmail him(use it as leverage?) in an argument between the two, but not anything like what Pete tried to do in Season 1.

  13. I don't see Don blackmailing Pete. That's not the way that he likes to do business.

  14. Could see Mr. Weiner hinting at it in S3 to fuck with our heads.

  15. "What exactly will the future bring for Pete and Peggy? As of the end of Season 2, Pete’s marriage to Trudy is near collaspe, he has learned of the existence of an illegitimate he has conceived and Peggy has emotionally rejected him."

    I thought the idea of him learning that some child up for adoption (or, "discard" as his mother called them) — a topic about which he has been fighting strongly against Trudy, and in a way, refusing to both grow up and to perpetuate his parent's frigid show of a family relationship — was incredibly sad. I did feel sorry for Pete. But I am glad he will now be forced to realize how cruel he was to Peggy, and that his losing her was a direct consequence of that.

    But also, I think they could never have been together. It's like Peggy says, she could have shamed him into being with her. He would have resented her even more than he resents Trudy for what he feels is forcing him into these roles. (I had wondered where Pete's resentment of the empty traditions of society would lead him in the later counter-culture scene, but now that he knows he has a child out there someone, from a woman he really loves… I don't know.) Also, Peggy needed to become her own woman. She would have felt just as trapped as Pete, which is why she chose not to go that route.

  16. At first, taking the road she did seems like the most logical choice, and yet why didn't she immediately choose it? Why did she delay making her choice for so long?

    With so many reasons and justifications for either route, she weighed them almost equally(which caused her denial for so long, she didn't want to have to deal with making the decision). I think that Peggy's maternal instincts were what gave the alternate route such viability in her mind. It doesn't seem logical, but I'm guessing something to that effect happened. (I also believe her aversion to holding the baby was so she could make it easier to repress her maternal instincts, which I'm guessing were extremely overwhelming.)

    I think Peggy's tipping point was when Don visited her. It caused her to lean towards giving the baby up for adoption and helped her follow through with that decision(however bad Don's advice was). I admire Peggy for sticking with her decision, but she's repressing alot of emotions relating to the baby and that's not good/healthy.

    I also could be completely wrong on this point, though. :P

  17. At first, taking the road she did seems like the most logical choice, and yet why didn’t she immediately choose it? Why did she delay making her choice for so long?

    It is less a road than a desire line. Everything is so informal, enough people have done it before to leave marks, but it is not the assaigned, "correct" path. And Peggy sees herself as someone who "follows all the rules."

  18. @*10

    There's also a parallel between Pete's child (being raised by 2 strangers) and little Dick/Don (raised by stepmother and new husband), instead of their biological parents.

    Is Pete wondering if his own son will someday have to resort to Dick/Don's subterfuge and identity makeover to make himself a success?

    Maybe he would start to think of Dick/Don in a different light, if he hasn't already…

    And if Don knew Pete secret, he'd probably keep silent, thus closing the circle.

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