Pack Up Your Troubles

 Posted by on September 7, 2010 at 11:00 am  Season 2, Season 4
Sep 072010

As much as I hate forced comparisons between Mad Men and Matthew Weiner’s previous television hit The Sopranos, one element of “The Suitcase” is worthy of such consideration. Specifically, the suitcase motif parallels a similar use of the device in “Mayhem” from the last season of The Sopranos.

In “Mayhem,” Tony, on the brink of death, has a coma induced dream (which could be interpreted as an actual supernatural experience) where he takes on the identity of Kevin Finnerty (“infinity”). During the last part of the “dream” sequence, when he is just about to surrender to death, another character in the vision tries to take Finnerty’s briefcase. Tony/Kevin protests and, clinging to the case, explains that his entire life is held within it.

This theme is something that has certainly been explored in Mad Men as well.

Of course, the opening credits animation prominently depicts an executive setting his briefcase down before falling off the side of the building.

In the second season, suitcases played a role in three successive episodes. 

“Six Months Leave” shows Freddy Rumsen reading aloud the magazine ad copy he has written while preparing his pitch for Samsonite. It describes the sadness of an imaginary customer upon discovering that their suitcase, though beautiful on the outside, is empty (much like Freddy’s own life at that moment).

When Betty informs Don of Gene’s stroke in “The Inheritance,” she mentions dreaming of a suitcase. Later, Don finds his find his wife’s suitcase (a Samsonite perhaps?) fully packed.

The last shot of “The Jet Set” focuses on Don’s suitcase being left at his front door. 

In Season 4’s “The Suitcase,” Don discusses with Peggy (and the audience) the idea of a suitcase being a “metaphor” for one’s life. While working late to come up with an ad concept for Samsonite, Don and Peggy discuss throwing the suitcase off the side of the building (evoking images of the falling figure from the aforementioned opening credits).

So, I think it’s fair to say that Don’s vision of Anna’s ghost (or phantom in an episode centered around the infamous Clay/Liston “Phantom Punch” fight) carrying a suitcase has symbolic importance.  IF a suitcase represents a person’s life, what is the significance of the one Anna is holding in Don’s dream?  It’s been noted how much more at peace Anna seems (her limp gone).   But to say that the suitcase is a symbol of her life doesn’t seem quite right.  This is Don’s vision after all.  Clearly, Anna’s death is yet another severing of ties for Don with his past life as Dick Whitman.  It’s that past life, I’d argue, that is symbolized by the suitcase Anna carries when she vanishes (both literally and figuratively).  And with her, Don may hope, the phantom pains that were left on his psyche as well.


  56 Responses to “Pack Up Your Troubles”

  1. Echoes of Dickens’ A Xmas Carol, as in death the ghosts wear the chains they made in life. So too is the suitcase a metaphor for all they collected during life. An excellent catch, and a fine extended metaphor if that, in fact, is the writers’ intent. It is made doubly interesting by the fact that, for professionals like Don and many today, the contents of their briefcase are, in many ways, a Rorschach for their lives: here is lunch, here a flask, there a business card from someone met last week, here a folder of work that is consuming them at the moment (say, Samsonite tag lines), there a receipt from the hotel room tryst . . .

  2. Maybe Anna is carrying Don’s baggage/luggage, lightening his load?

    Regardless, feel free to bring in the Sopranos anytime, as far as I’m concerned.

    I also remember a significant suitcase in Out of Town. Sally breaks his lock so he has to use someone else’s. Don gets to have fun with being someone other than Don or Dick.

  3. When Don said, “The only person who really knows me,” and Peggy comforted him with, “That’s not true,” I kept thinking back to Anna telling him that the only thing keeping him from being happy is the belief that he’s alone.

    Another “baggage” imagery is the recurring mention of having an account “in one’s saddlebag.” Uncle Mac had a suitcase packed because he never knew when he’d have to go. Pete had Secor and Clearasil, Ken had Birdseye, and Freddy had Pond’s, all for the same reason.

    When I saw Anna with the suitcase, I though of Uncle Mac never knowing when it was time to go. That’s something that’s often said about death – you never know when you’ll be called, but when it’s your time, it’s your time. Anna had her affairs in order, both materially and emotionally.

  4. Good post, Matt. I had forgotten about that Kevin Finnerty episode as it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I don’t think it’s a reach to occasionally find similarities with Sopranos episodes–I see them too from time to time. Weiner & Chase both worked closely on the show from what I’ve read, so it makes sense that some themes and incidents from The Sopranos might occasionally “spill into” Mad Men.

  5. Still thinking through these suitcase metaphors. I agree that Anna’s suitcase that she carries may symbolize Don’s life as Dick, or his connection- through her- to his life as Dick. I don’t know about Don hoping for the “phantom pains” being gone from his life now that his ties to Dick, through Anna, are gone. I think that when he was with Anna, when he got to be Dick in California, he seemed to be the happiest, the most relaxed and at ease, the most free. I agree that his memories of his childhood have haunted him and the lies about becoming “Don” twisted his adulthood.

    However, I think that him seeing a vision of Anna in his dream holding a suitcase would almost be like him having to let go of the part of himself that he feels is real and authentic– Dick. The last connection left to Dick is now gone. THe one person who knew him and his “real” life/self is now gone. The person whom he can be his “real” self around and be comfortable and at ease with is now gone. So, it’s the loss of Anna and at the same time the loss of his true self and identity (Dick). He is now forced to fully embrace who he has become- Don- because he has no other choice.

  6. There’s also the great moment when Sally, rummaging through Don’s suitcase, finds the stewardess pin and assumes it’s a present for her (“what did you bring me, Daddy?”).

    But anyway, I’m with those who saw the vision of Anna as a hopeful one for Don – if only because he so badly needs an upturn! That last scene sure pointed to one. “Open.” Phew.

  7. But is he letting go of Dick, or is he just letting go of Secret!Dick? (Or should I say, Private!Dick?)

    More and more “Dick” is making its way into “Don.” We saw Don casually discussing events in his youth with Peggy – who knows, probably more than he ever willingly told Betty before she found the box. Might saying goodbye to Dick as a secret identity leave him free to let him be a real boy?

  8. Don is having the kind of dream I sometimes get. An object becomes a visual pun or metaphor, which he alluded to Peggy in the restaurant. He said his Uncle Mac always kept a suitcase packed because you never know when it’s time to go. Don speculated that the phrase might have been a metaphor.
    Then he sees Anna in his dream with a suitcase. It’s her time to go and she’s ready.
    I don’t think he’s letting go of his baggage in any way. It’s simply that Peggy has now taken Anna’s place. Maybe she was checking up on him before she finally split. She sees that Don’s head is in Peggy’s lap. He’s in good hands. So, it’s time for her to leave.

  9. There’s also Don’s obsession with continuing to work specifically on Samsonite, even though, as Roger pointed out, it isn’t due for 2 weeks. Before he got the message from Stephanie, his plans were to go out with Roger – afterward, it’s all Samsonite, all the time.

  10. Chris: I thought the point of the Samsonite obsession, other than it was time for Anna to go, was that Don needs dynamic tension in order to work optimally. In his verbal sparring with Peggy, the two of them change dominance positions several times. At the end, he asks if she’s sh*##ing on his ideas. In a way, she is, but they feed off of each other. He may have been a lone wolf before but he won the Clio with Peggy’s collaboration. So, maybe the samsonite thingy was a way for them to finally negotiate the terms of that collaboration. I think they have it now.

  11. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    I thought the suitcase there for a more simple reason: it’s a symbol of the fact that Anna was going away — far away. She smiles at him as if to say, “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine now and looking forward to where I’m going. Be happy for me, OK?”.

    And you know how dreams/fantasies are: they often weirdly combine several of one’s most pressing concerns. So Don saw her carrying a Samsonite suitcase, even though Anna doesn’t seem like a modern Samsonite gal at all. Much too heavy for someone with a disability.

    But that’s a dream for you — conflating several different topics, not always in a realistic way.

  12. It is also interesting to note that the only two people Don really hurt in assuming the Draper identity were Adam and Anna. Adam, we know, tried to come back into his life in 5G, but Don rejected him. In his final act before his suicide Adam sent a box – almost a mini-suitcase if you will – of items back to Don, with the $5,000. It would be that box that would reveal his truth to Betty and destroy his marriage. The baggage he couldn’t handle – the truth he literally boxed up in a drawer – destroyed both his younger brother and the life he had built.

    Anna was a different matter. He hurt her, but by being honest and open with her Don managed to make a true friend. How amazing would it be to find out the widow of the man whose identity you stole would not only forgive you, but embrace you? Anna encouraged Don to deal with his baggage – to see that the cost of keeping his secret was the one thing that was destroying his life. All through the night, as he tries to find anything to avoid making the call he knows will only be bad news, he opens up about that baggage with Peggy. She may not know the whole truth, she may be wrong about what is really bothering Don (I would assume she thinks his drinking is caused by the breakup with Betty), but she has learned something about Don’s pain. Like Anna, Peggy learns that Don has weaknesses and sadness, and doesn’t reject him. If anything, she finds her loyalty to him and her desires to please him were worth it.

    Don then sees Anna carrying her own suitcase, her own baggage. But that bagge is basically the same color as the dress she is wearing. Her bag is light and she can carry it with ease as she moves lightly through the room, her limp gone. She shows you can carry your baggage – you can integrate it into yourself – and be happy and light.

  13. One thing Stephanie said to Don when he was with her in CA – “Nobody knows what’s wrong with themselves and everyone else can see it right away.”

    We see that Don had a breakthough – but does he see it? Subconsciously he knew he did not want to face the phone call alone – it has not hit him on a conscious level yet.

    As far as the suitcase metaphor – the ad campaign seems to be to show how tough and resilient Samonite is compared to other brands. How does that fit into Don’s insight? Any ideas?

  14. I don’t attach any other meaning to Anna appearing than that was the moment when she died. It would explain away the “cheesiness” everyone keeps mentioning about her giving her blessing to Don and Peggy.

  15. I was quite amused at the moment in which Don is talking about his Uncle Mack, and how he said that one must always have a suitcase packed. Then Don paused, said, “Jesus, maybe that’s a metaphor.”

    I laughed because I recognized the moment as looking back at things in your childhood, things which you just accepted as normal and natural because you grew up with it, and then you suddenly look at it again from the perspective of an adult, and you suddenly realize, “Jesus, that is actually really strange, isn’t it?”

    And of course Don has lived his life by that.

  16. I think I must be in the minority on this as I haven’t seen anyone else mention it, but I found the “Anna walking into the office like a ghost” sequence really cheesy. The Sopranos scene where someone (I believe Steve Buschemi) attempts to take away Tony/Kevin’s briefcase was pretty cool — it was a real dream sequence. I couldn’t figure out what that Anna scene was — was she a ghost, was it a dream? Why not just have a real dream as opposed to this cheesy looking apparition walk in? By the way, I totally buy in to the notion of people “sensing” when another person has died — I found myself wide awake at 4:17AM for what I thought was no reason at all, on what turned out to be the night my grandfather died. I just thought the way it was done here was pretty velveeta.

    A minor quibble in what was otherwise a stellar episode.

  17. I think the apparition scene is believeable with the Don/Dick character – everything about him is off the beaten path – why not this. He was in a drunken stupor and was probably half awake and half dreaming.

  18. madtigerman, oddly enough, I didn’t think it was cheezy or unrealistic at all. I’ve had those kinds of “dreams” myself. Once it was my grandmother, once my recently deceased father. That kind of vision/dream/hallucination is very powerful and they looked extremely similar to the one Don has with Anna.
    Totally believable. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had chills up the neck during that scene. It’s probably pretty common.

  19. It’s believable in terms of Anna – she read cards and was otherwise what some would call “woo-woo.” I’d buy it less if it were, say, Roger…

  20. I would no doubt also feel the ghostly appearance of Anna to be a big ol’ can of industrial strength cheez-whiz had I not experienced that sort of thing myself.But I have, more than once. And that’s the way it works. “was I dreaming? Was that just my subconcious wish to see them again? Am I a fruitcake? Or is he/she able to appear to me because I was asleep and on a different psychic plane blabityblah?” You feel like a total dipshit even trying to explain this sort of thing to your nearest and dearest. Anyway, it worked for me. Also the fact that the suitcase was so small seems so Anna to me. A proto- hippie of the finest grade, she would’nt need much for her trip.

  21. Another suitcase sighting was when Suzanne finally realizes Don is not coming out of his house and gets out of the car walks back home all alone with her suitcase in tow.

  22. #11 — Anna’s death released her from her earthly disability.

  23. I’m sorta hating that I’m saying this, but I agree that Anna-with-a-suitcase did have the cheese factor. It was just a bit too hokey, as a tie in with the Samsonite account. It seemed maudlin, and I’m not used to maudlin with this show. Anna-without-a-suitcase would have worked better for me.

  24. Yeah, count me in with those who thought that Ghostly!Anna was a bit heavy-handed. Then again, I’ve always found the Anna character to be used heavy-handedly, so I guess it was in keeping.

  25. I thought the Anna the Ghost scene was corny too, but I didn’t care. I mean why quibble with THAT particular bit.

    Every word out of Stan’s mouth re:Peggy is over the top sexism. Joan’s body is over the top curvy. Roger’s drinking. Betty’s parenting. Don’s (prior) Don-Juanism (ha ha). Bert’s quirks. Over the top, all of them.

    MW likes flashbacks, dream sequences, and other out of the body type stuff. Unless they’re boring, I don’t mind.

  26. OK, Dirigentin, so now that Anna’s healthy, she can carry a big heavy Samsonite? THAT’S the point of the dream? Doubtful.

  27. During the last part of the “dream” sequence, when he is just about to surrender to death, another character in the vision tries to take Finnerty’s briefcase. Tony/Kevin protests and, clinging to the case, explains that his entire life is held within it.

    And that’s what stops him. That’s what holds him to his life. I remember.

    I loved that scene, that whole parenthetical dream-sequence (Finnerty-as-Soprano). Many people didn’t, but I thought it was a nice allegory for the journey of the soul. I always knew Tony had one.

    I too thought — and said, out loud — “Mad Men doesn’t do these things.” But that’s when my husband noticed the suitcase, which gave that walk-on dramatic integrity.

    Anna was taking what she needed and moving on. Or Don’s idea of Anna was doing this, in his imagination — cluttered with the day’s unfinished business.

    The fact that she had the suitcase released him to go back and deal with the house without the sense that she is still somehow in it. He can sell it, or it can be Stephanie’s or … anything else. Anna is gone.

    We know, because that wasn’t just a visit. She was leaving for a trip.

    She had a suitcase.

    (Lovely work, Matt. As always. 🙂 )

  28. I have a few of observations, wonder if someone caught these.

    The Clay Liston fight was on 2/25/1964, not May 25th as mentioned by Don.

    I seem to recall that in previous episodes we were further into 1964.

    Seems like Trudy is pretty far along for a relatively new pregnancy.

  29. In “Out of Town” (ep 3:1), the BoK recap states:
    “An airplane
    Don and Salvatore are flying to Baltimore. . The stewardness, Shelly, introduces herself; the men give false names.”

    But if I remember correctly the false name was because Don’s brother-in-law had borrowed his suitcase and put his name on it. There was some dialogue around it, but the idea of having someone else’s name on your suitcase seems more significant in light of Matt’s post.

  30. I think it’s in this recap of Coop’s:

    “Bill. Bill Hofstadt.” Don takes yet another identity.

    “He never tires of putting his name on other people’s things.” “ says the guy who just took his name.

    And, re-reading the notes, there’s a bit where Sally breaks Don’s suitcase, so he can’t go away any more.

  31. Great points.

    Don’t forget Out of Town either, when Betty packs Don’s suitcase for his trip. I should say, she packs her brother’s suitcase, Hofstadt, for Don’s trip. Don has a great line on the airplane to Sal about Betty’s brother–“He’s always putting his name on other people’s things.”

    Don’s suitcase also haunts Sally. I think she destroyed it with a hammer.

    One of the most famous commercials of all time is for the American Tourister> It features a gorilla in a cage throwing the suitcase around. The voice over says something to the effect of, “if this gorilla can’t break it, then neither can the bagmen, bellhops and cabbies of the world.” It’s interesting to see that Peggy was playing with these beastly themes in some of her ideas, focusing on elephants.

    And opening up to wider cultural referents, there’s the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, the inside of which we never see. Commentary on that is legendary and legion.

    There’s an emotion I associate with luggage and privacy that is only felt once I see someone’s luggage rip on the baggage carousel. All of the personal belonging are suddenly on public view–their underwear, their clothing, their toiletries. It’s a mix of embarrassment and sympathy. I feel like I’m seeing something I shouldn’t.

    Peggy touched on that idea both with the football game and with the plane running over the suitcase and destroying it. In both those adds, the customer’s worst fear is having her personal belongings made public, chaotic and dirtied.

    It’s why these characters keep their emotions within themselves in the public domain at work. Don resisted it all episode. He didn’t want the contents of his life spilling out every where.

  32. The American Tourister Ad, voted one of the top 100 ads of all time by Ad Age is on youtube. You can see it here:

  33. Great comments everyone. I had forgotten the suitcase reference from “Out of Town” (name change and all). But, as usual I can depend on one or more people to pick up the slack (and I mean that in a good way!).

    FWIW, I see valid points in all of the different takes on Anna and the suitcase (except those who think the suitcase means nothing).

    Even if I were to grant that the suitcase was Anna’s (which is a very fair interpretation), I still think that the purpose of Don’s vision was to free him of the baggage HE’S been carrying around. His overture to Peggy certainly seems to indicate a change in him.

    Also, I’d argue that the animosity Don had for Clay/Ali early in the episode was because of the fact that like Don, Ali was someone who had changed their name. So celebrating the Clay/Liston fight in the final Samsonite ad perhaps shows Don being more comfortable with himself (just a thought).


    # 28 Giovanni 2/25/1964 was the date of the first Clay/Liston fight. The one depicted in “The Suitcase” was their rematch.

  34. With all respect, David Chase created “The Sopranos”

    Toward the end of the run Matthew Weiner was added to “The Sopranos” writing team and given a producer credit, as were the other writers.

    Thus it is not fair to David Chase to say “Matt Weiners other hit series ‘The Sopranos’ ”

    Both Matt and David are talented and successful. Let us give credit where credit is due.

  35. @34 C Carroll Adams: Fair enough re: David Chase. I suppose I took a bit of a short-cut for the sake of brevity.

    As much as I hate forced comparisons between Mad Men and Matthew Weiner’s previous television hit The Sopranos…

    OTOH, in my defense, Weiner’s involvement with both Mad Men and The Sopranos is the ONLY reason such comparisons are made between the two shows. Which was the point of the sentence.

  36. Matt: I must be the only person in America who never watched The Sopranos. Whatever Matt Weiner is reusing isn’t apparent to me. It all seems very consistent.

  37. I guess the most accurate way to describe it would be to say that Matt Weiner was a major contributor on The Sopranos. He was a head writer (and yes, also an executive producer). In a recent article on Matt (which I don’t have a link to at the moment, unfortunately), David Chase was interviewed. He mentioned that when MW worked on The Sopranos it was apparent that he had so many great ideas, eventually he’d end up creating his own show.

    RD (#36): It’s not really a matter of “re-using,” as I feel things on Mad Men are very original and things on The Sopranos were very original too. It’s more that every once in a while, something that happens on MM might seem reminiscent of a certain situation on The Sopranos, and it’s always a “your mileage may vary” situation, where one viewer might ‘see it’ and another viewer might not at all.

    There have been things that happened between Don & Betty that reminded me of things that happened with Tony & Carmela. (And at other times, maybe something that happens between Don & Roger will remind me of a situation that occurred with Tony & another character.) But–never in a derivative sort of way and I fully acknowlege that other viewers might not see it. In certain situations, I saw “shades” of the earlier show. But never in a copycat sort of way. Just sometimes a similar dynamic seemed to be there. And considering that MW did a lot of writing for The Sopranos, it makes sense that I might think that from time to time.

  38. Giovanni,

    The fighters fought two times, champion first billed:
    Liston – Clay 02.25.1964 Miami FL
    Clay – Liston 05.25.1965 Lewiston ME

    The results were stunning each time, as the “Louisville Lip” had not yet paid his dues. and was not recognized for what he was, a heavyweight with the hand speed of a middleweight.


  39. #26, I was merely remarking on the disappearance of the disability — and she had a relatively small suitcase.

  40. I didn’t know where else to say this, but I was struck by another Sopranos/MM paralelle, what I call the “Tell Him Impulse”
    In the Sopranos, Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) is raped in the stairwell. Later in the episode, we are shown a scene where she has the opportunity to tell Tony about what happened, with the knowledge that he would have some sort of reaction, and as the viewer I really wanted to see the reaction and ramifications. We are talking about Tony Soprano here. But Dr. Melfi doesn’t tell Tony, and I had to be honest with myself and admit that not telling was more true to the character of Dr. Melfi, and the right thing for her to do, even if it is not as emotionally rewarding in the moment for the viewer.
    In “The Suitcase,” Don asks Peggy if she knew who the father of her baby was. As the viewer, knowing Don’s disgust and distaste for Peter, we want Peggy to tell him. TELL HIM!!!! I want to see Don unleashed on Pete, and hear Peter’s words of defense and anger. But Peggy doesn’t say it, and I am feeling disappointed, but I also understand the character of Peggy and why.
    At least with Mad Men I can say to myself, “the season ain’t done yet!”

  41. # 12 CPT_Doom, I said “Exactly!” out loud when I read your post.

    Particularly about Anna’s suitcase being light and effortless to carry. She holds it almost like a handbag. I read it as her showing Don her baggage is minimal and not to worry about her.

    Has anyone been able to tell if the suitcase used in the scene is indeed a Samsonite? Personally, I’d be disappointed if it weren’t.

    In reference to Uncle Mack’s proverbial suitcase, are we meant to take it that Don has always thought it was a literal fact which he’s attempted to emulate and just this evening realized that his uncle only meant it to be a metaphor? or is he asking Peggy if the idea of always having a bag ready to go at a moments notice is a metaphor? for what? Please, dive in!

    I’m not sure I fully understand the connection to the Clay/Liston fight on the Samsonite ad idea Don comes up with while Peggy sleeps. I need to go back and rewatch… couldn’t quite figure out his sketch…

  42. #36 RD: I’m the second person in America who has never watched The Sopranos. I’m lost with the comparisons posts, but don’t mind ’em.

  43. Since Anna was a Tarot reader (and Matt is also very familiar with Tarot), I was thinking about where the symbol of a suitcase or bag might show up in Tarot cards.

    The only card that immediately comes to mind with such a symbol, is The Fool, who is carrying a rod with a handkerchief tied to it, in the form of a bundle.

    The deck that I use is the Morgan-Greer Tarot. In a guidebook based on this deck, a comment about the Fool’s rucksack’s contents seems relevant – “knowledge gained in a previous existence”.

    Numerically speaking, The Fool card has the number zero, suggesting “Before Beginning”.

    Astrologically, the symbolic connection/influence of Uranus suggests “That which has the potential to be constructive or destructive”.

    The card itself, when it falls upright in a reading, has several connotations: “Space before a decision or choice is made. A new cycle is about to begin that the seeker will enter inexperienced. New and endless possibilities”.

    As I’ve stated elsewhere, I don’t think that Anna’s appearing to Don was a dream. I think it was a visit to him, as she passed on, making her transition from this earthly plane, to whatever is next for her. I also believe that her appearance to him then, was to comfort him.

    While Anna is anything but a fool, the manner in which she appeared to Don, suggests the symbolism of The Fool card – and the message that the card conveys – especially the part about “new and endless possibilities,” in this case, for Don.

    Also relevant to Don, is the part about “a new cycle is about to begin that the seeker will enter inexperienced”.

    All along the course of the show, Don has been wearing the persona/costume/suit of Don Draper. A suit, after all, is what a suitcase is likely to contain, but wearing that “suit” has covered/blocked who he really is, or could be. His experience has been limited, to be point of being non-existent, when it comes to being Dick Whitman, in the grown-up mode.

    We’ve seen that part of him, the persona of Dick Whitman, come out with Anna’s encouragement and acceptance, but now she’s gone (from this plane, anyway). But I think if Don/Dick holds onto her love and to the knowledge that he isn’t really alone, he might find the courage and ability to let Dick come forth more.

    The Morgan-Greer “Book of Tarot” also says this: The Fool is potential that is not yet applied to anything. He is the manifestation of energy from within; the human personality not yet in motion. He symbolizes one who is on the outside of systemized, orderly living while adapting to a new life. He is eager to experience and develop himself and nature to its fullest potential.

    Based on what we’ve seen of Don’s behavior in the first six episodes this season, he really could benefit from the kind of change and growth that this card suggests is possible!

    Perhaps Anna’s appearance to him and her message will mark a turning point and be the starting point to inspire and enable Don to embark upon a remarkable transition.

    We can but hope!

  44. I used to volunteer for Hospice. What I learned there was that when people are ready to die, they often speak in metaphor. Things like “I’m taking a trip,” “I have my tickets ready,” “My bags are packed,” etc. And when they pass away, loved ones who aren’t present often speak of “seeing” or “hearing” them at the time of death.

    Anna is metaphysical (I’m thinking of the Tarot cards here). It is conceivable that when she died, Anna would have shown up with a suitcase to let Don know that she is moving on to another realm and that everything was okay.

  45. I don’t know… maybe we’re reading too much into this whole “appearing Anna” thing. Don was wasted. He passed out knowing he had to make the call to California and that it wasn’t good to be good news. He and Peggy had been talking suitcases all night. Taking all those things into account, it’s not a stretch to think that he’d wake up out of one of those crazy mixed up dreams with Anna and suitcases on his mind. It doesn’t matter though, does it? Don found some peace in “seeing” her and that’s all that matters. Loved the open door at the end of the episode.

  46. Well said, Jeanenne. The ghost-with-a-suitcase discussion has about run its course. It was either a dream or an apparition. Either way, the intent is clear. Anna is leaving and sees that Don’s in good hands before she goes, or at least that’s what Don perceives. And that’s all that matters.

  47. # 45 – “maybe we’re reading too much into this whole ‘appearing Anna’ thing. Don was wasted”

    # 46 – “The ghost-with-a-suitcase discussion has about run its course.”

    I get that people watch the show differently.

    Some view it simply, as just a good TV drama.

    At the same time, many of us appreciate the show in that basic way, but also enjoy looking more deeply into what’s going on, beyond merely a “surface view”.

    I can see that some viewers could easily dismiss the “Anna-with-a-suitcase” scene as stupor-induced and that some might say that conversation about that scene has been exhausted – and that’s fine, for them.

    The whole point of BoK (or, at least a main point) is that such a great show invites a closer look and the kind of analysis that goes with that.

    If something like that doesn’t appeal to people, it’s fine if they don’t engage in looking more closely or doing a deep analysis of scenes/characters/plotlines.

    What I don’t think is “fine” is to simply declare conversations about scenes/characters/plotlines as “over” for everybody.

  48. thanks for that Smiler.

    It seems to me that the best thing about BoK is the opportunity to ponder the range of reactions and responses. I am always impressed.

    Essentially, it all comes down to perception. We, the audience, each have perceptions of these perfectly flawed characters, based on the contents of our own suitcases.

    Matt W makes us want to be omnipotent and ascribe each character’s proper point of view as we see fit. No one is wrong in what they perceive; because the show is so multi-layered in meaning. This audience reacts to these characters as if they are personal acquaintances. It’s fascinating to see the many points of view.

    Are your ‘Mad Men’ who you want them to be, or who you expect them to be?

  49. “Are your ‘Mad Men’ who you want them to be, or who you expect them to be?”

    To answer that great question, I’ll quote a phrase from Glass Darkly’s most recent post: “I know good drama can’t be shiny happy people holding hands, but I wish it could be that”.

    There really wouldn’t be much of a show, if all the characters were perfect, with all conflicts fully resolved.

    I agree that no one is wrong in what they perceive. My main point was that the rest of us might have different perceptions and want to explore more deeply, what what’s happening on the show might mean now or portend for later on in the series.

    It’s wonderful that everybody brings something different to the party called “Mad Men”. After all, if everybody brought spinach dip, it would be a pretty boring party!

    It’s always interesting to see how viewers see the show and the characters through the lens of their own life or experiences.

    As it happens, I am about the same age as Sally Draper, so I especially appreciate her point of view. Someone who is older than me, or younger, might also appreciate it as well – but somewhat differently – not having been a youngster in the 1960s.

    It’s a great show, with great fans – and for me, the fans who enjoy exploring the higher and deeper aspects of the show!

  50. Unrelated perhaps, but I have not read any comments on the ‘Dr. Lyle Evans’ reference in this past episode on this blog. A total miss by everyone or what? Turns out the original comment by Roger was no red herring.

  51. OMG! Kili you are so right. I don’t think I’ve read anything here about it after Suitcase, but now I am starting to remember!

    So now Dr. Lyle Evans is supposed to have removed at least one of Bert’s … oh god help us all!! I am online typing about Bert Cooper’s balls.

    Please refresh my memory of how she was introduced. Nobody knew who she was supposed to be right? Help please.

  52. And why do I think Dr Lyle is a woman?

  53. When Peggy and Don were listening to the tape, didn’t Roger speculate that Bert had HIM (Dr. Evans) killed?

    Bert might still have his nads if he had visited Dr. John Brinkley and had a Goat Gland implant.

    Then again, maybe he did that and Dr. Evans thought the only way to undo the damage by Dr. Brinkley’s quackery, was to remove everything – goat glands and all!

  54. Roger stated in the ‘C & the Sword’, when told that the agency was pitching the Honda business, that we might as well get Dr. Lyle Evans in here. More than likely meaning if the agency is going to give up their self respect they may as well have their balls cut off.

  55. I love reading this blog after watching MM. People have so many different ways to interpret an episode. I personally think MW doesn’t have the time to cook up all the metaphors and symbolism that people see. When I hear experts talk about the work of a master like Van Gogh or Monet, they speak of the artist devising all this visual symbolism to “lead the viewer’s eye…” etc. I think the guy was just painting a lovely scene and enjoying the day and the paint. The great thing about art is that we are all free to see it through our own eyes. It’s wonderful to hear all the meanings people find in the art of MW and writers of MM. Food for thought.

  56. #47 SmilerG My comments weren’t an attempt to end the conversation about that particular scene–they were just my observations about a single scene in the epsiode that was packed with loads of other interesting details. And I think that most people following –and contributing their thoughts and observations– on this site are interested the hidden/deeper meanings of this brilliant show.

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