Posted by on September 28, 2010 at 11:09 am  Season 4
Sep 282010

A recurring device used in “Hands and Knees” has characters putting on performances for the benefit of others upon exiting private personal conversations.  While this device is overtly employed throughout the episode, the last occurrence of it is perhaps the most subtle and interesting.   

Joan first does this with Roger after informing him that she’s “late.” Upon leaving his office, she stands in the open doorway and improvises an imaginary work discussion within earshot of any nearby office worker. Later, concerned their phones may be tapped, Don and Betty awkwardly put on a similar show (reminiscent of The Sopranos or GoodFellas) as they end their call.

After an emotionally distraught Don reveals his true history to Faye, she checks in on him at SCDP the next day. He seems much better than previous night and they make weekend plans. As she leaves, Faye grabs a folder and pointedly repeats Joan’s doorway performance from the start of the episode.

“Hands and Knees” ends with Megan giving Don the Beatles tickets and making her exit.  Don is shown watching her through the doorway as she applies lipstick. The initial reaction this moment elicits is “uh oh,” as viewers cringe at the thought of Don making another sexual advance toward one of his subordinates.

However, as noted above, this moment may be a more subtle use of the doorway device. Megan is standing in the doorway putting on her make-up – a mask for the benefit of others. The night before, in the throes of a severe anxiety attack, Don clearly wanted to put an end to the life of deception he’s been living and literally tears off his “costume.”  Now that the crisis has passed – Pete drops the NAA account – Don, back in shirt and tie, seems clearly less enthusiastic with Faye about resolving his problem (all bets are off as to whether or not Don is less enthusiastic about Faye too). After everything appears to have been “worked out” (Don got the Beatles tickets, after all), his regard of Megan’s actions in the doorway may represent Don putting his own mask back on as well and returning to “business as usual.”


  85 Responses to “Facades”

  1. Masks, hiding the truth, facades…certainly all over this episode, huh? Except maybe for Lane, who was honest and got a cane upside the head for it.

  2. @Mary #1:

    Lane had a bit of a mask, that he dropped later: when he was at the Playboy Club with Don and his father, he did not let on that he was dating Toni; he pretended that she was just another Bunny that he was attracted to. Lane only got the stick upside the head after he revealed his love for her to his father.

  3. Brian, you’re absolutely right of course. In effect, he was punished for being honest.

  4. Good stuff as usual Matt. Agree with Brian on Lane too. Inviting Don, the whisky sours, his interactions with Toni – Lane is so clearly putting on a façade for the benefit of his father.

    There were a lot of tools in place this week serving to help or hinder open communication. The NAA documents were heavily redacted but NAA hints that more will be revealed as the process goes forward. Maybe accessing all those secrets is not such a good thing.

    Lots of doors and keys evident in this episode too as characters try to find private space to say or do what they really want. Without private space, Rodger can’t hold Joan, Mr. Pryce can’t whap his son with a stick etc. Lane needs a key to access the club where he can assert his freedom. Don is trapped in the open hall and fumbles with the keys as his panic builds to a crescendo. He later believes he is safe enough in his own space to reveal his secrets.

    Secrets need thes facades and if not real privacy, at least the perception of privacy. A question noted in previous posts – did Faye intentionally have her “private” conversion with her former beau in public on purpose?

  5. Don did not look “business as usual” in the last scene watching Megan, in spite of having his business uniform on. Neither did he look as if he had any intention of making a sexual advance, in my opinion: that seems that to be in the eye of some beholders. His face looked in pain, and weary. If there was a mask in place, it wasn’t hiding much. But then again, no one was looking but the camera.

  6. Re: don’s face looking at megan. It didn’t look like lust to me. It was more like he was really noticing Megan for the first time and realizing that she is beautiful and maybe special. Of course, it’s all subject to one’s bias and I am team Megan because of her nuturing warmth, something that Don and his children need. Dr. Faye, despite her self-professed lack of mothering skills, has also shown a nuturing energy towards Don. Maybe Faye is used to being a caretaker with her father. Either way, Don’s choices are evolving.

  7. “Don, back in shirt and tie, seems clearly less enthusiastic with Faye about resolving his problem (all bets are off as to whether or not Don is less enthusiastic about Faye too)”

    Matt: I think you mean all bets are off whether Faye is less enthusiastic about Don, too?

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only one that didn’t get “lust” from Don’s gazing at Megan at the end of the episode. To me, it read more as “speculation” — coming after the exchange with the tickets, the realization that not only is she beautiful, she is intelligent, discreet and efficient, and therefore perhaps very useful. Or, to tie it back to the theme of the post — that there’s more to her beneath her beautiful facade. (Do you want to know a secret?) Of course, that’s just me reading as much into it as anyone else, but it didn’t read as simply the emergence of Horndog Don again.

  9. #4, yes lots of doors and keys- Lane using a key to demonstrate his masculinity at the playboy club- and i enjoyed the virtuosity of the details there- the bunnies swiveling and dipping in the process of serving – I read Gloria Steinems article? essay? about being a Bunnie years ago and she so exactly described the practised movements, as orchestrated as geisha, and the painful exoerience of wearing that ridgid costume.
    and I loved Don, kissing Fayes hand, in gratitude. that didnt seem manipulative to me. it just seemed very human.

  10. Did anyone else notice how Lane arranged for all meetings with his father to be attended by others? First he invites Don and considers it a ‘personal favor.’ He then invites Toni, but his father rejects her presence of course. I have to think Lane has been abused by this man for many years and is afraid to be alone with him.

  11. #7 avwh – Matt: I think you mean all bets are off whether Faye is less enthusiastic about Don, too?

    No. It seemed to me that Don was less than receptive to Faye’s comment about finding a solution to his problem. He appears to want to leave sleeping dogs lie for now.

    While he still has affection for Faye, he seemed a tad distant to me in the last scene. Maybe he regrets telling her his secret. But I’m not sure. However, Faye is still very much in the relationship.

  12. In another post, someone bought up the opinion (countering mine)that Toni may actually be infatuated with Lane only because he is British and she is caught up in the idea of Lane and not the reality. So, I would imagine that to Toni, Lane as a person is entirely a facade? (Honestly I hope none of this true because I want to see more of them together without yet another person holding back a secret! )

  13. One thing that I thought was odd was that Megan was standing on the other side of her desk to put her lipstick on. She could have done it from “her” side of the desk, but then Don would not have seen her. Is it possible that she was simply trying to attract his attention, and succeeding?

  14. #10 I think you are right about Lane wanting others around to insulate him from his father. He also wants to show off his friends and social life. Mostly he wants to assert his American independence (if you will) in the face of this domineering man who has so clearly impacted who he is. We really get some amazing parents on MM don’t we?

    Anyway, I think Mr. Harris did a great job with this complicated piece. He keeps others around until he can’t hold the old man off any longer. Lane has charged his batteries and believes he is finally strong enough to win the ancient conflict. With one blow he is reduced to his former self. It was powerful and very disturbing. With the way he fell my first thought was that the old man had killed him.

    I imagine that this conflict is also meant to echo the generational clash going on. One thing is sure, Lane didn’t win this one and part of me wonders if he will be back.

  15. Yes, Lane has been abused all his life by that father. (That was apparent before the Inside Mad Men 4 minutes wherein that is made clear.) Quite clearly. I hope he goes back to London, settles things there, & hops back to NYC, fast.

  16. Edwina#6: I agree (at least, I hope that’s the case). Megan has come through again and again and because of Don’s “masks,” deceptions, revelations, frustrations, disconnects, all the emotions he’s gone through between the surprise visit from his daughter to the panic attack if the great secret is revealed, Megan has provided a semblance of order and priorities, one of which, clearly, those Beatles tickets were. If Don hadn’t come through with those tickets for Sally, after her screaming down the phone (and I know I’m not alone in worrying about whether or not Harry would come through with them throughout the episode), it would have been heartbreaking, bond-breaking. Megan gets it done. Again. (Loved her first question to Sally in “Beautiful Girls” when she comes in after being out with her dad, “Hungry?” Such a basic and humane question, and given the behavior she’s witnessed in the prior day, a perfect question).

    Don is definitely noticing Megan for the first time, he may even be wondering what her outside life is like, who/what she is putting on lipstick for, maybe. She is responsible, warm, competent and oh, wow, she’s beautiful, too. I really hope it doesn’t go the way of Don beds Megan because I think she is the first female character seemingly devoid of neurosis or hidden agenda. A breath of fresh air–and interesting that she’s wearing dark blue in that last scene, as she’s usually been in bright sunny colors; the blue seems more romantic and worldly, but I’ll let the color experts tackle that one, and enjoy their ruminations, as usual.

  17. I was astounded by the “I love you” exchanges between Lane and Toni, since this is the first time we are introduced to the relationship. If Lane loves Toni, would he really want her to continue working at the Playboy club, where she is being ogled by men every night? That struck me strangely, he is no longer with his wife and he is a man of means.

    Don was very dismissive of Megan when she said, “It’s 8:00, will you be needing me for anything else”?. I still haven’t figured out what that look was all about, but it didn’t strike me as lust, maybe just snapping out of his fog that she is both beautiful and special. BTW- After the Alison fiasco, we all know why Joan brought in Ms. B. Does it really make sense that she would have promoted Megan to the hot seat? Wouldn’t Carolyn have been the safer choice?

  18. On further thought, I’d like to clarify, I don’t think all the female characters have shown neurosis and hidden agenda necessarily, I’m sure there are better adjectives, their behavior reflects the times they live in. Megan simply seems more natural and grounded.

  19. @#13 jackie:

    THANK YOU! I noticed this the second time I watched the episode. There’s ample evidence (if you go back and look for it) that Megan has a “crush” on Don: the eagerness to please, the obvious happiness whenever he arrives (and she stands up and welcomes him with a big smile); the time she caressed his arm sympathetically and told him that he should go home; the flustered way she referred to Betty and groped for the correct term.

    So, with all the discussion of facades and performances, isn’t Megan’s posing in the doorway so that Don can watch her put lipstick on a prime example?

  20. @13 and 19,
    Yes, Jackie! You nailed it. It struck me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Megan was performing this ritual, on the wrong side of the desk, precisely to attract Don’s attention and she of course, succeeded. Megan, as we know, is no dope.

  21. @ #8 JennyM and #16 Wildean — I agree that Don’s look was more speculative than predatory (although I need to re-watch).

    I took it as though he is really “seeing” her for the first time. Maybe for the first time realizing that she is something more than a whipping girl or another warm body sitting at his desk doing his bidding, as he has come to expect from the women around him. BTW, I don’t agree that it was Megan’s fault that he signed the security clearance forms — there were a lot of other stopgaps along the way where this could have been caught, most notably with Pete and Don, who had the most to lose by not paying attention. When Don told him about their predicament, didn’t Pete say something to Don to indicate that he had expected a secruity clearance, albeit years ago, but that he didn’t expect Don would fill out the form?

    Maybe it is just dawning on Don that Megan has a life away the confines of her desk — hence the significance of her standing in front of the desk instead of behind it. She is officially “off work” and is headed for who knows what or whom. He might find that intriguing, especially since she is so easy on the eyes.

    I have to say that I will be very amused if after all our speculation next week’s episode reveals that just beyond Megan someone or something else had attracted Don’s attention and he wasn’t looking at Megan at all! : )

    Also, speaking of masks, Toni wears one, too. Calling Lane “Mr. Pryce” in an admonishing tone and asking to see his key at the Playboy Club. She gave no clue that she knew him — the only indication they had ever met was when he said he would liked to sit in her section. She clearly did not want to meet his friends or his father on those terms, later presenting herself in a nice cocktail dress, politely trying to spark conversation with his unreceptive and chilly father, who was not exactly rude outright but certainly made it clear that he was not pleased to meet her. She certainly got the point. Perhaps that interaction was what made the violence that followed so much more shocking. I am pulling for Lane!

  22. Sorry — I meant “would have liked” and re: my comments on Toni, I was referring to the chiding look and the tone she used when Lane physically touched her in the club.

  23. #22
    The reason Toni gave Lane the look she did (and the scolding)was that patrons of the Playboy Club as a rule were never allowed to touch any of the bunnies. If a bunny was seen too often being touched, it really could have cost them their jobs since management might think they were overly flirting. That is why Toni also was surprised that Lane had entered inside the Club by way of a back entrance (he paid someone to gain entrance.) Patrons also were not allowed anywhere but in the main areas. Bunny tails they were frequently torn off the girls from behind (when they could not see it coming) were given a pass.

  24. Great post, Coop!

    I am thinking now of Don’s conversation with his lawyer about the trust. He wants to start setting it up “now”. He wants there to be enough in it for his children and his ex-wife (thanks for lying for me, Bets! You’re set!). He wants to be able to “sleep better at night”.

    And the lawyer ends by suggesting that Don have an affair with his secretary (see photo above!).

    As anyone who’s been to summer camp knows, you can use almost anything to make a mask, a false self, the body under the blankets in the cell when the warden passes at night. Money will work just as well as anything else, if that’s what you happen to have a lot of at the moment.

    I think that Don may be considering an escape. He’s done this before, in similar circumstances.

    And perhaps Megan looks to him — however idly, however briefly — like the ideal traveling partner. For all kinds of reasons.

  25. #21 & 22 Interesting word choice!

    Lane’s ‘Playboy Clubbing” leads to Lane’s playboy clubbing!

  26. Matt, what an interesting and thought-provoking post. A facade can be decorative and also protective. And for some of the characters on the show, the facade is weak, whereas for others, it is quite strong. In the case of Sally, for example, her facade when she comes into the study to take Don’s call, is one of apprehension/I’m still angry at my Dad from a few weeks ago, but when she gets the news of the Beatles tickets, the facade cracks into a million pieces and is replaced by the sheer, natural, unrestrained joy of an 11 year old girl who thinks she has the best Dad in the world. Betty, on the other hand, has an iron-willed facade. When the G-men call, she gets her cigarettes and maintains the facade to protect Don, herself, the kids and maybe Henry too (it wouldn’t be good if it got out that a trusted aide of the Governor was married to a woman who was formerly married to a military deserter). In this regard, Betty is much, much stronger than Don. For Don, the mere mention of G-men sends him into a tailspin and when he sees men who could be G-men, he has a panic attack and later confesses to Faye. But the facade goes back up again the next day, just as decorative as ever but possibly much less structurally sound. In “The Beautiful Girls”, Roger chides Joan with “I wish you would talk to me” but when she lets down her guard, the consequences are grave and she sees that while he cares for her, he does not love her. As they sat at the table at the diner, you could see Joan’s facade building back up, and I imagine that it will be ten times tougher than before. Pete hates being a part of Don’s facade, but yet he maintains it, to protect SCDP. And then there is Roger. Roger is coming to the realization that all he’s had for a long time is facade — Lucky Strike is not “family”; Joan is a good companion, but he’s not sure if he loves her; Jane is a pretty young thing but perhaps not a good companion; he didn’t even know that his “friend” Larry was dead until he sticks his foot in his mouth with Larry’s widow, Louise.

  27. You are right Helen. The facial expressions are always important but this week was particularly amazing.

    Betty is both strong (and unintentionaly funny) while facing the G-men. Pete’s expressions say everything in his meetings with Don and the unflinching mask he wears at the partner’s meeting is perfect. Likewise, Joan gives away nothing while the nasty doctor talks of her being ruined as if she isn’t even there – she is a tough cookie. Don and Pete on the elevator, the panic attack and the look of relief as he opens up to Faye.

    The one that takes the cake for me was actually Rodger’s shifting expressions bargaining with Lee Jr. and later on the phone with Louise as he tears up the rolodex card. The acting is simply great.

  28. On one viewing, I thought Don was really noticing Megan for the first time and realizing that he liked what he was seeing. He doesn’t want to be reminded of his past (this never happened) and so Faye is history. How the writers are going to get him together with Megan, if that is what they are going to do, will be interesting. Another affair with a secretary–just like Roger, who Don condemned as a fool. Will Don go down that same path? Is Megan, who thus far has been depicted as saintly, ready to hop into bed with Don at his first approach (just like just about every other woman)? Is a beautiful girl like Megan really unattached? Is Don planning to repeat the past–marrying someone who he thinks will probably hate him for who he really is and thus continuing the charade? Where would the show go from there?

  29. Maybe Megan represents a test of how much Don has progressed since he basically hit rock bottom earlier in the season.

    Over the past few episodes he has been helped in his evolution by the women in his life. Peggy stood by him throughout a tough night in “The Suitcase.” They understand each other better now and Don opened up to her a little.

    While I don’t think that Faye is ultimately right for him, I do admit that his involvement with her has helped Don, too. While witnessing his attempts to improve during “The Summer Man” we saw him maintaining his own self-respect while displaying respect and affection for Faye. In “The Beautiful Girls” we saw Don opening up even more, to the point where he was more open with Faye than she was with him while they were in bed. He also displayed trust by leaving her there by herself. And even this past episode with Betty. After all the bitterness, she protected him from the feds and he appreciated it. So, for the moment anyway, things are okay on that front. He’s trying to keep Sally in mind and won big points with the Beatles tickets.

    Ahhhh, the Beatles tickets. That brings me back to Megan. After all the progress that Don has shown lately, we come back to a secretary who is obviously crushing on him. No need to rehash all the great things that Megan represents. So what does Don do now? The despicable, drunken, evil Don took advantage of Allison and then broke her heart without giving it a thought. Now that he (apparently) has become a better man (though he still has a ways to go on that!), how will he handle Megan? Hopefully with the respect she deserves, if nothing else. But I think (and hope) that she will ultimately be the beneficiary of all the improvements in Don that the other women have nurtured. And at the same time, she will be his reward, too. 🙂

    Yes, I know. I’m totally matchmaking here but I can’t help it! lol

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  31. Well put, Moira – and a great outcome for Megan & Don.

    But I somehow don’t think we’re getting a happy ending to this MM story (or the man falling from the high rise building in the opening credits is a deke by MW).

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  33. – removed as possible spoiler –

    Zapped this one as it was a reply to a comment that was a possible spoiler

  34. – removed as possible spoiler –

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  35. Oh. Excellent post, Matt.

    I don’t know what it is called in film studies, but I love the use of visual parallelism in MM, as in the doors and keys/ Sepinwall and Stoller Zeitz talk about themes, but the execution of visual language in Mad Men is something different, something that approaches the techniques of poetry.

  36. Megan constantly puts up a facade, or at least she has been made to put up a facade. When she was at reception, she told Joyce that she was made to read magazines while waiting for visitors even though she would prefer to read books. She was part of the look of the firm, just as much as the mod furniture and artwork. Even working Don’s desk, the most important desk, she is still part of an aesthetic for the benefit of Don’s clients and other guests. I hope that Don’s look was a realization that Megan is more than just a decoration. She seems kind and competent, like Allison. Perhaps Don was seeing that, too, and recognized that he should treat Megan better than he treated Allison.

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  38. I haven’t seen any indication that Megan is “crushing” on Don. Not all secretaries are in love with their bosses–even when their bosses are as handsome as Don! She is quite a bit younger, for one thing. That is not to say she won’t fall for Don if he puts the moves on her. But I think he will be the one to make the initial move, if that is where the show is going. (If it does, I don’t think it will turn out well–how can it, with womanizing, secretive Don still stuck in his old patterns, probably permanently?).

  39. #33

    – removed as possible spoiler – this comment a response to a spoiler

  40. I would not be shocked if Don married Megan, but I am not going to treat it as a done deal until it really happens.

    What would shock me? If Don married Ida Blakenship or Doris (or if Don and Roger ran away together to be lovers.)

    Here is another thing that would shock me: if Don does marry Megan, I would be very shocked if they live “happily ever after” for 50 years.

    As for Don killing Megan, that seems like a very different show.

    I used to wonder if the “falling man” could be either a suicide or a homicide. I wondered if the writers would be exploring how far each of the characters could be pushed before snapping –either into self-destructivness or into violence toward another.

    I wondered if Don was capable of violence toward Pete. Or Adam. Or Betty. Or Roger.

    I wondered if Betty would ever just lose it toward Don and shove him. “I want him DEAD!”

    I wondered if Duck would kill himself. Or Roger, if LS leads to the fall of SCDP. Or Suzanne?

    And I’ve wondered if Faye’s anger (if Don ditches her) and her daddy in the mob (if that is true) could spell big trouble.

    And Bert had that doctor killed? I thought that was Roger being cute for fun.

    Anyway, the “tone” of the show has not been murderous so far, so it would shock me.

    But the fact that I may be shocked has no bearing on what MW will do. He has shocked me before. 🙂

  41. @ annereed

    But we’re not talking about “all secretaries.”

  42. @ Lorna Moir

    So the culmination of the series should be Don getting castrated? It seems to me that the show is about evolution. If you think that Don can’t change then maybe they should toss him out the window and be done with it. He wouldn’t be rewarded for the bad things he’s done. He’d be rewarded for making positive changes, which is exactly what I talked about in my earlier post. If you can find a post of mine in which I defended his bad behavior, please point it out. My argument is based on the idea that he can and has improved.

  43. God know what Weiner is gonna do, but let me try again.

    Don looked at and signed the form.

    Pete says the DoD form slip is Don’s fault:”Why didn’t you read it?”
    Don, to the extent he is capable, admits it is his fault:”That is what I do.”
    Everyone here says it is Don’s fault, at least everyone I have read.
    Blankenship would have said sonething like:”It had US Gov’t and Dept of Defense on the header. Should I wrapped it around a bottle of scotch and brained you with it to get you to pay attention?”

    Yet Megan says it is her fault, and that Don can fire her.

    Is it Megan’s fault? No. Is Megan an idiot? No.

    Therefore Megan is lying. Just as Pete lied to cover for Don.

    Now why would Megan lie and take the blame?

    Well, maybe because she thinks her boss is a complete psycho possibly-violent (manhandled Sally) monster who makes a habit of blaming other people for his mistakes? Could be. She has a lot of evidence of Don’;s irresponsibility and lack-of-character.

    Or maybe she likes and needs the job. But I can’t see anything possible but contempt for that bully and coward.

    But whatever, someone who had respect, admiration and any trust for Don would have said:”Don’t blame me for your stupidity.” The way Pete did.

    Megan despises Don Draper, she can barely stand to be near him.

  44. I wondered if Don was capable of violence toward Pete.

    We have seen Don in a fight with a guy, Duck. “Uncle,”

    We have seen Don be violent toward women, Bobby Barrett, and almost toward Betty. Sally.

    This is the kind of guy he is.

  45. @ bob mcmanus

    She did remind him that he signed it, which is to say that he had the documents in front of him and could have read them as far as she knew. So she didn’t completely accept the blame. But I think she wasn’t going to argue with him about it, especially not when he was obviously upset about something.

  46. #42
    Moira, I understand your high regard for Meghan because I have it as well. What does not make sense to me is having a girl so pure and sweet be with a man because it makes for a happy ending. I will admit I never had a high opinion of Don because every time he could have changed he got worse. What makes you believe in him so much that you would sacrifice Meghan and her future? I admire your faith in goodness, but with Don Draper it is a losing bet. People do not change as dramatically as you you hope for Don. I do not want to see Don castrated. I just don’t want him to win the most precious prize of them all and destroy in the end.

  47. I thought the look Don gave Megan at the end was ambiguous. It could be interpreted many ways, but I think MW loves the idea that it’s even being mentioned at all.

    Good post, Matt!!

  48. Sorry was multitasking. Left out the word “her” in the last sentance after destroy.

  49. #46

    I hear ya! And yeah, he may very well screw it all up – again. Damn Matt Weiner! lol He’s got us all wrapped around his finger right now!! 🙂 I’m keeping my fingers crossed though.

  50. They will not live happily ever after. Don’t you think this is a typical behavior of the type of man Don is. Keep making the same mistakes over & over again- leaving innocent people in their wake- He will marry Megan & will destroy the marriage again.. repeating the same destructive behavior over & over again… I think that is what MW is trying to say- it was/is a fact of life. Haven’t you seen this happen a million times? with so many people
    I do think the firm will move to CA. they will all go- what have any of them got to lose?

  51. #44 bob mcmannus

    I agree he has been occassionally violent in ways that I do not want to minimize.

    Don said something to Pete in season 1 like “if you believe I did what you think I did, you better wonder what else I would do to keep that kind of secret.” That sounded like a threat, and I wondered if it was an empty threat or a serious one. We were still getting to know Don, and I wondered if Don would ever push Pete (or something else) and forge a note about how unhappy Pete was. Even after he kept Pete, I was wondering if he would have ongoing issues with Pete. But he seemed to let it go.

    Also, when Don went to visit Adam he packed a bag. I was worried that he had a gun in the bag, and I was very relieved when he pulled out money.

    He has been far less violent toward Henry than I thought he’d be (nothing like the oysters with Roger).

    He hasn’t been sexually violent since Bobbie (other than Candace slapping him), so that seemed more like a isoated thing and not a pattern.

    So what I mean is that–so far–Don has not been pushed far enough into a corner to completely snap.

    I am not saying this is impossible for Don, but there were several times he could have snapped even more violently than he did, and he did not.

  52. I always read the posts and all the comments. Part of the reason I do this is I know BoK is “spoiler-free” or at least strongly warned if there is a spoiler. I don’t even watch the sneak preview on AMC’s site (it gives nothing away, and I’d rather just watch the episode & scene in it’s entirety. So, I am really disappointed to see the spoiler comments #30 & #32. Whether they turn out to be true or not. It’s one thing to read everyone’s ideas & speculations after each episode, but I don’t enjoy it about spoiler photos!

    On a completely unrelated note. Did anyone notice how young & refreshing Betty seemed to look when sharing Sally’s joy over the Beatles tickets? She seemed genuinely happy & excited for her. They almost reacted to each other like friends.

  53. The 60s were shocking.

    I was there. 🙂 That’s tiresome, I know.

    But the late 60s wasn’t just bellbottoms, beads, and Beatles.

    It was violence, hate everywhere, and the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese. We interrupt the riots and parade of corpses for Mr Whipple squeezing Charmin.

    I hope Weiner has been setting us up for the black. Somebody we like, somebody innocent needs to die.

    I could see Don making a play for Megan, Megan starting to laugh and laugh and not being able to stop, “Ewwwwwww”, and Draper strangling her. End Season 4.

  54. Nahh…I don’t get that Meghan is crushing on Don either. And I don’t think she was putting on her lipstick for his benefit. I think she’s nervous around him because his track record with secretaries is notorious. I don’t really get that Don is after her either. I think he appreciates her beauty and kindness but Don’s got WAY too many issues right now. In fact, he was pretty much a mess throughout this entire episode.

    As for Faye – I like her. But I think Don is going to get on her bad side somehow, and then maybe he’ll have to deal with her Dad.

  55. could be a fantasy- did not think of that.
    or it could be Gene-
    or the show could move forward a year.. time enough for a baby.

  56. Ewww. It’s a spoiler. Ewwwww.

    Ok, so Sally gets to watch him kill Megan. Just kidding. I think.

  57. #52 ErinsFoodFiles

    Thank you. I felt similarly. I re-read the spoiler policy and it said that over-analysis of “legitimately” obtained photos is fair game. Not sure I can evaluate the photos mentioned.

  58. Don Draper….don’t you dare take Megon to the Beatles and brutally devastate Sally. You were hard to read in your gaze, but camera shot on tickets then out the office door. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  59. I don’t think we discuss spoilers or potential spoilers here.

  60. BTW – I believe Joan is still with child.

  61. @#39 Lorna Moir:

    – removed as possible spoiler – comment a response to spoiler

    Is the “message” of a show (or a book, movie, opera, etc.) just an endorsement of the characters’ behavior? It doesn’t work that way except in children’s stories with clear “morals.” Is the “message” of the Godfather that you need to become a murderous mafioso to protect your family? Is the “message” of The Sopranos that Tony’s behavior is good, correct, right or just, because he enjoys it and is rewarded? What about The Great Gatsby (wherein the innocent are punished and the guilty go free)? What about Orwell’s 1984, or Chinatown, or Hamlet?

    Certainly there are stories (The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast) in which the “moral” is made clear by the fact that those characters who behave in a way that we approve of are rewarded, and those whose actions are contemptible are punished. But it’s hardly a sophisticated approach to narrative, and there’s absolutely nothing about Mad Men to suggest that it works this way. I think if you’re expecting Don to get his “just deserts,” you’re going to be sorely disappointed. As with all great works of narrative art, the “message” about morality and society is a far more sophisticated tapestry, rather than a simplistic mapping of the main characters’ actions into black-and-white win/lose, good/bad dualities.

  62. Jessica Pare (Megan) is other-worldly gorgeous.


  63. @#62 Russell Stover:

    You’ve got that right!

  64. Hey Matt, great post as always.

    13, 19, and 20 GREAT lipstick catch!

    I guess I am in the minority here. I think that the look Don gives as Megan puts on her lipstick is lust at its most raw (ok, maybe not lust, maybe just appreciation) In any case I think that look was a sign to the audience that Faye is a goner. Let’s face it, when the gals get intimate on an emotional level, Don gets going…. (the gals with whom he’s had an intimate sexual relationship, that is)

    On a similar note, Don’s “Megan look” was reminiscent of the look on his face as he watched Suzanne jumping around the grass in bare feet on May Day, the look that seems to say- “me thinks a move is in order” Anyone?

  65. In terms of the Don/Megan thing itself, I’m not surprised, but I take a different view of Don being rewarded in that potential relationship. Faye, and even Rachel back in season 1, would have been his romantic equal and potential salvation, but let’s be honest: the moment Don Draper finds romantic salvation, MW loses half the dramatic element of the show. Hence, for all the good Faye and Rachel could bring to his life, he’s gonna go for the figurine atop the wedding cake again and be just as disappointed the second time around. The parallels to Roger and Jane will be striking.

    I also suspect he’ll two-time Faye and that will be the end of them; i.e. this was the foreshadowing overheard in her phone call a few episodes ago (more on that in a moment). This is not a woman who’s a doormat. You cheat once; you’re gone.

    In terms of Megan herself, hard to know what to make of her. Right now she seems not much more than a beautiful cipher, although a semi-effective worker who can hug a kid. But my guess is Don will find her to be another of the Betty/Bethany types. Something he thinks he wants/needs but will leave him unsatisified. Yet, unlike Rachel who basically called him a coward and a child, or Faye who told an ex-lover to go shit in the ocean, Megan will be a bit more pliable when it comes to his extra-cirricular activities and will take years to develop some spine. Hence, she won’t offer any salvation; what she’ll offer him is the comfort and security of a woman at home to be who he was seasons one thru three: a married guy constantly on the make. My take, at least.

    So yes, if you believe Don returning to his ways in seasons 1 thru 3 is a reward, then yeah, he’ll be rewarded. If, on the other hand, you think it’s a curse, that’s my guess as to what we’re in store for.

    Oh, and in terms of the LA thing, yeah would make a certain amout of sense. And as much as I prefer NYC over tinsletown, the change of venue could be kind of cool.

    Btw, how many seasons does Weiner plan on going? Six or seven? I’ve never heard.

  66. #61
    Of course what you are saying is true but I do not think Don Draper deserves to ride off into the sunset. Not too far back we (on this site )were discussing whether this program should focus more on feminism or civil rights. Those are topics worth exploring and they both contain periods of angst and periods of triumph. MW could end on a sour note and I would completely understand. However, Don Draper’s transformation into a saint I just don’t see as being either possible or good writing. MW has drilled into our brains week after week what a heartless SOB Don is and even with his backstory, I do not think many people feel he earned the right to have a character transformation (unless for the next whatever seasons we see him do nothing but altruistic deeds.) Do you honestly think that will happen? If it does this is no longer Mad Don it is Glad Don!! I am trying so hard not to sound rude. Just like I said I did not want Don to be castrated,I also do not want him to get his “just deserts” if you are implying bodily harm. I just don’t see him as a hero and if MW trys to turn him into one, he will still be as pathetic as Tony Soprano. IMHO.

    Got to clean up my kitchen now. Be back tomorrow.

  67. If you are going to zap my response to a spoiler you should note it is spelled out at #37.

  68. @67 MadDaddy

    I’m the one whose been zapping comments. But I was doing during a free moment at work and missed 37.

    No offense meant, I’m only human 🙂

  69. Lady K and Bob,

    Don did win one fight. He “suckered” the smaller Jimmy Barrett.

    That’s the kind of guy he is…

  70. #55 – its possible that was dream a sequence for Don.

    One thought – if the G-Men are interviewing Don’s ex wives – I wonder if they went to Anna’s house in CA that Don owns – where her niece is staying?

  71. #62 Jessica Pare is from Montreal, and is a bilingual actress. Her work is even better in French-language films.

  72. The Lane/Robert story was huge and shocking, I know why I haven’t been talking about it much, but it does sort of surprise me that it seems to have taken a back seat to Joan’s possible pregnancy and Sally’s Beatlemania in the general blogosphere. I just wanted to reach through the screen ad break that old bastard’s cane over his head, and put a giant Texas steak on Lane’s. I bet he had hos won panic attack that night, albeit less sexy than Don’s. I hope TOni was there to see him through it.

  73. #64: completely agree. I immediately thought of Suzanne and the way he looked at her. On the other hand, after a second viewing, Don’s look seems more ambiguous. Now I don’t know what to think. I guess I expect bad behavior from Don, so that’s how I “read” his look the first time. I hope I/we are wrong!

  74. Did anyone think that Don may send Megan with Sally to the Beatles concert? Then he won’t need the earplugs…

  75. Suddenly spoiler removals more in this one thread than all priors. What is going on?

    Simply phrase it as speculation and leave out the basis and it will post? That’s really strange.

  76. #53 bob … and Laotians and Cambodians.

    Megan is interesting. I think she purposely put on her lipstick on that side of the desk, and I think she is in love with Don. So many small moments, including the one where she stares at the floor and swallows hard after Betty leaves with Sally and Don thanks her (Megan) for her help.

    She’s interesting because she doesn’t talk about her feelings with anyone at the office, and doesn’t seem to be friends with ‘the girls,’ but seems to be instead a professional, mostly serious young woman who is quietly letting Don know how she feels about him. (Stroking his arm and saying, ‘You should go home’ after Blankenship’s death, too.)

    In coming out of his long, dark spell, maybe Don knows he needs to be married, He needs someone who can help him be a good dad to his kids, someone who will care about his kids, someone who will have a house in the ‘burbs and maybe another baby, and who will bring order to his life, and the lives of his children…

    Dr. Faye called it.

  77. Unlike the ambiguity with Joan’s pregnancy the Don and Megan pairing seems far less murky to me. Everything, from Dr. Faye’s prediction; that whole pot-soup analogy we’ve been dealing with, to Megan’s lipstick strike-a-pose seems to be calling loud and clear that these two are going to get together and quite possibly married. And think of all the dramatic possibilities it’s going to spawn for the next season. It’s going to be delicious–think of the rage it will generate in Faye–and Betty. Especially Betty, particularly if Megan gets pregnant. Can you imagine how the visitation arguments are going to escalate, the good mom-bad mom battles? Dr. Edna has her work cut out for her.

    And you just know Faye’s not going to go quietly either. Because even if he hasn’t yet put Megan in his cross hairs–and I think he already has, Don’s already got one foot out the door with Faye because she had the misfortune to see him in a vulnerable state. In addition to her new found knowledge about Don, I think she’s got plenty of secrets of her own, and even if she exits Don’s love life, she still could detonate a bomb in his work life. She may already have, and we don’t know it.

    Don’s a cad, seemingly incapable of being faithful, and but the facade of a nice home, managed by a beautiful wife and great kids provides the ballast he needs, even though he can’t deliver any true intimacy in return. But, nevertheless, he needs that anchor; much to my disappointment, his year of being on his own in the city where I thought he would thrive has been an unmitigated disaster; he’s more of a mess than he ever was. And there’s nothing wrong in having others give you shelter from the storm; a solid person, as Megan seems to be, can be heaven on earth. The only problem is, that Don’s incapable of reciprocating; “that’s what the money’s for.” If I were Megan, I’d run. But she won’t.

  78. I’m a bit surprised that people think Megan is in love with Don, Don suddenly sees Megan as a potential love interest, and that Don hasn’t really learned anything. I think he’s shown some change in his life, in what has been a difficult time for him. He’s made huge mistakes, but he’s also been more open than I’ve ever remembered him being. He’s done some unexpected things; he said no to Faye in the taxi, and she remarked that was unexpected; he was sharing his feeliings with her after his panic attack. He’s let Peggy see him like very few people have. I think the surprise will be that he’ll do the unexpected. People think they know Don; Faye, and Don himself. I’m thinking (probably hoping) that Don will surprise himself and lots others when he doesn’t marry w/in a year.

  79. As discussed on this thread, everyone has secrets they are trying to keep. I would like to imagine the characters reaction to life in 2010, where privacy exists only in your inner most thoughts. Ones that are never expressed in a text or acted upon and caught by a surveillance camera. Moreover, we give away our privacy for free to credit cards, health care companies, and social networks.

    We may think people in the 60s indulged in reckless behavior, but we surely have contributed to our own self destruction. Unless of course no one will care that we acted like idiots and willfully let everyone know about it.

    I can imagine this exchange in a future election campaign.

    “Excuse me Senator, what do you have to say about these naked pictures of you from your Facebook account 20 years ago?”

    “Well, I think I look better than my opponent.”

  80. #21- It wasn’t Toni who asked to see the Club Key.

    Did Megan wear the same blue dress on consecutive days? It would be a fashion blunder, but she still looked great in it.

  81. Nex episode is called “Chinese walls”
    It’s exactly what Faye answered Don when he asked her about her work (and after he told her something he wasn’t supposed to tell about a client): chinese walls. Maybe next episode will be about Faye’s little secrets…

  82. One theme of the season is the choice that Don is facing between becoming a “better man”, maybe by integrating his two selves (Don/Dick), or becoming Roger. The choice between Faye and Megan parallels it. If he were to marry Megan, especially very soon, he would have become a new Roger. I don’t think it is an accident that Megan and Jane look so similar.

  83. #62 I agree, Jessica Pare is gorgeous… but she is also a poor actress, which is why, all speculation and spoilers to the contrary, I don’t believe that Don Draper and Megan will be involved in any “serious” relationship. A fling, at best.

    I doubt Ms Pare could carry any heavy amount of dialogue and think that M Weiner would agree.

  84. #64
    I thought about the look Don gave the teacher Suzanne doing the May Day dance when he looked at Megan too. It was like his eyes were opening for the first time…. another woman to ‘conquer’.

    Does anyone think that Don is like this because of his mom and step mom? Some subconcious effort to connect – but he never fully does?

    Love the show. So well written, filmed and acted. All the characters have such a complex character. Enjoy reading this blog and the comments.

    thanks –

  85. Here’s a plotline. Don, less enthralled with Faye now that she knows his secrets, seduces Megan and begins an affair. Faye, now scorned, destroys him by revealing the truth.

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