In Hands & Knees we find out that Pete doesn’t drive. It’s possible to take this as face value since New York City is one of the few places in the U.S. in which no one raises an eyebrow when a grown man says he can’t drive.
In dreams, driving a car stands for being the master of your own life. If you drive smoothly, then your subconscious is telling you that you’re in control of your life or that you have all the resources available to make the life you want but may not know it. Pete is often frustrated because of his lack of powerlessness. Certainly in Season 1, he was being controlled and manipulated in every aspect of his life: Trudy refused to listen to his concerns about her father helping them buy an apartment; in the office his perceptive ideas and insights were dismissed, etc. His feelings of powerlessness culminated in his acting out by using the money he got for the chip’n’dip to buy a rifle. Pete has slowly acquired more control over his life but this Season Don forced him to dismantle a lucrative deal so that Don wouldn’t get in trouble. Now, he could’ve refused Don. Instead he took the fall for him. Personally, as much as I love Don, I think Pete should have refused to do Don’s bidding but he didn’t see that as a real option. This would’ve been a very tough call indeed and likely the account would’ve fallen through anyway but Pete could’ve taken the reins of the situation. I don’t mean this in a vindictive way but rather that in relation to Don, Pete is always an enabler. He’s not the only one.
Peggy helped cover up Don’s indiscretions with Bobbie Barrett after Don crashes his car. And Faye betrays her own ethical standards by getting Don a meeting with Heinz.In short, Don always places unfair demands on the people in his life. He’s asking them to keep his secret and to compromise their self-respect in the interest of their relationship.
They’re being loyal, right? And loyalty is a very noble trait, isn’t it? But there is such a thing as corrupt loyalty, the kind that perpetuates an unjust situation by being an accomplice in someone’s misbehavior. You know you’re engaging in corrupt loyalty when you sacrifice your own principles in order to help someone else out. Another clue is that you often feel emotionally cornered. You literally do not see any other solution to the situation, at least not if you want to keep the relationship. When you’re cornered, you’re powerless.
For an elegant example of negotiating the line between loyalty to one self and loyalty to another, we can look to how Joan broke it off with Roger. In that scene, there’s never any doubt that she still loves him. There’s tremendous regard and affection for each other. But the moment of truth came when Roger called her from the hotel, begging her to join him so that she could comfort him in his lie. At that moment, Joan understood that relieving Roger of his distress and shame was wrong, not only because she lost respect for him but because Roger’s immaturity was jeopardizing not just her marriage and her sense of self but the very existence of the firm. Joan ended it firmly but with tremendous grace. She wasn’t judgmental nor did she condescend to him by trying to get him to see the truth. She just stated her terms gently and with the utmost tact for Roger’s self-respect as well.