Open Thread: Babylon; Red in the Face; Hobo Code

 Posted by on December 11, 2011 at 10:54 am  Season 1
Dec 112011

Oops, this is going up a little late. Mea culpa, Basketcases.

Today’s Mad Men episodes: Babylon, Red in the Face, and The Hobo Code. Very rich episodes. In these three, we are learning about our characters for, in many ways, the first time. Our first in-depth look at young Dick Whitman. Our first look at Sal’s sexual choices. Our first knowledge of Joan and Roger’s relationship.

What are your favorite scenes from these episodes? Is it Sal and Eliot at dinner? Don getting stoned? The closing Babylon montage? Discuss.


  16 Responses to “Open Thread: Babylon; Red in the Face; Hobo Code”

  1. My favorite scenes are one each from Babylon and The Hobo Code.

    The first scene is the meeting at the Pierre between Don and Rachel, where she discusses the double meaning of “utopia”–“The Greeks had two meanings for it: u-topos, meaning the good place, and ou-topos, meaning the place that cannot be”–when it’s obvious she’s really talking about them, albeit in an oblique fashion.

    The second scene is where Don/Dick and the Hobo talk in the barn and he shows Don/Dick the signs by which the hobos communicate, “knights” him with the piece of chalk, and gives him insight into his home life, along with a life philosophy. It is the first time anyone has ever treated Don/Dick with any respect, compassion or understanding.

  2. “The Hobo Code”, Pete/Peggy in the opening scenes vs. Pete/Peggy in that cruel and yet wonderful scene at the pub (one of the moments I’ve realized “Mad Men” was different: a “regular” show would never have him say the “I don’t like you like this” line).

  3. Pete and Peggy tryst. I realize I should be more subtle, but I’m just going to be flat out honest. These two can be odd at times but I thought it was hotter than the every-episode Don Draper conquest.

  4. Favorite scenes from Babylon–where do I start? I can’t start, I like it all. This is one of my favorite episodes. The whole thing is brilliantly done.

    But, to list just a few of the many things that I like (and I just glanced at the Episode Guide to remember it all, so thanks):

    -The flashback scene after Don falls down the stairs. It’s so brillantly shot the way they make it look like young Dick (and others) are looking at the grown-up version as he lies on the floor.

    -The Don/Rachel scene and the Utopia discussion, which Emily mentioned above. (I also like Rachel’s insistence on ordering just “coffee” at their lunch meeting)

    -The song “Babylon” as sung by Ian and the montage scene that follows.

  5. Favorite scenes from “The Hobo Code”:

    -The introduction of Lois and her crush on Sal. I like the first scene when she is with the other switchboard operators, the later scene where she meets Sal and the other men in the Art Department, and also the scene where she calls Sal on the phone (“This is Lois Sadler, by the way.”)

    -The “Peggy! Ice!” scene

    -The Eliot/Sal scene

  6. Oh, man, Babylon. I mean, everything — yes, the scene where Rachel shoots Don down, the closing song, the pissing contest between Don and Roy, the Joan-Roger scenes, which could have entire relationship books written about them…it’s all amazing. (But then, every episode 6 from every season is especially bang-on.)

    But especially the scene where Peggy says, “Here’s your basket of kisses.” Could she possibly have planned that, knowing that Paul had put the bug in her ear about writing back in Ladies’ Room? She looks so surprised when Joan tells her they want her to write, but five years on she’s telling Abe “I had to fight my way in.” She may have had to fight to stay in, but it doesn’t look like she had to fight all that much to get in.

    • Meowser, that didn’t get her in. That got her an opportunity to write. But think about what happened to Joan in A Night to Remember. She was handed the opportunity to do a job, but as soon as there was a man around, she was supposed to gracefully give it back. Which she did. Peggy fought all right.

      In terms of favorite scenes, I think the image of Joan and Roger in the hotel stays with me and haunts me more than almost anything.

      • Right, that’s kind of what I meant. She had to fight to stay in. Especially after the pregnancy/institutionalization, at which point they could have just as soon not taken her back in. Makes me wonder exactly what happened with Peggy work-wise in the year (plus) between the time she got out of the hospital and the beginning of S2. Maybe she had to fight to get back in, too; maybe Don (and/or Roger, and/or Bert) needed to be convinced she had her shit together before he (they) took her back.

        What I’m asking is, what part of her initial opportunities (Belle Jolie and Relaxicisor) had to do with her angling for an opportunity to prove herself, and how much was pure serendipity? They wouldn’t have just given that to any girl out of the steno pool, obviously; Peggy was the first female copywriter they’d had in 20 years, and her predecessor probably only got a chance because they were short on men.

    • I posted about that earlier this year and we had an interesting discussion about it. I do think she’s a hard-working, ambitious person, but if things hadn’t happen the way they had, I think it may have taken her longer to get into writing. It’s hard to say, of course. But I definitely see why she feels loyalty towards Freddy and Don. As Bobbi Barrett said, they didn’t make her a copywriter, but they definitely gave her a push in the right direction.

  7. “The Hobo Code” is practically all classic moments, but watching yesterday the scene that hit me the most was the party at PJ Clarke’s. Peggy teaching Freddy to cha-cha was adorable, Joan dancing is a work of art, but what stayed with me was the Peggy doing the twist. She has never been this happy. It’s amazingly beautiful and, since we know that a minute later Pete will smash it to bits, amazingly poignant (will she ever be that happy again?)

    • It’s been some months since I saw Hobo, but more recently, Peggy looked pretty happy waking up with Abe – after firsts, seconds, thirds – and going for fourths

      (who’s really counting?).

      That glow lasted until she walked late into the Lucky-Strike-is-gone meeting.

  8. Yesterday was the first time It dawned on me that Don had paid Hollister to say that the elevator wasn’t working. The smirk on Dons face when he’s walking away from Roger is priceless. Wonder how I could have missed that all the times I’ve watched this episode.

  9. “They” probably wouldn’t have taken her back, but Don is not among them. Being a hobo probably makes DD a sucker for underdogs, and that’s maybe when he saw the first inkling of Peggy as a version of himself. Most likely Don went to yodaBert and Roger and said Peg needs some time, but the kid is worth it, and trusting his opinion, they didn’t give it a second thought. (Sorry for the run on.)
    DD a knight in shining armor? No. He has a nose for talent, and this proved it.

  10. SterlingCoo is a boutique not Leo Burnett, with piles of bodies beneath you so Don has a limited selection of underlings to choose fro. Secondly, my use of the eye for talent was not limited to gilding a creative lilly like Peggy. Don has a knack for recognizing opportunities tthat enable his talent to pry open a tough situation, and extract from it, the stuff of brilliance.
    In Blowing Smoke he took a painting from a broken person like Midge, and was able to make a parallel between her condition and the degenerative effects of tobacco. He changed the conversation ,albeit however briefly, from the sagging fortunes of his firm.
    DD is a soloist by nature, so his collaborations take on the effect of a great hitter standing alone at the plate, while benefitting the team. (Had to get the Untouchables in there.)

    • This person posts under many names, which is not against our rules. But creating a name simply to mock another poster is out of line. The posts have been deleted. Deborah

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