Recap: Mystery Date

 Posted by on April 9, 2012 at 7:30 am  Season 5
Apr 092012

Hiding under the bed doesn’t help.

The dirty, violent, erotically-charged, drug-fueled, violent, violent, violent world is encroaching, and none of us can hide from it. Not Sally, not Pauline with her knife, not Don in his fever, not Dawn on Don’s couch.

This episode was shocking, disturbing, and brilliant. Neither director Matt Shakman nor co-writer Victor Levin has worked on Mad Men before, so let’s say welcome aboard, fellas, because damn, you’re good.

In three crucial moments of Mystery Date, female bodies are under a piece of furniture. First, the Richard Speck murders are discussed at the office: The episode takes place on Friday, July 15, 1966, and the following morning. The murders occurred on July 14, and Speck was arrested on the 17th, so during the days depicted, the horrific mass murderer was nameless and at large. Stan gruesomely recounts how the lone survivor of Speck’s killing spree hid under the bed. Next, in the most shocking scene we’ve ever seen on Mad Men, Don hides Andrea’s body under the bed, her foot luridly sticking out. Finally, Sally hides under the couch overnight after Pauline has made her feel worse rather than better.

I suspect the scene we all want to talk about is Don and Andrea, but let’s look first at Pauline and Sally. The swirling mass of chaos that is 1966 is affecting all the characters. Divorce, Vietnam, racial tension, sexual anxiety, promiscuity, rape, violence, drugs, the generation gap: they’re all here. Once Sally has managed to frighten herself by reading the newspaper (not a forbidden piece of fiction, mind you, it’s the newspaper that’s unsuitable for the young) and gone to Pauline for comfort, Pauline blasts Sally with such a megaton of crap that I wanted to hide under the couch, too. Parents kick you for no reason, but that’s a good lesson. A twelve year-old girl (Pauline is sure) already knows, not only what sex is, but what rape is. It’s bad but it’s sexy, and Pauline tells it like a camp counselor with a flashlight under her chin. Here, let me show you my big knife. Here, let me give you a Seconal. Holy crap. That one scene encapsulates, in its emotional tone and in the notes it hits, almost everything that happens in every other scene.

The episodic stuff this week was enormously eventful. Joanie kicks her scumbag husband out, Peggy extorts Roger, and DON . . . yet none of what we’re seeing is entirely about the characters. This is a mood piece, and the mood is grim. Even the humor (and there are plenty of laughs) is grim: Stan with pantyhose over his head is funny, but then you can’t help thinking he looks like a serial killer, especially given that’s his “outfit” when Joyce (luv ya, Joyce) comes in with the unprintable student nurse photos.

So, did you know, when Don strangled Andrea, that it was a dream? I was reminded of 5G. We wondered, five years ago, if Don could possibly be planning to kill Adam. It was a new enough show that it was easy to be uncertain. Five years down the road, it’s harder to imagine this can possibly be a direction the show will take, but we can’t be sure. That scene was filmed with a feverish intensity that left you believing. At the end, Don leaving the foot sticking out seemed impossibly sloppy, and only then was I 100% convinced it was a dream or a hallucination.

Two dreams in two weeks. We’re living in unreal times.

The violence permeates everything. Peggy, whom I’m sure has worked late and alone many times, is suddenly scared when she hears a noise. Finding Dawn, she sees someone (on another couch, by the by) even more constrained by the violence outside than herself. Dawn can’t go home. Cabs won’t go into her neighborhood, and her brother won’t “let” her ride the subway. (Fancy that; her brother is still in his teens, but as the man of the house, he gets to make decisions for Dawn.)

See, I’ve worked in the city and been afraid to leave the office alone. Hell, I’ve felt that way working in the suburbs. That women’s lives are restricted by the threat of rape and violence is not a “period detail.” It’s a reality that women live with every day, and that men often don’t notice. So often, I’ve been in offices, making little pacts with other women to walk one another out, while the men assume we’re overreacting, or don’t pay attention. We women are bounded about by violence and the threat of violence, sexualized violence made light of, as if it’s erotic, as if it’s exciting, as if it’s a dirty fever-dream like semi-willing sex with a former lover you then strangle. But it’s none of that. It’s real and confining and we tiptoe around it. Every. Damn. Day. Like Peggy. Like Dawn.

It’s interesting that it’s a man—new guy Michael Ginsberg—who notices how horrible it is. He objects to the excitement over the murder photos, but he’s not above a sales pitch based on the sexiness of being stalked in a dark alley. “Too dark,” he says with mock sincerity, but he’s thrilled to make the pitch, which results both in a sale (to the client) and a threat of violence (from Don). That’s almost like saying, “He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss,” (the closing song, by Goffin and King).

The other side of the darkness of this episode is choice. Choice is as much a theme here as hiding under the bed. You have to do one or the other, is the thing. You have to hide or you have to make your own choices, because there’s no escaping the grim reality.

“I’m glad the Army makes you feel like a man, because I’m sick of trying to do it.”

We’re all glad to see Greg go, I’d wager. This is a much more satisfying resolution for Joan than having Greg killed in Vietnam, which many fans were expecting. It’s vastly better to see Joan making a choice than having one made for her. “Greg dying is not a solution,” she said in Hands and Knees. Kicking him out on his ear is. I wonder what comes next in the saga of Joan and Roger, now that she’s going to be divorced. I have no predictions, except to say that she’s learned not to be victimized by one man, and I doubt she’ll let herself be victimized by another.

Don is choosing to be faithful to Megan, when he has a different opportunity. (I’m unclear if Andrea’s first visit, when he sends her out by a service elevator, is also a hallucination. Is there really a back door in that apartment?) And when he suddenly, depressingly, seems to change his mind, it’s portrayed as foul. Andrea says sex is meaningless, she calls Don dirty and sick, she embodies everything he hates about his own promiscuous past. And, like Sally hiding under the couch, he fears his own doom is  inevitable. Don’s impulse to kill the false Andrea is a suicidal impulse just as much as it’s a murderous one: He hates himself for what he’s done and for what he fears he may do.  The violent impulse he directs towards his own hallucination is a violent impulse he directs towards himself. (Richard Speck was arrested when he was hospitalized for a suicide attempt right after committing masss murder.)

Don can choose to do better. He can choose to eradicate, by strangulation if necessary, his own infidelity. Joanie can choose to kick her rapist husband out (and it’s no coincidence that in this episode, with Speck hovering over the proceedings, she finally makes reference to that horrific day). She can’t make Greg a good person, or a good husband, but she can stop being wounded by him. Don can’t make women from his past disappear, and he can’t stop Megan from being jealous when that happens, but he can choose how he behaves going forward. Choice is the only weapon in dark times.

Peggy, too, makes a choice. Dawn knew what Peggy was looking at. Peggy knew she knew. The racist thought, ‘I can’t trust a black woman with my purse full of cash,’ came to her entirely unbidden. (“Racist” is an adjective, not a noun. It describes the thought or action, it doesn’t define the person.) This happened then, it happens now: well-meaning people suddenly find racist (or sexist or homophobic or what-have-you) thoughts leaping into their heads. The choice, the only choice, is in what you do about it. Peggy could have taken her purse. She chose not to. Dawn may never feel truly at ease with Peggy, but she saw Peggy choose.

Some additional thoughts:

  • Roger now has exactly one account and he didn’t manage to assign the work. I can’t wait to see how this blows up. It’s going to be spectacular.
  • We barely glimpsed Betty, and my eyes may be deceiving me, but she seems slightly thinner this week. I predict a Mother’s Little Helper subplot very soon.
  • Quote of the week: “Hey Trotsky, you’re in advertising.”
  • Ginzo feels like a nickname that’ll stick.

Originally published at Indiewire Press Play.


  287 Responses to “Recap: Mystery Date”

  1. Great post! Thanks for helping me wrap my brain around this episode. Another choice of Peggy’s: when she’s tipsy asking Dawn if she acts like a man, but then answers her own question with an “I don’t think I want to…” She’s making a choice that she can still be a strong, independent woman in a man’s world.

  2. If I had a grandmother like Pauleen, I would be scarred for life. That woman was horrendous! Poor Sally has not one stable parental unit in her life, aside from the now dead Grandpa Gene.

    • Grandpa Gene was scary too, with all his tales from WW1 and the dead soldier’s helmet! 🙂

      • I hope Megan will be her steady rock.

        • Probably not the best role model for Sally, but not the worst, either.

        • Sally clearly feels comfortable with Megan. When she airs her feelings about Pauline (“I hate her”) and Henry (“He’s so important”) on the phone with Don, it is obvious that her relationship with him is one that allows for honest emotion on both sides.

          But it’s most clear when she says, “Can’t you come get me?” A kid who’s uncomfortable with her stepmom doesn’t ask to come over. Sally likes being in Dadspace — if Megan has changed that at all, it’s probably been for the better.

    • Henry is stable – and has experience rearing a daughter. He has buffered the Betty/Sally conflict (in S4).

      Alas, he’s also a workaholic – late dinners and probably working weekends – so not around enough for Sally.

    • Sally is destined to be pretty well effed up by nearly every adult in her little life, but Mama Francis was entertaining as hell. She was so deliciously creepy in her lurid fascination with the murders, so hugely inappropriate in her conversations and actions with Sally, but damn if I didn’t love every minute of it.

      • I ‘ll agree with that, as much as I found the scenes disturbing…there was also something sickly hilarious about it all.

      • I am with you, Michelle, very entertaining and appalling all at the same time. Loved when Henry tries to wake her up, finds the “Psycho” knife, and little Gene is toddling around.

      • What I loved about that scene was my sense of common ground with that kid.

        Thanks to Matt Weiner, I no longer feel I and my sisters were the only kids in the world whose adults said awful, wildly inappropriate things to us — or deliberately within our earshot.

        Really something, those matrons of the late 20th century.

      • I also noticed a reference to the grandmother of all child abuse movies – “Mommy Dearest” – during the tuna salad scene, which only added to her creepiness.

  3. Nicely done. You must stay up long hours to finish these so quickly but it’s greatly appreciated by those who want to come and see.

    As I said on the other site I like the ‘under the bed” motif.

    I must be the only one who feels a slight twinge of sympathy for Greg. Don’t get me wrong, his “take orders’ to Joan is why they won’t be able to reconcile but I don’t feel too bad for him because I think he’s found his footing. Being an Army doc is good for him. He’s changed a great deal. Now he needs to find a spouse that is a good match because it’s not Joan. She’s far too capable for what he wants.

    I also think Joan suffered from giving in to society expectations and marrying the young doctor who turned out to no be all that he was supposed to be.

    A tough situation. I’m really looking forward to her story arc.

    And Peggy’s showdown for Roger was made of awesome!

    • Yes. As always in Mad Men, things are complicated, so you can say Joan was right in demanding her husband to stay, and Greg was right in wanting to do his duty and help.

    • Thanks, Sue. The thing is, he lied to her. Greg made a unilateral decision about his life without consulting his wife, lied to her about it, and tried to forbid his mother from telling her. The wife Greg needs is a nonentity who shuts up and takes orders. The husband Joan needs is a partner who treats her like a human.

      • This.

      • YES. That is exactly what is wrong with “this picture”: Greg does not see Joan as fully human, with her own identity and worth–as an equal–but rather, as someone/something to be controlled.

        This is the overriding component of the rape mindset, by the way: it is a crime of power. Of domination and control over someone who is weaker or perceived as weaker. Or–as with Greg–who is actually strong but who, in the mind of the rapist, needs to be shown that she is weaker and unworthy of being considered an equal.

        My husband, who has excellent gaydar, said he thinks Greg is a closeted gay man. He argues that a man who was confident of his sexuality one way or the other would not need to dominate and try to control someone like Joan, but would either a) if straight, feel that much more of a man that he could attract the attention of such a full-on bombshell as Joan or b) if gay, and confidently gay, would not be in a faux-relationship with her, but would be her friend or best friend instead.

        Not sure where I fall on that one, but it’s a possibility, I guess? I tend to think of Greg as one of those straight guys who are intensely insecure about themselves in all respects–sexually, career-wise, etc.–and try to buttress this wobbly self-image by being domineering and controlling over women. What’s your thought on this, Deborah?

        • It never occurred to me, but it’s intriguing. As a general rule, I hate to point the finger at self-defined gay men and call them closeted, because there’s a lot of homophobic assumptions in there (he likes decorating & show tunes, must be gay). AND because there are so many people saying to gays that they’re “really” straight–I feel like the opposite is equally wrong in taking people’s self-definition away from them.

          And yet and yet. It happens.

          • I agree completely. But in the context of the time–remember, Sal was married, and his wife was only beginning to have concerns (as far as we, the audience, could know) about his lack of attraction to her–it’s a bit more likely that someone like Greg–acting the way Greg was acting–was indeed someone being adamant in his identifying as straight while in reality, he was gay.

            It’s another ambiguity, one of the many that makes MM so wonderfully thought-provoking. And discussion-provoking.

            • I know, Deb, it’s a situation where both sides are right. There are circumstances in which a closeted gay man might be happy to place himself–like, say, the Army, surrounded by men in uniform–and it’s easy to observe that, but it can also sound like the cheapest sort of homophobia or a slam on the military. It’s very hard to know how to discuss it.

          • “Gaydar” can have relevance in real-life situations, but I don’t think it adds value when discussing acted roles on a TV show. The Greg and Joan dynamic offers plenty to absorb at face value.

            I think if that were intended to be a sub-plot, it would be presented as such. Mad Men tends not to leave these types of details out.

          • Whether gay or straight, I think Greg is a narcissist, wholly unconcerned about anyone but himself… from the way he treated the waiter to his earlier introduction to the baby, to whom he gave about 3 seconds.

    • Before Joan visited the office, she might have just put up with Greg’s decision. After all, what’s another year? And he might get killed after all.

      But returning to the office showed Joan what she gave up, and Lane’s reassurance told her she could have it back. She had the excuse she needed to dump Greg. And remember, this is a woman used to being in control.

      • I was proud of Joan when she told Greg that he wasn’t a good man, referred to before they were married, and then specifically reminded him of The Rape.
        I cheered at this. Joan has made her choice, albeit a hard one, but I know she will be much happier without him. I wonder if he’ll ever know that Kevin isn’t his? It may not matter, he’s never coming back. (Although his parents will have to know that it isn’t his baby if Greg dies.)
        Greg knows he’s needed in Vietnam, and if if fulfills him more than Joan, so be it. Joan deserves better, and she knows she is fulfilled by her work at SCDP. She never would have been happy with Greg. But now I bet her mother will move in with her permanently.
        This is a new Joan. She knows what she needs and is unafraid to pursue it. At the time Joan was raped by Greg, she was in denial because she thought she was getting a good husband, now she knows better. Rock On, Joan. I can imagine sunlight in your future.

        • For a moment, I thought maybe Joan would blurt out that the baby wasn’t his! I loved her reference to the rape.

        • I think we’re seeing a Joan who has been empowered that extra bit more by having gone through childbirth and its exhausting, body-and-mind-consuming aftermath–not for the faint-of-heart! There is something about pain that’s akin to looking Death in the eye that reshuffles your priorities. Also, there is something about having an innocent human being completely dependent on you and your decisions for the way his life turns out, that makes you that much more steadfast in your choices, in your resolve to protect the infant and provide him the best environment possible.

          • Deb, I remember after Arthur was born, I really reexamined a lot of my friendships. I was mothering a lot of people, and all of sudden it was like, wait, THIS is a baby, THOSE are people ACTING like babies. It changed things a lot.

          • Have to agree with this! Having a child is one of those things that inalterably changes your life, in an instant. I can buy it as the precipitating factor in her surprise decision to boot Greg.

          • Yes, yes, yes! You absolutely re-evaluate everyone in your life, especially those you’ve been “mothering”, as you point out Deborah, along with those for whom you’ve been making excuses and allowances. The way Joanie has been doing for Greg. Indeed, I’d say she talked herself into marrying him in the first place, against her own better judgement, even, because she made whatever excuse she had to make–to tell herself–to get past his raping her. But then, having an actual baby, an innocent, in your care…you do tend to see needy/demanding adults as just that: adults. Maybe they’re even damaged adults, and you simply never noticed before. And you begin to wonder: Why can’t they tend their own gardens? Whey are they so demanding, so needy, so immature, and (as with Greg) so dishonest? What’s their excuse?

            Remember, too, Joanie has her Mom’s voice in her head, replaying the whole What’s Expected Of A Wife (or Military Wife) narrative along with what one presumes were earlier Mom narratives (How to Get a Man and How to Keep a Man). So for her to do this–end the marriage, take control, tell Greg to leave–while the source of those narratives is literally in the room with her, well, that speaks to the intensity of the “life-changing moment” she’s experiencing, one that only a few things can bring about as surely and as powerfully as having a baby.

        • I thought Joan and Gail seemed to work together better this episode. The shot at the end looked like they were a family.

        • Is it wrong for me to think that Joanie deserves to receive child support from him, it’s almost like it’s reparations. I don’t want her to tell him!

          • I wonder if Roger will start writing checks when he finds out that Greg is out of the picture. He seems to be buying his way out of all his problems.

          • That was my exact thought – it was deliciously ironic that Greg will be paying child support for a baby that’s not his.

    • “I must be the only one who feels a slight twinge of sympathy for Greg.”

      I always felt the Greg character was a bit like Betty in that he seems written to a large degree to be disliked, so in that sense I’ve sympathized with him too. He’s filling somewhat a role here — be the bad guy in order to leave the door open for Roger, and though I liked Roger and Joan the first go around, and even their office give-and-take after she marrried, I think their story sorta jumped the shark with the whole-almost-mugged-conceived-a-child-moments-later-in-an-alley story.

      To Weiner’s credit he did not take the easy way out with Henry Francis but with Greg I feel it was lifted straight from the pages of genre fiction — the evil new BF or husband that allows our hero, in this case Roger, to return.

      Anyway, here is hoping the actor who plays him find a less thankless role the next time he ever finds himself on another TV series.

    • I too think its good that he found a place he fits, but what coms after his re-enlistment? If he leaves the military will he find a life that he is comfortable in or will he not fit in? If Greg is the type that loves it so much he will probably continue to stay in service, and then be shipped around the country which is not a life Joanie wants to live. I think she really wants someone to stand beside her, and help her raise her family and let her go to work.

  4. Great recap, as usual. I really think that the entire sequence with Andrea in the apartment was a hallucination. I just don’t think it’s plausible that she would know where he lives. Theirs was a passing dalliance six years ago; it just doesn’t seem likely that, first of all, she would even know he was home in the middle of the day, and second, that she would so brazenly go to his apartment knowing that he’s married. I just don’t see it.

    • I do think it was a hallucination too, but people’s addresses were readily available in the phone book in those days.

      • That’s true, of course; my main reasons were the other two I listed.

      • Although, given Don’s history, it’s likely he would have been unlisted! I don’t know how common that was in the ’60s, though.

        • I started to suspect if was a hallucination when he mentioned the service elevator, and also the fact that she was dressed exactly the same. But I was still shocked by ‘the murder’ and prayed that it was a dream!

      • I wonder, were unlisted numbers available then? While I doubt that the Ossining number was unlisted – would Don have unlisted his Waverly number or his latest one?

        • I think they must have been, technically, but were almost unknown. It’s not something that regular people ever did. You wanted to be found by people looking for you. There were no automated sales pitches to avoid. I suspect that VIPs could get unlisted numbers.

      • Deb, I was sure that it was all Don’s delirium when I remembered what Andrea said when Don showed her to the service door, “It was just sex, it doesn’t mean anything.” That was the voice of Don’s infidelity/sex addiction. It is often said that all characters in a dream are in fact the dreamer.

    • I also think that Andrea has never been in Don’s apartment and it was all a dream. It’s hard to imagine that someone would drop by just “hoping” that the wife isn’t there. But as far as the dress goes, it was the same day after all, so she would have dressed the same, I think.

  5. The reality is that up-scale co-op apartment buildings on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or Greenwich Village at service elevators and entrances to apartments. Remember Pete doing naughty things in his service hallway. The back drops of Translights outside the windows of the Draper new apartment do not scream East Side. Was this point actually confirmed in dialog so far?

    What made me think the murder of Andrea was a fever dream was that she said she returned because Don had not locked the service door. When he opened that it was not a dead bolt, so unless Don deliberately set the latch to not lock, it would do so automatically.

    That was one spectacular dream sequence.

    Do we know if Victor Levin was added to the MM writing staff for Season 5?

  6. Is there a thread of lies in this episode? Is it possible that Greg lied about how many men reported to him? He has not been in the service that long and I am wondering if he lied about it to justify him returning. He also lied to his wife (but not his parents) about him having to go back rather than volunteering. Didn’t Don tell Megan that he was with Andrea when he was divorced but in the dream, Andrea stated it was 6 years ago? If this is correct (and I definitely need to rewatch), does this mean he never told Megan that he had cheated on his first wife? And of course Roger lying to Pete about the campaign being done.
    As an aside, I am wondering if Don’s moment with Andrea at the opera was the same time when he told Bethany in season 4 that he had been to the opera once but for business. Lastly Henry’s mother sitting on the couch with Bugles was a mirror image of Betty on the couch with Bugles in ep 1. She disapproved of Betty yet here she is in the same position.

    • Tom and Lorenzo had an interesting theory that he had cheated with Andrea, not when he was with Betty…but with Megan. Their analysis makes sense, but I can’t figure out what’s real and fake about Andrea from last night…and I’m guessing that was the point.

    • The Bugles – I thought the same thing!

      For the opera – I don’t recall which episode (maybe season one) – but I believe Don and Betty were at the opera when they were speaking to either an exec from Coca Cola – or the agency that handles Coca Cola? hmmm.

      • I remember them going to some cultural event and them talking to a client, I did not remember if it was the opera or Heinz. If it was the opera then that must be the same event that Don was talking about to Bethany. (And maybe the same moment he was with Andrea, if that really happened.)

      • That was a Broadway show: Fiorello!

    • Well, sr, given the dates of Lincoln Center construction, Do, Andrea or both are mistaken.

      Also, when admitted to a theater as a member of the audience, have you ever tried to get to a loading dock during a performance? Only in movies are the various doors between the audience and backstage left unguarded.

      The statement does not pass a smell-test for truth, but that could be MW’s way of letting viewers know that Andrea did not tell the truth.

      • The entire sequence was a fever dream. I don’t think it needs to be checked for accuracy. “Lincoln Center” and “loading dock” were phrases generated by Don’s subconscious.

  7. One other theme I noticed was Cinderella. Wicked step grandma being mean and nasty to Sally and demanding she take the trash out – the dark castle, Peggys feet/shoes up on the desk – (loved her greens shoes!!) – the one leg and shoe peeking out in the strangulation/hallucination scene. All of that wrapped up with the multi-murderers made for a very dark episode. Loved it.

    Watching last night I was 90% sure the scenes with Andrea were hallucination – they just seemed “off”. Like someone mentioned above – how would she know where he lived? Why was she so comfortable around his nervousness and illness?

    And yes Betty was thinner.

    • Maybe I am totally off but I kept on thinking about Wizard of Oz. This movie had one leg showing from the dead wicked witch (just like Andrea under the bed), red shoe (just like Andrea), and Dorothy waking up from a dream. I know it is a stretch but the mother in law is being characterized as wicked. A dark version of Cinderella was in the ep but many of the details of this seem like Wizard of Oz to me. Anyone else?

      • I was thinking the same thing.

      • Nice take there as well. Apparently the whole “dark fantasy” theme triggers images of those fairytales.

        When Don was stuffing her under the bed and just one leg was showing I was thinking if it’s a dream, then it would not be too cliche for the shoe to come off a la Cinderella – but I like your suggestion of the wicked witch with her legs peeking out under the house.

      • Interesting thoughts.

        • I thought of the Wizard of Oz too, and as to Cinderella, there are many versions of it, and in the original Grimm version, one of the stepsisters cuts of her toe(s) for the slipper to fit! Talk about gruesome! And I commend Michael Ginsburg on his calling out of Peggy, Meg, Joyce and Stan for their casual manner about the nurse murders. It kind of sums up modern curiosity about sensational crimes.

          Also, I’ve never heard the closing song before. Shocking, and so fitting!

      • We had three or four shoe references depending on whether you count the Cinderella image as a separate reference from the earlier [Butler?] shoe pitch. Peggy’s highly coordinated green ensemble was capped off with her green shoes so prominently displayed on the desk during Roger’s fleecing.

        We know Cinderella’s slipper is glass, Peggy’s is green and Andrea’s is red/orange(?). Of course Dorothy’s slipper is ruby red.

        Early on Stan/Peggy question the need for transparency in reference to stockings – is there a linkage to Cinderella here? Do the shoe colors have any significance?

        • In French, glass is ‘verre’, green is ‘vert’.

        • I saw a foreshadowing of violence in that scene: Stan has a stocking pulled down over his face. And then Joyce comes in and shows the photos: a brutal murder of multiple women, committed by a male visitor.

          Who we now know was not masked, but still.

      • Sepinwall also goes Wizard of Oz.

      • I also saw Wizard of Oz in this episode! I thought I was the only one… but in addition to waking from a bad dream and the house falling on the witch of the East scenery, I also noted that Dorothy is from Kansas (and Dick is from the mid-west) and Glinda is the witch of the North (Megan is from the north). I thought she actually floated into the bedroom the next morning bathed in bright light and shimmering pink, yellow and orange? (due to the colors of her shirt) just like when we first see Glinda float in, a shimmering colorful bubble. When she meets Dorothy, she says “and so, what the munchkins want to know is, are you a good witch or a bad witch?”, and Dorothy fervently replies, “But I’m not a witch (bad person) at all!”

        • Dick is from Pennsylvania.

          • I thought he moved to Pennsylvania with his family, but they were from the midwest originally? He uses that fact to impress upon the reporter in (I think) “Advertising Age” that due to that, it’s impolite to talk about yourself.

          • Illinois, not Indiana. In Kentucky Home, doesn’t he tell Hilton that he’s from Illinois by way of Pennsylvania? Additionally, during the Archie-face-horse-kick flashback scene, Weiner comments (in the commentary) that the action’s taking place in southern Illinois.

            As a native of northern Illinois, I do think Archie had a slight southern tinge to his speech; Illinois is a long state, and the southern natives definitely do not sound like the northerners. I have always been wildly curious to know if we’ll ever find out exactly where Dick’s family lived.

            • Thanks, Kathy. I knew it was somewhere and then Penn, and I just couldn’t pull it out of my head.

        • Is it a coincidence that the murders took place in Chicago IL and Don’s family moved to IL or was the Speck murder case such a big event that MM would have used it regardless of the location? I was not aware of this news event until MM.

          • It was a HUGE news event.

          • I only knew about the Speck murder case previously because of an amazing and powerful 1966 Simon & Garfunkel song, “Silent Night/7:00 News.” In it they sing the familiar song as a spoken news report slowly escalates in volume. The newscaster reads all the sad news of the day, such as the Vietnam war, Lenny Bruce’s death, riots, and yes, the murder of 9 student nurses by Richard Speck. The first time I heard it, it gave me chills.,_Sage,_Rosemary_and_Thyme

    • the strangling scene reminded me of the movie Vanilla Sky

  8. Glad to see Joan giving Greg the send-off he deserved, and loved Peggy’s extortion scene!

    Interesting scene with Peggy, Dawn and the purse. I understand the sentiment about not wanting to appear as if you don’t trust a black person with your purse full of money. However, when I saw this scene, I thought about all the share houses I’ve lived in, when you NEVER leave your purse in the common area overnight, and leaving valuables next to someone you don’t know very well would make me uncomfortable. So for me, this was a poorly executed point, and could have been done better.

    • Agree. I wouldn’t leave my billfold with $2000 in it (rough equivalent) on the coffee table with my best friend there. Why tempt fate (and them), when there’s no need. It was put there to prove a point ({Peggy can overcome her racist impulses)…but the fact it it would be stupid for anyone to leave that much cash out for anyone, especially someone you don’t know very well, whatever their race.

      • They’ve mentioned dollar amounts a couple of times this season, so I thought to look up how much Peggy’s $400 was worth on

        $400.00 in 1966 had the same buying power as $2,838.64 in 2012.

        Annual inflation over this period was 4.35%.

        Yep worth working all weekend for! The initial amount Roger offered her was:

        $10.00 in 1966 had the same buying power as $70.97 in 2012.

        Annual inflation over this period was 4.35%.

        Not really that much incentive… I find it interesting that Roger walks around with that much money in his pockets, ready to bribe his employees. Was that normal? It seems a lot, but then they didn’t have electronic banking in those days, so maybe it was necessary.

        • It wasn’t normal; Harry remarked that no one carried that much cash.

          • Thanks for reminding me of that. Which leaves an interesting question, why is Roger carrying around that much cash? (sorry if this has been discussed before) Is it to make himself feel powerful and superior during a time when he holds little real influence over the runnings of SCDP? Don was able to convince Peggy to stay back on her birthday, with no monetary incentive. Roger needs to bribe her to get that kind of ‘dedication’, and seems to realise this is the only thing he has over her.

    • totally.

      Someone once came round to a house i shared, stole £50 and the housemates knickers.

      It’s that she eyed up Dawn for a second that ruined it, if she’d just picked up the bag and gone, probably no one would have noticed.

  9. Despite some very serious and dark happenings I found this to be a really beautifully composed and even fun episode. Wonderful contrasts – dark/light, serious/humorous, day/night, demons/angels, sleeping/waking, Jeckel/Hyde made this episode my favorite of S5 so far.

    There were other threads too of course. We got to see good and bad specifically developed in a couple of moms – nobody is all one thing or the other on this show. Mystery Date also continued to develop an ongoing MM thread about bargaining, negotiation and duress. This show does an extremely good job allowing complex characters play poker against each other but knowledge and information are the cards and relative positions vary. The stakes can be high. Especially good players like Peggy and Sally know how to drive a bargain but watch out because when a strong character when seemingly cornered by another’s position of power they may raise the stakes and strike back ferociously.

    I have to say that I didn’t expect this season to be so wickedly funny (seriously, when will the next accordion and bag of Bugles turn up? Stan is proving to be a new favorite) We know these characters so well now that these fine writers can really notch up the humor and I’m loving that.

    I won’t be able to chat much this week but I’m looking forward to reading all the good insights because the material was excellent!

  10. I think that Joan and Lane, who is still not happy at home, will become more drawn together, rather than Joan and Roger. And, of course, Lane has no idea that the baby is actually Roger’s, nor even of Joan and Roger’s previous history. Things will happen.

    • That’s what I suspected.

    • I was thinking same as well. I think Joan is tired of “boys” and Lane seems like a perfect foil for Roger and Greg. OTOH, some of Lane’s behavior has been less than mature; the hookers, the Playboy bunny, the infidelity, the drunkenness, as much as it seems part of the times. It’s hard to imagine Joan and Lane together, but I’ve seen stranger pairings in real life, so anything’s possible.

    • I think it’s true that Joan has never really been able to talk seriously to Roger about what’s going on inside her. He’s confessed stuff to her (about Mona and LGJ and Margaret’s wedding), but she has always seemed to feel like she could never really let her hair down around him, that he wouldn’t take her seriously. Lane takes her seriously. And Lane’s wife is just one big pile of awful; Jane has never been shown to be guilty of anything but being under 25, and Roger now hates Jane for the very same reasons he married her. IOW, Roger is not capable of real, mutual intimacy; Lane is, even if he’s acting out a bit now because he’s so miserably mismatched.

    • i couldn’t agree more…last season when lane said something about “not swooning over her like every other man…” (sic), i remember thinking that it was an example of that lane doth protest too much…(i think i may have written something along those lines on bok, but i’m not sure)…anyway, lane is far too aware of joan’s feminine charms and presence not to be interested in her, and now that joan sees that lane regards and respects her mind/business sense as very few have done ever done in the past, i think it’s only a matter of time before their attraction starts to play out…

  11. Oh and what a perfect episode to make another link to Twin Peaks? Hello and a probable goodbye to Madchen Amick – glad to see that Don didn’t do you in after all!

    I still think Andrea’s initial visit to Chez Draper may have actually happend – my wife strongly disagrees.

    • I’m with your wife! Seems highly improbable, for reasons I stated above.

    • Megan told Don the next morning she came home right after and was with him the whole night. It was definitely dark outside when Don pushed Andrea out the door so it could not have happened. I do want to rewatch it and look at the nail polish color of the hands that were on him when he was dreaming. I am thinking that it was Megan’s hands but the only way to know that is if you look at the nail polish color on Andrea and Megan in the elevator.

      • I’m inclined to think you guys (and my wife) are right but I need to rewatch. The whole hidden door-service elevator thing seemed weird too. I didn’t catch the nail polish – good idea.

        Regardless, Don’s demons were tracking him down in the form of Andrea and it is not a coincidence that Megan took on a light and angelic appearance when she appears in the morning with the breakfast tray.

        There is a great Hemmingway quote that came to mind when thinking about this episode: “It is easy to be hard boiled about everything in the daylight but at night it is another thing . . . “

    • No doubt many clues were left to firmly establish whether the intital visit was real or dreamt. My first thought was – “how does she know where Don lives?” – then quickly rationalized – “she must be a stalker!”

      Those requirements alone put the initial visit in the realm of unlikely. In the absence of DVR copy and this blog – I’d vote “delirium”.

      • Jahn, in NYC in 1966 unlisted phone numbers were not common. So if “Andrea Rhodes” had ask Information, she would have been given Don’s home phone number. Who knows, Don might have received his new number in time for it to be included in a freshly printed phone directory, which would also reveal his street address.

        • How cool is this, C Carroll: in a google search ‘1966 unlisted phone numbers’ in an attempt to find out how common they were, your post comes up second! Good job with the search engine optimalization, BOK!

      • She also would not have known that he was home in the middle of the day. Plus, even if she was real and had shown up by looking him up in the book, that would still qualify as a special kind of stalker crazy to leave work in the middle of the day to show up unannounced at an old one night stand’s new home that he shares with the wife he just introduced you to… it’s all too many coincidences unless we’re willing to accept from the outset that she’s a bunny-boiler type.

  12. “That women’s lives are restricted by the threat of rape and violence is not a “period detail.” It’s a reality that women live with every day, and that men often don’t notice. So often, I’ve been in offices, making little pacts with other women to walk one another out, while the men assume we’re overreacting, or don’t pay attention. We women are bounded about by violence and the threat of violence, sexualized violence made light of, as if it’s erotic, as if it’s exciting, as if it’s a dirty fever-dream like semi-willing sex with a former lover you then strangle. But it’s none of that. It’s real and confining and we tiptoe around it. Every. Damn. Day. Like Peggy. Like Dawn.”

    YES. Thank you for this. The daily fear of violence women live with needs to be discussed and dealt with more in our society…maybe then it can start to get better. Maybe then we won’t be constrained to move through life like whole people, undeterred by the threat of our bodies being perpetrated. Thank you for pointing out that this period detail made salient by a horrific murder and its news-story aftermath is an era-spanning, real life problem. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • The episode also made me think of backlash and consequences to women’s independence. You leave the home – whether you’re a student nurse or a secretary – you might get punished. We saw all these women standing up for themselves this episode (Peggy with Roger, Joan with Greg, Megan THANK GOD with Don), so we also have to see fear and violence.

      It can also tie in with the fairytale thing: here’s what could happen to you when you disobey your parents/dream above your station/leave the village.

      • Although the themes of violence against women were clearly present, I thought it was interesting how they were juxtaposed with a very clear indication of the then-percolating women’s movement. Although we see women scared and hear about them being victimized (and wasn’t Peggy’s nervous walk through the office a precursor of dream-Andrea’s untimely end?) we also see women acting in control and in the new Mrs. Draper we see our first example of a new kind of woman.

        It is clear that Megan is a very different woman from Betty, despite only being about 10 yrs younger. She calls Don on his bullsh*t, basically orders him home to rest from his cold and made it clear, or so I thought, in the elevator scene that she has a sexual past (the line about meeting her former “coworkers” in other parts of time to me was Megan’s way of saying “I have a past too, you know, but we don’t keep running into it”). Peggy, of course, has always been a more modern woman than most of the characters, and in this episode we see her acknowledging that for the first time. She also takes control in the Roger scene (and Elisabeth Moss reveals in the behind-the-scenes video that she was deliberately acting like Roger in that scene). Dawn, of course, is a new modern force in the company (and do I detect a hint of Diahann Carroll and her role as “Julia” in Dawn? The resemblance is there, even though the TV show would not premiere for 2 more years), and even Sally is showing a new independence in her interactions (I loved her complaint that her mother and step-father had been calling Bobby at sleep-away camp and that maybe they’d call her more if she still peed her pants). But it was in Joan that we saw the most dramatic example, and didn’t we all want to cheer her when she finally acknowledged the rape?

        There was also a lot of gender-role confusion in the episode. Peggy, of course, was the “man” in the scene with Roger, and then revealed her fear of acting too much like a man to Dawn. Ginsberg ended up pitching a woman’s product, along with pantyhose wearing Stan, while Roger bribes Peggy to do the work they explicitly brought in a man to do. Andrea is portrayed as very aggressive, both in real life and the dream, and we have Pauline with her clearly phallic “burglar alarm.”

        We’ve already seen how the 60s issues of race affect this group of characters, but both Viet Nam and the feminist movement are clearly portrayed in this episode. And in true MM tradition, we see that the rise of independent women does not mean they are safe and secure – if anything it may put them at more risk (even the women murdered by Speck are taking the nontraditional role of career and feminine-centered living instead of the wife/mother role that Joan finally rejects).

        • Even Dawn’s name…a new beginning, a new day.

          • Good point!

            I love that Dawn Chambers sounds SO much like Don Draper. More of Weiner’s name play, yes, but perhaps it’ll come to signify more.

        • I would say that studying to be a nurse was a very traditional role in 1966. Up until the 60s your options were: get married and be a housewife, or be a secretary, a teacher, or a nurse.

          Sandra Day O’Connor was second in her class at Stanford Law and the only jobs she was offered upon graduation were as a legal secretary.

  13. The Vulture recap from Matt Zoller Seitz:

    As my colleague Deborah Lipp writes at Press Play, “The swirling mass of chaos that is 1966 is affecting all the characters. Divorce, Vietnam, racial tension, sexual anxiety, promiscuity, rape, violence, drugs, the generation gap: they’re all here.”

    • I was flattered by that. 🙂

    • And I remember it as a very scary time. I was 8 in 1966 and the news was on every night. I was very aware of the world seeming out of control. Vietnam, riots, anti-war rallies, civil rights marches, and hippies strung out on acid and heroin. And of course my father, who wore his hat well into the 70s along with his Brooks Brothers attire, constantly railed against the hippies. Funny, my sister-in-law who is my age, has no recollection of these events. Being raised in a smaller town in a much more conservative environment kept her in some sort of insulating bubble.

  14. Deb! This is just brilliant analysis!! I think it may be the best thing you have ever written on BoK (I’ve been reading since the beginning, tho I comment rarely). As I read, I repeatedly mentally punched the air and said “Yes!” I love the way you brought together so many of the threads of Mad Men, of identity (Don’s, Peggy’s, Joan’s), of America’s history, of feminism, of literature, of psychology. In a way, for me, this post says in miniature everything there is to say about Mad Men.

    • Elizabeth, I’m very flattered. I was very tired when I wrote it and convinced I was coming up with a weak entry. It is lovely to have my work appreciated, truly.

      • Maybe it was perfect that you were tired — maybe you were sleepy and not entirely in control of your thoughts and your subconscious wrote the post, which is perfect for an episode that is all about the subconscious…. Kidding, but maybe not entirely kidding.

  15. *Spoiler*

    FWIW, and I am not sure it means anything, but for those who remember Twin Peaks and distrust Megan…Madchen Amick was strangled with that same degree of horrible explicitness by James Spader in a nice little cult movie entitled…Dream Wife

    For just a moment I thought that was Jessica Pare under Don.

    • Sorry, Make that Dream Lover, 1993, but it is mostly about a marriage. There are a lot of interesting parallels, but maybe it was just that Amick did the “getting strangled” very well.

    • For a few moments there I was afraid that Don would wake up and find himself strangling (or having strangled) Megan by mistake in his delerium.

      • Same here. On second viewing, I noticed that when Megan arrives in the a.m. with o.j., Don looks down off the edge of the bed, and while there is no dead lady leg in red shoe, there IS a small bright yellow triangle of fabric. I rewound and watched again, closer to the teevee, with my glasses on. Yup. Now, wtf. Continuity error? An intentional tweak to obsessive fans? A stray shard of Dorito stuck to the carpet?

        • Or the corner of a small pillow that happens to be the came shade as dangerslut’s dress? hm.

        • No I didn’t see that. But did you see how ugly their yellow bedspread is paired with yellow doors and orange/yellow tones all around the room. hideous <3

      • Me too, but I thought of Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky. I blanched the whole time until Megan showed up. whew!

  16. Did anyone else catch Matthew Weiner in Fresh Air recently where he said we already have been told what’s wrong with Don and Megan’s relationship because we have been told in the first episode this season? Does anyone remember how Megan’s old friend came up to her during the party and said that Megan got great tips because she was a great actress? And then Megan leans over don and says “nobody loves Dick Whitman”. Maybe she’s right. She doesn’t love him either and she’s just a great actress who’s working on a plan of her own.

    • Whoa. How would you imagine that playing out?

    • Oh, I don’t know.

      Watch Megan with feverish Don again: hand on the shoulder, the forehead. Kissing the hand. “Sweetie, go home.”

      That woman loves her husband. He’s one lucky guy.

    • I think that if I go back and look for the problem, it is the age gap. Don is 40 and she is 26. The first episode, he is staring at her laughing with her friends. He is told that they aren’t laughing at you. In another episode, she wants them to go hang out with her friends and he does not. This is the decade where anyone over thirty wasn’t to be trusted. Megan will get tired of sitting at home and not having fun.

      • I agree, J296 — to me, the overarching problem is the age and generational gap. One of the key indicators came to me this way: if Don was Megan’s age and she’d thrown him a surprise party, I feel that their friends would be THEIR friends, less so “his colleagues” and “her friends”. More importantly, I feel that almost everyone would approve wildly of Megan’s performance; some of that approval would come in the form of comments directly to Don AND Megan — approving comments like, “That’s one hot dish you’ve got there! Lucky, lucky man!” And then everyone would indeed go home and have sex. 😀

        (Or even stay in the apartment and have sex!)

      • Interesting…I think the age difference is too obvious and that the real problem will be that Don and Megan’s relationship is hampered by work. I think Megan is ambitious, while Don is not interested in work (he is only interested in Megan). Megan wants to have a career and Don will probably expect her to get pregnant. Like Peggy, Megan will doubt that any successes she has at work are due to her own ability compared to the fact that everyone knows she is married the boss. Megan wants to be respected by her co-workers for more than marrying the boss, but she underestimated how her co-workers would view her singing birthday tribute to Don. In the latest “inside” video on the AMC website Megan confirms that she and Don are “crazy” for her other in terms of their attraction, which transcends their age gap. If it was up to Don, all they would do is stay in their apartment and have sex, but we already know that Megan stands up to Don and he actually listens to her when he does, which means that unlike his other relationships (except with Rachel) he does respect Megan.

  17. Oh my God! I just got a chance to watch this…still absorbing.

  18. My apologies if this was mentioned before, but Andrea reminded me of Bobbie. Season 2, Bobbie tells Don she wanted the Don Draper treatment. That caused him to tie her up and leave her there and we never see her again. Also, there was an obvious parallel between Andrea and Sally (both bodies underneath a piece of furniture). I could have sworn there was a parallel between Bobbie and Sally.

    • She reminded me of a younger Bobbie (S2) too. Maybe in his dream, Don was mixing Bobbie with Andrea.

    • Good catch. I can see Bobbie. I thought of the prostitute from season 4, too. Didn’t Andrea seem a bit too forward with Don in the elevator, even for a former lover? Perhaps Andrea was someone he was with when he was drinking heavily and making a bunch of bad choices?

      • Because Megan was as far from Don as the elevator allowed, Andrea had no way of knowing she was Don’s wife.

        If Andrea actually had a day job when she was doing Don, it is possible she would greet him that way.

        • Gottcha, I can see that. Also, I didn’t catch what Megan said to Don in the elevator. Something about “…it couldn’t have been Betty’s fault?” does anyone know to what she was referring?

          • I thought she said something like “you can’t blame THAT on Betty…” I got the impression that Megan was growing more and more aware that Don had probably cheated on Betty–much more than once–while he was married to her.

            She seemed to be noticing that there were some problems in the Don-Betty marriage that weren’t all Betty’s fault.

            We have NO IDEA how Don explained his divorce to Megan. Maybe he said “when I told her about Dick Whitman she couldn’t handle it and left me.” While that wouldn’t be entirely false, it is certainly NOT the full story.

            Anyway, she is getting the impression that Don was romantically involved with a fair number of women, some of them from before his divorce (he said I was divorced in referenced to Faye and another woman).

            That’s why Megan was saying “you’re married to ME now” and she wanted him to know that she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of him treating their marriage the way he appeared to treat his marriage to Betty. She doesn’t want him to cheat on her.

  19. Great episode and great post as always Deb. As for hiding the bed, it did work in the case of that one poor survivor and literally everyone who hid under the bed in the episode really did survive (Andrea who wasn’t really killed, it was just a bad, fever dream) and little Sally,despite being scared made it through the night too. I couldn’t blame the kid for being scared though, what would posses the Francis’ to buy such a big, scary gothic, dark monstrosity of a house to raise kids in?

    As an aside, we now know that Mrs. Francis the elder is super creepy so maybe that is why Henry’s always been kinda creepy (IMHO). I found her behavior about seeming worried about the kids being afraid of Betty last season but now trying to scare poor Sally out of her wits. Though maybe trying to scare her was done at was punishment for trying to read the paper when she was told not to and when she was eaves dropping on her phone call, which is pretty sick and sort of the opposite of her original goal to keep the news from Sally, presumably, so she wouldnt’ be scared. It was also weird how she first told Sally that children were not supposed to look at the paper and mind their elders, but then chastized her for not acting like an adult would, which made me yell at the tv “lady, she’s only 12!” I wonder if Henry and his siblings were as scared of her as she claimed Sally, Bobby and Baby Gene were of Betty as kids and she was largely projecting.

    That scene with Dawn and Peggy really got me, I felt like they were really bonding and Peggy might actually have a work female friend (not a frenemy ala Joan), but I don’t think that is going to happen now. She looked really embarrased when Peggy did that quick look from her to the purse. Yeah, I get what some people are saying about not wanting to leave all that money with a stranger but Dawn didn’t know she the modern equivalent of nearly $3K in her bag and I know from personal experience that it really hurts when someone you thought you were kind of hitting it off with pulls something like that on you becuase, even for that one instance you are just reduced to all of the bad sterotypes of you as a black person. Whatever the intentions were, it hurts and for me, it has gotten me to put up a lot more walls than I used to have because I’ve been on the receiving end quite often.

    I’m definitely down with the idea that Don and Andrea was all a dream. As I said on the open thread, I think Don was subconsciously trying to kill his philandering ways but we cannot know yet if it will stick. Before the killing part and then Megan walking in the next morning I kept saying outloud to myself and the cat, “Is he dreaming?” “NO DON!!!!!” “PLEASE LET THIS BE A DREAM” “This has got to be a dream, no way they are going to throw a murder into this thing.” Was very relieved when Megan walked in and even more so when I watched the video with Matt Weiner on the AMC website talking about the dream. As you can tell, I did lots of yelling at the tv last night! 🙂

    • It was interesting how Pauline told Sally that she was a child by saying the newspaper wasnt for children yet she wanted Sally to be more ‘adult’.

      Poor Sally is seriously confused.

    • The Dawn/Peggy scene was very painful and made me sad for them both. I think Peggy had a genuine and generous urge when she offered to take Dawn home. And (with the help of the beer) she seemed to be genuinely opening up, seeing something of herself in Dawn. And, though we don’t know much about her yet, Dawn does seem to be in the same position as 1960 Peggy. This may be her first prolonged contact with white people, and, though she obviously has the drive and conficence to apply for work at this all-white downtown company, she’s still learning how to navigate in foreign territory (Harlem and Bay Ridge are both different worlds from white-collar Manhattan). At this point, she may have seen enough at the office to figure that Peggy is okay, and trusted her enough to go home with her (though she may have begun to wonder when the conversation turned to Peggy asking if she acted like a man, especially if she’d noticed that Joyce kisses “Pegasus” [love that nickname!] on the lips when she drops by.)

      When Peggy lapses into a moment of racist stereotyping, and they both realize it, it’s just crushing for them both, There’s no way for Peggy to take it back, no matter how much she regrets it, and no way for Dawn to unremember it.

      • Peggy acknowledges that they’re not in quite the same situation “but I was also the only one like me for a long time”, so she understands some of what Dawn might be feeling at work, which Dawn seem to acknowledge by a little nod of the head.

      • Yeah, it’s irreparable. And yet, I do really give Peggy credit for not scooping up her purse. She suppressed her vile impulse. We can’t always help having vile impulses.

    • I’m sorry you’ve had your own personal experience with what Dawn had with the purse, and I agree that it would hurt from her perspective. To clarify, it wasn’t my intention to dismiss the real problems you, Dawn and others would have. I thought that in that instance, the point about overcoming racial prejudice was poorly scripted, but it seems that it was well scripted for you.

      As an aside, I do think Dawn knew about the money, because Peggy made an aside about having plenty of cash. I forget the exact quote, but it implied that she’d told Dawn about her conversation with Roger.

      • It’s curious – there have been many comments about Peggy and Dawn ‘bonding’ during the scene in Peggy’s apartment but I saw something slightly different. Especially at that time but even in the present, under the pretense of bonding, some white people use black people as a screen on which to discuss their own perceptions and problems. It’s self-reflexive, not seeing the human being in front of you, though it may be unconscious.

        Peggy thought she was showing interest but she was basically talking about herself. Not that Dawn would have responded to Peggy, no matter what she did – Dawn had alot to lose if she let her guard down, at least that may have been how she was feeling. And it must be hard to hear that the two experiences are similar when in fact, they’re only partially similar. It’s not the first time Dawn has heard this – remember the remark by Harry?

        And yet I feel for Peggy, too. She clearly has no women friends to talk with about these issues, and it’s possible that, at this point, she’s wrestling with her own sexuality. She has a boyfriend in Abe, so she can’t be as ‘manish’ as she thinks she’s perceived, but that friendship with Julie, that kiss? It’s odd. And her choice of clothes, hairstyle and demeanor is beyond thinking you should act more mannish at the office. Maybe Peggy is bisexual. Maybe it’s just confusion because there were very few models for young women who wanted to have careers in 1966, and Peggy is really alone in the office. Faye may have been the one role model Peggy could have learned from – she even said that to Faye.

  20. I obviously didn’t proof read well for my last post, my apologies.

  21. Did anyone else notice Sally’s vocal fry while on the phone with Don? It really, really bugged me and seemed a little bit anachronistic. Background:

    Now that I got that off my chest, WOW what an episode. Horror everywhere. Deborah & everyone else here has said everything I would say. Just wow.

    • Yes, her vocal fry really distracted me. Jessica Pare sometimes lapses into that, too, and it snaps me right out of the period.

      • Actually, I’m so used to associating the constant vocal fry with how the women in Montreal speak, that Jessica Pare’s lack of doing so makes me think that she’s really putting on an accent for the Americans, something that I imagine would be very likely from that time period. Don’t know how they spoke in Montreal in the 50s/60s though.

    • what also struck me about sally on the phone was when she says something like, “it Is friday!’ it reminded me of the episode when betty yells at a hung-over don, “it IS sunday!” just a little parallel for mother/daughter.

  22. As a not-even-sorta-closeted gay man, my gaydar needle was in the red zone all thru Greg’s exchange with the soldier at the restaurant. It seemed there was a whole lot not being said by both.

    • I think you’re on to something here.

      Gail did say to her daughter, “Who knows what he’s done?” There are so many ways we can take that; your observation seems more likely than most.

      Good catch, Agnes!

    • i didn’t get a ‘gaydar’ feel at all from that scene..i got from the exchange that greg enjoyed being in the position of authority and demanded respect, and that’s why he turned that idea on the overly familiar waiter and made the point about how he would soon be answering to the military or something of that idea. more than anything, greg likes to feel superior, and when he’s challenged, he likes to bully people and put them in what he sees as their place. he got off on joan and his parents seeing him as the man in charge. after he was humiliated by his failure as a surgeon, greg continues to need to feel like he has power.

      • There can be an erotic, even homoerotic, charge to having men respect the uniform without it being closeted homosexuality.

        • I haven’t seen it, but Deb, your comment reminds me of the joking buzz around the movie 300.

        • This is one of the many reasons traditionally the military has such firm regulations against fraternization. In a wonderful yet simplistic movie of the late 1950s “Operation Mad Ball” most of the plot has to do with the desire of a bunch of USA Army registered nurses (all commissioned officers) to date enlisted hospital workers. The term “fraternization” was tossed around widely.

          Understanding the concept of fraternization is often very difficult for civilians and even those who do not remember what they were taught in OCS or command school. Officers are required to avoid the appearance of favoring one person of lower rank over another.

          The situation of an Army PFC in uniform encountering an Army Captain in uniform in a civilian restaurant did not require an exchange of salutes, nor did it prohibit the exchange. I admit that during my career as a USMC Reserve officer I seldom wore my uniform in a civilian restaurant. When I ate on a base it would have been in an officers club or open mess. In my opinion Captain Harris violated regs in the way he greeted the PFC. The conversation was gratuitous, unnecessary, and gave the impression of impropriety. Proof of that is all the discussion about homoerotic overtones. Chances are if Greg had just returned the salute, as he was required to do, with a simple, “Good Evening, Private” there would be no suspicion he was inviting some sort of inappropriate contact.

          To me this sort of thing is far more important that worry if Greg’s decorations were correct. It would not be legal to show a uniform as a costume that was absolutely correct. Also, when Greg Harris storms out of the apartment his uniform cover is in the crook of his left arm, but he is carrying his luggage with his right hand, thus encumbering it, in violation of regulations. But this is Mad Men, with its logic and maybe we should not pick nits.

          • Terrific points – thank you! I definitely was feeling the awkwardness of their conversation. I don’t know from Regulations, but their entire exchange was a creepy PDP (public display of power) – that’s what Greg deals in. And as is the case so often with people who believe themselves powerless, they go the route of the tyrant. I’m thinking specifically of the Lucky Strike client who had Sal fired.

  23. That was quite possibly the darkest episode of “Mad Men” to date with the Richard Speck theme providing a horrific backdrop for Don’s fever dreams, Sally’s introduction to perscription drugs, and the dissolution of Joan’s marriage. The awkward moment in Peggy’s apartment was positively cheerful in comparison.

    Not that the episode was without humor. The scene in the Italian restaurant with the accodion player’s ill timed serenade had me chuckling and watching Peggy strip Roger of his cash was a delight although I feel bad for Mr. Sterling as he’s put out to pasture.

  24. This was a great episode and a great use of choice as a theme. I also enjoyed the symbolism provided by fairy tales, doors, and shoes.
    Fairy tales-I remember the Mystery Date game from childhood and I also remember thinking that it was kind of silly to win or lose depending on which random person might show up when the tiny door was opened. The idea of some prince charming on the other side of the door is an old fairy tale that is starting to lose its grip in this episode. Sally, Don, Joan, and Peggy all experience their own “mystery date” of sorts. These unexpected, unwanted or unfortunate encounters proved to be “duds” three out of four times.
    Doors-The episode starts with elevator doors and the doors never stop opening and closing for the next hour. Even Pauline’s creepy description of the murders mentions the nurses opening the door to their killer. Fake Andrea keeps popping in and out of doors-turning up like the “bad penny” that she mentions when she first sees Don. Greg came in through the apartment door and then proceeded to slam doors, threaten to kick down the bedroom door, and point Gail and baby Kevin toward the door like a bouncer. Peggy finds Dawn after opening the door to Don’s office. I loved the scene where Pete opens the door on Roger reclining like a vampire on the white chair. Roger even rises like a vampire the minute Pete closes the door.
    Shoes-Shoes were everywhere as well-the pitch to the shoe company, the Cinderella references, Don kicking off his shoes as he falls feverishly into bed, Peggy’s feet up on the desk displaying some really nice green heels. When dreaming Don strangles fake Andrea, she struggles, losing a shoe. Only her leg and one shoe are visible as Don climbs back into bed.
    The Mystery Date game was a version of the Cinderella story. Just as the prince wins the girl simply because the shoe fits, Mystery Date players are stuck with whoever is on the other side of the door. The implication is that the perceived weaker person is stuck with whoever shows up with absolutely no choice.
    Andrea, Greg, and Pauline were the predatory villains disguised as heroes who could provide some form of deliverance. Don and Joan made the choice to reject the predator behind the door.
    Peggy and Dawn may have begun a new friendship, but I doubt it. Even though Peggy chose to leave the purse behind, Dawn knew what she was thinking and you could almost feel the door start to close.
    Not everyone in this episode could choose. Backed into a corner by his own negligence, Peggy reminded Roger that he is “being very demanding for someone with no choice.” Sally certainly did not choose to spend time with damaged Pauline, a wicked step grandmother if there ever was one. Sally survives by hiding and we worry about her. Roger…well, we will just have to see if he survives or not. He seems to be running out of hiding places.

    • i mentioned this on the other thread, but it goes with your fairy tale ideas…which i LOVE…i thought the costume design choice of joan’s negligee was great with its criss-cross bodice that is so reminiscent of the peasant style dresses all the fairy tale princesses wear…like all of the princesses before her, i guess joan “finally woke up ” from her long sleep of greg and was liberated!

      i also loved that pauline threatened that sally could be sent to her room (no doubt in the tower of chez francis), and she could watch the sunset out of her window…very fairytale in style!

      • I love this observation about the negligee, very astute. I didn’t catch that at all.

      • Great catch Claudia-I didn’t notice the nightgown but you are so right! And the “watching the sunset from your bedroom” comment reminded me of Rapunzel in her tower. In fact, this episode made me think of some of the themes in the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods”, especially the Pauline/Sally scenes. This was especially true when Pauline talked about her abusive father and how Richard Speck hated his mother

  25. who is the woman that came into the office and kissed Peggy on the mouth?

    • That’s Peggy’s friend Joyce, an out-of-the-closet lesbian. Peggy met her last season (she works for Time-Life, in the same building as SCDP),and was in several episodes during Season 4.

    • That is Peggy’s friend Joyce, who appeared in several S4 episodes. She is played by Zosia Mamet, who was in Juno.

      • wellll she wasn’t in Juno, but I recognized her as Marshalls fake gf from United States of Tara

        • Sorry, I had the funny/slutty friend from Juno (Olivia Thirlby) mixed up with the funny/slutty friend from The Kids Are All Right (Zosia Mamet).

          • I know it’s off topic but I don’t like when women (or men) say “slutty.” I know you didn’t mean anything by (and that you’re talking about fictional characters) it but it’s a destructive word. And since we are watching a feminist show together I think we can allow females in other shows we watch to make their own sexuality choices without judgement. 😉

            • I appreciate your comment. It’s a word I use in a “reclaimed” manner, the way, for example, Bitch Magazine uses “bitch,” but I recognize many people aren’t comfortable with it.

  26. Possibly because I’ve never had any first- or second-hand experience of “fever dreams”, just read about them in books, I didn’t think of it as a dream until almost the very end. I was certainly puzzled why and how Andrea kept coming back to torment Don, but i was actually willing to grant she might be an obsessive who kept finding ways to do so. She reminded me of the prostitute Don had hired to slap him, but was evidently another woman he knew years ago. The really well-portrayed element was Don’s own feelings, which remain valid, dream or no dream. He desperately wanted her to leave him, because he desperately did not want to betray Megan as he used to betray Betty (it clearly wasn’t only that he feared being discovered, he really did not want it to happen), yet so distrusted himself that he knew he might succumb – which is precisely what happened. When she said something like “You *know* you want it!” he shuddered and gave way to temptation tellingly. It’s only when he not only started but *continued* strangling her as the only way to get out of this, that my doubts overcame me. For a tiny moment, I thought “What!? An over-the-top, baroque horror soap opera development? This stuff happens on Breaking Bad, not Mad Men! Could it be?” and by that time he had stuffed her under the bed with her legs showing – No. Can’t be. And then Megan appears with the evidence gone. But I cam close to believing it.

    In retrospect, the strangulation was not only desperation. I think it showed self-hate, that Don really fears and can’t handle his incredible need to philander, even though it’s the last thing he consciously wants to do at this moment. He was always told he was Bad, as a boy. He believes it. Well, unless the strangulation “kills off” this desire. I don’t believe that myself. I think it’s still there, and he still needs to deal with it.

    • I was unnerved by the dream. Of course, it was just a dream. We all dream terrible things that do not come to pass. We sometimes do weird things in dreams that we would NEVER do in real life.

      As some people do things under the influence they would never do sober or with a clear mind.

      But what creeped me out is that –somewhere lurking within Don is the capacity for murder.

      What was the provocation?

      He was so full of hatred for what he had DONE–for the provocation he could not resist–that he “needed” to murder the witness to protect his marriage and his self-image.

      This sounds too close to a lot of abusive or murderous men who feel entitled to “punish” or take the lives of women who are “bad” –when the badness is often the men’s own feelings projected onto the woman.

      In the dream, it was a panicked, “purifying” killing to prevent Megan from finding out that he’d been tempted past his endurance. It was the punishment of the “naughty woman” who “made” him do it–who “asked for it.” She was the shallow, beautiful kind who wasn’t pretending to love him but who wanted to get him to be naughty with her. So she had no intrinsic value.

      One massive problem that was partially displayed in Episode 1: Don still likes to have daring and naughty sexual encounters–even during work time–but the presence of his wife both at work and at home makes it very difficult to have the double life he was used to in the past. The short-term solution (and possibly the long-term one as well) is that Megan plays both parts. She plays the taungting lover at work and the wife at home (with an angry cleaning lady edge). She titialates him in both locations. She flip-flops between being provocative cleaning lady and sweet wife.

      At work, he was chasing Megan around to flash him. He went home in the middle of the day to make love to the angry cleaning lady who PROVOKED him. That scene with Megan at the end was disturbing for many viewers.

      Some were lulled back into accepting it because “they are married, it is consensual, they both enjoy it, and this is a mutually agreed upon intimate encounter.”

      But part of me wonders if this is Megan’s “natural, relaxed, happy” personality that likes playing the angry cleaning lady, or if this is Megan the actress who is shrewd enough to act these parts to keep her husband entertained, intrigued and to keep him from straying? Perhaps it was her original style–perhaps she was able to act the part because she learned over time that that was what worked with Don?

      Joan seemed to indicate that she had done some play-acting with her husband Greg. She played the part to make him feel like a man. Why? Because she wanted him to be happy while married to her, so they would grow closer and more like a partnership? Because she didn’t want him to stray? Because this is something that women have done to varying degrees for centuries? In the end, this play-acting to please Greg was too much for Joan. Why do it?

      To what extent could Megan’s play acting be something she feels pressure to do? Either because Don wants her to do it, or because she feels pressure from all these beautiful exes to keep Don satisfied so he won’t stray??

      I think the Angela encounter in the elevator was genuinely difficult for someone like Megan. She doesn’t want to be perceived as overly jealous and suspcious, to hover, or to nag. That isn’t the kind of woman she wants to be, nor is it her natural tendency. She doesn’t want to be like ‘horrible Betty.’ But she isn’t “totally crazy” that there seem to be a string of women her husband has enjoyed sexually–and they are not all “crazy evil Betty” — they share elevators downtown. And perhaps their existence calls into question the “nasty, angry Betty” story. I think it would be 100% normal to feel uncomfortable if I were in Megan’s shoes. But she KNOWS she cannot act too suspicious without it impacting her marriage, so she has to express her discomfort in a way that gets her feelings out and then lets them both move on without over-fixating on it.

      Anyway–my big worries:

      1. How long will Don be totally satisfied with Megan’s play acting and her games at work and home? In the long-run, will that be an adequate alternative to the REAL thrill of sneaking around that he used to enjoy? Yes, Joan was talking to Roger, but “the sneaking around is men’s favorite part.” Does that hold true for Don?

      2. Will Megan be able to control her worry, suspicions and jealousy? Now that she has more reasons to worry about him, will she be able let it all go indefinitely?

      3. Don’s dream…some have said that Don killed his philandering past. That’s a very hopeful take on the dream. My impression was darker. Don was overpowered by the taunting, beautiful woman. He enjoyed the memory Angela brought up of sneaking backsage while his wife was in the audience. For me, it was like part of Don really wanted to remenisce about that encounter–and the memory of that encounter still really turned him on. So even though Don in the dream kept protesting the provocation of Angela until he couldn’t help it (maintaining his own sense of goodness, he was a victim, he didn’t want to) Don the creator of the dream and it’s events wanted the thrill and the catharsis of making her “force him.” So he indulged in the fantasy, while projecting all the blame onto the woman. Then–afterwards–since it was all the woman’s fault– dream Don’s way of cleansing himself of blame and guilt and getting caught was to kill the naughty woman who made him do it–the woman who was designed to look 100% naughty. It was like Don was the Cinderella being chased by Ginsburg’s prince with the shoe. Wanting to be caught?

      It makes me worry about the future.

      In the past, Betty lived way out in the suburbs and rarely came downtown. There were very few ways she could learn about his daliances, especially if the women on the side had no contact with her and didn’t want to. If the women on the side were trustworthy and reliably likely to keep their mouths shut, he felt safe. It was their “job” to be the woman on the side, to not seek more than that.

      But his confidence in his ability to keep a secret has been shaken.

      1. Bobbie Barrett let out that Don had a reputation among certain women, and that really bugged him. He was upset. It was after that that he tied her up.

      2. Jimmy Barrett really did drop word to Betty, and that was extremely disruptive to his marriage to Betty. It may have been something Don saw–in retrospect–as the first real blow to the marriage.

      3. Betty eventually REALLY DID LEAVE HIM.

      So even if he used to feel a sense of infallibility back in previous seasons, the reality of his divorce can hardly be shrugged aside so easily. The possibility of Megan actually leaving him will seem more real than the possibility of Betty leaving used to feel.

      So if he is going to have hot, secretive, naughty dangerous sex on the side—with a woman other than Megan–how is he going to be extra careful THIS TIME that his secret stays a secret?

      One option would be: don’t have sex on the side. Be satisfied with Megan–and never even desire to stray. Great–if he can do it. Season 5 shows him starting here. The question is: can this be maintained over years and years?

      Second option: Accept not being totally satisfied all the time. Deny the urges to explore sex on the side, even if it is very tempting. This is less happy and satisfying, and it’s hard to do–Don tried this after coming home from CA, and it didn’t last. (Shelley, Suzanne).

      Another option: Cheat occassionally, but only have sex with women who are mostly strangers far away, have very low status, no power, are unlikely to see their relationship as a love match, and are unlikely to know who he is or that he is married (women like Shelley the stewardess, Doris the waitress, Candace the prostitute). These women won’t care–or can be bribed or tricked. Even if they came forward, they would be very easy to discredit.

      Another option: only dally with women who know “the rules,” who will never blab, and who want independence just as much as Don. Harder to find these women or be certain. (Midge used to be one of these; Rachel was not a blabbermouth and was unlikely to say a word that would pin things on Don, though her father learned enough to express his anger to Bert).

      Another option: find someone who is so head-over-heels that she accepts her position of “side girl who keeps the secret” and won’t want to displease Don or rock the boat (Suzanne?). Better if the woman’s reputation would also be damaged by disclosure.

      Women like Bobbie, Angela, Faye, Alison, and so on… these women appear dangerous. Bobbie blabbed to friends. Angela ignored caution (at least in the dream) and didn’t seem to care if Megan found out. Faye wouldn’t be likely to “follow the rules” and demurely hide their affair from his wife. Alison broke down under the stress, and accused him of being a bad person–to the point she didn’t care if she caused a scene or embarrassed Don and herself.

      The option that appeared in his dream in regards to dangerous women was scary–if you can’t help yourself and slip up with a dangerous woman, murder the woman and dispose of the evidence.

      It could all be weird fever dream fantasy–but it is scary. It sets the tone for nasty possibilities in the future–whether or not these nasty possibilities ever show up on the program.

  27. As beloved Pegs said at Don’s party, she doesn’t do drunk well. Although, that moment wouldn’t have been avoided sober. She finds that she has the same impulses as the backward older generation, and that crushes her. Her youth doesn’t t make her any more enlightened.
    Where does Megan get off being upset at that circumstantial meeting? It happened in front her, but DD did not throw it in her face. For all her modness, she’s still a kid. Every episode she has a scene that has a certain something that defies description. Know what I mean? Off. Her theme music speaks volumes to me.
    This is sacrilege here, but I’ll say it anyway: Stan has made me forget about Sal completely.
    Funny, that Tony Soprano does not kill anyone in his test dream, but Don does.

    • In all fairness she handled it better later. She expressed her concern that Don has a big “apetite” and that wasn’t Betty’s fault and that she is worried that he will cheat on her as well.

  28. Good point, Pete, about Roger. He’s having to whip out his wallet to get people to do his bidding. Sad. He’s still keeping up his swaggering style, though…only letting Don know how he really feels.

    I thougt Peggy looked a little down upon reading Dawn’s note. Was the formality of the thank-you a signal that Dawn was setting a limit on the comraderie, despite Peggy’s soul-baring?

    Is sleeping overnight at the office a NYC thing, or an ad-agency thing? I remember Paul’s doing it, and there may have been others. My first thought was that Dawn didn’t have a home to go to. It seemed very odd to me. What about a change of clothes?

  29. Red kicking Greg to the curb was her waking up after a long dream. Even sharp kids like our Joanie are fully capable of making choices that are so bad it’s laughable. She’s much to bright to give that schleprock Roger again. Right? Please.

    • Nah, that would be trite. What would be interesting is if word got out and Roger actually helped support Kevin. Greg doesn’t strike me as the type that would have anything to do with the baby if he knew he was’t the father.

  30. Do you guys think Betty would go through the roof if she found out Pauline had given her prescription drugs?

    Although I agree that Betty overreacted about Carla letting Glen go up to Sally’s room alone to say goodbye to her. My mom would have went ballistic that a BOY went up to her DAUGHTER’S room alone without a parent present no matter if he was a nice boy or not. Carla wasnt Sally’s parent but she helped raised Sally and had looked after her since birth. Pauline Sally had known for a few years and they’re not blood related either. I know that the pill was possibly harmless but it was still a prescripted drug (sleeping pill), not an anti-biotic to cure an illness. My mom would have been upset if a non-relative would have given her young child or children sleeping pills.

    • Yes, indeed; I believe she would go through the roof. And when she does, she will have something solid to flay Pauline with — something she can take to Henry that doesn’t fall into the whine category.

      • I need some confirmation/explaining. I’ve watched the scene three times now when Henry and Betty walk in. Is it just me or does Betty seem to pick Gene up as she’s walking in the door? Like he is wandering around the house in just a diaper and a box of cereal? It’s obvious that Henry’s mom is comatose due to the sleeping pill but what about Sally? I can’t see any movement from her there under the couch. Do we know she’s okay? Sorry if I’m missing the obvious…

        • I saw little Gene wandering around, too. As far as Sally under the couch…you are correct…no movement, but it seems the consensus is that she is ok.

          • From a purely practical viewpoint, no way they’re killing off that character.

          • When I was in high school in the 1970s, I would here from time to time about people taking seconol , among other drugs.

          • you mean, the prodigy? This young lady is a remarkable actress/

        • I didn’t figure they would kill her off, I was just left wondering if this could harm her (physically.) And I wonder if Betty will confront Henry’s mom. And if Don will find out.

          It’s funny what you focus on, and take away from this show…depending on where you are in your own real life. I have a young child in elementary school and we go to a lot of meetings/forums for parents and the topic of prescription drug addiction comes up a lot. Whether it’s kids giving (or selling) other kids their ADHD meds or parents not keeping track of their Xanex, only to find their children are taking them. So when she broke that pill with her teeth and and told Sally to grab that glass of water, I was floored. Floored.

          • And, we know that at no time was the health of Kiernan Shipka put at risk.

            Absolutely no Seconal was used on the set of Mad Men. This is a requirement of the SAG contract as well as many laws. For real Seconal was never made in pill form for technical reasons. From its invention before 1934 Seconal was made as a gel cap.

            The whole point of Mad Men is to show how the creators feel about the parenting styles of some people in the NYC and Westchester County area. Obviously in 1966 there were a lot of parents who would never dream of giving a 12 year-old girl Seconal to put her to sleep.

            Today if I were the District Attorney of Westchester County and evidence was presented to me of all the actions of Pauline Francis while Betty Draper Francis was out of town, I would file charges of reckless child endangerment for leaving Gene Draper unsupervised so he could climb down at least one flight of stairs. I would file the same charge because Sally Draper was given the Seconal, to which I would add the charge of furnishing a dangerous drug to a minor under the age of 14. Back in 1966, under the laws in effect at the time, I doubt it would have been practical to bring such charges.

            My own guess is that Pauline Francis never was voted Mother of the Year nor Best babysitter of 1966.

        • I’d bet that Pauline put Gene to bed (and Sally was in bed as well) before she sat downstairs reading and eating Bugles. Gene is three years old. He could get out of bed himself the next morning and come looking for someone just as Betty and Henry come through the door. He had a box of Cheerios in his hands. He was likely hungry and wondering what was going on…

    • I would imagine that Betty will be quite upset with Pauline for giving Sally half a Seconal.

      I don’t know anything about the various dosages that Seconal was/is dispensed in, but in S-3’s Seven Twenty Three, Don is offered one by the hitchhikers he’s picked up and ends up taking at least two, as I recall. He had already been drinking when he encountered the young couple on the road and I think he also had a beer or two at the motel, but even before the young man knocked him out, Don was already pretty groggy. The drinks and being conked upside the head notwithstanding, two “reds” were plenty to dramatically affect Don, a full-grown adult.

      As for how it might affect Sally, given her age/size/weight and depending on the dosage of what she was given, it undoubtably knocked her right out. It appeared that Pauline bit the pill in half and if she took the other half. She’s a sizable lady and if she was as zonked out as Henry and Betty found her, Sally would certainly miss day camp, the following day.

      • Thanks Smiler. While I realized “no actresses were harmed in the filming of this ep,” I did wonder what effects Seconal would have on a child of Sally’s height and weight, given that Pauline took the other half, and was out to the point of non-responsiveness. I didn’t word my musings very well did I?

        • I imagine that Pauline had already taken a Seconal, and took another half in order to give half to Sally.

  31. My jaw dropped last night during the Don-Andrea scene. I was genuinely horrified. It was almost too much. I kept thinking, ‘oh no, please be a dream, please be a dream.’

  32. Faylyn you are spot on about Dawn and the formality of her note. Nicely done. Left it right on the bag too. Pow.

    • Kudos to you, sir, for noticing that delicious detail of the placement of the note. Now that’s funny.

  33. The idea of what it means to know someone really came to the forefront of this episode for me. Megan seems to know Don – he’s told her more than really any person he’s ever met. She knows of Dick, she knows about Betty, Faye, his past indiscretions. He’s been very forthcoming with most information it seems. But just because someone tells you everything about themselves, do you know them? And how else can you know someone besides the information they give you?

    I have to jump to Peggy, and say that while she has not had Don divulge much about his upbringing, other identity, past girlfriends/wives….she knows him. I’m not sure how that happened, but she just does. So how does that happen? I don’t really have an answer for that, but it’s something I thought about during this ep.

    Don’s hallucination seems to be his fear of being known, really known, more than just cheating again and screwing things up with Megan. So I guess for Don to heal these horrid thoughts and self-hatred, he just wants to be known, but how is that going to happen?

  34. Thank you, thank you for clearing up so much of this episode! Well done! I loved it, especially the creepy, Alford Hitchcock-like feel of the episode, but I didn’t quite understand all the nuances. You cleared up a lot. Thank you, too, for mentIoning that Betty looked thin, I thought so too, but she was only shown for a moment and my eyes had just picked up Sally, like a “where’s Waldo” moment!

  35. Don’t understand the fascination regarding baby Gene’s possible death, ever since he was born. Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t premiere for 2 more years. That kid was not the death knell of that marriage. He actually gave it hope. Albeit, a false one.

  36. (I left this comment on the indiewire site, but I’ll crosspost it here too because this is where I come first :))

    It’s somewhat frustrating to see all of the recaps talk about Don being able to “choose” fidelity, or in this case, “choose to eradicate his INfidelity”. — Don’s problem and self-loathing is so much more and deeper than simply being monogamous or not (neither one is actually important or vital, but our Puritanical society makes it out to be), and it would be nice to see his deepest issues of fear and abandonment addressed. Even if he only ever slept with one woman his whole life, Don would still be an emotional mess, a trembling little kid inside a man’s body, and the effects would spill over into his life in other ways.

    • That’s valid as far as it goes, Taylor, but in addition to the obvious read of “sex addiction” for Don, he also uses it to drive love away. He can have anonymous, meaningless sex with women and replicate the lovelessness of his childhood. At the same time, the distance this creates from a woman who truly loves him undermines that love, and her eventual suspicion destroys it. His infidelity is a lot of what destroyed his marriage: It caused lying, absences, and emotional withdrawal. He doesn’t want that with Megan.

      • Absolutely right about Don on this. Mystery Date shows Don almost literally wrestling his sex compulsion “demon” through his fever-induced hallucination. We have learned this is a much bigger deal than we could possibly know in S1 or S2. In the early days it seemed Don’s infidelity was more conventional and he was going outside his marriage looking for something that was not there at home. As we learn more it becomes clear that he was actually running away from intimacy at home with a compulsive number of hook ups.

        As Deb points out, in the past he used this compulsion (with all the lies and attendant fallout) to consciously or unconsciously undermine and destroy family/love which based on his upbringing he feels he does not deserve.

        The dreaded shoebox served the same purpose. Don at some level wanted (still wants?) to be caught. That is the reason Don’s fever-brain provides such detail with Andrea vividly describing the backstage hook up. While the danger of getting caught maybe a turn on to Don it is also evidence of his self destructive qualities.

        The interesting question is whether he can actually affect this very deep-seated issue with mere desire and will power (Don has plenty of each). Personally I suspect not.

  37. MPAN offers salient insight as to DD fearing being known down to his very core. Don deserves credit for trying to have an open relationship, but how much of his inner ugliness does he want to throw out for consumption? That was an earthquake his subconscious delivered. Will it rock him to the ‘safety’ of all the old habits?

  38. That was seriously great acting by the woman who plays Grandma Pauline. I loved how she was much more loosey goosey with Sally at the end of the evening compared to their earlier scene at the kitchen table. Pauline straddled a line between being campy and subtle, which must be tremendously difficult. It was obvious by the end of the scene that Pauline had already taken her pill.

    • Agree, agree about Pamela Dunlap’s acting chops. She is superb as Pauline. Your thought that Pauline had already taken her pill when she made her little speech about “all those young, innocent nurses in their short uniforms, stirring his desire…” gad. I hadn’t made that connection, I’ll bet you’re right. She’d already taken her Seconal, and then she gave half a pill to Sally and (as we saw) took the rest of that pill, too. No wonder she was out cold the next morning. Good catch.

  39. I have come to a conclusion about last night’s episode. If there is another one like it, I will no longer be watching Mad Men. The visuals disturbed me too much and I don’t need or enjoy that. As someone said in a post during the Open Thread, “David Lynch.” I don’t like David Lynch productions and I don’t like a TV show that is like a David Lynch movie. So — Mad Men, you’re on notice. Yes, it would be that easy to walk away. My sleep and maintaining a positive outlook are pretty important to me. More important than a TV show.

    • Lol, ok. Your choice. You will be back though 🙂

      • I don’t think so. I wasn’t happy last night. The charm of the show just evaporated the more I thought about it. I’m kind of surprised, but then again, I don’t watch much TV and don’t make it a priority.

    • @Jzzy55, sorry you feel as you do. You are entitled to watch or not watch what you like.

      For years David Lynch was one of my business partners, so I know very well he appeals to a narrow audience.

      My impression is that Mad Men is also a niche entertainment, but with a somewhat broader key demographics that “Twin Peaks” or other David Lynch productions.

      • I felt like the show veered off into something very strange and not at all to my taste. Maybe it’s the new writers or the long break that did it.

  40. This was the most grim ep yet. Jeeez, I had no clue how dark this would go, and should know better, especially when a cheery ep title appears (like “The Good News” and others)…Be warned!

    Even with the Joan/Greg blowup (and, GOOD RIDDANCE), the Pegs/Roger hilarity/sadness, Don strangling his ex-lover (I didn’t know it was a dream and was FREAKING OUT!!!)…the most disturbing part of the show for me is when an “enlightened” Ginzo says, during his soliloquy about “Cinderella being chased” part deux pitch…was “women want to be caught.”

    Richard Speck or the Handsome Prince?

    As for Pauline, I do like that the writers have shown us clearly how much she minimizes her childhood abuse. The further tragedy is, she now revisits her abuse on Seconal Sally :O(

    Loved how Don quickly closed the office kitchen cabinet after seeing the box of Life cereal!

    Mystery Date was thoroughly creepy and entertaining and disturbing, all at once. Fantastic, and my favorite of season five so far.

    • As some of us noted on the open thread, Grandma Pauline was very reminiscent of Sybil’s mother.

  41. To start a new conversation, as Don Draper suggests, what gives with Henry’s mother Pauline and the entire Francis family?

    When the character of Henry Francis was introduced in Season 3 during “My Old Kentucky Home” asking to rub Betty’s pregnant belly, Henry seemed like a well-dressed nut job.

    Then as Season 3 played out, it was implied that Henry came from a wealthy and powerful family, with mansions all over Westchester County.

    In “Public Relations” Pauline is shown as a presumed widow living in a large home, perhaps a mansion, with more than one servant. She projects the airs of a woman with an outsized sense of entitlement, perhaps the largest shown so far on Mad Men. I agreed with Pauline when she called Betty a silly woman.

    Now in “Mystery Date” Pauline is over-eating on a couch. She tells Sally a story about when she was a girl and walked past her father napping on a couch for no reason her dad kicked her across the room, saying something along the lines of “Let that be a lesson to you.”

    Let me put it to you, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, does any of that action between Pauline and her father suggest even remotely that they are a family of breeding, wealth or power? I contend that those are the action of a powerless jerk, hardly a man. If so, why did Pauline’s husband marry her? How long did it take Pauline to go from a shack to acting like she is Queen of the Manor? Did she get a full-ride scholarship to Vassar? Pauline does not speak with an upper class accent, nor has she ever made a remark any more intelligent than has Betty. Could it be that down deep Pauline is also a very foolish old crone?

    • Henry was never portrayed as wealthy. He moved furniture as a young man–not a silver spoon there! He grew up in Westchester, which has a lot of large, older homes. They are not mansions, but many are former mansions. I lived in one such Victorian in New Jersey as a kid; a magnificent house 5 bedrooms, two of which on the third floor were servants quarters in 1903. By the 1970s it was a run-down suburban home that needed massive work to be livable. It was on the “good” side of town and represented a very comfortable middle class life, but not wealth as you depict it.

      From the glimpses we’ve had of Pauline’s home, it seems like a center hall Colonial, rather ordinary for Westchester, which is full of homes built in the 18th and 19th centuries. If it was a “mansion,” there would be no need to take the leaves out of the table and take them downstairs–the room would be big enough to support the table fully extended year-round.

      • Okay, so as a young man getting started, perhaps during high school and university, he did manual labor. Lots of sons of the very wealthy made sure their sons dug ditches during elite prep school summer vacations while I was going to such a school in Connecticut. I spent two summers working in a machine shop for my favorite uncle building motion picture processing machines in The Bronx.

        So, when Henry shared about moving furniture that fit the pattern. Perhaps Pauline does not live in a Brentwood/Beverly Hills mansion.

        My point is she acted like she was “to the manor born” in “Public Relations” snapping her fingers at a cook and a maid, with a butler or footman standing in the room.

        So, where did get off acting that way when she was a generation from working class?

        How did Henry Francis, if he was not wealthy, land the important job with Governor Nelson Rockefeller? Would John Lindsay hire a man with no breeding and wealth for his publicity director? If Henry is not wealthy why did he promise Betty once she married him she would not need financial support from Don?

        • I think you misread the Francis family. It takes nothing to give orders to a maid, and lots of middle class families, particularly in those days, could afford “help” one a weekly or regular basis without actually having a “staff.” Even more people hire help just for holidays and special events.

          Henry promises Betty she would not need Don’s money precisely because Betty knows he isn’t wealthy and wants to assure her she need not worry. The conversation is about, ‘I may not have Don Draper’s money, but don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.’ Political operatives don’t actually make a ton of money. We don’t know anything about Henry’s background except what we’ve seen and heard. Neither he nor his mother have posh accents. He’s a smart guy and he is good at what he does.

          A political campaign needs “old money” people for certain kinds of schmoozing, just as Sterling Cooper needed someone like Pete Campbell. But that’s not all they need. There’s plenty of need for smart working stiffs who know how to work the angles. In general, the beautiful face with the perfect connections is the candidate, surrounded by geekier, more rumpled, and much smarter operatives. My first husband was a politician, the backroom of a campaign doesn’t have many silver spoons, that’s just the people on the posters.

          • Deborah, you bring up several fascinating points about the Francis Family.

            Okay, so if we accept that Governor Rockefeller and Mayor Lindsay depend on Henry Francis as a political operative who understands the common man, based on his family’s financial background, how are we supposed to believe that in 1966 The Junior League of Westchester County would be interested in the opinions of Pauline Francis?

            In 1966 was there a significant percentage of Westchester County Junior League members who valued the counsel of someone with the arrogance of old money and the income or a parson, such as Pauline Francis? Let us say that was not my experience with the Junior League of that era.

            Had Betty Hofstadt not fallen in love with Don Draper, and if she had remained under the influence of her mother and Bryn Mawr classmates, she probably would have joined and become active in Junior League. However, she became a model after Bryn Mawr and soon a housewife in a Manhattan apartment. At times during Mad Men Betty Draper was shown as a Junior League member, so at the event Betty Francis missed it is possible she would have been a big help to Henry. Suspending disbelief long enough to accept that Pauline was an asset to Henry and Mayor Lindsay at the event did not happen for me.

            Perhaps we were raised at different times and circumstances. Both of my parents came from wealthy and powerful families. Both by their own efforts added to their net worth. I was taught to be respectful of those serving me. It would be totally unthinkable that anyone expecting to be accepted as a lady of refinement would treat her servants as Pauline Francis did in “Public Relations” Probably some of those were hired only for the day, but in my experience hiring serving maids, cooks and butlers just for Thanksgiving Day is problematic.

            Still, this is Mad men with its own logic. Pauline can snap her fingers and hired help will rush to please her. After all, that worked out so well for Carmella on that series.

          • Maybe Henry’s Dad had the dough. His mom may have been “an indiscreation” that got pregnant with Henry. The Dad may have been the Pete Camble of his time with connections, class and money. Henry acts like a nice man who can tolerate a lot of bull. This is my humble opinion on the Francis family.

            • This is a lot of speculation based on zero information. All we know is that Henry has a high-level political position, that he got poached from one pol to another (Rocky to Lindsay), which suggests skill, with or without connections, and that he grew up in Westchester. He has never mentioned family wealth and seems to have less than Don. Everything else is pure guesswork. As I said, large homes in Westchester suggest nothing more than middle class, not wealth. I am a stone’s throw from Westchester and I know the area.

          • I cannot check this because my DVD is damaged but I believe in the episode (season 4) that Betty ends up at the same restaurant with Don and Bethany, Betty had an argument with Henry in the car on the way home. I remember her blurting something about Henry being in his mansion with servants. Anyone else recall this?

            • Yes, she did say that. Most people took it to be sarcasm, indicating that he had too little money to impress her.

    • Very good point! She did seem kind of low-class to me now that you mention it, like she’d be watching Jerry Springer and reading National Enquirer, and believing it. Perhaps she feels like she can be this way with Sally because Sally’s just a kid? Adults will behave remarkably different around children when there are no other adults in sight.

      • My classy grandpa liked to read the Police Gazette, which was a salacious rag. Trust me, rich people aren’t all reading (or only reading) the WSJ.

        • Pauline’s dad being abusive also says nothing about which class they’re from. Both rich and poor people can abuse their kids.

      • Watching Sally and Pauline on the couch made me think of that scene in S-4 with Sally and Dr Edna on the couch, playing the card game Go Fish.

        Pauline, to me, is a Dr Edna figure — in the sense that it’s Opposite Day in some Hellish parallel universe!

    • Wait, it seems as though you’re equating child abuse with the lower class, and thinking that upper class folks don’t beat their kids too. That is a dangerous assumption.

  42. It was me jzzy55. David Lynch just popped into my head at that surreal moment.

    • Right. No way I’m scrolling back through 500+ posts so I can tickle your ego, ol’ buddy. (insert wink emoticon here)

  43. So true of the “kiss of death” to Peggy an Dawn’s fledgling relationship. Once trust is martyred on the pyre, it’s hard to rekindle it. But black peple of the era were used to that sort of thing, I believe. They’ll be friends — at arm’s length. Hope Peggy doesn’t go all “patronizing” to Dawn to make up for it, though.

    • When white people get all righteous about how “nice” they are being, that’s when blacks need to be the most careful. IMO. You think Dawn doesn’t know that?

      • I don’t think Peggy is being self-righteous. This is a weird time in history where whites and blacks haven’t had much social interaction. There is no social script to play to, and with peggy being so unaware and awkward it’s no surprise she embarrassed herself. It doesn’t mean that she did anything really wrong, and she corrected herself before she really embarrassed Dawn; many people would have done a lot less (Lane). Her behavior wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t the worst either.

      • Let me elaborate: by circumstance and necessity, Dawn knows a lot more about white people than Peggy knows about black people. When someone is a danger to you and yours, you make it your business to learn their habits, thoughts, ideas and values so you can stay one step ahead of them. It’s drummed into you from an early age — how to keep yourself safe around “them.”
        Also, white culture is dominant so of course blacks see it on TV, in the newspapers, books, everywhere around them, most especially where they work. Did you see The Help? Remember the scene where Minny is explaining to her daughter how to behave as a maid — it was all cautionary stuff about what NOT to do.
        But it doesn’t work the other way. Before integration, urban blacks had their own hospitals, doctors, dentists, insurance agents, schools, bakeries, mechanics, stores, hair salons (still do) and so forth. 99% of whites knew nothing of that world, and didn’t want to know. And one of the things blacks knew was that white people were often most dangerous when they were trying to be nice, because other whites would object. Also, whites were considered by many to be untrustworthy toward blacks no matter what they said. Sadly based on 300 years of evidence.
        How do I know all this if I’m not black? I have read hundreds about books about the African-American experience — novels, history, academic stuff.

    • All I can think: Is she really my friend if I can’t trust her?

      A friend you have to keep at arms’ length is not really a friend, IMO.

  44. I am intrigued by where the Michael Ginsberg character is going. His shoe pitch reminded me so much of young Don wooing Roger into hiring him in “Waldorf Stories”. He was so smooth and self-confident. Ginsberg already broke one of the cardinal rules (dare I say he “stepped on toes 🙂 , However, Don didn’t can him, albeit gave him an authoritarian, condescending “or else” (how many of us got that line from our parents?) Does DD need a Ginsberg because he’s lost his creative mojo? He certainly didn’t seem to have much last season, mainly because of being in a drunken haze. I’m wondering if he’s now in a haze of contentment, and this is taking away his creativity and drive? People frequently speculate this type of thing happening with athletes after they get hitched, kind of like Sampson’s hair getting chopped. It seems to go beyond him turning 40 and/or a generation gap. He’s a bit too complacent for me so far this season. Does anyone else have this vibe?

  45. 100% vibe HellsBelle. I always have faith that MW will shut my yap, and completely do a zig, to my lazy speculative zag, and DD will be involved in something mind blowing. Methinks we’re falling into the trap. Reports of the mojo death of Don Draper have been greatly exaggerated.

    • Tilden, thanks for the feedback. I love the “zig and zag” –perfect analogy! So there is life after 40 after all 🙂

  46. Something is nagging me. What if DD is put in a position where he is forced to become the driving force and creative dynamo again? Does this mean that the guy who is driving the bus now (Pete) dies?
    God, I hope not. I can’t shake this feeling of gloom. Overreaction to Mystery Date probably.

  47. At the risk of over-analyzing minutiae, as if that’s possible here 🙂 , I noticed the prominently displayed label inside Greg’s visor cap as he made his ultimate exit. The maker was Luxenberg. As someone who is familiar with WWII militaria, I know Luxenberg to be very collectible because it was a very high quality uniform maker. If their reputation continued into the Viet Nam era, then Greg’s having a Luxenberg cap could have been a very conscious purchase on his part, making a statement that he’s very much interested in his officer’s uniform and status. All that being consistent with his self-centered attitude and need for professional respect (especially after being dissed at residency). At the very least I’m impressed with whomever picked out that cap for Greg to wear.

  48. I rewatched the episode tonight.

    I noticed something about Megan that I missed last night. Megan is subtly tellling Don what to do and how she feels but not as a mother but as a loving wife. Here is a sample:

    a) “I’m sending you home.”

    b) You had “careless appetites.”

    c) “I’m keeping your chair warm.”

    d) “And Don, no smoking.”

    e) “I came right home–I was right there (beside Don during the night.)”

    These are the comments of a loving wife who takes her marriage seriously and is NOT about to screw it up.

    In addition, in the back room (kitchen) at the office Megan lists Fay and Alison as women Don had sex with and “who knows how many others they were.”

    Don understands the rules of the game. While he could BS Betty, he will not get away with anything with Megan.

    And these two quotes from Don say it all:

    During the conversation in the back room:

    “I’ll be with you until I die.”

    After hallucinating about killing Andrea and finding out it was all a dream:

    “You don’t have to worry about me.” (implying by strangulating Andrea he has killed off that impulse which causes him to have sex with other women.)

    And finally Don confesses his affairs were at a point in his life he was unhappy, implying to Megan he is now happy. And after the dream he then realizes how happy he really is being able to wake up with Megan virtually everyday of his remaining life.

  49. Regarding the comments you made about the danger of rape, I would like to point out that 80% rapes occur BETWEEN ACQUAINTANCES (U.S. Department of Justice, 1995; this is also the finding of the National Victims Center’s 1992 report). This means that only 20% of rapes involve strangers. As a society, we worry far too much about “stranger danger” and far too little about romantic partners and family members.

    Interestingly, Mad Men dovetails well with these statistics – Joan was raped by her scumbag husband (or was he her fiancé at the time?), NOT by a stranger. It was nice to see her finally get rid of him this last episode.

    Even though I am a man and have never been raped (I’ve also never been to prison…), my aunt was raped at knife point by a stranger in Chicago. She has recovered well from it, thankfully. So I do understand very well that strangers are still a serious threat. My advice for concerned ladies is to get a concealed carry permit, buy a decent handgun, and learn how to use it well. No, women should not have to do that, but the world is not fair and ladies definitely need guns when a strong man doesn’t take “No” for an answer. A life lived in fear is a life wasted.

    • I don’t want to get off topic here, so some detailed responses to your gun as a rape defence are here: and

      To keep it on topic, even if Joan had a gun in her purse, that wouldn’t have prevented her from getting raped:
      1) She didn’t have a chance to reach for her purse, and there wouldn’t have been the space or a chance for her to aim
      2) Joan falls under shakesville’s reason number #5. She didn’t fight back because she was in shock that someone she was supposed to trust was raping her.
      A Joan who would have pulled a gun on Greg is a Joan who wouldn’t have married him after he raped her. Problem was that Greg didn’t just have physical power over her, he had the power in the relationship. That’s why it was extremely satisfying for me to see Joan telling him where to go during this episode.

    • Russell, you’re quite right. “Protection” advice that focuses almost entirely on strangers is fed to women constantly: We are told how to walk, what to wear, what to carry, how to behave in parking lots, in cars, on streets, etc. etc. ad infinitum. It is part of what you hear and learn when you’re a woman in this culture.

      At the same time, there is an enormous force against understanding rape as occurring between acquaintances. It was a misunderstanding, she was asking for it, look how she was dressed, alcohol was involved, she was provocative, her lips said no no no but there was yes yes yes in her eyes. Rapes are notoriously hard to prosecute, and notoriously hard to get convictions on. Stranger rapes are the “good” rapes as far as prosecutors are concerned–the only ones juries are likely to believe. Which means they’re the ones we read about in the paper and see on the news.

      All of which means that even women who know the statistics are likely to take those stupid, useless precautions against stranger rape and worry about things like leaving a dark building alone.

    • Russ, I’m sorry that I read and responded to your comment without getting to the last 2 lines, where you recommend carrying a gun.

      There are many, many reasons why a gun is a bad idea. In fact, you contradict yourself, since it won’t protect a woman from the 80% of rapes that are not committed by strangers–it would be MUCH HARDER to use a gun on a date or a friend, and one isn’t walking around armed on a date or among friends.

      If a rape victim has a gun it can be used against her. If a rape victim has a gun, and she doesn’t use it, it can be used in court to “prove” she “really wanted it.”

      If “a strong man doesn’t take no for an answer,” do you think it will be in a situation where the woman has her purse handy and can access her gun? Or do you think, perhaps, she’s already been “warmed up” by the rapist, put her purse down, had a few drinks?

      Rapists target women in specific and calculated ways, including isolation and intoxication. Your advice puts the onus back on the victim, where it DOES NOT belong.

    • If anyone wants my opinion I think instead of teaching women self-defense we should more time on preventing the crime by teaching guys what rape means (the whole definition) and why they shouldn’t do it. There is a statistic floating about that 50% of guys say they would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with it. That is terrifying, the kind of terrifying that keeps you awake at night.

  50. Joan telling Greg to leave didn’t really shock me. I didn’t see it coming but it didn’t really shock me. I remember when she smashed Greg on the head with a vase (brilliant scene by the way), I forgot why….someone who is as hotheaded as Greg, that was a big risk for her . He could have killed her after that. That was shocking for me. Joan told him to leave with grace, she kept her calm, her cool…stuck to her guns. I mean, she evaluated her marriage. Her husband was barely around, he wasn’t exactly considerate, he RAPED his own wife, PLUS why would she raise a child who wasn’t even her husbands? It was a very smart and daring move.

    On the other hand, Betty asking Don to ‘not come home’ and asking for a divorce later on was a brave move as well. THAT shocked me. I thought she would stay, despite all of the BS Don was doing, and try and fight for the marriage. She knew the marriage was shit (excuse my French) anyway. Why should she stay? I actually thought that was the most adult/mature thing Betty has ever done.

    Despite Betty acting like a child most times, she can be strong other times. Both women (Joan & Betty) are ‘fighters’ in their own ways.

    I also can’t help to think about Peggy. Giving away a love child. Pete was a married man. What would Peggy do when the father is married to someone else, Peggy being from a strong Catholic family, Peggy having bigger goals for herself (making it in a man’s world)? She had some sort of longing for Pete in Season One but knew what was right. She had to be brave and do what was right for her even after Pete confessed his love for her at the end of Season Two and she dropped the bomb on him. I didn’t think she would tell Pete about the baby but she did.

    • I thought Betty would never leave Don because divorce was not common, Betty’s mother, if alive would never have approved, she saw her one divorced neighbor (red hair, cant remember her name) having a rough time as a single mom, and her best friend/neighbor stayed married to Carlton even though she found out he was cheating. She was very strong to make the decision that she did but I do wonder how much of the decision stemmed from meeting Henry. If the circumstances were the same but she had not met Henry, would she have made the same decision?

      • You’re absolutely right. She saw Henry as a life saver, someone to back up her reputation. She’d probably be even worse as a character (even a woman) if she ended up a single mother.

        Now I’m curious about Joan. Remember when Paul posted her driver’s license on the bulletin board at work, it revealed her age? She was in her early 30s I believe. Back in those days, you were considered an old maid…a sad case if you werent married by then or had a family. She now has a child but no longer a husband. Can she live with her reputation of being a single mother? Does she care? We’ll see what happens. I’m pretty sure the Roger & Joan saga isnt over. I highly doubt he’ll leave Jane and marry Joan. I do have a feeling he’ll leave Jane or vice versa but not sure what will come of Joan and Roger.

        • Apparently she cares less about how she is seen than having a controlling and absent husband.

      • The divorced neighbor was Helen Bishop.

      • The unfortunate thing about our power–or our perception of our own power–is that it often shapes our choices. If we perceive ourselves as having no options–or only options that are worse than the one we are in, we often do not act.

        When we perceive ourselves to have enough power to make a decision–we are more confident to act.

        One thing that made me so mad at Don in “Shoot” was that he let Betty think that “she wasn’t good enough” for modeling (and she made up a story to Don to pretend she was OK with that and wanted to stay home). The truth was that THE WHOLE THING was a game between ad men. If Don had been upfront that she lost the job because Don didn’t play ball, she wouldn’t have felt like SHE had failed.

        But because she felt SHE had failed, she gave up. She did not perceive modeling to be a real option for her anymore.

        Sometimes people have MANY options–but we often do not see or believe all of the options. Or we don’t feel powerful enough, or deserving enough, or confident enough, or brave enough to act.

        The mere existence of Henry made Betty consider getting out of her marriage more seriously than perhaps she would have previously. Her parents were both dead–and she did not seem wild about her brother. Henry gave her a real option that seemed worth taking a risk for.

        In a separate situation — Joan knows she can go back to work. This gives her some perception of power. She has an option. I got the impression that Joan’s mother–for all her faults–worked when Joan was a kid because she had to. Joan has seen this done before–she lived it. And I think Joan’s job at SCDP is probably better than some of the jobs held by her mom.

        Greg’s decision to go back also gave Joan a “good enough” reason for leaving Greg– in a way that protects her from having to own up to some of her own choices. This gives her an out–without having to appear like an unfaithful wife or admit that Kevin was Roger’s not Greg’s.

        It still bugs me that Joan married Greg at all after the office rape. While it’s true that it’s better late than never, I’m not sure if that past incident alone was the main reason for her leaving now.

        I think that she just realized all her efforts to be a great wife were wasted. He wasn’t going to treat her like a 50% partner. She was so lonely (as she told Lane recently) and Greg’s return and his news that he was choosing to go back made her feel even more lonely.

        There may be “aftermath” between Joan and Roger, but I don’t want her to go back to him.

  51. Dr. Greg Harris = Neidermeyer

  52. I can’t seem to find it now but I thought someone posted a list of the use of the color yellow somewhere. What post number is it? Add to it that Anna’s dress color was a bright yellow in the image that Don saw of her after she died. I think it was the suitcase episode in season 4 when Don and Peg fell asleep in his office talking about Samsonite. Also, I think Don’s/Megan’s bedroom is yellow.

    • Search for Peg Aloi’s posts on color. They’re a goldmine.

      Speaking of clothing, I thought Gail’s dress in the dinner scene was very, very similar to Betty’s dress in the getting-to-know-you scene with Henry in the local bakery. Also, I loved her little brown hat. It was hardly distinguishable from her hair, and it didn’t seem to match the colors of the dress!

  53. This episode was stunning. Thank you for such a smart recap. It does what the best MM writing does: it offers readers/viewers new angles and richer context and insight, and more to think about and chew on and discuss. Really well done.

    I *loved* the scenes with Pauline and Sally. As I think you pointed out, they encapsulated and illuminated the entire episode. I know some people think these “outside the office and business” scenes are boring, but they provide so much important context and texture. MM is expert at making each set piece fit into the whole. Like dominoes, one falls into/informs the other, and each is necessary. Such great television.

  54. How come no one has commented on the fact that Jon Hamm as Don Draper was bare ass naked when he strangled the old flame from “Twin Peaks”?

  55. GrandMa Pauline is the complete opposite of Grandpa Gene~

  56. As a straight man, a term of the 60’s, I saw no fun in a nude Jon Hamm. I was looking at in the history of TV censorship vis-a-vis using a violoent scene where the focus is on the dead female being shoved under the bed as an artistic opportunity for advancing nudity in art. Is that too far out as a discussion to a traumatized female dealing with serial murder?

    • It’s not too far out, and I actually had a discussion of nudity planned even before this episode. I thought it was an unusual, and perhaps symbolic, choice. We have seen many times that Don sleeps in his shorts. Presumably the nudity represents the psychological nakedness.

      I thought it was also a physically beautiful way of representing the horror. He was on top of her naked, as if during intercourse, and given that the theme of the episode was sexualized violence, it made perfect sense.

      • That’s quite insightful. I always remembered him sleeping in his shorts too and thought there might be something symbolic in the scene. I also agree that after the elevator, all visits by Andrea were hallucinatory with Don’s fevered brain processing the data he had received that day. I think he as feeling half the man he used to be after the shoe affair.

        • I am not 100% certain, but I think the voice he hears at the beginning of the “Andrea comes back” scene (“Are you asleep?”) is actually Megan (and is voiced by Jessica Paré).

  57. Would you guys ever describe Mad Men as a ‘lighthearted’ drama?

    I was discussing the Don killing Andrea scene with my friends (who became MM fans later, I’ve been a fan since it first aired), and they understood that it was a dream but didnt understand why Don would leave Andrea’s leg hanging out from under the bed. Their response…’who does that???!!?’.

    Ummm, when you’re ‘dreaming’ you often do things you normally wouldnt do in reality. Its mostly symbolic. Most of Mad Men is symbolic, very detail oriented.

    But when one of my friends was dissappointed by that scene b/c it was too dark and she asked me ‘isnt Mad Men supposed to be a lighthearted drama??. I’m not sure where MM is going’. I was a bit taken aback by that question and that word. I would describe 7th Heaven as a light hearted drama but not Mad Men.

    • I might . . . in a fever dream. 🙂 Who can predict how reality will warp in those things?

      Tell-Tale Hearted better fits the last episode.

    • I would never call it a “light-hearted drama.”

      It is certainly a drama. Some episodes have very lighthearted moments, but many episodes are full of heavy, conflicted, complicated scenes that deal with serious topics.

      This is one of the creepiest episodes so far, in my mind.

      Considering the variety of moods we’ve been exposed to over time, there is no way to tell if the series will maintain a creepier feel into the future, or if this was just an isolated, creepier-themed episode. Next week’s theme may or may not have anything to do with this week’s.

      For me, however, “The Mystery Date” has shifted the realm of possibilies. If there are more creepy episodes in our future (violence, dreams, acid trips, danger, fear), it will seem like this episode opened the door and bridged the gap.

      It makes me nervous about the future (nervous in a way that creates suspense). Even if I know Don’s murder was all just a dream, I will get very nervous for any girl that Don cheats with (if he ever does).

      However, MW may just be toying with us–to create possibilities that may never pan out.

      I used to get VERY nervous about the neighbor kid Glen. First, he was kind of old when he just intentionally walked in on Betty in the bathroom. Second, he broke into the Francis house and intentionally vandalized it–and then left a gift for Sally and decided to tell her all that she needs to know about the challenges of being a child of divorce.

      Yes, I would like Sally to have a friend–but did it have to be HIM?

      Because of the vandalism and the bathroom incident, I was always nervous for Sally when she spent time with him. But nothing ever came of it.

      Lighthearted? No.

      • I agree. Lighthearted Mad Men is not.

        I do wonder if Don would ever physically harm a woman. I dont think he’d go as far as killing a woman but given what we’ve seen :

        – grabbing Betty by the neck out of bed when he found out she had been seeing Henry
        – shoving Betty back during one of their fights
        – tying Bobbie up to the bed after she mentioned the ‘Don Draper treatment’
        – The ‘shocker’ he gave Bobbie at the restaurant.

        (If I’ve missed other moments my apologies)

        I now wonder…

        With Don’s deam, I am convinced that that represented him passionately trying to ‘kill’ his past. Megan represents opportunities. She is what Don described her as ‘optimistic’. He feels safe, ‘happy’, optimistic with her. I think Don doesn’t think things through half the time. He does what he feels and pays for it later whether its business related or personal. He WANTS his marriage to succeed but CAN he make it succeed? What is going to stop him? What is going to distract him? We’ve seen him throughout the seasons try to turn over a new leaf but we’ve seen him go a different direction back to his old ways.

        There are certainly going to be more creepy episodes. It’s the 60’s. Things are changing
        that may seem scary (politics, society,entertainment, lifestyles, business, drugs, relationships, etc), Matt Weiner’s and the other writers’ jobs are to reflect that…bring us back to those times. I feel like some of the shows/movies that are based in the 60’s don’t give us that feel of what REALLY happened. I’m a child of the 80’s/90’s, I FEEL what was going on back then. I can FEEL for those characters. I dont have to really speak to my grandparents or parents to really get a feel of what went on.

      • I had the same thoughts about Glen right up until the first or second time we saw him and Sally spending time together outdoors. Young Weiner (hee!) played Glen’s facial expressions a little flat, and that combined with his filter-less actions and words had me very worried that he’d perpetrate some sort of violence against one or more members of the Draper family.

  58. Was it ever proven if Richard Speck raped any of the nurses? It was never answered, except for someone noting that two of them were naked. Grandma told Sally that it was possible for a man to rape nine women, even though Sally thought it impossible out of her sexual naivete. This reminded me of the impeachment of Clinton, where every school kid discovered what a blow job was as a consequence. Sally is being sexualized at a very early age by our standards, but not by her Grandma’s.

    • I just Wikepedia’d Speck. He only raped the last victim, a white woman.

    • Richard Speck was incarcerated for a very, very long time. After his death, journalist Bill Curtis of Chicago made public some videotapes Speck had made while in prison. Those videos mostly showed the killer enjoying life in prison, but he also discussed the rapes and murders he committed that night.

      The Speck tapes are one of the few things I have seen that I honestly wish I could unsee.

    • The crime sites I looked up on Sunday night indicated he raped one of the 8 dead women.

  59. The voice as Don is woke up — is it Andrea or his wife. Madchen Amek, I hope I have spelled it right — is from Canada, like Don’s wife. Their voices are very similar. I can’t tell, so I have to go with the person who is shown, to wit, Andrea.

    • The actress playing “Andrea Rhodes” Also previously played “Shelly Johnson” on Twin Peaks” She prefers the spelling Mädchen Amick. In German “Mädchen” means maiden. She was born in Reno, NV on 12 December 1970 was was just barely over 18 when we were filming the pilot of Twin Peaks in February 1988 in Washington State.

      She had not been living in the Hollywood area very long when Davis Lynch cast her as Shelly.

    • I played the clip about 4 times over and over. I’m almost certain it’s Megan, but I’ll add it to a list of interview questions for Matt.

  60. […] hell of a follow up to Tea Leaves. Don’s illness locks the two shows together. Deborah Lipp describes the amplification nicely in her episode recap: “The dirty, violent, erotically-charged, drug-fueled, violent, […]

  61. Loved granma Francis and Peggys bargain abilities. And I do not think it will be the last time she recieves money under the table from Roger.

  62. […] Mad Men Recap | Mystery Date Review | Basket of Kisses […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.