Dinners with Friends

 Posted by on April 17, 2012 at 6:18 am  Season 5
Apr 172012

I have blog friends, work friends, and of course the work-friends-in-law: work friends of the spouse. Food and drink is part of the package: I join my friends for coffee, happy hours, dinners. Food is an important part of friendship. But it is not always clear to me in Signal 30 who is serving what to whom, or what friendship has to do with it.

Lane corrects his wife’s perception of a friendship: “They’re your friends, and recent ones at that.” Later, after a great experience watching the World Cup Final in a pub, he is more willing to accept the label. “I’ve begun a bit of a friendship,” he admits to his colleagues.

The word comes up again as Don tells Megan to call “your new best friend Trudy Campbell” and cancel their dinner plans. She refuses. “If you want to tell her, you call her.”

Later, Roger gives Lane a tutorial in using friendship to make a sale. It all starts with dinner: “Smile, sit there like you’ve got no place to go, and just let him talk.” Roger suggests that Lane wait for vulnerability to emerge in his dinner partner, then “pounce” on it. By then, he says, “You’re in a conspiracy. The basis of a, quote, friendship.”

As Megan and Don prepare for dinner at the Campbells’, Megan brings it up again. “You don’t think there’s any chance you could have a conversation with another couple as friends?” Forced into doing exactly that, Don makes small talk about country life, work, and the fridge in the garage. He’s trying to make himself comfortable at the dinner party — jacket off, sleeves rolled up — but failing, until a leak in the kitchen gives him something to do.

In the city, Lane tries to follow Roger’s advice, looking for hints of weakness in his dinner partner. Hearing that Edwin Baker spent time in North Africa, Lane tries, “I’ve heard men talk with dark permanence of those years.” “Best of my life,” his new friend shoots back. Slippery guy, Baker: talk of neither the war (“Britain at its best”), nor marriage (“I haven’t a complaint in the world”) can open him up.

The next friendly dinner goes to Pete, Roger, and Don. They give Edwin — the firm’s new “friend” — the full SCDP treatment, starting with lobster before heading to “a party” around the corner. Plenty of new friends there.

“What happened to your friend?” Roger says to one of the working girls. “What about your friend?” Pete’s girl asks, meaning Don. When the madam approaches Don, drinking alone at the bar, he tells her he’s “just waiting for my friends.”

Are these men Don’s friends? Pete for one wants that to be true. He glowed when Don showed up for his dinner party: “I’m not gonna pretend it’s not a big deal to us that you came out.” But he is less ready for the business end of friendship. Real friends see each other for who they are, but Pete feels less seen than judged. “I have it all,” he mocks himself quietly, before turning his bitterness on Don. “Just wait till your honeymoon’s over.”

Don knows all too well where this is going. “Roger is miserable. I didn’t think you were,” he says pointedly. “I am who I am, and I’ve been where I’ve been. You don’t get a second chance at what you have.”

It’s possible some of this friendly advice sinks in. Later, after an in-office beatdown from another colleague who had considered him a friend, a chastised Pete meets Don in the elevator. Calls him “virtuous.” Could not be more wrong.

Pete regrets fighting Lane, but he’s still angry. He is angry at his colleagues, but with little left to feed that anger, he finally feels something else.

“We’re supposed to be friends,” he says softly. “I have nothing, Don.”

Don — Pete’s friend, like it or not — listens, and says nothing.


  172 Responses to “Dinners with Friends”

  1. Pete doesn’t seem to have any friends at all: we have only seen him hanging out with his in-laws, his brother and his wife. Then there’s the “friend” at the Department of Defense, the guy he meets at the department store (didn’t seem much of a friend, more an acquantaince), then… the guy on the train? Not much.

    Lane is equally lonely: I remember when he asked Don to go out with him and his father and Don thought that really weird.

    Don and Roger can be considered friends: at least they were, then since Roger’s second marriage they’re not so close anymore.

    Peggy has found Joyce and her friends.

    • Does Pete have friends?

      Pete used to have friends — Ho Ho and that guy he bumps into when returning the chip ‘n dip when he tells the department store girl “he has the clap.”

      Pete doesn’t seem to have any friends now……

      • Oh, yes, I forgot Ho Ho

      • The suburbs and the lack of driving isolate Pete; his own misery isolates him more.

      • Pete had ken over for dinner and then at work on Monday, he “outted” ken’s writting hobby to Rodger. No wonder Pete does not have many friends. This is also the likely reason Don does not want to become close to anyone he works with. Don does not want his personal life shared with everyone.

        Peggy however isa good friend to Ken, she kept Ken’s writting secret and was supportive saying the story of the egg girl was good.
        While I am on the subject of Peggy being a good friend, she has kept many secrets….most recently she kept Dawn’s secret of sleeping in the office.

    • I think of Don and Roger more like “frenemies.”

      • Oh yeah, definitely. They have a friendship to the extent that Don can handle it. He doesn’t really let people get that close, as we’ve seen, and he also does judge Roger a lot (something Roger once said he hated about Mona). Of course, there’s a lot to judge about Roger, but there’s a lot to judge when it comes to Don too.

        I enjoy their dynamic–they have times when we see a strain or Don holding Roger at arm’s length, and then at other times they have an easy camaraderie. Loved their banter after the Christmas party in Season 4. (“Did you enjoy the Fuhrer’s birthday?”)

        Roger often seems shallow, but at times we’ve seen him deepen a bit or try to be a true friend. He was really there and listening on a recent episode when Don talked about Betty’s potential health issues.

        • The Fuhrer’s birthday line (complete with fake German accent) may be my favorite moment in the entire series.

          (Though there’s competition from Roger simpering and singing in French).

      • LOL Freinimies. I can see that! Good observation!

    • while we are on the subject of Pete, I have just a couple of observations.
      Pete is the only one who does not smoke and does not drive. Yet he works at a firm that advertises two things that he does not take part in.
      Pete is in accounts and his job is smoozing clients. Yet, he is not smooth like Rodger.
      Pete is a city boy who thinks he wears the pants in his fmily, yet he moved to the country because Trudy wanted it.

      • I did think of this when Pete mocked Lane’s introduction of Jaguar as a possible account. Don shut him down: “It’s a car, and you know it.”

        Now I wonder what, if anything, Pete does know about this “car” business.

        • I wonder too. I would have thought everyone would be excited about pitching such a prestige account. Prestige accounts attract attention and can lead to big accounts. OTOH, Pete is very much savvier than the older men about modern business challenges, like Ralph Nader’s early consumer movement.

      • when Pete started at Sterling Cooper he said he wanted Don’s job. Pete has come up with different marketing ideas. He is not smooth with clients like Roger and Ken Cosgrove who has his own style. Pete should get out of sales.

        • You are right. Pete should not be in sales. He has good ideas after the sale has been done. Good stratagies for implementation and use of research.

        • I think he does very well considering it’s not what he set out to do and he never has felt that he’s “great with people.” It’s hard to say for sure exactly how well he does in a room because we haven’t seen him alone with a client often. Based on Season 3, I get the feeling that Pete and Ken are both very good in Accounts (and clients are pleased with Pete)—it’s just that Pete doesn’t have that super-confident, effortless attitude that Ken has.

          • We should probably keep in mind too that in Pete’s day, it seems it was rare for people to consider a career change once they got settled in…even someone like Pete who is young by today’s standards.

            Nowadays people change careers at 30, 40, 50. Back in the ’60s I am guessing that didn’t happen much. Once people got in they felt pretty much stuck there. Maybe they’d try to move up within their industry & get promoted…but it was rarer to change from one area of expertise to another.

        • Pete seems to try much harder than Ken does to do the same job. I think it is intersting to see the differnt method of operations to land accounts.

        • But Pete’s a master ass-kisser. I think the I-want-to-make-you-like-me-and-I-will-do-anything approach that seems so alienating probably works pretty well with clients. They know he wants their account, so his normal trying-too-hard personality isn’t out of place. They don’t have to get to know him in any other setting.

          It seems like he’s actually pretty good at his job. He might not like it, but he’s good at it.

      • Up to trying for the Jaguar account, when was there mention that SC, PPL/SC or SCDP has had a car account. They pitched Honda, which only said SCDP would have a chance if and when they started selling cars in the USA.

        So far we have never seen Bert Cooper or Trudy smoke. The only shot of Megan with a cigarette in her hand is brief and near the beginning of the focus group scene in Season 4

  2. Pete is classic low self-esteem. Pushes to be friends with people who do not like him (Don), basically the rest of humanity. Pushes away those who want to be with him (Peggy S1) Trudy, father in law. He doesn’t want to go/be anywhere they’ll accept him as a member.
    I was Pete about 15 years ago. I bleed for this guy. He wants what he hates. (Sauve, respected, ladies man, omnipotent business man. The Overdog.) He doesn’t want what he should own: self love, his own respect. He’s stuck feeling sorry for himself, cause when you have no self worth there is a weird sense of nobility in suffering and doing things where you know you’re just going to lacerate yourself mercilessly when its over. How can you have anyone be simpatico in that circumstance?
    Been there. Never want to go back. This episode hurt my insides. Makes me hate it.

    • Awww, tk.

      Takes a big man to admit to ever having been, in this way, small. You’re doing okay, says me.

      I too found the episode painful — albeit for different reasons. I trust we’ll both keep watching?

      Hugs to you. <3

      • Pete is not like the other guys. he comes from a different background that he shuns. He must feel caught between two worlds. The one to which his family (mom and dad) belong and the one of Madison Ave. that Pete has chosen. Pete does not know how to fit in.

        • Well remember- Pete can’t go back to “where he comes from” because his old man lost all the money, and yet he still holds onto is Mothers posh name and family history; remember he uses his family’s former glory to help him seduce the highschool girl.

          So Pete is an outsider at the office because of his posh background, but he lacks the fundimental advantage of that background, the money.

          So Pete in this way, and now that I think of it a lot of others too- is the opposite of Don who comes froma modest background, that he is ashamed of but has a lot of money.

    • I hope you never got your tail kicked by a p.o’d limey like Petey did.

  3. Pete cannot nurture a friendship because he is always weighing the gives and takes. It’s like he’s incapable of just being a friend to someone, he always has to have an angle. Ken could be a great friend to him but Pete just can’t see it.

    Even with Don, he doesn’t want Don to be his friend- he wants to BE Don and there is a difference.

    Lane fails at friendships because he just seems to try too hard to fit in, most likely stemming from his dissatisfaction with himself. That’s why he fights Pete, because Pete so rudely pointed out everything that is “different” about Lane. By the way, wasn’t it a bit shocking that Pete so openly used “homo”? I would think, in those days, the idea of being gay was still being more whispered about than being said so out in the open.

    Then you have Don, I really think Don doesn’t have a need for friends. He will allow people into his inner circle to an extent but he doesn’t have a need to share, as you might with a friend. His advice to Pete was sincere, if not necessarily friendly but Pete cannot recognize that because of his own demons.

    • I don’t think anyone was anything but shocked by the way and why Pete said that. (Unless I’ve missed something completely, I never got a closet gay vibe about Lane.)

      • Someone pointed out that if you listen to the Jaguar guy again, you could interpret it that way. I re-wtached and I see their point.

        Pete shouldn’t have made the comment but it’s possible Lane’s attempts at friendship gave the Jaguar guy the wrong impression.

        • Adding:
          Pete said “he THINKS your a homo”, not that Lane IS a homo. But Lane is seeing red at this point, who knows what he thought Pete was implying accept an attack on his manhood.

          • Pete said “he THINKS your a homo”, not that Lane IS a homo.

            It was Pete’s interpretation and it was designed to provoke.

          • I think the insult Lane addresses is Pete’s assertion Lane contributes nothing to SCDP, that he has been worthless since he “fired” them. Hence, Lane’s question to Joan ” What do I do here?”

        • I thought it was when Lane, following Roger’s advice about confiding about problems if the client doesn’t open up, was clearly about to tell Jaguar guy that his marriage and wife suck, that the Jaguar may have jumped to the “homo” conclusion. He later tells the SCDP guys that he and Lane have different outlooks (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t remember his words) that Pete interpreted them this way, like someone saying “We bat for different teams”.

          • They have different “tastes”, so he says: I didn’t get the same meaning as Pete the first time, on a second viewing I noticed the phrase and yes, it could have sounded this way.

          • maybe lane gave the wrong impression becuase roger told him to act like it is a date.

        • gdotda—I agree. It was the comment about Lane being expendable once he fired the others that got Lane’s goat.

      • Just the use of the actual word seems off to me, for the time period.

        I interpreted the Jag guy’s comment more along the lines, he’s too close to home with their wives being friends + he’s a stuck up Brit, more than he’s gay.

        Lane was having his little -what do I do here- crisis and the fight would have happened no matter what Pete said. It just felt like using the actual word was a little too much for 1966, but then again Pete seems to be way too much lately.

        • “Lane was having his little -what do I do here- crisis and the fight would have happened no matter what Pete said.”

          I agree.

          Watching that PAINFUL scene again, Lane comes in an immediately goes after Pete. “Your actions….” Pete offers up a reasonable “it was Edwin’s idea” but then adds the insulting “homo” comment when Lane doesn’t buy it. Pete’s ability to read Lane was so very very far off. Lane’s in a tower rage and Pete is throwing gasoline on.

          After being called grimy little pimp (a call back to the insult Pete’s father made in S1) I can see Pete lose his head but even then, he should have realized Lane was still standing. Pete really had no survival skills at all in that exchange.

          • I don’t think Pete really thought he would ever be called out like that. Even as Lane is getting ready for the fight Pete is still looking around incredulously as if thinking “Is this really happening?”

            Frankly after the way he commented when Lane first mentioned the account is what would have gotten him knocked out even if not for the comments after the fact.

            Pete seems to lack basic respect for anyone around him. If you watch the exchange in the room when Lane first mentions the account, no one really believes he can land it but how Don and Roger go about it (“Should someone give him some pointers?”) is completely opposite of Pete’s reaction. He openly embarrasses Lane, and in front of Joan which is decidedly ungentlemanly.

        • i agree that with the feeling that the wording seemed off.

          • The wording would have been off if Pete had said “He thinks you’re gay.” My husband is just a little younger than Pete. He would have said “homo” in 1966, and still does.

            For example, one night he seriously asked me about a contestant on “Project Runway” — “Is he a homo?”

            I had a hard time controlling my laughter.

        • I think the wording was spot on…if he had used “gay” or “queer” or called him a fag that would have sounded off. Personally, I can see how Mr Jaguar’s comments could be taken that way, but I had thought when I watched that scene that he meant that he wanted something more…interesting…than just a hook-up hooker.

          • Agree with Dance.

            Remember, Kenny’s used the word before, in “Meditations In An Emergency”: Kurt’s a _______.

            So there’s precedent on the show, certainly. On the other hand, I think Ken used the word as part of his report on what was new at the firm since Don’s absence; Pete used it purely to hurt Lane.

            It’s not the best choice of word in either case, IMO. But it does say more about the speaker than it does about the person he is describing, in both cases. As these words do.

          • Good catch about the word already being used. Didn’t register Ken using it.

          • The word “homo” is absolutely period appropriate. I was 17 in the summer of 1966 and just getting ready to enter university. I am loving this season and I haven’t heard a clunker yet, anachronistically speaking.

        • A current comdeian does a bit where he selected a man from the audience and he tried to guess if he was gay or forien. Two sterotypes that seem to intertwine. I am not sure when homo became a word to discribe a sissy. I have heard the word Nancy from a man of that generation.

        • I was 15 in 1966. “Homo” was the NICE word for gay men. No one used “gay” except within the gay community.

    • the interesting thing about the advice that roger gave lane for the meeting with the jaguar client is that lane was unable to follow it in that situation, but if applied to his interactions with joan, lane was on the nose. when joan went to him (when she brought the baby to the office), he “smiled”and let her speak. he didn’t lie to her, didn’t try to sell himself as something he wasn’t, gave her all the time in the world, etc. etc., and as a result, joan opened up to him and felt comfortable enough to cry in front of him. even when she sees him after the fight, it’s clear that she sees him as a friend / conspirator (as roger would say) when she notes that lane “is not like the others.” they both feel that they are undervalued, and both feel the desire to be needed and purposeful at work. i took it to mean she sees him as more in her realm of understanding.

      to give more on the idea of joan and lane (which i think will be further developed) here is why the direction of ‘mm’ is so subtle and so great: at the meeting when lane first tells of the potential jaguar account, as everyone is getting up to leave, joan says to lane, “i love jaguars…” seemingly innocuous, but certainly a show of support for his efforts. it’s that as she says it, the shot shows roger’s head snap to attention towards her and lane at the complimentary nature of joan’s comment towards lane. it’s quick, but on rewatching, it’s clear that the direction of the frame was to highlight that roger noted the comraderie that was developing between the two of them.

      • For me, Lane’s conversation with Joan stood out in this episode. We have all these “friends false and true”, and we hear how they speak around one another — but Lane and Joanie are actually friends.

        This is what that sounds like:

        JOAN (sets down ice bucket on table, Lane plunges his fist in): What happened?
        LANE: What do I do here? Truly?

        You can ask your real friends the real questions. You can trust them to tell you the truth, to understand when you make a mistake. (As Lane does, less than a minute later.) They get it, you know they get it, and in return you get them.

        I loved that scene. It was beautiful.

        • That was so touching. I really think the two of them “get” each other.

          • I loved that scene too. And that Lane pummeled Pete. But in the end I felt a little sorry for Pete, as he quietly wept in the elevator.

            That’s what I love about MM — just as in real life, you can love a character one minute and loathe him the next and back again. No one is black and white, these are all well developed, gray characters.

          • I think Joan also wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Lane for being so sympathetic (and empathetic) to her emotional outburst in “A Little Kiss.” Coming into the room with the ice (and telling him it was good that he was different from the other men) was her way of expressing gratitude and appreciation.

          • Joan seemed motherly to me when she talked to Lane. So kind and caring. I have been watching the episodes from the first season and I had forgotten how snide Joan seemed back then. Sweet Joan, sassy Joan. I love her no matter what!

    • Even with Don, he doesn’t want Don to be his friend- he wants to BE Don and there is a difference.

      I know, it’s like he’s finally becoming like Don–House in the suburbs, wife, kid and even screwing around–and now Don changes the rules and that’s no longer “cool.”

  4. One thing I have long noticed about Don is how bad he is at truly relating to people. He doesn’t seem to have any friends (just people his two wivesor work circumstances have forced him to socialize with), and he is a lousy conversationalist — at least for purposes of friendship. We’ve seen very few scenes of him just schmoozing with someone in a friendly way. We’ve seen him at dinners for client solicitation, and dinners that were dates (for girlfriend solicitation), and he can turn on the charm in those situations. But have we seen him having real, friendly, substantive conversations with people where he wasn’t trying to get something from them (business,work, sex)? I can think of few.

    • I think he has been friends with the real Mrs. Draper and then, that was transferred in “The Suitcase” to Peggy.

      • That’s true! How could I forget Anna? He did have real friendship and real conversation with her. And to a lesser extent with Peggy. But he doesn’t socialize with Peggy as a friend.He’s her boss. They have moments here and there where they interact as friends. But mostly, they have a different dynamic (which is probably more appropriate given that he is her boss). And he saw Anna only intermittently in recent years.

        Is there anyone in his life with whom he has a friendship that is day-to-day and ongoing?

        I felt that he was developing real friendships with Rachel and Faye, but he screwed up both of those relationships very quickly.

        • I guess Dick can be a friend but Don cant?

        • “And to a lesser extent with Peggy. But he doesn’t socialize with Peggy as a friend.He’s her boss. They have moments here and there where they interact as friends. But mostly, they have a different dynamic (which is probably more appropriate given that he is her boss). And he saw Anna only intermittently in recent years.”

          I agree.

          As for Rachel and Faye, he had a strong connection with them (especially with Rachel) but since sex/romance/passion was involved it could never have been a pure friendship.

    • He seemed to have a good rapport with “Connie” when he first met him (before he realized he was Conrad Hilton)

      • Yes, but one thing I noticed about Don in the early seasons is that he threw away some of his most intimate moments on strangers and outsiders. Even then, the intimacy was primarily in snippets–not the whole story. We the audience pieced together a more complete picture after years and years of collecting intimate snippets he primarly shared with people outside his real circle.

        He had moments of real emotional intimacy with Midge, Rachel, Anna, Connie, Faye, Peggy, and Suzanne. But they seemed to be kept at a distance and out of his “real life.” He did not freely share his intimate moments with Betty, the neighbors, or his colleagues.

        And in the end, all those budding possible friendships fell apart. Except Anna, but Anna lived far, far away. He only had to see her when he chose to see her. She really never had to deal with any of his nastiness, and she never really needed to call him on any crap. And I think she was at least partially financially dependent on him.

        I think his relationship with Megan is a big change.

        • I agree, he would tell his most intimate stuff to people who were not truly important to him. Maybe in bed with him, but not close. Betty, meanwhile, got secrets and lies. But isn’t that how it goes sometimes?
          Remember that cliche about spilling one’s guts to the person in the next seat on an airplane — stuff we didn’t tell family members. That’s because it’s too loaded to share with the people who actually matter.

  5. “Don — Pete’s friend, like it or not — listens, and says nothing”

    So, AnneB, do you think Don is Pete’s friend? I kind of think he is – in spite of himself.

    – Don seemed a little surprised at the fawning and said dinner was “overdue”. Sure, that could have been just polite talk and unambiguously Megan and Trudy DRAGGED him to the party. But, at least the way Hamm played the line, I think he was surprised that he actually meant it.
    – He’s back to mentoring Pete in this episode. Did he want to have Pete take a beating because he didn’t like him or did he let it happen because Pete needed it?
    – His final “come on” in the elevator was as about a warm of gesture we’ve ever seen towards Pete from Don. Pete is wary and Don invites him in. He even defends not rescuing Pete.

    I don’t think Don is just being polite. I think he actual feels something for Pete. Don has shown he can be very harsh and crude with Pete. Is it just human compassion for anyone suffering that much that motivates Don or does he actually care about what happens to him?

    I think I’m on the “he’s actually his friend” side. He may be Pete’s ONLY friend and he’s not remotely warm and fuzzy, but I think he certainly appreciates Pete’s hard work and sees his efforts (however incompetent) at acceptance.

    • Could it be Don may see Pete as his chance to atone for Adam? A little brother under your wing kind of thing.

      It certainly seemed to me to be more of the -get him back on the right path- than it was -we’re all buddy buddy-. Pete, of course totally missed all of it.

      • Interesting thought. I could see a big-brother vibe but I think Don’s ability to compartmentalize has allowed him to completely move on past Adam. If he had brought up Adam to Megan then I’d be more inclined for the atonement angle.

        • I see your point, but can even Don compartmentalize to the point where he tells the story of Dick Whitman without Adam coming to mind?

          We don’t really know how much Megan knows…

      • He could also being helping Pete as a way of atoning for his past behavior in his first marriage–he can’t change the past but he can try to prevent someone else from going down that road too. It’s interesting though that he still doesn’t fully take responsiblity for his part in destroying his first marriage–“if he had met Megan first it would have been different” inferring that the problem was with Betty when it was really him and he would have done that to any wife at that time in his life–even Megan–who was about 10 years old when he married Betty!

      • I think Don wanted to use Suzanne’s brother as a chance to atone for Adam. I thought more was going to come of that…I thought Don gave him Chekov’s business card, but it was just a plain business card after all.

    • sue b., the fawning that you reference was something that stood out to me, as well. i was so uncomfortable by it, and i couldn’t help but think it unseemly that both trudy and pete engage in it with don. for his part, ken seemed to awkwardly acknowledge it, but boy-oh-boy, i felt as surprised by its overt nature at did don.

    • I do think Don considers himself Pete’s friend. And for him — a man who probably follows the Roger Code of Friendship (“let him talk”, etc.) — this is remarkable. Remember how little he liked Pete in the beginning: measure that against the man who gives sincere advice to a man who reminds him, however uncomfortably, of his younger self.

      I think for Don, the discomfort in that dinner party began when he realized how hard these people were trying to cultivate his friendship. In his mind, at least Pete is more or less already there, making his display of “friendship” as unseemly to Don as his wife’s display of love at his birthday party.

      I could be wrong, but that’s what I see.

      • Remember how little he liked Pete in the beginning: measure that against the man who gives sincere advice to a man who reminds him, however uncomfortably, of his younger self.

        “You never know where loyalty is born.”

      • “(unseemly) display of ‘friendship’ ”

        Pete was trying too hard at the dinner party. But then, Don sent a mixed message. Even after all the effort to get Don to come (six years after their last double date!), he STILL called Trudy to beg off.

        Don ought to throw his co-workers a bone once in a while.

        • Agreed. He is childish that way. If someone makes him squirm, he seems unable to overcome those feelings and behave himself even though that’s what you do when you’re an adult with responsibilities. He’s certainly trying hard to do better under Megan’s influence, though.

      • Excellent point about Don’s uncomfortableness.

    • I think the only reason Don went to Pete’s party is that Megan and Trudy got along and wanted it to happen. Don was just being polite when he said they were overdue, Don lacks personal skills but he does ok socially

      • Did anyone catch that truly un Don like goo gah gah sappy face when Trudy and Pete’s baby was being comforted in the kitchen. Where did that come from???? Seems like he wants baby number 4 with wife number 2.

        • Contrary to Don’s overt stoicism, he’s really always liked children and little babies. Witness how protective he was of his kids, especially Sally, although he was a far from perfect husband to Betty. I don’t think that the emotion he displayed at the Kodak carousel presentation when he saw the picture-perfect shots of his family was complete artifice. Remember how even after he and Betty got a divorce he insisted he wanted to see little Eugene and how expertly he tossed him up in the air at his birthday party even in the face of Betty’s disapproving friends and Henry’s attempts to prevent him from being there at all. It was Don who made the pancakes for the kids, even if the phone call from the office temporarily caused him not to pay attention and Bobby got a burn. I think a lot of this has to do with his own tormented childhood—remember one of the few times he let down his guard to Betty and told her how his father beat the shit out of him–and how deep down he’d really like to give his children a better life than he had, even if he often misses the mark.

          • I don’t think of him as a good father, though. A good father doesn’t give in to every impulse that takes him away from his family. Old Don would jump on any ice berg that floated past, without a thought as to where it would take him or what the impact would be on his children. Guys staying late at the office, partying and all that, are NOT home with their kids.

            I think he’s impatient and brusque with his kids and his idea of “quality time” is awkward. But then again, he is making it all up as he goes, because he had terrible parenting himself and is probably always trying not to be Archibald Whitman. That can get in the way of being a good parent in the here and now.

        • Four wasn’t a crazy number in those days. And yes, he CLEARLY wanted #4, he said so in the car.

        • I get the feeling we’re being set up for a “Megan has an abortion against Don’s wishes” storyline. Megan knows that as soon as she becomes a mom, Don will get bored with her just like he did with Betty, and just like Pete has with Trudy. (Jane didn’t have to have a kiddo for Roger to get bored; in that relationship, he is the kiddo.)

          • Quite possible. Things are going too well for Don and Megan.

            Would her inability to conceive break up their marriage? After all this is the 1960’s.

            But I don’t think the storyline will be Megan having an abortion while with Don but prior to meeting Don. Remember Megan and Don have been tied at the hip since they got married.

        • Don was also very happy when he saw Joan’s baby too. I think he said “well look at that” as if he was in total awe

        • I also went goo gah gah sappy face. And Pete looked so verklempt with their response – although he deflected to Trudy.

  6. Anne B – When I read your post, something popped out at me – Roger’s system for making friends – “make them your conspirators, and a friendship is born.”

    It struck me that that is EXACTLY where some of Pete/Don stuff comes from. Its where Don’s friendship with Anna grew from. It gets to the root of the secrets we share with others, willingly or not, say something about the truths we share with limited few outside ourselves can be easily confused with “trust,” one of the elements of true friendship. But that “trust” can certainly be a red herring. “Trust” creates relationships, but they are not automatically friendships. That’s what Don understands, but Pete is clueless about.

  7. While I believe I have read most of the postings re Episode 5, I do not believe I have read any comment regarding a brilliant loop back to season 1/2..
    At the dinner party Cynthia notes how she , as Ken’s wife, used her influence to get Ken’s stories reviewed by her publisher boss. I wonder if Trudy, sitting right across the table had a flashback to her similar, and very uncomfortable, situation when, acting upon Pete’s insistence that she use her influence with her publisher friend to get Pete published and how she refused the offensive sex quid pro quo offer from her friend, thereby staying loyal / faithful to Peter while “failing” him in his business request.

    PLUS, later in this Season 5 Episode, and in contrast to that earlier Season’s situation involving Trudy and the publisher, Peter, for the sake of his business promotion with the Jaguar account, fails to remain loyal/faithful to Trudy.

    And, of course, Pete’s reward– No business, a bloodied nose, a bruised ego, a lack of respect from Don, and who knows what else is in store. The only better reward would have been some chewing gum which had lost its flavor on Pete’s post overnight.

  8. Did Pete say : “Dick… I’ll get the toolbox? ”

  9. Later, after an in-office beatdown from another colleague who had considered him a friend, a chastised Pete meets Don in the elevator. Calls him “virtuous.” Could not be more wrong.

    I heard the “virtuous” claim as more of an epithet from Pete, following on his calling Don a “nun.” I took it (and think Donn took it) as Pete whining that Don let the fight go on because he now sees himself as morally superior to Pete (in Pete’s perception).

  10. I really enjoyed your write up Anne B. You very nicely connect all the references to friendship leading up to the climatic ending — the Ode to Joy — and of course, the centrepiece of the lyrics to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy —

    Thy magic power re-unites
    All that custom has divided,
    All men become brothers
    Under the sway of thy gentle wings.
    Whoever has created
    An abiding friendship,
    Or has won
    A true and loving wife,
    All who can call at least one soul theirs,
    Join in our song of praise;
    But any who cannot must creep tearfully
    Away from our circle.


  11. ‘one thing I noticed about Don in the early seasons is that he threw away some of his most intimate moments on strangers and outsiders’

    Lady K I think this is a good point. I think that friendship for Don used to be a dangerous thing, whilst he tried to hide Dick Whitman and protect Don Draper. Intimate moments with strangers, or long distance were safer. However, after his marriage to Megan, with life seeming more secure, he can begin to develop relationships with others. As Faye said in Season Four, Don is now ‘stuck being a person like the rest of us’.

    However it remains to be seen whether he breaks his old habits of remaining at a distance. It would certainly be nice to see Don relaxing, and you do get hints that he is. For example after his day at the beach with Megan in Tea Leaves, when the SCDP team are gathering in the foyer for Pete’s announcement about Mohawk, the smile that passes between them implies that they had actually had a fun time. As ever with Mad Men, it was a small moment, but perhaps reveals a lot.

  12. Ken Cosgrove and Peggy seem to have some sort of friendship – a “pact” sounds much more positive than a “conspiracy.” It’s probably limited due to the fact that Ken is married and she is not, but there seems to be true respect and camaraderie there. Peggy, rather than being envious of his writing career, was genuinely supportive. Joan was functioning as a true friend to Lane as well and was able to look past his unwanted kiss and maintain the friendship because it is important to her.

    • Help please.
      Unless I missed something from my obsessive watching and rewatchings of every prior episode and my faithful following of comments/insights in/on the beloved Basket, I recall no prior reference to or backstory for this Peggy/Ken bipartite pact.

      • I can’t recall any prior reference to “the pact” either. On Sunday night, it felt like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. (And yes, I’ve got a post in the queue that addresses it.)

        Near as I can figure, it’s a signal from Team Matt Weiner that not everything going on among these people is visible to us.

        I’m choosing to be excited about this. Can’t wait until one of the characters slips and calls another by a nickname. “Morning, Gumby.” “How are ya, Gigantor?”

        • No, but the first inkling was when Peggy and Ken reversed SCDP’s downslide by landing the Topaz account. When they got little or no credit for “saving the company,” that’s probably when their pact arose.

          • True! Yes!

            Gold star for you, ruthie! 🙂

          • Does anyone recall why when Peggy found out that Topaz fired their ad firm, why she went to Ken instead of Pete? I remember it being a holiday weekend so maybe Pete had already left for the weekend or had the Peggy/Ken relationship already started?

            • I don’t remember if Pete was already gone, but Ken and Peggy have been friends since season 1 when they did the radio commercial together.

          • Ken and Peggy were told by Joyce that Topaz fired their ad agency and the model that she brought along with her to visit Peggy. Remember? Harry tried to hit on the model with no success at all. I believe Ken & Peggy entered into a pact after the Topaz account. I agree that Ken has had a recognition of Peggy’s talent since season 1 and they get along very well.

          • Ken was not in the room when Peggy found out about the ad firm being fired from Topaz. After the model and Joyce left, Peggy must have told Ken

        • It is intriguing – I’ve read that Matt Weiner said a theme of this season will be every man for himself. Are Peggy and Ken, in forming a pact, going against this or will they also succumb?

        • I am going to call Arthur “Gigantor” at the next possible opportunity.

      • We learned about it this episode.

    • Cosgrove has always been nice to Peggy and to everyone, I think it is because he is the most secure of any of them. When Peggy was competing with Kinzie, Ken told her she could come into the boys party then told Peggy he wouldn’t let Kinzie take away to account. When Peggy gave her first presentation he gave her a sincere conpliment.

      • I think there was tension when Cynthia talked about Ken’s manuscript because she saw it through her job and Trudy just tried to use that that the publisher had once had a crush on her. That was a truely pathetic Pete moment, he almost sounded like he wanted Trudy to sleep with the guy. Pete didn’t have enough confidence to try and get his work published on merit and he wants everything to come without working on it.

        • I cannot exclude the possibility that just because Cynthia pitched Ken’s stories to her boss, the boss did not ask for a quid pro quo. Don’t recall if Cynthia referred to the boss as a “she” or a “he”.

  13. I am confused by the Don/Pete relationship. At first Pete hates Don, tries to blackmail him and then complains to Trudy during a sleepless night that (paraphrasing) some people (meaning Don) go through life carrying their lies with no consequences but the people they touch (meaning him) has to suffer (by losing a government contract.) Pete also was very upset about the letter. So how does Pete go from this to feeling honored that Don comes to his house for dinner, wants to be his friend and/or wants to be Don? What am I missing? I can’t believe that when Don paid Pete’s share, this would erase all of those negative feelings.

    • I think it’s been a process.

      Don and Pete’s journey started when the latter stood in the doorway of the former’s office and hit on his brand-new secretary (Peggy). Don told him in no uncertain terms to cut that out, and Pete began courting Don at just about that point. This boy who’d never been in a fight even used awkward language about being willing to “follow him into battle”.

      I believe that there is something in Pete’s admiration for Don that has a lot to do with being the son of a cold, withholding father. It is as much about that as it is about Pete looking at Don and seeing someone he wants to be. Pete may simply never have gotten any attention from his father, even the kind that would have shown up as a criticism of his behavior.

      Remember, there have been other things Pete thinks Don has done. Roger told Pete once that Don “fought for” him to keep his job (a lie); Don did invite him to join SCDP, and he has congratulated him on his numerous successes.

      But I don’t know that anything, to Pete, looms as large as this man caring enough to call him out on the carpet when he’d behaved badly. For a resentful child, that’s big stuff.

      • Don and Pete’s journey started when the latter stood in the doorway of the former’s office and hit on his brand-new secretary (Peggy). Don told him in no uncertain terms to cut that out…

        In that exchange, didn’t Don also utter the (now) prophetic words, “you won’t have any friends because no one will like you?” Or something to that effect?

        • I believe so.

          You’ll die in that corner office, a mid-level executive with a little bit of hair who women go home with out of pity. Want to know why? ‘Cause no one will like you. – Don Draper, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”

          Very, very close. Nice!

          • Also, Jane asks Roger at Don’s bday party ‘Is his hair thinning?’ when Pete walks away,bringing a smile to Roger’s face.

            Yet one more truth to the Don Draper prophecy! 🙂

    • Anne you are spot on as usual and sr I enjoy the way you line up the chronology of the Don/Pete relationship. It really doesn’t seem to make any sense at all! It is quite complicated actually and a testament to the writing and acting over the seasons.

      Anyway, I think it is safe to say that Pete has always admired Don –maybe even more so when he is kicked by Don as you say like “a cold withholding father.” Early on Pete thought he could blackmail Don to get the promotion AND have something to hold over Don (as if to say “I’ll fix him! I’ll make him like and respect me!”). He didn’t expect Don to call his bluff – which ironically probably increased Pete’s admiration for Don. Don messes over Pete badly in California and Pete largely rises to the occasion – later somewhat acknowledged by Don. Don genuinely praises Pete and Peggy’s skills in order to build SCDP – but of course this doesn’t begin to scratch the itch for Pete. By the time the of the security clearance conflict they really were “coconspirators” with the common interest of keeping SCDP alive. I’ve always viewed the $50K as part a token of their quasi-friendship and part to “pay off” Pete for causing Pete to lose the government business he originally landed solo in California. The visit to Pete’s suburban home is a very big deal for Pete because it is a chance to show Don that he’s finally made it and now has everything that Don had. A great plan except for two things: (1) Don never really liked that life and has moved on, and (2) Pete, you just spent years building a gilded cage that you also hate and can’t escape from. Now what?

    • Also–as much as it makes it unhappy–Pete is the sort of person who takes hierarchy, power, and the pecking order VERY seriously.

      He is not indifferent to status–his whole world seems to revolve around it.

      In season 1, Pete thought he was going to quickly climb over Don. He thought he was higher status than Don, and wasn’t too concerned about pleasing Don or liking Don. Don’s more senior position was a mere technicality that Pete was going to take care of changing quickly.

      Pete began by trying to knock Don down a peg (or two or three) so that Pete could stand above Don (and everybody else).

      Through his repeated efforts to knock Don down, he realized that — for the time being– Don really is an important and powerful person at the firm and cannot easily be knocked down. Don has many skills that Pete doesn’t have. Pete was outmatched.

      Even animals who stalk prey often prefer to attack the inexperienced, the weak, the sick, the slow, the vulnerable, and the isolated. Whether he likes Don or not, Don turned out to be more trouble that it was worth.

      Notice how Pete still tries to take down others–but they are people whom he perceives to be easier to attack (Ken, Roger, Lane).

      Because Pete isn’t entirely stupid, it has become apparent that Don is truely valuable to the firm and is someone to be reckoned with at the firm. Pete chose to pursue a path that puts him as a complement to Don, not a competitor. Pete has the skills to be a decent account man, but he doesn’t have the skills to be good in creative. Don does. Pete’s jealousy rarely blinds him to the fact that his career as an account man depends on the success of Don as a creative man.

      I think some of Don’s personal choices annoy Pete, but he senses deep down that Don is powerful. He respects the power that Don has, not Don himself. He wants Don–in his power–to recognize the power Pete has accumulated. He isn’t trying to take Don down, he’s trying to show Don that Pete is worthy to be “off the same power class” as Don. He recognizes that –on some level–Don’s talents are very different from his own.

      Don can see that Roger isn’t doing much. Don knows that his whole job depends on accounts. Don hates managing accounts –he would prefer that the other partners and staff take care of that. Pete is doing a decent job bringing in accounts–even if he can be an annoying prick. He has done more to keep the business afloat that the others. Don can respect that aspect of Pete.

      He doesn’t really want Pete to crash and burn. He also knows that Pete has some info on him, and he probably doesn’t want to intentionally provoke Pete.

      I think Pete was bound to be mad at the others for not “helping him” when he was being “attacked” by Lane. However—in my very limited understanding of male dynamics and relationships–I think if the others had “rescued him” from Lane he would have had to pretend to be mad at them to maintain the perception of his own virility and strength. Rescuing someone signals that you don’t have faith in their abilities –which is not a vote of confidence.

      Now the bystanders could have jumped on both of them and tried to cool them both down and tried to protect both of their honor and saved a mess…

  14. The Pete’s storyline with its uncertain developments is naturally very interesting and emotional, and I loved the last episode, but… thinking about it, and looking back at previous seasons, seems like a sudden U-turn from the development that the character was going through. Pete and Trudy had many problems in Season 2, but then they grew more and more close to each other, and in Season 4 the news of the baby made him really happy. Then, BAM!, we find out now that marriage is a living hell for him. Since when? Didn’t seem that the past 3 years were so bad.
    His frustration at work is more in character, however in Season 4 he gets much credit, from Don, from Lane which was his major sponsor, and so it seemed to me all the more surprising that suddenly it’s Lane that he attacked so rudely. From the treacherous and scheming Pete of Season 1 to the hard working and intuitive Pete of Season 4, we thought that he was finally growing and showing the best of him.

    I’m going to repeat, Pete’s fall, the Pete/past Don comparison, all the various developments that could ensue, all this really fascinates me (all the more because I thought VK’s performance was heart-breaking and I want to see more of it), but I’m a little confused that they’re sacrificing a little of continuity here… So it’s back from the very start again for Pete?

    • I have wondered the same thing.

    • i second that…truly, the whole discontent of trudy was puzzling to me…i felt like he and she truly bonded and emotionally connected during the jfk assassination, and thereafter, while he found her parents irritating, she and he were simpatico. while he was bummed at leaving new york, this seems like an extreme jump.

    • I wrote this up elsewhere but I’ll summarize:

      – I think Pete’s carefully constructed illusion of of contentment has been eroding for a while.
      – As things started to fall apart he regressed not just to S1 behavior to actually something both worse and different. S1 Pete would have truly enjoyed the hooker. S1 Pete would have used frat boy humor, not the knife Pete used.
      – Pete’s MUCH more self-aware now. He never would have said what he said in the elevator to Don. S1 Pete was unhappy and entitled, S5 Pete is in despair and self-aware of the disconnect

      I have hopes that Pete will see this and look for a different approach. I’m not sure he has the self-love to save himself. Pete may eat a gun but I guess I think it’s not going to go that way.

      But Pete IMO is NOT S1 Pete. Pete is employing some truly horrible bad techniques from S1 but they are failing epically and he knows it.

    • I don’t think it is a disconnect exactly, it just underscores how well they depict characters on the show and in a very realistic way. Life isn’t always a straight line, sometimes we make progress and improve on our faults, other times we get worse and sometimes we get better for a time and then revert to old behavior, especially when things change. What was that Bruce Springsteen line, “one step up and two steps back. Also, though I’ve never been married, I’m sure that just like in every relationship, there are ups and downs. So sometimes you might be very content and grow closer and other times you are less happy. So with Trudy and Pete, showing them having problems now is not inconsistent with what happened before and doesn’t negate it, it just shows the cycle of the marriage. And a lot has changed for them, moving to the country, having a kid, those are huge lifestyle changes and I can’t see how that wouldn’t affect a relationship. Plus, I don’t think their marriage is that bad, Pete, being Pete, has a hard time being happy and so he is acting out. I just hope he doesn’t mess it up because though I really despise him at times, I don’t want to see him lose Trudy because she is so good to him and he needs that and I don’t want to see her heart broken either. Or little baby Tami. It puts a little bit of wrinkle in your childhood when Mom and Dad break up when you are small.

      • Life isn’t always a straight line, sometimes we make progress and improve on our faults, other times we get worse and sometimes we get better for a time and then revert to old behavior, especially when things change.

        Your comment is all true, but I think this is my favorite part.

        It’s such a pleasure knowing you’re here with us, Dark Peggy. 🙂

  15. Pete is now an example of the mathematical theory of regression to the mean. Eventually all statistical models flatten out and coalesce somewhere near the middle or average of the entire set of numbers. Pete was a prick in S1, he was approaching mensch status by S4. Both were not his normal, average self. He’s a spoiled kid, who empathizes with the underdog. He works hard, but is resentful when he’s not recognized, which gives off the impression that he wants credit more than the rewards of virtuous labor. He strives to be dignified, yet backstabs and undermines on sheer impulse.
    Like all of us, Pete is many things. Only more so. Pete is meeting himself at the middle by regressing. Acting like a disrespectful punk, yet deep down I sense he thinks he deserved the beating he got, from someone who was a supporter of his. Their are vast spaces in Pete’s personality. Far more than the push- pull dynamic can cover and remain healthy. His center can not hold.

  16. I heard Matthew Weiner say that the theme of season 5 will be “every man (woman) for himself.” Having said that what does that entail? Based on the first five episodes and my projection of future episodes here is how I see it:

    1) The episodes will explore the concept of survival on various levels–physical, psychological, social, occupational, cultural etc and focus on the main characters to see the degree that they do survive or whether they will end up drowning. And actual life and death incidents will occur to the characters or be part of the emerging landscape (Richard Speck, Charles Whitman).

    The idea of therapy or psychiatry may become even more prominent in the series.

    2) Could Weiner borrow from the old saw of “women and children first” (eg Titanic) and show how women and children are doing a better job surviving 1966 or the era than men are doing?

    Female independence or female dominance could become more relevant as more and more men melt down or become child-like.

    3) Did Don Draper choose to survive by pursuing a course of PERSONAL REDEMPTION with Megan? Or to put it another way, did he project ahead that he could not survive without the love of Megan?

    It’s like Don and Megan are on their own life raft and they have no room for any other adult.

    4) Matt Weiner said he used to Signal 30 explore the idea or theme that friendship in the workplace is overblown. By neither Don, Roger or Bert stepping in to stop the fight between Lane and Pete, they showed their true colors of not having much “love” for Pete.

    5) And the theme of love will be explored to examine whether men can survive without love in their lives and selfishly pursue it to the exclusion of how other people feel.

    6) “Every man for himself” hearkens back to Darwin’s survival of the fittest. Will Weiner show that only the strong survive and the weak perish?

    7) Could this mean that men will no longer listen to advice from others or pursue a course in which they were raised by their parents to pursue and instead go off on a tangent and do with their lives what they really want to do? Will men start acting unconventional in various facets of their life? (eg Don wearing the loud plaid suit)

    8) Will men become alienated more from other men, will friendships become less solid or more fragile and will that cause men to come to the decision they need to learn to fend for themselves, become more Narcissistic or materialistic, or make these decisions only out of their enlightened self-interest?

    9) The idea of “every man for himself” implies a tragedy or a cataclysmic event or events is going to strike America and to survive it each man (woman) must first survive it and then adapt to the new lay of the land on his (her) own.

    In other words it doesn’t appear that government intervention will be a main theme except as a threat to survival. Americans are basically on their own to cope with the various events that occur in 1966 and perhaps 1967.

    10) Could Weiner devote an episode on how much more secular America has become as man feels either abandoned by God or no longer feels close to God? Could there be a religious component to this theme as well?

    • Excuse the pedantic reply, there’s a lot of stuff up here, but to correct the record. . .

      In #6 “survival of the fittest” was actually coined by Herbert Spencer not Charles Darwin. And the phrase describes the theory that the better adapted to the current environment will survive. Strength and/or weakness as characteristics in and of themselves rarely indicate the most adaptable species.

      It’s probably true that “natural selection” is frequently misinterpreted in this manner but I don’t think Weiner will be interested in reaffirming that misconception.

      Though significantly younger, Pete couldn’t adapt to that limey straight left/ right cross combo. God save the Queen!

      • You are absolutely right about Spencer but commonly it is referred to erroneously as Darwin’s survival of the fittest.

        Yes, because of his youth Pete could adapt, but imho that would entail putting his life in Trudy’s capable hands which in MM, he has not shown any inclination to do so.

        Actually Trudy is symbolic of why Pete is so unhappy, because she represents the misery Pete now feels living in the suburbs.

        And although Don said it (Living in the suburbs is akin to blowing your brains out), Pete secretly feels the same way.

      • Thank you! Indeed, the fittest may be the ability to get nutrition from things poisonous to other species. Think cockroaches!

  17. This episode has grown on me quite a bit on a second viewing. Others noticed this earlier but it harkens back to early seasons and underscores some “classic” MM themes about our sense of self and place in the world, appearances, happiness, and friendship – the simple but oh, so important things we carry with us every day.

    I too feel for Pete but he brings it all on himself. What a great job by VK when by that last elevator scene you don’t know whether to give Pete another smack and tell him to grow up or give him a hug. Because we know Pete so well (nice recap tilden) we don’t have to put too much store by his teary elevator plea “We are supposed to be friends.” He doesn’t really believe that for a second – it is a product of his state of misery and self pity.

    It is yet another great thing about this show that it uses lots of shading in defining the relationships such that it is very tough to define a friendship as all one thing or all the other – just like in real life. As Elizabeth points out Don and Roger really are more like “frenemies” (nice one Elizabeth!). Is someone a coworker, friend, partner or colleague or is it all just circumstantial? Peggy and Ken’s “pact” is clearly more than an alliance, they actually like and root for each other. Can you carry the “friendship” to a different setting or does it only work at work? (Lane/Joan, Lane/Don) Is this someone you can call when you’re in a fix and if so do they come because they want to or because they have to? (Peggy/Don)

    As Anne and others have said, Pete would dearly love to have Don’s friendship but what he really seeks is Don’s admiration, really more of a father-son emotion. Pete needs to know that someone he admires is proud of him and what he has done with himself. In other words pretty much what Don has been seeking too.

    I love watching the evolution (and disintegration) of these relationships – it is very lifelike indeed.

    • On Ken and Peggy’s pact: it occurred to me today that I’m a little surprised at how that worked out, since — and please correct me if I’m wrong — Ken once made a crack about Peggy’s weight gain and Pete took a swing at him for it?

      We all make careless remarks, for sure. If this is indeed how it went down, then I suppose that Ken has grown up in some ways.

      • i think that was Ken, yes. Other posters here have had Paul and Ken involved in the fight (meaning Paul made the comment?), so that could have happened as well.

        Can anyone confirm? Lent my DVDs out to a friend, and she’s a slow watcher …

        • Oh it was definitely Ken making the crack and Pete going for the sucker punch. Paul STOPPED the fight because he wanted to get laid and thought the fight would interfere.

          The episode was Shoot (I have them all on iTunes) and Ken also said “how drunk do you have to be?”.

          But Ken has also mentioned that his mother was overweight so maybe he just shifted to a brotherly perspective with Peggy. Recall she did reject is “42 Long” in “Ladies Room”.

        • Pete and Ken. Fersher.

  18. Annie:

    There are two types of friends in the world – analog and digital. While our digital relationship goes way back, the fun K and I have had with you and Jim is what we enjoy most.


    • Yup. Real life beats this online business any day of the week and twice on Sundays … even on Mad Men Sundays. 🙂

      Check your email, btw. Just sent you a message …

  19. The combo was straight right/ left hook, that scored the TKO.

  20. by the way, with all this talk of dinner and parties with friends (plus the backstory references of richard speck and charles whitman), i keep wondering if truman capote’s black and white ball will be referenced later in the season…”in cold blood” came out 1966, and tru was the toast of new york!

  21. Sorry if I’m moving off topic, but I couldn’t help but think of John Cheever at the end of Signal 30, especially with the dripping sound of the tap.

    • Same here.

    • Good call, donna. I noticed that “Ode to Joy”, the closing credit music, was the music that the character Irene Wescott was listening to in Cheever’s “The Enormous Radio”, just after the radio was repaired, and right before her husband got home, dredged up all her $*%#, and threw it in her face. Small detail, but I wouldn’t put it past MM writers to have that in mind. And Ken’s writing sounded very Cheeveresque.

  22. Mad Men is a series which is difficult to determine whether characters have reached a crossroads or not, because what you think might happen doesn’t. Honestly I thought someone would be killed off in Signal 30.

    Having said that except for the Betty and Sally storyline, I think we have reached a crossroads with many of the main characters.

    Pete Campbell: Will he continue his descent into the abyss or rebound significantly from what happened in Signal 30? I don’t think there will be an in-between.

    Peggy Olson: Will Peggy marry Abe or will she choose career over marriage?

    Joan Harris: Will she succumb to the advances of Lane Pryce?

    Roger Sterling: Will he finally cast Jane adrift?

    Megan Draper: Will she move up the ladder at SCDP vs. will a dark secret be revealed?

    Don Draper: Will Don get his mind back on work and will Don be able to keep his marriage solid?

    I think we’ll find out the answer to those questions in the last 8 episodes.

  23. Truly what separates Mad Men from standard fare is the writer’s desire NOT to indulge in the theater of the absurd by offering plot lines that have little or no basis in reality.

    Think about how characters have been killed off in MM:

    Papa Whitman: Kicked by a horse

    Anna Draper: Cancer

    Gene (Betty’s father): From a heart attack standing in the A & P line

    Pete Campbell’s dad: Airplane crash

    Don’s real mother: In childbirth

    Adam Whitman: Suicide

    Ida Blankenship: At her desk

    Except for Adam Whitman, the deaths all appeared logical. And to my knowledge not one of the main characters has ever been killed off in 4+ seasons. Sure characters have been written out of the script but I don’t think anything weird has occurred.

    Having said that Roger Sterling has suffered two heart attacks on MM. And Bert Cooper is past 75. Would either death be all that surprising?

    But if MM killed off one of the younger characters by abnormal means such as murder, then perhaps I might think the writers did jump the shark. But you never know.

  24. In the elevator, Pete said “We’re supposed to be friends”. This comment was made immediately after talking about Lane. So was Pete referring to Don or Lane when he said “we”?

    • He said, “It’s an office. We’re supposed to be friends.” In other words, he was referring collectively to co-workers.

  25. I wish I’d noticed the friendship theme on first viewing; I was so caught up in the identity theme. On revisit, it’s obvious, as you point out, the word friendship or friend is used SO many times, and it’s obvious this is a theme.

    Every now and then I feel like I missed the boat with an episode. I feel like, a year from now, I’m going to LOVE this episode and regret my earlier disappointment.

    • Deborah, Like you, I sometimes feel like I miss the boat — until later. And I sometimes change my feelings about an episode later. I feel that Mad Men is written so that events evolve somewhat similarly to the way they do in real life (much more so than in other shows). That is, they evolve slowly. You don’t usually know what the significance of a particular moment in time is until later. For my, in my experience of watching Mad Men, this sometimes means that while I am watching an episode I actually feel bored (gasp!) and find myself thinking “Why is this important? This seems like such a throwaway scene. This is boring. This episode isn’t good.” And then — WHAM! — later in the season or even later in the episode, I see the significance of that “insignificant” moment or scene. Usually, it was a building block in the edifice of something significant — only we don’t see that until later. Kind of like life. I find that a fascinating phenomenon with this series.

    • I really like exploring the pack theme too. It’s really evident (Jaguar, pack/pact, who’s in/who’s out, preying on the weakest, Pete slinking away licking his wounds, etc…)

    • I didn’t even notice the theme until halfway through my second viewing. I had to watch it a third time to confirm.

      Which tells you something about my speed on the uptake — and my viewing habits. 🙂

      • Those overnight recaps challenge my faculties. I think I wrote a good recap–I like the identity theme a lot–but I missed the boat on some stuff.

  26. It does seem like worklife is encroaching on private life a lot this season thus far. In A Little Kiss, the workplace goes to Don and Megan’s for the party. In Tea Leaves, Don and Harry go together to the Stones concert. (Harry wants even more of Don’s time, suggesting a restaurant beforehand and delaying leaving the car afterwards.) In Mystery Date, Dawn sleeps over at Peggy’s. And of course, in this episode, the Drapers and the Cosgroves are at a dinner party at the Campbells. Was there quite this much consistent socializing in previous seasons?

    • The only other times that I can think of when personal and business combined is when Roger had dinner at the Draper house with Betty, Old Kentucky Home, Roger’s daughter’s wedding, Megan going to Cali as the nanny, Faye taking his daughter home after she ran away, and the party in NJ (Montclair?). I can not think of the host’s name. He worked at the old firm, had a beard and his girlfriend was African American.

  27. Friendship and food are inextricably linked. Consider the origin of the term “companion”:
    Middle English compainoun, from Anglo-French cumpaing, cumpaignun, from Late Latin companion-, companio, from Latin com- + panis bread, food — more at food
    First Known Use: 13th century

    I think there is very little friendship in Mad Men (as Ivona points out) because the primary male characters are damaged in one way or another. There are co-conspirators, co-workers and clients. Eating together becomes a way to create indebtedness or allow social climbing (“you get the big steak” ).

    The minor characters demonstrate the little touches of true friendship, like Peggy and Ken’s pact. Even if he won’t let her eat with his agent.

    A meal carefully planned, executed and shared is a universal symbol of love.

    • Excellent point. I love to cook and bake and eat, and I love it when people remember the myriad meanings of eating and eating together.

    • Agreed, the level below Partner at SCDP is the one where co-workers might actually be friends.

      Even then, Ken was cautious with Peggy, hoping to keep his moonlight writing career under wraps. Remember (uh, uh …. Ken’s wife) proudly spilled the beans at dinner (CYNTHIA!) despite his wish to remain under the radar.

      Entrusted with Ken’s secret, Peggy would be more tight lipped, realizing the perceived conflict-of-interest at the firm. In fact Ken trusted her enough to reluctantly smooth things over after the lunch blowoff.

      But as they say, “loose lips sink ships”.

      Note that Ken did not give Peggy his new nom de plume _________ Algonquin.

  28. Anne you are not slower on the uptake than me. I didn’t dawn on me that Babylon is a stupendous work of art until I saw for about the oh, 12th time last year. The lightbulb went on, and I was floored. Signal 30, which I disliked instantly, though I admired its construct, will probably wind up one of my faves. The reason Love Among the Ruins is the ep I love the most, is that I ‘got it’s on first watch. The themes of role playing, and rebirth, or starting anew, just registered. Like a cannon shot. Maybe that episode was easy to interpret. Has to be, because I’ve never felt I was on to any other episode.

    • I think how (and to some extent, when) an episode “clicks” for one of us has everything to do with how attuned we are to our own subconscious. If we can let the show go where it needs to go — and I think it ends up in a different place for almost everyone — we’re going to be hooked, and keep watching.

      I say this because I know someone, an adult, who has now watched at least one episode from each season, from the dark (“A Night to Remember”) to the light (“Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency”), and hated every one. Not just been bored, you understand: this person actively hated each one of those episodes.

      I worry for her. I do.

  29. To steal from the Merovingian again this week, I have to say, where you see damage, I see adaptation.

    The mad men have adapted to a system, a society, a culture, et al, which encourages and rewards avarice, tribalism, self-interest, et al.

    The mad women too. Notice Peggy’s suspicion of the durability of her conspiracy pact with Ben Ken. Cynically watching one’s own back is rewarded too, obviously. The Patrix has nurtured her to be wary of men eating lunches alone together.

    Overall I think I agree with your gist WTJB but “damaged” is usually a troublesome word for me. (And we were so in sync on Bob’s Colossus Boy just recently.)

    I have a difficult time when it’s used to describe people (I assume you do too) and thus I fear have carried this over to the description of complicated human-like fictional characters too. (Incidentally, I blame the Weiner-god for this; if he/she concentrated on serialized plot, and left the characters more or less as stage players rather than fleshing them out so thoroughly, I would not quibble with a thing like that*.) I think “damage” leads to easy implications that such a person/character is deserving of pity or often contempt because the subject is judged to have deviated from the ideal, or sometimes just as bad, the norm. Such deviation, when it’s effective, is just adaptation to me.

    I will endeavor to construct a more palatable word (or have I detected the trend around here that now the number is ten?) than “damage” so you and I can continue to Mad Men Mind Meld over future episodes. (Have you checked out the titles down the road btw? They are interesting.)

    Also, Meal = Love? Could not agree more! Needs to be stressed early and often in American life. I’m now hungry to watch “Big Night” again soon. Thanks.
    * Do we still get six points for using character quotes in our comments? Or is it ten points now?

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