Recap: Far Away Places

 Posted by on April 23, 2012 at 7:30 am  Season 5
Apr 232012
Mad Men Far Away Places: Don and Megan on the floor

“You always say I never take you anywhere.”

There are episodes of Mad Men that I’ve had to watch over and over. There are secrets hidden in the way scenes are cut, the way shots are composed, the way words are repeated. Last night I saw something beautiful, and confusing, and challenging. There’s no way I can do it justice after only one viewing, but I’ll try.

Far Away Places was about a lot of things. It was about echoes: about memory, reliving, and things that recall other things. The echoes begin, but don’t end, with the same day repeated—relived—three times. The episode was about time—it was filmed in a time-distorted way (the same day motif was not Rashomon, although I imagine someone will say it is; unlike that great film, Far Away Places took us to three different far away places). Jane says that time is just numbers on a clock, Don and Peggy both reference the time, and we see Don looking at his watch. At the LSD party, the Beach Boys sing “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times,” which sounds like a shot at Roger, worrying over his white hair, but Roger seems, suddenly, to be genuinely renewed. Maybe he is made for these times after all.

When I wrote about Signal 30, I suggested it was about identity and secret selves. Certainly, Far Away Places addresses that as well, but it’s more about being known, rather than about being secret. Peggy’s pitch is about being included, and feeling safe, but no one feels safe. Jane is sure that Roger is laughing at her, and Don is sure that Megan and her mother talk about him behind his back. Paranoia runs deep around here; Ginzo wants private conversations when he’s in an open office and when he’s standing in a public hall—like that’ll happen, ever.

No one here feels truly known: Am I a Martian? An orphan? A covert sex goddess? Perhaps we are all more than anyone imagines when they look at us.

Most importantly, it’s about relationships. The three fights these three couples had are hard to describe because they swirled around the very heart of what it means to be in a relationship, to try to touch another soul, to know and be known, and inevitably, to fail, because even the most loving and connected couple is composed of two people who are separate individuals and will never fully know each other.

All that blather at the LSD party about truth and reality and neurosis and logic never really got to the point for Roger or Jane, but it is about truth: Jane wants Roger to like her, and to know her, and to really see her, to notice she’s there. When Jane realizes that Roger never even heard her say they were going to drop acid, she knew exactly how invisible she was.

Roger, too, wants the truth, although he’d be the last person to admit it. But the truth, even the truth that he doesn’t like his wife or want to be married to her, is liberating. Roger, of all people, has been freed.

Why this order, though? Why Peggy, then Roger, then Don? Ending with Roger might have created more of a sense of optimism, since the truth was told—or pessimism, since the relationship was over. (It’s striking how much younger and prettier Jane looked in the post-LSD scenes, as if artifice and unhappiness aged her.) Maybe Roger’s story is a kind of warning for Don: Tell the truth to one another before it’s too late.

“Every time we fight it just diminishes us a little bit.”

When Roger and Jane tell each other the truth, they are lying on their backs on the rug. When Don and Megan get to the end of their fight, they are in the same position.

Throughout the episode, what we see is couples fighting over the intersection of work and life, unable to find a way to just be together, but needing one another for comfort. Roger and Jane don’t fight about work; she’s trying to bring him into her life. Don and Megan are struggling to find a balance. It’s funny that she doesn’t want to get pulled away from the Heinz team, just as Bert Cooper doesn’t want Don to pull her away—it’s like everyone is lining up and telling Don to just work already, while it’s pretty clear that the message for Peggy is the opposite: don’t work so much. Again, that’s the message from Abe and from Bert, who tells Don quite pointedly that he’s making a “little girl” do his work for him.

It’s almost ridiculous to ask how Peggy’s story parallels Don’s; it’s never been so clear that Peggy is Don, and yet simultaneously wants nothing more than to be Don. We see a close-up of her smoking, we see her berate a client about having feelings, we see her drinking, we see her leaving the office in the middle of the day to see a movie, we see her having illicit, unfaithful sex in the middle of the day and then washing up afterwards (remember Don washing his hands in disgust after a similar encounter with Bobbi Barrett?), we see her fall asleep on her office couch, and we see her being woken up by a secretary—Don’s secretary, in fact. We’ve seen Don Draper do every single one of these things, and I look forward to analyzing certain scenes shot-by-shot, because I’m pretty sure that the compositions of some of them are identical (the hand waking Peggy, for example).

Peggy declares her fidelity to Don in the opening scene, when she’s looking for the special candy he gave her as a good luck charm before the pitch—candy, we learned in Season 2, that Don associates with a memory of his father. Can Don be painted any more clearly as Peggy’s father-figure?

While she’s in the process of finding her “I am becoming Don” magic candy, she’s having a fight with Abe that is clearly every fight Don ever had with Betty: You don’t include me, all you do is work, I’m an afterthought. Peggy is so sure she’s being abandoned at every moment that she doesn’t know how to just have the fight: she just can’t speak truthfully with Abe without being sure he’s leaving her. Abe doesn’t want to leave, he wants to connect. He wants what Jane finally got, but too late. And Peggy wants someone she can please: hence a hand job. She moved Stoner Guy’s hand away from pleasing her. She wasn’t seeking her own pleasure, she just wanted to know, at the end of the day, that someone was happy with her. If it wasn’t her boyfriend and it wasn’t her client, Stoner Guy (politely credited as “Man”) would do.

Another way the three couples parallel each other? Each main character has a partner who declares his or her foreignness. Abe says “I’ll say a  brucha” (the Hebrew word for a blessing prayer). Roger recalls that Jane spoke Yiddish while she was tripping (he thought it was German). Megan and Don argue over the fact that Megan speaks French with her mother.

Finally, this episode is about parents, and about being an orphan: parents who are foreign, inaccessible, or both. Don talks to Marie (his mother-in-law). Megan thoughtlessly tells Don to call his mother. Ginzo is visited by his father, but then declares, “He’s not my real father.” Roger sees Bert—a father-figure for him—in his money. Peggy wants Don’s good luck candy, which is multi-generational; it’s from his father, and it symbolizes him as a father to her. Don, trying to be a good father, forgets Gene, who he claims will never even know that he was slighted (like Don never knew his mother, like Ginzo never knew his mother).

Parenting is somehow identified as foreign: Megan’s mother is French, Jane’s father speaks Yiddish, Ginzo’s father has a thick accent. Ginzo was born in a place of death, a Concentration Camp, which so disturbs Peggy that she needs Abe (reaching for comfort and safety, like her college kids by the campfire eating beans).

Some additional thoughts:

  • Don did talk to his mother—last week, when he visited a whorehouse.
  • Was the advertisement of the guy with gray/black hair a real one? I bet it’ll be all over the Internet by the time I get up in the morning.
  • Quote of the week again goes to Roger: “Well, Doctor Leary, I find your product boring.”
  • I love that Mad Men is a show that doesn’t force Contractually Obligated Scenes with characters who aren’t integral to each week’s episode. This week we had no Harry, no Betty or Henry, no Lane or Joan, because none of them were necessary for the story Far Away Places had to tell.
  • LSD was legal to possess in the United States until 1968. California was the first state to make it illegal, in October of 1966.

Originally published at Indiewire Press Play.


  318 Responses to “Recap: Far Away Places”

  1. For the first time I felt something for Jane. Her longing to be someone, not just a gorgeous creature, to her husband, was touching. It took till the end, but Jane delivered, gave you a reason to care about her. Bert said what ‘s been on many of our minds; when is that zombie parading through that offlice as DD going to do some work? Thank you, for validating us. Bert.

    Don has exhibited rage in large dollops this year. Why? Is he not content? Is he contemptuous of happiness, of his wife? His impulse to throw it away is masked by this mysterious anger. What gives?

    • I feel so sad about Jane, and I’m afraid we’ll never see her again. I’d happily watch a spinoff about a beautiful 1960’s divorcee and her fabulous wardrobe.

      • Sex and the City, 1960s. It’s been done, but not as a TV show.

      • She might show up again. That’s what I love about Mad Men, you never know who you’re going to see again—Midge, Rachel, Duck, Freddy….people appear and reappear.

  2. I can’t give you the number, but it’s a fairly sure bet that more than a few who have actually tripped, watched Far Away Places.

    There have been attempts to portray being under the influence of LSD, on television and in films. Easy Rider, and another Peter Fonda film, The Trip, come to mind. And who can forget the classic Dragnet episode that featured a completely whacked out Blue Boy? These were broadly played parodies that didn’t come anywhere close to the brilliant depiction the experience of an acid trip, as Mad Men brought us last night.

    I was completely blown away by this episode!

    • I agree, it had the feel of a more authentic acid trip, de-sensationalized for a change; a lot of the menace removed, it was easy to relate to.

      You mentioned a few of the notable parodies in contrast but do you recall any other restrained depictions like this in other movies or TV? I’m drawing a blank and I’m looking for something to compare it to.

    • The lsd scenes in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ with Johnny Depp were also very realistic.

      • Roger took a carefully measured dose of pure LSD in controlled circumstances. Hunter Thompson (as played by Johnny Depp) took fistfuls of drugs–including some LSD–in wildly uncontrolled circumstances.

        Very different depictions of psychedelia & both excellent in their way.

    • I’ve always found the trip scenes in movies to be insanely overstated. More than once I have thought, “if that’s what acid really did, I do it every week.” But last night’s trip was kind of on the money, with lots of little things “happening”, and mind blowing for a few seconds untill the next mind blowing thing erases it. (kind of like having the mind of a large goldfish) Someone on the live thread called this a “bad trip”. I have to disagree. I only did it a few times and came out of it shagged, but okish, can’t say the same for others. In other words, I have witnessed bad trips, and they are hellishly bad. Roger seems recalibrated and refreshed. And Jane was able to emerge from her Pucci-print hidey hole and see her shadow.

      • LSD dosed sugar cubes would seem to indicate the use of a pharmaceutical grade, as opposed to something obtained on the street. I wasn’t clear on exactly who the man with glasses at the party (who Roger referred to as The Professor) was. A psychiatrist? A researcher? If he were a professional of that sort, he could very well have had access to a pure, lab-produced source of LSD-25.

        After it became illegal, LSD was sometimes cut/tainted with things like speed or strychnine, which increased the health risks or chances of a bad reaction. This isn’t to say that people didn’t freak out while tripping on “clean” acid, since how someone reacted to its effects was often affected to the mindset they were in at the time. And, as was seen in the show, it was very helpful to have a non-tripping guide present.

        • Why would LSD-laced sugar cubes indicate a higher quality product than, say, blotters or microdots? I was not around in the ’60s, but as I understand it, LSD was completely unregulated in New York state during Far Away Places, and since LSD is about the trickiest recreational drug ever to synthesize, you’d either get really clean LSD from an intellectual type (often in very strong, fully psychedelic doses, about 3x-8x stronger than the wimpy 80 microgram blotters today) or you’d just get a plain sugar cube or pill from a scammer.

          Also, strychnine is (was) extremely uncommon, even in black-market LSD.

          • Actually, the sugar cubes, but more than that, the fact that Jane’s psychiatrist was involved indicated to me that it was probably high-grade LSD. Also, we’re we meant to take it from Rogers’s quip that that was actually Dr. Timothy Leary? Interesting friends for the seemingly vapid Jane to have scored. Go, Jane!

    • Blue Boy! While watching the episode, I brought up
      That episode of “Dragnet” to my husband. My brother & I watched that on vacation in a motel (sadly not a HoJo’s). I was 10 at the time & caught it on Nick at Night. We thought it was the wildest thing. We often referenced it (not totally understanding it) & cracked each other up.
      Glad to see that someone else had a “flashback” during Rogers’s trip. 🙂

      • I always thought the Blue Boy episode probably inspired more drug use than it prevented.

  3. I loved this episode although I wish the sound was better – I definitely missed some dialogue because of it. Comments/ questions:
    1. Deborah talks about the parents being inaccessible which is extended into the movie Born Free where the mother lion leaves the cub to make it on its own
    2. There were definitely references to Tomorrowland. Did anyone think that the first view inside HoJos looked exactly like the diner where Sally spilled the milkshake? If so, was that real or was that just something in Don’s mind?
    3. Don has left (deserted) people many times before in frustration and anger but this may have been the first time he returned feeling at least worried. Not sure how remorseful he was outwardly since I never heard him actually apologize though. In the past he thought he had made up for his absense like buying the dog after missing the birthday party but there is nothing he could do to make up for him leaving Megan alone.
    4. In the LSD haze did Jane admit they she might have feelings for her femaile psychiatrist or did I hear that wrong?
    5. The ad that had ‘do over’ on it. Why was that not the Heinz ad? I think it was an ad for a bra (female product) so does the “do over” apply to Don rethinking his allowing Peggy to be in charge?

    • 2) My thought was that they dressed the milkshake set to look like a Hojo’s. But the exterior was so authentic that now I think they dressed the Hojo’s for the milkshake set. In any case, it was the same restaurant.

      5) It was an old pre-Jackie and Marilyn Playtex ad. It was probably something Bert found lying around and thought it might get Don’s attention, not a current campaign.

    • The setting of the milkshake scene reminded me of the Mount Rushmore park cafeteria in “North by Northwest” – a 1930s WPA-built Western stone national park lodge with very high ceilings and exposed wood beams. But memory is so false.

    • The two episodes now remind me of each other, yes.

      Add another feeling my husband and I both got from the scenes inside the Howard Johnson’s: Pulp Fiction‘s closing sequence, with Honey Bunny and Ringo.

      • YES! I wondered if anyone else got visual reference to the lovers squabble in the diner in Pulp Fiction, a movie that also played with the element of time and memory, skipping backwards and forwards and always around.

  4. The LSD scenes in this episode made me so happy. I loved the scenes between Jane and Roger, laying on the floor wearing matching turbans as they confessed all their feelings to each other. It was really beautiful and so much like a scene from a movie in the 60s about marriage. Very Ted and Alice. They really sent Jane with a bang though, I’m glad we got a clearer portrait of that character and that fact that she did love Roger. His reaction that she never cheated was amazingly played by John.

  5. Great recap on an amazing episode. I think there was also a subtle theme of suffocation and smothering love in this episode. This kind of love is experienced in varying degrees by Peggy, Ginsberg, and Megan. Abe signals it before his fight with Peggy when he brings up the movie where the star is wrestling with a cobra and then proceeds to have a fight with Peggy that is about how he is essentially smothering her and she is pulling away. Ginsberg also seems to be on the end of this from his father who exhibits the understandably smothering love of a person who was able to track down his son in a Swedish orphanage 5 years after losing his wife and probably all of his family members in the Holocaust.

    Megan is obviously the most suffocated by her relationship with Don. This is signalled early on even in her outfit, with an extemely heavy gold chain around her neck and Don cornering her against the wall, persuading her to leave work. She is suffocated by his cigarette smoke in the car and needs the window opened. There is a surfeit of food at the Hojos and she literally tries to shove her mouth full of the orange sherbet and pretend to like it as she demonstrates to Don how he makes her feel. Back at the apartment, Don tackles her in a smothering grasp.

    Roger and Jane are the ones who are the exception. Jane craves more connection with Roger and they end the LSD trip able to gracefully let go of the other simultaneously.

    This point is driven home by the ad left for Don by Bert. It features a woman in a bra ad, with the bra being touted to “move with you” and “breathe.” The words, “Do Over,” are written in bold at top – hopefully Don can let go of Megan enough that she can breathe in their relationship.

    • You are so right on – what a great take on this episode!

    • Great recap but I understood that “Pop” was not his actual father and that he “adopted” Ginsberg from an orphanage. Is this correct?

      • I thought that Ginsberg said something about when he was 5 years old a message came that said “do not leave.”

        I was really confused, because I was having some trouble hearing all the dialogue.

        It think it is possible that (1) he was adopted and Pop is no relation (2) Pop is his real father, but Ginsburg grew up in a completely different place and did not meet or know him until much later; (3) Pop is some relation of his that tracked him down and has ried to assume the role of a caring relative.

        Maybe someone else got more out of what Ginsberg was saying. Let us know!

        If you’ve ever seen the play “The Kindertransport” (Diane Samuels), –I wonder if there is a similar theme here. Michael might be Jewish, but he may or may not have been raised Jewish in the Swedish orphanage. When reunited with members of his family (if his Pop is a blood relation), Ginsberg may have felt very conflicted and confused about his idenity.

        • Yes I would like to know what others think about this as well! Could be interpreted different ways. I thought that “Pop” was his real dad, who found him in the orphanage after the war. It’s just that Ginsburg is not completely accepting of the truth about his birth. Is it too horrible to contemplate? Is he embarassed by it? He just doesn’t want to be “different”?

          • I took it as “Pops” being his real father and that saying he wasn’t was as much a construct as saying he’s really a martian. I think he was just trying to distance himself as much as possible from the horror and tragedy of his family history.

          • Yes, I think it would be both too horrible to contemplate and something one would distance oneself from just to cope, combined with the fact that having such a horrible experience automatically separates you from those who haven’t, making you literally feel like a martian, so foreign and strange that you might feel you could never possibly explain yourself or no one could ever understand.

        • I believe they are closely related, probably father and son. Their ways must have parted at some point and he ended up in an orphanage, to be found by his dad later. I interpeted “his not my real father” as his father being so damaged by what he went through that it transformed him completely from the man he would have been oherwise.

        • I thought the dad seemed a little onld to be his father. I thought he was a grandfather the first time I saw him. Anyway, it will be an interesting story when we learn more.

          I also thought it was sweet hearing Peggy and Ginsberg talk about Ginsberg’s adoption. Might be hard for Peggy who gave a boy up for adoption to be with a man who was adopted.

          • You’d be amazed at how that never happened. As Don said.

            Her giving birth and the circumstances of his birth are so vastly different. She may not think of her own situation just from hearing the word adoption.

          • I think you make a good point Jonesy. I didn’t think of that.

        • One of the things that struck me is that “Pops” is a very big man making Michael look tiny beside him. Even though he is very loving, he is also overwhelming.

          • I was struck by that choice in the casting right away. Pops is sooooo tall compared to Michael. They did not try to pick people who looked like clones of each other.

            It could mean they are not direct blood relationtions, or that Michael was malnourished in his infancy/youth. It could also just be that Pops got the tall genes and Michael go the short ones.

            I also thought that Pops seemed like he could be a grandfather, uncle, or great-uncle, though I’m not ruling out biofather, yet.

        • I also wonder about the lawsuit he is filing. (he needed to make copies of the papers for it) It sounded a little off, like maybe he has a bit of dementia?

          • He might have been preparing for a Holocaust compensation and reparations case, or one of the millions of unpaid life insurance policies Germany and allied countries owed survivors and were under pressure to pay. As I recall there was a Law and Order episode on this

            “Initial post-war efforts in Western Europe to honor unpaid insurance policies—primarily life insurance—belonging to Holocaust victims are widely considered to have been far less comprehensive than other compensation and restitution programs. Several of the countries home
            to companies known to have sold such policies, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, passed laws in the 1950s and 1960s attempting at least partially to honor these policies. However, a variety of factors led these efforts to fall short. These included uncertainty regarding the present value of the policies; difficulties with verification of policy ownership; disagreement over how to compensate the many Jews who were forced to either cash in their
            policies, or simply surrender them to the Nazis; and an insurance industry in dire economic straits.”


          • There was also legal cases involving the Nazis taking personal items like art, furniture, jewelry some of which ended up in museums. I believe the life insurance cases started well before the property cases though

        • There were millions of displaced persons, including children, post WWII who lived in DP camps, before being repatriated to their home countries. With children, attempts were made to find missing (too often dead) parents, leaving the kids in orphanages. It was a huge UN undertaking, complicated by citizens of formerly free countries now under Soviet control who did not want to return. The movie, “The Search” (1948) tells the story of a little boy looking for his mother – and she looking for him, each being told the other had most likely perished. Montgomery Clift plays a soldier who reluctantly take the boy under his wing (and by the end is trying to legally adopt him and take him home to America.) It is a fairly realistic look at the logistics problems of reuniting families torn by war. btw in the end the boy and his mother do find each other, nearly missing each other by yards – only his hat, which she knit for him, caught her eye as he and the other children were being transported (again) to another camp. A real tearjerker and the child who played Karel won a special Academy Juvenile award.

      • From what Ginzo said–which was obviously distorted–his biological parents were in the concentration camp when he was born, and then, after liberation, they were separated, but his biological father (Morris Ginsberg) hunted him down and found him in a Swedish orphanage. Somehow Ginzo is unable to accept that and choose to know himself as a Martian instead.

        • Deborah somehow I am just not ready to accept this guy as his biological father yet. Something seems off. So I believe you but I don’t believe IT. I await further developments…

          • Having done a lot of studying of the Holocaust and reading more first hand accounts than is probably healthy for the psyche, I have to say I am leaning toward agreeing with jzzy55 here. What really tips me off was Ginzo’s comment “you stare at me while I sleep” when the old man says that he just wanted to see him and Ginzo says you see me all the time, and then utters the line I quoted. That struck me as a good indication this man is not his biological father because of something I read a few years ago on one of the major Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur I think.
            This article spoke of a child in Hungary (I think) and their observation of the Jewish community on the Jewish holy day of reckoning-where you forgive those who have harmed you in the previous year and ask forgiveness for yourself as well. Anyway, this account told how odd the child found it at the time when they were swarmed by adult Jews on the street that day who just wanted to stare at him, or just touch him briefly, and they would cry, and the child didn’t understand why. They just gathered around, more and more of them looking at him, and now he knows that they were clinging to the sight of a Jewish child in a world where so many of them were now gone. To have a young child survive the camps was a huge deal for a family, and those children became little beacons of hope for the community.

            I wish I could recall the author of the article, but it struck me because in all my studies I had never thought of it from that perspective. Of course it would hurt like nothing else to lose your child, but how would you react to the sight of someone else’s child who survived? You would cherish them, and shelter them, and perhaps stare at them while they slept. They would be a reminder of what you lost and what you and so many others suffered, but also a reminder that life does go on, which is what that particular Jewish holiday is about, from what I remember the article saying. The sight of a child Holocaust survivor is an image that embodies the evil past and the hopeful future all in one, and that burden obviously is hard on Ginzo. I could be wrong, but that little statement by Ginzo really stood out to me as a piece of evidence that this man cares so much for him even though he is not really his.

    • The word “smother” is an excellent way to describe Don’s attempt to monopolize Megan’s time and his insistence for her to use most of her time to please him. In addition Megan is expected to occupy the space that he occupies at a given moment and to participate in the activities he is participating in. Don sees Megan no more than an extension of himself and not as autonomous human being with her own goals and desires. That is until episode 6 Far Away Places. Don is NOT stupid. I think he got a huge wake-up call in this episode from Megan and also from Bert: Get back to business and allow Megan to do her own thing. You have abandoned your job long enough. And Megan will eventually abandon you if you do not grow up and allow her to do her job to the best of her ability.

      Now why does Don pursue his love for Megan in this manner? Answer:

      Because he can (till now); most men have jobs which would NOT allow them to spend so much time with their wives. As a top executive he can set his own schedule and work as much or little as he wants by delegating authority.

      Because Don and Megan work at the same firm. That is also rare.

      Because Don is 14 years older than Megan (the paternal need to show the younger person the ropes)

      Because Don is overcompensating for the lack of love and attention he gave Betty. For Don there is no happy balance. Until now.

      In the remaining episodes I see Don recovering his mojo (after all he is a superstar creative genius) and devoting his time and energies to work as he has in the past.

      The $64,000 question becomes: By staying out of Megan’s way and allowing her to do her job without him always looking over her shoulder and pulling her away from her responsibilities, will Don and Megan begin to lead essentially separate lives and will Don, as in the past, revert back to the “old Don” and cheat on his wife because he can no longer count on her to be available to him whenever he feels the desire to have his sexual needs fulfilled?

      Or as some including myself have suggested, will Don and Megan become the modern power couple, a term that came into vogue in the 1980’s? Can Don learn to see Megan in those terms?

  6. The Ted Knight ad.

    Also, Kurosawa definitely not the inspiration here, but French film of the period, which Weiner loves.

    • Incidentally, when you look at the theme of the Ted Knight ad, I think you’ll find subtext there about Roger chasing youth, which is a big part of why he seduced the twin, married Jane, etc.

    • Max Ophuls, probably “La Ronde” and “Le Plaisir”, is mentioned in the AMC behind the scenes of ep. 506.

  7. Not to be crude, but it is funny that in the same episode that Don and Megan visit Howard Johnson’s, Peggy meets a stranger in a movie theater, and yep, gives him a Howard Johnson.

    As with most MM writing, I’m guessing this sly wink was no accident.

    • Is that a common expression? I thought I knew a lot of slang, but that’s…a new one on me.

      • I don’t know how common but I heard it growing up: a play on the shared “HJ” of the hotel chain and Peg’s servicing.

  8. Great recap, and I loved your thoughts on Jane. Some observations about her:

    – In the scenes where she’s wearing that turquoise robe, the shade of turquoise kind of calls back the first time we meet her: in season 2 when she first comes to Sterling Cooper, she’s wearing a bright blue/turquoise dress that was meant to be compared to Joan’s darker dress. Jane = younger version/foil of Joan.
    – In the scene where Roger and Jane are in bed, and he’s telling her that their marriage is over, the way they’re set up on the bed recalls the conversation in season 2 they had when he proposed to her.

    • Roger and Joan simply do NOT bring out the best in each other. Isn’t that one definition of incompatibility?

      Roger is consistently witty except around his wife. Note how serious he is around her. And as some posters have commented Jane is acting 10 years older and more sophisticated than she really is. Did Jane really want to marry a “serious Roger” and did Roger want to marry a “pretender” like Jane?

      Results: No passion in their marriage.

  9. “And Peggy wants someone she can please: hence a hand job. …she just wanted to know, at the end of the day, that someone was happy with her”

    I looked at the movie scene as Peggy trying to be in control of someone, even if it was only HJ Guy. Her argument with Abe did not go her way, and neither did the one with the Heinz exec. To be in charge of how that man was feeling, that was a power-play.

    • Totally agree, it was about her finally being in charge of a situation. That’s why she didn’t even want him to kiss her.

      • I agree. She was in control and it was sexual, not emotional. No intimacy. No romance. No kissing.

  10. I just finished watching this for the first time ( I can’t always watch it on Sunday night) and it left me gasping for breath! Dear Lord! This just gets better with every episode! It really stirred a lot of emotions in me, fear, anxiety, anger–maybe I should take a Lorazepam before each episode!

    Holy cow! I am completely blown away. All the arguing made me nervous because, as the characters on MM are like a family, I hate to see parts of it break up. I’m actually sad for Jane, for although I loved the openess of Jane and Roger on the rug, it saddend me to see that Roger is quite content to leave this marriage after hearing the truths about it instead of trying to mend it. And the fear of something happening to Megan and seeing her argue in the apartment with Don was heartbreaking. The honeymoon is definitely over. When Don was recalling his and Megan’s trip back From Disneyland, it made me recall Faye’s words to him “You only like the beginnings of things.” (God, get me some water!)

    The LSD scene made me nervous, especially when Roger read the note with his name and address on it, announcing that he’s taken the drug. Basically and emergency card if he’s found walking into traffic. I was relieved to see them back home in the bathtub, and Roger’s illusions were funny instead of frightening, which made this only slightly more easy to watch.

    The fact that they were so willingly taking it, really scared me, It struck a little too close to home because back in the 60s, a very close relative to me (who passed in 2007) had their first exposure to LSD (slipped into coffee at a party) and it led them down a hellish path of schizophrenia.
    I may have to wait to watch this again, it was too painful.

    However, this was an incredible episode.

    And yes, the hair ad in the LIFE magazine was real, I’ve seen it. Loved how Roger saw himself in the mirror with the Cruella DeVil hair!

  11. I thought this was an(other) outstanding episode.

    The retelling-the-same-day/night-sequentially-from-three-POVs structure was initially confusing, but paid off beautifully. There was tons of thematic material about time (not) passing and things changing, about the initital perception of love being replaced by the detailed understanding and growth (or death) of a relationship, about the societal changes and expectations vs. truth (whether it’s Peggy’s following Don’s life template and failing, or Roger and Jane unlocking the unspeakable with their lysergic experience)… What a rich episode! So much going on!

    Regarding the LSD trip – and speaking as a veteran of the seventies – it was indeed accurately portrayed for the most part… particularly in terms of being a truly mind-expanding experience allowing one to see oneself and the world more clearly, and not just being about the special effects. (SmilerG – see the recent Ang Lee film “Taking Woodstock” for another depiction of a trip that struck me as quite on-target.)

    And it was great to see Bert back to being something other than comedy relief. I loved Don’s flashback to driving back from the airport after California the previous year while driving down from Plattsburgh – trying to reconcile the to-good-to-be-true Megan of then with the far more complex relationship they have now. Fascinating stuff with Ginsberg… A great episode!

  12. It feels greedy of me to ask for more from an episode that gave us this much to chew on, but I can’t help but wish we’d seen the scene where Don gives Peggy the violet candies. Obviously Peggy places great value on them (on the Open thread I described them as a talisman), but I wonder what Don said when he gave them to her. How much did he explain of their significance? So much of the Don/Peggy relationship involves unspoken understanding. I can’t imagine that Don told Peggy all about Archie Whitman. Maybe it was just something about how he gave them to her, or the circumstances, and Peggy was able to intuit the value and meaning without specifics.I just wish we could have seen it.

    This is why people write fan-fic. 🙂

  13. What a great trifecta of episodes this has been.

    When I saw Jane and Roger getting ready for the sugar cubes I thought, I know cooler heads should prevail, but am I the only one who wants to see this?

    And regarding the first MM character to drop acid – I don’t know about any of you, but I had Roger.
    LOL! Perfect choice!

  14. Deborah, thank you for this this blog in general – it is such a gift to have a place to come and mull over this show with other thoughtful people! That is especially brought home to me when I see an episode as rich as this one. And thank you more specifically for being brave enough to post a reaction piece immediately after each episode. You always see things I didn’t see, and am so happy to be given to chew over. This was a great reaction piece. I think it speaks volumes about the depth of the episode and the series more broadly that even though you brought up a number of significant themes, I also saw so many other themes that you didn’t mention. This is no reflection on you, but rather, a reflection that after four and a half seasons each time we watch an episode we have not only the material from that episode to work with but also all the foundation of the past seasons that comes up as the subtext of every moment in the episode. The series is an incredibly rich text to analyze. There is so much in the episode that I am sure it will take us all week to plumb the depths. There are so many levels of observations we could make on so many threads, and I look forward to following many of those threads down through those levels. But for now, from me, just some disconnected first-level observations, i.e, things that jumped out at me (in addition to what you mentioned).

    1. The scene that most floored me was the scene when Don left Megan at the Ho Jos. Has anyone ever had that done to them, or threatened by, a parent? Has anyone read “Anywhere But Here,” by Mona Simpson, where the mother repeatedly makes her daughter get out of the car and drives off while they are driving cross-country? This scene hit me a on primal level – being abandoned in the middle of nowhere is one of my deepest fears. And it struck me that Don was treating Megan like an abusive parent might treat a child by abandoning her there. He was not relating to her like one adult to another.

    2. In my mind, this relates to Don’s broader treatment of Megan and to a comment I made last night that Don (like the mother in Anywhere But Here, BTW) may have Borderline Personality Disorder. One main characteristic of BPD is that the person does not see “loved ones” as separate from them, but as a part of them, to be used by them for their happiness. Another characteristic of BPD is that the person never really develops emotionally beyond the level of a toddler.

    3. The theme of orphanhood/abandonment/loss of parenting. Don’s mother dies in childbirth. Ginzburg’s mother dies in the concentration camp and he is sent to an orphanage after the war. Megan tells Don to call his mother. Don abandons Megan on the side of the road (outside a hotel geared toward happy families). Peggy, who sees Don as a father figure, gave up her child.

    4. The Ho Jos scene is the dark cousin of the milkshake scene in California. Spilling the shake was okay – Megan took away the shame from Sally. Don tried to shame Megan into eating the orange sherbet and she shoved it into her mouth, swallowing her anger, swallowing the shame he was forcing on her?

    5. Roger sees himself as half dark, half light (half good, half bad?) (Half old, half young?) in the magazine ad and in the mirror. I thought the ad looked like it could be half Roger, half Don, and then Don appeared behind Roger in the mirror and told him he was okay. This harkened back to the pitch Don gave in Season One where he said something about how everyone wants to be told that whatever we are doing is okay. This also seemed connected to Peggy’s Heinz pitch about the kids at the campfire wanting to feel safe. What was Don representing to Roger when he appeared in the mirror?

    6. Peggy, clearly, is becoming/trying to become Don but at the same time sees him as a father figure. Is there an Oedipal theme here – overthrowing the father?

    7. Peggy, clearly, is becoming Don – but she isn’t a man, so people around her aren’t accepting it. Don often tries to bully clients into accepting his pitches. It often works for him. Peggy tries the same approach with the Heinz client, but he slaps her down like a bad little girl. He all but tells her he would spank her if he didn’t have a daughter himself (and therefore is more patient with the tantrums of little girls, is what he is saying). So Don’s approach doesn’t seem to work for Peggy – clients won’t accept her “acting like a man.” So what is her alternative? Should she “act like a woman” to get them to accept the pitch? Should she wheedle the client in a little girl voice? Oh, please, Daddy, like my pitch? Should she use other feminine wiles to get them to like the pitch? A hand job perhaps? The Heinz scene made me feel the immense frustration women like Peggy (and my mother, a rising university professor in the mid-60s, about Peggy’s age) must have felt when men wouldn’t let them act “like men” but didn’t respect them if they acted “like women.” How did they find their own professional approach? I have so much respect for the women who even tried – with no real historical precedents to guide them.

    8. I MUST find out where they filmed that masterpiece of a Ho Jos scene! Is that a real, old Ho Jos in LA? Or did they build that set (including the outside), in which case I worship whoever did it?

    Hope no one was sent into a coma by this long post.

    • Regarding the first point, I agree about Don treating Megan like a child. Practically ordering her to go on the trip (well he did order her as her boss – the lines between husband an boss are getting very blurred), ordering her food for her and insisting she eat that damned orange sherbet. Treating her like an ungrateful child who wasn’t happy that dad took her out for ice cream. Strange since Don doesn’t want a child-woman for a wife; he specifically put Betty down by telling her that he felt like he was talking to a child. But then he encourages Megan to be dependent upon him (even though it is really he who is really being needy and dependent upon her at this point).

      • Working together is probably not a great thing for their marriage. Their personal life and professinal lives should be separate. When don proposed Megan’s first question was “What about work.?” and he said that nothing has to change (or something like that.) It seems that this is impossible. Nobody will ever take Megan seriously as long as she is married to the boss.

      • In my 20’s I was once in a relationship with an older man. I love how he treated me adoringly at first but soon found that he liked the idea of me more than he liked who I really was. He was often put off when I did not act, do or like the things he expected me to. He was also hurt when he wanted to introduce me to a new experience and I had already done it, such as trying a new place for dinner.

        I saw a lot of these things with Megan. Don wanted to show her new things and expected her to respond a certain way. He expected Megan to love the sherbert and was disapointed when she had her own opnion.

        Made me sad

    • A couple of thoughts –

      Ginsburg’s mother – I kept wondering if he had actually been born in a displaced persons camp, rather than a concentration camp, which would be more likely (in terms of his survival), but might make him too young (he’d be, at most, 21 in 1966). OTOH, if he had been born in a concentration camp and kept safe while his mother died, the story would be extraordinary, and I’d like to hear more.

      Don after abadoning Megan, seems totally lost, like he has no idea what to do to find Megan. Rather than, say, find out if there is a bus station around where he might check up on her, he just stays at the restaurant, unwilling even to go to their hotel room. Unlike Betty, Don can’t predict Megan’s behavior, and she surprised him again last night. I also thought it was interesting that, after their fight in the apartment, he reversed the parental roles and he was the child, with his head in her abdomen as if he were her baby, clinging to her not to leave.

      • “he reversed the parental roles and he was the child, with his head in her abdomen as if he were her baby, clinging to her not to leave.”

        I’ll be interested to see Tom and Lorenzo’s take on the fashion because I actually saw Megan as more of the child in that scene. That outfit looked like something Sally would wear and when they both fell to the ground…I thought her cries mimicked a little girl–it was actually heartbreaking to watch her cry out like that. Don seemed more like the regretful parent, begging for forgiveness.

        • Well maybe they are both being children. They seem pathetic laying there on the floor after their physically aggressive argument, in contrast to the scene with Roger and Jane, who act like two adults speaking truth to each other (even if under the influence of LSD).

        • I had the SAME response to that black and white dress. it looked like something I would have worn in 1966. Very child-like. And a change from her sherbet color of the trip. Black and white — is that how they’re thinking?

          I thought they were pathetic, too.

      • Yes! All day he treated Megan like a child, as though she should be dependent upon him. As soon as she was gone, he just felt apart. He was helpless and useless — he couldn’t even seize upon the opportunity to tell the cop what had happened? Maybe give the cop a description at least> Megan meanwhile had made her own way home, thank you very much. The scene with him clinging to her, burying his face in her stomach, was almost pathetic. He tries to be the one in control, but he is helpless without her.

      • It is possible that Michael’s mother gave birth to him in the concenration camp (a more common occurance than usually known) and somehow managed to get him out before she died.

      • CPT, Thank you for knowing your history and making sense of what we know about Ginsberg, which is tantalizing little.
        In the Open Thread I suggested he is between 25-27, which means he was born somewhere between ’39-’41. So where was he all that time? He didn’t say how long he was in the Swedish orphanage.
        I have read a number of accounts of Holocaust survival, and it never sounded like many adults (age 14 and up) escaped from an actual death camp, let alone a baby or a toddler. There were different kinds of camps and work camp/slave factory situations that were somewhat less dire (eg, no FInal Solution showers or ovens) but life was still nasty brutish and short. The way most people escaped was by avoiding the camps to begin with. Our Dutch-Jewish neighbor (when I was growing up) jumped off the back of an open truck on the way to the trains. She knew the Franks.

        • Ginsburg could have been born in a concentration camp if he born before 1942.1942 or later would make it almost impossible.The Nazis sent nearly all women and children to the gas chambers.They worked the men to death in concentration camps beginning in 1942. Women could have children and children grow up.Mengele chose who lived and died when the trains arrived.
          What might have happened is this;before 1942 concentration camps were not death camps per se.Ginsburg’s mother could have given birth and the child concealed from the Nazis.The child could have gone out in an escape.Jews did escape to Sweden during World War II. Danish resistance aided in the escapes.The waters between the Danish Island of Zealand (Copenhagen) and mainland Sweden was the usual route.These waters were heavily patrolled by German Navy patrol boats.Ginsburg could have been raised in a Swedish orphanage and his father could have joined a Danish resistance group training in Sweden. Sweden did tolerate these violations of Swedish neutrality besause most Swedes supported the allies.Ginsburg, I think is around 25-26 years old in 1966. He was born in 1941.MW did his homework, it is a very plausable plotline.

          • Your thinking makes sense. He was born before the mass liquidations, the Final Solution, started, and was somehow smuggled out or hidden. Strange things happened that saved people. If he was five years old at the end of the war, that means he was born in 1940 or so. There was still a little wiggle room at that point. Not very much, but a little, depending on where he was born. Still, that would make him very unusual. One in a million, almost literally. It wouldn’t be so unusual for him to have been born in Europe DURING the Holocaust, but being born in one of the death camps would place him in a tiny category, statistically too small to be counted. He really would have a reason to see himself as a kind of alien, with a story like that.

            Don is such a liar, who knows who is telling the truth. Or what is the truth.

      • Betty is a child. I don’t think she would have figured out a way to get back home on her own. Don did not count Megan being independant.

        Me, well if I was left at a rest stop and my parents were 1 1/2 hours away, I probably would have called them rather than finding a bus home. Good for Meghan.

      • Also, unlike Betty – Megan found herself hurt, angry, and literally left behind, and she pulled herself together, worked out a solution, and went with it. I imagine that Betty in the same situation would not have moved from the spot Don left her, unless the manager, a police officer, or some other helpful man escorted her into the Hojos to wait for Don to come back. I bet this is why Don was so shocked and pained to find that Megan was gone when he came back….it had never dawned on him that she would have found a solution unlike the kind Don had been used to from Betty. This was all the more terrifying to him than just the scary things an active imagination comes up with when a loved one is missing.

    • Don was treating Megan like a child in this episode and that is one of many roles she is required to play for him: mother,child, best friend, lover, coworker, subordinate. Of course her ability to handle those roles in “Tomorrowland,” whose echoes are felt in this episode, led him to fall in love with her in the first place. However, his shifting neediness and overwhelming dependence on her is exhausting.

      On another note, that scene when he came home and found her safe and was simultaneously relieved and furious really resonated. I have small children, not teenagers, but I remember being a teenager and missing curfew. My parents would be simultaneously grateful I was alive and ready to just about kill me for, as Don says, “not picking up the goddamn phone,” to let them know I was okay.

      • But Don isn’t her father and she’s not his daughter. I’m guessing she wanted him to think about what he did, and she wasn’t ready to talk to him, either. OTOH, it was manipulative of her and there were plenty of good questions on the Open Thread about why she didn’t go home to her parents in Montreal, which was closer than NYC. So that says something right there. She’s not done yet. And she has her own issues, though not as dramatic or obvious as Don’s anger and abandonment problems.
        If she wants to succeed in life she’s going to have to stop trying to ride on her husband’s bandwagon, that’s for sure. It doesn’t work for either of them.

      • Megan does have a lot of roles to play. Poor thing must be exhausted. Poor Don is not sure he needs/wants.

        • I think she’s trying to establish herself as a professional in her own right. Don has no interest in that at all. He has so often said the equivalent of “I’m the boss, I can tell you to . . . ” He thinks he’s got a live blow-up doll and he doesn’t know what to do with this real adult woman.

          It calls to mind the episode early in the series where Don expresses his bewilderment and frustration that he has given Betty everything she could possibly want. He has everything he thought he wanted and he is NOT happy.

    • Peggy has forgotten that great advice Bobbie Barrett gave her, “Don’t try to be a man! “

    • Elizabeth-I don’t really want to get into details, but that has happened to me, and it was my family that did it. My brother threw me out of a car and my mother decided he must have had good reason-she’s literally crazy-and so she left me there for over an hour. In a kinda not so great part of town for me to be standing alone on the side of the road. And that’s all I really want to say about that, except that I learned that day I need people I can call for help that I am not related to, who will recognize that no matter how mad you are at somebody, you don’t throw them out of a moving car and leave them on the side of the road. Oh, and I learned just how insanely my brother actually hates me, and that he would do anything he wanted and didn’t care about the consequences, and so I learned to truly fear him that day and ever since. It sucked and I don’t wish that on anyone.

      • Different take on a similar situation for me- My father used to demand the car be pulled over (he didnt drive, only my Mom) and then get out and walk away, disappearing for hours and nights at a time.

        • Rowan and MadManda. I am so sorry you had these experiences. I have heard many stories like this. What a terrible thing to do to someone.

    • Astute rundown, Elizabeth, and superb blog, Deborah. Thank you for all of your contributions. The only point I want to counter a little here is the feminist angle on Peggy’s Heinz pitch. It is true that the sexism of SCDP and of the time period is strong. It is clear that the Heinz rep was taken aback by Peggy’s DD-like bullying tactics, at least in part because of her sex. However, I don’t think that sexism answers everything here. I think that Don is depicted throughout the series as the kind of guy who generally “gets away with” everything: he’s tall, handsome, distanced, etc. No one calls him out on his cheating, his irresponsibility, selfishness, callousness, lack of accountability (until Megan and Cooper, this week). As a counter-example, see Pete. He wouldn’t–and doesn’t–get away with much without being called-out or checked by somebody. So, when I say it’s not “a sexism thing,” I mean to say that it’s more of a “charisma/looks/mystique thing.” As Robert Palmer said, “some people can do as they like.” Don can. Peggy and Pete can’t. Although we haven’t seen them in MM, plenty of women are closer to Don than to the other two.

      • Good point — I think that you are right that it’s a combination of gender and charisma.

    • In an interview a couple seasons ago, Jon Hamm made an observation about Don Draper that went something like this, “When Don is in trouble, Dick runs.’ I felt that’s what we were seeing when Don left Megan in the parking lot. We haven’t seen Dick for a long time, but there he was, fleeing the scene,unable to manage and control events or people, fleeing his feelings, responsibilities, and actions.

      It was actually Don Draper who came back – I think Dick would have kept going – but it was rather harrowing that he didn’t know what to do, just wandered around the HoJo’s hoping Megan’d return or something would happen to allay his fears.

      We learned later that he had been calling the apartment – I think Weiner played a little trick on us as viewers, not letting us in on that fact, because I kept wondering why he hadn’t done this. There would be no way we could know, I guess, but it did look as if he called everywhere BUT their residence.

      I think Don’s violence in the apartment was a shock but not surprising – in a way, it for foregrounded by his imagined violent behavior in ‘Tea Leaves.’. I wondered at what point his capacity for physical violence would surface. In some way, though, I think that this type of violence is a dynamic in their marriage. The scene at the end of Little Kisses where Megan taunts him, in her sexy lingerie, and he lunges for her, is its own type of violence in love. What we saw at the end of Faraway Places might possibly interpreted as another variation of it, in their relationship.

      The Megan-Don scenes left me speechless and I’m still not sure what I actually saw.

    • Elizabeth,

      You wrote

      “8. I MUST find out where they filmed that masterpiece of a Ho Jos scene! Is that a real, old Ho Jos in LA? Or did they build that set (including the outside), in which case I worship whoever did it?”

      Here you go:

      • Thank you so much, Polly Draper. I would love to see a step-by-step on how they transformed it. They did an amazing job.

    • Your characterization of Don have BPD could prove troublesome for his marriage to Megan if the producers of MM want to go in that direction.

      Or is Don simply insecure in his marriage being much older than Megan and fearful what is happening in the Sterling marriage to make Roger miserable will also happen to Don as well?

      Or is Don overcompensating for the lack of time he spent with Betty by attempting to spend as much time as possible with Megan? The feast or famine syndrome.

  15. Don tries to turn Megan in to Betty.

    • and she is refusing to be Bettied.

      • Or is she.

      • I think Don may be the sort of person with whom it’s “Be Bettied, or else…..”

        Or else what?

        1. You are given the cold shoulder and isolated. Don was cold and not nice about the birthday party.

        2. Don changes into “the boss” and orders you to do what you don’t want to do. Would he ever fire her? Could he?

        3. Don attempts to shame you–privately or in front of others.

        4. Don gets angry and aggressive in a way that is scary.

        5. What next?

        Don was raised by a father who seemed abusive. That was the only biological parent he knew. His mother was a blank. Whatever he believes she was–he had to have made most of it up.

        Nobody ever showed Don how relationships work.

        His step mother may or may not have been as terrible as we think–if Archie was abusing the step mom, it isn’t totally uncommon for children to grow up with great contempt for the abused parent (however, the reverse can be common–the child wants to protect the abused parent.)

        Or Abigail may have taken out her pain at being abused by abusing the person who was next in the pecking order. She may or may not have been nice.

        Anyway–even though Don doesn’t want to be Archie, he grew up watching Archie’s relationship toward women. His “default mode” is Archie.

        With Megan and Don, trust has been damaged, and while both Don and Megan probably want to believe there will not be a next time—what does Megan do when there IS a next time?

        She will remember this incident.

        The question is: will she stand her ground next time? And the time after that? And the time after that?

        If she tones down, self-edits, or watches her tonue–she’s starting to be Bettied.
        And if she steps up and challenges, we do NOT know if Don will also up his game and become more violent. It is a risk, and while Megan (and the rest of us) may wish to believe Don would never get more violent, none of us KNOW for sure.

        Megan will live under the cloud of incidents like this that make her uncertain and nervous about him.

        I think that if she allows herself to be Bettied for too long—she will become more and more unhappy and she will start to lose some of herself.

        I think if she fights back to aggressively, it could get very nasty. I think some people can change, but I don’t think Megan can “make” Don change by getting angry, just as she can’t “make” him change by loving him.

        I think the healthiest option would be to just leave. But she is rather optimistic, she’s new in her marriage, she may be embarassed to admit things aren’t great, and if she left Don she’d lose her job.

        If she is already wanting to leave, she may temporarily play nice while looking for a life raft (another job, another man, family, friends, etc.).

        But if she isn’t ready to leave, she will probably try to patch things up–best as possible–and work on pretending this was all a mistake.

        That’s why I hated the way he clung to her at the end. It wasn’t a real “sorry” it was a fake sorry. It was a “don’t abandon me, I can’t deal with it” cling. It wasn’t about what Megan needed, it was about Don not wanting to mess up what he’s enjoyed.

        • Nice commentary Lady K.

        • That’s how it looked to me, too, at the end of the episode, Lady K.

        • So what is he acapable of…

          I might started to fear for Megan, because he stepped out of the line, and she did not walk away, so he will aventley do it again if she triggers something.

        • I think youre right, Lady K. in your last observation about Don in the scene with him clinging to Megan but I thought it wasn’t just that he could lose what he ‘enjoyed.’ . I felt it was all about his emotional fragility and need, and his denial.

          Earlier, after he tackled her and they were lying on the carpet, he fell back on the line, ‘ It was a fight. it’s over.’, without seeing how each fight destroys the trust. Megan saw it and said so, but Don can’t. So he clings to her like a life raft, but he’s’ clueless, and she will continue to suffer with him.

          His capacity for physical violence, foregrounded in Tea Leaves, is out in the open now – another side of Don Draper, that’s frightening.

        • I agree with everything you’ve said! These are the reasons why I’ve come to essentially dislike Don, even though he fascinates me still. Simply put, at times he can be a real a**hole. But at other times he has these shining zenith moments of clarity where he drops beautiful simple truths on people (mostly while making pitches, but occasionally as a friend – like when Roger imagines him during the trip during this episode – it was classic “reassuring-mode” Don). That is why I still want to watch his every move to see what he does next – will it be angel Don or devil?

    • No. He doesn’t want to move back to the suburbs. And, although he joked about a baby–after meeting Trudy & Pete’s charming daughter–I don’t think he really wants more children right now.

      Megan isn’t as damaged as Betty–who seemed so “happy” when they first met but had an unfortunate upbringing. (Including her mother driving her to town & then dumping her; she needed the exercise because the old bat thought she was fat. Of course, Betty knew where she was, but it’s an interesting parallel.) And she might be smarter–Betty never said anything that made me believe she had an anthro degree.

      While it’s really up to Don to get his work life straightened out–for the benefit of the company & the benefit of his marriage–Megan also needs to do her bit. She needs to seriously express her wants & needs to Don when they are NOT at work & NOT in an already tense situation. (Or after sex–which makes all the problems go away for a while; even with Betty, the sex was mostly good.) Rather than playing around with the sherbet, why didn’t she just continue to talk to him? And latching the door was childish.

  16. P.S. I have complained since last season that Megan was not a three-dimensional character. Well, now she is.

    Also, Jessica Pare gave a masterful performance in this episode. The moments where she shoved the sherbet into her mouth — to the point where she couldn’t even hold it in her mouth — and kept exclaiming over its deliciousness in a bitterly ironic way were brilliant acting. And — I hesitate to raise this, because it’s pretty intense — but it reminded me of an aggressive scene one might see in a misogynist porn movie where a woman is being forced give a blow job and swallow a man’s semen. Which is not too far off thematically from what was going on, I think.

    • Now that’s insightful. A mouth full of stuff a guy wants her to swallow. Ew. At least Peggy didn’t put her mouth on Mr Joint (pun intended).

    • Elizabeth–Your perspective on the orange sherbet scene is interesting. I admit I laughed when Megan was eating the sherbet, I think in part because I was in surprised–and impressed–at her behavior, and because I was a little uncomfortable. But, I kept having this strange feeling that I’d seen that scene before–or at least something very close to it. And then it dawned on me (on my second viewing): Rosemary’s Baby. When Guy–who, for fame, has agreed to has agreed to let his wife be raped and impregnated by Satan–has given Rosemary the laced mousse au chocolat, she tries it, but she doesn’t like it. “It has a chalky undertaste.” (“It tastes like perfume.”) And Guy gets upset and guilts her into eating more. Rosemary makes a big, forced production of pretending to like it. When he’s not looking, she scrapes the rest into a napkin. “There, Daddy, do I get a gold star?” While Don hasn’t made any pacts with the devil (that we know of), perhaps the similarity in scenes helps emphasize the mounting tension in their relationship? (Or am I just crazy and trying to force a connection between my favorite TV show of all time and my favorite movie of all time?)

      • Wow, Xiola you just sent chills down my spine.

      • Xiola, that’s a fascinating comparison. I don’t remember that scene in Rosemary’s Baby! Haven’t seen it in a long time. I wonder if that was done on purpose by the writers of MM. I also feel like the scene is a reference to a common abusive pattern of some parents to force their kids to eat things. “You will sit there until you eat it!” (Shades of Mommie, Dearest). Don was treating Megan as a(n abusive parent would treat a) child all day — pulling her out of the meeting, discounting her role on the team, dragging her out of work to go on a trip, overriding her when she tried to order pie, getting angry when she said she didn’t like the sherbet– and I felt that in cramming the sherbet into her mouth Megan was recognizing all that and just doing “for” Don the next logical step that she felt he might reach.

        I don’t feel that Don has a pact with the devil (though it’s actually not out of the question — the good looks, the brilliance in advertising, the irresistability to women, hmmm…. who gave him all that?? hmmm….. ;-)), but I certaintly see your parallel between him and the Rosemary’s Baby husband who is controlling and using his wife.

      • Xiola — remember the scene in RB where Mia Farrow is in a phone booth and in a complete panic (she is calling people for help, and realizing that they are in league with the devil)? That actually is kind of similar to the scenes where Don was in the phone booth in a complete, sweaty panic.

        I so miss terrifying phone booth scenes in movies! I loved seeing sweaty panicy Don in the phone booth. The Mia Farrow scene is one of the scariest things I have ever seen in a movie.

        • I hadn’t connected the phone booth scenes, well done! And Rosemary’s sweating, too, as it’s a particularly hot summer. Wow! (I miss phone booths, too–both in movies and in real life.)

          And, Elizabeth, you should totally revisit Rosemary’s Baby. It’s worth it. 🙂 (And, now that I think of it, Guy and Don do share a physical resemblance…)

          Also, in Mystery Date, we saw Grammy Dearest (Pauline) demand precisely what you’re describing: Sally WILL finish that sandwich (despite the relish) even if it takes all day. Yuck.

          • Xiola. It probably is about time I saw RB again. If my sensitive soul can take it. It’s SCARY!

      • Also, the scene was reminiscent of the one at the Thanksgiving table where Betty is force feeding Sally the potatoes – gives the “parent” a lot of power to shove their “opinions” down their “children’s” throats.

  17. But did Cooper refer to Megan or Peggy as the little girl?

    • I was wondering too if “little girl” has duel meanings. Peggy in the work place, Megan in his personal life? I can’t remember what Bert’s exact wording was though… anyone??

      • Yeah, I think it’s totally possible that Cooper was referring to both of them. “A little girl” meaning Peggy in Don’s client dealings, but “a little girl” meaning Megan in Don’s general slacking off. That’s what I love about Cooper–he’s often deeper than we think he’s going to be.

        • Cooper said so much with very few words. Like a cold slap in the face to Don. Classic Japanese minimalism.

    • Yes.

  18. #14 Elizabeth,
    I don’t think my parents would even conceive of kicking us out of the car–in fact, I can see their look of horror that anyone would do that to a family member.

    Skindp and I were having an argument (and a stupid one at that) last week where she walked out of the room. And not in a “gonna give you space to calm down” way but in a “I don’t even want to listen to you” way. It was like someone turned my anger knob from 3 to 11.

    What Don did was SO disrespectful(to say the least) from the start. His arm-twisting Megan to leave work speaks volumes about the (lack of)respect he holds her work in. His vetoing her ice cream and ordering sherbert speaks volumes to his control issues. His disbelief that she may not like orange sherbert when he does speaks VOLUMES about his not seeing her as her own person. His leaving her behind speaks volumes to his own self-centeredness. His anger when he got home because she put him through all that worry, his comment “I thought I’d lost you” (still himself as the subject… not “I was worried you were hurt” or “I thought something had happened to you”) all speak to his immaturity.

    • Even when I had my accident ( being scared ….less on top of the wagon ) my master did not abandon me.

    • He did say, “I thought you were dead,” but Megan (and we) heard, “I was lonely.”

      Great comments. White T Jim B and I have similar arguments, and I know he thinks — as Megan comes right out and says — that every time we fight, it just diminishes [something, I couldn’t hear what she was saying as she cried].

      I have got to get better at staying in the room.

      • I had to put the captions on – she said “every time we fight, it diminishes us a little bit”

      • I don’t know if the sound was off or what, but I found myself rewinding to hear dialogue A LOT. There are shows where everyone worships at the Marlon Brando Pedestal of Mumbles, but MM usually isn’t one of them.

        I come from the stereotypical loud I-yell-at-you-cuz-I-love-you family; but yelling at Skindp doesn’t get me the same results, so I’ve had to learn to tone it down and be, oh I don’t know, reasonable.

        • I come from the other stereotypical family, the I’m-going-to-withdraw-until-you-realize-what-you-did-wrong family.

          I seriously doubt my people are any better than the yellers at getting our collective point across.


    • I heard that John Hamm said in some interview that the fan opinion he was most surprised about was that people thought Don was a good guy. I thought that he was being a bit sarcastic or something. But now I’m thinking he was right on. Don is not a good guy. He never even said he was sorry. He’s Archie.

      I know that’s harsh, but I can’t get over the fact that he body slammed her into the floor. Unforgivable.

      • Oprah asked him what he liked most about Don Draper and he looked surprised and said something like “there’s not much to like.”

        • Totally agree. It’s chilling to me that there are people who like Don Draper. He is certainly handsome, and brilliant in advertising (though I have not found all his pitches to be brilliant), and he’s charismatic and can be charming, and I think that he has times when he wants to be a good person. But he succeeds very little of the time. And I don’t think he actually tries very hard to get better — mostly because he engages in so little introspection. He has these moments of introspection (the “Carousel” pitch, his short period of swimming and writing in his journal, his statement to Bobby that he will never hit him), but then those moments pass and he goes back to self-medicating with booze and cigarettes and sex and flashing the charm at people (women, men, his kids) so that he will get the thrill of making them like him. I haven’t seen him make any lasting forward progress.

          I saw so much hope for him with Faye last season — that was the first time I had seen someone tell him that he needed to self-reflect and try to improve and that I thought I saw him listen and consider it. But then he almost immediately –right after the scene when she told him he would be stuck being a person — dumped Faye and self-medicated by pursuing Megan and her apparent unquestioning adoration. The scene where Faye tells him that he should consider giving up his fake persona, and that he would be stuck being a person but that he wouldn’t have to do it alone was amazing. I immediately saw something pass over his face that I read as the moment he decided to dump Faye, and his next line was “I’m really going to miss you.”

          Don is an anti-hero. I am drawn to him because he is beautiful and charming and smart and charismatic. And because of his beauty and sexual appeal and charisma, he gets away with being, essentially, I think, a sociopath. We want someone who looks that good to be good — and we assume they are because we want it to be true. But it so often is not.

          People are capable of change. But real, lasting change requires the willingness and ability to take a hard look at yourself, to really see yourself, to want to change, and to stay committed to it. I don’t know if Don will ever do any of those things.

          • Having had a sociopath in the family (now former family member by divorce, thank you very much) I can say, no, Don is not a sociopath. He’s damaged, yes – with that childhood, who wouldn’t be? He has narcissistic tendencies – people that good in their field often are. He has often behaved badly. BUT. He does feel guilt and remorse (Adam’s suicide, his marriage with and divorce from Betty); he has managed to maintain a true friendship with Anna Draper; he has a (growing) awareness of how he reacts to stressors – e.g. running – and is trying to control that; he genuinely likes and loves his children, not just because they are reflections of him; he has cut back on the boozing significantly (pouring down coffee at HoJos) and whoring around. A true sociopath lies about everything and anything and does not concern himself with getting caught – they NEVER suffer anxiety attacks. They simply lie their way out of it if accused of lying, or convince the accuser that THEY are confused or they misunderstood what they heard etc.

          • Great point, Elizabeth. This hearkens back to what we were talking about following your entry #14, above (some people can get away with things). Your paragraph about anti-heros nails it very well. The one thing I will place in Don’s corner is his seeming willingness to increasingly let down the facade and allows some light through the wall that separates Don from Dick (openly talking about growing up on a farm, mom working in a “whorehouse,” more people learning about elements of his past etc). But Dick was not an anti-hero: he was not charismatic, dark, and sexy. Why would Don (or anyone) want to be Dick rather than Don? Dick was kind of a dork; Don takes what he wants–that’s the will to power imperative. It’s no contest. Dick and Don may be slowly converging in fits and starts–and they may or may not ever fully integrate–but Don’s gonna have to want that to happen before it ever can happen. He certainly wasn’t ready for it when Faye proposed that path. Who knows the future?

            Floretta, simply because Don is not a sociopath on the level of your former family member does not negate that he is still a sociopath or, at least, exhibits some strong sociopathic behaviors. It is also unclear to me how much remorse he actually feels about his brother or Betty. He absolved himself, in his mind, it seemed, by throwing money at the teacher’s brother, but hasn’t thought about it since, as far as I can recall. As for Betty, what signs of remorse do you see there? He doesn’t seem to pay her a second thought. Lastly, as for Anna, the entire thing about her is that she–far more than anyone–knew Don as Dick….and perhaps even saw the glimpse of the integrated Dick/Don that Jon Hamm’s character may or may not ever become.

      • Very interesting. I am starting to think Hamm was right, too. And I am starting to think that the show has been a progression of proving that to us. I have found myself angry at Don at the end of every episode this season, feeling like his character is putting band-aids on wounds that need stitches or surgery. The desperation as he clings to Megan on his knees, in what Lady K so brilliantly described above as a fake sorry, encapsulates that for me: he’s just a desperately sad and lonely guy, who will do anything to fix it except what he actually needs to do.

  19. I said this on a thread last night, but here’s my appeal to MW: if there’s still time to edit future episodes, make the violence stop. It’s a disturbing theme in the Don-Megan relationship, and we get the point: they’re the Mad Men version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Okay, let’s move on and see if they can have an actual marriage where they aren’t battling.

    I can understand the dramatic point that MW is making: Megan is more complicated than we ever could have suspected. But she’s losing the sweetness that made her so appealing, what with admitting she was clumsy when Sally fell, and the kindness she showed the children. It’s one thing to set that up and layer onto it, but we’ve lost that part of Megan almost completely.

    As for Don, of course a tiger can’t change its stripes, and this is the Don that he most likely had to repress when he was living in the suburbs with a wife and two-three children. We saw him shove Betty once and we know they fought verbally, and we saw him treat Bobbie rather roughly. But this is getting a little too film noir to fit into the rest of the show on a weekly basis.

    • Not loving or even liking the violence either, but maybe that’s where Don is heading.

    • agreed. Not liking the violence either. I also wish some issues from past seasons were cleared up.

    • As long as the violence has a powerful storytelling dimension, it’s fine — not pleasant to behold, but very much an enriching part of the narrative which further illuminates the central characters and thereby helps us appreciate what Matt Weiner is trying to communicate.

      Don’s relationship with Betty, as outlined above by several people, was not defined by violence. It was, if anything, made frail by Don’s conceptualization of it as a “suburban fantasy with a blond doll” escape from his haunted hobo years of grinding poverty and misery. He used that relationship to hide things.

      This relationship with Megan is much more open. There’s less game playing and more of an open clash between mindsets and expectations. As we know, Don was drawn to Megan as a wife – too quickly, yes; without doing enough homework, yes; unwisely, yes – because of her hug of Sally after she fell, and because of her reaction to the milkshake spill (at a HoJo’s-type place, as many have mentioned). In those two incidents, Megan was someone who defused tensions and appeared to be a guardian of peace, a champion of conflict avoidance. Don thought he could have the best of Betty but with more happiness and forward-thinking youthfulness in Megan, but he’s realizing that – for a number of intertwined reasons – he has married someone who will not skate away from conflict at all if she thinks Don will unfairly impose a schedule, a daunting list of demands, and a confusingly complex array of (especially work-based) expectations in and beyond the office.

      To sum things up, the point Weiner is making with the violence (in my mind, at least) is not to show that Megan is more complicated than we think. (Weiner is developing Megan as a character with all of this, but in terms of a central point or commentary, merely saying that Megan is complicated is not quite a complete assessment.) The point is that in the form of Megan, Don Draper/Dick Whitman is engaged in a much more open form of combat with his worst habits. Megan will always call him on his bullshiznit; she might be this youthful and generally fun-loving person who can sing French songs to his kids and minimize conflicts in some ways, but she is a modern woman who wants to spend her own money and enjoy both agency and autonomy in all aspects of her life, something Don has never tolerated in his women because of his control/power issues. Whenever Megan calls Don on his bullshiznit, Don is forced to confront how ugly he is inside, and because this will continue to be part of what Don is, he and Megan will continue to fight in violent ways.

      Think about this season, not just “Far Away Places”: The theme of the season has been this lurking, dark threat of violence in the air, the smell of fear freighted with primal fight-or-flight energy. This is why “Mystery Date” and “Signal 30” were crafted the way they were. This is why the events of 1966 grafted into season five episodes have carried a similar theme. This is why Peggy watched “The Call of The Wild,” with its obvious fight-or-flight nature scenes. Peggy says at one point (blurting out loud under the influence of weed) that the smaller animal (prey) won’t be able to escape the predator. It sets a strong metaphorical tone for the rest of “Far Away Places.”

      Violence. Fear. Fight-or-flight. They’re telling us things that go far beyond the violence itself. Stories and meanings are being powerfully conveyed through it. So little of what Mad Men does is gratuitous. I didn’t find anything gratuitous about “Far Away Places.”

      • Far Away places could also be a metaphor for a Utopia that does NOT in fact exist, that will NOT hide our flaws despite how far we travel to get away from them.

      • Matt Weiner has said the theme for this season is “every man for himself” (or woman for herself.) So Megan is standing up for herself, she is not Jeannie to Don’s Tony. Peggy, ready or not, is trying to be Don in his absence in pitching to a client. Michael Ginsberg is desperately doing his own pitching, trying to fit in as fast as possible. Joan has done what she needed to do with Greg. Lane is trying to maintain his value to SCDP by bringing in clients. Roger is now unencumbered by Jane except financially and is free to once again turn his attention to accounts and dealing with Pete, who has been trying for some time to take on the alpha males at SCDP – and Bert reminds Don who’s business it really is, and if he wants his “D” initial to remain on the letterhead he needs to actually earn it.

    • It’s an honest show about the 60s, late 60s now. Of course it has to be violent and dreadful, and should get much worse.

      Street riots and Vietnam deaths don’t peak until 1968.

      I always figured Weiner was setting us up, because the 60s felt like a car crash after a family outing. Start out with John-John playing under the Oval Office Desk, end up with Bobby bleeding out on a kitchen floor.

      I never expected a happy ending.

      • And if I were writing the series, and wanted younger generations to understand what the 60s felt like…well, we start with Peggy entering the 60s all bright and optimistic and innocent, don’t we? With her new boss and mentor, Don Draper?

        I would end the series with Don standing over Peggy’s grave.

        • I can see that ending too, now that you mention it.

        • Bob,

          That’s an inspired choice. As the men from Putnam, Powell and Lowe tell Lane in Season 3 before they assign him to Bombay, “Brah-voh!” 😉

          It’s just my (worthless) prediction, but I have this sense that the final episode of the series (season 7) will coincide with the moon landing on July 20, 1969. Conrad Hilton might find his way into the episode, given his desire for Don to have given him the moon in season 3.

          Now, Bob, you’ve given me something new to think about! 🙂

    • I just watched the episode for the third time and when Don comes home it is Megan who hits Don twice and then turns and runs. I never really felt that Don was going to harm Megan but he was trying to catch her to make up. I don’t want to think that Don will do harm to her, but his control issues etc. may make her turn away from him eventually.

  20. I have twice tried to open the rest of the recap, and both times I’ve gotten a “Page Unresponsive.” I think the problem is that the Indiewire/Press Play site is opening up with a big ad behind it.

    • I was able to get to it by opening a new tab and googling IndieWire and then just going in from there. This time the ad didn’t freeze up the whole page.

  21. Sweet baby Jesus on fire that was a freaky episode. The musical vodka bottle gag was instant classic Roger Sterling, and Don’s chase of Megan through the apartment gave me heart palpitations-I have been there, chased around the house by a mad man who doesn’t even know what he’s going to do when he catches you, and that ups the fear factor totally. Between this and Game of Thrones with horrible King Joffrey last night, I’m surprised I didn’t have nightmares. I nearly had to turn off both shows it was so freaking disturbing to me…..
    Will return with more thoughts later, I just had to get that off my chest that I actually thought I was going to have to turn off my tv-as the chase went on, I asked myself do I want to see what happens or should I turn it off? Kudos to Wiener and Co. for creating such a realistic scene, and shame on them for scaring the living daylights out of me!!!!!!

    • It really upset me too! I’m glad I watched it this morning instead of last night, I would have never gotten asleep. In many ways I found this more scary than the Richard Speck episode, lots of anxiety over characters and their relationships. I was thankful that Roger’s hallucinations were more funny than freaky, I needed that comic relief!

      • During the LSD scene, I found myself laughing harder than perhaps I really felt, because it felt so good to laugh while watching MM. Don isn’t getting any funnier. He’s never been a bundle of laughs, but he’s only getting weirder. It’s hard to see him blowing his chance at love with a warm, nice, normal (I hope) wife, and he’s not exactly successful at work, either. He hasn’t been for what, two seasons now?

        I have thought, more than once, that he weren’t good-looking he’d be on the Bowery swilling out of a paper bag of Mad Dog 20-20 or the 1966 equivalent.

        • It WAS good to laugh at MM for a change! And your last comment about Don makes me laugh too. Spot-on!

    • I’m with you about two hours of violence against women. First Thrones and then Don. It displeased me and all I can do is vote with my remote. I was actually under the impression that Joffrey wanted the prostitute to anally assault the other one with that club thing and averted my eyes. Oh, he only wanted her to beat the other one with it.

      Did. Not. Like. It’s OK to tell, not to show, sometimes.

      • No, jzzy, you were right with your first guess. He wanted the one prostitute to use that thing on the other one, and he didn’t mean to beat her with it. “Go and show my uncle what you’ve done after you’re done with her, show him what he paid for.” He did want her to be “penetrated’ with that antlered club. The sigil of the Baratheon house is a stag, after all, so of course Joffrey would have something like that in his room. It was a bad Sunday night for women characters in tv shows, that’s for sure.

        • Oh christ the darn comment wouldnt show-I did not mean to post that 3 times, if ya’ll can delete the extra comments go right ahead. Sorry!

      • I’m sorry to hear that, rowan.
        When I peeked the one was “just” whacking the other’s behind with it.

        We do need to have a serious talk about violence against women on popular shows. At what point is drama perpetuating/exploiting it vs exposing it as wrong. i think Thrones errs on the wrong side. Not sure yet about MM. It could be heading that way. I was really grossed out by the Richard Speck episode and made threats of walking away from MM if the gross-outs continue. This is still a possibility.

        • I agree with what you said: “When is drama perpetrating/exploiting violence vs. exposing it as wrong?”

          I am nervous. I used to do some volunteer work with victims of domestic abuse, and I do not feel comfortable when certain issues are handled too lightly.

          I get confused–I don’t want the women to be too “2012” to be believable, but I don’t want the fact that “this show is set in the 1960s” to make it okay to portray certain attitudes and behaviors towards minorities (women, Aftrican Americans, Jews, etc.) in a way that makes it “okay.”

          Up to a point it is true that “these things really happen” and it is true that “attitudes were different then”. Sometimes it is important for shows to bring up real things that people don’t like talking about.

          But I don’t want to participate in “watching it for fun” if there is no redeeming value to the incidents other than “thrilling” viewers.

          However, it seems like they did a good job of taking a stance against date rape after Joan’s incident with Greg. I hope that if there is significant additional violence against women, the show will continue to use it as a way to help women and draw awareness to the issues.

          Doesn’t mean I enjoy watching it, though…

          • Why watch it if you don’t ejnoy it? Strange attitude towards entertainment.

          • I don’t know if the sole purpose is to thrill watchers, although some might get that out of it. To me, by presenting things as they were, the writers offer a stark view of what life must have been like, which stands on its own without commentary. Granted, this is fiction, and there’s lots of artistic license that goes into the storytelling, so some things get highlighted more than they probably should. But I think “taking a stance” would be hamhanded, and beat the viewer over the head.

            Instead, we’re offered a peek into this world, and it’s up to us, the viewers, to take the stand. That’s one of the things I like about the show — it doesn’t treat the audience like complete idiots. There’s so much that isn’t said, but is implied if pay close attention. That allows us to discover these nuggets for ourselves, rather than drawing us a road map.

            Like they say in music: Sometimes, it’s the notes you don’t play…

        • What I noticed when I watched HBO and Showtime regularly (I once watched Weeds, True Blood, Dexter, and others) was this element of the extreme in those networks’ original programming: extreme cussing, extreme use of sex in each plotline, and yes, extreme violence. Typically against women.

          I thought at the time that this violence-against-women business had everything to do with the writers of these programs being men. Now I learn from a recent recap that there was sexual violence even in the new comedy Girls — despite its female writers.

          I am really concerned about this trend. It is one thing to depict a man and a woman (for that matter, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman) fighting. It’s another to depict violence that is sexual, and to show it in a way that further sexualizes that violence.

          For the record, I stopped watching three of the shows above because they got rapey. There is no other word for the turn each series took, and a female viewer does know it when she sees it.

          I will still watch Homeland, but with one hand on the remote. This too is a Showtime product, and they have a lot to answer for.

          • We can vote with the remote. But we can also talk about it with our friends and online. If we don’t like what we see, we need to speak up. I told my husband tonight that I was close to dropping out from Game of Thrones, even though he enjoys it and likes that we finally have a show we could watch together. He doesn’t take TV seriously, though. Ever.

          • I watch almost no TV because I feel that so much of it — that is, so many of the dramas — is basically rape porn. If it’s not showing the raping and killing, it’s a show about tracking down whoever raped and/or killed a woman. What about AMC’s “The Killing”? The Sopranos? All the CSIs? Half of what’s on Lifetime? And on and on and on. To me, the shows about tracking down the killer/rapist are no better than the shows that focus on it happening: the shows that focus on the aftermath are just telling people that their obsession with violence against women is palatable.

            • Elizabeth, great points. I bowed out of The Killing early. It seemed nasty and pointless to me, and I was unengaged by the characters, the dialog, the plot, the setting or the acting (gee, I guess I really didn’t like it). Game of Thrones was very, very nasty the other night. Not just the scene with the whores, but the torture scenes as well (men to men). I had to stop watching The Sopranos because it made me feel aggressive. I’m from NJ originally and every time I’d watch it my family would notice that my accent would come out and I would talk in a way that I didn’t except when I’d been watching. I have my limits. Some of us are more sensitive to certain kinds of ideas and stimuli than others. When I read about that’s one thing. Seeing and hearing it is way too much for me.

              I am not in denial. I just don’t need to shove my face in it for “fun.” I do a couple of kinds of volunteer work where I am connecting with very damaged people. It’s not fun but it has a purpose. Watching evil and violence on TV does not help me understand it better. It just scares me. It doesn’t help anyone in real life who’s being hurt or oppressed. What does it do, in fact? Titillate us?

            • The first scene I ever saw from The Sopranos was by accident. I was at someone’s house and they switched on the TV, and what was on was the scene where Tony Soprano’s therapist was being raped. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I was absolutely horrified, nauseated, enranged, and felt violated myself. I switched it off immediately. I later — again by accident (channel surfing at hotels that had HBO) — saw two more scenes from other episodes of The Sopranos. Both involved horrific sexualized violence against women. I turned off the show and vowed never to watch it again. And I never have, and I never will.

              The irony is that of course Weiner was a Sopranos writer. I don’t know if he wrote those scenes, but I think all the writers of that show and other shows that sexualize violence against women have a lot to answer for.

              A lot.

              A lot.

            • I was (and am) a big Sopranos fan. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t think it’s a fair assessment of the show to judge it based on a few scenes that you saw extremely out of context. The rape of Dr. Melfi was a shock to viewers, and although we certainly didn’t like seeing her attacked, it made for riveting television. (Things that happened later on, with her considering asking for Tony’s help in the matter and then deciding not to, were also riveting.) Also, although the scene was not intended as a PSA, it did make a valuable point—never ever talk on your phone while walking to your car. It puts you off-guard.

              The Sopranos and Deadwood and other shows that have aired on HBO/SHO can be very violent (not just in scenes involving women, but in scenes involving men). Not every scene is necessary, but many were interesting. I stress again that I don’t think you can accurately judge the quality of the writing or how well a scene works within an episode when you’re just channel-surfing.

            • edited.

            • Elizabeth, it sounds like you were channel surfing in the same year I was.

              I was another viewer who made the mistake of catching the rape scene first. The next time I tried The Sopranos, a male character was assaulting a female character outside the strip club where she worked. It was more than a year after that when I decided to try the show again, and got hooked.

              I was younger then. Perhaps there were things I told myself I could stand to watch. Whatever happened between then and now, I’m glad it did.

              These days I don’t give second chances. One scene of sexualized violence and it’s over — at least for me.

            • edited.

            • Edited for reasons given below. Thanks.


            • edited by Mad Chick: As one of the moderators here, I’m going to edit it this and let’s stop the Sopranos posts. I participated in the original discussion too, but now people are getting too back-and-forth and it’s getting way too off-topic and argumentative.

              Let’s resume our Mad Men discussion.Thanks.

              -Mad Chick

          • I think Homeland is a really interesting show. I was late to watch it, because I had missed the first few and then wasn’t sure it would be worth it to catch up. But I was able to watch all the episodes a little earlier this year. Definitely one of the best shows currently on television.

        • I hadn’t realized it until I read yours and the other comments below but I think you are right – the violence against women on TV has to stop. Showing is definitely not always necessary; implying can get the point across when a statement needs to be made to serve the narrative (and not just to be gratuitous). Sorry to hear GofT is turning that way, I am concerned about starting season 2. But while we’re on the subject, why is any kind of gratuitous violence ok to show, whether against women or men? I know it’s a naive question, but, out of the mouths of babes…

      • I”ve read the entire “Song of Ice and Fire” so far, and if you thought the last episode was horrifying, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Don’t expect anything good to happen to anyone.

        • Oh shoot! We just finished season 1, and I’m almost finished with book 1. I was devastated when they killed Ned. Don’t know if I can handle going on if it only gets worse from there – it’s one of THOSE kinda stories, eh? The sad kind.

  22. This episode reminds me of a comment I once heard someone (half)jokingly make that in marriage you should keep the sex dirty and the fights clean. The comment that Megan made about Don’s mother was truly heinous and shows that despite her many wonderful qualities she takes her fights dirty.( It’s not so out of the blue in light of some of the cruel but probably casually tossed off lines she’s made in other episodes.)

    Don and Megan have drastically different ways of handling conflict – she prefers to get it all out in the open( no matter how ugly it will be) and he prefers to shut down and run. Their differing approaches are almost guaranteed to infuriate the other and turn small fires into huge conflagrations.

    • Yeah, as bad as Don was, I don’t know if he had verbally stepped over the line before she issued that comment about his mother, and she offered no apology following him out to the parking lot — not that she was obligated to but it may have defused the situation.

      Someone also pointed out that, maybe indirectly and unknowingly, she was rejecting Don’s childhood. In short, that a place like Howard Johnson’s would have been like going to the circus for him as a child, hence all his excitement about the orange sherbert.

      Regardless, these two seem pretty toxic for each other. I don’t see any connection between them other than sex, which Don has with every woman excepting Betty at the end. If Megan lasts the final two years of the series, I suspect she will function as a sort of working version of Jane: an unhappy wife married to a miserable husband.

    • good observation about thier different ways of handeling conflict. I have been there.

  23. Another quick call-back in this episode, of course, was to last season’s scene of Don to Lane at the movies “…You know what’s going on around here? Hand jobs.” (as Peggy demonstrated here).

  24. Bert’s comments to Don were intended to remind him of work. I think that Don will internalize those words to shut down from Megan,and la-la land. His down on his knees embrace of Megan was indeed, pathetic. With his level of rage Don will probably think that he’ll never put himself in such needy, subservient, emotional position again. Donald Draper does not do emotion, unbecoming and all that.

    The sexual mystery of Peggy just keeps expanding. Peggy once said that nothing in her life ever seems as important as the office. Men are disposable to her. Fast food treats. Her disappointing attempts at forging something that resembles a romance, has left her jaded for now. If Abe were gone, she’d act like she didn’t care. Knowing full well that, that’s not true.

    • She became a little bit Don Draper, every time there is a problem at the office, go out and find someone to have sex with, and make it dirty…

  25. That was a typically terrific recap of a wonderful episode.

    One of my favorite themes of MAD MEN is the generational line that runs from Roger to Don to Peggy. They do not go there too often, but it is always pure gold. That is in large part because Don and Peggy have decidedly mixed feelings about their legacies. Appropriately, the parent-child relationship was the major subtext of the episode (at least to me).

    It starts with Roger who is the “grandfather” with a young wife that he does not really even know. Jane is pretty plainly Jewish, but it is unclear whether Roger is fully aware of it. The basics of her identity were a total mystery to him. She looked good and that was enough for him. It is a testament to the embarrassment of riches that is the cast of MAD MEN that Matt Weiner could burn through a character like that in one third of one episode.

    Typically, Roger is the shallowest character on the show with his glib charm and entitled patrician ease. He got the deepest experience of the season with his LSD trip. He really seemed to see the reality of his life and be (at least temporarily) reborn.

    Don is married to a woman who is not going to tolerate becoming Jane Sterling. Meagan has her own wants, needs and ambitions. Those are feelings that Betty, Joan and even Peggy could barely imagine having to say nothing of expressing. That self-assurance was what attracted Don to Meagan in the first place. In the great irony of many romantic relationships, the very quality that drew Don to Meagan is exactly the quality that he is the least prepared to live with. His reaction is nightmarish, but understandable. Every woman that Don has known previously would have sat in the Howard Johnson’s parking lot fuming until he got back … whenever. Betty stayed in the house when he ran off to California for weeks. Peggy stays at her desk, like the good daughter, while he is on “love leave”. Meagan sees the world in a very different way.

    Is it just me, or was there a strong parallel between Peggy and Sally in this episode? Peggy has been abandoned by her “father” and searches desperately for a talisman that will connect her to him. She goes from the candy to a cigarette to a mid-day movie to a reckless sexual encounter to sleeping on his couch. She is even called a “little girl” by Bert Cooper. The abandonment of Sally was invoked in the flashback with Don dropping her off at Adams family mansion after the magical events of “Tomorrowland”. Sally does not want to be left behind and for the vacation to end.

    Don, of course, never really came back from that vacation until this episode. His absence is the root cause of both his and Peggy’s problems. In much the same way, Roger’s decision to leave Mona for Jane set off a chain of events that destabilized the old Sterling Cooper in an ultimately fatal way. Let’s not forget that Don had to beg Dr. Faye for a chance at the (still un-won) Heinz business at the end of last season.

    • My daughter would not have waited one second at HoJo’s. Indeed, she left him as soon as she realized what a putz he was. She is very happy with Tilden, the writer.

      • Would that be me? Cause if it is, and that awesome Rachel was my wife: I’d never stop giggling into my pillow. Thank you, dad. LMFAO.

      • I really hope the writers don’t sweep episode 6 under the rug an act as if the abandonment of Megan did not happen and that Don got on his knees to Megan to beg her forgiveness.

        I hope they refer to it to show what progress if any Don has made.

        That is not intellectually honest if they ignore it completely and move on.

  26. Some random thoughts:

    Candy that tastes like violets, sherbet that tastes like perfume, almost but not quite synesthesia, like Roger’s musical Stolichnaya bottle.

    (Speaking of orange sherbet, when Don asked Megan if she’d ever tried it, my response was “she’s wearing it.”)

    Am I the only one who had a queasy flashback to The Vanishing when Megan disappeared from HoJo’s?

    Mr. Ginsberg coming over to use the photocopier to put together “my case”. Suing to recover property stolen by the Nazis?

    I’m not at all surprised that Roger had such a good reaction to LSD. As the guide said, mindset when you drop acid is important, and it’s been clear for a long time that Roger is better able to enjoy life than anyone else on the show. It’s a beautiful day, indeed. Will this be his last trip? Will he talk anyone into coming along next time?

    “Do you know what’s going on in here? Handjobs.”

    Roger’s reflection as his guide tells him not to look in the mirror, out of sync with his movement. (Also, first “don’t look in the mirror” is Don’s voice.)

  27. Here are some different takes:

    Peggy and Megan represents two different arcs in terms of how Don Draper sees them. He sees Peggy as ready to assume more responsibility in presentation to clients while he sees Megan not ready to become a bigger presence in the firm or discounts her role at the firm. As depicted by this episode Peggy is NOT ready yet to assume Don’s role while Megan’s dedication to her role on the team and her personal embarrassment that she was not able to participate in the presentation tells me Megan is extremely comfortable work-wise, is definitely NOT a fish out of water as a copywriter and could be in the ascendancy in her career at SCDP, if only Don would step out of the way and let her realize her potential. If anything Don should spend more time with Peggy and groom her to be ready for extra duties or responsibilities.

    I see Ginsberg and Abe as both sides of the coin when it comes to the Jewish experience in America. Ginsberg is focused more on finding his personal identity as a survivor of the Holocaust and is tied to the Jewish experience in Europe and Israel than in America while Abe is a Jewish-American liberal whose focus in primarily on “American issues” such as civil rights and other social issues. And what is interesting is that the naive Peggy comes in between them and imho is trying to reconcile the beliefs and attitudes of these two Jewish men. Call it a consciousness-raising moment when she phones Abe and asks him to come over to help her make sense of what Ginsberg told her.

    Don is like a golfer who has not been on the practice range as much as he should have been to prepare for tournaments, has not struck the ball as well as he capable of doing from the tee, has managed to get up and down out of the sand trap or green-side rough more often that not, able to still capitalize on his chances to make birdie, managed to avoid 3 putts on the green and overall managed to stay competitive and still score well. Bert Cooper said it best: “It’s amazing things are doing so well as they have with as little as you have been doing.”

    In other words Don’s priorities in life had been more focused to his life off the golf course but it had not negatively affected his game significantly, at least to now.

    But what happened with Don and Megan in episode 6 could be equated to the chickens coming home to roost where Don’s golf game completely collapses on several fronts in a tournament due to his lack of attention to it, that he is completely embarrassed by his game and misses the cut (after two rounds) and that his ability to score fairly well really hid or disguised Don’s basic flaws in his game currently.

    And Don realizes he now must rededicate himself to the game that he loves. He must devote more time to the practice range and re-focus his energies on being the best golfer he can be and live up to his superstar talent and ability. And with that he knows how important it is to recapture his mojo.

    Having said that, Don will now have to shift his priorities and give more attention to his golf game and less to his life off the golf course. And that in turn could cause other problems to arise.

    But in golf there is a saying: There are few problems that a victory at a golf tournament won’t solve.

    And in that vein, if Don does regain his mojo by securing more prized accounts for SCDP, could that fact alone strengthen his marriage to Megan rather than to weaken it? We will eventually find out.

    And as a bonus could Megan’s expanding role in the firm help Don to regain his mojo and make them happier with each other? Time will tell.

    • I see some big assumptions about Michael in your post. Until he talks about Israel I don’t know how it can be said that he has that as his reference point. Or that Abe isn’t interested in Israel. Or is. We don’t know any of that.

      And, why would Abe have a clue about what Michael has experienced. He might have more of a gut feeling for it than Peggy (simply because he IS Jewish by ethnicity, and she’s not), but not necessarily. I wonder how he will respond to her wanting “her Jew” to explain how another Jew is feeling. That might make him very uncomfortable. Or he might be glad she cares and knows she needs to understand better.

      You’re right that a New York born and bred Jew who didn’t personally experience the Holocaust will have a very different point of view than someone with Michael’s history. But how that would play out, what it looks like exactly, I think it’s far too soon to be stating that Michael cares about this and Abe cares about that. We don’t know.

      • You’re quite correct. There may interlap here. What I was trying to convey is how Peggy came to see both sides of the American Jewish experience which I am led to believe she had little knowledge of before she met either Abe or Ginsberg.

    • I liked your point about Megan and Peggy, while reading it something stuck out to me. Megan likes to feel a part of the “team”. We do not see a lot of team work in the office. At home an a married relationship, one should definalty feel like they are an equal part of a team. Megan and Don seem more like boss and subbordinate.

  28. Personally the show was such a whirlwind and so upsetting, that I found it hard to watch in places. We knew trouble was brewing, but that doesn’t make it easier to swallow.

    When Bert called Don out – told him to get back to work – I turned to my son and said “Bert is a truth teller” (later Alex replied that Bert has had a number of pivotal moments with Don).

    On reflection, there was a lot of Truth in this episode. Roger and Jane saw their marriage with crystal clarity. Peggy spoke truth to the Heinz exec (even if “sudicidally” – so said Stan).

    Even Stan saw some truth during his date – seeing, as Sal had seen years before, that it’s tough to compete with a photo.

  29. Here’s another radom brain-fart. The Heinz guy was beeing wooed, romanced even, by Don, the rock star of Madison ave. And now he’s being pitched by the “little girl”. This is a difficult customer under any circumstances and needs a bunch of hand holding, so getting this account is worth a bit of schmooze and ass kissing buy Don, even if Peggy and team are doing all the work. But Heinz guy is annoyed that Don couldn’t be bothered to even “be in the room” ( i suspect he would have liked it better had DD been there, just sitting there breathing) and as much as I’m not in love with this guy, I don’t really blame him. So it’s more than simple cheauvanism (sp?) at work here, although it is a factor. Also, there was unconcealed contempt spewing forth from Peggy. Usually, that kind of nastiness comes from Don when he is “firing” a client. What Peg was saying in essance was “You’re an asshole. And this work is too good for you.” I love Peggy, but holy shit.

    • Wasn’t Heinz a big deal for Don? He initially made a major play for their business (wasn’t he the guy that told Don, “I bet I could get a date with your mother right now”?) and now he can’t be bothered to see it through. The Heinz business is about to slip through his fingers and Don doesn’t seem to give a damn.

      • Ooh the quote just came up on Random Quotes:

        “I bet I could get a date with your mother right now.”
        — Raymond from Heinz, Blowing Smoke

      • Too bad they couldn’t come up with the “real” Heinz slogan, reportedly thought up in a London pub in 1967 and recently voted as the most successful advertising slogan of all time in the UK:
        “Beanz Meanz Heinz”

    • Contrast the penultimate ep in S. 4. where Don is pitching the Heinz guy so desperately for work and the Heinz guy calls Don on that with last night’s abandonment ( actually a second abandonment ) of Heinz by Don. Any client would rightfully be pissed by Peggy being the pitcher, not because of her sex, but because she was not what Don had promised.

      • I have no real reason to believe Peggy’s gender had anything to do with Heinzguy’s understandable displeasure other than the “if I didn’t have a daughter”line, which, when you’re as pissed as he was, you’ll grab at anything. I have seen in other threads that his ire was borne of sexism, which I found too easy and simplistic. I should have said that cheuvanism MIGHT be a factor. He might have toenail fungus, too, at the end of the day, it does not matter. Pegtress went too far.

    • Yes, when Peggy turned confrontational, like Don with Janzen, I momentarily thought she was going to “fire” Mr. Franks and Beans.

      As it turned out, Beans got save face by firing her.

      “I think you just like to fight!” – Whoa!

  30. Deborah, you amaze me. One of my first thoughts after sitting stunned at the end of this episode was, “How on earth will Deborah be able to write a recap overnight? I can barely move!” And yet, you hit so many notes of this amazing episode. Tonight I’m re-watching with captions on so I get all of the dialogue (I’m on my lunch hour at work now). I must say, I think last night was the first time we really saw Jane and it was heartbreaking. Thanks again for your recap.

  31. Michael’s “Martian” story indicates he was born in Auschwich.
    In 1962 Adolf Eichman was brought to trial in Israel. The prosecuter had dozens of Holocausr survivors testify on the stand. One of the witnesses was K.Zatnik, an author. He said “Auschwietz was on a different planet”. His words had significant impact on the way the holocaust was thought of and taught in Israel. He later withdrew from this statement.
    Micheal was born on a “different planet”

    (He said more or less: The inhabitants of Planet Auschweitz had no names, they didn’t live by any laws known to humanity or live by standard human time”)

    • That’s fascinating and chilling at the same time. Great comment and history lesson.

    • Great information, I think that REALLY explains his comments –sadly. It was bugging me that something seemingly so random would be tossed out like that -about martians. I’m also wondering why Peggy was SO freaked out by his admission, and why she asked something like “Are there more like you?” and why the question to her boyfriend -“That can’t really happen, can it?” Her reaction begs more background info; there must be an underlying MM reason why this affected her so much.

      • I saw the “Are there more like you” question as a way of her gently humoring him, since he had said that he could tell she didn’t believe him about being a Martian. Asking “Are there more like you?” gives him the benefit of the doubt, and also provides an opportunity for him to offer more details about his background, real or imagined.

        I can see why she was so haunted/intrigued by the Holocaust story, and asked Abe if it was possible. It’s such a strange and sad tale that she wondered if it really did happen.

  32. The post-handjob washroom scene was a dead callback to a verily similar scene in “The Suitcase”, the turning point of S04. Same coat, same soap dispenser. Except for one thing: Peggy no longer had her halo.

  33. So much, of course, but the single juxtaposition that really blew me away was the change from “born in a concentration camp” to “Born Free.” That contrast was huge in my mind, but then I’ve known people with numbers on their arms, and my stepmother lost almost her whole family in the camps.

    To me, one of the themes in this episode is freedom (in addition to all the other themes, of course). And I don’t have enough time (another theme) to be reflexive about the particular truth of the episode (still another). Just enough time to say that the 60s were very much about freedom: freedom for equality in racial and gender roles; freedom psychologically, prompted by the drugs. We’re six years away from the time when Marlo Thomas could write “Free To Be You and Me,” and this is the stumbling beginning of that movement.

    The beginnings of cultural upheaval are always very rocky. The first time Elsa was let out into the wild in “Born Free,” she didn’t make it. But the Adamsons kept trying with her, and eventually, she did. Roger and Jane aren’t going to keep trying. Joan wasn’t willing to keep trying with Greg (good on her). Don shows every sign of wanting to keep trying, but I’m not so sure about Megan.

    Perhaps an implication here is that Michael isn’t the only one who was born behind barbed wire, though his might have been part of reality, and the barbed wire holding in the others is figurative. (I wonder if it’s a coincidence that this episode was aired three days after Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day.)

    • Peggy also has that gut reaction when watching the film – “she’s never going to make it out there on her own” (paraphrase), which both echoes the sense of parental abandonment and Peggy’s position at the firm, not quite ready to be out on her own (she is only 26 after all, a “little girl” to Bert).

  34. I just watched on You Tube the weekly AMC insider where Matt Weiner and some of the cast members discuss the motivations of the characters. So some of what I am about to post is NOT only my opinion but the opinion of the those who participated in the episode.

    First we must never forget what Matt Weiner said early in season 5 that the overarching theme of the season would be “every man for himself.” And man means woman as well imho.

    With that in mind the main theme of episode 4 Mystery Date was how fear causes individuals to feel they are abandoned, alone or isolated as they face their own vulnerability to emerging existential circumstances beyond their control, episode 5 Signal 30 shows how one’s personal behavior causes one to be abandoned or not thrown a lifeline by folks one once considered friends or colleagues and last night’s episode Far Away Places shows the effect of abandoning one’s responsibilities or another human being for selfish or self-serving reasons.

    In these three episodes we see abandonment from three different levels: first abandonment due to lack of stability or order in the environment, then abandonment due to a person (Pete Campbell) being his own worst enemy, and finally abandonment which is deliberate, repugnant or which no excuse is possible and very, very real.

    We first see Peggy abandoned by Don right before the Heinz presentation. Both Peggy and Megan express to Don their anxiety or concern about the presentation going well. But Don wouldn’t listen. He had other priorities, like having fun with Megan.

    We hear of Ginsberg’s feeling of abandonment, his feeling he considers himself a displaced person, who was born on Mars, that he feels he is all alone. This is different than in Mystery Date where Pauline and Sally were temporarily afraid of Richard Speck and the specific event of killing nurses. Ginsberg’s admission was NOT born out of temporary fear but out of the reality of his entire life.

    And with Roger he already had suspicions that he had been psychologically abandoned by Jane. Matt Weiner calls it an “epiphany” for Roger when he realizes from Jane’s own words (that her female psychiatrist was all but waiting her to admit her marriage was over) that she has moved on from their relationship. When Roger at the end of the episode pronounces to Don “its a beautiful day”, what he is saying that he is relieved that his suspicions have been confirmed and in an odd way no longer feels abandoned. In a weird way by losing Jane, Roger may have found himself again and no longer feels abandoned.

    And with Don abandoning Megan in the restaurant parking lot, we are given tremendous insight into Don’s soul, his consciousness, his value system, and what Don does or how he reacts when he is under pressure. Don whole life has been about abandonment, his childhood abandonment, his abandonment of Dick Whitman in favor of Don Draper, his abandonment of Adam Whitman to protect his identity, his abandonment of his responsibilities at work by just taking off as described by Pete Campbell (we don’t know where Don is–he’s done this before), his abandonment of his duties as a faithful husband to Betty, his abandonment of his extra-marital affairs and casual relationships without warning, his abandonment of Gene (not buying him a present), his abandonment of his responsibilities as a citizen (Don admitted he does not vote), Don’s abandonment of his duties at work (Cooper telling Don his “love leave” was over) and finally Don’s abrupt abandonment of Megan. Dr. Faye Miller had Don pretty well pegged when she suggested when Don broke up with her that he only liked “the beginnings of things.”

    And now let’s focus on the abandonment of Megan. In the previous thread I already discussed the options Don had after their blow-up: To force Megan to get into the car, to have it out with her in the parking lot or to drive away and abandon her. And by choosing the latter course, Don was simply playing out the script that he had in his head for his entire life which was centered around the theme of abandonment. And what triggered this script in Don’s mind was Megan mentioning Don’s mother who for Don symbolized his abandonment that he felt he was born with.

    Previously, Don’s many episodes of abandonment had NOT been life-threatening. Now for the first time he realized he had crossed over the line; by abandoning Megan, he was making her life extremely vulnerable to the forces of evil, with his knowledge she could have being physically assaulted, raped or been killed. Over the many hours looking for Megan, I think Don came to realize the huge mistake he had made and that he could no longer run away from his problems and that he had to come to terms with them and in the future stifle or strangle impulses “to abandon ship”. If Megan had been physically hurt or killed, I believe Don would have been on the brink of having a nervous breakdown or close to committing suicide.

    As it was, Megan was NOT harmed; she was NOT dead. Don was given another chance to redeem himself. The scene of Don on his knees hugging Megan around the waist is symbolic in a religious sense of a man breaking down, seeking forgiveness in a worst, worst way and then receiving absolution, a man who came to realize he had committed a sin so “horrible” (Jessica Pare’s words in YT video) that he put his marriage on the brink and a man who in Matt Weiner’s words really loved his wife and contrary to what he told Pete Campbell in Signal 30 had actually come close “to throwing his marriage away.”

    But in the final analysis, imho Don would NOT have been able to move towards regaining his mojo at work, if Megan had decided to walk out on Don after he kicked down the door to their apartment. Notice after Don grabs Megan around the waist and after a couple of seconds Don looks up at her which she responds to by giving two quick nods of her head and then instantly Don feels relief and continues to bury his head on her waist and hold onto Megan for dear life.

    Feminists may claim that Megan is stupid to forgive Don. I even claimed in a previous thread she should have called it quits there and then. But fundamentally for Megan it came down to her love for Don. Unlike Don, Megan would NOT abandon him when so many people in life had before. And Don, an expert in abandonment, knew he deserved to be cast adrift by Megan for what he had done.

    Anna said something very powerful to Don about his loneliness and the feeling he was abandoned:

    “The only thing keeping you from being happy is your belief you are alone.”

    If Megan had abandoned Don then, he would have lived out the rest of his life feeling lonely and abandoned. Instead Megan has given Don another opportunity which he really doesn’t deserve to become a better human being and to move ahead on his quest for personal redemption. And at least for the moment he does NOT feel lonely and abandoned. Whether he can sustain this feeling in the future is up to the scriptwriters but ultimately it will be up to himself and Megan, whether he can stop abandoning his responsibilities and other people (including Megan) and get down to business and whether Megan will continue to nurture Don and bestow on him the love he so needs in order to help to make his change in his personal modus operandi permanent.

    • “If Megan had abandoned Don then, he would have lived out the rest of his life feeling lonely and abandoned. ”
      This makes me think about Don’s letter to Betty in the end of season two:
      “I understand why you feel it’s better to go on without me and I know that you won’t be alone for very long, but without you I’ll be alone forever.”

      • Exactly. But Anna had Don pegged to a tee. She told him he was NOT alone and that he could change. That was what season 4 was all about. But Anna never told Don that fundamental change is difficult and that there could be setbacks along the way. In season five Don is finding out how difficult it is to change life patterns that have been with you since childhood.

        • And he’s not getting any professional help to follow Anna’s advice. He thinks A Good Woman Who Truly Loves Him can do the job. That’s not how it works. But maybe if you had no mother and a cruel stepmother you’d always be looking for that woman who will make you whole. Nobody can do that. He was getting closer during his healthy swimming and journaling period, but he’s backslid again.

          • I think there’s a connection between this and Janes psychiatrist who said “love” was the cure for neurosis

            • MadManda, Jane’s psychiatrist didn’t say that, a party guest (perhaps another patient) did.

          • Makes more sense, thanks Deb. Guess I’ll have to go back and watch a dozen more times to prevent more mistakes! 😉

  35. And for those who wanted to see Megan’s character more fleshed out, you have gotten your wish. So what did this episode tell us about Megan:

    a) It leads us to believe she is competent in her job and serious about her career at SCDP. Her job promotion may have been an example of nepotism but it was not unwarranted. And before last night’s episode you could make an argument she was more serious about her work than Don was about his.

    b) Megan is a survivor. On her own, she kept her wits about her and avoided mishap or trouble. She knew enough to take a bus back to NYC. She can look after herself.

    c) Many posters addressed this in the open thread but Megan’s return to NYC symbolized the truism that “she had made her bed and now has to lie in it” (her marriage to Don) which her parents probably drilled into her when she was growing up (Megan grew up in the 1940’s and 1950’s in Quebec where divorce was very rare) and that Megan was NOT prepared at this time to burn her bridges and to leave Don. As was noted in the episode she could have easily taken a bus to Montreal to be with her parents because Plattsburg is closer to Montreal than it is to NYC.

    d) Megan believes that Don does NOT respect her work or take her seriously (Jessica Pare in You Tube video) and she communicated that to him in no uncertain terms. If there is one defining characteristic of Megan, she does not hide how she feels and is able to communicate her feelings very clearly so there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what she is saying.

    e) “Yes master” was Megan’s sarcastic way to tell Don he was acting like a dictator and to stop trying to micro-manage her life. Don knows knows how independent Megan is and that if he doesn’t stop being a male chauvinist he will lose her for good. He must simply let Megan “do her thing.”

    f) And finally close to the end of Far Away Places we see no apparent serious lapse of love by Megan for Don, despite all that has happened. On the other hand we hear Megan say to Don while both are lying on the carpet that every time they fight that they are both diminished. In other words, Megan recognizes that she loves Don deeply but rationally understands that their love could eventually end for each other if they do not resolve to treat each other better.

    In the modern vernacular, this episode was a huge “wake-up call” for Don. And when Cooper told Don “love leave” was over he was further put on notice that he better get back to taking care of business.

    And fortunately for Don he now has that opportunity to regain his mojo not only with SCDP but also with Megan.

    • Well-said. I appreciated Megan’s comment in the diner: She was noticing Don glancing around, taking stock of the potential new account and what features he might highlight in a campaign (and to which customers, i.e. a traveling Mom would like the nice clean bathrooms), and after having been yanked away from her desk–and the creative team she’d been working with–per Don’s orders (“I’m your boss!”), and told to take a nap, she called him out: “So it’s okay for you to like to work, but not for me?” before going even further and saying that it was “so confusing”, trying to be all the different things he seemed to want her to be. It was that early salvo, in my opinion, that long-overdue stomping of Megan’s foot, that set up the argument: up until then, Megan had gone along with Don, if reluctantly: leaving the creative team and the Heinz project in the lurch and, apparently, doing a fast bag-packing and joining him on the road, then saying “I like everything” to their HoJo host (even though, it turns out, she doesn’t like absolutely everything).

      (Aside: I love floral flavors and orange sherbet, ha! I grew up eating Turkish Delight, which is flavored with rose essence, as well as violet candies like Peggy’s, and rose-petal sandwiches. I make these Middle Eastern cookies called “wedding bracelets” that are flavored with orange flower water.)

      I think Megan told us a lot about herself in this episode. In addition to the above comment to Don, she also said “I need to go to work” in that final scene, as she tried to smooth her skirt. I need to go to work. Of course she does–Megan loves her job (I saw a future for myself…). It is an integral part of her identity–which is not to say she doesn’t love Don, because I think she clearly does–and when she took the bus back to NYC instead of the shorter route to her mother’s house in Montréal, she was returning to her own identity as well as her home (remember how she referred to the apartment as “my house” in the premiere, as she was cleaning up the party mess while wearing her black lace undies? I want to clean up my house…my house is filthy…).

      Far Away Places is my favorite episode this season–so far!

    • Techno,

      Excellent thoughts! Thank you for such a superb unpacking of many important dimensions of Megan, the character that was indeed fleshed out at long last.

      I agree with every point you made except for the first one, point A. (Even then, it’s not so much disagreeing as offering a different take on an as-yet-unresolved issue.)

      It could be that Megan is competent in her job to a certain degree and that she’s serious about her career, but Megan does not have the professional chops of Rachel Menken or Faye Miller. This plays into point D, as you outlined in your remarks. Megan is enthusiastic about supporting her co-workers and doing the best job she can, but she is also dead set against carrying her work home with her or taking her work beyond the office under the pretext of doing something pleasant. Her reaction to being taken away from the office for the Heinz presentation also revealed great anxiety about how well everything would go in her’s and Don’s absence. She is not yet sold on herself as a professional and her abilities in office settings. This is part of what has given Don the (mistaken but real) idea that he could treat Megan as a kind of office pet, someone to take with him as he pleases. Don knows he never, ever could have gone this far with Faye, who would have never allowed Don to initiate such a style or cycle of behavior. Rachel wasn’t a Sterling Cooper associate, but her professional/business prowess made it clear to Don that he would never enjoy a true upper hand in an ongoing intimate relationship with her.

      The combination of Megan’s personally-felt inadequacy and inner timidity in work settings is very closely related to Don’s inexcusable behavior and the longstanding mindset behind such neanderthalish views and expectations.

  36. Bert Cooper is the last person — perhaps on earth — whose word holds any sway with Don. He’s long lost any respect for Roger, he feels he outranks Lane, and Anna is dead.

    Bert knows his secret, although it isn’t as dire a secret as it once was, and he can put pressure on Don. He can’t exactly fire him, since Don is a partner, but he is a father figure, and that still means something to Don. Bert also is completely grounded in who he is, where Don has changed courses many times.

    • I would disagree. Bert is like the general manager of a football team who has come into the locker room right after a devastating loss and told his starting QB to get back to business and to stop throwing interceptions and missing his receivers.

      Don told Bert: “It’s none of your business.”

      Bert’s response: “It is my business.”

      In case you don’t know a general manager of a football team negotiates contracts which determine how much each player is paid. Notice Don’s head and shoulders slump after Bert had talked to him and his reaction to Roger’s proclamation, “It’s a beautiful day.” This was not a man who felt he was in a position to ignore Bert’s words of wisdom. Especially after what he had done to Megan.

      • Techno,

        Just to be clear, Bert said, “THIS is my business,” if I’m not mistaken. (I could be wrong on that score, but I don’t think so.)

        That’s not the essential point, though.

        Bert said what he said not to indicate, “I have the right to know about this.” He said what he said (in the way he said it) to tell Don, “Advertising is my business, my life’s work.” That’s what Don will respect, and the nod to Seven Twenty Three was unmistakable.

        Bert does respect Don, and Don understood the deeper import of what Bert said. Whether Don will apply Bert’s wisdom is quite another matter.

        • Your right. But Don acted at the very end acted like he knew what Bert was talking about. I expect him to get back in the saddle again and do a fine job.That’s the easy part.

          But as to regaining the confidence and trust of Megan, that’s a different matter.

        • Absolutely

    • When Bert said, “This is my business,” I heard sadness in his voice, or at least a certain nostalgic tone that was very poignant. I think you’re right about how Don feels about Roger. As for Bert, I think he may have some respect for Roger, mostly because he recognizes Roger’s untapped potential. But he knows Roger doesn’t work up to his potential, and told him so last season.

      Bert is counting on Don to pull this company through. Sure he’ll get help from Pete and Lane and others, but still, Bert wants someone very strong to lead. Otherwise, who will preserve his legacy?

  37. Sorry of this has been posted already…
    Anyone remember when Jane locked herself in the bathroom after her fight w roger about Margaret? I think roger threatened to breakdown that door too
    Locking yourself in your home you share w your husband and not letting him
    In is a childish attention getting technique. And after a rewatch she definitely struck at Don before the chase ensues. I never got the impression during that scene that he was trying to hurt her but more trying to grab and rein her in. Which is still not good. I’m afraid Megan’s a bit too
    Much of a loose cannon for someone as totally unstable as don and I do wonder how fr this pushing back and forth could go.

  38. LOVE LOVE LOVE the comments. My own can be found here:
    [tk, one is really enough]

    • Very good!!

      I do think, based on comments here and on some other messageboards, that Bert’s reference to the “little girl” may have included both Peggy and Megan. Open to interpretation though, of course.

      At any rate, even though he’s not a major character, I’m glad Bert put his shoes back on and came back this season. I would have missed him otherwise. 🙂

  39. When Don says “I said I was sorry” in that “what do you want from me” tone after he’s kicked his way into the apartment, when was it that he said he was sorry? I don’t think there were answering machines yet. So when?

    Also, Matt Weiner says that scene with Don on his knees shows he really loves Megan. But it reminded me of the violence/penitence cycle that is described by women in abusive relationships. I didn’t find the chasing through the apartment as violent as most did–it reminded me of a fed up parent trying to catch a run amok toddler–which, of course, still reveals how Don sees himself and Megan in this relationship. If he’d tried to hurt her when he finally caught her, then, of course, I would have seen it differently.

    • Obviously Matt Weiner has got to be seen as a credible source of what was happening in this scene or what the scene was designed to show. He stated in the YT recap of episode 6 what you stated above.

      But Weiner is NOT God. It could be a failure of execution. That scene may NOT have provoked that kind of reaction from the viewers, especially after the first viewing. It did NOT for me. But after watching it again, I realized I completely missed Megan nodding her head twice to Don after he embraced her and I completely missed the line of them being both diminished.

      On reflection, I can now appreciate where Weiner is coming from but I can also see how many viewers would not have taken this idea away from the scene on the first screening.

      • I saw her give a tiny nod and I heard what she said, but I was still processing the visuals of the chase/fight scene. The show goes very fast, they pack a lot into each second. I don’t think that I, the viewer, always see what MW intends, and I don’t re-watch episodes because a) I find that boring and b) if they can’t get their point across the first time, then they failed. I am just not that much of a TV person that I want to watch the same thing over and over until I’m desensitized to the violence and able to notice more subtle emotions. Others may differ in their level of interest.

    • Karen, I, too, noticed that Don said “I said I was sorry” and don’t see when he could have said it to her. I don’t think there were message machines in 1966. And there was no indication that he talked to her on the phone before arriving home. Maybe he meant he said it to Megan inside his head and somehow thought that “counted’ or that she could “hear” him. He was in such a messed-up state that maybe he was thinking about it in that irrational way.

      I haven’t read/seen interviews with Weiner on this episode, but I was surprised by your comment that Weiner said the Don-on-his-knees scene shows how much Don loves Megan. Don may think he loves Megan, but the scene (and everything that led up to it) was definitely reflective of the classic violence/penitence cycle of an abusive relationship. I was assuming that this was what Weiner *meant* to show. Do you think Weiner is aware that this is what he is showing — or is he unaware of it? That would be really strange.

      I have to say that I have noticed several times when watching interviews with Weiner about an episode that what he says the episode is “about” is much more simplistic than what the episode shows, than its (to me) obvious subtext. And I have repeatedly wondered about that. Does it happen because he wants to keep interviews simple? Or because of how they edit the video of the interview? Or — and this possibility would really bother me — because Weiner and/or the other writers are writing themes into the show but are not consciously aware of them? I guess that is possible. But it seems really strange to me.

      I guess the last possibilty is that viewers read things in that are not really there. But I think the controlling/abusive husband theme is definitely there with Don and Megan. I really, really don’t think that Don just “loves” Megan so “much” and that we are reading in the abusive aspects of this.

      I would love to hear what other people think about what’s “fair” to “read” into a script. If the author doesn’t see it, and didn’t intend it, is it fair to say that it’s really there?

      • (mis-posted above – sorry)

        Would you believe that the first answering machine was invented in 1898?

        Later, more practical versions came along in the 1930s, but the first commercially successful machine wasn’t introduced in the U.S. until 1960.

      • I agree with you re: the abuse, penitence cycle. I also found it disturbing that his view was
        “it’s over.” i thoight, “until you do it again . . .”

        • At one time, I was involved with an emotional abuser. Because I did not grow up with parents who openly fought, I was never comfortable with it, but for him fights were normal. “Everybody fights,” he’d say. “Your family is weird.”

          Living with him was like trying to make a home at the foot of an active volcano: sudden shifts, eruptions, always needing to be prepared for the next disaster.

          But he had this thing about fights. He was comfortable in them, but only so long as he perceived he had control over where they were going. If I did something unexpected, he would react by claiming the fight was “over”. That we were “better”; if I were more rational, he would say, I’d be able to see this.

          I saw much of this happening with Don and Megan. It was spooky how much.

      • Megan hit Don twice then ran off.

  40. It strikes me that each character in the primary story lines is totally focused on themselves (as they usually are) and each needs an event or experience to awaken them to a less selfish perspective. We see Peggy utterly self absorbed and Abe can’t seem to shake her out of it. Recall Peggy talking to Don (in the phone booth) – each 100% focused on their own immediate (if significant) problem. Don terminates the conversation and neither has a clue about the other’s dilemma.

    Peggy needs to hear the amazing and disturbing story of Ginsberg’s origin to wake her out of her selfish stupor. Roger and Jane need the LSD to finally connect with each other. Don needs the really frightening disappearance of Megan to shake him out of his typical Don-centric approach of always running away.

  41. My interpretation of the latter half of the scene in the Draper apartment from the moment that Don tacked Megan and they both landed on the carpet side by side with each other until the end of the scene.

    a) The expression on Megan’s face was no longer anger or fear. Imho, it was that of deep, gut-wrenching heartache that you would feel when you lost something that was the anchor or centerpiece of your previous existence. It is obvious that Megan’s love for Don is profound. No woman or man agonizes in such a matter over something they regard as superficial or unimportant. Note the contrast with Jane Sterling when Roger informed her their marriage was over. By the way Jessica Pare was simply outstanding here.

    b) It was a second after this facial expression that the outraged Megan said, “How could you do that to me?”

    Translated: Don’t you know how much I love you? What have I done to deserve this? Throwing the ball back in Don’s corner but subtly reminding him of his contribution to his life now, that there is no excuse for what he did.

    c) Then Don said, “I don’t know. It was a fight. It’s over.”

    This is the typical Don who mistakenly thinks he can magically put something like this to bed. Don is living in Tomorrowland if he believes that.

    d) Then Megan turns to Don, looks him in the eye and rationally says, “Every time there’s a fight it just diminishes us a little bit.”

    Translation: Our love could suddenly die if we don’t treat each other better and with more respect.

    It is at the moment that Megan begins to get up from the carpet that Don reveals a frightened look of a little boy who asked lost his mother and realizes what he has really done and that he may have thrown away his marriage that he told Pete Campbell in Signal 30 he would know enough not to do; and he cannot afford to lose Megan’s love. Now it is big-time serious.

    e) And after she arises Megan makes a very underrated declaration which you could consider against the grain: “I have to go to work.”

    This is a woman who has been abandoned by an executive who works at SCDP, who she in the last few seconds called a “pig”, and has behaved abominably and she still feels loyal to the firm and has the presence of mind to know what time it is. This is absolutely incredible and after this no one should question Megan’s sincerity about contributing to the success of SCDP or how important she feels her job is. Instead most women would have not only told her husband to go to hell but his company as well. Remember when Faye and Don were fighting in season four she called SCDP, a “stupid firm” in defending her decision to build a Chinese wall between her and Don.

    f) Don then gets on his knees, hugs her around the waist, tells her, “I thought I had lost you” and then looks up at Megan.

    This line could be interpreted at many levels but certainly coming right after Megan’s declaration she had a job to go to, Don knew how fortunate he had a wife who cared that much about what he did for a living.

    And in the open thread I speculated that this avenue could be available for Don and Megan to patch things up if only Don would “get back to the salt mines” and put his nose to the grindstone and if he could allow Megan to be autonomous and not get in the way of her succeeding in her job.

    Bert Cooper’s proclamation to Don that “love leave” is over tells Don he must begin again “to take care of business” and Megan’s assertions that he does not take her work seriously is valid and he must decide to allow her “to do her own thing” if he is to keep his marriage from weakening even further.

    And by looking up a Megan after uttering “I thought I had lost you” Don needed confirmation from her that he had not lost her personally and that she was still in his corner. Another interpretation could be Don asking for forgiveness (being on his knees) and seeking absolution from Megan. And finally notice the superior position Megan finds herself as she towers over Don. This is symbolic of their relationship. Megan is in charge. Don must accept that or lose his marriage.

    g) Megan nods her head twice which could be symbolic for work and off-work. Don feels relieved and continues to bury his head in Megan’s waist as a little boy would with his mother very afraid he will lose her love.

    Don window of opportunity to have a happy marriage with Megan is closing. Don must clean up his act at work and at home or it will be all over. And both Don and Megan realize that has to happen if they are to move forward and stay together.

    • Here’s the scene that went thru my mind with Don clinging to Megan. (hope the link works)

      • Yes, I thought the position of him kneeling and holding her hat way seemed familiar somehow. Stanley Kowalski was a handsome, violent lost little boy too, wasn’t he? Good connection!

      • Yes! Good call!

    • Nice insights. I was happy to get a glimpse into Megan’s professional prowess when she told Don that HoJo’s was not a destination spot. She seems intelligent and able to read people and situations accurately, so you’d think she’d have the tools to make good in the ad game. Prior to this episode, all we’ve seen of her professionally was her failed coupon offerings.

  42. I like it, but I don’t like everything about it. Last night’s Game of Thrones was particularly gross and because it’s on right before MM I’m already a little worked up. Maybe I should be watching Veep first instead.

  43. I wonder if it has been documented whether marriages in real life end in the manner they were conceived or conducted.

    The end of Roger and Jane’s marriage exemplified how they lived out their marriage, a lack of intensity and passion but with a modicum of reasonable, indifferent behavior when they were seen together. Jane was even mild-mannered and respectful when she reminded Roger the divorce would be expensive and Roger replied in like manner that he knew it would be without losing his temper.

    With Peggy we get a glimpse of how her marriage would end if she were married–the conflict between bringing her work home with her and being a wife to her man.

    With Pete and Trudy, we see a marriage that will probably end if Trudy wants to buy a new house, have more kids and/or improve their standing in the suburbs. Trudy would never ask Pete for a divorce but I can see Pete doing so as he ages and becomes more frustrated with his business and private life around the 7 year itch. Trudy will never see it coming. She thinks she understands Pete but she doesn’t.

    The theme of Joan and Greg’s marriage was Joan’s acceptance of Greg’s insecurities from work and Greg’s refusal to let Joan on what he was planning. Volunteering for an extra year in Vietnam without consulting her was a bridge too far for Joan. Joan was NOT cut out to be an army wife. Definition of incompatibility.

    Don and Betty’s marriage was conceived on a lie and irrevocably broken when the truth surfaced to prove it was lie.This was the rare case where what happened during the marriage made little difference to whether the divorce would occur. After the truth was revealed, Betty told Don she no longer loved him and could not even stand him touching her.

    And finally if Don and Megan divorce, the end will be sudden and explosive, the atmosphere in which Don’s marriage proposal was conceived. And it will be indicative of the unpredictability and rocky nature of their marriage. But it will be Megan asking for the divorce, not Don. Their marriage will definitely not die with a whimper.

    • Seems like Jane was a lot smarter than Roger ever gave her credit for, (“Ust because she’s been to India doesn’t mean she’s NOT an idiot”) she just didn’t always show it.

  44. The “displaced person” kept popping up for me…for Ginzo overtly, since he used the term. Anyone else catch that Roger told Jane he was going to a hotel b/c he didn’t want to displace her? The hallmark of displaced persons following the war, in the midst of their great suffering, was a paucity of relationships, particularly familial ones. As Deborah points out so brilliantly in her piece, this whole episode is focused on relationships, the distance partners feel b/n each other in relationships and hence their disconnectedness from all of humanity…

  45. Does anyone now after episode 6 believe Don and Megan should have a child? If you do, I think you are in a distinct minority.

  46. So far if you summarize season five so far Mad Men has dealt with:

    a) The ins and outs of the Draper marriage and Don ignoring his work responsibilities

    b) The emasculation of Pete Campbell

    c) The dissipation of Roger Sterling and the break-up of his marriage

    d) The high and lows of Peggy Olson as she tries to make her mark as second in command behind Don

    e) Lane Pryce not being respected at the office

    f) Joan Harris terminating her marriage to Greg

    g) Betty Francis getting fat

    But what we have not seen in detail is a focus on the business activities within the advertising agency and the securing of accounts which MM cut his eyeteeth on in previous seasons. That is the direction I expect the remainder of the season to take until the final episode where anything could happen.

    I expect both Don and Roger to be a lot more focused on work, Peggy given the opportunity to regain the ground she lost with the Heinz presentation, Megan to settle in on her “team” of copywriters, and Pete Campbell to recover some of the mojo he lost in episode 5.

    And I expect parallel narratives to occur to show the competitive nature of SCDP that reveals misogyny directed at Megan (Stan calls her Jethro), backstabbing, and power plays made within the firm to secure one’s turf.

    And I expect Joan to hook up with either Lane or Roger.

    In other words the instability within their private lives will be less examined and their business lives and maneuvers will receive the focus.

    But what do I know?

    • How is business at SCDP? I’m drawing the conclusion that things are going better than season 4.Don & Megan have a very nice apartment. Pete and Trudy have bought a house in the burbs. Lane has his wife living with him. They were able to hire Joan back. Bert Cooper is still around and Roger is still Roger. Somebody is writing some business for this outfit. I might also conclude that much of it is written by Peggy and Pete.I wonder how much is a result of Don or Roger.
      Trudy Campbell is Pete’s number one ego stroker and she is the dominant one in their marraige.She will tell Pete get what you deserve from SCDP.You are under appreciated and under valued.Peggy is also beginning to question how valued she is I feel.There are other clients out there who DO listen to women.Braniff listened to Mary Wells and repainted their planes and changed their whole image back in 1965.Peggy is very unhappy I think.She is unhappy with the direction of her life and her work.She has got to be thinking about leaving and setting up her own shop.She could get Ken and Stan to go with her.

  47. During tonight’s rerun, when Peggy gave the burnout an old-fashioned, I thought of the scene last season when Don and Lane are watching “Godzilla,” and Don brings up the subject of handjobs.

    Also, when Roger is tripping in the mirror, and Don says, “you’re okay,” that was a direct line from a former pitch, which is escaping me.

  48. Hilton was a long-established company in the hospitality field, but by the 60s, Howard Johnson Motor Hotels were beginning to pop up everywhere. Hilton was more of an “in town” place to stay, while Ho-Jo took advantage of putting new locations near exits on the still-expanding Interstate Highway System.

    It would be funny if SCDP got the Howard Johnson account & it turned out to be bigger for them than Hilton Hotels was. The headaches wouldn’t be as big, since Dale, the fellow who was showing Don and Megan around, seemed to be a lot more easy-going than Conrad Hilton was, back in S-3. In some ways, getting Ho-Jo as a client would be a step-up for SCDP, even though it might have appealed more to middle class & family travelers.

  49. Why does Stan call Megan “Jethro”?

    • Beverly Hillbillies — fish out of water, small towner in the big city, was what I assumed. Jethro is a Beverly Hillbillies character.

  50. My take on the Peggy- Heinz thing: Mr. Heinz wants to reach the kids, but he does not trust 26 year old Peggy, that “little girl”, as Bert will say, even though she reminds him of his own daughter. Mr Heinz wants 40-year old Don to tell him what the kids want. He represents the old generation: they know that the world is changing before their eyes, but they are clueless, and would not listen to the young, because they don’t trust them, although they want to sell them stuff. To achieve that goal, Mr. Heinz needs the imprimatur of Don (not a kid anymore, as the new season has been insisting).

    The gender element is only one more layer to this dynamic.

  51. I didn’t like the last episode. Too much “over the top”, acting, directing, writing. The back and forth through time was just unnecessary. I prefer Mad Men when it sticks, almost fussily, to reality, that’s why I never like dream sequences, hallucinations, and such. The only good scene (by “good” I mean so awfully realistic and intense it was almost unwatchable) was Don chasing Megan down the apartment.

  52. Unfortunately, the subjugation of women is a primal, sociopathic desire in some/more than some men’s, lives. Men are obsessed with women’s bodies, their desire to control their bodies (abortion, rape.) is a symptom of hate. If she does not recognize me as the dominant figure, she is to be despised, therefore she has to pay. Violence is sexualized, because it adds another layer of control. Control her money. How is it possible that the gender gap is still here in 2012? .77 for every dollar is the latest tally. Most bosses are men.

    We all have the remote. I think that this nasty bit of violence is only holding up the mirror to society. I’m convinced that there is more hatred towards women, than other minority group. Women are 52% of the US population, so minority is an ironic term. The men who feel that animosity, hate them because they love them so much. As long as they’re ‘good’.

    I think its better on TV when that kind of abuse is inferred. However, if an artist wants to visually depict it, it at least makes us confront the ugliest truth in our society. It hurts to see, but put in its proper context, someone, somewhere, could take pause, and see the satanic quality of this behavior.

    • Excellent comment.

    • Yes. Thank you.

    • I thought Greg’s obsession with Joan’s breasts was way over the top and wanton and beyond what a husband should fixate on in an ongoing relationship.

      With all this talk of Don’s violent tendencies, I found Greg a lot more menacing that Don ever was. The rape of Joan in Don’s office represented Greg’s potential for evil towards Joan. Her body was more important to him than meeting her needs.

  53. Megan is very young and impulsive — and what she did is the equivalent of a child running away from home.

    Remember when your parents punished you, fairly or unfairly, and you ended up somewhere crying, and it occurs to you that if you ran away — or were hit by a bus — they’d be really, really sorry. That only then would they appreciate you.

    Megan could have went up to the room. Realistically, she knew he’d be back.

    She could have went to see her mother, and Don would call there in a couple hours and know where she was.

    Instead, she chose to disappear, knowing he would be worried. Knowing he’d be sorry. Knowing he’d fear the worst. Knowing he’d have to think about life without her.

    Going up to the room, or to see her mother, wouldn’t be much of an ordeal, either — the seeing her mother a little more so, of course.

    She wanted to go through an ordeal, so that she could lay it at his feet.

    “You made me find my way home. You made me have to buy a bus ticket. I could have been hurt, raped, murdered, because you abandoned me. If any of the bad things you imagined would have happened to me, you’d have no one to blame but yourself. Are you sorry?”

    It goes with shoveling the sherbert in her mouth.

    And I’m not bashing her. That it makes perfect sense to me, that I see it clearly, means I can’t throw stones. 🙂

    Don was so out of line, so wrong, but he didn’t make her take a bus home — she chose that. That he allowed her to add that to the list of what he’d put her through speaks to how he scared he’d been that something had happened to her, and that he was to blame. She blamed him and he accepted the blame, because she wasn’t telling him anything he hadn’t told himself.

    • You don’t think being abandoned at a rest stop is an ordeal?

      I do.

      This sounds like blaming the victim to me.

      • (As always, there could be an interview tomorrow that contradicts my interpretation.)

        How is it blaming her to say that Don was completely out-of-line and wrong? She didn’t deserve any of that. That doesn’t change the fact that she has her own stuff to work though and that informs her choices.

        He was wrong at the restaurant, she wasn’t — but that doesn’t mean that her response wasn’t to hurt him back, or show him how much he’d miss her. This is how she knew to fight back, those are the tools she had.

        I never said that his driving off wasn’t an ordeal for her. My mention of her wanting to go through an ordeal was confined to her choices as to how to handle the situation, not the initial situation, which she did not cause in any way.

        She decided to do the thing that would make sure Don couldn’t find her any time soon — which is understandable. She didn’t go up to the room, where he would show up first. She didn’t go to her mother, where Don would be calling, and know she was safe within a few hours. She didn’t leave a note for Don with the waitress. She wanted him to worry.

        He made her feel powerless. So, she made him feel powerless. That seems to be an ongoing dynamic between them.

        However, if I were any more sympathetic to her over his driving off, if I were any more admiring of her willingness to fight back — and that’s how I saw her reaction — I’d be president of her fan club.

      • I wouldn’t say she was abandoned at a rest stop. She was left a family themed hotel where they had a room.

        • Right. He was still wrong, it was still inappropriate, and he’s still showing weaknesses he’s exhibited in the past, but the traversing the state by bus and not telling anyone was a decision she made. There was either a reason for it, or MW and company were sloppy — I don’t think they were sloppy.

          If I remember the previously one, the Don and Megan scene they chose was the post-party fight. They wanted that kept in mind. The reminder could have been to reference abuse, and watch out for Don, but it struck me as being about the dynamic between them — and how she finds power in their relationship.

          Zou Bizou Bizou was a very powerful performance — as embarrassed as he was, he was turned on. The later fight showed her playing dominatrix a little, “withholding” from him, treating him like the little boy in the floor wax commercial.

          This week, he treats her like a child, and in the end he becomes the child, needing her love. Back to the state before object permanence — if mommy/Megan leaves his sight, does she continue to exist? Does he?

      • Exactly what I was thinking. You are a baseball pitcher who deliberately throws at the head of a batter. The batter becomes angry and rushes the mound and a melee ensues involving both teams.

        Do you blame the batter for his reaction or do you affix the blame for the ruckus who threw the pitch? Don threw the pitch. Megan’s reaction was predictable.

    • Yes, this can be some good acting from Megan, we do not know anything for sure. Yet.

    • She wanted to go through an ordeal, so that she could lay it at his feet.

      This sounds right. Taking the bus, not leaving a message with the waitress or the manager, the sunglasses in the parking lot (was that intentional?), not answering the phone once back home. This is the childish reaction.

      And yet it’s all perfectly understandable, the gender roles of the time practically predict it. It’s a spiteful childish reaction designed to punish Don for his condescending, authoritarian paternalism all day long.

      Don initiated the pattern, starting the game at the office; the game no one wins. He invokes privilege, nice and Draperly at first. Leave here, with me! Pack that, for me! Go there! Eat this! . . . and Like it!

      Megan plays along to get along mostly, until she won’t. Suddenly, it’s orange sarcasm in a family restaurant. Unmanned, he runs. UnManned, she hits back, passively, by disappearing.

      This accelerates the tailspin into the time-worn danse of the diminished. Luckily they pull out of it before things really get macabre, monstrous. Near-miss, again, no doubt.

      Who’s responsible? Sadly, they are both playing their part. I blame the patriarchy.

      • Glass Darkly and Less Of Me,

        You are making some tremendous contributions to the discussion by raising important and necessarily disturbing points about Megan, a person to whom I’m sympathetic but who – as the wronged party in the relationship with Don – nevertheless has many things to answer for.

        The central tension of season five, the one we’re likely to see unfold over the next seven weeks, is how Megan evolves in the SCDP office and how that evolution (or lack thereof) ripples through the other aspects of her life with Don and thereby reshapes Don himself.

        Because of this tension, it’s well worth noting that when Megan first seduced Don in the office, Megan seemed to show more genuine interest in having a romp with Don than with learning about Don’s work. In the intervening period of time, Megan has certainly become more sincere and dedicated in her attempt to learn about the job and become better at it, but the reality that her seduction of Don in season four – before Tomorrowland – was more about an attraction to Don than to Don’s work cannot be wished away or ignored. I have a hard time thinking that this won’t be referenced or made light of in some way before the end of season five. Don’s been awful to Megan, and it’s Don’s own fault that this is so, but Megan certainly has some self-improvement projects to tend to as well.

      • I blame the patriarchy.


      • not answering the phone once back home.

        Not only doesn’t she answer the phone: She doesn’t disconnect it. If she didn’t want to talk to Don, she could have simply pulled the plug. Don would at least know that she’d gotten home safely.

        Instead, the implication is that he called “every twenty miles” and she let the phone ring and ring and ring…depriving herself of sleep, in order to worry him further.

      • Imho, the focus of Megan not answering the phone is overblown. After all she did NOT return to the apartment until sometime after 5 AM from getting a cab at Port Authority.

        Instead the focus should be on the time Megan spent in the parking lot of HJ stunned at what had just happened, in the restaurant while she decided to wait for Don to return, the moment she decided he would NOT return and she would have to fend for herself (she had no way of knowing if Don would come back or not), the decision to take a bus back to NYC rather than to Montreal, the 6 and 1/2 hours on the bus that she had plenty of time to think about Don, their marriage, and what he had just done to her. And finally to add insult to injury at Port Authority, once she arrived back in NYC she was left vulnerable because few taxis were around and she got propositioned as a prostitute would. I do believe this is one of the most overlooked ideas shouted out by Megan during her confrontation with Don in the apartment. It’s one thing for a woman to be abandoned by her husband but it is another thing to be considered a lady of the evening who is not serious about love.

        If there is one thing I know about the character Megan. She is earnest and very serious about the activities she participates in. For example Megan is not interested in an acting career because she does not take it seriously enough. But she is very serious about her job at SCDP and she is very serious about her marriage to Don Draper. And in this one episode Don undermined both. That Megan Draper made the serious decision to go to work after being man-handled by Don and to forgive him for his serious lapse of judgment tells me she still sees her future attached to Don’s but sometime down the road she could make the serious decision to leave the firm or the marriage or both.

  54. Choward’s Violet Candies — and Purple Haze!

  55. For some reason some of my replies are not turning up under the entry I was replying to. Sorry. This site is wonky sometimes.

  56. The real world is a sick, scary place, full of terror and danger, especially if you are a woman.
    But as a man I don’t feel the same way you do. I choose not to be afraid and fight for my right to pursue happineess. I love television. I like tits and ass and violence on the tube. It’s my cup of tea. Sure, I understand your point, but it’s not going to influence the average viewer or producer.

  57. I am still bothered by Roger “being at” the 1919 World Series while under a LSD haze. Why did MW decide to put this series in the ep as opposed to another one? Roger would have been a young boy at this time and that series was very significant for two reasons. One it was the last game played without a baseball commissioner and two, although it was not proven in a court of law, the series was found to be fixed and some players from the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball. The scandal became known as the Black Sox scandal because it put a black stain on the game. So does this series relate to the ep? The banned players were displaced from the game they loved which ties into the theme of displacement. The white/black reference to the scandal ties into the images of the Ted Knight ad and Roger looking in the mirror with half head of black hair. Anything else? Am I reading too much into this and this world series was just randomly picked without a tie into the episode’s theme?

    • I believe this is an allusion to the 1919 World Series being fixed and the outcome of it being known before the series started. I think one interpretation of the LSD experience could be that the outcome of the “trip” was predetermined by the collusion of Jane and the psychiatrist who saw the experience as a means to reveal the truth that Jane and Roger should no longer should be married.

      Shortly after the allegations surfaced against Shoeless Joe Jackson, among several other Chicago White Sox players, Joe was asked by a kid, “Say it ain’t so, Joe?” By the same token Jane couldn’t deny the truth of what she had said during the trip that she was waiting for Roger to ask her for the divorce.

  58. When Roger was in the bathtub with Jane and he said he saw Model T and Model A cars ( which I know were actual Ford models), was this a reference to T & A or was this not a common slang term then?

  59. And again my comments are not getting posted in the locations where I post them. I don’t know why that is happening.

  60. (Edited for the reason given below. Thanks, MadChick.)

  61. I don’t believe Don would qualify for a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, nor do I believe he is a sociopath. I have heard the latter suggested before, but true sociopaths do not feel shame and Don has plenty of it. This is why he gets off on being slapped around and abused by hookers.

    He does, however, exhibit strong narcissistic traits, just as Floretta suggested. His pattern of idealizing and then devaluing his love objects is consistent with narcissism, as is his need for control. We can see the emptiness at his core when he clutches at Megan as if his life depended on it, because he feels it does. Contrast that with Roger, who is able to feel and express his emotions without being overwhelmed (Yes, I know, he had some help, but the drug really was just a catalyst).

    Don’s need for control at all times is also consistent with narcissism. I see this as the worst indicator for his marriage to Megan, because she far too strong a personality to be swallowed up. She has already built up a residue of anger and resentment against Don that becomes evident in this episode, because she has found herself in an arrangement that leaves her feeling perpetually off balance. So many people looked at this episode and saw her as owning Don because he showed his desperation by clinging to her, but if you look closely at her expression as they part for the day, there is a real horror there. I think she will prevail in her own life in the long run, but I think she’ll have to get out before she gets hurt.

  62. Here’s a brief item regarding the film location of the Howard Johnson’s.

  63. Deborah,

    Great review. About Don chasing Megan, Jane’s psychiatrist says something along the lines of, “I have patients who spend years reasoning out their motivation for a mistake. And when they find it out, they . . go and make the same mistake.” When Don clung to Megan he said, “I thought I lost you,” meaning he thought she was dead. And then I remembered, Adam.

    Don was angry (perhaps at Abigail and taking it out on Adam) when he abandoned Adam. He later came to his senses and called Adam. But by then he’d lost Adam, Adam had hung himself. In “Far Away Places” Don was angry at Megan and abandoned her. He later came to his senses and came back to the hotel. But by then Megan was gone, perhaps for good if she were harmed. So Don made the same mistake again.

    I wonder if Don’s overly physical reaction w/Megan was a sort of “flashback” about Adam. I am NOT justifying Don’s behavior. But the way Don chased Megan and then tackled her was more the way he would act with a younger brother than his wife. And the level of fear and crazy at that point could have been a flashback of sorts, not the memory flashback of Hobo Code, but the kind of post war PTSD kind of flashback where Megan became Adam.

    Also, Don lost Megan at a hotel, as he did Adam. And when Don abandoned Peggy before the Heinz pitch and Peggy goes down in flames, Stan says she was committing suicide during the pitch. Also, the way Megan was dressed as someone younger in the chase scene could be indicative of the age difference between Don and Adam.

    • He later came to his senses and called Adam. But by then he’d lost Adam.

      Holy shit. That’s intense.

    • One of the most overlooked features of Don’s personality is that he more often very fair when dealing with people rather than being unfair, leading people on with false promises or exploiting these relationships to take advantage of these people for his own benefit.

      Notice how he stood up for Freddy Rumson where many of his colleagues considered him a joke for peeing his pants. And when Don promoted Peggy to junior copywriter due to her performance in earlier episodes, it showed he was paying attention to her potential. And after Anna gave him a divorce, he followed through with his promise to look after her which he did by buying her a house in San Pedro. And Don did phone Faye right away to tell her he had met someone else.

      Sure one can argue that Don acted like he loved many of these women but I can’t remember one time where he promised any of these ladies he would divorce his wife and marry them. The ladies were under no illusion of his intentions.

      And Don never promised Alison anything after having sex with her in his apartment.

      But the two times in life that Don felt major guilt was with Adam and Megan. Out of self-interest, Don told Adam to get out of town in the same manner a western sheriff in the movies would tell a terrifying outlaw to. But when you give someone $5000 to make a fresh start, I would contend it is hard to make a case you are abandoning someone. I know this is a fine point but Don’s guilt over Adam did not stem from Don abandoning Adam but in the fact that he rejected him. Rejecting someone is not the same as deliberately abandoning someone. And that imho is the basis for Don’s guilt regarding Adam. Should Don blame himself for Adam hanging himself? Partly. But Adam did have a choice, made possible by Don’s generosity.

      As with Megan, Don did deliberately abandon Megan in the HJ parking lot, but unlike Adam by doing so limited her choices but even more importantly made her vulnerable and perhaps put her life in jeopardy. No matter how awful you feel about Don rejecting Adam, he did not put Adam’s life at risk after visiting him at his hotel room.

      In other words, Don may have eventually seen parallels in the guilt he felt for both people, but I think he realized what he did to Megan was far more egregious than he had done to Adam but by the same token Adam had died as a result of Don rejecting him and Megan could have met the same fate as well, not by her own hand but brought on by the law of the jungle.

      That Don was relieved that he had not lost Megan, I agree was a product of Adam’s suicide but even more importantly was a self-realization that he had not been fair to Megan, whereas in most of his dealings with people not as important in his life he had been more than fair.

  64. I find Peggy’s last scene where after Ginsberg’s revelations to her that she phones Abe to come over to her apartment and to hurry as very interesting.

    Matthew Weiner uses a lot of symbolism in Mad Men as we all know and could her plea for Abe to drop what he was doing and to come over right away symbolic of Peggy agreeing with Abe that she was taking her work too seriously and that she should devote more time to what is going on in the rest of the world and that in future episodes we will see Peggy more involved in social causes or movements.

    A few weeks ago I predicted this is where her character is headed, despite Peggy’s strong desire to still prove herself in a man’s world as a female copywriter.

  65. […] my recap of Far Away Places, I said: Far Away Places was about a lot of things. It was about echoes: about memory, reliving, […]

  66. This was one of my favorite episodes. The fight at the end was really disturbing to me. I really worried about the health of the Draper marriage, knowing full well that the odds of Don being happy are low. I definitely think the scene was a terrific portrayal of the kind of raw, primitive emotions that a bad marriage triggers.

    Someone on Slate mentioned that this is the first episode in which Jane is written as a believable character. I agree. In fact, I felt sorry that we’re not going to see her again, believe it or not. That last scene in which she and Roger have a heart to heart was very well-written as well. You really see that she does love him, after all. Whereas for him, she was just a beautiful trophy. Hmm. I have to say, the Jewish characters on MM sure are disposable. It annoys me a bit.

    I was a bit weirded out by Peggy giving the anonymous dude a hand job. I guess it’s her way of getting back at Abe, who I happen to really like. Although I thought it was the weakest of the 3 relationship stories, I liked how she realized that she needed Abe. He provides comfort, something that seems to be missing from the other two relationships. Emotional comfort, such an elusive quality and yet it’s so important, isn’t it?

  67. Earlier I made the point that it would be intellectually dishonest of the Mad Men writers to virtually ignore in future episodes the marital consequences of Don abandoning Megan in the HJ parking lot and the last scene where Don is on his knees to Megan holding onto her waist for dear life.

    Here from Kelly at is a reference to the rape of Joan by Greg which takes the same viewpoint as me:

    “Like when Joan’s husband raped her in Don’s office? That bothered me when I thought it would never be mentioned again, but it bothered me MORE when it was mentioned in such a tossed-off manner in the episode earlier in the season when Joan was telling her husband to leave. “You’re not a good man, and you never were, ” she said. “And you know what I mean.” That’s it? Is that really what they had planned when the rape scene was written, or did they just toss it in because the character was leaving the series and they didn’t want to make it seem like it was included to be shocking, without a purpose?”

    In other words what scenes or events rise to the level in the world of Mad Men that should directly affect the interaction of characters in future episodes and how they should feel towards each other? Was the abandonment of Megan and the running around the apartment only done primarily for shock value and to titillate our appetites for future MM episodes or will it have a direct bearing on the Draper relationship in future episodes in which we know Don and Megan are totally cognizant of the significance of these past events?

    If the producers and writers of MM treat the Draper marriage exactly the same in future episodes as they did before episode six, one has to ask oneself what would Don have to do to Megan for it to qualify to directly impact the direction of their relationship and marriage–Don beating Megan up and putting her in the hospital or what?

    • On the other hand episode 6 could be a set-up to launch some major new story lines or developments for the remainder of the season:

      a) Peggy becoming more socially active and perhaps less interested in work

      b) Roger exploring new frontiers in his personal life because of what he calls “a life-altering experience.”

      c) Megan settling in at SCDP and moving up the ladder

      d) Don returning to being a creative genius.

  68. Did I misunderstand – it almost seemed like Don was a prospective buyer of the HoJos. The manager knew he was considering it,was very eager to please to keep his job…etc. Don seemed to be saying to Megan ‘what do you think, huh? Huh?’ and feeling her out on the place Then the dream sequence of moving there with the kids into their new Plattsbugh home.

    Was Don really considering chucking it all and moving upstate?

    • That wasn’t a dream sequence, it was a memory. It was after the events of Tomorrowland. Note that Sally has Mickey Mouse ears on. They are returning from Disneyland and taking the kids to their new home in Rye: Betty and Francis moved while the kids were away with Don.

      • It was a memory of the return trip from California, but Tom & Lorenzo observed that Megan is dressed in a style we’ve never seen her wear before — and this may be a feature of Don’s unreliable memory.

        Then again, the science of memory tells us that every memory, fond or not, is unreliable: we choose not only what we remember, but how we remember it.

    • No, he wasn’t thinking of buying it. Roger had told him that the guy from the Double Aluminum siding (one of their old accounts) had gone to HoJo’s. So Roger presented HoJo’s as a possible new potential client, although he really just thought going up there (or at least in the direction of HoJo’s) would make for a great road trip for him and Don.

      When Don decided to take Megan, he mostly intended it for a fun weekend. But once he was there, he started looking around to see possible ways that they (SCDP) might be able to do an advertising campaign for it.

  69. […] watching Far Away Places this week, I got to thinking about trippy movies I’ve seen, and Bedazzled popped right in […]

  70. There have been many posts on how long Don was gone from HoJos. It could not have been more than an hour from the time he left to the time he returned. He told the cop at 1:45am that his wife had been missing for almost 7 hours which puts that at 7pm (unless Don was mistaken about the time). When he returned, he took time to check out the inside of HoJos, the bathroom, the parking lot, speak to the waitress and the owner and then sit for some coffee. When he was done searching and drinking coffee, he checked his watch which showed 8:10pm. It had to take at least 20 minutes before 8:10 so I think he was gone round trip for no more than an hour

  71. The Internet is a treasure trove of interesting stuff!

    In November, 1964 Dr. Timothy Leary gave a 50-minute talk called ‘How To Use Your Head,’ at Cooper Union in NYC. The talk was recorded for later broadcast on radio, probably on WNYC. I wonder if Jane Sterling’s psychiatrist was in attendance?

    Leary begins by noting: “You have to go out of your mind, to use your head.” In the course of this fascinating talk, Leary addresses the matrix of the human mind, the brain, baby ducks, orange basketballs, imprinting, bonding, the genetic code, the meaning of life, deep communication, love and the role of LSD in the rediscovery of something important we’ve all lost along the way, in our life journey.

    – here’s the link to listen …

  72. I am way behind on watching MM this season but I’m glad I am. Just last week I finished reading a book called The Language of Flowers. In Victorian eras flowers were given meanings and given to others with those meanings in mind. In the scene when Roger and Jane are slowly dancing towards the end of their ‘trip’ a large yellow rose is in Jane’s hand and then again the next morning the yellow rose petals are all around her on the bed. The meaning of yellow roses? Infidelity and jealousy.

    • It can also be a symbol of new beginnings.

    • Those of us in Texas have less sinister associations with yellow roses. 😉 Seriously, it sounds like an interesting book!

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