Recap: Lady Lazarus

 Posted by on May 7, 2012 at 2:00 am  Season 5
May 072012

Mad Men Lady Lazarus test kitchen Don-Peggy-Ken

But listen to the color of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving.
–The Beatles, “Tomorrow Never Knows

In the Season 2 episode of Mad Men A Night to Remember, Betty needs, finally, to confront Don. She wakes him in the middle of the night. It’s a stark moment of deep revelation (discussed in my video essay for Season 2), made more so by Betty’s pale, unmade-up face. It’s the beginning of the end of Don and Betty’s marriage.

At the halfway point of last night’s Mad Men, Lady Lazarus, Megan wakes Don in the middle of the night. Her vulnerability is accentuated by her unmade-up face. It’s a conversation that will change their marriage.

Betty confronted Don about his lying, and though he claimed to love her, he lied all through it. Megan confronted Don about her own lying. Don, somehow, was open to listening, although only in pieces. At first they speak at cross-purposes; he truly believes that she wants to be in advertising and will be happy doing it. He sees her talent. Nothing she says persuades him, but, remarkably, she holds her ground.



No one has an accurate perception of Megan’s decision. We know that Megan was unhappy at work, that she wasn’t nearly as thrilled with her Heinz win as she had a right to be, that her father’s visit had rekindled her desire to fulfill her acting dreams. Peggy’s snapping at her that the job would be precious to someone else probably moved her to decide. It’s pretty clear that she’s been afraid to face Don down, but this is what she wants. Yet Don blames Peggy for jealousy and competitiveness, Peggy blames herself for being too hard on Megan, Joan sees Megan’s love as gold-digging, Stan sees it as an escape from the compromise and mediocrity of advertising: In other words, they all see themselves in the situation.

As people hear about Megan, they all see their own dreams and disappointments. Don dreams of material success and security, climbing past the back stabbers into recognition; Peggy dreams of doing everything right and having it be rewarded, Stan dreams of artistic recognition, and Joan dreams of a husband who will financially nourish his wife’s dreams rather than abandon her.

Pete, too, has a dream. His dreams are sweetly, dangerously romantic. In past episodes, we’ve noted how Pete is turning into Don—the life in the suburbs he hates, the wife he becomes alienated from, the life lived through business success that brings no emotional rewards. Here’s another aspect of Don: He was never really into the casual affairs. Roger was always happy to dip his wick into redheaded twins, or whores, or whoever happened by, but Don fell in love with Rachel, he fell in love with Suzanne, and he left Midge when he realized she loved someone else. Pete, like Don, wants the love dream. He wants a romantic ideal to fill the gaps in his marriage, just as Don did when married to Betty.

Pete wants to love Beth. He wants to feel he has her (“I have nothing,” he said in the “Previously On” clip). He wants a sense that dreams have been restored to his life.

Beth leaves Pete with a dream. “This can never happen again,” she says, and she means it. He feels brutalized by this rejection and does everything he can to fight it, to reject the rejection, but she stands firm. Pete’s romance is all by itself when it’s a hotel room and a bottle of chilled champagne. But if it’s silent longing, if it’s fantasy and secret hearts left on windows like a hobo code, she’s all in. She just wants the dream.

When we see the layers of secrets and lying, the codes and conspiracies, we know we’re firmly in Mad Men territory. These aren’t themes of the episode or even the season, they’re themes of the series. Two different phone calls this week at the same pay booth make very clear how important secrets are to this show, even as Don gives relatively less attention to protecting his identity. Pete, Beth, Howard, Peggy: they all lie, they all speak in code, they all talk about the things that aren’t true in order to obliquely say the things that are. No wonder Megan, speaking her truth to the best of her ability, shakes them all up.

Sylvia Plath’s poem “Lady Lazarus” is too dense to analyze here. In part, it’s about remaking yourself as a new woman, and in part, it’s about surviving suicide attempts. Megan remakes herself, but the scent of suicide pervades this episode. Pete mentions in the opening scene that his life insurance policy covers suicide “after two years” (which have already passed).  Pete at first follows Beth into her house because he fears she’s suicidal (it’s the second clip above). The elevator door opens to an empty shaft—terrifying, foreboding. Megan cooks barefoot (you’re not supposed to because you risk electrocution). The Beatles song that Don plays, Tomorrow Never Knows, repeats the lyric “It is not dying,” and we see Megan in acting class, lying corpse-like on the floor. That’s a lot of death imagery, and it fills me with dread. I can’t instantly or easily tie all these images together with the poem and deliver a neat interpretation. Should I? Is interpretation the point? The 1960s are, in part, a time of dread. We hear news reports about Vietnam twice during the episode. War, fear, violence, change . . . society as a whole may be killing itself and arising Lazarus-like. Does the Draper marriage survive this? We don’t know. I don’t believe we’re meant to know. I do believe we’re meant to fear.

Don wants to know what’s happening with modern music, and Megan hands him Revolver, very possibly the Beatles’ best album, released quite recently (August 1966—this episode appears to take place in October or November). She tells him to listen to Tomorrow Never Knows first. It is the most challenging, most psychedelic, least accessible track on the album; the song Don is least likely to understand or enjoy. It’s being introduced to new music with a bucket of ice water to the face. Don might easily have embraced I Want to Tell You or Taxman. Instead, he gets experimental music, Timothy Leary-inspired lyrics, and sitar. The world is running away from him too fast to keep up; Lady Lazarus may remake herself, say, by quitting her job in order to act, but it seems like Don can’t continue to rise from the dead, although he’s done it before.

Some additional thoughts:

  • Another motif is the interconnection of safety and protection, rejection and danger: Some people feel small and insignificant in their lives, and some people feel protected and supported. Beth is scared of the city. Harry feels belittled at home. Who will watch over the unprotected? Who will feel safe?
  • Quote of the week goes to Don, both for wit and for meaning: “I was raised in the thirties. My dream was indoor plumbing.”
  • If the physical comedy didn’t get to you this week, you are not paying attention. Watch the guys acting out A Hard Day’s Night in the fishbowl conference room when Megan peeks in. For that matter, watch Pete wrestle with skis. Or just listen: The sound effect of the scraping skis after he says goodnight to Peggy is worth the price of admission (or would be if AMC weren’t basic cable).
  • Rich Sommer cracks me up. As usual. Thank you, Harry, for finding the Earth from space majestic.

Originally published at Indiewire Press Play.


  361 Responses to “Recap: Lady Lazarus”

  1. I think I’m the only one still up.

    Great review.

    I really like Megan. I think she HAS to be somewhat “perfect” because this really is going to go back to the comment of “if I had met HER first…” that Don made to Pete. Oh Don, how deluded you were. You have met Ms Perfect for you and it’s still a challenge. That doesn’t mean to me that the marriage is doomed but it says we are out of the lavender haze now. Mind the step.

    Pete story continues to rip it right out of me. He so wanted to be wanted. And Beth just used him. He thought he’d found a kindred tortured soul and instead he found someone who wanted to have a reckless thrill. As I mentioned else where… Pete is the hobo she won’t look at anymore.

  2. Mad Men feels it’s heading into The Twilight Zone. The next episode is called Dark Shadows. Halloween is in the air. Pete Campbell is beginning to look creepy. Peggy is smoking pot at the office. Roger is coming off a LSD trip. Psychedelic music.

  3. Notice the line by Megan while in the kitchen cooking referring to how she will feel after being rejected by producers. To me she is NOT all that confident she will eventually succeed. Compare that sentiment to the office where Megan comes off as pretty confident and optimistic.

    The two thoughts together that made no sense were on one hand Megan confessed to Don that since she was a little girl she wanted to be an actress and then in the same breath claims she never tried as hard to become a good actress as she had in becoming good in the advertising industry. I may be naive but when you hear one say a certain occupation or profession is one’s passion, one usually becomes single-minded in its pursuit. And the only reason you don’t make it big is you’re simply not good enough.

    Could Megan simply be fooling herself that she didn’t work hard enough at acting, that because of her teeth or lack of talent, she simply is not able to move beyond being a mediocre actress, no matter how hard she tries. And could Don perhaps realize it as well and let it run its course? And could Joan be right about Megan being eventually a failed actress married to a wealthy husband? As the office manager in charge of hiring staff, you would think Joan would have an eye for talent.

    And by the way Emile criticized Megan for not only for abandoning her dream (presumedly acting) but also she had abandoned the struggle. Is this a case where Megan is having her cake and eating it too? If she was really serious about acting wouldn’t she split with Don so she could embrace the struggle as her father suggested she do?

    And interesting comment was made by Roger in Don’s office in which he claimed that one has to be insincere to be an actress. Then Don shot back that Megan is indeed very sincere. Could that a subtle clue that Don knows a little bit about acting? Notice how casual Don is in discussing the subject with Roger and bringing Betty into the conversation while discussing Megan pursuing her dreams. Don is so matter-of-fact over a major decision that Megan has made that will affect both of their lives.

    In other words, does Don suspect that Megan may not succeed in acting? And is Don wise enough at this point in his life to realize the only way Megan will find out she is not good enough is to go through the process. If he tries to stop her from going through the process, Megan will turn on Don like Betty did. Let her learn for herself. When she gets knocked down, he will be there to pick her up.

    Finally in bed, Don said this to Megan: “Sweetheart, we don’t get to choose where our talents lie.” Again I think this is a subtle hint that Don is skeptical she will make it.

    But also in bed, Don was magnanimous and said to Megan, “I don’t want to keep you from your dreams. Go in tomorrow and say good-bye and we’ll get you on your way.”

    And a final note in the meeting with Cool Whip Don took it out on Peggy and claimed the reason Megan made this move was due to the cynicism at the office. But on the other hand when Don recommended Megan could work for 20 other ad agencies she said she didn’t want to go down that road.

    How well does Don know Megan? Could he know Megan as well as Megan knows Don? Don may have remembered in season four episode 11 Chinese Wall when Megan told him “I majored in literature in college, and dabbled in writing and painting and A LIT BIT OF ACTING.” If acting were so important to Megan why did she leave it to the end? And the key word is dabble. Could Megan simply be dabbling into acting again?

    Remember what Don said in his journal: “People tell you who they are but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”

    • You can struggle as an actor and still have creature comforts. There is a lot of rejection that goes with it.

      I would suppose that “giving up” on her dream happened in increments. She even said she didn’t know when she stopped trying. She took a survival job with an ad agency, got sucked into the romance of working for/sleeping with/marrying the leading man and she tried to fit into that mold for a year. With more and more success, she realized how hollow the job is and how it isn’t what she wants in life. Her father pointed it out and really woke her up.

      • I like your assessment of the situation. Plus, the elephant in the room is Megan has youth and time on her side to try something new. Don doesn’t, and his black sheep status in the advertising world may be bringing that fear out of him. It gives a new poignancy to what Roger says about having advertising as a profession assigned to him. Don recognizes change when he picks on Roger about indoor plumbing not existing then, either. But he doesn’t know what change lies ahead for him with a woman who’s pointed out how hollow the advertising business is.

        • I’m guessing Don has so much of his image tied up in being an adman that he can’t fathom retiring or doing something else. I don’t know his exact wealth, but he’s obviously rich and could live comfortably just by investing his money if he wanted to.

          Same with Roger. I don’t know why he doesn’t just retire, rather than moping about how useless he feels lately.

          • Don has already said when advertising doesn’t do it for him anymore, he’ll leave the business. He doesn’t need the money. He’s getting accolades (if not work) for his talent. I can see him retiring to a beach front house in California and selling classic muscle cars on the side for fun and profit.

            “In other words, does Don suspect that Megan may not succeed in acting? And is Don wise enough at this point in his life to realize the only way Megan will find out she is not good enough is to go through the process. If he tries to stop her from going through the process, Megan will turn on Don like Betty did. Let her learn for herself. When she gets knocked down, he will be there to pick her up.”

            I think that’s exactly right. In the words of the old song he’s learning to “hold on loosely”, letting her work for her dream. If it fizzles, he still loves her and she him. Personally I think she’d do well in TV commercials, not so much the stage.

          • As a Roger fan, I happy to see that he’s turned it around. He may never get all of the mojo of his youger days, but he’s more engaged with the business of the firm. I haven’t seen him mope since Pete kicked him in the nuts over the retruning Mohawk account.

      • I feel for Megan. Many of us had dreams and ideas but them on the way to making a living. I wanted to go to college but a summer job paid the bills and I was offered a full time position. What started out as “just for now” turned in to years. It is easy to loose sight of your passion because life gets in the way. Good for Megan and anyone who reclaims thier life and follows thier dreams!
        I wonder if Megan feels more secure because she knows that advertising can be there as a back up.

        • Megan has choices,”Bless her heart”. That is one of the advantages of youth. That is a major advantage of having a Sugar Daddy. That is a real important advantage of having a partner who loves you and wants you to be happy and not leave him. Megan has the freedom to explore what she believes to be her passion. At her age and with all the advantages she has by being with Don, nothing is in stone. Megan is lucky.

    • I think Don doesn’t understand creative passion he wasn’t exposed to it growing up on the farm. that was why he said that about not getting to choose.. He never did.
      He doesn’t understand Megan’s drive but he wants her to be happy.

      • Don seemed to display creative passion when he was lobbying Roger for the SC job.

      • Creativity to Don is just a tool for work. Remember Dick’s very practical and spartan upbringing. He is a lot of things, but the arts… music, painting, acting are frivolous to him. The only value they have is when they serve him professionally… taking a client to a play, watching a movie (Peggy said he sees everything) to discover an ad concept or what is popular with the potential customer, or listening to music to help find a jingle. Midwestern depression era practicality.

        Megan wants to act for the sake of acting…Don understands having a dream and going for it, but why would you turn your back on a talent for the ad game to chase something that has no material value.

    • Former prospective-actress-maybe-prospective-something-else dilettante weighing in:

      No performer in the world gets by without a lot of rejection. Young actors are generally told that success is getting one job for every twenty or thirty you audition for–as in, that’s the best case scenario unless you someday have a stroke of luck and get famous. Of course, people who suck have a worse time of it than people who are good, but the odds are not in any actor’s favor. For someone in Megan’s position, starting out without an agent, you’re just one of dozens or hundreds of people showing up to be considered for (probably) one part. Given that Megan’s a cryer, her warning to Don that she’ll be crying after rejections is absolutely true, whether she’s any good or not.

      Remember that she did get a callback for this play. Like I said, auditioners generally see tons of actors for a role, but they only call back the shortlist of people they are seriously considering casting. Megan would not have gotten the phone call that started this episode if she didn’t at least have some real potential. Also, I think her ease in playing a little bit of a character for the Heinz and (aborted) Koolwhip pitches indicates that she’s got some natural acting ability.

      I’m a Megan fan, but as for working hard, I think Megan’s big flaw is that she’s a little lazy, flighty, or as someone said on the thread last night, a “quitter.” A dream is one thing and the will power and stamina to fight for it is another. We know Megan is the baby of her family and we have evidence that at least her dad has been supportive of her dream of becoming an actress for a long time. It’s easy to imagine her starring in the theater productions in her little high school in Quebec, doing a good job, not having to compete much with anyone to get those roles. This is the story of practically everyone who starts out in acting–they have tons of support behind them, they know the statistics and how hard it is to get work as an actor, but because they were “special” where they came from, they still kind of feel they’ll be “special” in New York (or LA) and make it big. The question is whether, when confronted with reality, you’ll stick with it or bail. I somehow feel like, maybe except for her mom, Megan’s met with ease and tons of positive reinforcement wherever she’s gone in life. For someone like that, if you follow your dream part of the way and then get smacked in the face with 40 rejections, it doesn’t just feel hard to deal with, it feels like something is wrong. Maybe you’re supposed to be somewhere else. Megan has also dabbled in painting and writing, and, presumably, liked them, so for her it would be even less clear whether she was “supposed” to be an actress or whether there might be something else that she’s “supposed” to pursue and that will go more harmoniously and bring her happiness. Her description of how she got into advertising at the Campbells’ dinner party said it all–she stumbled into advertising just trying to support herself, then realized she could possibly be good at it, and thought maybe that meant it was the right direction for her. Surrounded by people now depending on her to do a good job and being closely mentored by Don and Peggy, “working hard” at advertising was the easy thing to do. Everything and everyone around her was constantly saying, “yes, work hard at this,” not, “sorry, we’re not interested in your work.”

      Now that she’s pursued advertising and succeeded at it, she’s realized that success and happiness are not the same thing–to her surprise, she “felt better failing” at acting than succeeding at advertising. She’s failed so little in life that it took this experience to understand that failing isn’t a big “NO, YOU MAY NOT DO THIS” from the Universe. Hence her decision to go back to acting.

      I think Megan last season, having decided that she’d already failed at acting, was deliberately downplaying her interest in it and the time and energy she had put into it to avoid having to talk about how it didn’t work out. This is consistent with her behavior when her friend mentions acting right before Zou Bisou Bisou.

      There’s no way Megan’s going to leave Don, at least not yet. She really does love him, and throwing away something as big as a relationship just to “live the struggle” is the dumbest thing you can do, and the kind of decision only made by people who are sick or really don’t get what it means to be an artist. (Struggling more doesn’t improve your art and brings you no closer to success–you’re shooting yourself in the foot for no reason.) Even if she didn’t love him, as others have said, she now has someone to financially support her while she auditions, takes classes, and works harder than she did before on acting–she’ll be able to focus on it more intensely, improve more, and get closer to success than she was before, thanks to not having to spend most of her energy at a day job. Not a situation most people who intentionally married into it would be eager to get out of.

      As for Don thinking Megan will probably fail, I have no doubt that that’s the case. He seems confused, but by next week, he’ll probably be thinking that this is just a rest stop on the road to pregnant housewife Megan.

    • I don’t know about everyone else, but my main reaction to this storyline is not how Megan will handle it, or how Don will react to Megan’s success/failure in acting.

      It’s how Don will react to Megan no longer being in the office with him, removed from the advertising business.

      Whether Megan succeeds or fails is a side issue now. Those who felt there was too much Megan in season five have gotten their wish in the sense that this event has now thrown the spotlight and the weight of the series back to Don. How will he perform in the office? Will he now stray and have affairs since he’s in a better (logistical) position to do so? How will his relationship with Peggy, who played the Don role in her relationship with Megan, now evolve, especially after their inevitable clash in the tasting kitchen after the brilliantly symbolic “husband and wife make-believe” act went (predictably) wrong?

      The mindset of Megan Calvet Draper needed to be unpacked. Now, for the rest of season five, it’s really how Don handles his old-new position in the office. Megan astutely, reasonably, thought Don would get drunk in response to an event that – as shown in the tasting kitchen and in his conversation with Roger – he’s still unsettled by. Don didn’t crack, but the tension is there. I found it so fascinating that when Megan and Don tell each other that they’re “everything I hoped you’d be” in the kitchen, the background audio involves a news report in which a U.S. Senator says that the United States should announce it has won in Vietnam. That suggests that Don – though saying all the right things on the surface – is not at peace with his new situation. Megan is.

      Ball’s in your court, Don.

      (This series just gets better and better and better… I think “Lady Lazarus” was as layered an episode as I’ve ever seen. Every word carried so much weight and meaning.)

      • I agree with your analysis completely here, well said. Don’s expression when he came into kitchen and saw Megan barefoot also struck me. It was as if he was seeing Megan as the stereotypical….barefoot housewife in the kitchen…and he didn’t like it…all to your point.

      • Down below I paid tribute to Don for being such a loving and understanding husband in response to Megan’s newfound desire to pursue acting as a career.

        But Don also added a self-revealing perspective to why Megan was leaving by blaming himself of casting a “shadow” over Megan at SCDP by not only being her boss but also being her husband.

        That situation no longer exists. Therefore Don is left to deal with his colleagues and underlings at arm’s length which if you have watched the series since 2007 he has never had a problem with. Don’s problems have always lay in the arena of what he does after he leaves the office.

        If anything without Megan on his mind or around the office, Don may return to his halcyon days of demonstrating his creative genius again on an ongoing basis.

        I agree mzemek, what Don does outside of the office will be intriguing. Will Don take Roger’s advice to create a routine of going home each night to Megan, despite Megan not always being home for the entire evening or will Don begin down the road again where he does not come home at night or leave the office in the afternoon and cheat on her?

        I think we’ll soon find out.

  4. Some historical references in newscasts help pinpoint the timeframe of the episode.

    – LBJ continues his 17-day Far East trip, which began on October 17, 1966. Also a reference to a cabinet crisis in South Vietnam, on the eve of LBJ’s Manila Conference, which was on October 24, 1966.

    – Vermont Senator George Aiken’s far-fetched suggestion to LBJ on October 19, 1966 that the U.S. should simply declare victory in Vietnam and just leave.

    – NYC Mayor Lindsay orders flags to half-staff after a deadly fire that killed 12 FDNY firefighters on October 17, 1966.

  5. I never thought I would say this but there has been too much time spent on the private lives of the main characters and a lack of time spent on the business side of advertising. I know Matt Weiner has a game plan for each season but even in changing times in 1966, advertising firms were transacting a lot of business.

    • Your comment reminded me of something I noticed a last season. The crew at SC isn’t really on the forefront of their business are they? Remember there was the conversation about how they all hated the VW small is beautiful campaign- which is now regarded as a ground-breaking ad program. The agency backs Nixon not Kennedy- Don doesn’t understand why music, beyond the jingle is important.

      I don’t know if this is important or not- but it seems like Don skipped over a few years of his youth when he changed identities- and he has a hard time understanding the likes and wants of people that age. Maybe though this is just the generation gap showing thru.

      • You’re absolutely, right, and Matt Weiner has said this many times. They’re mid-level. They’re not rock stars. They’re not DDB.

      • You’re right. Don has seemed middle-aged in his outlook really since the beginning of the show — he’s never been hip, even though he was less than 35 when the show started. He is obsessed with nostalgia, even for his own life (see Carousel pitch), and with finding the American dream, even though, like many Americans, he finds the dream ultimately satisfying even when he gets its trappings. I think that’s because he is so dissatisfied with himself at his core. He is, the hollow man from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

    • The pitches are always among my favorite parts of the show, and I wish there were more of them. It’s ironic that in a show about an advertising agency they don’t show more of them than they do.

  6. The one point that I think a lot of people may overlook is that Joan originally hired Megan at the beginning of season four and would have asked her questions about her background at that time. Perhaps the reason Megan and Joan didn’t appear to get along is that Joan knew too much about Megan and had her sized up pretty well.

    The comment by Joan about a second wives playbook, failed actresses and wealthy husbands imho was NOT an idle comment. Implied in her comment was that Emile Calvet was right about his daughter abandoning the struggle and “going to the end” but also that Joan realized why Megan had given up pursuing acting in the first place, that she wasn’t good enough.

    And Joan also has Don sized up really well too, basically telling Peggy if she had sights on Don to forget it.

    And notice it is always Joan setting the more naive Peggy straight on people and relationships.

    • Techno,

      Just to provide a slightly different focus, I would point out that Joan didn’t predict that Megan would quit. Megan surprised Joan, which means that Joan’s assessment of Megan shouldn’t be seen as the definitively accurate view. Peggy, in saying that Megan is good at whatever she chooses to pursue, is closer to the truth in my estimation. It’s Don and people like Don (within a corporate/office setting) that Joan knows with unerring certainty.

  7. I thought an absolutely fascinating line was uttered by Megan to Don when she was barefoot in the kitchen: “I love you. You’re everything I hoped you’d be.”

    In the world of Mad Men, I guess wives find it easy to overlook the fact that their husbands abandoned them in a restaurant parking lot far away from home.

    And that line was uttered after Megan remarked that she was surprised Don did not come home drunk.

    In a way I thought that was a wonderful line whether Megan was sincere or not. But Don told Roger that Megan is very sincere so he would have received this compliment in this manner.

    And if Megan was sincere, she was basically confirming to Don that she was happy in her marriage to him and that changing her occupation would NOT affect her love for him. And Megan also gave to Don a quick assessment of their marriage so far and implied she was not in the least disappointed with his performance as her husband.

    Now will Don continue to be “the man Megan hoped he would be” and continue to encourage and support her as she pursues a professional acting career?

    Ironically, I think Don will be more supportive of Megan if she is rejected more often than she is hired for acting jobs. If Megan does make it as a professional actress, I don’t see their marriage lasting.

  8. In my view, a dissapointing episode.Lots of drama over nothing. So Megan isn’t big on advertising. So Megan wants to be an actress. Great. It’s not like the Drapers have to rely on her to pay the bills.
    It could be alright as a subplot, but this stroyline dominates the episode, to me it’s not substancial enough.

    • I agree that it wasn’t a riveting episode but what happened was huge. He hasn’t quite articulated it yet, but Don is partly insulted by Megan’s rejection of advertising. She’s taking a pass on the thing that he’s worked hard to get really good at. This is going to come between them big time, that advertising’s not good enough for her.

      • “I’d like to do what you do”, that’s what Megan told Don right before they made love for the first time… and now, even if he tries not to show it, he’s disappointed to find out that it’s not really true, that that line was (maybe?) just a tactic.

        • I don’t think we can say that Megan was disingenuous in that scene just because she later changed her mind. One doesn’t follow from the other.

          • I think the line from Megan’s dad explained it all for us: She pretends to be interested in what I do, because she loves me.

          • Yeah, it’s quite possible that Megan became intererested in advertising because she knew it was more practical than acting. Once she really got into the swing of it, as a copywriter–she realized it wasn’t for her.

            • She said almost exactly that over dinner with the Campbells–she came to New York to act and then found advertising a likable place. She said as much to Don in Chinese Wall–that she originally wanted to act but now she was looking to advertising as a way to express herself creatively.

          • Sure Megan can change her mind, and I didn’t mean she wasn’t totally sincere when she first told Don she was interested in advertising: I meant that Don could suspect something like this.

        • Oh, yes, Chiara, you have hit the bullseye there!

          Megan definitely did employ a “tactic” to seduce Don in Don’s office, but in light of last night’s episode, it can now be said that Megan was – in multiple ways – putting on an ACT. She was never as invested in advertising as that first exaggerated expression of curiosity about the business might have suggested to Don. Megan is an aspiring actress, so she naturally can wear disguises and create certain images to suit her needs and hopes.

          This doesn’t make Megan a bad person (I say that just because this has been a sensitive topic throughout season five), but it does create a thematic subtext for the rest of the season and the series.

          It also creates a ton of tension.

      • Every season has that episode that just leaves you dry. Souvenir, The Inheritance, etc. This is obviously season 5’s contribution. Really, who cares about Megan and her acting desires. Its a C plotline. She’s follwing her dream. A nice thing. No dramatic weight behind it.
        Pete going nuts kept this from being, hands down, the worst MM ep ever.

        • The Inheritance is one of my favorites.

        • I often agree with you, Tilden, re our dislike (or, rather, indifference) to the character of Megan and our love for Pete. All that pathos over Megan wanting to be an actress…. I kept thinking “who CARES???”

          About my previous comment: sure Megan can change her mind, and I didn’t mean she wasn’t totally sincere when she first told Don she was interested in advertising: I meant that Don could suspect something like this.

      • Right on, Patricia. Could Megan rejecting advertising mean she is rejecting Don? At least in his eyes?

    • I think Megan’s turning down advertising as a career is much more significant. She’s basically telling Don, and the agency for that matter, that she does not find advertising fulfilling enough for her, that she finds it to be meaningless & phoney, just like all the people she worked with at SCDP.

      Don’s looking into the void of the elevator shaft, just after Megan gets into the elevator to leave, could be a signal that she is correct, that Don’s choice of career is one of emptiness. And it could lead to Don searching for more meaning in his life. Either that, or it’s a major foreshadowing of something terrible to come.

  9. The whole Megan thing is throwing me. I was trying to ignore the talk of her shady motivations, but wasn’t she the one who–when she first slept with Don in his office–said that she was interested in what he and Peggy did? And then when they went to Florida she shrugged off her acting career after she met up with her friend.

    I think Joan nailed her.

    • So Megan tried it, she thought she might like it. Turns out she doesn’t. A year in, I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to find that out. People are being too hard on her.

      • On the ouside advertising might seem glamerous, but as she worked on the inside, it just got too hard and cynical. This might have toughned her up and she learned some lessons that she can take back with her into the acting world.

    • I wasn’t able to watch last night. Sounds like I may have missed some plot developments but not a great episode.

  10. A big realization in tonight’s episode is things (and people) are changing, regardless of whether the principals at SCDP want to honor those changes.

    Peggy is upset at Megan quitting because it makes her quest to become a copywriter insignificant. Don cannot swap out Megan for Peggy because Peggy is not Don’s work wife. She never has been. The presence of Megan in the office has made that painfully clear to her, and the fact Don always asks Peggy to keep tabs on his real wife haunts Peggy when she’s trying to focus on her own career. Plus, since Peggy doesn’t want to be the lone woman copywriter at SCDP (she asks Dawn if she wants to be a copywriter and faces that rejection), to have someone succeed repeatedly where she fails and then leave because the job is unrewarding probably hurts Peggy. Joan drives the wifely duties home to Peggy, explaining that Don didn’t really want a working spouse so much as he wants a spouse at work.

    Megan doesn’t like playing to small audiences. Heinz was a large role with a big payoff for the firm; but the people at SCDP both over-appreciated it and under-appreciated what she did. First people thought the idea wasn’t hers; then they praised her ability as Don’s wife to play to him and deliver the pitch in the 11th hour. I think her disappointment with her victory stems from the fact that she didn’t feel she was the best person for the role she played because it relied so much on Don, her chief acting partner. She wants more variety in her roles other than Don’s wife or a wife. It’s a bit ironic that when she gets to do a little more acting through the pitch for Cool Whip, she’s chasing after auditions and opportunities outside of the office instead. Peggy was right — she could have easily asked Don to play the wife’s role in the Cool Whip commercial. But it wouldn’t have been the same as earning it.

    Don is changing, involuntarily. All of the women he had affairs with were working women. The one who shocked him most because she worked and had a family of adult children was Bobbie Barrett. And he didn’t like seeing those two worlds blended together in her mouthiness and willingness to challenge him. He breaks all of his rules with Megan. Betty would have loved to continue working as a model in the city in a house with Don, if he permitted it. But he didn’t, and since Betty didn’t realize that’s where her dreams lay or say it in any meaningful way to Don, it added another layer of discontent to their marriage (on top of many others). Megan is his full partner: she lives in the city with Don, she knows his background as Dick, and she works with him in the office. And I think Don is realizing, albeit slowly, that Megan doesn’t have to be a part of SCDP to love him and remain married to him. He may wish secretly that she fails so she comes back to the office because he does recognize her talent at being creative (just not an artist). But he also loves her enough to prefer she lives her dreams honestly than lie to him and sneak off to be fulfilled. The question about her deceit was the most powerful line of the Megan/Don confession scene to me. He’s finally come clean and he doesn’t want a partner who won’t continue that trust and truth.

    How much do you want to bet that Roger doesn’t know how to ski and turned things over to Pete so he wouldn’t have to try it? I’d buy Pete a couple of skis and watch him lug them around the office like a putz if it meant I didn’t have to dirty my hands with it. So much humor in that scene, especially when Peggy starts ribbing Pete about his skiing prowess. You can summarize that exchange as “you look like a fool”/”I don’t care.”

    Pete… Pete, Pete, Pete. You’re not at Sterling Cooper anymore. The age of affairs is rapidly changing, suburban life is not going to change a born-and-bred city boy like you. Suburban affairs are not as pat as they are in the city. Pete is always attracted to hopeless pursuits, and they’re partially made hopeless because he doesn’t want to work for anything until it is at the point of no return. Beth is his first introduction into the suburban housewife’s desperation to be desirable, and he doesn’t know how to handle it and thinks Little Peter and secret trysts will be enough. Oh, Pete.

    This episode cemented Joan’s position as work mother and Roger’s position as work father. They’re the closest to parents that Don will have in this world.

    Ginsberg was hilarious in this episode. An old song makes him drop the F-bomb! Megan owes him $15! This guy is one of the guys who would have killed for a spot on the SCDP team and his story’s in the background of Don/Megan drama. Now that Megan’s out of the office, hopefully he and Peggy will get their John and Marsha on. LOL

    • I AM loving Ginsberg. I’m sure we’ll get plenty of comic relief out of him before he gets a real story line.

      I do think Don is trying to be on board about Megan following her dream, but he is VERY conflicted about it. Don is a deep person and it irritates him that, bottom line, advertising is silly. Yes, it makes him boatloads of money and yes some people are good at it and yes it can be hard work. But at the end of the day, you’re helping a bean co. (client specifically chose by MW, I’m sure, to highlight the silly factor) to sell more beans. Not rocket science. Not saving the world. Not even making the world a better place — carousel or no carousel.

      I don’t think Don has this all figured out in hid head, precisely, but Megan’s rejection of advertising is going to bring it to the fore. He is going to experience is as a rejection of him.

      • Acting has exactly what relevance in our world? To help mega-corporations sell more product tie ins to some pasted around those products scripts? Advertising and acting are different sides of the same coin. We’re all whores who sing for our supper. Just because its her passion acting is not deeper or more important than what DD does or many other professions. Brando said acting is a bum’s life.
        Just confirms what a lightweight character Megan is.
        Please please please, less screen time for her.

        • Well, sure, there’s acting and then there’s acting. To each his own. But, yeah, I think of fine acting in a well written play to be art –and, yes, of a higher order/making a more meaningful contribution than producing great campaign copy.

    • I too think that Pegs and Ginsberg are destined for bigger things. I think she could fall for him very easily; there is something endearing about him to her. Remember how he kept screwing up his job interview with Peggy and how she not only gave him chance after chance to make things right… she even coached him about meeting with Don and the culture at SCDP. At the time, I thought it was because she needed help and she saw he had talent and confidence about that talent. But now, as I recall the looks on her face (Lizzy Moss at her best); I think it was more than that. Two qualities that seem to attract Peggy… talent and confidence.

      • Agreed. And Peggy takes particular pride in her ability to bring in and work with good people.

    • Don never indicated that he wouldn’t permit Betty to work as a model. He knew that the modeling job with Coca Cola was just a ploy to hire him away from SC.

      Besides, frankly, even for those days, Betty was a little long in the tooth to resume a modeling career. She was right that it would have been a lot of effort with not much result, to try to resurrect her career while competing with teenagers and 20-somethings.

      • He actually expressed discomfort about Betty not being with the kids and not being home to make dinner.

        • at the same time though it did seem like he was sad for her, to see her so happy to be, well, young again, and then to watch her pretend that she was giving it up again because she didn’t want to juggle two roles when he knew she was played and was sad. I thought that was why he put such emphasis on reassuring her she was a good mother and the thing about the whipped up meal. BUT… he chose not to say to Betty that she could still be a model, if she did really want to try, and that the Coca Cola thing was a scheme by the agency to get Don.

          I don’t know how Don can think that if he’d met Megan first he wouldn’t have made the mess that he made with Betty. If he hadn’t been with Betty, he wouldn’t know what those mistakes even were.

          • Yeah, I thought Don’s comment about Betty last night in comparison to Megan was less than gallant. Gee, Don, maybe she didn’t pursue her dreams because she had to stay home and raise kids.

            Ah well, good old Bets. MM’s ultimate punching bag.

          • I also thought that Don was unsupportive of Betty when she wanted to go for the modeling job. But when she was let go, Don did seem to show some kindness. Don didn’t bash Betty over the head with how the client had been using Betty and he let Betty (if I recall this right) say that she was happy to not be doing the modeling after all. It seems that perhaps Don has done some growing. Unfortunately for Betty it is far too late to help her. Megan will reap all of the benefit. Wealthy husband to support her acting classes and life as she auditions and economic life raft if acting doesn’t pan out. No reason why Megan shouldn’t follow her dreams and take adavantage of everything she has? But also another entry in the life is unfair column for those like Betty who get the first, pregrowth version of the husband, or for those like Peggy and Stan and Michael who don’t have the luxury of following whatever they want to do because they have to earn a living.

          • @MaryLou’s comment, which I can’t seem to reply directly to.

            Another thing that makes me want Henry and Betty to be happy, because I think she deserves happines more than Don who lied to and manipulated her for years without her knowing what/how to respond.

            Please, please, happy ending for betty and henry. I like them!

      • Betty WAS a 20-something in that episode.

      • Hard to say for sure. It seems she was perfect for the ‘young mom’ roles that they were casting for in some commercials. The guys at McCann certainly loved her looks. (Off-topic, but I loved the brother-in-law Ronnie who was the director–he seemed to have real kindness in him)

    • I was kind of annoyed at Peggy for her “do you know how hard I had to work to get this job?” lecture to Megan in the restroom. Peggy’s copywriting job fell into her lap just as much as Megan’s did. She had no intention of being a copywriter until Freddie liked one of her comments about lipstick and requested that she be put on that account.

      So, really, we’ve still yet to see an actual female applicant for a creative or account job whose intention is to have one of those positions from the start.

      • StilNovo,

        Peggy might not have harbored the specific desire to become a copywriter, but she has always wanted to advance within the industry. She is always trying to gain more leverage, more compensation, and most importantly, more approval and praise from people who have been in the business and were/are in a position to improve her career trajectory (Joan earlier in the series, Don throughout the series).

      • I don’t think it had occurred to her before the “basket of kisses” remark that they would ever consider making a secretary a copywriter, but from the time she was given her first chance she became very ambitious and worked her ass off to do good work and progress.

  11. Great recap. I was left wanting last night, but you’ve pointed out the subtleties that help the episode make more sense. I guess I was expecting a big bang last night for some reason.

  12. Using actual Beatles recordings involves licensing fees that are huge, so they got a lot of bang for the buck. I love that they chose that track — even sweeter when you realize that the tape feedback on this track was directly influenced by the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (who will also be on the Sgt. Pepper cover). OOH, a Heinz connection (of sorts) here too.

    • GIven the large fee for the song, it makes sense that Weiner has the sole writing credit for this episode.

      What a good pick – the lyrics foreshadow some heavy $#!t, the song itself is one of the most critically acclaimed works (in the deepest pop catalog of all time), for the time it was a mind-blower (no wonder Martin saved it for last).

      In the context of the scene the song was jarring – imagine how it must have seemed to Don. Hardly the song to pick if you want to “win over” a forty-year-old man in 1966 – but then Weiner had higher purposes than to convert Don into a Beatles fan.

      • Not sure I would want full writing credit for THIS episode.

        • I thought the Megan-waking-Don-in-the-night-to-confess scene was one of the worst-written scenes in the entire series. Trite, wooden, cliche-ridden, and inconsistent with Don’s character for the past 4 seasons.

          • I agree with your comment about inconsistency. I cannot see Don reacting the same way had Betty given him similar news. You could make the argument that it shows how Don is growing and/or that he has a different relationship with Megan. However, no matter how much he has grown… if you ever were going to revert to your old ways it would be under stress. Being awakened in the middle of the night is stressful. Don acted like a parent who was awakened by a child who had had a bad dream and needed comforting.

          • This particular discussion requires a lot of unpacking. I think a lot could be gained from examining what is inconsistent about Don’s character in this scene.

          • I thought it was meant to parallel the scene where Don confesses his identity and secrets to Betty. It was done sloppily; but that’s what it seemed like it was trying to achieve. That’s why the most poignant part of their exchange (for me) was Don asking Megan if she has been honest with him the whole time. He knows the pain that can come from dishonesty in a marriage, and he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of it.

        • They can’t all be 500-ft homeruns.

          I suspect, like many transitional episodes, this one will only make a lot of sense after we have seen the next few shows.

          The Lipps could better weigh in on this with some insight, but I think the issue of writers’ credits depends greatly on the assignment to other writers and Weiner’s rewrite effort. I’d guess Weiner did all the heavy lifting on this one and his reasons for that will unfold.

          • Great minds may differ. This was one of my favorite episodes this season. And I was on the edge of my seat in the wake-Don-up-scene.

            Megan knows how to play people (and how to make them like her–it’s one of the places where her talents lie).

            When can you catch someone who’s “so easy to talk to” (Megan’s description) at their most vulnerable? Doesn’t that say it all about why that scene played as it did. Don’s still shell-shocked the next day .

            About the issue of Megan’s chance to become a successful actress:
            we already know that her saavy about relationships does not extend to being saavy about herself. She has a huge blindspot on that issue.
            The writers have shown us nothing to make us believe that Megan herself thought anything other than that she was a captivating, ready-for-broadway-talent, deigning to share a little of that talent with the SCDP no-talents in her living room.

            That suggests she’s in for a huge awakening as she ventures into professional acting.

            Don was certainly the parent-figure in this instance. He is wise enough to know that Megan has fallen into the trap of venturing beyond her talents. Being as immature as she is (she was the baby of the family, after-all–and by definition those children are often thwarted from — if not prohibited from growing up) — she is flused with her easy success in the space of a year — landing Don, fitting right in –socially and professionally with Don’s world. And then the coup-de-grace: beating Don at his own game so easily — a game that it took him years to master.

            This episode was all about female/male relationships. It was a provacative episode.

            One way to show Don’s progression to a whole, healthy person is to show the progression of the female types he selects. Megan is an improvement over Betty because Megan can get along with anybody, and she projects a happy, optimistic view of the world.

            Time will tell.

      • Am I wrong in thinking that Don was a Beatles fan prior to meeting Megan. He may not have been familiar with their latest album and certainly that specific song was the most psychedelic and maybe the most jarring one to start with but he did take Sally to a Beatles concert when he was still married to Betty. If he did not like the Beatles, would he have done that?

        • “If he did not like the Beatles, would he have (taken Sally to Shea)?”

          Yes. That was all about Sally.

          IT was (over)compensation for being divorced and absent. He let Harry get the tickets. And said to Sally “I hope you don;t mind if I wear earplugs”.

          This season – recall the scene with Megan and kids in car – he’s whistling a Beatles song he does not like – but can’t get out of his head.

          • Although the earplugs comment may have been (at least partly) about the screaming young female fans who were sure to be at the concert.

    • Lennon wrote this song, and he is on record stating his main influence for it was Leary’s rendition of ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’. In fact Lennon borrowed many of the words from the book for his lyrics. Apparently Lennon also was on LSD when he wrote the song.

      Love how MW ties everything so closely together on this show.

      • Thanks for the source of the text; the tape feedback is from their work with Stockhausen.

  13. Something else I thought of, after scanning the Open Thread: Peggy’s knowledge of Don and their intimacy may lead to another epic blowout between them soon. Peggy knows Don’s moods well, even if she isn’t armed with all of his secrets. She’s the one who told Megan not to lie to Don; she’s the one who yelled at him (in front of people) to stop taking out his anger at Megan and himself on her. And secretly, I think Don’s her Birdie and she’s still that young copywriter who doesn’t know how to play the Woman Game and have it all but guess what? She’ll always care and try to pull an Ann-Margret. For her in a lot of ways, Don IS the office.

  14. The elevator shaft was sybolic of Don’s feeling of abandonment of Megan’s leaving the job. He clearly was relying on her way too much as his tether to “what’s happening” now, as he feels he has lost his swerve. In the opinion of many Beatle fanatics, “Tomorrow never knows” may not be the most “far out” cut, but to someone like Don it just might be kind of terrifying as “I wanna hold your hand” seened like it was just 5 minutes ago. The shaft was also real (I think) and no attempt was made to call maintenance or to stick up a lousy piece of tape.
    Random brain farts: when did the Who use Heinz baked beans on that silly l.p. cover?: Don once again does not use the simple sentance “I love you” instead of “me too.” : PIZZAHOUSE!

  15. You what was scary? The elevator scene. I’ve had chills down my spine…

  16. I think the episode showed the generation gap widening in the form of Megan and Don. They now have nothing in common – not their love of advertising, music, desire to create a family together and even orange sherbert. So not only does this affect Don at work because Megan was his source for what is happening with young people today but it also affects their marriage because she is now going down a different path.

    I thought there was some interesting revelations – we found out that Don finally understood that Betty was not happy not being able to pursue her passion when they were married, Don understood that Megan was living in his shadow at the office which was uncomfortable for her, Megan told him during their honeymoon that she did not want to have kids, and we finally heard him tell Megan that he loves her.

  17. Did anyone else think that it was ironic that Creative Cookery needed an actress for the skit with Don which Peggy is not. Megan would have been perfect for the role, not as copywriter but as actress.

    Also wondering if anyone thought that if Don actually mentored Megan earlier, would she still have ended up leaving? Don did not seem to value her as a copywriter until the unexpected Heinz success which he was thrilled for her and the company.

    • Interesting point. The other night I rewatched the episode from last season where Megan told Don she wanted to do what he does. Of course, that led in to them making love on his couch, so perhaps that was just a ruse to sleep with Don?

      • I think megan needed to spread her wings! With Don always pulling her away from work, she will never be a full team member. Self fulfilment was not possible for Megan at SDCP.

    • I was thinking the same thing last night, why didn’t they just hire Megan for the job? It could be her first paid acting job.
      Also, the midnight bedroom confession scene sort of made me think about how nobody knows what really goes on in a marriage. Like it has been pointed out by others, everybody had an opinion about what went down between Don and Megan and her leaving the job, but nobody really knew what went on between the two.

      • Don explained that it would not be accepted in the advertising industry for a name partner to hire his wife as an actress in a TV commercial. For the same reason Megan and Don rejected the idea of playing the couple in the commercial.

        Of course Don also told Megan that she could quit SCDP and “I know 20 other agencies that would hire you instantly.”

        Oh, really? In what planet could a married couple work for rival ad agencies? Especially when one is a name partner? There would be a million conflict of interest situations.

        • Look up Mary Wells Lawrence.

          • Yes, I not only knew Mary Wells back in the day, I have read about her quite a bit recently.

            Her situation is not the same as Don Draper and his wife Megan.

            Still, if the planet was large enough, maybe using her maiden name Megan could land a job with a rival ad shop as a copywriter.

            It is and remains Mad Men Logic, with Matthew Weiner at the controls!

      • MW mentioned that once he is given an episode, if he has to re-write a certain percentage of it he will not give the writers credit. I want to say it was part of the DVD Documentaries/ Special Features where he said it.

        • Ok, that last comment was placed in the wrong place. sorry about that!

          Re Megan/ Cool whip: I was thinking the same thing! Just hire her to do it, but I guess Don wanted a clean break for her and for himself?

  18. A little about Revolver….

    I’m somewhat of a Beatle freak, so when Megan handed Don Revolver, my husband asked “What song is it going to be?”

    I immediately said “Taxman” since it’s the first song of the first side… Typically, when someone gets a new record, they start at the beginning… I thought that was a weird pick for that point in the show. The first song on the second side of Revolver is “Good Day Sunshine” – again, an ill fitting song.

    Tomorrow Never Knows is a good choice, however, it’s the last song on the second side. Who gets a new album and skips to the last song?

    Also… I was struck by how *young* Pete looked as he lay panting he and Beth finished…..

    • Yeah, I think they’ve made a point to make Pete look older, but Vince Kartheiser is a young looking guy.

      • True. Young and, dare I say, pretty. He looked really beautiful in that scene, IMO.

    • As Megan handed him the album, she pointed to one song and said “play this one first.” That’s why he started there.

      My immediate thought was that the song would be “Tomorrow Never Knows.” I don’t know why, Maybe because it is the farthest out, the one pointing the way to the next year’s Sergeant Pepper LP and already far away from the type of Beatle music that the client wanted (not to mention the awful single that Stan and Ginsberg played for Don in the office What was that? Has anyone tracked it down yet?) I think it most significant that Don didn’t listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows” all the way through.

      Also, is it significant in an episode so riddled with death references that the title of the album is Revolver?

      • How does one “start” a record at a certain place other than the beginning? I didn’t know that was possible with those.

        • Vinyl records had track dividers. You could see the line where one track ended and the next began. It was a matter of physically picking up the needle arm and placing it in the right spot.

          • Yes, and if you did not set the needle down in just the right spot you could easily “scratch” the vinyl record –irreprable. (I think I noticed that Don was careless when he impatiently grabbed the arm to stop the music. But at lease he didn’t just switch the turn-table off — that would have done even more damage!

            Deborah, you are probably too young to know this –or I may be dead wrong. But weren’t those de-marcations between songs called “groves?” Or maybe you are right. and the hip-to-music-people always used “tracts.” Although I was “of the time,” I sadly wasn’t hip or “grovey.” (That word may need an extra ‘o.” I’m neither “hip” nor a good speller).

            But I thought that term came in with 8-track tapes.

            Anybody else remember the word “grovey,” (a positive affirmation) or the hip muscians’s saying “in the grove?”

            • Yes, grooves and groovy. A groove is an indentation, which is technically what it was–it was a physical indentation on vinyl. A track I think was used for a song even then but I may be remembering it wrong. I was a teen in the 70s, we still had vinyl.

          • One of the most surprising and creative use of grooves on an album is found on The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief LP in the early 1970s.

            There’s aren’t separate cuts or tracks, as you’d usually find with music albums. It was a comedy album that was mastered with two concentric grooves on side two. Different content would be played depending on where the stylus was put down as you began playing the record. It was like having an album with three “sides” and quite startling, the first time you played it.

          • And there was that awful noise when you placed the needle wrong,eek 🙂

            I was a teen in the 1990’s and I remember being allowed on occasion to listen to my dad’s LPs

        • Oh dear, now I really feel old. 🙁 Confessing last night that I have the original vinyl record made me feel old enough, but finding someone too young to know how vinyl records are played makes me feel ancient!

          You just pick up the record player’s arm and place the needle down where the song begins (When you look at a vinyl record, you can see the demarcation points where each song begins and ends.)

          *going back to sit in my rocking chair*


          • LOL – same here. Like the time I had to show my daughter how to use a rotary phone. At least she knew it was a phone (slimline, dial in the handset.)

        • If I wasn’t depressed enough, this comment is about enough to send me over the edge. Am I really that old?

        • Haha, I’m sorry everyone (I’m 26). But that’s really interesting that you can place the needle on a certain track. That’s more than you can say for cassettes!

          • Stick around, kid – we’ll get you learned up!

          • LPs were so superior to every music-delivery object that has followed them. (That’s why they are having a hipster comeback — this generation has finally figured it out).

          • It’s okay, StillNovo — at 26, you’re about a handful of years away from having your own Time Marches On moment. 🙂

          • Oh StilNovo, I’d love to be 26 again! There is something still precious about the age of analog. You had to wait for things, not too long, but it was worth it! I truly hope you can experience real vinyl LP’s some day! (and LP stands for long-playing, but I suspect you might have known that!)

          • Cassettes were bad! I remember we would try to record specific songs from radio music programs and then would always catch either a bit of the commercial or the song announcement. It would throw my OCD in over drive every time 🙂

    • Agreed – a good choice. Time Never Knows is a ground breaking track on a ground breaking album. Though familiar, it was jarring to me. Loud.

      I wonder if they didn’t push the volume on it.

      The cover is so distinctive that even on the relatively distant shot it upped the anticipation (for us “old timers”).

      I like the attention to detail – the look of new vinyl is unmistakable. But didn’t Don drop the tonearm down near the beginning?

    • But Megan specifically told him which song to start with, didn’t she? That’s why I thought he went straight to that one.

    • oh, good, others noticed that, too. I thought that shag shaved 10 years off Pete’s looks. He looked happy for a second or two.

  19. Megan is an interesting one to try to figure out. I thought it was really telling that she owed Ginsberg $15 for lunches and left seemingly without even thinking of paying him back. Matthew Weiner said this season was about people being out for themselves. Megan certainly is out for herself. She is very charming and is probably about as sincere as she can be, but I don’t believe she thinks much beyond what she wants and trying to make sure people don’t think too badly of her. She is chaotic and a taker.She is like quicksilver and Don cannout hang onto or control her…part of Megan’s charm I am sure, being a challenge for him to keep up with.

    • For Megan $15 may not mean much. She has money.

    • Me too. I really thought that was appalling. $15 is a lot, especially for a guy like Ginzo.

      • Why the heck was he buying her lunch? Did she go out with him alone a lot? If with a group, why would the guy with the lowest pay be picking up her tab? Trying to impress her or the boss? I’m just having trouble figuring out how she could get in debt to him for that many lunches!

        • It surprised me when Joan talked of ‘the girls taking her out for lunch.’ Unless that’s a diss at the creative team, it’s a sad reflection that the secretaries would take her to lunch.

          She always seemed to sit in Don’s office, and last week she wasn’t with them when they ate that chinese together, where was she?

          There was definitely a lot more hostility or distrust between everyone than was shown (and honestly, after that post-zoubisou meltdown where she sulked off home because Peggy commented back at don, why wouldn’t they all feel edgy) Clearly, she never was part of the team beyond peggy, but peggy seemed like she would have welcomed her whereas ginzo and stan, like harry, pete, roger and joan, never knew where they were, and couldn’t really work or chill with her.

          I’ve always hated negotiating with office politics but it never seemed like Megan tried to work with them. I mean, I would at least have eaten with people. You’re part of the creative team, eat with them! FFS!

          • I don’t think it’s necessarily a diss. Megan started out as a receptionist, and later secretary, so probably was close with Clara, Caroline, and some of the others.

            Keep in mind the creatives are always working. We saw how Stan and Ginsberg were deep in their projects when Megan first started talking about it being her last day. They weren’t deliberately ignoring her, they were just absorbed with what they were doing. Especially in a small office, they probably learn to tune a lot of stuff out when they’re working on something important.

            Once Peggy got their attention, they reacted quite warmly to Megan, IMO.

            I think that given a little notice, Joan would have prepared a small office party, or at least a cake. As it was, she found out last minute and when Don asked her what to do, it provided her with the chance to come up with her own option.

            As for lunch. I’m not sure Ginsberg meant that they ate together. Maybe she just wanted to go get herself a sandwich and didn’t have enough cash. We’ve seen in previous seasons that Peggy rarely eats with people. She told her roommate in Season 3 that she wasn’t thrilled with the lunch counter. I think most of the time she’s too busy to take a genuine lunch break.

      • maybe he offered out of kindness, as many people do, but that makes you wonder… when did Megan eat with them???

    • I found that to be so out of place. She works with Don and he tries to take her everywhere else; why would she have Ginsberg paying for her lunches? Maybe it’s another example of her not wanting to be under Don’s shadow because he would surely have been a hornball the whole time.

      • But nobody questions that Ginsberg might be stretching the truth a bit?

        I really don’t understand the hate for Megan. I guess I will continue to be baffled. It feels like nobody likes anyone who Don loves, though.

        • I don’t see anyone here saying they hate her. Just pointing out that her behavior in the lunch matter is rather odd, and some found her a bit manipulative.

        • I think he is prone to overstating a point, like saying the tract was stabbing him through the heart and it was nothing like the Beatles. I have worked with people like that, really funny to listen to, but not to be taken at face value.

    • If Harry were around he might have said (to Ginzo) the same thing he said to Danny when Danny complained about getting charged ten bucks for a “free” Ali/Liston #2 closed circuit TV ticket.

      Anyone remember what Harry said?

    • Thanks for pointing that out. The whole lunch money thing struck me as odd. If she truly cared about what the SCDP people thought of her why would she even put herself in the situation to have to ask for someone to spot her.

      Even more so, seeing how she is Don’s wife it’s just bad manners to put someone in that position. What was he going to do, say no?

  20. I was angry last night about the direction the season is taking, and I am even angrier this morning. I Just. Don’t. Care. whether Megan is interested in advertising or whether she is interested in acting. After all the screen time she’s gotten for the past two seasons, she’s still just a slip of a character. Zou Bisou was fun, the underwear cleaning scene was interesting, and their fight in Far Away Places was well written and well acted. And those are literally the ONLY moments of Season 4 and Season 5 when I have been remotely interested in Megan. If this is where they are going with her character’s significance — oh, she’s going to try to become a successful actress, and it’s going to make Don feel needy — I am completely uninterested in seeing that. And I am so angry that they are taking up SO much screen time with this dull arc.

    I would MUCH rather see more about Peggy, more about Pete, more about Roger, and more about Don that isn’t about DonandMegan. And please, where is Lane’s story? Where is Joan’s story? Why have they been abandoned? Those characters are SO much more interesting, layered, compelling than Megan.

    I hated the Megan arc last season but was willing to see where they went with it this season. There were a couple of episodes this season that got me somewhat interested in Megan, but this episode completely dashed my hopes about her becoming a developed and interestin character. I am now really worried that my favorite series has been ruined.

    I am pretty devastated today.

    • Elizabeth… please hang in there. As many of my previous posts suggest, I share most of your concerns and frustrations. I continue to hope that MW & Co. will deliver as they have so many times in the past; and, if not, they will learn from the reactions of a large portion of the audience they seem to value. As work on Season 5 has long since ended, the die is cast….either way. All TV series that last as long as MM have low spots…many have then gone on to some of their better episodes and story arcs.

      However, after waiting a year and a half, I must admit I am becoming more disappointed each week.

      • Tom, thank you. Your reply made me feel like you are Joan and I am Peggy, and I just came into your office and closed the door, and you said “Do you want to sit down?”

        Can you give me a cigarette now?

        I need one desperately, or I may turn into Pete sitting in the dark looking out at Manhattan and holding my rifle.

        P.S. I don’t smoke.

        P.P.S. I will watch the rest of the season, but I am feeling very, very hopeless that the season still has time to turn into anything. (And meanwhile the episodes tick by and they do nothing with Lane, nothing with Joan, nothing with Ginzo, not enough with Peggy…). Last season was so fantastic until “Tomorrowland,” and ever since then the 2-dimensional Megan character has hijacked the show. I guess I have a lot invested emotionally because this is the only show I really watch. Maybe I need to go rent “Homeland” or something.

        • I live in Canada where my cable distributor does not provide AMC, so I have been purchasing MM via ITunes since the beginning. Today I am frustrated like you Elizabeth and it is the first time that I feel like I do not get my money’s worth. I suffer from an overdose of Megan and I did not even start as someone who did not like her. I too am from Montreal, so I thought it exciting to see her as part of the office staff last year. I was even happy that she got to marry Don, but this is ridiculous. So much screen time, for reasons I do not understand. I miss seeing Betty! Please MW, more Pete/Roger/Joan and Peggy!! I do not even watch TV on most days and MM has always been a treat and something to look forward to at the end of the week. I fear that I will soon start to dislike watching it and then, there will be nothing good left for me to watch…

          • I was never a Megan fan, but I was willing to hang in there to see what was developing. I trusted we were going to get the payoff this week, but that did not happen. I feel so disgusted and let down that I am not really anticipating next week’s episode. However, I am such a hopeless fan that I don’t dare boycott! Thanks for the support of all of you who are equally disappointed and not willing to have to look so deeply into symbolizm and other artisitc devices in order to enjoy a series.

    • I am disappointed also. We haven’t seen anything about Joan since Dr. Rapist left. Nothing about Kevin

      • Yes… it is though Megan and to some degree Don are on a boat going up and down the river Mad Men. We occasionally see others… Joan, Peggy, Lane, Harry on the shore as we float by. However, they soon pass and we are back to the boat.

        As I complain about little if any screen time for the other regulars, I should stay away from new characters; but what about Dawn? The only meaningful scene she has had was spending the night with Peggy. I know she is Don’s secretary and therefore, not long for our little world… but, I was hoping we might get to know her a bit before she meets her inevitable end.

        • The truth is, we never get that many episodes focused on supporting characters. Ken didn’t appear in S4 until episode 5. Joan was absent from S3 for several episodes. Most seasons have 2 or 3 Joan episodes, 1 Harry episode, 1 or 2 Trudy episodes, 1 new character episode.

          • Deborah, I am curious. Did you like this episode? I felt that your recap was diplomatic. Or maybe I am reading between the lines with no justification.

            • I did like this episode. I won’t land on my favorites list with Mystery Date or Far Away Places, but I thought it was a very fine entry.

          • Sorry, I guess my prejudice is showing, but I don’t consider Joan a supporting character. Doesn’t Christina’s name appear before Jessica’s in the credits.

        • Your boat metaphor is perfect, Tom. How do we get off the DonandMegan boat and onto the parallel universe boat that has the rest of the gang on it? (Remember the Woody Allen movie where he is on the sad train and he passes a train full of laughing, beautiful people having a party?. We are on the sad train).

          I kind of felt like that elevator shaft led into a parallel universe. Maybe that’s where everyone else’s stories are taking place.

    • I so so agree, and I’ve been an avid watcher for years since the first season. I am just not interested in the Megan-Don storyline/arc, partly because Megan is portrayed seemingly like a saint. Even her mistakes — lying to Don about where she was — are excused. Also, why dies Don get a happily ever after with Megan (as it appears they are being painted as soul ages) but no one else does — not Peggy, not Joan, not Roger, not Betty. Don put Betty through the wringer — she deserves a stable existence. How is Don, who hurt so many women (Fay, the schoolteacher, Betty), exempt from a total fall?

      • This comment leads me to the following thought and an attached question:

        Thought: The quality of a series/season/episode should not be seen through the prism of how fair or right it is that certain characters get certain outcomes. In fact, Mad Men is precisely about how certain appearances or outward situations are not matched by the ways in which the characters internally feel about themselves. The closing song from the Beatles album includes a stanza about this exact need — to feel meaning from within (“it is about being, it is about being”). That remains the ultimate theme of Mad Men: You must find meaning and happiness within yourself; status and possessions, no matter how attractive on the outside, won’t nourish yourself if you feel alone or unworthy or unlovable on the inside. Peggy, for instance, has done a lot of climbing in a man’s world, but she feels she still needs to win Don’s full approval. She doesn’t HAVE TO feel that, but she chooses to feel that. This isn’t “wrong” on her part, but it does reflect that Peggy doesn’t feel as good about herself as she could. What outcome Peggy gets should not be measured on the outside to begin with, but the more important insight is that any good outcome Peggy receives won’t matter much unless or until Peggy fully loves herself.

        Now, the question for all readers and commenters here: Do you measure the quality of Mad Men by the outcomes each character receives? Maybe I find this whole season to be brilliant because I’m only concerned with “how characters arrive at outcomes,” not what kind of outcome they get. (My focus on process is why I always will feel that “Tomorrowland” was a terrible episode — not because of the outcomes within it, but because the characters weren’t sufficiently developed in the weeks leading up to the episode and the events that unfolded within it.)

        • I won’t call it terrible but I agree there was something awkward about Tomorrowland, it seemed undeveloped at the time, a Samsonite packed in hurry and whisked away toward a necessary destination.

          Artificially engineered, kinda like Cool Whip.

          Maybe they ran out of time. Maybe it was meant to reflect an impulsive Don moment. I haven’t heard a satisfying explanation yet. Can’t smack ’em all into the cheap seats I guess.

          • “Artificially engineered, kinda like Cool Whip” is precisely what Tomorrowland was. The sudden falling in love with Megan came out of nowhere and was based on nothing, other than, apparently, the decision of some writers that they were going to marry Don off to Megan. Why they needed to get there in one episode and hadn’t built any foundation for it in the rest of the season I don’t know. The two explanations I can think of are 1) poor planning of the season or 2) that the point was precisely that there was no foundation for his “love” for Megan and that it was an example of Don self-medicating with women out of panic. I had been assuming it was the latter but now in this season the writers seem to be trying to sell us on the idea that they have a real relationship. I’m not buying — they are telling us that, but not showing us that.

        • Mzemek, you said: “I’m only concerned with “how characters arrive at outcomes,” not what kind of outcome they get. (My focus on process is why I always will feel that “Tomorrowland” was a terrible episode — not because of the outcomes within it, but because the characters weren’t sufficiently developed in the weeks leading up to the episode and the events that unfolded within it.)”

          I feel the exact same way. And yet you feel that this season is brilliant and I feel the opposite — about the DonandMegan story arc — for exactly the reason you stated, that the characters are not being sufficiently developed by the writers to justify the outcomes I am seeing.

      • How is Don, who hurt so many women (Fay, the schoolteacher, Betty), exempt from a total fall?

        Offering a two part answer —

        1) Metaphysically, the universe is indifferent. There is no cosmic justice nor karma nor fairness.

        2) Culturally, a society constructed by (mostly white) men will necessarily tend to benefit, reward and protect (mostly white) men.

      • Thank you for spelling “wringer” correctly!

    • I don’t know, Elizabeth.

      I think the way that Peggy was Don to Megan’s Peggy, and the way in which Peggy was Don’s make-believe wife at a time when she’s thinking about her own intimate relationship with Abe, and the way in which Megan’s embrace of struggle is contrasted with Peggy’s frustration at having to continue to struggle for respect, puts a lot of emotional centrality into the development of Peggy’s character while giving Megan the necessary screen time needed to carry through this part of the storyline.

      Peggy has been taken through many powerful, poignant life experiences this season, only with fewer total lines/minutes on screen. She has been forced to confront a great deal; her conversations with Joan have been as revealing as one could ever hope for. Most of all, everything surrounding the development of Megan as a character has dramatically and substantially amplified the collection of pressures, hopes, fears and desires currently colliding within Peggy’s mind. As the 1960s move on, Peggy’s character has hardly remained static. “The Suitcase” should never have been seen as a signal that Don and Peggy were going to have long, extended dialogues throughout season five. The one they will have before the end of season five – I’d be stunned if it didn’t happen – should be quite the payoff.

      A final note: Mad Men has always made such great use of elevator scenes, the best one being when Peggy, Joan and Faye stand in the elevator at the conclusion of an episode. Well, last night’s scene with Don standing between Peggy and Megan just might rank as No. 2. The ways in which those three characters have been intertwined could not be possible without Megan’s development as a character, and those three characters are the sources of the supremely layered tensions that make season five so emotionally intelligent and dramatically rich.

      • Mzemek,

        My disappointment in the season is primarily about the DonandMegan story arc, and how: 1) it is dull, not believable, and not compelling, and 2) it is precluding or replacing any story about Don a) doing anything at all at work or b) examining anything about his past life, such as his decision to be Don Draper, or his relationships with Betty, other women, or his children.

        My other complaint about the DonandMegan story is that it takes up so much time that much more significant and interesting characters have essentially been dropped. I particularly miss Betty, Lane, and Joan. I am also disgusted that they set up Ginzo as such an interesting character and then have given him just a couple of minutes in most episodes.

        I actually really like the other aspects of the season (that is, the professional and personal struggles of Peggy and of Pete). But …. my same old complaint arises here too, in that the DonandMegan story takes up so much time that I don’t think Peggy’s themes have been developed as deeply as they should be. Actually, that is true of Pete’s story as well. Why have we not been shown anything about why Pete is so dissatisfied at home? Can we please see more of his interactions with Trudi? Is his dissatisfaction with Trudi based in anything legitimate? We have no idea.

        • Signal 30 laid out why Pete is dissatisfied. He feels immensely inadequate and out of his element. His comfortable existence leaves his all-consuming energies and desires in the open, isolated and unable to be acted on (like Don in the first three seasons).

          I’ll enthusiastically agree with you that Ginsberg should be getting a lot more time. Betty was simply not going to be as central a character after she and Don stopped living under the same roof. Exploring how Megan is and isn’t different from Betty – explored a lot last night – was and is a pretty necessary consequence of Betty’s absence from Don’s life. Moreover, last night shed much light on Don’s thought process and how he treated Betty in the past. Don’s history was advanced by last night’s episode. (Betty will appear in next week’s episode, which should amplify Don’s past even more, but regular weekly appearances would be harder to explain at this point in the show’s evolution.)

          Joan — I can see why her character has been underdeveloped this season. Yet, similar to Peggy, her decreased amount of lines/minutes/scenes has not prevented her character from encountering substantial changes in rather searing situations. Peggy has been a terrific conduit for unearthing new dimensions about Joan as a character, but Joan and Roger need to have more scenes together – that’s definitely true.

      • “Peggy has been through a lot this season….”

        I agree, and was surprised when Ma, in her beratement of her daughter, mentioned Peggy’s dad had died.

        Did I miss this from an earlier show/season?? Last I saw of Mr. Olson, he was on the couch in “Three Sundays”…

        • That was Peggy’s brother-in-law; her father died of a heart attack right in front of Peggy when she was twelve.

          • IIRC she and Don spoke of their fathers in The Suitcase, because Don’s dad died when he was around the same age (kicked by a horse).

      • S5 is Mystery Date, Signal Thirty, Far Away Places and the last twenty minutes of At the Codfish Ball. You can stay with the rest. The Emmy for best drama will go elsewhere.

        • Tilden, up to this point in the season I would have to agree with your last statement. Particularly, since I believe there will be a concerted effort to crown a new king of TV drama. However, there are five episodes remaining…let’s hope for the best.

        • Agreed, and as much as I think Hamm was jobbed the last two years out of Best Actor, I will have no problem with him not getting it this year. Not that I think he’s lost his chops — just a decisively less interesting study of his character this year. Comparitively, not as much at stake.

          But still stinks that he did not receive it for S3 or S4.

          • It would be typical Hollywood that this is the year he wins.

          • Tom — right, like Newman for “The Color of Money”, instead of vastly superior performances/movies like “Hud”, “The Verdict”, “The Hustler,” etc. Ah well. The apology/make-up award, I suppose.

    • I feel exactly the same. I love this series! I am curious- how’s Joan doing? Did she tell anyone about seperating from Dr.Rapist? Has he made contact? Did Peggy and Abe move in? How did it affect their relationship? And Trudy? Is everything peachy to her or does she detect something is very wrong with Pete? I can easily think of 4 other storylines that are so much more interesting than Megan ditching advertising to be an actress.

    • Hang in there, folks. I’m with you on many of your “Who cares?” Don/Megan storyline complaints (or just the viewer disappointment of the character of Megan herself), but I think last night’s move however cliched — Megan’s just a good girl following her dreams, damnit! — will result in decreased screen time for her. Think about it: the only character who wasn’t an employee at SC or SCDP over the years to get significant screen time was Betty and that was largely due to the kids. No kids — at least thus far — with Megan.

      My suspicion is Wiener will give us peeks into her acting pursuits for a couple of episodes and then she’ll start to fade into the woodwork — eventually eating up screen time somewhere in the neighborhood between Betty (when married to Don) and Jane Sterling. I also believe Don’s philandering ways will return with Megan out of the office.

      Btw, who dies this year? Any guesses? I’m going with Pete.

      • Or I should say my guess is Pete; I have no intention of following him to the grave, well unless he lives a ripe old age. Knock wood.

        Guess Wiener could always kill off Bert too. Of the original cast members he’s probably the least vital at this point, as callused as that is to say.

        Btw, does anyone know if Weiner has mapped out the entire series? I know he maps out entire seasons each year, but I wonder if he has done the same for the length of the series.

        • He doesn’t map out seasons, he just has end points and beats in mind and writes in their direction.

          • He has said he knows all of Don’s story – and that he ends up happy. Everything else is intertwined with that.

    • I’m thinking they’ll move to California for her career by the end of the series.

    • Elizabeth,

      It seems that conflict, hence tension is now more muted.

      Once Don’s secret created risk that ambitious rivals (Campbell and Chaough) could destroy him. Once, franchise clients (Hilton, Lucky Strike) could impose arbitrary, erratic requirements and the firm had to respond or face extinction. Once, the British Invasion was represented by Putnum Powell and Lowe takeover, complete with Duck filling the role of Benedict Arnold.

      Now we have tension driven by interpersonal relations and growth, a would be actress seeking self, a poor excuse for an Army officer seeking stature and two partners engaging in a “fistfight” with no visible or lasting repercussions.

      I do not see the lens focused on our future by exploring our past. Now it seems we are headed for “Harper Valley PTA” in more ways than one.

  21. I knew it would be “Tomorrow Never Knows”. Thematically perfect, and also it quotes from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Which, thanks to Jane’s therapist, I will always think of as The Tibetan Book of the Damned.)

    Pete reading The Crying of Lot 49 was a nice touch. Also, on a personal note, the skis were classic Head 360s. My mother had a pair, passed them on to my brother, who passed them on to me, and I used them well into the 1980s.

    • Thanks, Michael! – I was trying to read the title of the book Pete was reading and could make it out. Nice touch is right.

  22. Thought: Why did Beth roll the window down to erase the ‘heart’? Why didn’t she just smear it out with her hand?

    • A writer’s (or director’s) choice. More “artistic” to use the electric window operator.

      • did they have auto windows in the 60’s?

        • Yes.. we had a 63 Lincoln. My brother and I received many a scolding for “playing with those buttons”.

        • Yes — in fancy cars.

          • My ’57 Desoto had buttons like today’s cars have cupholders. It was a push button drive rather than a gear shift or stick. The best button ( or at least my favorite was the button that positioned the front seat into a horizontal position together with the back seat.


        • Earlier this season, Pete mentioned Ralph Nader, who was crusading for auto safety in the mid-60s. He called attention stability issues with the Chevrolet Corvair, in his 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed. In 1968, he lobbied car manufacturers to slow down the speed at which power windows in cars raised, because kids’ arms were being injured by them.

    • A smear might have been met with a question from her hubby? Letting the window down is simply for getting some air?

  23. Very thoughtful recap Deb,

    It is these subtler episodes that take me back to what I originally fell for in MM. The Pete storyline made me (dare I say) nostalgic thinking back to Don’s alienation in Season 1. There are important differences between the Don of S1 and Pete. Yes, Pete is miserable but has so little excuse for feeling that way.

    Between a lousy childhood, Korea, an invented identity and the stress of being found out, Don has quite a lot of baggage to blame at least partly for his alienation and infidelity patterns. Pete has the same hole as Don with respect to not having a Dad but really has not had enough strife or turmoil in his life to justify his degree of angst. In addition, Don and Betty were never, even on their best day, the kind of marriage partners that Pete and Trudy have been. Trudy is a bit superficial but is genuinely supportive of Pete and his career – she has been a sympathetic listener and friend to Pete.

    Don (at least the old version of Don) has always had an amply reservoir of confidence to rebuild, reinvent, and move forward but I don’t see any of that with Pete. Pete is shallow and takes his significant advantages for granted. Pete has very narrow shoulders and outside of Trudy not much of a support network.

    Bottom line: Pete, to me, appears clinically depressed and at risk of making a permanent decision.

    On a happier note, I loved, loved, loved the humor in this episode and can’t decide who takes the gold medal between Pete and his skis, Peggy on the phone, or Harry and his quips. I also really loved the closing this week – super cool.

    • I share your Pete concern. Don was able to stay out of the existential abyss because he enjoyed taking his “medicine”, it kept him in the moment.

      Pete is looking more and more irretrievably joyless.

    • This season I think Pete is Bizzarro-World Don.

      Pete Campbell is to Don Draper as Herman’s Hermits are to the Beatles.

  24. Not easy to be forty, much less in 1966 when everything is changing. Don is so suddenly potentially starchy and obsolete. Though he does have Megan at home to coach him on youth trends at night (“this is not a focus group” Abe would say). My dad was 38 in 1966. He was 50s guy, jazz not rock, Kennedy generation suburbs and kids, he could not transition to the Woodstock generation. This is the whole underpinning of the show — and Megan is the touchstone for before and after.

    Those who are down on Megan….it’s her world. 1966. You want to follow that girl to the end if you want to see the meaning of within.

    She is not a gold-digger….remember Don’s proposal? She was shocked. Took the prize but did not ask for it. Her talent at copywriting just means she’s creative…enough…to do anything. I thought he gave her a ton of room to go acting, far more than he’d ever given Betty in a different era.

    Pete reads Pynchon’s 1966 ‘Crying of lot 49’. Pynchon’s point: human beings need certainty. Pete certainly needs certainty, if not insurance, that his feelings are meaningful. Nio one loves him, including I assume trudy.

    Beatles: Revolver has two meanings, the latter as in what goes around comes around. It was for them THE transitional album to a new era. As some of you hint here, I could see Don catapulting himself forward past beans too…not only because he must (career DOA because of ACS letter) but because he needs a next. You really see him is a gray flannel suit for another 25 years?He said it to Roger last season that he could imagine an entirely new job. Megan at her best will show her man the way…to something else…not ads. Don evolving with her? A lovely thought though not very good for the show.

    Can Don “relax and float down stream” or is he too rigid? Can he “surrender to the void” on unequivocal partnership with Megan? Can he “listen to the color of his dreams” as she is trying to do? Tomorrow never knows.

    Tomorrow Never Knows is the closing track on Revolver, but was the first to be recorded for the album. It has been said that this song is about astral projection — stepping out of your physical body to make your way in the world like a ghost, passing through walls and doors while you are generally invisible to those still locked into solid flesh. Is that Don at the elevator shaft?

    The lyrics were largely taken from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert as an adaptation of the ancient Tibetan Book of the Dead – second time on MM. The drums are the main constant in Tomorrow Never Knows, a perfect counterpoint to the musical anarchy that envelopes the rest of the song… It became the sound of Revolver and Pepper really. Drums had never been heard like that before.

    The question is will Don and Megan lose connection. She’s a taker, yes, and a dynamo. Roger’s warning — get life on a schedule — points to the concern of too much untethered leisure time for a young woman in the city. Megan will have to find some day time acting classes no? Could see her slipping away from increasingly hollow and stale Don and finding a robust artiste to replace him. Shades of the bohemian girlfriend from season one. The youth culture never threatened Don before but it might creep up now.

    • I’ve used the tagline before from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie: “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. ” (Forgive if not an exact quote.)

      It really seems to apply to the whole series. Don was always telling Betty, “it’ll be okay.” Matt Weiner has said he sees Don as a happy man at series end. So things will turn out as they are meant to turn out.

      Don has adapted to all sorts of environments in the past, for survival and out of necessity. If advertising turns sour for him, he will find something else that works for him. He has the intelligence, the people skills, the curiosity to “move forward” at many things. Or he may choose to sit back and watch the parade of life pass. He can afford to do so. It remains to be seen whether this will be with or without Megan, but I’m guessing it is with her, but not until they’ve weathered a few more bumpy patches. Will Megan succeed as an actress? Probably not – very few do. She may get bit parts, commercials, maybe (being in New York) soaps but a Tony? Unlikely. Then it is Megan’s place to decide, do I want to spend the rest of my life doing this, getting rejected more often than not? Since she’s more than a dozen years behind him in experience, he may have to wait a few years for her to catch up with him, so to speak.

      And in the end
      the love you take
      is equal to the love
      you make

      … a variant on Anna Draper’s “The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.”

    • I’m glad you mentioned Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. In addition to being about the human need for certainty, it also contains an elaborate series of symbols (think the hobo code and Beth’s little heart on the window). Pete has becomone of the most interesting characters. He’s reading Pynchon, not Jaqueline Suzanne. He’s yearning for something more than material comfort.

      I think this season is fascinating. My only complaint is that we don’t see more of the Draper children. Anyway, thanks for everyone’s comments!

  25. I am very interested to see how successful Megan will be as an aspiring actress, and how that will affect the marriage. Part of me is hoping that Weiner chooses a middle road: there are more than enough bio-pics of highly successful artists “making it” and quite enough bit characters who are total failures. It would be interesting to see Megan struggle and become just moderately successful, always in danger of not getting another acting job – like so many people in the acting business and other artistic endeavors which Weiner will know very well. I actually expect that he will make her more successful than that, and moderately soon too (last episode this season?), as it might make for more “interesting” tensions in the marriage – next season.

    But I’m along for the ride either way. I continue to be amazed that a fair number of people writing to this and other logs get so upset as soon as a plot line or a character development diverges from what they are hoping for from a particular character or general plot progression. It’s Weiner’s show, folks! He’s been pretty great so far. Trust him a bit, be patient. He often takes unexpected turns, or sticks the characters in quagmires, for a time – but things change. Watch and wait.

    • “As soon as?” You mean, like for the last several episodes of the past season and all of this season?

    • People have expectations that aren’t being met. Disappointment and self-doubt follow. The remedy is to let the ego go.

      Dr. Sterling prescribes a microdot.

      • It’s hugely ironic that for a show which has so exquisitely and profoundly explained for 4.67 seasons how the reality of life rarely matches human beings’ hopes and expectations (Anna Draper and Ken Cosgrove being the two conspicuous exceptions), this message board has in many ways become a forum for……………..

        …………. people sharing how Mad Men has not met their expectations.

        This truly is not a criticism, just something meant to stimulate deep reflection.

        I would only add this note as a postscript: In the eternal human attempt to calibrate expectations set against the backdrop of reality, perspective means everything.

        Some people could look at season five and say it has all been about the “Megan wants to be an actress” storyline. However, “Megan wants to be an actress,” when viewed from a different perspective, could read (or be read) as the “Megan leaves the office after months of working under Peggy’s sometimes-harsh yet generally encouraging guidance” storyline.

        That’s a rich, rich storyline.

        All about perspective, though… and expectations. Season five could be a terrific season in reality, but expectations have been greater, so people feel empty. It’s a Mad Men meditation for sure.

        • “All about perspective, though… and expectations. Season five could be a terrific season in reality, but expectations have been greater, so people feel empty. It’s a Mad Men meditation for sure.” (see mzmerk above)

          your points triggered some thought in me!, mzmerk. I for one have been pleasantly surprised that (for me) this season so far is superior to last season.

          Could it be (borrowing from the “medium is the message” idea) that this episode left us actually feeling the existential void and emptiness? (Which began, of course with the empty mood projected in the final scene of “The Codfish Ball”).

          I like it that I am so engaged this season. Maybe that’s the point of “art” –to hit us where we live. Even though I react on the emotional level during the show, I really enjoy the intellectual critiques that this site fosters. Yours and others’ are in the ‘brilliant’ category. As is, of course, the show.


        • As in every season Mad Men is about its central character Don Draper and his orbit.

          That viewers may not see Don in this light any longer may be a product of not being accustomed to “the new Don” or liking him

          And it could be a product of the show itself being off the air for 18 months and forgetting what happened in the latter half of season four, including Don keeping a journal.

        • So far, this season has not been my cup of tea, but I can certainly understand and accept that others may find the path MW & Co. have taken enjoyable and interesting.

          We all can disagree about the quality of writing, the interest level of the Don/Megan story arc, and how convincing or not certain actors and the lines are.

          But, with all due respect to everyone who loves this show and are so vested in it to take the time to post here; three facts (whether good, bad, or indifferent) cannot be debated honestly.

          1. No character, other than Don/Dick, has had anywhere near the amount of time on screen in any one season of the show as Megan has had to this point in Season 5.

          2. It is only logical that the amount of screen time given Megan has reduced the time given Joan, Peggy, Pete, and Betty.

          3. The fact that “Betty is no longer Don’s wife” cannot be the justification for her lack of story line, as she was not Don’s wife in Season 4. (However, JJ’s pregnancy does offer an explanation.)

  26. There was an interesting theme to this episode, which is that wives are not going to save you. Meghan is leaving the firm and will not recapture for Don his interest in the work, or enable his continued successes, which have all come laterly with her involvement. Without her, he is, as Bert points out, not participating in the firm succeeding. Indeed, when Meghan leaves once and for all on the elevator, and she will not be coming back at all – at Don’s suggestion – what is the next thing that Don sees? A yawning chasm underneath, in the elevator, and further, he cannot leave as a result. He is stuck there, on his own now. Pete, obviously, cannot be rescued by his wife from the hole in the middle of his soul, and he must look elsewhere for that rescue, turning to a daydream of romance with a friend’s wife. That friend as well, has a huge hole where his marriage is, whether he knows it or not. You can continue this analysis across many characters, from Harry to Roger to Joan. We are all alone, and our spouses are not going to save us. Nor, as we see in Pete’s case, is the success at work alone going to do that.
    Now compare this to Ken – an outside interest (writing) that gives him meaning; a lack of concern with the financial indicia of success (Queens vs Park Avenue and the CT suburbs); a wife he seems committed to; a healthy arms length relationship with advertising (and one he insists on keeping at that distance despite Roger’s order to him not to). He is the bas relief to everything that is wrong with the other male characters, illustrating what is at the core of their dilemma.

    • I didn’t understand or buy Pete’s instant love for Rory Gilmore. It could’ve been developed more through the past episodes. But meeting her, sleeping with her right away, and all of a sudden being besotted with her? That felt contrived.

      • I agree that it’s kind of fast. But maybe it’s not really *her*, maybe it’s just that he wants something other and that he desperately wants someone to love and to be loved by.

        But, please not this Beth. Can we see no more of this character in future episodes? Pleaseeee

      • Not to me. I think the point is that Pete wants to be besotted. He wants it like in the movies: Love at first kiss.

        • Not just wants to be besotted, but wants to be part of a big romance straight out of fantasy, as distinct from his life with Trudy. He either doesn’t care or, more likley can’t tell any difference, as to who it is with – Beth, the girl from drivers ed, it doesn’t matter. He will put either one, or the next girl in line, in the role.

          • I agree but watching it still felt wrong. all I could think of was, where was the Pete who sobbed and begged Trudy to never leave him alone again 🙁

        • I’m befuddled by Pete. It seemed that at one moment he was happy in his marriage in the city with a new baby on the way, and the next – how long was it? one year? – totally miserable and looking for a quick fix – to fall head over heels in love with a stranger. How did that confident, cocky Peter change so drastically? He’s become a strangely compelling character to me, but it’s unsettling, too, to see these sides of Pete bubble up as they are.

          In another direction, I think some of Don’s confusion and feeling bereft at Megan leaving is that he’s alone without a self-reflection. Matt Weiner made a comment in an interview about wanting to play with the concept of ‘the gaze’, a concept by which a woman is objectified in the eyes of the man who views her I think that definitely is part of the Don Megan relationship, but I also think in looking at Megan, Don may ‘see’ himself in the person of a young, vibrant ad man/woman that Megan is/was in the office. With her gone, there’s no one to reflect back his own self- image. The scene with Peggy and the Cool Whip was awful for that reason.

          And I think Don is ‘shock’ at seeing Megan barefoot in the kitchen cooking dinner is the contrast between the image she once presented, how he saw and knew her, in order to know himself, and the image she presented at that moment – more casual but almost a stranger. And then she leaves him alone in the apartment. That last scene of him staggering into the bedroom from the living room and passing a full-length mirror was priceless.

      • She whispered the magic words: “You’re my king.”

      • On Mad Men, the character of Pete Campbell fel in lust with the character of Beth Dawes.

        “Beth” was played by the well-known actress Alexis Bledel, who starred for 7 seasons on the hit TV series “The Gilmore Girls” as “Rory Gilmore”

    • Interesting observation on the wives not being able to save you. Funny how Don and Roger decided to marry women much younger then them 2nd time around which I believe they did to feel young in a way. It had the opposite effect in that it reminds them they are getting old and out of touch with the ever changing times.

      • Exactly – remember at the birthday party for Don, when Roger tells Don not to go over and find out what Megan and her friends are talking about, and that it is not Don they are talking about? Roger is cluing Don in that they are young and he and Don, young wives or not, aren’t part of that group.

      • Good point: that is the unintended irony/consequence of such a move. Going young can end up making you feel old.

    • That’s really good! Thanks!

  27. Without her, he is, as Bert points out, not participating in the firm succeeding

    Um, you have reversed what Yodabert said. He told Don that he wasn’t participating in the firm succeeding because he was too much with Megan, not without her.

    • Um, no. Bert told him he was on love leave, Don – whether intentionally or not – came back from love leave to succeed only by working in conjunction with Megan, and now Megan is leaving. Can he sustain his rebirth alone, sans Megan, or is he now headed down without her. His peformance with Peggy doesn’t bode well, and shows he is going to have to step it up without her to rely on. He wouldn’t after all even rehearse with Peggy, and he is going to have to go back to the grind needed to succeed if he is going to rebut Bert without Megan’s involvement. He is, in fact, going to have to go back to doing what Stan says – putting in hours of long work to get the job done (which is the exact opposite of what Roger tells me he is going to have to do if we wants his marriage to work, ie, to home at a regular time every day).

  28. I normally lurk and don’t comment, but I can’t possibly pass on this one…

    Though I was born in the late 70s, the Beatles were practically all I knew until I was ten or so. Head of Accounts, you make some good points about Revolver, long my favorite album. I was intrigued when Megan gave it to him–which song, which song?? My first guess was “Eleanor Rigby”– no lack of ‘lonely people’ in the SCDP offices! “Tomorrow Never Knows” was unexpected; it’s certainly not what I would choose to re-introduce a cynical ad man to the group he thought he knew. (Remember that Don took Sally to the concert; think of how the Beatles changed between ’64-’66.) Don said something to the effect of, “We all know what the Beatles sound like,” in the conference room. Really? Hermann’s Hermits?

    “Lay down all thoughts/surrender to the void.” That ominous image of the gaping elevator shaft instantly came to mind.

    Melville, I’m in my early thirties but grew up poor so our stereo system was a turntable/8-track combo! Classic. Amazing collection of vinyl, though, thanks to my dad. My twenty-something cousin just found out you played an album ON BOTH SIDES. Think about it. 🙂

  29. Say what you will about this episode’s plot elements and how they play into the season long arc. But you have to admit the genius of the thematic premise and the payoff. In the pitch scene that starts the episode Don says, “We all know what the Beatles sound like.”

    And then the montage to Tomorrow Never Knows. That was brilliant. Don has no idea what the Beatles sound like. No one did. That’s what made them one of the greatest bands in all of rock history.

    Revolver is a bit overrated as an album. But it was the creative break. It was what separated the Beatles from all the bands Stan and Ginsberg list earlier. Listen to the White Album and Herman’s Hermits are a joke by comparison.

    The subtle season plot line is Don’s lack of creativity. He’s been hiding in his marriage. Stan watches Don and Megan act out the Cool Whip bit: “It’s a subtle twist on the stupid husband and pushy wife.”

    Don used to leave the office to watch French films. The Carousel pitch was art. Don’s lost it and the sad thing is, he don’t even know it.

    • YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!!! This is just part of how (and why) last night’s episode was a masterpiece.

      I think the thematic constructions and overlays were as layered, intertwined, and endlessly rich as in any Mad Men episode. If you’re looking at symbolism, identity, and the deceiving nature of both appearances and words (these are all hallmarks of the series, right?), boatloads of meanings and emergent tensions come through.

      • So true. The whole episode was masterful, but the closing song and montage took my breath away. Or blew my mind. I’m still reeling…. 🙂

    • Yeah, excellent point about Don uttering that line in the beginning about the Beatles and then obviously having no idea what they sounded like beyond “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. I got the impression that after about a minute and a half of “Tomorrow Never Knows”, he decided to retire to the bedroom to watch “Gunsmoke” or something. Cracked me up — seemed all-too be believable. And we’re less than a year away from the Summer of Love. He’ll have no idea what to make of that. Even Roger’s hipper than he is.

      • Just thinking about wjat Don said to Peggy as the new agency was formed. That everthing had changed (when Kennedy died) and she understood that.

        Same here. Evertthing is changing. Don better light up and get with it or he’ll be a fossil

    • One day I accidentally came across a chonological playing of all the Beatles music on the radio – I was there (I’m a few years older than Sally) but I was blown away by their growth as musicians and artists over such a comparatively short period – and you can hear it in the music. And the rest of the music scene was evolving just about as fast and furiously as the lads from Liverpool.

      When Mad Men begins in 1960 there was pop music, traditional country-western, classical, and maybe light jazz played on air. Then there were local “ethnic” programs featuring, for example, polka music. And scattered around on small stations, “race” music, which was mostly blues with a little rock and roll. Rock and roll had been taken over on mainstream radio by white performers (compare Pat Boone’s “Ain’t That a Shame” to Fats Domino’s version.)

      By 1966/67 there are all of those plus fading folk, folk rock, bluesy rock (Stones), surf music, bubblegum, Motown, funk and soul, early psychedelic, gospel adn bossa nova, among others (heavy metal on the horizon, rap, Latin and disco down another decade or two.) What had been 4 or 5 dominant “styles” fractured into scores of niche music, eventually each with their own play lists. For one brief glorious few years they mingled together on a Top 100 chart, introduced by live DJs.

  30. I’m intrigued by this “Revolver” concept. This idea of the circle, rebirth cycle (wheel anyone?) ties into the Plath poem nicely. It is a cycle. Those who can go with the flow will make it. Some see the earth photo as majestic, some see vulnerability. Some revolve/evolve, some will not.

    The cynical and weary voice in “Lazarus” is the ultimate survivor – seemingly surviving against her will. The poem has repeated references to small spaces – caves and cells as well as performance and payment for entertainment. Rebirth has a price – even for the spectator.

    The persona/voice closes “Out of the ash/I rise with my red hair/And I eat men like air”

    Um, well, I’m gonna admit this reminds me of Joanie – she even has the Halloween cat.

    But I leave it up to you all . . .

  31. I’m not a Meagan hater, but in view of how much vitriol she has inspired, and in light of Don’s not really caring about anything other than her anymore, and (especially) in light of The Beatles finally getting on Mad Men, i feel the question has to be asked:

    Is Megan Yoko?

    • She’s also Tatum O’Neal (McEnroe) New Coke, and S7 of Seinfeld (the first one without Larry David.) Blech. Can’t wait for ’68 and Don gets to hear Nowhere Man.

      • “Nowhere Man” is out already in MM world: it’s off of Rubber Soul, which came out in late 1965. (As a side note, that song reads like the ballad of Pete Campbell!)

      • Duh. Nowhere Man is Rubber Soul (66) not Magical Mystery Tour. He can listen to a song about where he’s headed right about now.

      • Tilden, Larry David wrote on season 7. He was absent for 8 and 9.

      • Tilden, Megan as New Coke. That’s perfect.

    • only if she breaks the group up, LOL.

  32. Revolver is overrated the way Mickey Mantle, Casablanca or a Lafite Rothschild are overrated. The only complaint is that they are nearly perfect. Not perfection personified.

  33. I hear ya. If the album only had Eleanor Rigby on it, that’d be enough. That’s immortal.

    Did anyone else notice that Pete was reading The Crying of Lot 49 on the train in the first scene?

    I’m not sure yet how that parallels the episode.

    Also, the pictures of earth. Carl Sagan wrote a book called Pale Blue Dot about a famous photograph of the earth from way out in the solar system. It’s a great existentialist Rorschach test. Either you’re saddened by the fragility of life in this relentlessly indifferent universe, or you’re in awe.

    • I wanted to believe The Crying Of Lot 49 is the book Pete was reading. Didn’t get a good enough look at the dust jacket to be able to tell.

      I loved that book. Read it for the first time while overseas in my junior year of college: I remember laughing out loud in the library. The names alone: Genghis Cohen! Mucho Maas!

      Now that I think about that book, it does fit. The protagonist (Oedipa Maas) starts out as a housewife, then goes on what I can only describe as a psychedelic adventure, without the use of psychedelic drugs. (Which her husband takes, and her insane shrink prescribes, but she herself does not take.) There is a somewhat clumsy Nazi element in the story, as there is in Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”. Still: a fun, intricate read.

      I love the idea of that story being in Pete’s head when he meets Beth. 🙂

      • Yeah, the psychedelic adventure and total mad cap irrationality of the book stands out.

        The story also features a Beatles like band called the Paranoids who speak in american accents but sing with British ones.

      • It’s definitely that book. We looked up Pynchon book covers and found a match. If you know anything about the book, a longer write-up might be fun.

        • “We looked up Pynchon book covers and found a match. ”

          Just: WOW! for dedication

          • OMG, Ivona, thanks for the appreciation. Look at our Cultural References section. Or look at the dates on top of full episode recaps. I work my ASS off finding this kind of detail and I really love being appreciated for it! It’s something I want us all to have.

  34. Here’s an excerpt from the Sagan book, Pale Blue Dot (from the wiki):

    We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
    The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

  35. This may be a stretch but I saw 2 coincidences with the namesake poem. There is a line about a cat having 9 lives in the poem. This reminded me of when Peg’s mother referred to how long a cat lives and basically calculated how many cats she would need to own before she was “done”. The other was that Don referred to a steakhouse on the night Megan went to her secret casting call. The full name is Danny’s Hideaway and His Inferno. The inferno reminded of the line in the poem about rising from the ashes.

  36. Time to delve “Lady Lazarus”

    Plath expressing, in her own words, ‘the agony of being reborn’. Roger, reborn. Megan, reborn. Joan, reborn. Beatles, reborn. Don next?

    Megan as Lady is a heavy pairing considering Plath’s fate. The parallel is Plath’s frustration at the inability of those who care for her to understand her despair…each time she ‘rises’ she is overwhelmed by people pressuring her as she returns wearily to the ‘same place, the same place’ and tries to start again..

    The poem’s speaker is a phoenix. The phoenix was the name given to mythical bird with red feathers by the Ancient Greeks. The bird had the power to resurrect itself after it died in its nest and then it was reborn from the ash. Practice makes perfect. Plath says, “I do it exceptionally well”, meaning that that after resurrection herself so many times, she is almost a pro.

    Megan, serial reinventer. A better actress than you think.

    • Don’s been reborn more than once: as Don Draper out of Dick Whitman; in the ocean at Anna Draper’s; from the depths in “The Suitcase.” Possibly even “new Don” – the one Peggy doesn’t recognize – since his marriage to Megan.

    • Nice work on this HoA. I know we are not supposed to read too much into a death or suicide angle but it’s kinda hard not to given the title. This episode is named after this Plath poem after all and this poem has undeniable references, images and comparisons to some pretty difficult and morbid stuff: the Holocaust, death (specifically suicide), and lots of rather bitter and cynical reference to death (and rebirth/reincarnation) as performance or theatre. On a more positive note it has a powerful, intelligent female voice and there is the equally undeniable theme of rebirth and, as you mention, the Phoenix.

      I don’t see it as applying to necessarily to Megan or any specific character but when you consider Plath’s fate, the stove, then throw in a random elevator shaft and, well, you get the picture.

      It is MadMen. None of this is random and we need to pay attention even if we don’t like the implications.

  37. I love that Peggy is officially the only person on the planet that can yell at Don, and he’ll just sit there and take it. These two are the real married couple of the show.

    • I was JUST about to say that! Of course, I have a million thoughts about each show after they end, but my first impression is what stays on my mind throughout the week. This week my impression was “I love when Don and Peggy yell at each other!” For a show with relationships whose communication constantly crosses each other, Don and Peggy’s is so unique and honest that they can yell at each other, publicly, about heart-heavy things, clear the air, and move on. They are the most “family” I see on the show – fighting, working together, laughing together, impressing each other, disappointing each other, but bound together no matter what happens.

    • Gawd how I love that! Another form of Don’s cluelessness: his work wife is his soul mate, but he marries the model instead. Is it me, or is Megan not all that in the looks Dept?

      • I think the sweetest thing about Don and Peggy’s relationship at this point is how secure they are in it, in that they can just vent, loudly, to each other, and know that it doesn’t mean much in the long run, in the sense of derailment. I’m not married, but I often hear married couples say that fights become less concerning once they’re married b/c they’re in it for the long haul and know that just because they yell one of them isn’t going to walk out the door on the whole thing (for the most part).

        And yeah, they did some harsh makeup on Megan this week – she looks so much better fresh faced.

        • @MPAN: Your post triggered the thought in me that Dan has several very good relationships of the kind of which you speak: with Joan, with Roger (and as you pointed out), with Peggy. Each of those 3 people know Don well, and have his back. He could rely on any one of the three in a pinch. Even Pete has Don’s back…in a pinch. It’s remarkable to me that Don has as many true friends as he does in such a competitive place as Mad Ave. They all like/respect Don more than Don likes/respects himself it seems. Such a shame.

          And so far this season has been moving away from the familiar and Don’s comfort zone. Does he have the flexibilty to make the jump? And while that end his tolerance for what he currently does?

          • “Even Pete has Don’s back” – Yes, he jettisoned the $4-million aviation account to keep the DoD from sniffing around the Draper/Whitman anomaly.

            Plus, he took Roger’s slagging like a man. One of Pete’s better moments.

      • I think we expect a weird perfection in women on TV these days, and this show seems to embrace the so-called imperfections. Jessica Pare, loose in the real world, could make any number of men and women say hummina, hummina, but we have insane standards for famous people.

        So, I think Megan is beautiful, I think the show treats her that way based on standards of the time, and real world standards, but I understand why some people compare her to the women who’ve been manipulated into a certain mold.

        • One mans opinion.
          Zoubuzou, cleaning in black underthings, dressing to the gogo nines. What is niot to like? That make up is heavy but 60s appropriate. She’s hot in a French Canadian kind of way.

  38. I love that, week after week, MM characters struggle with rigidity and release, with expectation and disappointment. And after each episode, the Monday morning boards light up with viewers raging about how the program isn’t meeting their expectations, and that they can’t accept someone (say, oh I dunno… Megan) for who she actually is – whoever that is. Sometimes it’s confusion about too many things happening at once. Other times it’s disappointment that nothing is happening. Boo, I miss Joan! Yay, Roger’s fun again! Yep, that’s pretty much how it goes. Dang, I love Sunday evenings (and Monday mornings!)

  39. My only expectation is that the writing create characters who are deeply developed, believable, and internally consistent. When the writers fail to achieve that, I’m disappointed.

    Also, your comment is sarcasm directed toward other commenters. The rules of Bok are that you comment on the show, not on other commenters. Your snotiness is not appreciated.

    • I’m sorry. There was nothing personal intended in that comment. Merely saying that these writers write characters that are complex human beings – and that we, all of us (myself very much included) react to them in very human ways. I DO miss Joan, and I do love that Roger’s back.

  40. oh and a possible anachronism….The photo of the first view of Earth from the moon, taken by Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 23, 1966, was black and white. So much for the talk of eye color…strictly lovers’ imagination.. Shot from a distance of about 236,000 miles the image shows half of Earth, from Istanbul to Cape Town and areas east, shrouded in night.

    Apollo 8 shot the first blue earth photo in 1968. The famous blue marble shot was 1972.


    • You are spot on re: the blue marble photograph take on the return trajectory of Apollo 17. The photographs Pete and Harry were referencing could have been the shots take from the Gemini program. While they did not capture the granduer of the entire sphere of the earth, they did show amazing detail and color of the earth, the space craft and the astronauts. Specifically, the photos taken by Commander James McDivitt of Ed White, the first American to walk in space, are some of the most iconic and beautiful pictures taken during the space race. The high resolution color pictures from this era were published in periodicals like National Geographic, Life and Look magazines, usually two months after the completion of the mission.

  41. As a Baby Boomer who was 19 at the time in 1966, I recall how rebellious it was to use the word “fuck” in every day language, like Abe did in Don’s office. It was generational shocking, so much so that even Don asked him why he was cursing. I was surprised that AMC aired it, even though it was semi muted.

    • Michael, not Abe (though I’m sure if moved to do so Abe would have no compunction about using the word, lol.)

  42. The WSJ reports today on how much it cost MM to get the Beatles song. $1/4Mil.

    I think Megan is the new Betty. I wonder if Don had let Betty model, whether they’d been happier. I think Don sees that to an extent.
    I think Peggy replaced Anna for Don last season. We see the fruits of that this season. This season, he turns to Peggy when Megan is missing–HoJos and when Megan goes to audition. He turned to Anna when troubles w/Betty arose. Peggy seemed genuinely gracious to Megan, but was angry about Megan not wanting such a great job.

    I am glad Peggy and Don fought–too bad it was in front of Cool Whip. Blew the deal. Why didn’t Don have Megan go to CW? She wants to act, after all. I think Don and Peggy would have had adequate chemistry for such a pitch before he met & married Megan. Peggy’s now not good enough–so Joan reminds her as well. She never was. I agree w/readers who see Don relying on Megan for new creative insights and success.

    I confess I am among those who are tiring of newbie Megan taking all our time. I looked at the clock. 40 mins in, I wanted to see some one else (besides Pete ruining his life). I have to say I wished Megan had fallen down the elevator shaft.

    • Ha! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read on this blog all year. I wished it too. Like Fat Tony from The Simpsons says: “It’s funny because it’s true”.

  43. I find the majority of MM characters entertaining but one-sided creatures – like most of us are in real life. They complain daily about where they are or where they are going yet eagerly ride the same train to the same preset destination and will continue do so until they are no more.

    So I’m surprised that this episode was so outwardly low key while being sub-textually intense. (Even more like real life, kudos to MW for the Megan character. )

    If Don imagined he was in control of this marriage, well, truth just delivered him a smack down. Don career-is-all-there-is Draper must be nervously pondering his dear wife’s decision. How is abandoning a successful career for a dream much different than rolling over a non-supportive husband like a speed bump? Megan is not what he expected. Not at all. Don’s with someone who understands the difference between real and imagined obstacles and doesn’t waste time looking back or fretting about the trivial.

    Megan’s type is a rare bird in the real world. She easily interprets the big picture and is brave enough to jump from a moving train to one headed to a more desired destination. Yeah, Don is feeling uneasy. He married a woman talented enough to derail him from HIS game and she’s just bought a ticket to a different world. In short order he’s realized he may be dispensable both at work and at home.

    Welcome to the abyss.

    • “welcome to the abyss” I love it. Like an empty elevator shaft.

      Does anyone have any ideas on what Don was going to tell Megan? Her elevator doors close and then Don suddenly feels like he has more to say. So he hits the down button.

      But then he returns to his office. What do you think he was going to tell her? Something good? Something confrontational?

      • It doesn’t matter. Peering down the elevator shaft echoed back the futility of either. Whether it was supportive or confrontational makes no difference. He’s now in a panic because his choices are to either support Megan now and possibly lose her to success and boredom in the trivial Dick Whitman – or lose her now by be being a jerk like he was with Betty.

        To compensate he desperately wants to pigeonhole and equate Megan to Betty. His saying “I don’t want Megan to end up like Betty” superficially returns a tiny bit of control to him over the situation.

        Saddest part is that someone as weak as Don probably won’t last long with this internal trauma going on. He’ll start self-destructing or acting out again and/or add pressures to Megan to try an bully her out of her decision. Which in the end really means pressuring her out of his life…but he would be more okay with that than with the stomach churning out-of-control situation she’s put him in. Don/Dick can live without love. What he can’t do is survive without the feeling of control.

  44. when megan said she was hungry and wanted crackers, i immediately thought, ‘pregnant.” then, there she is barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen…don’s dream, perhaps? has this already been speculated?

    • Whoa. Good read. I hadn’t even thought of that angle. And it fits into the narrative with Roger and Don talking about babies… Oh dear, I can see some resentment and anger coming out of that one.

    • Maybe it will be a scene like the “Michal-Kay” abortion scene in “Godfather. Just kidding. Probably unlikely.

    • This was my immediate thought when we were presented with the back view of Megan standing at the stove stirring. Her back looked broader than usual and her stomach a little bit protruding also. Then add crackers, “hungry,” and barefoot to the mix and it’s unmistakeable what we’re meant to see and think.

      Either she is pregnant or she’s/he’s/we’re meant to speculate that she might be, for awhile at least.

      • A red herring, I suspect. Remember when Megan was driving them home and he wanted her to pull over so they could “make a baby”? She said “that’s not possible.” I’m guessing she’s on the pill.

    • also, one the morning when they go to the office the day after she lies about the audition, megan makes a be-line for the bathroom. peggy follows her in, but she doesn’t know this when she’s headed there.

    • I was slow to come around to this possible story line but the “barefoot” reference in the kitchen by Don was too much to ignore. And this leads me to how could Megan possibly get pregnant if that is the story line Mad Men decides to go with? in Signal 30, Megan told Don, “That’s impossible.”

      Now what would prompt a woman to tell her husband that with apparent certainty?

      a) Megan has been consistently on contraception and for a husband even in 1966 not to know that would be seen as ridiculous

      b) Megan cannot conceive.

      c) Megan knows Don is impotent (less likely because Don revealed to Roger in this past episode that he had talked to Megan about having children with him. Don would not have done so if he were indeed impotent.)

      There are three ways the producers of MM could go: They could highlight the fact in 1966 that artificial contraception (birth control pills) was not infallible. (Even in 2012, it is not 100%).

      Or they could go down the Trudy route where she thought she could not conceive.

      Or the doctors were wrong about Don being impotent.

      And finally let’s take a close look at the final episodes of the first four seasons and the major events that occurred:

      Season 1 The Wheel Peggy has a baby/the Campbell’s are focused on having one.

      Season 2 Meditations in an Emergency Betty is pregnant

      Season 3 Shut the door, have a seat Betty informs Don she wants a divorce

      Season 4 Tomorrowland Don and Megan are engaged

      Season 5 ? ?

      Going by what happened at the end of season 2 would it be inconceivable that moving from having a baby, to getting divorced (from Betty), to getting engaged that Don at the end of season five would get word he will be a new papa. Of course he could also get word that Megan is leaving him for good.

    • I don’t think so. There was a glass of wine on the counter when she was cooking at the end. Even thought she was cooking with it she would pour a glass to do that.

      • Pregnant women drank all the time in 1966 and no one thought it was dangerous. We were even encouraged to drink while breastfeeding– it was supposed to help the milk “let down.”

  45. Thank you to AHM above for the insight about acting from a newcomer’s point of view. You covered a lot of territory that I was going to cover generally, but a hundred times better.

    So instead of dwelling on a general overview, I want to focus on what Megan actually has said in the past, what actions she has done, or background info that has been provided by others to help understand where she is coming from vs. pursuing a professional acting career.

    The first time we hear of Megan’s acting ambitions is when she tells Don in Chinese Wall that, “I majored in literature, dabbled in painting and writing, and a little bit of acting.”

    The question I have is if Megan’s dream or burning desire was to become an actress since childhood (Megan’s admission to Don), why didn’t she major in acting or theater and dabble in the rest? In other words if your dream from childhood is to become a lawyer, you don’t devote your time to attending seminars on how to be a better salesperson but instead attend sessions where lawyers congregate and speak of their profession, but having said that you might dabble in sales techniques to learn how to become a better performer in the courtroom.

    In other words, what you focus on or major in college can tell us a lot about where one’s inclinations lay at that time. Of course, you can make an argument that Megan was lying to Don in Chinese Wall about her intentions to one day pursue acting seriously but remember in the scene, Megan disclosed this tidbit BEFORE Don slept with her in the office and before she knew Don would succumb to her advances. And this happened weeks before Don proposed to her. There was no way at that point that Megan could have known how events were going to unfold.

    Now we move to Tomorrowland and Megan telling Don about what her friend Camille said to her at the Whiskey-a-go-go. Camille, an a TV actress who had appeared on two episodes of Hogan’s Heroes told Megan she would never make it as an actress because of her teeth. In turn Megan then told Don, “I don’t ever want to be an actress.”

    Was that outburst uttered out of anger and frustration due to Camille’s comment, was Megan manipulating Don in the sense she was subtly telling him she wanted to enter his world, or was Megan’s comment sincere at that time that she had decided rationally to move on “from the acting bug” as it didn’t appear to be in the cards? Skeptics and cynics will claim it was #2 but I will claim it was more #1 and #3.

    And why I believe this to be the case is that in season five, Megan up to this past episode has given absolutely no indication that she was considering taking up acting seriously again. I really believe she believed she had burnt her bridges to the stage and screen.

    We now come to season five episode one where a friend from her days as a struggling artist attends Don’s surprise birthday party approaches both Don and Megan and mentions that Megan, as a waitress, got the best tips and the reason she did so was she laid her French accent on thick and that she was a good actress. Megan’s response was, “Evidently not good enough.”

    Here is where it gets interesting. During pillow talk with Don when she expressed her desire to return to acting, Megan confessed through working at SCDP she had gained more confidence in her abilities and suggested that it allowed her to view professional acting through a different lens and perhaps with this newfound confidence she may be able to bring it to her renewed pursuit of becoming a professional actress. In other words Megan may feel she is indeed good enough after all.

    And then again we get Joan’s comment about Megan ending up as “a failed actress married to a rich husband.”

    I have already written on that comment as well as how I view Don’s overall reaction to the news (he doesn’t think she will succeed but to stand in her way and not let the process play out would simply invite Megan to blame him after she failed) but the question needs to be asked: Is Megan deluding herself to think she can make it as a professional actress? And is part of the reason she can afford to delude herself is because she has ignored her father’s plea to resume the struggle and instead felt she can have her cake and eat it too by being married to Don?

    Bottom line: in acting or any other artistic profession: Only a small percentage of participants ever make it professionally (there is a whale of a difference in performing in the minor leagues and be one of a select few to ever play in the major leagues) and if you read the biographies of those successful in their field, they were literally consumed by to goal of being the best or performing at a high level and they were driven fanatically to pursue their goal come hell or high water. Nothing got in the way or if it did it was quickly shoved aside.

    Objectively, Megan does not come across as a person with this kind of make-up. Megan said it herself, she is a dabbler or in more pejorative words a dilettante. And I believe Don recognizes this in Megan. And thus he is willing to let Megan spread her wings. And finally lest we forget Don dated Bethany Van Nuys in season four who claimed she was an actress but in reality a supernumerary in operas and married Betty who deep-down was never cut out to become a top-notch professional model. And Don of course for obvious reasons cannot let on to Megan or to his colleagues how he truly feels about Megan’s credentials to become a professional actress.

    In the words of a parent, “She will eventually grow out of it.” Remember Megan is only 26. A part of being hopefully naive at that point in your life is to misread your own potential and to look too much at the world with rose-colored glasses. Fortunately for Megan Don at 40 has been around the block a few times and sees the world as it really is and Megan’s talents for what they truly are, especially in light of Megan’s spectacular idea that saved the Heinz account for the firm.

  46. Men of that era often did better on their second marriages. I get this entirely from celebrity biographies. ::grin:: Seriously though, if you look at someone like Jerry Lewis or Bing Crosby, they were really horrible husbands and abusive fathers, and then the next time around they seemed to make a better go of it. Maybe it was an awareness of their own mortality, maybe it really was the changing times, but there seems to be something to it. This is why that Don reacts to Megan somewhat better than he did to Betty makes sense.

    Don loves a little bohemian spirit in his women.

    • The Bing Crosby example is really interesting. Apparently he was really horrible to his four sons by his first marriage and behaved in a very authoritarian manner towards them. Son Gary wrote an autobiography in 1983 detailing Bing’s first try at fatherhood and his emotional and physical abuse towards his four sons including Gary.

      The case of Don imho is not as extreme. By her own admission to a psychiatrist, Betty commended Don for never striking the children. I don’t see him being any different if Megan has children.

      But in the case of his second marriage, I can see a fundamental change in Don but I would like to see if he is like this with Megan when he has young children under his roof again. But for now Don treats her with respect, treats her like an adult, never talks down to her and as we saw in the bedroom scene where Megan told Don she wanted to take acting seriously he is understanding.

      I call this “the new Don.” Is it fair to the First Wives Club? No. If there is a moral, don’t be a first wife to any man.

  47. I see this past episode as a variation of the theme echoed by Dr. Faye Miller in The Beautiful Girls in season four in which she told Don, “I can’t do anything for you. You shouldn’t have put me in that position…I’m NOT good with kids…it feels like THERE WAS A TEST AND I FAILED IT.”

    Dr. Faye was referring to not being able to relate well to Sally after she had run away and not being able to provide comfort or give her solace while Megan was able to do that after Sally fell in the office hallway running away from her father and the thought she would have to go back home with her mother.

    Imho, not only did Megan shift the parameters of the Draper marriage, she also unwittingly or wittingly tested Don to see how he would react to the news. To Peggy in the ladies’ washroom, Megan had already expressed reluctance on telling Don about how she felt about returning to acting as she was not sure how he would react to the news. It was later that night that with Don asleep, Megan decided to fess up in bed . Clearly Megan wanted the odds to be in her favor after she awoke Don from his slumber.

    And how Don reacted in bed was simply astounding and prompted I believe Megan to make the comment later in the episode while barefoot cooking in the kitchen, “I love you, You’re everything I hoped you’d be.”

    First Don listened to what Megan had to say without interrupting her.

    Secondly, when he did speak, Don was calm, cool and collected.

    Third, unlike his attitude with Betty, Don never accused Megan of not knowing her own mind (Remember when Betty told Don she no longer loved him and didn’t feel a thing when she kissed him after she found out he was Dick Whitman, Don tried to convince Betty that she was misreading her own feellings).

    Fourth, Don helped Megan think through the ramifications of such a decision including recommending she quit her job at SCDP right away so in his words, “So we can get on your way.”

    Fifth, Don wasn’t totally acquiescent. He did say, “Sweetheart, we don’t get to choose where our talents lie”. And then he commented it took him years to think how he did about advertising which Megan apparently had picked up a lot faster (Heinz idea.). But Megan would NOT be deterred and Don knew enough to leave this topic.

    In other words, if this was a test, Don passed it with flying colors. Don rose to the occasion. Yes, there are skeptics who claim Don is angry or resentful that Megan has rejected his profession but don’t forget Don until episode 7 At the Codfish Ball had not really never given Megan credit for her work at SCDP. Don was late to the party.

    But I really believe that Don’s perfect reaction to the news was also a product of living with his wife for a year (since Columbus Day Oct 1965) since he proposed to her and his perception that Megan a former dabbler in acting simply does NOT have the chops or fortitude to becoming a professional actress and he would let the process play itself out rather than stand in her way. Of course Don could be wrong in his assessment of Megan’s abilities and talents for acting but lest we forget Don is a creative genius. Who else would understand what it takes to be a creative genius in any endeavor or know what it takes to perform at a very high level? Don really loves Megan. Episode 8 really proves that.

    • And to follow up could both Megan and Don be now reaping the benefits of Don’s rehabilitation or efforts at personal redemption?

      Could Don’s decision to originally embark on this course, then further sustained and strengthened by his marriage to Megan have gotten Don to a place where he is now at in season five episode 8?

      But imho Don would NOT have gotten as far as he has in his redemptive journey if he had not hit rock bottom in season 4 episode 6 (Waldorf Stories) when he did not remember it was Sunday and that he was supposed to pick up his kids and that he woke up in bed with a waitress from the hotel restaurant which he never remembered even meeting, let alone propositioning. I think Don’s blackout really scared him.

      The in episode 7, Don learns of Anna’s death and that sends him further spiraling out of control and sinking deeper into the abyss, to hit rock bottom.

      It is in episode 8, to go swimming everyday to in Anna’a words “to clear his head”, to begin to keep a daily journal and to seriously re-evaluate his life in respect to being now a divorced man. In other words, Don should be given an immense credit for taking the initiative to climb out of the abyss.

      But credit is also owed Matthew Weiner and company for creating a situation that makes the viewers of Mad Men respond in the exact same way as real-life Americans do. In other words the skepticism and cynicism directed to the story line of Don’s regeneration by a good number of viewers of MM is the same kind of skepticism and cynicism directed at a real-life individual who claims to have turned over a new leak, to have forsaken the old ways for good or to have “gotten religion.”

      Lest we forget Don embarked down this road in the Summer of 1965. It is now October 1966. How much longer does Don have to keep on the straight and narrow for you to be convinced that he will not lapse or backslide?

  48. Perspective is everything. Who you were, your upbringing/family, where you lived and what you were doing at the time these events were unfolding in the mid to late 1960’s enormously determined your perspective and your actual experience.

    And who you are now, and your life experience, has so much to do with how you decide to view the 1960’s from the perspective of life today.

    I was born on the cusp of the boomer generation, to working class parents, lived in a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn. I chose to walk away from a scholarship and go to work at 16 in Manhattan after graduation from high school. Two years later I began a long road of evening classes at Pace. In 1966 I was 19, working full time, with a full load of classes at night, serious, driven, taking no prisoners :). I am a boomer but with more of a mindset of the “silent generation” — possibly because I was on the “cusp” and maybe more because of my childhood experiences and the mindset of my parents.

    One of my closest friends is younger by 3 years, born in an upper middle class family in Queens, and was 17 in 1966. She attended university on her dad’s dime and during these same years, she jumped into the future with both feet and never looked back. She much more fit “the” picture of the late 1960’s/early 1970’s than I did.

    We had very, very different experiences of those years. And it’s so interesting to see how we both still play out the ways we were 45 years ago in our lives today.

    Having lived through these times we’re seeing on MM and having discussed those years with people I knew then and in the years since, it’s often so interesting to me to see and hear how people born 10-20-30-40 years later view those same years we lived. It’s been even more amusing to see and hear how the media has interpreted those years, both back then and in the years since.

    I believe that today we’re all viewing this amazing TV show through the prism, the lens if you will, of who we are and our own life experiences and our own personal philosophy. There is no ONE view of the 1960’s and 70’s. Whose experience — or TRUTH — is more REAL, mine or my friend’s? Whose perception TODAY of the 1960’s is more real: those who are in the 20’s/30’s/40’s today and whose only knowledge of the late 60’s and 70’s comes through the media, books they’ve read and stories they’ve heard — or those who lived through those times — but maybe whose memories of those times now differ wildly from their actual day-to-day living of them.

    I offer for consideration that there is no “real” of “true” view of those times. We will never have a consensus of opinion about what those times/day/years meant to those who lived them or to those who view them now.

    What is more real: our experience of something we are living in the “now” or our perception of that experience years later viewed through the lens of ours or other people’s memories and their past and current day perceptions? Whose experience of Don’s and Betty’s marriage is more real: Don’s or Betty’s? Whose experience of Peggy’s and Megan’s working relationship is more real: Peggy’s, Megan’s or Don’s? Or is it all of them? Or none? 🙂

    This is a question that tickles my imagination more each year. And why my enjoyment of reading this blog gets bigger every season. Every time my ego thinks it “knows” more about the MM years because I “lived” them, I amuse myself more. Because, of course, I lived then one day at a time, as we all always do, seldom seeing the long view of those years — and my “long” view and perception has changed from year to year since. 🙂

    • Bravissimo!

    • I think it’s fascinating to discuss the different perceptions of that era held by people with different experiences of that time, as you say. As strange as it sounds, the general ambience and zeitgeist of the 50s and early 60s reminds me of my childhood. When I was little, Nickelodeon (the de facto kids channel) was still showing Looney Tunes. I also remember the Flintstones and Jetsons being popular. At night, shows like ‘I Love Lucy,’ ‘Bewitched,’ and ‘Get Smart’ came on, and I watched all of these. As a little kid, I don’t remember having any inkling that these were ‘old’ shows representing a bygone era; I just accepted them as reality along with all of the more contemporary pieces of culture I was absorbing.

      Twenty years later, I have a real fondness for the era, and I realize that a lot of this is probably because it brings back memories of my early childhood.

      I’m not a parent yet so I don’t really follow what kids today are watching and absorbing culturally, but it seems like most kids media today is all quite new and current? If that’s the case, I wonder if it will result in the kids of the late 90s and 00s having less awareness of the times that came before.

      • Yes! One major example of this is the general consensus among historians, pop culturists, and television “experts” that shows such as Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, My Favorite Martian…etc. were so popular because they offered an “escape” from the troubled times of the mid to late 60’s.

        As someone who lived it…. I do not every remember this begin discussed by anyone at the time. People watched these shows because we had, as my brother likes to say, “three channels; no waiting”.

  49. I’m going to watch again, (I always do) but I’m still confused about the heart. Do you guys think Beth was just humoring Pete by drawing it (kind of like saying to him, “Aww, here’s something to remember me by (before she made it go away)” or was the heart meant to say, “I really do like you.” #1 seems almost like making fun of him and #2 seems like she’s genuinely attracted.

    By the way, it’s a minor point, but one of my favorite moments from last night for some reason: Stan saying to Megan, “See you around,” with a little smile. I’ve really come to like Stan. (And it seems like Janie Bryant is giving him the funky clothes that she previously gave to Smitty)

    Also enjoyed Peggy and Stan passing a joint around while working. Glad she hasn’t forgotten her “I’m Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana” days. 🙂

    • MC, I attempted to address this in my recap. Beth really wanted to have a fantasy man, and one sexual encounter satisfied that for her with a minimum of risk. Pete wanted more. Beth’s heart was her expressing the fantasy, and she erased it to express the lack of physical fulfillment for them.

      • Thanks!!

      • In Inside Mad Men Vincent Karthieser referred to Beth as more complex than Trudy. And he also looked at Beth as something Pete could have on the side. But in playing hard to get, Beth caused Pete to become more taken with her and perhaps to take her more seriously.

        Beth said something very interesting while lying beside Pete after their sexual encounter: “I’ve had men pay attention to me before it was appropriate to…” In other words Beth knows exactly to how make a man hot for her, if that is her game, which is to play hard to get. Of course Beth could be sincere and not want anything more to do with Pete. Time will tell.

        • This story line intrigued me, as I have a few real life male friends (okay, 2) who have gone down this same path. Both were in the same position as Pete Campbell…nice wife at home, but after the birth of that first baby…they were sneaking around. And not just random hookups,they were looking for a great ROMANCE. When Pete mentioned to Howard at the beginning of the season that his wife never used to leave the house unless she was totally made up but now goes to the mailbox in a robe (or something to that effect,) I had my first thought of “…and so it begins.”
          In Pete’s mind what can be more romantic than rescuing this damsel…first from keys locked in the car, then from herself as he follows her inside. He throws that glass in the hotel room (note the champagne= romance) because the romance isn’t going the way he planned.
          The heart was brilliant, it harkened back to his musing to Harry, “Why do THEY get to decide everything?” Beth is both endearing herself to Pete and rejecting him. Can you imagine how many excuses he has thought up for her, of the reasons she didn’t meet him at the hotel? Has blamed himself? (“She TOLD me the city scared her. Why did I pick the city?”)
          I hope MW continues this theme/story line!

    • I think you could read the drawing/erasing of the heart either way or even as a semi-mocking kiss-off, which may have been how Pete took it given his disappointment. Regardless, to me it was one of the brilliant, unmatched little touches that MM occasionally offers, and it was superior to the open elevator shaft in terms of literary/theatrical/dramatic invention, even if the latter was of greater import.

      I also found it interesting/semi-amusing that the traditional gender reaction to the one-nighter was reversed with Beth and Pete. Beth was quite willing to dust her hands and call their toss a toss while Pete was the one who felt the deep emotional attachment or at least wanted to take it as a sign of such.

      • I took it as a sign of potential. Perhaps Beth is not finished with Pete after all.

        • Could be, but that would be somewhat in-line with MC’s second option (the orginal post I was responding to). Who knows, maybe Beth becomes Pete’s Rachel in future episodes, but it also seems like she may have already given him a sub-textual version of Rachel’s grow up/get real speech.

      • My take: The first blow off was along the lines of shutting the door on the one-night stand becoming an affair. She was consistent in this when she did not show up for the champane tryst.

        The heart was (as Techno suggests) a reconsideration – an opening, a pullback.

  50. I agree with that . Flying colors.

    Though his squabble with Peggy shows he lays blame so he’s not completely at one with the path.

  51. And to add a little perspective to Megan’s departure from SCDP, a subtle hint to what her future role as Don’s wife henceforth was offered by Megan when she purposefully went over to get the Beatles album and suggested to Don what to listen to. Remember Don told his colleagues after leaving the boardroom presentation that he would consult Megan on what music to consider and then confessed to Megan in his office he didn’t know what was fashionable in music and would rely on her judgment.

    Yes, we already know from Megan declining to appear in the Cool Whip presentation or ad that she had burned her bridges with SCDP but can it be argued that Megan has burned her bridges from Don and his efforts to do the best job he can at SCDP? If you believe that then you will see another Betty who had little or no input into Don’s business life

    Imho, despite the many perceived disadvantages of Megan leaving SCDP in respect to Don, there is one huge advantage to Don which judging from the posts has not been considered or given much weight, and that is that Megan is now free to be Don’s personal advisor and closet confidante and no longer has divided loyalties because of working for Peggy and with Stan and others. She now only owes her loyalty to one person, her husband Don, and even though an argument can be made she will be busy with her own life, she will always have time to act as Don’s sounding board. In addition Don will make it clear to her just because she is no longer directly involved in advertising that he will wants her input on certain issues from time to time including the music to used in ads.

    Now skeptics and cynics may now weigh in and suggest Megan has completely shut the door on the advertising business and wants nothing more to do with it. And they will further suggest she will tell Don to address the problem himself and leave her alone to pursue her acting career. I don’t believe this will be the case because for one Megan knows it is Don’s wealth from the advertising business which is keeping her secure (why bite the hand that feeds you) and secondly Megan loves Don and as a wife in love with her husband will do anything while in his presence to make him happy, excluding returning to SCDP. Why would Megan want to get Don’s back up?

    Of course if Megan decides to leave Don, that’s a different story and in that case anything goes.

  52. Great review. One perhaps inconsequential but nagging question. Why did Ken say he is thirsty at the end of the cool whip pitch?

    • Have you ever taken a big couple of spoonfulls of cool whip? I have no idea of the chemical composition of cool whip, but something about it makes you so thirsty. Does anyone remember when you could buy cool whip in a dry powder form and then add water to it at home, whip it up and serve it like it was real whipped cream?

      • Not to be a food snob, BUT…Cool Whip is a concoction of bad-for-you ingredients, ie. hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, caseinate (allergenic) and numerous preservatives, and when I used to eat it, it definitely made me thirsty and upset my stomach several times. Nothing like real whipped cream –just a dollop of something real is far better and healthier than any amount of something made by the “Better Living Through Chemistry” folks.

        Now, it will be interesting whether Megan will turn out to be more like Cool Whip- yummy, light,pleasing, but full of artifice, flighty, and ultimately unsubstantial…or not. S4’s dominant theme “What I Want vs. What’s Expected of Me” continues in S5–on steroids. As much as it’s interesting to explore the youth movement and seeing the freeing up of society edge into narcissism…I’m far more interested in Mad Men as a show full of interesting character details and textures…like Ginsburg’s past and present, the Joan/Peggy dichotomy, Peggy’s family, Don’s ability to adapt for survival (and Megan is only interesting to me insofar how she impacts Don), Sally and Glen as child exiles, Roger always being Roger, Mona, Margaret, and YodaBert in his socks.

        Finally… it was bittersweet to meet up with Midge again last season, and no one was surprised at what happened to her. Before the end of the show, I’d love to meet up again with Sal, Kitty, Rachel, Paul, Helen Bishop, Francine, Freddy, and even clueless and unlucky Lois.

      • You’re talking about Dream Whip — to this Midwestern cook, at least.

        I grew up reading the previous generations’ church and community cookbooks, and Dream Whip came up often (in not just the dessert section, but also the salad section…!). It’s not easy to find any longer, though I wouldn’t want to find it anyhow. My grandparents’ generation cooked in the midst of Better Living through Chemistry; I am part of the “how about this natural stuff?” generation. I adore heavy cream. 😀

    • To break the tension–to fill the space with words that weren’t blame for doing it wrong.

    • Good question. I kind of wondered that, too.

    • I thought of Kramer on Seinfeld when he says “these pretzels are making me thirsty”

  53. Someone help me, ’cause it’s really bugging me. What was the deal with the exchange between Harry Crane and Pete at the phone booth. Pete opens the door, Harry approaches. When they realize no one has anything to say Pete says Harry called him, and Harry says Pete waved for HIM. The exchange seemed too odd not to mean anything.

    • This is an example of creepy Pete trying to hide his call to Beth and in anticipation of Harry coming over to talk to him, became proactive. The alternative was to be in the middle of the call to Beth and then being possibly interrupted by Harry while he was deep in serious conversation with her.

      Unfortunately for Pete, he misread Harry and he interrupted his call when he did not have to. And by doing that Pete may have lost his train of thought of what he was going to say to Beth.

    • I thought it was probably something that happened to one of the writers and they just put it into the show. Just one of those funny little things that happen, like when you try to get out of someone’s way, but you both keep dodging the same way.

  54. I think it was a proof of their familiarity, setting up the neext conversation. I dont really recall how friendly they are but Pete confdes in him soon after. Harry besides bragging about his manhood has crass but human feedback for Pete. Who else does he talk to? He has nothing, but Harry. What did Pete say in the confernece room when Megab was quitiing? He mumbled something.

  55. Random thought: Megan is not young enough be formed by “the 60s.” (not the 60s of sex drugs and rock and roll, hippies, yippies, Woodstock, war protests and the later assassinations). She’s young compared to Don, but she is not a teenager, a college student, or just out of college. She’s not all that far from 30. She’s not even a baby boomer, being born in 1940 (Baby Boomers were born between 46 and 65). She’s already an adult, even if she has a young person’s dreams.

    So I don’t think of her as Don’s entree into youth culture. She isn’t part of that culture herself! Closer than he is, but not part of it.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the kind of acting work she gets is dark, heavy, avant garde, and way off, off, off Broadway.But that isn’t the “youth culture” 60s that Don feels he needs to know more about to revitalize his work mojo. There were things happening in the arts that were way off the radar — it was an exciting time in theater, dance, visual arts. But these would have very little to do with advertising at the time.

  56. Above Floretta brought up the concept of a “red herring” interjected into the script by Matt Weiner and the MM writers and that got me thinking, how often can it be documented that they have engaged in this strategy or interjected them in the story line to mislead the viewers.

    I would contend if anything the titles of many of the episodes could be considered “red herrings” because I personally find it difficult often to match up what the title of the episode is supposed to indicate with what actually took place in the episode.

    But to the actual story line of plot itself, off the top of my head I can’t remember one time where the viewers were generally surprised by events (including Don’s proposal to Megan at the end of season four) and one of the reasons for that is the lack of red herrings. MM consistently drops clues to what is about to happen. For example would anyone be really surprised if Pete Campbell committed suicide at the end of season five?

    At the time I and the viewers may not have understood the significance of a remark (eg. Ginsberg telling Peggy and Stan that Megan owed him $15 for lunches), but the chickens eventually come back to roost.

    And the barefoot reference to Megan going shoeless in the kitchen and her remark about getting some crackers has to be seen in this light as well. Reading online, articles say swelling in the feet begin around the fifth month of pregnancy. Going barefoot could be a sign that your shoes don’t fit as well any longer.

    Now why would Megan not know if she were pregnant if she is in fact pregnant. The same reason Peggy did not know she was pregnant: Inexperience of not having gone through the process before, the confidence she was given in being on the pill or facsimile and a fast-paced lifestyle that didn’t allow her to think about it.

    Could a baby sidetrack Megan’s “promising” career? It wouldn’t be the first time that happened in the history of the world.

    • Your entire premise is demonstrably false. Many events have been hugely surprising. Who could have guessed, at the end of S4, that Pete’s marriage would be unhappy a few months later? While the entire commentariat scrambled over one another to predict Greg’s demise in Vietnam, or the discovery of Kevin’s parentage, who could have predicted he’d simply be happy there, and Joan would kick him out? Did anyone predict the bloodbath of 3.06? And, while it’s easy in hindsight to say the proposal to Megan was a predictable event, in fact, Team Faye and Team Megan were just about evenly divided, and the proposal was a massive surprise that occupied the entertainment media for over a year.

      Meanwhile, there have been many red herrings. Did Anita turn out to be raising Peggy’s baby? No, that was a clearly planted red herring, revealed as such when we saw that Anita and Peggy were pregnant at the same time.Did Suzanne’s brother return to cause trouble, despite the business card, largely predicted by many (including me) to be a portent? Did any of the advertising staff commit suicide, despite FOUR AND A HALF SEASONS SO FAR of assurances that the signs are all there?

      It is frankly comical to call Mad Men predictable.

      • I bow to your wisdom.

        I never saw the turn of the script that Megan would want to pursue acting again. I really did not take the scene in the first episode in season five seriously about Megan being a good actress.

        But generally I did see Joan splitting with Greg, regardless how it was done. Actually before episode 8 I did speculate on a BOK thread that Megan would save the Heinz account. And I believe the clues had been laid in previous episodes.

        But you are absolutely right about suicide and death. Except Ida Blankenship in season four I can’t remember anyone else dying who has worked at the firm and that includes their spouses So yes, the suicide theme could be a huge red herring.

        And Suzanne’s brother has NOT returned. I agree at the time I thought he would. Red herring.

        I agree I should have been more critical in looking at everything that has happened in MM. MM is not predictable. I didn’t mean to suggest that.

  57. I don’t think the scene in the middle of the night w DOn and make-up less Megan is incongruous re, DOn;s responses and behavior. DOn is, above all, a master of survival and landing on his feet no matter how he is thrown. He saw that regardless of his feelings Megan was going to do what she was going to do. He is letting the cart roll downhill so it is her choice, her reponsibility and ulitmately her failure if her career is as most actors’ is–often rejected/unemployed. He is still the power and breadwinner which is what he wants.

    Unlike Betty, Megan is not a Dependent. She has already indicated that she can be driven away…in other episodes where she ‘defies’ him/deserts him, and if he wants to win a battle he has to let her make a mistake.

  58. British and Americans albums had different numbers of plays on albums, Americans had only 12, 6 to each side, the British had fourteen. This allowed Capitol Records to screw the American audience with additional filler albums. The Zombies, “She’s Not There,” came out when fall semester began at Bullard High in Fresno. I remember hearing that song and “You Really Got Me,” after a High School Dance, when I crashed my mom’s 1960 Chevy into a ditch. Stan is right, the Zombie’s were not right for the commercial.

    • For example, many believe that Revolver was the tunround album, but it was really “Rubber Soul”. The British album included Taxman and one other song. The Jimi Hendrix Experience British album inluced about four extra songs than the American version. But this is a year away.

      • I was under the impression that the Capitol and EMI LP’s finally converged starting with Rubber Soul – both versions with the same track list. Is this not the case? I only bought American releases of the later LP’s – Sgt. Pepper and forward. When I decided to score a complete “official” set – I got the 1982 EMI release known as the “Blue Box” (a used copy).

        Incidentally, aficionados refer to the American LP’s as “Crapitols”.

      • FWIW, I agree that Rubber Soul was the “turnaround” album – much farther removed from Help than Revolver is removed from Rubber Soul.

  59. Just thought of something. Don burning his mouth or tongue when he tasted food Megan was preparing.

    Perhaps this is a stretch but why do folks do so? Either the food was too hot to begin with or the food is too spicy. And you would have thought Megan would have tested the food herself before she gave it to Don to sample. Perhaps to her it was not too hot or spicy.

    And just read that online that some women who never liked spicy food before they got pregnant do after they became pregnant.

    And when you add in the barefoot reference and the reference to crackers, which by way according to yahoo are supposed to help with morning sickness it makes you begin to wonder.

  60. A some sites are proposing that Beth was being pimped out by her husband in order to close the life insurance policy. Watching this episode a second time has made me agree with this. Conveniently locking her key in the car. Leave her door open, asking a stranger to sleep with her. Very much like Pete wanting Trudy to sleep with an old BF in order to get a story published.

    • You are on to something. She knew about the apartment. She said her husband would be sleeping over. Wow, there are enough clues to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • You guys might be interested in a discussion some of us had on the Open Thread starting with comment #182.

    • Does Howard need to close one insurance deal that badly?

      I used to be in the business myself. I never had to resort to anything close to that to make a sale.

    • In addition I never could get my head around Howard having a poor sales period and then in the next breath telling Pete had bought (or leased) an apartment in the city so he could have a woman on the side who you can imagine would cost him a lot of money to keep her servicing his needs.

  61. I want to pay tribute to Joan. I know she had little to do in the last episode but on what she said and how she acted, she stole the episode.

    I love it when Joan has opinions on everyone and is NOT afraid to voice those opinions even if it pertains to the lives of any of the partners.

    In case you are new to Mad Men, Joan is the officer manager and only person at SCDP who comes into contact with everyone who works there, receptionists, secretaries, financial people, account execs, copywriters, partners etc. Joan chairs the daily partner’s meeting every day and basically sets the agenda of what is to be covered. Nothing happens at SCDP without Joan being aware of it or eventually finding out about it.

    Now in relation to the last episode and Joan’s opinion on Megan I will you refer you back to something Joan’s mother said to Joan after Joan had received an invitation to the surprise party at the last moment: “Don’t tell me that girl is not conniving–you think that girl (Megan) wants you around her husband.”

    Now think about that line. How would Joan’s mom even know that about Megan unless Joan told her about Megan and Megan’s personality or attitude towards her in the office since she hooked up with Don?

    Now to Joan’s two scenes: First the scene with Don where Don comes into her office and tells Joan Megan is quitting and asks what the protocol is (interesting choice of words by Don). Before answering him, Joan suggests he sit down. The idea was Don was going to tell Joan that Megan was leaving him and cry on her shoulder. Instead Don said, “That’s not it.” And viewers think Don is oblivious to the games women play.

    But the point is Joan recovered and recommended a lunch with all the girls to give Megan a proper send-off. Joan was so elegant and quick-witted in suggesting that and also defused a situation with Don that could have got embarrassing for both. I’m not saying Joan is an Einstein but I do believe she is street-smart. Where it comes I don’t know because we don’t know much about her childhood or background because she joined the firm.

    And finally Joan goes to the iconoclastic route by suggesting unlike all the others in the office that Megan will end up “a failed actress married to a rich husband”. She then goes on to talk about second wives having a playbook and telling Peggy about “the kind of girl Don marries.”

    First it takes guts to stand out among the crowd and be the dissenting opinion, and then it takes guts to voice your opinion to a woman high up in the food chain now at SCDP, Peggy Olson, who is buddy-buddy with Don Draper.

    And when Peggy claims Megan will be good at anything she does, and that Joan has misjudged Megan and that is not a gold-digger or sponger living off Don, Joan digs her heels in and never backs down.

    I love the way Joan stands up for herself. She may sound cynical at times but she never comes off as coarse or vulgar. She calls it like she sees it with tremendous panache. Actually a woman like Joan in real life I would find extremely intimidating. And I think Megan also finds her intimidating.

  62. I think one of the most difficult things for the producers to do in any lengthy series such as Mad Men which is an advancing, dynamic timeline rather than one set in a static period or time frame is to accurately reflect the year being singled out without discombobulating viewers to the point where they have lost their bearings, no longer identify with the show, or feel compelled to attack the new premise.

    What I find fascinating is that this modern future shock is a real-life phenomenon based on a revealing depiction of the 1960’s by a fictional TV program whose goal is to accurately depict real-life events that occurred in the year or period in question with the contribution of fictional characters.

    And what this tells me is that regardless of the endeavor the majority of Americans love the status quo. They simply view change of any kind as an unwelcome intrusion to their psyche.

    And what I think really intensifies this discombobulation is not only the desire of the MM writers to develop new story lines so as not to bore the audience and grow stale, but to also introduce new characters to the season who have little or no resemblance to any previous characters and also to introduce the viewers to a new year or era that appears to be fundamentally different from the past. You blend these three concepts together and many viewers simply feel like throwing their hands up in the air and saying, “What happened?”

    But in essence isn’t this what real-life Americans were doing in the 1960’s with all the rapid change that was occurring and had trouble making any sense of it? Perhaps why Matt Weiner is considered a genius is because his goal is to take 2012 viewers “back to the future” and give them a true sense of how folks in 1966 really felt at the time.

  63. What I think is so trippy is that Megan told Don to listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows” first, when she knew it was the “noisiest” song on the record by far. You’d think she’d have eased him into it with “Eleanor Rigby” or “Here, There and Everywhere,” which are probably more Don’s speed. It’s almost like she’s accentuating the gap between them already, telling him, “You thought you really knew me, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

    I give her two weeks before she winds up in Warhol’s Factory.

    • It is so interesting that Don puts the needle down on the outside portion of the record to play “Tomorrow Never Knows” which is the final selection and is the inner most song on that side.

      • I thought the same thing – Deborah looked again and confirmed that he dropped it inside somewhere (a fairly distant shot).

        But now I’m going to look again. Did they zoom in for picking up the tonearm?

    • You could take it another way that she didn’t want to Don to waste his time.

      • Or that she’s securing her spot in the home as the expert on youth culture. Can’t have Don figuring something good out for himself…

  64. I don’t quite know how to take it when a young woman consistently tells her husband and her colleagues she wants to do what he does for a living or what Peggy does and then at the drop of a hat decides she doesn’t want to pursue that path any longer. I bet you the folks at SCDP feel the same way.

    Obviously, Emile Calvet’s conversation with his daughter Megan contributed to her coming to this decision but when you analyze what he said to her wasn’t he appealing to her sense of GUILT of not following her dreams and that she had abandoned the struggle rather than giving her a concrete reason why she should pursue acting in an ambitious manner rather than a career in advertising.

    Was Megan’s desire to return to acting motivated by guilt or was it motivated by ambition? When you listen to Megan’s words closely and then pay attention to the tone of those words to Don in bed in the dark, I believe Megan was acting out of the former and not the latter. Words like I wanted to be actress since I was a little girl, I gave up too easy, I never made a decision to quit have one thing in common: they are thoughts all tied to the past and there is no talk of a current passion and wanting to set the world on fire in the future. Even words like “I felt better failing at acting than I felt succeeding in advertising” do not denote a ring of optimism that is a close ally of ambition. Megan also talks about not wanting to go to the theater because she is envious of the performers and feels she will become bitter if she does not pursue her dreams. You throw all these words together and there is nothing positive in what Megan is saying.

    Nowhere is their talk about the thrill in performing in public, the excitement of playing different roles and performing in different venues and the acclaim and recognition of giving a superb performance. I am NOT an actor or actress but I have read enough books about acting to know actor and actresses have to have huge egos to succeed professionally and totally have to believe in their ability and talent and then have to go for it with complete abandon. Does Megan really have a large enough ego to succeed in acting? Does she really want it bad enough?

    Joan doesn’t think so. And neither do I. People complain about Jessica Pare’s acting. But one of the most difficult things for an actress to do is to completely act against type and play a role which requires you to come off as less ambitious than you really are. In real life Pare has been a professional actress almost half of her life; but she plays Megan as being lukewarm in her commitment to acting. Megan says all the right things but is she really overjoyed by her decision? It was almost like she wanted Don to talk her out of how she was feeling but Don was smart not to.

  65. I was just reminded of Tomorrowland when Megan returned from her night out with a former roommate who was an actress. Megan seemed very insulted when she told Don that this woman did not think Megan could be successful in acting because of her teeth. So maybe she never really gave up on the idea of her acting. Is it just me or did her teeth look different in that episode? Maybe I am just used to seeing her now but I seem to recall her having teeth that were almost buck with a slight space but I dont see that now.

    • I think Megan was angry and resentful but at the same time reconciling herself reluctantly to her belief she would never make it as an actress.

      Megan admitted to Don she was not as confident overall before she started work as a copywriter and she felt she could use her newfound confidence in pursuing a professional acting career.

      The question one has to ask oneself: Will Megan’s boost in confidence be sufficient enough to overcome her lack of talent (her teeth)? Reality has a habit if biting, doesn’t it?

  66. My favorite line of the whole show was Roger, when told Megan wanted to be an actress. “I can see that. Not that she’s insincere or anything.”

  67. When the show first aired, it was 1960, and the 1950s morality which was still in full swing was too restrictive and maudlin for Don’s restless soul. Now, with change sweeping the American landscape like a machine gun, Don seems to be retreating into the very thing he had once tried to escape from: Home and hearth.

    A lot of people don’t like the current season because they think it’s too much like a soap-opera. While I see their point, I think it’s because the character is feeling that way, too. Don’s walking on sunshine, and, yeah, it feels a little sugary-sweet right now. But give these writers credit. They haven’t disappoined yet. This is all just part of the setup, I’ll bet.

    The current complaints remind me of the aftermath of “Tomorrowland.” There was a lot of initial criticism about Don’s sudden proposal to Megan, because it seemed so out of left field. But when given time to think about it, the general consensus became that Don’s asking her to marry him like that was an irrational act by an irrational man. But watching that proposal scene was, at first, as syrupy as Mrs. Butterworth…quite disconcerting. Until I had to think about it, and come to the conclusion that, yeah, that’s what Don would probably done. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem so icky.

    • As I see it by the time Tomorrowland rolled along given Don’s circumstances at the time of being a divorced parent, he had three choices:

      a) Stay unmarried and have a string of casual affairs

      b) Marry Faye

      c) Marry Megan

      In The Summer Man Don wrote in his journal that he loves to sleep alone and stretching out like a skydiver. This line is completely contrary to what many viewers had thought of Don as they watched him jumped from one bed to another over the first 3 and 1/2 seasons.

      But could Don consider a bed his office where he chooses to “perform”, but not a place he considers a resting place? In other words, could Don prefer the company of women before he goes to sleep but prefers to sleep alone after he has had sex with them? In other words it would take a lot for Don to sacrifice his desire to sleep alone.

      And in that context, we first see Dr. Faye Miller in bed with Don in The Beautiful Girls where Don and her have had sex and slept together and all she can talk about is a Chinese wall that exists between her and Don. Look up the definition of CW. It means an insurmountable barrier or a barrier that makes effective communication either very difficult or impossible. Does Don really want to wake up each morning to a Chinese wall?

      Now we come to Megan. In Don’s proposal to Megan what did Don say to her just prior to the words, “Will you marry me?” He said, “I was staring at you and I couldn’t imagine not waking up with you beside me everyday.”

      In other words this is a man who definitely preferred sleeping alone but what he had in front of him was so powerful he was willing to give it up for something he saw as much greater. If Don had not met Megan I’m convinced he would have stayed single. But Megan simply dazzled Don beyond any feeling he had ever felt for in a woman, including Betty.

      Why has Don not cheated on Megan? Because he wants to sleep with her every night and wake up with her every day. It’s as simple as that. And that has not changed.

  68. Is anyone else reminded of “Double Indemnity” and wondering if Howard and Beth were both “playing” Pete – as a tag team, perhaps with a long, successful run of getting suckers like him to buy insurance policies? My partner brought this up early on and I couldn’t watch it the same way after that.

    • Chris… you and your partner aren’t alone. Please see comment #60 above.

      • You’re so right; I should have looked more carefully. It does make you think. Especially since the whole episode is about acting, and more specifically, acting as a couple… if true, they’re so not the only “husband-wife team” example on view….

    • Since you brought up a sinister plot, I thought of Body Heat with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt where she seduces him in order to help her kill her husband.

      Howard did say something very interesting about Beth: She doesn’t care what happens to me because she’ll be well taken care of. I thought that was very strange especially that it was said by a life insurance man who completely understands he’s worth more dead than alive and the possible ramifications of that reality.

      Could Beth be now playing hard to get as a ploy? If Beth makes an effort to see Pete again we may be seeing a replay of Body Heat or Double Indemnity.

      • Somehow I don’t buy that Howard and Beth were playing Pete. It’s funny to read all these interpretations of Beth’s motives. I think Deborah said it the best, that Beth wanted a thrill, one shot and that was it. It wasn’t hard of us to think of Don looking for his thrills, why so hard to imagine a woman might be the same way? It sounded as if Beth married Howard to save her from her desires for those nameless sexual encounters – which is exactly what Peter was for her. This was exactly the 60s, when women were experimenting with those desires. It wasn’t until1973, when Fear of Flying was published, that it came to be called the ‘zipless f*^k’.

  69. I am a new commenter, and I haven’t read the entirety of this thread yet, but you guys at BoK seem to have the most thoughtful, insightful, and respectful MM forum going on the web, and I want to get in on it. (Apologies if this particular issue has already been discussed.)

    Various folks have weighed in on whether or not Don and Peggy are so-called office spouses. I think they are, and in this ep. Megan is playing the role of their adolescent child.

    First off, there’s the old “We’ll tell MY mom we’re sleeping over at YOUR house and tell YOUR mom we’re sleeping over at MY house” trick that Megan pulls on both of them RE her audition. Then you’ve got Don phoning Peggy when Megan doesn’t come home — classic parental move. And when Megan decides she wants to leave SCDP, she essentially asks Peggy and Don for permission, tries to feel them out, doesn’t want to disappoint them too much. They both respond with some form of, “So the family business isn’t good enough for you?” Peggy lays down her own fed-up variation on “Do what you want; I don’t care anymore.” Then both of them rally and try to be “supportive.”

    But it is the kind of support that is tinged with a parental combo of bewilderment, self-doubt, envy and maybe some shame, and it takes the form of coddling. Don actually quits for Megan and later offers to bring her box of stuff home for her, too. Peggy gets the other copywriters to shut up so Megan can make her announcement, which she does while crying (a touch that also seemed pretty adolescent to me — I was not sure whether to take it at face value).

    Then there was the Cool Whip debacle, where the skit devolves into a kind of “This is all your fault”–style shouting match, which felt more authentically marital in nature than the “Just taste it,” bit with Megan did. It was very easy to imagine Don and Peggy here saying things like “If you hadn’t spoiled her, none of this would be happening,” or “She gets this from your side of the family.”

    I think that whatever happens to Megan, as long as they work at SCDP Don and Peggy are stuck with each other, for better or worse.

    • Wow — you are right; there really is a mom-dad-adolescent triangle going on there! I just hope Peggy and Don don’t get “divorced”!

  70. fashion I am not old enough to know this and I have not really delved into the fashions of the 60s but did just older men wear pocket squares back then? Only Don and Roger and none of the other younger men wear the pocket square. Is this accurate description? And Don wears it as a straight edge whereas Roger wears it with points. Is there any significance to this? I know this is minor but I keep noticing it and was just wondering if it is a function of age, status, taste or something else. thanks

  71. I saw only a minor comment on this which surprised me, did no one think it was significant that Don kept the elevator danger to himself? Will there be more to this than just Don potentially losing his footing on his so called life? Perhaps once again causing harm to others, unintentionally, because of his selfish, careless personality? I thought it was very odd. ..or not!

    • Mary, there are hundreds of comments, so it’s not surprising you didn’t see it. Do keep in mind that the show doesn’t show us everything that happens. A phone call to building maintenance is unlikely to be dramatically worthwhile.

  72. I am not sure if this is an accurate cultural reference or not but Megan got a call back from a Jack Shapiro. I found these two references but I have no way of knowing whether it is the same Jack Shaprio.From”In late October 1933, the old Casino Theatre (The Earl Carroll Theatre) at 7th Ave and 50th street, New York was sold to a business consortium of Louis F. Blumenthal, Charles H. Haring and Jack Shapiro for $52,000,000. This set in motion the beginnings of the French Casino project with branches eventually in New York, Chicago, Miami Beach and London” AND from”A grandfather, Jack Shapiro, built the Broadway and Mark Hellinger theatres.”

  73. Is it a coincidence that the final shot of Megan is her wearing all black lying in corpse position? I cant recall her ever wearing black before, a color commonly associated with death. Maybe this is a stretch but I think this is a small detail linking color to the poem that this ep is named after.

  74. Deborah had a wonderful post about echoes for a previous ep. I thought of one that is almost a mirror image. In Codfish Megan’s mother tells Roger (paraphrasing) that we should get what we want after telling him she had made too many mistakes. In Lazarus Don says to Roger (again) “Why shouldn’t she (Megan) get what she wants?” and then states he does not want Megan to turn into Betty or her mother. I thought this had alot of symmetry to it.

  75. Might not be totally apropos for this thread, but someday I’m going to count up the number of times over the years someone has said “We (they/you) have everything.”

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