Impulses

 Posted by on June 6, 2012 at 6:00 am  Characters
Jun 062012
 

“He died. Killed himself. He came to me because he wanted help and I turned him away. … I couldn’t risk all of this. He hung himself.”

Don Draper, The Gypsy And the Hobo

In 1960, Don Draper meets a visitor at his office. Adam, his half brother, is thrilled to see him — but Don pretends not to recognize him at first. Don has so much at stake: his name and reputation, a wife and children, a home, a business.

When the two brothers do speak, Don is by turns careful – asking about other family members, securing answers (“She’s dead. Stomach cancer.” “Good.”) — and just terrified. Haunted by the thought of all he could lose, Don finally pays his brother to stay away.

“You already thought I was dead. Go on thinking that,” Don tells a crestfallen Adam.

More than six years after Adam’s suicide, Don’s ghosts walk again. After learning of Lane’s embezzlement, ordering him to resign, and offering some Dick Whitman-style advice for his exit (“Tell [your family] the next thing will be better. It always is”), Don sees Lane go his own way. As Adam did.

Again, he is haunted.

The former Dick Whitman got where he has in life by taking chances. “I’ve started over a lot,” he assures Lane. “This is the worst part.”

Dick once had so little to lose that it may have seemed a relatively small gamble when he moved to take the identity of another man. And what did he learn? From that impulse, Don Draper was born. He has lacked for so little, ever since.

The old impulsiveness still works. Don Draper’s adult life is the reverse of an Aesop’s fable: he falls in and out of love quickly, comes home late at night with a dog, freeballs a pitch to his firm’s major client, fires a subordinate without warning or authority, gives away money, picks up hitchhikers, proposes marriage to someone he’s known for a matter of weeks, throws down thousands of dollars to test drive a car.

And these things pay off. Don’s impulses work beautifully — until, suddenly, they don’t. His impulses that fail are catastrophes: asking Rachel to run away with him, “Why I’m Quitting Tobacco”, letting Adam go.

Don is still wearing the guilt of that last one. We saw it in his need to drive Suzanne’s brother to his destination in Season 3; we see it as he volunteers to take Glen Bishop back to school in Commissions and Fees. When Don finds Lane’s body, he is still inside that last human loss, the decisive break between his past and his present. Adam is the pain he will carry in his skin until he dies.

I am not forgetting what tends to follow these failures: Don’s Carousel pitch to Kodak, his award from the American Cancer Society. This man can go to even the heart of his own pain, and harvest it for whatever he might need in a critical moment: almost as if that pain isn’t his.

And honestly: is it? If you have traveled all the way from being Dick Whitman to living as Don Draper, haven’t you lost as much as you’ve found?

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  49 Responses to “Impulses”

  1. Provocative post, Anne. Strangely enough, reading this made me think about Don writing a check for addicted Midge, and Midge asking, “What am I going to do with a check?” Look what Lane did with a check. What Don has done with one? With one of his own, he gave Joan a drive in the car of her dreams. With Lane’s, he (justifiably) was the straw that broke Lane’s will to live. And Rebecca wrote a check for the Jaguar – a check that was probably no good.

    There’s something to be compared in checks versus cash this season. Roger uses cash freely to get what he wants; Don threw cash in Peggy’s face and became the straw that broke her desire to remain at SCDP. There are people at tipping points, and this season, money is what is pushing them over.

    • Great comment (as always!), Pele. :)

      I keep thinking about the “blank check” — that’s what it is, in effect — that is Don Draper’s identity. Dick Whitman took that, and it has paid dividends beyond his wildest hometown dreams.

      But his ownership of that name, and all it accounts for, is limited. The life to which he was born (family, hardship, abuse, perspective) fights with the privilege of his new name on a regular basis. And as we see in Commissions and Fees, the money that comes with being Don Draper isn’t enough to cross that divide.

      If he were a silver spoon like Roger, Don might be able to be more philosophical about the role his decision played in Lane’s death. But he’s not. He’s Adam Whitman’s surviving brother.

      That’s a much bigger debt that anyone in that office realizes.

    • Don didn’t buy the car for Joan, he just let her ride around it, but point taken. He did use a check to provide happiness for Joan when she needed it most.

  2. Annie, Annie, Annie – another post hit out of the park.

    I have stated many times previously that Adam Whitman is the only innocent adult in this show. Dick/Don’s fear drove Adam away with the results we now see.

    Dick/Don’s only chance at redemption is to find a way to ask for Adam’s forgiveness and honor his brother in some way. I’ve always imagined Dick/Don telling his kids one day about their Uncle Adam.

    BTW – check your e-mail.

    • Yes, another outstanding post, Anne B.

      Frank B. — I agree, except I thought that when the third Draper child was born and Betty wanted to name him after Grandpa Gene and Don objected to that name (in part because Sally was afraid and because of Don and Gene did not get along), that Don would suggest naming the baby Adam.

      If (when?) Megan fails as an actress and/or becomes pregnant, maybe that would be Don’s opportunity to honor Adam.

      When you imagine Dick/Don telling his kids about Uncle Adam, what are the circumstances that would lead to Dick/Don doing that? I often wonder that if Bobby and Sally had never seen the painted wall, “Dick + Anna,” and asked about it that he probably wouldn’t have told them.

      It does seem that Don is on a pathway to redemption and Adam will be a big part of that journey.

      • I do like the idea of Adam Draper. I wouldn’t be surprised if Megan thinks of it first.

        I imagine that it will be the last scene of the series. Granpa Don is surrounded by his children and grandchildren around the fireplace. There is a new/old photo prominently displayed on the mantle.

        Granddaughter: “Grandpa, is that you?”
        Don: “Yes, it is. I was very young.”
        Granddaughter: “Who is that sitting on the horse?”
        Don: “That’s my brother Adam.”
        Sally, Bob and Gene look at each other with puzzled looks. Off screen, Megan says “Dinner is ready.”
        Don: “He taught me the most important lesson in life. Let me tell you.”
        He takes his granddaughter’s hand and leads the group to the dinning room. Fade to black, end of series.

        • Frank B.

          Thanks. I think he would have to be named Adam Whitman Draper-Calvet and maybe Megan would say, “Don, come help set the table for dinner.”

          Otherwise, the scene you drew and dialogue made my day after a pretty dark couple of MM weeks! :-)

  3. I love the way you draw parallels between Suzanne’s brother and Glenn in this post. Beautiful.

    I think you have a point about Don’s existence to date. He is a man with two birthdays, a man with many different families, a man with a multilayered past. As much as people may dislike Megan, I think his relationship with her is his first real relationship as Dick Whitman (I have no doubt he told her everything), and that’s why he holds on to her so closely and doesn’t want her to run away from him. She knows all of it, and she’s still there with him. And he has a reasonable fear that if he tells other people, they may abandon him the way he abandoned Lane.

    SC/SCDP is the closest thing to an extended family Don Draper has since Anna’s passing. Losing Peggy was like losing a sister. He’s watching Joan in the position as his mother, Roger drinking and screwing himself away like his father… And now he’s unintentionally given his best form of advice to someone he probably cared about and had it backfire — the piece that served him best. Most of these advisory moments have been Dick speaking through Don’s mouth, and it seems people heed it when Dick/Don is most vulnerable.

    (Sorry, got rambly. But this post really makes you think!)

  4. My God, Anne, this is an incredible post. I think you just summed up Don Draper/Dick Whitman in one essay. Your insight is amazing. I’m too stunned to say much else right now but — Yes. This.

    • ditto. Great post Anne. Really makes one think. Especially like how you’ve drawn the line between impulses the work beautifully and those that fail catastrophically – when he is good, he is very very good; when he is bad .. is he better?

      • Perceptive remarks about Don’s instincts. I loved this part of Anne’s piece:

        I am not forgetting what tends to follow these failures: Don’s Carousel pitch to Kodak, his award from the American Cancer Society. This man can go to even the heart of his own pain, and harvest it for whatever he might need in a critical moment: almost as if that pain isn’t his.

        Funny thing: I never gave much thought to why Don got into advertising in the first place. We saw, in Season 4, how he conned his way into Sterling Cooper through Roger. But why?

        I’d guess that it’s because his (sometimes personally catastrophic) instincts for salesmanship have, at almost every step of the way, been rewarded. Dick Whitman was unhappy, lost, sickened by himself and his “whore-child” past; he saw an opportunity to instantly “buy” a new life when Draper was killed. And he was rewarded for it. He seems to feel, despite the troubles it has caused him, that he was essentially correct to kill poor Dick Whitman and become Don Draper. People admire and respond to Don in a way they never would have to Dick. (With exceptions: Adam, Anna.)

        Looking back on “The Hobo Code” for my comment below, I found Don’s exchange with Bert in that episode quite telling. Bert advises Don to pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged, somewhat self-congratulatorily likening Don and himself to the self-made ubermen of Rand’s fantasies. All the while, Dick Whitman heard this and thought to himself: “Yes. That’s the person they want; that’s the person I have to be.”

        • Thank you!

          I owe the word “harvest” to White T Jim B, who mentioned it when we were working on a short piece about that Kodak pitch in The Wheel.

          Don is an artist with life’s materials: love, grief, longing, rage, revenge. He can use any of these, and more, to push himself forward in the world. Their provenance doesn’t seem to matter to him, not as much as their uses do.

          The Kodak pitch is a perfect example of this. Don stands there talking, calm and assured, despite his dead brother and angry wife and departed girlfriend.

          Or maybe because of those factors? That’s almost worse.

          • Anne, you are right on.

            In this sense, Ginsberg, the “alien,” is not dissimilar to Don. I thought the scene a few weeks ago, with Megan’s friend cavorting on the table for the Jaguar creative team, was quite telling. Ginsberg couldn’t care less about Jaguar Girl; he was onto something else. “Yeah, I got it,” he says by way of brushing Stan off.

            Ted Chaough, of all people, tells us much about Don when he talks up that Emersonian eyeball. In Don’s best work, he’s transparent: freely offering up the truth about himself and his pain — secrets he otherwise defends with grim devotion. His pitch for the Carousel discusses nostalgia, “the pain from an old wound,” and concludes: “Around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.” And they think it’s just a pitch!

          • Ma’am,
            To me, you identified the core of Don Draper with:

            “The Kodak pitch is a perfect example of this. Don stands there talking, calm and assured, despite his dead brother and angry wife and departed girlfriend.

            Or maybe because of those factors? That’s almost worse.”

            At his best, Don Draper is capable, forceful and charismatic. While I find Don’s personal behavior indefensible: desertion, adultery and lies within lies… but where many see impulsiveness I see decisiveness.

            In “Meditations in an Emergency” Don ends Duck’s unexpected tenure as President of the merged Sterling Cooper with the sentence “I don’t have a contract.”

            In “Shut the door. Have a seat.” Don launches the new firm SCDP informing Lane: “You have absolute authority to fire anyone. Fire us. Fire us, sever our contracts, let us go.”

            Adam, Peggy and Lane’s fate did not turn on Don giving them money: in a sack, thrown in their face or by covering their check fraud.

            I believe Don’s rejection of each played a large, unexplored role their lives.

          • Hawk,

            I was thinking the exact same thing. There is a fine edge between impulsivity and decisiveness. And the difference may lie in the eye of the observer. Don epitomizes a type of alpha male energy, languid in torpor for long periods of time and then when the moment calls for a seemingly impossible intervention he springs to life like a jungle cat. He’s done it with his signature pitches and he most recently did it with his handling of Lane. Each line of dialogue is like a move in a chess combination:

            “What the hell is this?” (Don’t tip your hand)
            “I didn’t sign it.” (Crush the false explanation)
            “You want me to play detective?” (Threaten to raise the stakes)
            “Is this the only one?” (Troubleshoot the scope of the problem)
            “You want a professional to do it?” (Again turn up the heat)
            “I’m giving you a chance to come clean. Is this the only one?” (Continue the interrogation)
            “Are you gambling?” (find the reason)
            “If you needed it so badly why didn’t you ask?” (prepare the blow)
            “I’m gonna need your resignation.” (decisive)
            “You embezzled funds. And you forged my signature.” (reinforce it)
            “I’m doing the most decent thing I could possibly do. I’m letting you resign.” (see him out)
            “I’m sorry. I can’t trust you. I’ll cover the money you owe.” (close the door)
            “Can you imagine what would happen if a client found out?” (nail it shut)
            “You tell them that it didn’t work out because it didn’t . You’ll tell them that the next thing will be better because it always is. Take the weekend, think of an elegant exit.” (help Lane see the future)
            “That’s relief. I’ve started over a lot Lane. This is the worst part.” (create intimacy, the Sterling conspiracy of shared problems)

            I thought it was a tour de force. He controlled the conversation, analyzed things quickly, avoided sidetracking and never wavered.

            And your last observation… telling.

  5. Imho, Don’s decison to tell Adam to leave NYC with the $5000 he gave him was NOT impulsive but calculated.

    Don had a lot of time to consider Adam’s unexpected presence in his life and how to react to it.

    Don did what was best for him and he knew what he was doing. One can disagree with his motives without deeming him impulsive.

    $5000 is equivalent to $35,000 today. Who would expect anybody to not only not spend the money on themself but to commit suicide when given that kind of money? Don is NOT a mind reader.

    As regards to Lane Don thought it through in his head and I believe if he had a day to think about it he would have come to the same decision, to allow Lane to resign without prosecution and to replace personally the money he took. And he would not have spoken to the partners about it.

  6. Great piece. For a long time I’ve thought that Don’s rejection of Adam in Season 1 is the most telling and important storyline in the series (and the one that most shadows Don’s character in the years since; has he told Megan about Adam? Would he have told Anna, who believed so deeply in his goodness?).

    His rejection of Adam tells us that Dick is, while a basically good-hearted person, — a gentle and decent man — his shame in himself and in his childhood is so enormous and desperate as to override those better instincts with a kind of impulsive violence towards himself and his self-perceived weakness.

    Dick sees the same “weakness” in Adam: a longing for home, for connection. He can’t stand to look at it. He thinks that he is doing Adam a favor with the briefcase full of money: with this money, you don’t have to be what you are either. You can escape, like me. But he presumes that Adam feels the same sickening embarrassment that Dick feels about Adam’s longing for home and family, and about his own. Adam, an innocent, doesn’t think he has anything to be ashamed of; he just wants his brother back.

    Lane is a bit like Don: ashamed of himself, desperate to be other than what he is. But he doesn’t have Don’s gifts. Don, blessed with his looks and cultivated charisma, can make a new life, or pretend to. Career? Lie and charm your way into it. Unplanned pregnancy? “This never happened.” Lane knows he can’t get away with those things, that they aren’t lasting changes; Don’s advice to him, start over and be someone new, is cruelly meaningless.

    Remember “The Hobo Code”?

    Dick: She ain’t my mama.

    Hobo: We all wish we were from someplace else, believe me.

    Dick: Ain’t you heard? I’m a whore-child.

    Hobo: No. I hadn’t heard anything about that.

    Dick: You don’t talk like a bum.

    Hobo: I’m not. I’m a gentleman of the rails. For me, every day is brand new. Every day’s a brand new place, people, what have you.

    Dick: So you got no home. That’s sad.

    Hobo: What’s at home? I had a family once: a wife, a job, a mortgage. I couldn’t sleep at night tied to all those things. Then death came to find me.

    Dick: Did you see him?

    Hobo: Only every night. So one morning, I freed myself with the clothes on my back. Good-bye. Now I sleep like a stone: sometimes under the stars, the rain, the roof of a barn. But I sleep like a stone.

    Dick: So where do you go?

    Hobo: Tomorrow I’ll be leaving this place, that’s for certain. If death was coming anyplace, it’s here, kid, creeping around every corner.

    • Just saw your post before I wrote the one on #9 – you hit at just what I was trying to convey – the Hobo scene has always been one of my favorties and I too think it really give us an insight into to how Don/Dick thinks and feels about himself.

    • I loved how he said, “No, I hadn’t heard anything about that.” So sensitive and diplomatic…he was a classy guy, he really was!

  7. I still never have figured out the significance of when Kinsey came back and visited with Harry, but I can see now how it maybe serves counterpoint of some kind to how Don treated Adam. So many different ways money has been used to motivate this season.

  8. Thank you, Jsilkyd, for pointing out Harry Crane offering Paul Kinsey an opportunity to start over with $500 and bus ticket to LA. I hadn’t thought of that.

    I LOLed when Don said “I can’t trust you” to Lane and thought immediately of Betty. But when I saw Lane writing his to do list, I went “uh oh.”

    Fan love for Paul Schulze who played the hobo (guard on Oz, priest on Sopranos, pharamist on Nurse Jackie–scenes with Edie Falco in each, but I digress).

    • I agree, I’ve watched Paul Schulze on MM, Nurse Jackie, and The Sopranos–he was great in all. I watched some of Oz, but not all, so I don’t remember him on it. However, most of his Sopranos scenes were with Edie Falco!

  9. Anna chose not to turn Don/Dick in to the authorites for stealing her husband’s identity. He bargained with her to look the other way and she agreed. Don showed no such compassion for Lane.

    I can’t help but think that the noose that Don was drawing means he will eventually pay for his stolen identity and the deaths of Lane and Adam serve as reminders to him of that. Perhaps his burst of wanting to get out there and find bigger accounts is just a way of taking his mind of all the layers of guilt.

    Living a lie for so long gives him the ability to act and think on impluse – because any moment his house of cards could fall.

    • To me, Don showed Lane all the compassion that he could. He did exactly what Anna did: he didn’t turn him in to the authorities, and encouraged him to reinvent himself. Looking away would not have been ok here, it just would have been screwing over every other employee in the company.

  10. So true. Anna showed compassion for Don and not only didn’t turn Dick Whitman in but allowed Dick to continue living as Don Draper and reaping the benefits of that even going so far as to give a divorce when Betty came along. Anna didn’t tell Dick you have two days to figure a way out or I am turning you in. Don showed no such compassion for Lane. I think that if Don had given himself some time to think, even the week end, Don would have realized that the right thing to do would be to offer Lane some actual way out – not a take two days to plan an elegant exit. Now that Don realizes that Lane’s transgression was motivated by lack of money, if only they could have given out those Christmas bonuses. So Don seems to be trying to make sure that a problem of this kind doesn’t happen again by going all aggressive on Dow and pushing for big new business. Such a tragedy all around.

    • If Lane thought he could work put a better separation from SCDP by pleading his case to Bert, Roger, Peter or Joan he still had that option. Don would not have unilaterally turned him in to the authorities.

      It’s all imaginative speculation of course in this fictional world – but I think Don’s handling of Lane’s malfeasance was likely more accommodating than any of the other partners would have been.

    • Anna had the luxury of time to decide whether or not to let Dick off the hook and let him stay as Don. In her estimation he was a better Don draper than the original, the one who loved her sister with the two good legs more than her. What little we know of the character of the original Don Draper he was no prize.

      With Lane, on the other hand, time is of the essence. Discovery is not imminent, it’s happened – Bert knows about the check. Don showed more compassion than the rest of the partners were likely to do; by rights the police should have been called. It’s one thing to have a bookkeeper diddle the books, quite another to have the CFO writing himself a good sized check AND forging another partner’s signature to boot. By offering to cover the difference himself and giving Lane the weekend to design an elegant exit (resignation intended, not anything else) he gave Lane as much as he could under the circumstances. Don could not overlook it and neither could the partners. Even a hint of his actions could sink the firm with current and potential clients.

      • While what Lane did was wrong, I just can’t get all worked up over it given his circumstances and the world he lives in where partners prostitute their office manager to get an account. No one could run to the authorities because they, Bert, Don, Pete (at least for now) are committed to keeping the fact that Don Draper isn’t Don Draper a secret. This is a complicated situation. As far as we know, SCDP wouldn’t have been able to come into existance if Lane hadn’t helped from the start, Lane wouldn’t be in dire straights if Roger hadn’t been so complacent and lost lucky strike, if Lane hadn’t had to put in $50,00 or whatever it was, if Don had been more on the ball going after big clients and not on love leave, etc., etc. So Lane did a wrong thing, but it is complicated and the reasons why Lane is in such straits have something to do with the other partners. Even in the dirty-appearing world of adversiting, I would think even a hint of you prositute your office manager to get ahead of your competitors, or you take the identiy of a fallen officer at war, or you sexually assault a person (Bobbie Barrett) in order to get her cooperation, etc. would be equally as damaging as Lane writing himself a bonus check. The line of credit could arguably be said to be a legitimate thing based on harry’s projections (I know it wasn’t but could be argued that way). I just don’t buy that Lane’s taking money he desperately needed was so unforgiveable given all of the far worse behavior from our other intriqueing characters.

        • Marylou, I share your sentiments about the overall sleaze factor. I felt the story took a wrong turn when Don didn’t immediately tell Bert that he didn’t sign the check. But, as a result, much intrigue will follow with Don front & center…will he tell Bert now, will the partners be told about the embezzlement and Don’s advice to Lane to look for an eloquent exit strategy, did Lane send the New York Times his last will & testament to the mad/mad world of SCDP where you enable employee prostitution to land a car account? So many twists and turns ahead…reminds me of my first fav serial TV show Peyton Place.

    • Anna allowed Dick to seamlessly assume the identity of Don Draper because she was personally slighted by the deceased Don. Dick thought Don’s identity was as uncomplicated as the farm-raised bastard’s, for Don Draper never mentioned his wife while introducing himself to Dick Whitman. Had Draper mentioned he was married, Dick would have never thought he could escape his past by becoming Donald Draper. This important “oversight” by Don and vital exclusion by Weiner proved that Don’s devotion for Anna was incomplete at best. Anna’s compassionate and virtuous treatment of Dick proves she was waiting with great hope for Don Draper’s return, an embodiment of the loving female Dick had dreamed of for all his young life.

      Anna allows Dick to become Don because she realizes her husband was not the idealized spouse so many young military wives envision, and that the name (which really only belongs now to her) might as well become embodied by a better man than her husband. Anna becomes the loving mother who gives Dick his new life. She allows him the name of Donald Draper so that some kind of goodness comes from their now-apparent void of a marriage. She is the first female in Dick’s life to recognize his goodness and gifts, which makes Dick love Anna, not just feel indebted to her.

      This is not the case with Lane Pryce, though. Lane writes Don’s name on the check because Don is the only partner to show any personal interest in Lane (“The Good News” 4.03). Lane chooses Don’s name because he thinks Don will help. Dick choose Don’s name because he thought he could escape. Lane knew there were strings attached to Don’s name and assumed Don’s goodness would shepherd him though the situation if the check was uncovered. Many viewers have mentioned the hypocrisy of Don becoming upset that Lane forged a signature of a forged man, but Lane knew he was involving other people if he was caught. Dick took Don’s name because he thought it was a blank check; unfortunately, Lane choose Don’s name because he greedily overestimated the value of Don Draper’s name.

  11. Also, just wanted to say – Anne B – whilie I enjoy alot of the posts here – yours is always the one I enjoy the most. Thanks so much for your insight.

    • Thanks, FayeMac!

      The truth is, I just love being able to work in this space. Deb and Roberta have built a real community here, one that thrives on intelligence, imagination, and civility.

      I find so much insight on these pages — and we all contribute to that.

      Thanks again! <3

  12. Anne B this is very insightful as always and I agree with FayeMac!

    So sometimes being impulsive works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m glad you mentioned the role of Don’s fear in reaction to Adam’s return. Don’s primary motivation at that time is self-preservation. Dick/Don sees Adam as a direct threat to everything he has built and it is the impulse of self-preservation that causes Don to reject Adam. Later, it is Don’s classic m.o. to throw money at any problem (occasionally literally!). He assumes money will solve the problem and he doesn’t do any more digging into the issue to see what Adam’s true motivation might be.

    With Lane, Don is less fearful but his impulse is to protect the firm but his assumption that Lane is like Don and will simply rebuild is in dreadful error. Don has grown up somewhat since Adam – he spends a bit more time and thinks he is helping Lane.

    The fundamental problem is that Don still lacks a degree of basic human empathy. It is ironic that Don can get into consumer’s minds in a general sense and has an almost super-human ability to read what a client wants, but in many cases he can’t empathize in a one-on-one level worth a damn. He does not listen adequately and he assumes that his motivators are other’s motivators and his solution is their solution. In Lane’s case, he thinks that all he needs to do is, in essence, give Lane the Peggy speech (forget about the past, move forward etc.) and all will be well. Of course it worked with Peggy but Don and Peggy are two of a kind in this area and Don just got lucky. Don simply can’t conceive that Adam might only want his brother back and he can’t tune into Lane’s hopeless desperation. To be fair, Don could not know that Adam or Lane was considering suicide.

    To a large degree Don’s story is the story of a quest to learn how to be in a family, build a family from scratch and better connect with the human family. At the tarot reading is S2, Anna echoed John Donne saying that Don is indeed connected to the world and he can learn and grow. She said the only thing keeping Don from being happy is the belief that he is alone.

    • Excellent thread! Thank you, d davies denver, for artfully synthesizing all of the thoughts, prompted by this thread, swirling around in my mind. Especially glad you mentioned the tarot reading and Anna’s observations on Don and the impediment to his happiness. Makes me think of this season’s theme (“every man for himself”)–the quintessence of “alone-ness”…

  13. Great post, Anne.

    The similarity between Lane and Adam is that they lack the capacity to move forward. Don pretty much tells them that it’s easy enough. He’s given Adam money to make a new life, and he advises Lane on how to deal with the challenges of changing his life.

    But, neither of them can do it, or wants to try. Adam wanted to be with Don, his only remaining family. As far as we know, he has no real education or training, and no people that he’s close with…so the idea of moving to a strange city and starting over is just alien and unappealing to him. Or maybe he’s too afraid.

    Lane doesn’t want to deal with the shame associated with his job loss. He’d have to make up a story to his wife–I doubt he could have told her the truth. They never seemed that close. Also, he moved from England to America to find a better life. The thought of going back to England is alien and unappealing–and he’s too afraid.

  14. Was Don’s pitch to Dow one of the triumphs or failures?

    Amazingly, but understandably, the Lane situation has so overshadowed everything that I don’t recall any discussion of whether that totally riveting pitch was good. Or great. Or a disaster.

    Looked like a disaster to me, but I hope to hear other views.

    • I thought it changed the conversation from the Letter to Don as a cavalier, able, and bloodthirsty creative talent, and in that, it was a success. All of Don’s successes have come from client’s admiration of his off-the-cuff, temperamental creative ability, and I think that this meeting helped further that mystique. Even if it doesn’t win this client, I think it impressed Ed Baxter. (Just my opinion!)

      • Thanks, Matt. Hope you’re right, would be great to see Don doing a lot more of this kind of thing. My concern is his tone was too maniacal. He seemed emotionally off the rails.

        • Yes, I think whether “off the rails” was an act or not is the part that remains to be seen. I thought he fired himself up to prove to them that he was a force to be reckoned with. That’s just the positive side of the “maniac” coin, so it is hard to tell exactly how they would’ve took it. The bald, war veteran executive (who asked about napalm), seemed impressed. We will see what the finale will bring.

          • IMO while its content was nothing unexpectedly creative or new, I think if you watch the faces of the Dow clients, they are receptive and given to think. As they presented their platitudes of espoused contentment (was it “we’re happy with our current situation”?) he quickly countered with arguments that comprised the last word on each one.

            I remember how he led off saying he didn’t want to talk about the letter any more. Set and match, he changed the conversation.

            Matt S., that “off-the-cuff” bit he does seems carefully cultivated. Remember how he chose not to tell Roger what he was planning to say because he “didn’t want it to sound rehearsed”? I thought that was significant.

            I just finished a book called Subliminal that attempts to explain what we process in the subconscious. Long story short, the explanations we give for our actions and decisions may hold water logically but they can have nothing to do with the real reasons. We don’t know why we think what we think. But not engaging with the client’s words, not worrying about how his process “works” and not talking about it, Don has the capacity to drop a bucket down into his subconscious and come up with a cool drink of water.

            By ignoring a lot of things he is able to focus on other things. Says me.

          • Fantastic analysis, Matt and Jim.

            If they liked his act, then yes he changed the conversation. If the concern about the letter was that Don is a loose cannon, and then they found his pitch performance borderline crazy, then he reinforced the conversation. For me, if the show goes with the idea that someone would want to hire the rabid animal who made that pitch, they’re going to have to finesse it pretty well.

    • Good stuff here Gary, Matt and Jim! Don planted a seed, changed the conversation and clearly made them think. I have been wondering whether Don’s Jag Soren to SCDP was as much for him as the team. The Dow meeting to me indicates Don has his mojo back.

  15. Here’s a question..

    Now that Peggy has her big raise ($19k = $135k 2012), and can afford to support Abe, will she pop the question?

    • I hope she kicks Abe out before season’s end. I do foresee her proposing to her future husband, though, whomever he is – somebody who not only loves her, but supports and understands her love of her career.

    • maybe our Pegs will be in a
      position where Don Draper will be asking her for a job.

  16. So, the reason that Don didnt say anything when they found Lane’s body, about the motive for the suicide, is because he still felt guilty about his own brother’s suicide and his hand in that as well???

  17. Anne B. – Just read this post/thread carefully. This is the most thought-provoking one I’ve read on B of K. Granted I’ve only really been reading stuff carefully here for a couple of weeks, but it did make me think. Thanks.

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