The Ghost at the Feast

 Posted by on June 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm  Mad Men, Season 6
Jun 032013
 

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 6.04.04 PMI believe what goes around comes around. One day I’LL be a veteran in Paradise. – Private Dinkins, “A Tale of Two Cities”

California has long been Don Draper’s happy place. His closest friend lived there, in a home at which he was always welcome. He retreated there after Betty threw him out of their home, and he found himself again in the bracing waters of the Pacific … with a dreamlike meal or two in between. California was where he fell in love with Megan. It’s where his life and luck have always turned.

I fear that this has happened again, but in reverse.

In A Tale of Two Cities, the real California action is once again at a party. Don follows the girl he thinks is his wife (a familiar occurrence on his California visits) past the revelers, and finds himself standing in front of Private Dinkins: his newlywed friend from Hawaii.

They’re not meeting under pleasant circumstances. Dinkins is missing an arm. Worse than that: “My wife thinks I’m MIA. I’m actually dead,” he says.

Don (handling the situation quite well, probably because he’s stoned) remarks that a dead man wouldn’t be missing an arm. “Dying doesn’t make you whole,” Dinkins informs him. “You should see what YOU look like.”

You should see what YOU look like.

What is really going on in Season 6 of Mad Men?

This feeling has haunted me all season: something is not quite right with Don Draper. it’s that feeling you get when all the lights but one are on in a room you’ve only ever seen fully lit. It’s the way I used to feel when I opened the drawer where I kept my diary, and knew that someone had been in there. The diary was there, all my stuff was intact, but it had all been moved. Only slightly moved, mind you. I’m the only one who could know, and I always knew.

I know Don Draper like I know my diary drawer, Basketcases. Something is up; I think it’s been up since he grabbed Private Dinkins’ cigarette lighter at that bar in Hawaii. Here’s why:

  • At the creepy party in California, Dinkins greets Don again by offering him a light. A light. With Don’s own lighter? It would have to be, yes?
  • Don watching Megan emerge from the pool was a direct callback to his glimpse of Betty at the bar in The Jet Set–another scene that led to Don losing consciousness.
  • In For Immediate Release, Don invites Ted to join him in a pitch with Private Dinkins’ own line: Hey. Lieutenant. Wanna get into some trouble?
  • While we’re on the subject, in what universe would Don Draper sincerely invite Ted Chaough to join him in anything?
  • 10 episodes into Season 6, the few pitches we have seen Don make are about absence. Clothes on the beach, footsteps leading to the sea. Invisible ketchup. “You know what he needs.”

There is a phrase, the ghost (or spectre) at the feast, that refers to a troubling reminder that distracts you from something pleasant or important. And certainly, there have been other ghosts at the feast this season: the upside-down slide in Megan’s carousel of vacation shots; the stethoscope retrieved from an upstairs office, in The Crash; the sirens wailing on the street outside the Draper penthouse.

But the reappearance of Dinkins–in California, Don’s personal Land of Dreams–is too significant to ignore. Once-smiling Dinkins, now uniformed and solemn, offering Don a light with his one good hand: this is my Mad Men distress signal of the week.

You should see what YOU look like.

Something is amiss here, and I am afraid.

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  151 Responses to “The Ghost at the Feast”

  1. Annie:

    Remind me to never go camping with you and no stories around the campfire.

    Pvt. Dinkins could be referencing:

    1. The charred remains of the true Don Draper.
    2. Foreshadowing Don Draper/Dick Whitman’s demise.
    3. Don’s current state (high, mis-dressed like Pvt. Dinkins at this party, neither physically or mentally well).

    Don’s persistent cough is also troubling. The good private’s comment on karma does hint that there will be a price to be paid for all of Don’s bad habits. The bill for 30 years of smoking and a Churchillian capacity for alcohol will one day come due.

    • Agree! (And I do tell a scary story. That’s my favorite kind.)

      Every week on Twitter I mention Don’s cough. “Every time someone on TV coughs it means something.” My sister thinks it’s TB, but I’m with you. I’m leaning toward lung cancer.

      • COPD? Emphezima?

      • “It’s not the cough that carries you off…
        But the coffin that carries you off in…”

      • Anne, didn’t Don fall in love with Megan in California but waited until they were back in Greenwich Village to propose to her?

        Didn’t PFC Dinkins ask Don to give away the bride? Dinkins’ buddy who had passed out in the bar was the best man.

        • Oh my God, yes. In both cases.

          Thank you for your sharp eye — and blame the problem of composing at 1am. :)

          • Do you need a proprietary B12 injection?

          • Why yes. I think I do. :)

          • I recall (episode guide confirms) that it was in Megan’s hotel room that Don proposed – along with Anna’s ring (which perhaps served to plant the seed?).

          • I don’t know which episode guide you mean, Jahn Ghalt, but it is mistaken. They are in Don’s apartment when he proposes. The headboard and other furniture make this clear.

          • With all due respect to an episode guide for Tomorrowland, Don made the proposal after he had brought Megan to his Waverly Place apartment, from where she phoned her mom.

            Please take a look at the episode and you will see this very clearly.

          • Whoop!

            I stand corrected. I even read the guide incorrectly.

        • I see dead people! Maybe Don is already dead

          • dwolff,
            Your observation / question may explain the run away symbolism of the season, noted by so many.

            Anne B: “Something is amiss here, and I am afraid.”

            Frank: “Pvt. Dinkins could be referencing: 1. The charred remains of the true Don Draper.”

            Bob Benson has inspired an entire thread speculating that his odd portrayal makes him a harbinger of death, a time traveler or an agent of Don’s demise.

            There was the apparent second heart attack in the beginning of the season – followed by multiple surreal events, images, characters and references.

            Could something have already happened to Don? Is he already dead or dying?

            R,
            Hawk

          • It’s worth noting that Matt Weiner knows the narrative territory of a character caught between death and life. He knows it cold: in the final season of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano hovered in a coma as he dreamed he was someone else (a guy on an endless business trip, stuck with another man’s luggage).

            I think so often of those episodes when I watch Mad Men this year. I know it’s among Don Draper’s possible fates: that at least part of this season is happening inside his mind.

            Good question, my friend. And a terrifying one.

          • There are some works of art that I think of as “Bardo dreams”, and this whole season of MM has struck me as such. Bardos are the states we enter/endure right after death, according to Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

            Don doesn’t know yet that he’s dead, but he (and we) are beginning to get inklings. Just sayin’.

          • “There are some works of art that I think of as “Bardo dreams”, and this whole season of MM has struck me as such. Bardos are the states we enter/endure right after death, according to Tibetan Buddhist teachings”

            A Reflection of the Moon. Dante’s Inferno?

          • In season 5 there was reference to the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

        • This is interesting. The Basket of Kisses episode guide to Tomorrowland (which I wrote) has Don proposing to Megan on their last morning in California. But the official AMC episode guide has it in Don’s apartment. I’m going to assume that the writer of the AMC guide had access to the script, and didn’t just go by visual cues. I’ll correct mine.

          • I’m pretty sure it was in Don’s apartment because it was a very dark bedroom.

          • You’re fast, Deborah.

            Thanks for saying you would (and did) correct the Guide. I was doubting my, already poor, powers of observation.

          • Thanks, Deborah. But I always understood *from the visuals* that they were in Don’s apartment. That’s the headboard of his bed we see. It’s also a nice reversal of the opening scene of the episode, where Don was in bed, unclothed, and Faye sat on the bed fully clothed. For the proposal, Megan was in her nightgown, and Don was seated, fully clothed.

          • Good catch, Crunchy. I was too distracted by Pare/Calvet in bedclothes to notice what Don was wearing.

      • I noticed the cough on the plane ride home and also felt he was coughing a lot this season. And he’s been awfully sweaty too…..I’m nervous….

      • The cough is of vital importance, I think. In a long and convoluted medical genetics (epigenetics, actually) kind of way that I won’t get into because I’m not 100% sure of exactly how it goes, it does hail back to tuberculosis. And then, to why tobacco was used as a medicine for over 5000 years (that we know about–possibly longer than this)–and specifically for the lungs.

        And that cycles in very nicely to this show’s entire preoccupation with cigarettes, and ultimately, cancer. Think about it: the show’s pilot episode was about cigarettes and smoking (now look at that use of tobacco as an ancient medicine for the lungs). Think about Don’s definition of what advertising does: it’s all about what you desire, obtaining what you desire in an attempt to somehow make you whole, if only for a moment (not a coincidence that this is what you do when you try to heal yourself–make yourself whole, give yourself “what you need”). We have a tendency to seek out substances we know we need when we’re not 100% healthy…and there is a lot of truth to the idea that those who smoke tend to do so as a means of self-medication (which, believe me, tobacco manufacturers know all too well).

        If you do a little digging into the very old medical traditions from the East (Traditional Chinese medicine, medical systems such as Yoga–these are also several millennia old, so these ideas have been around a long time), the lungs are the organs which retain the memory of the emotional experience of sadness and grief. The lungs, right next to the heart, can either support, or demonstrate, the weakness of the heart, which can ultimately be “broken” to cause that grief. It’s no accident Don develops what looks like bronchitis in the whorehouse at the age of 15, then falls right back into that cough when he is pining for Sylvia–he’s trying to stay mum, but that cough gives away both his silent, long held grief (which is triggered by Sylvia’s breakup with him) and, deeper still, that broken heart we’ve been reminded about so frequently in this season’s episodes.

        That scene where we see Don break down in fits of coughs when Sylvia tells him to keep away from her door–that is a demonstration of how people manifest unhealthy, unresolved emotional states as physical symptoms–that and the connection shown to the past incident, still unresolved, is a simplified but accurate demonstration of exactly how people become sick with chronic disease. It didn’t just start after Sylvia, it didn’t just start when he was 15–something even earlier than that “broke his heart” and he was never allowed to grieve that event. Guess what it is, when you know his mother died giving birth to him, and she was a whore “anyway”, as he was constantly reminded. An unloved, chastised “bad seed” might have a lot to grieve about around a world filled with unsympathetic adults. Kudos to the writers for showing that so beautifully, especially since they followed it up with Don actually overcoming both his cough and his deranged desire for Sylvia after her rejection, once and for all.

        Now, I don’t think it’s been completely resolved for Don but he’s recommitted to Megan and he’s well over Sylvia (and also Betty, who basically used him for sex but then reminded him that she’s happy in her life and it was nice but it won’t happen again) so some of that emotional pain’s been addressed. But we do see him drowned and resuscitated this episode (it actually happened, because Roger makes a reference to it on the plane ride home). Again, a problem with lungs being filled with a substance other than air. And Don’s big fixation with “second chances”.

        Don’t know what it means yet, but there is definitely this passing back and forth from the living side to the dead side, a flirtation with death and with the past (that’s like revisiting death) that’s meant to be troubling.

        • NAS — you may be on to something here — very keen observations and intriguing ideas!

          In the Taoist tradition, courage and righteousness are associated with the functioning of the lungs, and lung function is compromised by the experience of sadness and grief. It is through relaxation and detoxification (stopping smoking!) that permits the lungs, other organs as well as the entire person to regain positive emotions.

          We have primarily seen Dick/Don as a coward, lacking courage, and we have seen a consistent history of his sadness and grief. When he controlled his drinking and was swimming regularly he showed more consistent levels of positive emotions (even happiness during his “love leave”!), although he continued his streak of bad judgment and impulse ways (e.g., choosing Megan over Dr. Faye).

          • Ah, but we’ve also seen Don show tremendous amounts of courage, too. He’s never better than when he’s taking massive risks, as then he’s like Superman, as Megan reminds him. Like his self-medicating actually does help him out on occasion (again, not an accident at all that tobacco has been used for millennia to treat lung ailments and diseases–as well as an hallucinogen and anti-nauseant: it does, also, cause all those ailments. If it didn’t work to heal these things, it wouldn’t have been used for them for so long). I keep watching the way tobacco is used in the series, how it’s refuted, promoted, who smokes, when they smoke, and now, what they smoke (we’ve got a ton of other drugs replacing the accepted ones–marijuana, LSD, speed, hashish). It’s so telling.

            I also thought of the possible “beginning”–even before he could speak, possibly even before opening his eyes…if his mother died in childbirth that could have affected his breathing and lung capacity. Especially if he had been born prematurely–not enough surfactant in the lungs will cause respiratory distress in newborn premies. Just speculating, but to me it’s fascinating to trace back what could be the origin of that illness and susceptibility in this character. It’s also fascinating that a writer would devise a character whose formation could go back that far–but honestly, a lot of writers do this with characters and aren’t aware they’re doing it, or at least have no conscious intention of doing it. But there it is, anyway–recognizable.

        • Very nice! I will also add as a PharmD that some data indicates that ~80% of patients with schizophrenia smoke cigarettes as a stumbled upon form of “self medication”. The hypothesis basically suggests that the nicotine from smoking hits the nicotinic receptors in the brains of schizophrenics & helps them filter the “noise’ in their head.

          • Very interesting hypothesis about the nicotine and schizophrenia, ChrstOnaCrkr. I know schizophrenics tend to have a pronounced craving for sugar, and pointed the desire to smoke cigarettes as an expression of that craving (sugar itself being a drug with a long history of use as a medicine). Any way you look at it, tobacco’s a drug with many uses–a lot of people will “self-medicate” with cigarettes, in a way that looks “instinctive”, and it’s possible so much is gained from the drug in the multiple ways it might “quiet the noise”.

            I also think, as more research goes into the idea of “epigenetics”, we’ll see a lot of similarities in chronic diseases that linger congenitally–tuberculosis and schizophrenia might not be very different diseases at all, in terms of the way they affect the body and the mind (and let me just say that I have seen a connection when I look at some patients’ family histories, between these diseases–not making a statement that I understand it, but it is something that’s been observed too often to be coincident).

            Again, a lot to get into and the conventional medical research into this is so new (but the ideas really are so ancient in other medical systems), so I won’t, but it certainly is fun to think about it with regards to “fleshing out” these characters.

          • Last time I reviewed that literature I believe there was also an interesting paradox in that the high rate of smoking by those diagnosed with schizophrenia was also related to a remarkably low rate and risk for lung cancer; almost as if a protective factor against lung cancer was operating for those with schizophrenia in the face of increased smoking that provided a calming effect.

            It is also interesting to think about what we know (and don’t know) about the genetic predispositions of these characters (e.g., Archibald was an alcoholic; Dick Whitman’s birth mother must have had genetic vulnerabilities to die while giving birth) and how those factors might interact with their environments.

            I keep thinking about the theory of genotype-environment correlations and that the evocative model might apply more to Dick Whitman (where his good looks, quite manner, polite behavior) evokes responses from others (e.g., Amiee’s attempts to nurture), and the active model might apply more to the persona of Don Draper (where he is actively seeking out the environment and people that are stimulating and interesting), but often those environments bring out the worst in his personality (e.g., drinking, drug use, impulsive, etc).

            Who knows, but I agree with NAS that it is certainly interesting and fun to try to dissect the reasons underlying the motivations and behavior of such richly and complexly drawn characters.

    • And just how old was Winnie when he died after a lifetime of drinking, smoking ( and the stresses of war and politics of intensities never reached by DD)?

      • Granted, Sir Winston was in his 90′s when the check arrived but I doubt another human could match his constitution. The man drank a bottle of scotch a day.

  2. I pick curtain #2 Mr Bullitt.

    At least this show better not end like LOST I will be so annoyed.

    I think all the death however is more of the sense of death all around Don. He is a death bringer to people. He has slain women by leaving most of them or harming their self confidence etc, his brother was a suicide. I think he could have prevented Lane’s suicide and Don knew that.

    Most importantly on the death of Don Draper, Dick killed himself and has been trying to STAY dead ever since but he cant.

    His children are growing up and he nearly is a dead father and husband.

    Every time he tried to assert he is alive someone tells him he is not.

    Of course all of this in bits and pieces has been said, I just wonder how it will play out in the final episodes with a year to go.

    I think if Pete, Don, Joan, Ken, Ginsburg and Stan and Peggy were to have their own agency they’d be killer.

    • ” Dick killed himself and has been trying to STAY dead ever since but he cant….Every time he tried to assert he is alive someone tells him he is not.”

      I almost yelled ‘Eureka’ there! That’s who Pvt. Dinkins is talking about. Look at Don Draper/Dick Whitman/whoevryouwanttocallhim. WE can see what he looks like, can’t we? Dying hasn’t made him whole. He’s falling to pieces right in front of us.

      • ” Dick killed himself and has been trying to STAY dead ever since but he cant….Every time he tried to assert he is alive someone tells him he is not.”

        I should have said

        “” Dick killed himself and has been trying to STAY dead ever since but he cant….Every time Don has tried to assert he is alive someone tells him he is not.” because Dick wont stay dead!

    • The more I think about it, the more worried I am that we’re going to be stuck in this late-60′s funhouse of the real and the possibly-real until the end of the show.

      I know childhood itself distorts time, but in real life that time felt like forever to me. I can’t spend another year there. Do you hear me, Matt Weiner?! I CAN’T.

      • It might be a sort of Avengers / The Prisoner type of thing Weiner admires, where we unfortunately will have to stay in the Funhouse and even if he opens the door to the outside will we believe it? : )

      • I love the 60′s.

        • I don’t.
          More and more, Tomorrowland is looking like the end of this program.
          Funny, 1965 was the last year that the squares were fully in charge, and as MM headed into the real 60′s the show started its death rattle.
          Just like Don.

          • Not quite sure what you mean by “in charge” but with Nixon and Reagan “in charge” in the White House all those years, the squares still held the reins of real power. Same in financial circles – unions have been in decline since the late 70′s at least. Bean counters took over the old Hollywood star system beginning in the 1950′s – the old moguls might have been ruthless (or benevolent dictators) but they were creative and if they believed in a project or actor they put the studio money where their mouth was. Once the accountants took over and booted the studio heads out of the businesses they founded, everything changed and the Golden Age of film was over. The “hip” were colorful, gave squares agita in full measure, were loud and full of energy and were, mostly, true believers – but held little true power to make change. Look at how we’re re-fighting old battles from the Civil Rights Era and women’s movement, things we thought were settled a half century ago – an voting rights are under fire, women’s and workers’ rights are being pushed back against – yeah, the squares still have a death grip on society.

          • No doubt they were/are in charge, but its been chipped away at grudgingly, slowly. Gay rights, fair housing act, female CEO’s and self-made billionaires were pipe dreams to be laughed at back then.
            The old mogul system gave way to the renegade auteurs who dominated the landscape for decades Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, Milius and the rest of the kids. Films like Easy Ryder, Carnal Knowledge were not thw fare the moguls would have ever approved of, no matter their creative leanings.
            We will never stop chipping away at the squares.
            Never.

    • I re-watched some of the earlier episodes from this season with a friend who was trying to “catch up.” The first episode’s heart attack is still pretty vague. And Don’s been in a fog this whole season so far – even when he was doing his dom/sub stuff with Sylvia in the hotel room. He’s not the pistol he’s been in the past. Which got me thinking: this series or season had better not end like Jacob’s Ladder. Because, LAME.

      • And I just re-read info on the film in Wikipedia and Jacob’s Ladder’s alternate title was Dante’s Inferno. DAMMIT!

      • I HATE that movie– not only because the ending was so lame, but because it was such a mind-f#@%. It still gives me nightmares if I think of some of the scenes…

      • I too just read the summary of Jacob’s Ladder & I am thinking O. M. G. Sir, you mail have just hit the nail on the head! YIKES!

    • Maybe Don Draper needs to be killed so that Dick Whitman can be reborn! Don said he hates actors and his whole life is an act–the part of Don Draper is now being played by Dick Whitman. It’s time for the show to end…next season. Good for Dick Whitman, bad for us. :(

      • He always seems the most “natural” and “authentic” when he was in California with Anna–as Dick Whitman–truly himself and not an actor. He needs to get back to that “place” to be healed and whole and healthy.

        • It is possible his conscience gets to him the most when he is in California because he is faced with Anna’s mortality, taking her ‘husband’s’ place and his own death (Dick).

          It is also possible that Don himself has cancer and doesnt know it yet, but death resounds. One of my Aunt’s was a 4-pack a day smoker and was diagnosed by 40, died by 41. In those days people simply did not believe cigarettes caused cancer.

          • Since he’s a partner, does he not have to have an annual company physical for insurance purposes? They used to X-ray everything that moved back then, mostly because they could. Well into the 1960′s chest X-rays were used to detect tuberculosis on a regular basis. I can’t imagine that Don hasn’t had at least one chest X-ray a year since he started at Sterling Cooper.

            Cough in and of itself does not signal lung cancer. I have one myself (lifelong nonsmoker) which results from a combination of irritation from postnasal drip – sinus issues gallop in our family – dryness, and benign familial cough (thanks, Mom.)

  3. It’s that feeling you get when all the lights but one are on in a room you’ve only ever seen fully lit.

    Anne, your prose is exquisite. The upside-down slide – of course.

    Sorry for looking at your diary.

  4. I’m with you on this, Anne. Ever since “The Doorway” I’ve believed that something important was held back from us: What happened in the hours between Don meeting Pvt Dinkins in the bar and the wedding on the beach? What made him come back and tell people that he’d had “an experience?” What was it? What?

    • And the heart attack scene/scenes–one or two?? I’ve watched it several times and it really is out of sync and I think it’s two–one was Jonesy but just like a big chunk of Don’s experience at the party was really in his head/near death–maybe this whole SEASON (or a big chunk of it( is in his head/near death?? The whole season is a little “off” and I just attributed it to the tmie period (1968)which was very unsettling and off but it’s definately creepy, unselttling, disturbing…

    • Maybe some nice girls introduced him to Charlie, he turned on and joined the Family.

  5. I was thinking about Don’s trip this morning. If this dream reflects his inner wishes, he wants Megan to:
    1) quit her job
    2) become pregnant.

    Quitting her job is a no brainer: Don is clearly threatened by the idea that Megan isn’t solely dependent on him, and he doesn’t like seeing her in compromising situations with other men. But become pregnant? After he just confessed he didn’t love his kids, and he didn’t know how to love his kids?

    I wonder if he sees another child as a fresh start at being a father. (Like so many other divorced men and those who weren’t around when their kids were small.)

    • Sharon Tate was pregnant when she was murdered.

    • When Don asked Megan, “What is it?” (as in boy or girl), she replied “A second chance.” Which is how he saw his entire hasty marriage to Megan.

    • As I commented elsewhere on this site, I’m wondering Don sees Megan having a child as a way of keeping her at home and from pursuing her acting career.

    • His fantasy isn’t literally that she quit her job and have his kid. Those are just manifestations of his actual fantasy (innermost desire): unconditional love.

      • Exactly.

      • Do you think Don even knows this is his innermost desire? To get unconditional love, don’t you also need to love unconditionally?

        • I think you can long for something you know other people have, even if you don’t know what that something is, exactly.

          Even if it’s love. Especially if it’s love.

          • You hit the nail on the head. All children long for parental love, and this is important, in the form they recognize. Everyone has seen a family where the dynamics are a little off, the parents are caring individuals, the children want to love and be loved, but it just doesn’t jell. It doesn’t matter if they are DNA related or not, they just can’t dance that well together. Most learn to give a little and take a little and in general it works. But in Dons case, there was no love and not in any way or form could even a sense of caring be noted. at best a grudging sense of duty. So, he longs for love, not knowing what it is, how to do the dance so to speak, with only superficial advertisements (!) in movies or print to show him what he is missing. He longs for that which he does not recognize.

  6. If Don’s cigarette lighter is in Dinkins’ possession, and Dinkins is possibly really dead, could there be a mistaken identity issue again, similar to the one Dick Whitman confronted – i.e. if Dinkin’s body was charred and only the cigarette lighter could identify him, then it’s “Don Draper” who will be identified as the dead soldier. Dinkins could be regarded as MIA by his wife because he’s been reported as missing or isn’t responding to her letters, perhaps, but he is actually dead, only misidentified.

    And what would that mean for Don/Dick because if the Army checked identification, they’d realize that there was no Don Draper enlisted in the Vietnam war, so…who is this guy carrying a Don Draper engraved cigarette lighter, and how did he get it? That could lead to a whole new line of investigation…

    …spinning off crazy, I know, but hard not to speculate….

    • Agreed. I think this post is directly tied to that large bookmark/lighter, and I’ve thought since that interaction with Dinkins that the lighter will come back to haunt DonDick. Actually, I hope it will, and in this season, not the next and final.

      • ….and imagine if “Whitman” and “Draper” are both “dead” where does that leave Dick/Don? Creepier still.

      • That lighter has bugged me since day one. I agree with you. It’s no McGuffin.

        • yes, k and kturk – but – does Don still have Pfc. Dinkins’ lighter? I recall he dropped it, it was returned to him, and then did he toss it out? If not, might he not potentially have a future identity in his possession? It goes on forever, doesn’t it.

          • Don threw Dinkins’ lighter in the trash at home, but the cleaning lady gave it to Megan who gave it to Don.

            Don later gives Dinkins’ lighter to Dawn and asks her to return it to its owner — I don’t have time right now to double-check, but I’m pretty sure this was covered in episodes 1 and 2.

          • I think Polly Draper has it right.

          • Polly is right. Don asked Dawn to arrange to send it to Dinkins. Dawn said she would take care of it, so we can assume she was able to research how and where to send it so he would hopefully receive it.

          • The question is was Dawn able to do it? Find and address and send it to Dinkins. He was shipping out right after the wedding. But the Don Draper lighter could still be in the possession of Dinkins, if he actually died, so the complications still exist. Delicious!

          • Schroedinger’s lighter.

          • If I was Dawn I’d contact either the International Red Cross or USO who could direct her to the correct mailing address for soldiers presumably at the front. Don had Dinkins’ name, service branch, rank, and basically where he was headed (possibly even the unit he was attached to, depending on what they talked about when we didn’t see them.)

    • We know that PFC Dinkins’s lighter was in Don’s possession, but we do not know that the PFC ever had/kept possession of “Don’s” lighter. Hell, we do not even know that the PFC is dead.

    • While body identification was not as good during the Vietnam era as it is now (DNA), it was pretty accurate. Dog tags, uniform markings, and dental records all helped. And though I want to scream and cry when I say this, there were not hundreds of thousands of men dying, like WWII, so fewer people to identify. If your body was found, you were usually known. The MIA issue complicated things. However, in the absence of a body, the person was classified as MIA if he was not found. The wife got his pay and privileges, free health care, shopping on base, etc. rather than the lump sum death benefit. A lighter alone would not have been official confirmation.

      • Thanks, Donna. This is part of what makes me nuts about the Draper/Whitman switcheroo – even in Korea, Graves Registration did NOT rely on dog tags to ID the deceased – nor the word of the sole survivor. There’s a whole manual on this, both for identification in the field and also back behind the lines. Dick Whitman was himself wounded (concussed?) which might account for confusion on his part (we know otherwise) but there’s no excuse for the Army not checking the remains against their intake records (height, weight, eye color, dental records, fingerprints, any identifying moles or scars) and the deceased’s personal effects, uniform, papers etc. It’s not like Draper and Whitman were dead ringers. It’s a case of needing to suspend disbelief for the story to move forward, so to speak.

        • I have been bothered by this also, it seems like the writers just did a magic leap. There were lost bodies and are lost bodies in any conflict, but as anyone who has ever been in the military knows there is a manual and a protocol for everything. Even the earrings I wore were in the regs, brushed gold 4mm size. That error on which the series is based was a real stretch for me. I can see someone assuming a new identity, perhaps even legally changing their name, but to try and pose as an officer in the engineering corps by a young enlisted person doesn’t add up. Just going through the exit process, signing forms, etc. seems almost impossible. I have decided to accept the fact that this was necessary for the rest of the story to be told.

    • In Episode 610, PFC Dinkins says that his wife thins he is MIA but he really is dead.

      Assuming any of that is true, it means the body of PFC Dinkins has not yet been recovered. Therefore the Lt. Draper lighter is not yet an issue.

      If and when the body is recovered, that lighter will not be a factor in making the identification. The forensic approaches of Viet Nam era Graves Registration were far more sophisticated that in Korea circa December 1950.

      • PRC Dinkins was Don’s hallucination. We don’t know anything about the real Dinkins’ fate.

        • If Megan saw Don on the beach in Hawaii giving away the bride in a wedding ceremony (and took a photo of the moment), I think we can rest assured that Dinkins was real.

          (Considering some of the theories we entertain on this thread, maybe I mean “real”.)

          • Sorry I wasn’t clearer: He was real in Hawaii. He was a hallucination in California. Anything he “said” about being MIA or dead in CA was in Don’s mind.

        • I noticed that the suit jacket Don wore in the first episode of Season 6, at Dinkin’s wedding, looks like the same suit jacket he’s wearing when he talks to Dinkins, ghost or not, at the bar in this last episode. Just a comment.

          • There is a similarity, but it isn’t the same suit case. Janie Bryant talks about Don’s California jacket (an off-white silk) in the style recap for “A Tale of Two Cities” at AMC’s web-site. She said she considered using it in the Hawaii scenes, but chose a different jacket for that, and was later glad she held onto this one for California.

          • I meant “suit coat” not “suit case”!

        • I noticed that the suit jacket Don wore in the first episode of Season 6, at Dinkin’s wedding, looks like the same suit jacket he’s wearing when he talks to Dinkins, ghost or not, at the bar in this last episode. Just an observation.

  7. Great as always Anne.

    I just cannot forget the two heart attack scenes in the lobby of the Draper’s building in Episode 1.
    IMO all of these things are tied together and are going to be revealed, hopefully before the end of Season 6.

    Please Matt…. do not let it involve a shower, snowglobe, or blank screen!

    • What if the actual real Don Draper wakes up in bed next to Anna and says “Let me tell you about the dream I just had”…will that satisfy you?

      • Very Bob Newhart!

        • Well, there was that scene in season one where they’re listening to Bob Newhart’s comedy record. Maybe there’s more to that than we know!

  8. And “Don” has a “wife” who knows he’s dead but thinks he’s MIA.

    • If you’re talking about Anna, she died but years before that she legally divorced “Don” so that he could marry Betty.

  9. Megan Draper / Sharon Tate’s murder [EDITED - Anne B].

    Much speculation was made on other blogs on the possible tie-in and hidden images in with Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate – Megan wearing the star t-shirt that was a classic photo of Sharon Tate and Sally reading Rosemary’s Baby. Last night was the super tie in as Don seemingly channeled Sharon Tate at a Hollywood hills party who spoke as if she was Tate telling Roman Polanski about her being pregnant. To pile on more possible tie-ins, Don asks “what is it” and we can maybe assume that question is lifted from Rosemary’s Baby on the “it” that was conceived in her (Rosemary’s womb) as opposed to Megan’s.

    So, without being too political, Remainder of comment deleted. – Anne B

    • Which single radical thing has Obama done as President?

    • That, and wasn’t it Mr. LaBianca who was stuck with a fork?

    • Excuse me, but I must be confused. I thought this was BoK where fans of Mad Men came to have intellegent discussion of the show; not The Drudge Report.

    • I didn’t know grizzlies killed Tate;however, the murder may have been grisly…

    • DonJR,

      I have edited your comment. Please refer to the Basket of Kisses comment policy, specifically: “In general, stick to discussions of things related to the show, not things related to our blog, other blogs, or other Basketcases.” Speculation on areas unrelated to the show (including the sitting President) is out of place here. Particularly on your first visit.

      If you’d like to discuss aspects of the show, you’re welcome to comment here. If not, there are plenty of other blogs that welcome political discussion — even of the wild-speculation kind.

  10. Peggy also came up with an idea where the central thing isn’t there, in the headphone commercial where you don’t hear the music. “So loud and clear you can actually see it”, or something to that effect. It feels like something is hidden in plain sight, but if it was all in Don’s head or whatever, it would be strange to have all the correct period details and to follow all these other characters. I have this weird feeling that everything we see in this film isn’t in chronological order and that some of it are weird flashbacks associated with the actual events, which would explain how he got so high from just smoking hashish, but the association I got from all this room 503 business was the documentary “Room 237″ which really shows what happens when you start looking for things that aren’t there.

  11. I agree…something is off. I’m having a “Sixth Sense” feeling about this season. Especially when they renamed the company SC & P (Same company, just missing the “D”).

    • Ooh, good catch! I hadn’t thought of it that way; the P of Pryce is still there, just semantically changed to “partners.” That effectively and subtly implies that Don is not there…

    • I wrote a comment about this in another spot, but to put it here, too, it’s as if by dropping the individual names besides Sterling Cooper, Don Draper has metaphorically “died”, with no name recognition as being part of the firm. He’s really off his game to let this pass because I would think he wouldn’t be particularly trusting of Cutler and Chaough – Don is usually so competitive.

      While Cutler and Chaough are being subtley divisive (splitting the firm and not in half), they need the creative input of Draper, Peggy, Ginsburg, Stan, etc. I wonder what will happen with this divide and conquer strategy when it all explodes and people have to choose sides, especially Peggy and Joan. Don hasn’t got too much good will in reserve with his old staff. Stay tuned.

      • Oh, I think Cutler has already begun to divide up the staff that’s staying. He’s taking everyone but Sterling, Cooper, and Don (meaning he’s keeping Chevy and the service staff including Ken and now Bob, even though Don and Roger got that account for the company). This way, they can have their own firm and name it whatever they want, and Sterling and Cooper and Don can have whatever remains. Which is none of the accounts worth anything, and none of their rainmaking staff. The name change hides the intentions well.

  12. Liked last night episode. I love the California episodes because anytime Don is in California something crazy happens (at least most of the time). That party scene reminded me of the Jet Set episode from Season 2 because of all of those kooky characters. Harry is really becoming a player out in Hollywood, I really wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up as a studio executive. I liked Roger’s interaction with the his former cousin in law. I think it irked Roger that this dude was successful and hob knobbing with high rollers as well as have a hot babe on his arms. Roger always wants something he can’t have.

    Is there a drug that Don wouldn’t try? If this show ever does a futuristic scene from the 80’s you’ll probably see Don smoke crack. If this goes into 1970 which I’m sure it will end up he will definitely do some blow. This guy is obvious in a lot of pain and is looking to escape his reality at any opportunity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the series ends with Don committing suicide.

    That was very sneaky on Joan’s part of going against protocol and taking Avon for herself. But I guess she felt that she was been unappreciated for years and wanted to start gaining recognition for herself for work rather than just sleeping her way to the top. It seemed like they were going to fire her but Peggy saved her butt.

    I agree with Pete (He may be annoying at times but he always seems to see between the smoke and mirrors) the new agency gave them the name but if they keep bringing in the clients while Roger and Don keep losing theirs then they will have the power. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry Hamlin’s character stage a coup and just demand more control of the company or they walk with the clients. Or maybe just take the clients outright and start their own agency again. This wouldput Peggy in a dilemma of choosing between her two mentors.

    It’s only three episodes left but I feel that that haven’t gotten close to any resolution much less Don being confronted about his issues with Megan? I’m pretty sure by next season or later this season Megan is going to get an opportunity to work on a movie in Hollywood. It becomes a success and she is going to want to move out ot California which puts Don in a dilema of whether he wants to be known as Megan’s husband or stays in New York and let the marriage end. Very curious to see how these three episodes are going to wrap this thing up.

    • So much for the “nice” Ted Chaough – rather like the new Nixon. After complaining that Chevy wanted to give the big company they chose their ideas, he plots to take SCDP’s ideas and clients and make CGC that big company.

  13. Don and Dinkins switching lighters kind of mirrors Don and Dick switching dog tags.

    • I believe Don took the real Don Draper’s dog tags after the explosion, they did not exchange them. That is never done, these are not friendship bracelets, they have name, rank, number, blood type, and religious association. Important data needed not only to identify you but to provide medical care when injured. Also to identify non-combatants such as nurses, doctors, lawyers.

  14. Ok. That is an amazingly well-written post.

    I hope that you are right, since it has been a terrible season from a Don standpoint. He has given back all the progress that he made “The Suitcase” through “The Other Woman”. It has made my investment in the events of Seasons 4 and 5 feel a little unreciprocated. I have lost a ton of interest in Don as a protagonist. The big trick from THE SOPRANOS of getting you to invest in a truly irredeemable anti-hero is only satisfying once, like the whole “the secretly is really dead” gimmick. My guard goes up whenever an anti-hero starts relapsing into bad behavior, or things get too surreal or inexplicable in a realistic show.

    That said, someone (usually Don) passing out and being revived has been a repeatedly a LOT this season. There was the heart attack(s), the speed collapse and now the fall into the pool. Couple that with the persistent cough and the Dead Man’s lighter.

    Yikes.

  15. I really don’t believe that Weiner will take Mad Men into the alternate reality/”it was all a dream”/”Don has been dead or in a coma” territory. Not that I’ve been any good at predictions for Mad Men! But I think the disjointed, slightly “off” quality is there–along with the actual events–to make us feel the upheaval that the adults, especially those of the dominant socio-economic class, experienced during the late 1960′s and into the 1970′s. It also signifies the upheaval felt by anyone like Don who has to fight so hard, usually with lots of self-medication, to keep his authentic self from erupting through the brittle box he’s constructed around it. Both the society and Don (and others) are headed for disintegration and rebuilding, death and rebirth. It is the best of times and the worst of times. Of course, not everything or everyone–on either side–survives the change. The new ways have their own dark side.

  16. He is not going to die, at least this season. Watch the Letterman interview posted on this site when Jon Hamm jokes that he dies at the end of the season, as if he is giving away a big secret.

  17. I agree…
    And the episode had the feel kinda like the finale scene of Lost did…
    I think DD is dying metaphorically.
    -that’s not my name, he told the blonde
    -don thinks dinkins saw the real DD post mortem or was it dw as dd
    -the second chance the Megan image speaks of with baby
    -cough on plane was no cold, just excuse to cover reminder of residual water intake/N.D.E. haunt
    -no draper in firm name(ego detaching, unlike pete)
    And going back-
    -the it’s everything pitch he was going to make to sylvia(a mother figure)
    -feeling love for his son for first time(because he for first time really reflected on the source of his own void)
    -betty saying loving him is worst way to get to him (DD sees them only loving his faux facade, unlike anna. Betty picks up on it superficially, but doesnt really get the why)

    It hasn’t been a wonderful life for him, though observers see it/him as charmed. He is first to call demeaning names, but that’s him self-loathing, projecting how he sees and treats himself. He may be ready to heal. Wanting to just be held by betty… And Gleasons daughter was on the money with the am I loved question and he thinking she can see his broken heart. A homecoming and cathartic healing like at the end of field of dreams is not possible even though he longs for it, not until he dies and he can meet up with his mother(who he once surely boyishly fantasized be gentle, nurturing..opposite of his haunting flashbacks) but now he’s not even convinced of that sure fix anymore, as evidenced by his psyche portraying dinkins w/o arm… So, if he can’t count on heaven (beach fantasy) to fix him, his only chance to heal the lack/emptiness in this life is to accept and love DW…and most importantly live as DW. DD served a purpose-got him out of the war and a new life story, but it no longer serves him, except only to his overall detriment.

    Like roger and his shrink said, stop living in past(the fantasy/pain), know who u are and learn to love who you are…

    The void of his mother’s love (sick at rogers moms funeral) is what he is numbing/avoiding with women, ambition and lies, which ultimately interrupted his ability to become a man in his own right. Dreamed of strangling ex-gf; escape his suit/image behind on beach-DD’s life is killing him. Roger could really help him and vice versa..funny how their bond is changing. Who is DW now that he learned about life via the shoes of DD, how does DW now act, dress, what does he value, where will he live/work…

    Predictions:
    DD will in essense kill DW, dying tragically without redemption. (nah)
    Or, the series will end with DD character gone, and DW will be fulfilled and complete walking in is own shoes as an adult for the first time free of burdens, comforted and at ease with his evolution, known to colleagues and his children, open to loving and being loved without the facade, restoring his true honor no military tribunal could harm w/dissertion…and that all will either take place 1- in the physical realm; or 2-in his heaven.

    • I am not sure I see the possible “death” of Don Draper as the catalyst for the redemption of Dick Whitman.

      It helps me to remember that the person we’re seeing in every episode, everywhere we see Don, IS Dick Whitman: lonely motherless child, all grown up and escaped into a world that is more his own, but still not satisfying to him. I think the idea that anything can make that motherless child feel comfortable “loving and being loved” is a bit of a stretch.

      My own Dad lost his loving and beloved Mom to WWII when he was a teenager. That loss pushed him away from his siblings and the country of his birth; he was half a world away in 1961, when he met my mother and fell in love. They were married until he died, and they made the six of us kids along the way. My Dad died a very happy person: in love with his wife, a success at work, and loving grandfather to 12 kids.

      The difference: that grandmother I never met loved my Dad. She adored him, and he knew it, and he honored her memory every day of his life. He was secure in that love.

      In contrast, Don/Dick is the child of people who tolerated him. There was no real love there. And yes, Anna Draper loved him, but I’m not sure the love of even the most true friend can replace the love of the first person you knew in life.

      I am fascinated by the Don/Dick character, but I don’t have much hope that he’ll find enduring happiness … and I’m not sure I’d believe in it if he did.

      • Gotta live in hope. That child who listened wide-eyed to the passing hobo is still within; the young man sharing his lavender haze with Anna over his happiness with Betty, the father who protected his children from the abuse his own father visited on him, the same father coming late but coming just the same to the realization of real feelings towards his kids – we are actually seeing more of Dick Whitman melting through the Don Draper veneer as the series progresses. Will he ever be blissfully happy? Who is, for long?

        Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free. (Shawshank Redemption). As Andy writes to Red, ” Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

  18. Bob Benson is the angel that will guide Don/Dick to eternal peace. Bob, like the rest of us is waiting for Don’s journey to end.
    I guess what we have been watching are the deep desires of Don and the cruel realities of his life; flashbacks to his childhood, Sally commenting she doesn’t really know him, Bobby worried that someone will shoot Henry, making love to Betty one more time and then seeing her with Henry the next day, are these scenes of his last go around to the people who mattered most?
    Also, he treats work in a weird way; late for meetings, bad presentations, he is negative to Ted, Peggy.
    Is this a long goodbye? Will he come back a better man or will Bob take him to the big cocktail lounge in the sky? I’ll be wearing black Sunday nights at 10 from now on.

    • Don is a carcass who was nothing of value to offer.
      Doesn’t really love his kids, his wife, definitely not his work.
      The Beatles said “In the end, the love you make, is the love you take”.
      Reap as you sow.
      Watching a dead man walking is no fun. This season is an exercise in excrutiation.

  19. By the way Anne, you are an amazing writer, storyteller. Thank you for all your work. I read your every word. Great fun!

  20. Anne B is clearly right about Don’s absence from within his life all season.

    Dying is an art; like any other, Don Draper does it exceptionally well. He’s brushed against death time and time again over previous seasons, from the car crash with Bobby Barrett to his reawakening with the Jet Set and subsequent walk into the sea at Anna Draper’s getaway. The surprise glimpse down the elevator shaft last season in “The Void” still gives me chills. He can’t suppress his compulsion to repeat a near-death experience. Lately there have been an avalanche of them; little things, a slip on the stairs, lapses in decorum, Freudian ad pitches, his keen interest in Jonesy’s heart attack, and things all of you above have enumerated. A daily cavalcade of death in life. But he doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to the resolution he’s pulled towards, and the most recent near death experience — a pretty big one — seemed to do nothing for him at all. For a split second his return to breathing looked like it might be a revelation, but it was immediately clear that this was just another door.

    The death that Don seems so compelled to repeat is the one in Korea, and the most important repetition of so far, I believe, is one we haven’t seen yet: the one that happened in Hawaii in the lost four hours with Dinkins. He had an experience; that’s all he’s been able to say about it. There is a very important person from Don’s past who we haven’t heard from since the first season flashbacks, and that person is the Don Draper who actually died in Korea. I wonder if the experience our Don had in Hawaii was an encounter with a vision of the Don Draper who burned to death with a flame set by that recurring lighter. I wonder what that Don Draper would have to say to the man who has been living under his name. I wonder what he looked like in the afterlife,whether as a near death experience, a hallucination or just a dream. Bet he didn’t look very good. We never did get very close to those volcanoes in Hawaii, and it was the Inferno that Don was reading on the beach, not the Paradiso.

    One line in this thread that I think sheds a lot of light is something Melville said:
    “Dick killed himself and has been trying to STAY dead ever since but he cant….Every time he tried to assert he is alive someone tells him he is not.”

    It seems that Don is ready to stop living as Don Draper, because Dick Whitman never died. The life he has created as Don Draper has come to sicken him, and he wants another chance. It’s his ego that envisions a new chance as making a baby: he doesn’t want to raise a child, he wants to be reborn.

    Some wild hare speculations: Bob Benson came from nowhere and doesn’t seem to have people; he’s a self made man in the making. On a clearer day Don may see some of himself in Bob. And when Bob (temperance) stands between Don and Cutler (the devil), Don (death) will be ready to cast off his name, his business, his wife, and all the trappings, and leave, to somehow start again. Perhaps he will reclaim his life as Dick Whitman. It seems just as likely to me that he’ll want to start all over again with a new name we haven’t even heard yet. We’re not really seeing a Don who has learned to love himself, or even to accept himself. I don’t see him coming to terms with his past; he’s just being more actively pursued by it. He still just wants to escape.

    Then: season break. The corner Weiner has painted himself into is not that he’s written Jon Hamm out of the show, but that the man his character will be as of the end of this season will want nothing to do with advertising or his former life. “Don Draper” will have been replaced by a non-alphanumeric character. When we return, the story of advertising will continue with Peggy and Joan running their own highly successful shop, and at some point they’ll cross paths with the man who used to be Don, but he won’t want to do advertising anymore. He’ll be in touch with Sally. But in terms of continuity as a show: without Don Draper, it’s hard to see where it could go.

    • Oh, who am I kidding. Don Draper doesn’t just want out; he wants death. We’ve been surrounded with signs of it all this time. He couldn’t just shed his skin yet again. It has to be bigger than that.

      • One thing that makes me think that the death of Don Draper will be a symbolic one is the role of Sylvia. There are multiple allusions to the afterlife in the first episode, and the most prominent one was Dante’s. Sylvia was Don’s dark wood, his transition from the light of day to the underworld of his dark side. The tour of hell in the Inferno is ultimately just a visit.

        I believe this season has also alluded to the story of Orpheus, but in a much less coherent form. When Orpheus is allowed entrance to the underworld, he is given the chance to bring his Eurydice back to earth, but to do so he must look away from her until they have both emerged into the light. He fails; he looks back at her as soon as he is out himself, but she hasn’t emerged yet, and so she is pulled back to the underworld, for good this time. At the end of their affair, when Don and Sylvia returned to their building and to their respective homes, Sylvia stepped off the elevator and did not turn around to look back at him. It turned out Don didn’t let go so easily, but ultimately he did, and both have been able to emerge safely.

        Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

        • This is all beautiful, Blue Ashtray. Especially the nod to Sylvia Plath. (“Dying is an art. I do it exceptionally well.”)

          And the Orpheus angle! I never noticed the Eurydice parallel to Sylvia’s departure from that elevator. You could not be more right.

          Thank you!

        • And the name Sylvia comes from the Latin for woods / forest.

  21. Great narrative – thanks! (By the way, Anne B, can you or someone tell me – unless it’s in the ‘bible’) if Don still owns ‘his’ house in California? Thanks!

  22. I only read through some of these comments, so apologies if this is repeated.
    When Lt Dinkens says “you should see what you look like” I take away two meanings…
    1) our Don is not whole, which directly relates to what Dinkens said
    2) the real, and very dead, Don Draper was badly disfigured in the explosion
    Also, remember that Anna didn’t know what happened to her husband? To her, he was missing, but was all
    along actually dead.
    Is it too obvious to think that Don has lung cancer or something?

    • Point 2 is very clever, I think. He said he was Don Draper, the lighter “Dinkens” used said “Don Draper”, and he’s being sardonic.

      • Don told the blonde he was kissing “that’s not my name.” (because his name is really Dick and he’s tired of acting like someone he really is not–he told Megan that he hates acters/himself.)

  23. Hi everybody. I apologize, I don’t have time to read all of the comments and I’ll probably say things that have already been said by others, but I wrote something up and I want to share it here.

    The season opens with Don’s heart attack. The last thing he sees before going unconscious is the face of his surgeon, Dr. Arlen Rosen.

    Hawaii is the Purgatory he goes to to work out all of his “stuff”.

    Don doesn’t actually know Dr. Rosen IRL. Neither does he know Sylvia Rosen, but she stands in for his mistresses as he works through his philandering issues. Through her, he gets to revisit his original psychosexual trauma with Aimee, resolve some of that, and “move forward”.

    In this spirit state, he visits Betty, sees that she’s moved on, and lets her go.

    Pfc. Dinkins stands in for the original Don Draper. The switching of the lighters mirrors the switching of the dog tags. Don couldn’t throw away the lighter, it kept coming back to him. Finally, he sends it back to Dinkins/Draper. Dinkins shows up in California (Anna’s home) with the lighter. Symbolically, Don sent Draper’s dog tag back and Draper forgave him his transgression.

    Further thoughts on Dinkins being Donald Draper:

    –The Drapers lived in California

    –Don stood witness at Dinkins/Draper’s wedding.

    –The name Dinkins sounds like Draper, but it also sounds like Dickens. In “A Tale of Two Cities,” a man gives up his life in place of another man so that the second man can go on.

    You see? We are descending down through the layers of Don’s psyche as he works through these unresolved issues one by one.

    That leaves his relationship with SCDP. My best guess is that he’ll leave the agency and Manhattan, Megan in hand, because all the stress is not worth it.

    Bob Benson — I’m not sure he’s Don’s guardian angel anymore, but I do think his resemblance to the Temperance Tarot card in his and Don’s first elevator ride together is too coincidental not to be deliberate.

    > when Temperance appears, it is a warning or invitation to be prepared for a confrontation with the deepest questions of who we are, who we think we are, and who we will become.

  24. I think I’m losing my mind. Was there earlier post’s concerning the number of references made to astronauts and planes? Where are they? At least tell me their with another essay.

    • Found it! Planet Earth is Blue.
      There was a plane painted on the wall behind Bob as he walked toward Jim looking out the window. I noticed it on my second viewing and had to keep rewinding to check what I was seeing. Just sayin’.

  25. in what universe would Don Draper sincerely invite Ted Chaough to join him in anything?

    The pragmatic take on this, citing a profound cliche, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Don was tired of getting pounded in fights he coudn’t win on his own.

    OTOH, perhaps Don was seduced by the seduction aspect of winning a metaphorical conquest normally out of his league (the otherwise unattainable Chevy). Merging with CGC was like purchasing a new babe magnet.

    The old Ted, buzzing around like a mosquito (Don to NYT: “never heard of him”), is not the real Ted, occupying a bar stool, being real, describing their lot as even less than the usual zero-sum game – as actually a negative-sum game.

    The real Ted is far more interesting. Why wouldn’t Don get that?

  26. Laugh out loud line for me was from Ginzberg to Bob Benson. “Are you a homosexual?” No one will ever accuse Weiner of not being self aware.

  27. Maybe it’s not Don who’s already dead but Megan?

  28. Forgive me for asking this because it sounds weird but when do you think Don died?
    Today I wondered if it was back in season 5. Remember how he walked off the commercial set Megan was shooting on…and the elevator shaft when she left the building for the last time. Was this the beginning of the end?

    Then later on in the day I wondered if it is all a recap of a dead man’s life. The pilot opens with a view of the back of his head. Why the back? Is the camera God’s view of Don’s life?

    I’m so sad. I love this show and now I feel like it is going to get unbelievably depressing.

    I am bracing myself for a big scene with Sally and Don.

  29. I realized why the bar in Detroit where Don met Ted looked so similar to the bar in Honolulu where Don met Pfc. Dinkins — in both places, Don’s subconscious is revisiting his original Dick Whitman/Don Draper split.

    In the first scene Don is subconsciously revisiting what happened in Korea, via Pfc. Dinkins (Lt. Draper) and the lighter (dog tag) switcheroo.

    In the second scene he’s inviting Ted to merge with his agency, which is a metaphor for Dick Whitman merging with Don Draper.

    But just as Dick Whitman and Don Draper have never fully integrated in Don’s psyche, SCDP and CGC are not melding into one either. The uneasy union is threatening to fly apart, with Jim Cutler playing the role of Don’s death wish personified.

    I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

  30. It was a lighter that was the original catalyst that caused Dick to be born from the ashes of the real Don Draper and now another lighter is in play. Don has said many times throughout the series (to Peggy about her baby, to Lane about the money/losing his job, to Sylvia, about their affair–among many other examples) that “this never happened.” This is the way he lives his life–denying reality. He has been saying to himself that Dick never happened but this lie is getting harder and harder to surpress and as another poster said “its getting harder and harder for Dick to stay dead.” (something like that.)

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