I suppose he has no one else to blame. No one went and got the key from his bathrobe this time. In that Hershey pitch, Don Draper sat there and opened the Whitman’s Sampler on himself, on purpose and alone.
I was an orphan. I grew up in Pennsylvania, in a whorehouse. I read about Milton Hershey … I read that some orphans had a different life. – Don Draper, ‘In Care Of’
Should Don be surprised? That they looked at him the way Betty had, when he told her? That they can’t stand the sight of him? That they’re not sure they ever should have let him in the club in the first place?
Jim Cutler, Roger, Ted, and Bert have all led a certain kind of life. They are upper-class white men in one of the last moments in history when unexceptional men like them can enter that class with no effort. They were simply born in the right place, to the right white people; in their era, that’s enough.
These men are fortunate, but they can’t feel their good fortune at all. To most of the “partners” at Sterling Cooper & Partners (and their contemporaries), life at the top is so mundane that the discomfort of an unexpected narrative feels to them like an outrage.
Getting drunk on a workday? Not an offense worthy of suspension. Arranging a merger with another firm in a bar, without notifying Legal or Accounting? Ditto. Celebrating Take Your Doctor To Work Day by getting your employees and partners high? See above. Yet somehow, telling the truth of your life is “the only unpardonable sin.”
You shit the bed in there.
I don’t care.
Was any of that true?
– Roger and Don, ‘In Care Of’
Roger never fails to make me laugh. Joanie is my perennial girl crush. Jim Cutler is creepy, Bert’s seen better days, and I don’t know what the hell to think of Ted Chaough. But I was still surprised when it hit me, as those elevator doors closed on Don Draper, that I was right in there with him. I was breaking up with those people. All of them.
Those “partners,” of Sterling Cooper and Partners? They can go. If I never see any of them again, I think I’ll be good. Matt Weiner and company can turn Season 7 into the Peggy-vs.-California show: we’ll see Pete and Don struggle with Peggy’s direction, Harry will bumble around some more, and Ken will drop in from time to time. Maybe all the other partners will let Ted fly them up to Hershey, and the plane will crash.
What bothers me most about those people: they are of a piece with the worst of the stuff I see every day. Their casual cruelty is as contemporary as the guy who bankrupts a city as he redesigns a sporting event to suit his preferences … and then wants to buy another airline for his personal island. Those assholes are as modern as the guy who decides he doesn’t need permits before holding a lavish wedding in an environmentally-fragile forest. Sterling Cooper and Partners are five hoodies and a paintball game away from being the worst employer in the country.
No matter how many posterior inoculations of speed Cutler’s doctor administers in the office, no matter how often Ted drops “groovy” into his rap sessions, those people represent something I don’t want in my life. They are judgmental, closed-minded people who have proven they have no right to judge anyone else, for anything, ever.
Try to see it from our side. – Roger to Don, ‘In Care Of’
You know what’s funny about that line, Roger Sterling? Don Draper has seen it from your side. For decades. I’m surprised he’s waited this long to drop the bomb. I only wish he’d taken the time to fly out to Detroit and drop it on the Chevy guys too.
I hope Don Draper is done seeing things from the partners’ side. I know I am.