Paris. Now. Let’s go. – Don to Midge, The Hobo Code
There are as many ways to travel as there are travelers. Some people live for the next great adventure: a road trip, a weekend in Las Vegas, a vacation to Panama. Some people travel just to tell others where they’ve been. And some people cut and run.
I get on a plane, I don’t care where I’m going, I just want to see the city disappearing behind me. – Don Draper, For Those Who Think Young
Don Draper is the dictionary definition of a cut-and-runner. Cutting and running is how Dick Whitman became Don Draper, on that piece of Korean battleground. It’s a matter of survival: For Don, the only thing worse than facing the result of his deception is seeing disappointment in the faces of those who have trusted him. He reacts to his dread of both with fantasies of escape.
The day I dropped the kids off at school and I saw you in the yard, I kept wishing you could get in the car and drive away with me. – Don to Suzanne, The Gypsy and the Hobo
Don is in middle age, and this is now an old story. He does not like consequences, yet he cannot bear to be alone. He has proven capable of the solo escape — to Palm Springs in the middle of a business trip, to a roadside motel after a fight with Betty — but what he longs for is the company of a beautiful woman. One who does not know him, for whom he is not responsible:
Something happened, and I want to go, and I want you to come with me, and I don’t want to come back. – Don to Rachel Menken, Nixon vs. Kennedy
Don never met a better match than Rachel Menken. In terms of intelligence, ambition, and beauty, she was his equal; morally, she was his superior. Rachel loved who she was, even when she knew she was headed for something better. In every sense, Rachel was the one who got away.
I’m supposed to tell you you missed your flight. – Rachel to Don, Severance
Peggy Olson is something different. She doesn’t share Don’s fractured pursuit of oblivion, but she doesn’t have Rachel’s integrity either. For whatever reason, Peggy is never really happy in the moment. Nor does she seem to recognize that something better might be on the horizon.
I’ve never even been on a plane. – Peggy to Pete, The Inheritance
So it’s a surprise when Peggy pulls a Don Draper on a first date:
Let’s go to Paris. Right now. – Peggy to Stevie, Severance
This is a side of Peggy that only emerges when she’s under the influence. When she drinks or gets high, Peggy sometimes wakes up into her own delightful present — and enjoys being there.
The thing is, I have a job. I have my own office, with my name on the door. And I have a secretary: that’s you. And I am not scared of any of this. – Peggy, My Old Kentucky Home
I wish Peggy actually would go to Paris — to bed, even! — with
Brian Krakow Stevie. Stevie might not be her soulmate, but who cares? Peggy is an independent woman of means, every bit as capable of furnishing her own present and future as Rachel Menken was. She can afford a companion ticket.
I had too much wine and I totally embarrassed myself. It’s nothing a couple of aspirin won’t fix. – Peggy, Severance
Peggy Olson’s life is not the painted desert Don’s has become. What stands before her — in the work she’s building with Joan, in the men who report to her, and yes, in Stevie — is no mirage. She could make a joyful life from these things. She could choose to love that life, and take vacations from it, and come home to it when she misses it. If she wants to, Peggy can fly.
I wish she finally would.