To expand a little on a recent comment about New Business, it’s worth exploring the idea that, at this point in the story, Dick Whitman has replaced Don Draper in everything but name. As much as Don had supplanted Dick in 1960, Dick has done the same by 1970.
I’m sure going back over the previous six and a half seasons we could chart the course of this transition. Pete’s discovery of Don’s identity. Betty discovering the existence of Anna. Giving up the North American Aviation account. Marriage to Megan. Adam.
However, by time we see Don making milkshakes (in the kitchen of The Castle, no less) and spinning yarns about old Uncle Mack (Such a character!), it’s clear that Dick Whitman is currently the Creative Director at SC&P.
Both of Don’s parents are now dead. Those would be Anna Draper and Bert Cooper. Dick’s parents were both gone before his 10th birthday.
What we’re seeing in the dense, if thus far uneven, final episodes of the series, is the completion of the transformation we’ve been witnessing since March 1960. Don’s pursuit of the broken, albeit honest, Diana feels almost inevitable in hindsight. It’s no mistake that their short relationship contained a dusting of equal parts sex, impulsiveness, prostitution, mystery and heartbreak.
You don’t have to be Freud (or Oedipus) to put all that together.
When you think back to the Don Draper we met in Season 1, it’s easy to see how deeply he’d buried Dick Whitman.
Question 1: Who’s the last woman on earth that Dick Whitman would marry? Betty Hofstadt.
Don, however, must marry Betty. To paraphrase Roger, Betty’s the other half of the top of the wedding cake. She’s essential to Don being Don.
Question 2: Who’s the woman Dick Whitman is most likely to pursue? Diana the waitress from Racine.
Question 3: What have we seen thrown at Don since Season 1 (besides vagina)? Money, starting with Bert’s $2,500 bonus in The Hobo Code. For a while it was all raises, mergers, signing bonses and guaranteed contracts.
I don’t think he paid Betty anything in the divorce, but we know Megan cost him a cool mil. Plus, um, all that shit in their apartment.
I’d bet Ginsberg’s other nipple this isn’t the last of Don’s money that going to fly out of his checkbook. Don accumulates money, but Dick, as Betty keenly observed, doesn’t understand it. He may well be broke by series end.
What I’m hoping to see in the final five episodes (**sniff**), is a functional, complete composite of Dick Whitman, living comfortably in Don’s skin. I’d love to see the pendulum stop swinging and come to rest peaceably in the middle.
Dick’s openness and simplicity processed through Don’s inquisitiveness, talent and understanding of human nature would be a potent combination, to say the least.
Imagine the Kodak pitch crossed with the Hershey meeting.
Dick Whitman is still searching for the place where he knows he is loved.
Good luck at your next meeting.