The boss is away this week, so once again the lovely wife and I am stepping in to bring you the recap of Mad Men Episode 7.12, Lost Horizon. I’m White T Jim B, and as always my faithful co-recapper is Anne B. How are you this evening, Anne B?
WTJB: I’m sensing a little hostility over there. Were you unhappy with the episode?
AB: Just a second. (*drinks*)
Not unhappy at all. There’s almost too much to say; the episode is funny and creepy and tender and deeply, deeply upsetting …
WTJB: … Really? I thought it felt like a very funny ghost story.
AB: I think this is the most deeply feminist episode we’ve seen since The Other Woman. It’s also the funniest, since at least The Crash in season 6 — funnier, in my opinion — so I really have no complaints. Aside from, you know, a vague hunch that Matt Weiner is f**king with me?
WTJB: Excuse me?
AB: I DON’T KNOW WHERE DON DRAPER IS! It’s less than a year since the Manson murders, and Don Draper just let a hitchhiking hippie in the car with him! I know I should be more worried for the hippie, but I just get this feeling … I just prefer knowing where Don Draper is.
WTJB: “I never know where he is.” Didn’t Betty once say that?
AB: I am happy we saw Betty. “We can’t get mad at her for being independent. It’s normal.” That hundred bucks’ worth of psychology textbooks is weighing on her, in more ways than one.
WTJB: Have we seen Don and Betty together for the last time?
AB: I think maybe we have.
Knock ‘em dead, Birdie. – Don Draper to Betty Francis
WTJB: Parts of the episode are tough to watch. Joan has been through so much in all seven seasons: first her fiance in season 3, then Joey Baird in season 5, then the Jaguar guy in season 5 …
AB: And in the Topaz meeting a few weeks ago …
WTJB: Right. It seems that when fires start on Mad Men, Joan is the one most likely to get burned. Even if she’s helping put a fire out, like tying a tourniquet on the ankle of a guy named Guy …
AB: … She’s in the fight. She never gets clear of the hostilities. Ever.
The scene between Joan and Jim Hobart is great, and terrible. That is the meeting I could have had so many times — but I have never had the nerve to stand my ground and say to the person in power what Joan says to Jim. I wonder how many women here would like to speak with a lawyer. I could have said that! I should have!
WTJB: So this is why the tequila shot?
AB: This is why. I was shaking at the end of that scene.
I’ll give you fifty cents on the dollar to never see your face again.
I’m not negotiating. – Jim Hobart and Joan Harris
WTJB: I’m surprised that Roger tells her to take the deal. “You started something that could leave you with nothing.” And she takes it.
AB: That surprised you? We lose. We always lose. Even if we settle, our careers are never the same again.
What we see of McCann’s whole operation in this episode is terrible for women. They think Peggy’s a secretary, they’re sticking her in a cube, skeevy Ferg says men won’t “work for a girl,” and the women of McCann (the “Ladies’ Club”?!) are all stuck doing lady business. And they have to insist they’re not women’s libbers!
WTJB: May I get you some more tequila? Birthday cake?
WTJB: The Don Draper Predicament is compelling too. Jim Hobart says to Don, “You’re my white whale.” He thinks he’s talking about love, but Moby-Dick is a tale of revenge. Like most revenge stories, it doesn’t end well for the obsessed party.
AB: Hobart does get what he wants, for a minute there: I’m Don Draper, and I work for McCann-Erickson. He actually gets his handsome dancing bear.
WTJB: But then Don sees a flight passing over the Empire State Building, and just like that, he’s gone. He’s at Betty’s, then he’s headed for Pennsylvania, then he’s in Racine, then he’s got a hitchhiker in his car, headed for the Twin Cities …
AB: And we don’t know, do we? We have no idea where he is. And here’s what matters to me: he wasn’t there when Joan needed him — in the archaic, depressing, mediocre gray offices of McCann-Erickson.
WTJB: At least Roger and Peggy gave the old SC&P offices a proper farewell.
AB: We’ll always have Roger on the organ and Peggy on rollerskates, won’t we? And this!
WTJB: Let’s go to the episode thoughts and questions.
- Bert Cooper is probably the best dead person Don could have found in his passenger seat, given the available choices.
- “Space Oddity” is a great choice for the end of this episode. (Harry does say, “McCann is Mission Control.”) I think my spaceship knows which way to go …
- We are not fans of Waitress Die in the House of B. Wherever Don ends up, I hope we don’t see her again.
- Betty Draper Francis said she carried a hundred dollars’ worth of textbooks on campus. These days, $100 would not even buy her a whole textbook.
- The scene of Peggy at home, zipping up her skirt to answer the door? Made of yes.
- Have we really seen the last of Shirley?
Advertising is not a comfortable place for everyone. – Shirley [WTJB sobs audibly]
- At the start of the episode, Meredith hands Don an envelope with his personal documents — and Anna’s ring — in it. Are these things with Don in that Caddy, out there in the Midwest? DISCUSS.
- Another great Roger Sterling episode, or best Roger Sterling episode ever? My favorite line: “This was a hell of a boat, you know?” What’s yours, Basketcases?