Posted by on May 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm  Mad Men, Season 7
May 122015
Mad Men, The Milk and Honey Route, Pete & Trudy

Photo Credit:Justina Mintz/AMC

In an Mad Men episode, 7.13, The Milk and Honey Route, Duck Phillips comments on what he sees as the remarkable serendipity benefiting Pete Campbell as his unexpected job negotiations with Learjet progress. Duck comments that “trends” is the term used to describe such a string of luck. Pete views this “supernatural” chain of events as a chance to reunite with Trudy and his daughter, Tammy. While the episode ends on an upbeat note for the couple, the storyline involving Don possibly hints that this trend may not last. Specifically, Don’s choice of reading material, which arguably relates to other, different plot points in the episode, may foreshadow a less than positive outcome for Pete and Trudy.

As Don waits at the Sharon Motel for his car to be repaired, four different books are prominently shown. The last one listed below seems to hint at Pete and Trudy’s fate.

The Godfather: Mario Puzo’s novel about a man who, while in the process of achieving career success, loses his family. This can certainly be said of both Don and Pete. It is not yet clear how either situation will play out.

The Woman from Rome: Don was not actually reading this Alberto Moravia novel. Instead, it was held by an attractive woman by the motel pool who captivates Don. His fascination abruptly ends when the woman’s husband and children (family) join her. One of the main characters in the 1947 novel is a prostitute (whose mother is also a prostitute) living in Fascist Italy during World War Two. Given his history, the character of the prostitute would seem linked to Don/Dick. Also, during the episode, Don encounters people who display fascist behavior. When Don is suspected of stealing the five hundred dollars in cash proceeds from an American Foreign Legion fundraiser, he suffers a brutal “interrogation” at the hands of three veterans who burst into his motel room. This is also a realization of Don’s dream of being detained by a police office which opens the episode.

Andromeda Strain: It would seem a deliberate choice that Don is reading Michael Crichton’s science fiction novel which deals with a deadly ailment that, as with Betty’s condition, starts in the victim’s lungs.

Hawaii: This epic work of historical fiction by James Michener tells the story of the titular pacific islands literally from the point of their creation out of lava flows to when they became the fiftieth U.S. state. A recurring theme in the novel is that of the Hawaiian people struggling to keep their identity in the midst of being incorporated into a larger whole. This idea of being cast out of paradise seems part of Pete and Trudy’s storyline. Pete is first shown administering first aid to Tammy. The two had to cut short their visit to an apple orchard (cast out) after Tammy is stung by a bee. A large basket of apples is placed prominently in the scene and even is in the foreground of one shot. Trudy (like Eve) offers more than one person an apple; her friend Sherry and Pete himself (in the form of apple pie).

Buoyed by the window of good luck (rising trends) surrounding the impending Learjet job offer, Pete (like Adam) may be tempting fate (the gods) by trying to extend that dynamic to improving his family situation. Furthermore, a fringe benefit of the new Learjet position mentioned several times is the fact that Pete and Trudy would have unlimited access to the company’s fleet of small aircraft for personal use. This is interesting given that Pete’s father died in an airplane crash. It is also noteworthy that the music which closes out the episode is Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” containing the lyric:

Everyday it’s a-gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a roller-coaster

Buddy Holly died when the small plane he was traveling in crashed. Trends, roller-coasters, and small aircraft all rise and fall.


  23 Responses to “Trends”

  1. The ending of this post gives me chills! Eeek! Haha

  2. I have been worried that this move will not be Shangri-La. The plane theme seems foreboding. Plus I can’t trust Duck. I worry that he has set Pete up. Is McCann in on this move. Is this just to get Pete out of the way? McCann thinks of Don as his great white. Pete was just the baggage that came along. I want it to work but I am afraid I may be cynical.

    I also wonder what the purpose of having Don and Pete both in Kansas.

    My hope would be that Burt was right in that you never know how allegiance is born and Pete will somehow make this an opportunity for Don. Don saved Pete once by giving him the money for the partnership and now Pete can repay the favor.

    • Don is in Oklahoma, very near the geographic center of the dust bowl incidentally, Pete will be in Kansas. Don is not staying in any one place, didn’t he mention to Sally he was going to the Grand Canyon? My thought is the team that started the series is being scattered over a wide area, both geographical and psychological, and these “new” starts will bring in a lot of the same old problems. Not to say you can’t leave your problems behind, you can and everyone does at times. We leave jobs we hate, we move from houses that have bad memories, we leave people who suck the oxygen out of the air we are trying to breathe. And life is better. But if we are creating a better life by attempting to shut down parts of our history, then in all probability we are going to repeat the same life, just in a different place. I am intrigued by Dons reading material, but these were popular books at the time and may be just what he could find to read at the time. Next week we will find out, I hope.

      • Andy the hustler brought Don books that had been left behind by former occupants at the motel. He was just reading whatever he could get.

      • Don Draper is trying to find inner peace. I don’t know if he will ever find it. Pete and Trudy may move to Wichita but they will bring their past with them. It is up to them to change and make their life together work.

        I feel that having Don die at the end of the series is too simple an ending. Dick Whitman certainly never found inner peace and he hasn’t being Don Draper either. I hope that he can find inner peace but the ending will make that very uncertain. Matt gives us incomplete endings. They are uncertain. The creation of SCDP at the end of season 3 or the McCann merger both showed uncertainty. There is happiness mixed with pain, just like life is.

    • Don will never wear a bizness suit another day in his life.
      Which could be shorter than Betty’s.
      That hobo thing just doesn’t seem all that safe in the crazy 70’s.
      A far cry from the much more innocent dust bowl days.

  3. In Puzo’s novel Michael Corleone does not lose his family.
    Those events happened in Part 2, which is not based on anything in the novel.
    The novel is based on Vito and his waning power.
    Like Don Draper’s, and his disappearing act.

    Love your posts Matt.

    • First, thanks for the kind words, Tilden.

      Regarding The Godfather…we may be arguing in the margins here, but near the end of the novel, as Michael ascends to the head of the Corleone family and it becomes clear that he orders people killed, Kay flees to New Hampshire with their children. Ultimately, she does relent and comes back, but their relationship is unquestionably changed. This is dramatized in the first film by the end shot (from Michael’s POV) of a door closing on her.

      • The original end shot is the actual last line of the book, “and she said the necessary prayers for the soul of Michael Corleone”.
        Kay is at church at night, alone, amid the candles.
        Diane Keaton crosses herself, kneels, and begins her prayers.
        Just awesome.

        I actually like that more than the iconic shot of the door closing on her in the distance.

        • Hmmm…that’s a hard call.

          I’ve seen the “Kay lighting candles for Michael’s soul” shot in extended versions of the movie. However, in the film, Kay believes Michael when he tells her he didn’t have Carlo killed (not in the book) AND they never establish that lighting candles was something Vito’s wife did for his soul. So, I’m not sure it works quite as well as the more succinct closing door (IMHO).

          • Doesn’t she believe him only until she sees the mafiosi gathering around to kiss his ring?

            • The timeline is slightly different between the novel and the film. In the film, Kay believes Michael when he claims no role in Carlo’s death. The meaning of her final glance at the end as she sees Michael being greeted by his capos is not explicitly explained. We surmise that she now has doubts, but we’re not sure if she doubts Michael’s denial or reflects a feeling of unease about him in general. In the novel, she KNOWS Michael killed Carlo (and actually leaves him for a brief time).

              I think the ending Coppola chose works better cinematically — but nobody asked me 🙂

  4. DON Corleone!

  5. you guys are amazing! How you zoom in on these little details and give us all this information! I’m going to miss these updates :((((

  6. “Hawaii” equals the hotel add equals death, suicide or stripping off one’s shell and being reborn?

  7. For me, the title “The Woman From Rome” harkened back to the time Don and Betty were in Italy.

  8. I’m still finding it difficult to see Pete’s sharp turnaround. He, of all the SC&P partners, was shown to be extremely successful and happy at McCann. Of course he’s not happy in his private life and I can see him wanting to try again with Trudi, especially as he’s feeling she’s the only one who understands him. But Wichita? Leaving McCann for Wichita? I’m not so sure.

  9. OK, I gotta say that the shot of the Andromeda Strain (the very edition I read after seeing the extremely faithful film) did not (as usual) arouse thematic thoughts. Instead I thought that this may well have been one of the novels Matt Weiner read as a teenager – mid-to-late 70s. If so, then he was lucky (like me) to latch on to one of the hardest hard science fiction novels extant. For faithfulness to science the film is rivalled by only a handful of other film.

    That Hawaii paperback was the one my mother got in the mid-60s – and which was packed with stills from the film – all part of the overall promotion.

    Wonder how tough it was to get such clean copies?

  10. Good Catch?

    One of the books in this episode was “The Godfather”.

    Twice during the episode different characters use the same famous line from the end sequence of the Godfather ( when Sallie/Abe Vigoda is caught as the traitor and about to be led to his execution, he implores Tom Hagen to intercede with Michael Coroleone,”For old times’ sake”.)

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