Monday, October 19, 2009

Mad Men:The Color Blue

Don Draper is getting careless. He's started a new affair with a local teacher with stalkerish tendencies. He's given out his number to her epileptic afflicted and wayward brother. The key to his secret Dick Whitman desk draw was left mindlessly in his robe pocket for Betty to find. The shaky foundation at Sterling Cooper is about to give way to another possible take over.

This episode, "The Color Blue", culminates in teacher Suzanne, Don's new fuck buddy, comment about a child observing the color blue and how it's perceived differently by everyone. In this episode, everyone sees things differently. Lane Pryce sees New York as a relief from the British class system, while his wife despairs of it's noise, filth and traffic. Peggy sees what Paul feels is his own failure to create as an opportunity to find a smart ad pitch. A single silent phone call will make Betty think it's Henry calling, and Don believe it's Suzie trying to reach him. (Judging from her weirdness, I'm guessing that was really her breathing on the phone.)

But the big deal was that Betty knows.

She was always trying to get into that desk drawer. Only a few weeks ago we found her shaking it's handle. Betty might not exactly understand Don's past, but at least she has a inkling of his other life of which she knew nothing. This is a devastating turn for Bets, and with an historic event about to take place in the assassination of JFK, we are feeling the build up to not only an America tragedy, but grave misfortune about to befall the Draper household. All those skeletons will fall out of Don's closet, with Dick Whitman, his pretend ex-wife Anne, and probably Suzie his current squeeze all come tumbling down on his head.

Adding to Don's doom is the uncertainty of Sterling Cooper. Bertie and Roger are the "last of the Mohegans", and new ownership is already pushing them on the selling block yet again. Yet, amongst all this, Lane Pryce (played wonderfully by Jared Harris) was a nice surprise. He's likable and sympathetic. A toy of the class riddled head honchos in London, he's treated like a whipping boy, made to bring down the hammer on how things are done in New York, while trying to be one of the guys. His wife's longing to return to London was sad, not just for her, but for Lane. Me thinks this lad is rather fond of the United States where "nobody asks me where I went to college." England of the 1960's - pre-Beatles and culture revolution - was a drab post-war straight laced drag. Can't blame Lane for possibly wanting to stay State-side a bit longer.

And Peggy. We can discuss that she's Don Draper in a girdle all day long. She does inhabit the same creative gift Draper possesses; yet, being a woman, she has more against her than Don ever had. The fact she was able to cultivate a gem of an idea from Paul Kinsey's despair over forgetting his own, was magic.

Mad Man has always been riveting television. However, I think we're finally getting to the nitty gritty.

One question: After being a total ditz and mowing off a man's foot in the office with a John Deere tractor, why is Lois still employed?

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