Monday, September 27, 2010

Mad Men S04E10

I have enjoyed this season the most, though last night's episode left me somewhat confused; secrets were revealed all over the place, each of them portending some very bad outcomes for SCDP.  I suspect a major setup for the closing three episodes; sadly I won't be able to watch the first two live (well, when they first air).  I assume they do not broadcast them live and I hope to live to see them!
Nicest image: Sally responding to news Don was taking her to see The Beatles.  And Betty's sadly uncharacteristic apparent pleasure in Sally's happiness.  (And is there an understory here that Betty has not even considered - Henry, as an aide to the Governor, could have got those tickets easily  - Don was hanging dependently on Harry Craine.)
Worst image: Don gazing at Megan at the end.  (I really like Megan.)
Sweetest image: Pete holding Trudy in that crazy nightie and being unable to tell her the secret he knows.
Best line for me:   Don : "I'm not worried; not in the slightest."  (He is talking about Harry producing the Beatles tickets, but the darker meaning becomes much clearer later as this is the breakup of the NAA meeting.)
Funniest line: When the G-Men ask Betty about clubs Don might be a member of, responds "New York Athletic Club."
Joan starts by telling Roger that she is pregnant by him, and they agree to an abortion.  He is always casual, but she has to take all the indignities along the way to apparently doing this.  His first attempt at arrangements are a disaster as a doctor insults Joan (well, and Roger).
North American Aviation(NAA)'s report is almost all secret.   It did trickle through my mind that this leads to what it led to, ironic given how Don had sent Pete off during that weird California trip to sign them.
Lane has a girlfriend and she is a Negro!  He seems quite lovely with her.  "You're in my life", and it is sweet as she responds "Why do you have to be so damn dashing?"
Betty guards Don's secret in response to a rather implausibly precisely placed question directly about Don's identity from the G-men. (Surely someone can go check what the standard security clearance questions back then were.)  This is really a great triumph for Betty, who has been on a terrible run lately for us viewers.
Pete applied for the security clearance and told nobody.  And as the episode goes on he squirms more and more.  I also got the feeling the production team reads the blogs as there was long ago a discussion about the statute of limitations for what Don did, and the discussions I read got so faithfully reflected in this episode.  Don explains it is desertion and there is no statute of limitations, and Pete points out this hardly seems relevant this long after the Korean War.  Which from a practical point of view, seems to be pretty much the case, from what I read in the very erudite discussion.
Betty tells Henry she wants no secrets with him and tells him the smallest part of the secrets she knows.  He is contented.  Do secrets have a frisson?
Pete and Don in the elevator: "If you ask me if he knows how to keep a secret, we works for the DoD".
Don won't tell his lawyer (!) why he wants to make money available to his kids and let Betty control the money, and moreover tells the lawyer(!) Betty will know the reason.  Talk about privilege.  Don does not respond to the lawyer's suggestion he is involved with Megan.
Faye has not got a call Don made.  Recalling for us Ida's 'pushy' remark, she will not be deterred and ends up back at his place.
Faye sees Don totally freak out at two guys in suits.  She is not totally stupid - knows there is something pretty deep there.
Lane exposes Toni as his girl friend, a secret not made clear earlier.  Not great, I thought, for Lane.
And then the most brutal secret-maker - Lucky Strike, as so thoroughly portended, wants to dump SCDP.  We know this is it for Roger - but he gets to keep the secret a month!
Lane exposes his secret and gets whacked across the head and sadly submits.
Pete and Trudy have the greatest secret discussion in the episode, him admitting he has a profound one but cannot tell her what it is.   With her in her teddy and they way they are postured, I feel she really accepts this.
Don exposes most of his secret to Dr. Faye.  She is nice.  Well. she has known him a while.
Pete arrives at Don's apartment to talk privately and find Dr. Faye!  Another \secret.
And then the slaughter of the secrets at the partners' meeting (except that all were held, and none exposed, for all the lances thrown).  Pete falls on a sword (OK a lance) big time, and it is not even his sword except in a small way, Roger goes bonkers, knowing he has a REAL secret and threat to the company.  Lane announces in other words his submission to his father.
Roger caterwauls in a form of laughter but nobody has any respect for him and he leaves after reporting that the Lucky Strike account is great.
 We have three episodes for all these secrets to explode and SCDP to sort its fate out, though it dies it not yet fully know it must.
Key questions:
1) Where did Lane's Mickey Mouse doll come from? He holds it as his father arrives and it perfectly bespeaks his love of America, and his, as we learn, subservient role to Daddy.
2) Do Don and Betty still really connect in a way? - when she phones him about their interrogation, they communicate just brilliantly.
3) I was on tenterhooks through the whole episode concerning the Beatles tickets.  I interpret the closing song as confirmation Don and Sally were there.  I am worried about the closing image.
UPDATE: I missed what the closing song was, thinking of it only as a Beatles song.  Thanks, BoK.
Thanks, Weiner and crew, and all the Mad Men fans out there on the Internet!


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