Don And The Gang Return! But First: The Story So Far
So ecstatic and beside herself is Dorothy at the prospect of the third season starting next week that she's speaking in tongues (and the third person) while salivating and running her run-on sentence backwards!
Plus, Doro's missed her commenters something fierce! So, group, let's just catch up on a few points before the debut on Sunday, Aug. 16th. (Really, how did we survive until now?)
As with most things Mad and Men, AMC's beautifully executed poster promoting the new season is genius. It shows Don Draper, all perfectly shaved, coiffed, starched and buttoned up, sitting in his office smoking as murky water floods around him.
Okay, the obvious response is that he can barely keep his head above water. (Time and tide wait for no man!) And it's a wonderful visual representation of otherwise invisible inner turmoil.
Water also symbolizes the elemental: birth, life, death. As with Don's character, water has a paradoxical nature -- the source of life itself, it can also bring raging chaos, powerlessness, and destruction. Or as with a murky swamp, it suggests a return to a primordial, oozy (not boozy) state.
And right now, Don's life is quite a bog. For his cheating, Betty had ordered him out of the house last season, but when she discovered she was pregnant from desperate, middle-of-the-night, clueless-man-on-angry-woman sex in her old bedroom at her demented dad's house, she seemed to make peace with her marriage and let her badly behaved husband come back home.
And indeed, one of the few visual clues for what's ahead was leaked when a photo was released showing Don on the set in period dress, (with a messy production assistant in shorts behind him), apparently taking Betty home from the hospital. She's beautifully groomed, in a perfect outfit, carrying the baby, looking like a Kennedy wife.
Speaking of water -- beautiful blond Betty actually looks just like Joan Kennedy did in the 1960s. Joan, of course, was married to Ted then. While many comparisons have been made about Don and JFK, here the royal pair are more like Teddy and the Missus -- aka Mr. and Mrs. Pre-Chappaquiddick, who don't know what's about to hit them.
How will Don, a cruelly abused orphan child in need of a mother, react to the new baby? Birth is an act that raises never-ending, soul-crushing questions about authenticity and reality versus lies and illusions, about actual flesh and blood living people versus ghosts who still have power over us from the grave. Don is already split in two -- he's capable of being aggressor and victim, liar and truth teller, pitiful whore child and family man.
Which Don will emerge this season? For that matter, in the larger context, with the Brits taking over, the Sterling Cooper agency is also a battleground, a place divided. Who will stay and who will go? Will Sal come out? Will Pete continue to be his more sympathetic self? Will Peggy make it after all? And where can I get Joan's pen pendant?
Open the floodgates, Matthew Weiner! We're so 99 3/4 percent pure, we float!