Episode 10: Another Lock Box, Another Troubled Brother, And...
But it's more like Code Blue for Don and his secrets. Betty found the key to the Dick Whitman box, a sampler packed neatly for maximal fleeing. Unlike Carmela Soprano and the bird feeder, Betty's not one to care about the cash -- naturally, she's obsessed with the mysterious existence of the first Mrs. Draper, in word and deed.
At the same time, Don was out releasing his Adam substitute to the wild. Now there's an injured bird who will find his way back to roil the (already ramshackle) nest.
By the way, were Miss Maypole's home-baked goods -- three datenut breads -- supposed to suggest her generally Mother Earth-ish nature, or merely that Don's date feels like a nut?
Most of all, I loved the teaming of Paul and Peggy -- the sanctimonious Princetonian against the Mary Wells of the typing pool-- and the sheer thrill of watching how the work got done.
But first, my own nutty conspiracy theories, in light of the fact that the president will be assassinated in roughly six weeks. And, to be noted, with a tension as grave as the one created with that "Sopranos"-like cut just as Don takes the podium at the Waldorf at the end of the show: JFK spends the night before his death in a Hilton in Dallas. (Gulp!)
Submitted for your approval, three shards of ghostly JFK references:
Number One: the Final Net "Double Date" scene, which was magic, a tour de force of writing, acting , and direction. And then I saw the set-up in a new light: two couples out touring in a large convertible, open to the elements. The cap falls off the aerosol can -- bang -- with Governor Connelly and his wife in the front, and the president and Jackie in the back.
Number Two: Right before his epiphany with Achilles, Kinsey takes care of business at his desk. He puts out a napkin, opens his pants, and, for his viewing pleasure, takes out the board of the Maidenform ad he created using photos of Marilyn and Jackie. (Masturbating over your own work -- talk about Narcissus squared!)
Number Three: In the final banquet scene, when Roger "Screw him!" Sterling has to introduce Don, the man he hates, Roger jokes about Don's tendency for lateness. At JFK's birthday bash at Madison Square Garden, the then-president introduced Marilyn Monroe (who was also soon to die) as "the late Marilyn Monroe."
Meditations in an emergency: I felt used when I found out that the Brits are flipping the agency -- that's why they needed Don tied to a contract -- so I can imagine how the Cooperites will freak when they find out. It was beyond belief that Lois, the foot murderer (talk about an Achilles' heel!) is still employed at the agency, while Sal has to twist in the wind.
Interestingly, Lane Pryce showed his human side with his inhuman wife. She would no doubt have been happier in India, with its servants, rigid class system and British style social hierarchies. (No waiting for cabs to drive through Harlem.)
But Pryce likes New York, where, in all his months in residence, "not one person asked me where I went to school." That's probably because Americans are baffled by the English system -- that whole public/private thing that's always the opposite of ours, for starters. Then there's that A levels thing and the "gap year" idea. Certainly, East Coast agencies were bastions of good ole boys at the time, with Ivy League and/or eating club fraternity brothers hiring each other's children.And Paul Kinsey, for one, is not shy about broadcasting where he went to school.
Speaking of Kinsey, I think I figured out what he forgot. The fact thaat Achilles said that at a family party, all the men turn when the name is spoken.... Wait a minute... I lost it. Has there ever been a better illustration of how a flash of inspiration goes poof? (Even Don hates when that happens, although I was screaming at the screen for the drunken Kinsey to put down the tumbler and pick up a pen.) The way Peggy brought up the Chinese proverb, and she and Don created a Western Union campaign out of it -- "You can't frame a phone call" -- was beautiful.
Perhaps you can't -- but each of the Drapers wanted to frame a respective lover for the offense of a hang-up. (I believe it was the breadbaker and future bunny burner.) Henry Francis doesn't want to take no passive-aggressive guff.
But Betty is indeed hung-up. Like her hair in the clips, like her washing, and the fact that she lay in wait for Don but he never came home. (The sleeping-just-down-the-street action is indeed tawdry.) She's hung-up, but has she given up? It's interesting that she's reading "The Group," Mary McCarthy's 1963 bestseller, describing the vagaries of Vassar grads, all hamstrung (in an Achilles heel sort of way) by the respective men in their lives. Mary McCarthy alone was brave enought to lay it all out there -- what it was like for troubled,educated, upper-middle-class women in the 1940s and '50s. And for her honesty (and orgasm-baring), Vassar wanted to strip her of her degree.
Only three episodes to go, readers! Is Joan coming back? Will Betty confront Don? Will the wood nymph take a hike? I'm on pins and needles -- tendon is the night.