Season 4, Episode 10: Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Mickey)

LanePlayboy.

Cottontails, bunny ears, and tell me about the rabbits, Joan. Talk about Groundhog Day, and chickens coming home to roost.

Really, Don, vomiting so soon? And pulling that exact same mode of panic attack again, pu-leeeze!!!

I hate to go so neg, Mad Blogsters, but after the high of last week's episode, I was at first put off by the stilted tone and implausibly soap opera-ish turns of this week's nonstop depressing -- and even horrifying -- revelations.

Really, there were only three high points: Sally's delighted squeal about the Beatles' tickets, Trudy's lulu of a maternity nightie, (what a wedding-cake-like confection!) and Don's line to Faye: "You're not a real doctor."

The rest were lies, lies, lies. And buying time: a month, to be exact.  But then again, this is "Mad Men," which requires extra viewings. Those bring the realization that in reality, most people keep repeating the same crazy stuff in their lives, while vowing to change. It's depressing, yes. And human.

Let's start with Lane, whose name is only one letter away from lame. Actually, his completelyLane-Father sadistic father is the one who requires the walking stick, and he treated us to something I've never seen before: a caning.

It wasn't enough that the father beat his child so violently on the head that he drew blood. Then he had to step on Lane's hand, possibly crushing it (more gratuitous Weiner-style limb-based drama!)

Even worse, the historically bullied and abused son (he had previously disclosed that his father was an alcoholic) submitted, literally blindly, while searching for his glasses. (Now I understood why Lane took the news of being moved to India as a reward for his hard work so stoically.)

I was surprised to learn that Lane's father was a salesman -- "in trade!"  No wonder Lane's wife is so snooty; she feels that she married down. He's dating a Toni, but Lane's back round is not so tony. The only thing left out, in terms of brutal British stereotypes, was for Robert Pryce to have buggered his son with his cane.  For Lane's part, there will be no mutiny. Forget Mickey Mouse and his new American-ness, with his newfound love of jazz and Negroes; he's going home to take care of business.

LaneToniIn a previous episode, Lane was shown reading "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."  Lane's relationship with his "Negro" is more a poignant stab at personal freedom  (his life raft, if you will) than poseur Paul's interracial dabbling with the supermarket clerk to prove his progressive liberal bona fides. But both situations came off as dramatically awkward, and to a modern eye and ear, embarrassing. Indeed, a friend told me he thought the situation was redeemed only by Lane calling Toni his "jungle bunny," which caused him to laugh out loud. (That would suggest that Lane is more like his class-bound wife in his view of the colonies than he admits.) But my friend rewound and found that Lane had said "chocolate bunny."

At one point while Lane, the key holder, was entertaining Don and his father at the Playboy Club, he pointed to cocoa-lady love and called her the "finest waitress here." I was thinking he was going to say "finest piece of ass I've ever had," which is what Roger once said about Joan.

Roger's treatment of Joan is just plain sickening. And she actually apologized for getting pregnant. (Just as Megan apologized to Don for not telling him what he signed.)

But let's talk about the "Mad Men" preoccupation with monster sperm. We know that, like God,Pete-Trud Matthew Weiner works in mysterious ways.  We've got a holy trinity in terms of practically immaculate seminal events here. This is the third pregnancy on the show from a one-time assignation: Peggy and Pete, Don and Betty, and now Joan and Roger.

Talk about implausible, and shooting heat-seeking missiles: how the hell did two almost-elderly people do it standing up, on a street, with all of her majorly defensive foundation garments in the way, and end up preggers to boot?

Plus, all these non-abortions are beginning to tilt the show toward a decidedly pro-life leaning.  Is Weiner trying to tell us that some of the more interesting souls populating our planet these days got here unintentionally?

The episode was directed by Lynn Shelton, and while she had to deal with a tough script with some decidedly non-mumblecore dialogue, one moment of beauty came through loud and clear: the vision of Joan coming home alone on the bus. (Geographic mistake alert: she would have certainly taken the train from Morristown, N.J.) Regardless, it was a gorgeous visual that reminded me of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks."  (More bird references!) Certain lush, ruby-red infused images in episodes past have also seemed to refer to Hopper, the master at reflecting urban angst, isolation, and alienation.

Joan-RogerI think Joan did not go through with the abortion. She mentioned that her daughter was 15 because that's when her first abortion happened (this would be her third.) She told the other mother that her daughter was beautiful; between what the doctor said in scolding Roger and the mother's mistake, it hit her that she's getting long in the tooth, can no longer trade on her own beauty, and this could be her last opportunity to have a baby.

I believe, in a perfect parallel to Roger's scene with Lee Garner Jr., that in her own mind, Joan is saying to herself, "Give me 30 days. After all the lies I've told for Roger, he owes me that. Thirty days to keep it under my hat and get my affairs in order."

 

Meanwhile, Don was back to his panic-attack-y self, and repeated the same behavior that led him to want to abandon his fake life and run off with Rachel. At the time, she told him, "You haven't thought this through."  This time, Don has thought it through, to the extent of wanting to set up "a trust" for his children. A TRUST! That's rich.

In a vulnerable moment, he did tell Faye about the identity change. His behavior seems as familiar to her as a fake heart attack -- maybe her own father has wanted to run off as well.

For Sally's sake, I hope Don stays, at least through the Beatles' concert. That Shea Stadium event inRoger-Lee the summer of 1965 was a revealing predictor of pop culture: very telling, in that no one could hear the band play, including John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves (the music was all redone secretly for the documentary release), and the experience, complete with security and armored van, made the Beatles want to stop touring.

But back to lies. Think of all the people who can now blackmail Don: Betty, Pete, and Faye. Pete is really in the driver's seat, having to subject himself to such abuse from Roger for lying for Don. What he has up his sleeve is now as huge as Trudy's maternity nightgown.

The final song, an instrumental version of "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" sounded tinny and cheap. I guess that was intentional. The song that would really cover things, though, was "I Should Have Known Better."

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Editors' Note: Mad Blog return to an earlier posting date next week.

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8 comments about "Season 4, Episode 10: Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Mickey)".
  1. Jonathan Hutter from Garrand , October 1, 2010 at 4:07 p.m.

    Dorothy we missed you! (even if only for a day or two). You really think all these dramatics were over the top? Maybe I'm just into this show hook, line & sinker. Even with the roller coaster of this week's episode, I see major set ups for more to come.

    The departure of Lucky Strike and Don's directive to abandon the aviation account mean SCDP is in trouble. They need help. Frankly, the creative product stinks. Other than Don and Peggy, they don't have anyone who can do work. Don keeps hiring jerks and lets Peggy manage them. They need a better partner for Peggy. With that tobacco jerk gone, it leaves the door open for her to be teamed up with...

    SAL!

    Perhaps I'm dreaming. That would be great though. I still stand by my previous prediction that Don will marry Dr. Faye. I'd sure like to see someone in this business who isn't completely f'ed up. Wait, that would be Pete. Who knew?

  2. Curtis Brubaker from BCAT, llc , October 1, 2010 at 4:44 p.m.

    Hate to be one who breaks it... but MM has indeed gone from innovatively-themed drama to soap opera. All one needs do is compare it straight across (writing, acting, directing, art direction and production values) element for element with likes of Rubicon another original AMC creation.

  3. Julius Picardi , October 1, 2010 at 5:35 p.m.

    Joan's role in this episode was very sad. She was typically stoic in the face of Roger's shallow-ness. I thought she doted on her 15 year old "daughter" (where IS her child?) merely as a defense mechanism, with no daughter existing as the fetus would have been aborted 15 years ago.

  4. Jonathan McEwan from MediaPost , October 1, 2010 at 6:19 p.m.

    Sorry you were so disappointed. But because of your write up I just realized there were two Rabbit tests, the second being the bunny test. I was fascinated by the recreation of the Playboy Club House and the "chocolate bunny." I never expected that from Lane. Both she and the grim reality of his abusive father were quite surprising and discomfiting.

    As for Don and his panic attacks, that's a common problem in our modern world. Clearly, he's prone to them. Today we know they feed on themselves, often causing the sufferer to fear they are having a heart attack, the fear of which fuels the attack and can cause them to pass out. The burden of his secret is too huge. I also liked that in revealing his secret to Faye he brought them closer together, rather than repelling her as he feared. Though that caddish way he was eyeballing Megan at the end of the show kinda worried me a bit. She could be his yellabellied escape hatch.

    There was also a theme of shared secrets and the bonds they create: Roger and Joan, Don and Faye and Don and Pete.

    I was more concerned that they were losing their biggest client and ... did they bleep Roger on the TV? I could swear he let loose a shocker of a four-letter word at Pete on my iTunes download. Or maybe I misheard him (I didn't rewind at the time). That to me really emphasized the burden on Roger to fix the fine mess that was his secret...

    Which brings up that last song and all the secrets and my one question to you: "Why except me and my Mickey?" We got Lane's secret: The chocolate bunny and the severity of his father's abuse. Joan and her abortions. Pete and Peggy, and Pete and Don. Roger and Lee. Lee and Sal, Faye and Don... Did I leave anyone out?

    And wasn't that the elevator version of the Beatles' "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" Perhaps a reference to the elevator at the end of the previous episode? Like you said, there's always more below the obvious surface and this episode was all about secrets. The pain of keeping them. And a little bit of what happens when you share a them.

  5. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , October 1, 2010 at 6:28 p.m.

    I had dinner Wednesday night with five advertising people, three of whom worked in the era. One of them pronounced this the best episode of all. Surprised me as I agree with Dorothy on almost everything and with Curtis Brubaker.
    One moment of real truth was Roger trying to buy the extra 30 days--we had all seen that or heard of it at one time or another.
    Lane's father, by the way, is staying at The Warwick along with the Beatles. No need for wake-up calls.
    Agree on the squeals--what an actress this kid is. January Jones did a pretty sincere one too.
    I am lost on a couple of points. How could Don be a deserter? He was a wounded vet mustered out who came home on the same train as the real Don Draper. If none of the Draper family raised the point or wondered about him except his now late wife, how could the government?
    My video comprehension is really slow as a few weeks ago I misread Joan's visit to the doctor as her pregnancy with her husband and thought she asked for a couple of days off the following month to have an abortion.
    Dorothy, welcome back, and the Pope forgives you for confusing the Immaculate Conception with The Virgin Birth.
    Well there's a new episode of Smallville tonight. Kal-el's adventure I can pretty much follow without Ms.Parker's always well-written and thoughtful libretto.

  6. Rob Frydlewicz from RAF Consulting , October 3, 2010 at 12:54 p.m.

    I don't like episodes that don't have Peggy in them and it seemed like everybody in the cast was in this one except for her - I hope she wasn't off on a vacation w/Duck!

  7. Missy Kruse , October 4, 2010 at 4:29 p.m.

    Can't wait for your critique of this past Sunday's episode. Roger, Don, Lane, the new creative director (who like most artsy types never wears a suit), even Pete have truly shown themselves to be a bunch of weak sisters. The women are actually tougher -- but obviously with just as many problems. But, then dysfunctional = drama.

  8. Maddy Mud from McMarketing , October 4, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.

    Roger is in binge mode. He ends up at a bar, he's usually not at. This bar is not totally gay, but is a middle ground. Sal is there. He accuses Sal of ruining Lucky Strike. Sal tells him the real deal. Roger promises Sal his job back if he can lure Lee Garner into a trap. He does, Lucky Strike comes back via blackmail. Lee had the power to bring it back afterall. Sal is back! And they fire the schmucko who bugs Peggy ...