Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A | 4 USERS: A-
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em!

Betty hears Sally returning from school, and has her come join her. She steels herself and says she knows she hasn't been completely fair to Sally, and offers to give her something she wants. She hands Sally a large box, and when Sally opens it, she's thrilled to find riding boots, and she hugs Betty as she thanks her profusely before asking if they can go out now. Betty buys a little time by talking about homework, but she follows through with her plan, which is to use the boots as a transition, saying that now that Sally's becoming a big girl, she's going to tell her something -- she and Don are having a "disagreement," and he went away. Sally doesn't look entirely surprised, but asks where Don is, and Betty confesses that she knows neither that nor when he's coming back. She goes on that she knows it's hard to understand, but promises everything will be okay. As Joyce Summers once said in another parenting-related context, little shaky on the dismount there. Betty and Sally smile at each other, but the tender moment is ruined when Betty suddenly notices she's bled onto the couch. She sends Sally into the kitchen, which surprises me, because since they're on the subject I thought she'd take the opportunity to talk about one more thing big girls have to know.

Don's fixing a chair as Anna gets him to agree reluctantly to let her do a tarot reading on him. While he waits, he goes over to her bookshelf and pulls out Meditations In An Emergency, which is of course the book he sent at the beginning of the season, so that's another question answered. He asks if she read it, and she says she did in fact, and it reminded her of New York, and also made her worry about him. She says his cards definitely show that he's in a strange place, and points to the "Judgment" card, which she says represents resurrection. Okay, at what point do I just start calling him "Dick"? He looks out the window and says he can smell the ocean, and then Anna points to the "The World" card, saying it's the key to Don's reading -- it signifies that he's part of the world. "Air, water -- every living thing is connected to you." He asks what that means, and she smiles: "The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone." I think I see him more clearly now. Earlier in the season, I said I thought his somewhat sociopathic tendencies were rooted in the fact that he didn't really believe he existed. But now it seems like his problems stemmed from the fact that he knew the particular identity he had appropriated, Don Draper, didn't really exist. Don Draper, by definition, had to be alone -- as Joan said earlier, "There is no before." But it seems to me that the point of the episode is that there is a before, no matter how much you try to say there isn't, and now I think what she's telling him is that to be happy, to believe in his own existence again, he has to go back to being Dick Whitman. Anyway, I'm sure that made a lot more sense in my head than it does on the page, so let's move on to where Don asks what happens if he really is alone. She says he can change, and he gruffly (and laughably) says that people never do. She declines to address that, instead continuing to smile as she says she thinks the World card stands for wisdom. "As you live, you learn things." Don considers that, and they look at each other in silence before we cut to the window again...

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Mad Men




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