Time Mad Men, Season 6 Episode 11: Boom!

Don.  Good to have a good night.

The title this time is not too complicated to understand. A lot of people do a lot of favors  to a lot of other people, but in all cases without exception we find, hiding beneath the veneer of altruism, consciously or unconsciously, an interest, and in most cases – sexual interest. Peggy reveals the mechanism when it offers its deal Stan "a dead mouse for a quicky". We understand why Bob has cringed all season around Pete. In this case, not only the interest is sexual, but also the payment  – Don Manolo. And of course, the huge favor that Don does for Sylvia, causing her to "do him a favor". Ted's words are the most accurate ones. When Don shakes his hand after he agrees to help Arnold's son: "This handshake is not a gratitude. This is a binding contract".

Vietnam War in this episode is not another song in the background. Is not just a significant component of the plot, it drives the it entirely. It penetrates the lives of the main characters. This matter should be further noted: In the "previously" part, in the beginning of the episode,  Weiner shows us a conversation between Don Arnold in a New York restaurant. "We're losing the war," says Arnold. "wouldn't know it from looking around  here," says Don. The war is everywhere now, but yet: Mitchell, son of Ernie, is avoiding the battlefield. Many other "sons of the elite" will do so too. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Vietnam War is the latest of full draft. Since then, America no more has "the people's army". The sons of decision makers often do not serve. Interesting how it affects their decisions. I know at least one small country in the Middle East undergoing a similar process.

Another important theme in this episode – which was directed by Jennifer Getzinger who has just been in Israel on a visit, and I had the honor interviewing – is a family, a subject that keeps coming up this season. We see the absence of significant family in Peggy's and Pete's life, and those who have it – Don, Ted –  face threats, and this time it's not just the relationship between husband and wife, but between fathers and sons, or rather say – fathers and daughters. But wait a minute. We start, as usual, from easiest to the hardest.

Peggy and Ted

Peggy and a friend.

Peggy serves  the main plot: She, as mentioned, exposes the sexual desire underneath all favors. She also  drives the plot of the love triangle: Pete – Rosemary – Manolo, (not to say – connects the vertices to each other). But Peggy also has an independent story line: Peggy is alone. It has a rat in her apartment. She bought a cat. Is There a cliche that has not been used for us to understand this? At least we had the delighted phone call between her and Stan, surely the best couple in the series that are not together (yet?).

The fact that peggy is so alone suggests that she is so ready for a so new and exciting relationship, which leads us straight to the so married Ted. The fact that his family unit is exposed, suggests that it on the verge of breaking up. Ted and Don have parallel lines: Both are not much at home, both of them are not really at home even when they're at home. Neither of them is father of the year. They have Different motives – a hole inside Don's sole, and a crazy ambition inside Ted's – but their motive is actually the same: another woman. but the main difference between them is that Ted isn't doing anything with it yet. He is not cheating on his wife. In a way, Ted and Peggy are the moral mirror image of Don.

Bob and Pete

Knee

"He's a pervert," says Pete about Manolo, but there's another pervert in the room: Bob. No, of course not because he is gay. But, i mean – falling in love with Pete? Pete?? Among All People? You must be a pervert for that. Anyway, finally we received an answer to what is the role of Bob, and is not that exciting, although it should be noted that it is expressed in magnificent writing, acting and directing: The drink he takes just before he starts, his monologue of love, the gentle touch of his knee, and the sharp but double meaning response of Pete, to Bob and Manolo: "Tell him this is disgusting". 

The story of Bob anyway is overshadowed by the discovery of new MILF on your screen: dorothy Campbell. Pete's reaction to it is the dismissal of "Don Juan". Actually, any response in this case is acceptable: you can see it as him taking advantage of her, and you can  think that if dorothy is happy – why stopping it? The question is what the intention  behind the reaction, and in the case of Pete we know he doesn't think about what's good for his mother. In fact, it seems he was already planning to give it up, but Bob's confession manifest makes him get on his nerves – and fire Manolo.

Pete is also, like many episodes this season, a warning for Dons. This is how it looks when you don't have a family. This is how it looks when your mother tell you "you have always been unlovable" (and we know who else was an unloved child). When Peggy tells Pete in the restaurant about his mother, Pete says, "I think I'm gonna be sick". We know who else was exposed to her father's sexual activity and said she wanna be sick. It's time to talk about it.

Don and Sally

Sally.  Better to show you her face, than what she sees

Boom. Splash. Bang. We didn't really think Matthew Weiner would let this affair pass without devastating consequences. An affair shown in the first episode of the season, is about to explode by the end of it. And it was non-conventional explosion. The moment when Sally looked at Don and Sylvia is one of the hardest moments I have experienced watching TV. This moment easily overshadows the Red Wedding of Game of Thrones. Even if nothing happens from now on until the end of the season, even if Sally would hold her tongue silent forever, eve if Megan never knows – who cares? The fact that Sally knows is so much more shocking than that Megan knows, that it doesn't matter anymore.  Don may not be with Megan all his life. But Sally is his daughter forever. The scratch that opened up between him and her will never heal without a scar. Don's father figure for sally will never fully recover . She would never climb again on his shoulder, like Ted's sons.

Let there be no misunderstandings, Don brought this on himself. Throughout the season and in this episode. Even if he was not aware that his sexual motive to help Mitchell  (or may it be his pangs of conscience towards Arnold) – Once Sylvia had raised this possibility in his ears, it was his decision whether to convert the true altruism for sex. It was his decision to you mess this act of good, and make it yet another part of his cycle of self destruction, which hr calls life. Every scene in the entire episode is aimed at the last scene, wonderfully written and directed, and amazingly performed by Jon Hamm: The presentation of gratitude, from Arnold, Megan,and Mitchell, becomes a performance of degradation of Don in the eyes of his daughter, telling him what many viwers feel: you make me sick.

And again, the doors are all over. Sally enters from the back door, the same backdoor through which Don had entered before. This is the same back door from which  the whorehouse of Dick Whitman enters the life of Don Draper. And there's the door separating don from Sally by the end. Even if this oor opens again, it will never be wide open. The episode ends with Don's horrified look through the hall, just before he shut the door. The first episode in this season is called The Doorway, and doors continue to be interwoven in every episode since them. I am surprised that none of "The Doors" songs has been used in this season.

Sally goes through a maturation process. She is still a virgin, she has not reached "second base", as we learn from her annoying friend. But she had seen her step grandmother giving head, ,and now she saw her father "comforting" the girl next door. the 12 years old child Dick Whitman saw similar things. But he lived in poverty and Sally grew up in the middle of Manhattan. Don does not fix his experiences as a child. It replicates them to his children.

SC & P

Yes, the bomb at the end overshadows everything else, but throughout the episode, very quietly, the plot in the office also develop. The mask is removed from Ted's face. "I want my juice," he says. "This is the agency I always wanted" he says Pete and Peggy restaurant. Peggy replies, "But what about him?". The intention may be to Pete – but also to Don. Ted is gaining more and more power as a leader, and now Don owe him big time. Just as he brought it on himself with Sally, so Don brings it on himself with Ted. Currently, the two things that make Don Draper who he is are  in danger: the family unit and its control of the agency. Will he lose them this season? We have two mpre episodes to find out.

Notes

  • 1 a, if you wonder, is the classification of a citizen as a candidate fit for drafting, or in Hebrew: Profile 97.
  • When Sally and Julie meet Mitchell, Julie says he reminds her of Mark Lindsay – musician and lead singer of Paul Revere & The Raiders. , but that's not what really matters. What matters is that Lyndsay once lived in the building where Sharon Tate was murdered. So, we can start all the conspiracy shit once again.
  • in order to avoid the battlefield, Mitchell is going to write a letter expressing how he wanted all his life to be a pilot. Here is a letter written by someone in 1968: "I applied for pilot training in order to make it my life mission. I believe I can accomplish this best by joining the Air Force the longest time possible." Signed: George W Bush.
  • In the middle of the episode Megan dials her agent – by clicking a phone! Were buttons phones available back in 1968?
  • GIF of the Week:
    Roger juggle
  • I will just put this here, and let you discuss it:
    Dayan

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