What in the holy name of Anna Draper was that? No guarantees, but I’ll try to be a little more sophisticated than I was in my text message to dear friend and loyal reader Michele:
My husband wasn’t paying enough attention during “The Crash,” to my tastes, so I turned to the loving arms and equally hysterical arms of Twitter. I don’t know about you, but about the time Minny Jackson showed up in Don’s apartment, I was
Let’s look at this sequence of events in the cold, sober light of day.
- Don is exhausted, in mind and heart.
- Don, a 40-year-old man, chooses to take the injection from Harry Hamlin’s quack doctor, despite not knowing what’s in it.
- Don trips the trippiest trip that ever was tripped.*
- Don flakes on the Chevy account.
- Don’s obsession with Sylvia leads him to leave his home unattended (and his door unlocked, in hopes she’ll return?) and the safety of his children is compromised.
All these actions begin win Don. But when Don returns to earth, presumably feeling even more exhausted in mind and heart, he lays the blame at the feet of everyone else:
“Every time we get a car, this place turns into a whorehouse.”
Conclusion: Don still doesn’t understand that actions have consequences. The Tin Man discovered his heart, though, so that’s something?
Part of me felt that a lot of this goes back to Peggy. I’m not saying that Peggy is a stand-in for Sylvia or anything like that. We saw that Sylvia is a twisted mother figure to Don, down to the headscarf she wears at home that matches the headscarf in the soup ad that became Don’s obsession.
But as the shot took effect, Peggy, touching Ted’s arm in comfort, was Don’s last sober sight. Don hasn’t been the same since Ted and Peggy came on board and Don saw the way she had slipped into the role of caretaker to Ted — presumably without the adversarial undertones that came with her similar relationship with Don. Her dynamic with Don has changed, and he can’t seem to handle it. “Change isn’t good or bad. It just is.” Season 3 Don laughs in Season 6 Don’s bewildered face. The world is changing, and Don’s bad trip show he’s not up for that ride, either. Peggy sees this, and I feel like there’s a sense of longing on both their parts for the old days. She seems regretful that the relationship has changed, but resolute.
I’m curious to know what others thought of this episode! As disorienting as it was, the more I think about this episode, the more I think it was great. It had an undertone of sadness that couldn’t be eclipsed, at least permanently, by any pharmaceuticals.
- Peggy Olson is always the classiest person in the room. This time, it’s when she refused to bad-mouth her departed boss. “I liked him.”
- Peggy and Stan!?** I wanted it to happen, but I didn’t, and was so relieved it didn’t happen, and
- Betty is back to blond and skinny. “Henry is running for office!” Yes, sweetie, we assumed.
- Clearly Megan as Maria von Trapp is long gone, but she didn’t deserve Betty’s “casting couch” dig.
*What kept running through my mind was Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (written, as so many good songs are, by Randy Newman). “Don’t know what it is, but I don’t wanna see no more!”