In an episode full of revelations, the main secret driving the the show’s central character gets kept under wraps - for everyone besides Faye, a new member of the Draper/Whitman inner circle. But let’s review everything we learned about the rest of the characters: Lane is involved with a “negro”! Joan is preggers with Roger’s baby! Joan gets a secret abortion! Roger loses 69% of SCDP’s revenue! Lane’s a victim of domestic violence!
This episode worked so well because it played on the central theme of the show: secrets and lies. And now that we’re four seasons in, the audience is getting a huge payoff for paying attention all these years. We see the resentment Pete harbors toward Don, as Pete has known the Dick Whitman secret since 1960 and now it’s coming back to ruin his business relationship. (Only the irony there is Don actually helped fix Pete’s big secret - the Peggy baby situation - all those years ago.) We see the marked difference between Betty’s reaction to learning Don’s secret and Faye’s reaction. Where Betty turned cold toward Don after learning the truth, Faye drew nearer to him. Faye’s actually Don’s type, of course. Instead of being a trophy wife who can cook and sew and such, Faye is that independent, headstrong woman who Don’s always actually been drawn to. (e.g. Rachel Menken, crazy Miss Farrell, Bobbie Barrett, Midge)
So one of my questions as we leave this episode is, if Don gets away with it again and gets to keep his fake identity, isn’t he still running? He really breaks down here and admits he’s sick of running, but Pete helping him keep things under wraps means he’s going to continue this lie… should the whole house of cards come tumbling down in order to save his sanity?
Finally, the change theme of the season’s really coming into full focus, as Roger loses the company’s golden egg (and, I think, the only real account he’s in charge of). As we’ve talked about in previous posts, his and the rest of the “old guard’s” influence is waning, if not dying a la Blankenship and that client he tried to reach by phone in this episode.
So we head an episode closer to the season finale with SCDP teetering on the edge, and Trudy about to pop out a tot. Methinks this season won’t end with as much caper-style fun and triumph as last season.
Watch out for old British dudes with canes,