“Where are we? Where are we going?” -Sally Draper
I travel a good amount; nothing like those who practically live at 30,000 feet, but enough to lose a sense of place at least a few times a month, and it’s invigorating and disorienting at once. If you ask me, there’s no place quite more like purgatory than an airport. A bunch of strangers waiting to go somewhere, reliant on greater powers to get them there (or in many cases, canceling or delaying their journeys).
This episode felt like that, and since it’s Mad Men, I’m sure it was intentional. The bouncing from narrative to narrative, displacing time and linear storytelling, taking the characters out of the office … I’m never sure how I feel about Mad Men “on the road” — the Euro drifting in California was particularly annoying for me — but these trips, both figurative and literal, seemed necessary at this point in the series.
Because as audience members, we’ve been circling the runway, waiting for key Mad Men relationships to land. It didn’t seem like Roger and Jane were going to see the 1970s together, much less take off for a weekend at a Howard Johnson Motor Lodge and Restaurant (which Megan aptly pointed out, is actually “on the way to a destination”). And the power tensions brewing between Megan and Don have been obvious from the start.
So where did we land? Jane and Roger finally admitted their relationship was over; they arrived at a truth somewhere in the middle of an excellent LSD trip. The Megan-Don scare showed us the truth of Don, which is that he is Dick Whitman, a cowardly “whore-child” who drove away from his wife when she reminded him of it. And Bert Cooper, always surprising us with his lucidity when we need him the most, forces Don to confront the truth that’s been driving viewers crazy: he doesn’t care about work anymore, and that’s been the heart of his fake identity/life for the entirety of this show.
What must it feel like to live “in between”? Don’s in between the man he is and the man he created. His feelings for Megan, the love drunkness, has led the two identities to meld in a way that’s troubling for him. Peggy, as it was clear when she tried to stand up to Heinz in the boardroom, is a woman in a job men are expected to do. It’s a social/professional purgatory that muddies her personal life. And perhaps most interestingly, there’s the new character, Michael Ginsburg, who’s stuck in between truth and reality in the most painful way — he doesn’t know his truth, because being born in a concentration camp seems too incredulous to believe. Maybe he really is a martian.
Will Mad Men bring back the hand job?
I don’t know about you but I thought that orange sherbert looked disgusting, and would have really liked a piece of pie.
“It’s a myth that tracing logic all the way down the truth is the cure for neuroses or anything else.” Gotta love a good dinner party full of intellectuals or faux-intellectuals who then share their LSD.
As usual I’m sure I missed all the good stuff. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think.
Only from a dream can you wake to the light,
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