Mad Men Season 4 Episode 8

Very different episode, very interesting. Was it about relationships?

Was it about Don searching for home? Are they related? Earlier we had Don combating then confiding later a little bit while she is doing dishes in the office with Dr. Faye. The home motif. We had the surprise waitress call him Dick so apparently inebriated he at least was honest to some degree. We had him visit Anna and actually be affected. He has a home both in actual real estate there, and within her herself. And last week we had him lay his head in Peggy’s lap; a man trying to find home. And now, in the end tonight… he goes home. So we have had a current theme of Don losing his place in life.

And here, we have a parallel in Joan, seemingly losing her place. She’s losing her command of the office, and losing her man at home as well. Don and Joan, more emphasis tonight of the theme of being lost. Joan is now starting to get lost. And then later, so is Betty as well.

Enter Peggy. She formerly of the new artsy side of things, yet hasn’t been back there. Last week she spends the day with Don, the old guard. This week she sides with the old guard again in the form of Joan. Peggy is yet still searching, and so is Don, each in their own way.

Two weeks in a row now, Peggy told a guy off. Last week with her weenie boyfriend, and this week firing the guy. And both weeks she got schooled; last week by Don in that relationship metaphorical argument and here tonight also by Joan. Peggy who has embraced young, has now rejected young. Peggy fires the guy this week and in essence, fired the boyfriend last week. But she has also in her embracing of the old guard the past two weeks felt it’s rejection as well. Peggy, like last season, is still caught somewhere in the middle.

And Peggy and Joan’s relationship is similar to Peggy and Don’s in that it’s both honey and vinegar. The young guy this week was joking about Joan the same way they all joke about Peggy and office sex. She acted like Don in telling them “give me three ideas….” like Don would say to her. Then, Peggy takes the porno picture to Don, for Don to take charge of it.

Similar to the mouse last week, wanting Don to take charge of it. Peggy again, caught in the middle of her own self. This time instead of standing on the chair saying eek! like last week with the mouse, she now takes Don’s go-ahead and puts her hands on the issue and kills the guy, firing him, unlike the mouse last week where she needed Don to do it. That’s what I think the mouse was about.

And we come back to Mr. Draper. Bravo Mr. Draper: Don’s date was not exactly full of laughs. Betty shows up with Henry, with Henry trying to be Alpha male. Don plays it cool. (and of course the irony of Betty saying about Bobbie Barrett.. .”she’s so old” when you see Don’s date’s reaction to Betty) Predictably, Betty looks over more than once. Yet Don never does the same.

Also, coincidentally, Don’s date began rather lame yet suddenly when Betty is here and he knows she’ll be looking, suddenly he apparently had turned on the charm because he now has the girl laughing basically in front of Betty. Don doesn’t need the cue, he knows who and what Betty is. Don’s date did not suddenly turn interesting, he’s turning on the charm with his own date playing Betty’s game.

Don is not the first one of us to have to relegate himself to this crap. But, it does in fact work. And of course, in the end, Betty is in fact somewhat welcoming to him when he comes home. She at least smiles and that’s a start. Well played Mr. Draper.

 Betty wants to play games, Don will play games. We’ve all been there and done that. However later now we have the contradiction. Don was just bad but now tries to be good with Dr. Faye. He had no interest in being good with the younger blonde date. He said yes to she who not matters yet acts like now Dr. Faye matters. Will she buy it? Is he real? Does he mean it? He is in fact looking for a home this season since he has none after being tossed by Betty. He in fact has no home in losing Anna. Is he legit with Dr. Faye, or is he still just Don Draper?

The end was terrific. We have his usual history of affairs being with brunettes and home being with blondes. 3 blondes accept him tonight. The young date finally “accepts” him in the cab, Dr. Faye accepts him as a real date, and in the end when he comes home, (<–the concept of which is an important theme tonight) Betty now suddenly at least let’s him in.

Baby Gene has a different Daddy now with Henry. Don always had a different Daddy. Don comes home and picks up Gene, and not Sally. (Interesting, given last week in a quick shot with Don at his desk vs Peggy you see his family pics of his kids; only Sally and Bobby though. And they’re both blocked by that pic of Anna and Don in a frame however, ( [where Don is playing Roger’s book tape] ).

Who was Don writing to? Anna? Is he actually writing to Betty the same way he wrote to Betty from the hotel room before? His own self, a diary? Is it him coming home to his own self?

He sank deep, arms spread in the pool. He walked in the ocean, arms spread in Cali. His own self is an unknown. Who is he writing to? What really is home for Don? Is it really coming home to responsibility, or is beautifully simply a woman’s lap to lay your head on?


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