Spoiler alert. Season 3, Episode 5:
Out of the darkness and into… the pitch black fog.
Sunday’s episode was probably the darkest of the season so far, and that’s superlative indeed to bestow on a show that astounds in its ability to constantly make us feel like something terrible is about to happen.
Last night it started with that spliced shot of Sally Draper wiping Betty Pearson’s blood on her cheek –wtf? - and it dove down into the depths from there on in.
The entire sequence when Don was in the hospital solarium waiting for Betty was infused with a strange, dream-like quality. Don’s watch stopped, and so did time, as it slid by in the same blissed-out drugged state that Betty was in as she wandered through forests and hallways, chatting with her dead parents. (note that this was the second reference to a watch this episode – Ken Cosgrove was very proud of his Birds Eye watch too…)
This episode was really about Betty’s isolation and frailty, stripped of make-up, her face like a child’s, her hair plastered to her head with sweat, she was a long way from the petulant woman-child we have seen in recent weeks. All of this was starkly reinforced when Don reminded Dennis – the other expectant father in the solarium – that ‘your wife’s in the boat, you’re on the shore.’
That pretty much sums up the experience of most of the women in the show if you ask me. Even Peggy found herself in the boat this week, begging Don for a raise, sadly reminded of her past by the baby gifts in Don’s office and desperate for equality. ‘You have everything,’ she says to Don, ‘and so much of it.’
Oh yes he does, and is he about to have the hots for teacher?? Please. No. The weight of Dennis’s comments in the solarium about a baby being a chance to ‘be a better man,’ were too explicit to be lost on Don. Please Don. Be a better man, or at least if you’re going to be a bad man, pick a better woman to be bad with (Rachel Menken, where are you??)
Back at the office, we got a nice chunk of Pete Campbell time this week, sulking again about the state of his accounts. He actually came up with a pretty good idea about marketing Admiral TV’s to ethnic minorities, but as usual handled it with his trademark incompetence and pissed everybody off. The scene in the elevator with Hollis was painful and classic Campbell, as was him storming out of lunch with Duck when he returned to poach some talent (did you spot the line of flying ducks, behind Duck, in his office at Grey? Ha)
Line (s) of the week:
Don: “They waste paper because they throw out bad ideas.”
Betty on Don “He’s never where you expect him to be.”
Next week: the big boss from England is visiting Sterling Cooper.
p.s. why did Dennis ignore Don in the hospital when he saw him later? Any thoughts?
Diligently construed by E. Nolan
Photo by Carin Baer