We’re more than a quarter way through the season, so now is as good as any to take a look at where our characters are and what we expect moving forward. As opposed to the dry, overdone Recap of an episode we all saw, I thought we could examine the events of last night and the last few weeks through a more business-like approach. The concept is simple enough. From now until the end of the season, you can buy or the “stock” of any individual situations, a “mutual fund” of larger themes/groups, and “penny stocks” of quirky situations that may or may not recur later on. Whether you trade from week to week or hold on the for the long haul, the obvious idea is for your investments to yield higher returns than when you purchase.
(DDW) Donald Draper/Dick Whitman- When was the last time someone told you they were praying for you? Think about it. It wasn’t after you delivered good news. When a man’s mistress is the only one who seems to understand the depth of his despair and she is so concerned that she is praying that he, “find peace…” you know his stock isn’t at an all-time high. Sadly, that was the least damaging that happened to Draper last night. When you couple losing one of your high exposure clients to your protegé as part of a half-assed foray into espionage in Pete Campbell’s love den with voyeuristically watching your wife be fondled while filming her nationally syndicated talk show, you take all the prayers you can get.
Analysis: One would think that turning that crucifix around was the low point, but we’ve seen Don lower than this. The main difference is motivation. Don Draper doesn’t get beat in “heads up baseball.” Buy.
(POD) Peggy Olsen Draper- We only saw Peggy for a few moments, but like Joanie last week, what a few moments they were. After exploiting her relationship with Stan to land the pitch to Heinz she went heads up with her mentor and just flat out beat him. Personally, I though Don’s pitch was better. A ketchup ad without catchup is brilliant. Anyone can slap a bottle on a billboard and pound you over the head with it. The concept that Don understood listening through the doorway that I couldn’t grasp until later, is that it couldn’t matter less which is better. It’s simply a matter of that the dummy at Heinz wants to hear. Peggy is Don plus everything about a woman that makes them infinitely smarter than us. She’s a one woman wrecking crew. She’s a killer.
Analysis: If this one doesn’t hit you over the head, I can’t help you. Buy. Buy. Buy.
(OMJ) Oh My Joanie- Has there ever been a better metaphor for lost? The woman is being bested by underlings and soda jerks while her infant son is raised by an absurdly petulant woman. The Joan of five years ago would have put Harry Crane on his ass not once, but twice in the course of five minutes. Instead, she is full of more contempt for herself than any ten Harry’s are capable of. No East Side trysts or public firings will bring Joan out of her Draperesque pit of self-loathing.
Analysis: If I had to guess, I’d say it’s time for the white-haired devil with his name on the door to help pick up the pieces. But that devil has demons of his own and is less reliable than pennies under a mat. I’m not selling my Joan stock, but I’m sure as hell not ready to buy.
(WMN) The Women- The MM and SCDP world is never a kind place to women, but last night was particularly painful. Despite Peggy’s success and Megan’s increased exposure on her bizarre Soap, women got their ass kicked. Peggy, Dawn, Megan, Kate and Joan all seemed to get farther away from the self-assurance and self-respect any reasonable human being requires, regardless of sex.
Analysis: NEVER buy a woman’s stock in Weiner’s World.
(DSE) Don and Sylvia’s Euphemisms- Well, they gave us another one. The obnoxiousness of a “penny stock” about leaving a penny under the mat is not lost on me. Forgot my cigarette’s is one I’ve yet to try on my wife, but you best believe I’m going to start putting rolls of pennies under our bath mat.
Analysis: They’re the gift that seem to keep on giving. Buy ‘em all. Pennies for everyone.
“To Have and to Hold” didn’t exactly end the weekend on a high note. At the same time, do we really tune in for warm, fuzzy feelings? Have you ever turned off an episode and thought, ”Wow. Now I feel really good about people?” If we really wanted to feel good about ourselves, like Dow Chemical, we’d stop dropping Napalm on children. Tonight was unsettling and served its purpose. It left us with more questions than we had when we started. It also left us accelerating toward our reckoning.