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Mad Men: "In Care Of" OAD 6/23/13 ***SPOILERS***

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by phrelin, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Northern...
    Six years ago we began enjoying the unfolding of a story of the life of Dick Whitman aka Don Draper as he lived life in 1960. This season began in January 1968. It ended at Thanksgiving, 11 months later.

    During the years that we've seen his life, and particularly for 11 months in 1968, Dick Whitman aka Don Draper has been going through something - we all have seen it. His past was eating him alive only because he failed to acknowledge it - in fact he ran away from it for 20 years.

    In this seasons finale, Dick Whitman realized a possible path to redemption ... ironically through hitting a minister and telling two stories about a Hershey's bar, one of which was a telling of the truth, the one which was such a sad story.

    That path to redemption is the realization that three children have been left "in care of" their father, a man whose own father effectively abandoned him as a child.

    [media]http://www.phrelin.com/Dish/BothSidesNow_sm.mp3[/media]

    Go ahead and play the end music while we note that Dick has ceased to run.

    A redemption story. It is about a paradigm shift within the main character. At the beginning the character will be less than whole, deeply flawed in a way that reverberates throughout the character’s choices, and seen within his actions. By the end of the story the character will undergo a transformation, a mended, more whole person, not controlled by his or her flaws.

    Such a reformation doesn't come without costs. But doing "the right thing" sometimes comes with its own rewards and problems - in a big way think Oskar Schindler described as "an opportunistic and amoral man initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity and dedication in order to save the lives of his Jewish employees, ending his life in poverty."

    Transformation many times comes with inspiration. In this case it may come with an Emmy or two for acting, directing and/or writing. Because the transformative elements came not from some preacher giving Dick religion, but from Ted who asks Don to let him go to California:

    Ted pleads: "I'm the one who needs to start over."

    "With Peggy," Don pronounces, not as a question.

    "No, with my family," Ted states.

    "I don't understand," Don states appearing puzzled

    "Yes you do," Ted tells him, "It's my only chance, Don ... I've got kids. I can't throw this away, I can't ... can't go on like this."

    "I'm sorry Ted, but I can't help you," Don responds.

    Ted tells him, "I don't know what I brought out in you but I know there is a good man in there. I need you to help me put 3000 miles between me and her or my life is over."

    A now troubled Don explains, "I didn't make my decision lightly, I need it too. And frankly they're writing my wife off her show it's too late Ted."

    As Ted gets up to leave, trying to assure him Don states, "It will go away."

    Noticing Don's shaking hand, Ted tells him, "Will you have a drink before the meeting ...my father was... you can't stop cold like that."

    With no commercial in between, the scene moves to the pitch to Hershey's. Everyone in this room has a story to tell, Don explains. Don tells a story to be sold using the first person about his loving father buying him a Hershey's bar.

    "Hershey's is the currency of affection, it's the childhood symbol of love," Don explains soliciting smiles all around.

    "Weren't you a lucky little boy," one of the Hershey's guys responds.

    From this classic Don Draper pitch a conversation ensues. But we see an introspective Don/Dick dealing with a comment that they'll begin with his story.

    Suddenly Dick Whitman says through Don, "I'm sorry. I have to say this. I don't know if I'll ever see you again."

    "What?" asks one of the Hershey's guys after a pause.

    Another pause follows as Dick Whitman finds the courage to tell his story.

    "I was an orphan, I grew up in Pennsyvania in a whore house. I read about Milton Hershey and his school in Coronet Magazine or some other crap the girls left by the toilet. And I read that ... some orphans had a different life there. I could picture it ... I dreamt of it ... being wanted ... because the woman who was forced to raise me looked at me every day like she 'd hoped I would disappear," Dick relates obviously full of emotion.

    "The closest I got to feeling wanted from a girl who made me go through her John's pockets while they screwed. If I collected more than a dollar, she'd buy me a Hershey bar... and I would eat it alone in my room ... with great ceremony ... feeling like a normal kid ... and it said sweeet on the back ... it was the only sweet thing in my life," Dick Whitman says in great pain.

    Silence in the room, then one of the Hershey guys asks "You want to advertise that?"

    Don explains, "If I had my way, you would never advertise. You shouldn't have someone like me telling that boy what a Hershey bar is. He already knows."

    That boy is a Dick Whitman, so very painfully real.

    Everyone leaves offering polite discussion. Don and Ted remain in the room. If you watched Ted's face during Don/Dick's telling of the real story, you could see he was hurting for Don.

    Don then tells him, "You're going to California."

    "Are you sure?" Ted blurts.

    "I want you to," Don says.

    Again no commercial while the scene shifts to Don coming out of the meeting room.

    A puzzled Roger asks him "Was any of that true?"

    "Yes," Don says, "I have to go home."

    Don wishes Dawn a Happy Thanksgiving and leaves.

    The next morning - Thanksgiving - the partners meet and Don is basically suspended with pay or given administrative leave with doubts that he'll be allowed to come back. Not exactly a cliff hanger, but one of many things that happened in this episode creating a twist in direction for next season:
    • With "Moon River" playing in the background, Joan let Roger into his kid's life, but not her's, with Bob Benson there as a buffer (and now what happens when Greg returns from Vietnam?);
    • Bob Benson outsmarted Pete in Detroit because of Pete's arrogance and lies (which Roger sarcastically noted with a "Not great, Bob.) but apparently Pete is simply going to be shifted to California to help with Sunkist, or is he resigning from SC&P;
    • Pete's mother fell off or was pushed off a cruise ship after marrying Manolo who will be very surprised to discover she really doesn't have any wealth but you have to smile at that “She’s in the water with Father. She loved the sea.”;
    • Peggy was upset by Ted leaving but with Don out there are two empty chairs and near the end we see her checking one out - but Peggy has her own baggage to deal with having essentially abandoned her own child and running away from her own moral underpinning as a fallen-away Catholic, both which are inescapable;
    • The other partners have supposedly replaced Don already, but that will have its own pitfalls - Don was significant to whatever successes they had including creating the new partnership, though he did allow his name to be left off the masthead, fortunately he might not care as long as they buy him out;
    • In the process of "saving" himself and Ted, Don stole the California office idea from Stan who is itching to get even, maybe in the final season next year.
    But back to the redemption story.

    The appearance of Dick Whitman cannot be shared with Megan, though Don tells her he loves her even as he sends her off to California. She tells him she knows he belongs to his dysfunctional kids. And Betty??? Well, Betty has let them know that Sally did screw up at boarding school, already.

    "In care of" is the episode name. That, of course, comes from the address line in the letter to Sally "in care of" her father, Don. When Don calls Sally about it he identifies himself as "Daddy" hoping to find some foregiveness.

    When he tells her she has to provide testimony by law, Sally replies, “Well I wouldn’t want to do anything immoral. Why don’t you tell them what I saw?” and hangs up.

    In the May 19 episode "The Crash" I noted:

    At the close of this season finale, Don has his three offspring in the car and he parks it. Bobby says, “This is a bad neighborhood.” As we hear Judy Collins sing her 1967 version of Jodi Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" we have two images to carry us until next season.

    [​IMG]
    “This is where I grew up,” Don tells them.

    [​IMG]

    We can only hope that Sally in hearing her father telling the truth about himself will understand.

    Matt Weiner never puts something into a show for no reason. Here are the lyrics to "Both Sides Now" which say so much about this season:

    Bows and flows of angel hair
    And ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere
    I've looked at clouds that way

    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It's cloud illusions I recall
    I really don't know clouds at all

    Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
    The dizzy dancing way you feel
    When every fairy tale comes real
    I've looked at love that way

    But now it's just another show
    You leave 'em laughing when you go
    And if you care, don't let them know
    Don't give yourself away

    I've looked at love from both sides now
    From win and lose, and still somehow
    It's love's illusions I recall
    I really don't know love at all

    Tears and fears and feeling proud
    To say "I love you" right out loud
    Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
    I've looked at life that way

    Oh but now old friends are acting strange
    They shake their heads, they say I've changed
    Well something's lost but something's gained
    In living every day

    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From give and take and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all
     
  2. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    I thought the most significant and moving moment in the show was Sally's look above. Wow. It was like, "You're actually not bulls******** me any more, are you?" Transformative moment.

    I thought Megan knew all about Dick Whitman.
     
  3. trainman

    trainman Hall Of Fame

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    Sherman...
    That "Chevrolet '69" sign had a backwards apostrophe. Pete did them a favor by backing the Corvette into it.

    I don't remember ever seeing any actual 1960s/1970s written material that used an incorrect apostrophe in that manner -- seems to me that's a recent "innovation" caused by the "smart quotes" feature in Microsoft Word and other software, which doesn't deal correctly with constructions like "Chevrolet '69."
     
  4. phrelin

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    Sorry, I don't mean to confuse things. What I meant was it is entirely one thing for him to tell her he isn't exactly who he said he is. But it is something else entirely to ask her to become Dick Whitman's wife, a man who's future is tied to his children from another marriage, not his work. She expressed her opinion about having been roped into his dysfunctional family.

    Megan explained almost in a whisper: "You know what. I don't even know why were fighting for this any more. I don't know what it is. We don't have any kids. You want to be alone with your liquor and your ex wife and your screwed up kids."

    "Don't say that," Don pleaded.

    Megan continued: "I love them to death. I used to feel pity for them. But now I realize we're all in the same boat."

    Don declared his love for her. but she responded: "I can't do this, I can't be here right now."

    Then she left the apartment until next season, or never.
     
  5. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Good catch. What I could find in 1969 print ads certain didn't use that backwards apostrophe.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    By the way, I'm glad we're done with 1968.

    So is Don who said to the preacher in the bar: “I’m doing fine. Nixon’s the president. Everything’s back where Jesus wants it. Jesus had a bad year.”

    I can't even begin to predict what the last season will be like.
     
  7. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Erratum: The end of Both Sides Now was capped by an ad for Breaking Bad. It left off: "I really don't know clouds at".....

    While nine years since the big cranberry scare, a lot of families weren't eating cranberries, thanks to the FDA's big cancer scare of 1959. Anyone else note it looked like a case of Ocean Spray that Roger shows up with at Joan's apt.? Big advertising campaign by those folks, credited with saving the cranberry industry.

    Perhaps later I'll come up with something a bit insightful, hard to do since phrelin left few, if any, terns unstoned.
     
  8. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    So is the last season the season of Dick Whitman? Don rebuilding his life around who he really is? And realistically, could he really still get thrown in jail for what he did after the statute of limitations has long run out? I think Don will keep his name since it's just a name after all, but own his real past. I'd love a season in which he took all the slings and arrows and joys of becoming his real self and let all the chips fall where they may. Don stops living in cloud illusions and learns to know the cloud itself.

    Don held the illusion that a better life would be his salvation. Then the illusion that his better life was his damnation. Now Don has taken a few big steps to accept himself for who he really is. Most people have a hard time doing that, it won't be easy giving up one's illusions about yourself.

    I was surprised to read that Weiner considers the leave of absence just that. Because of the way they fired Freddy Rumsen--same deal and everybody knew it was a firing by another name.
     
  9. djlong

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    If Don doesn't completely reinvent his life, he'll keep the name.

    I was illegally adopted (no paperwork) and went through a series of name changes until I hit school age. By then my adoptive mother had also changed my birthdate. Fast forward from the 60's to the 21st century and I want a passport. There's no connection between my driver's license (with my assumed-for-40+-years name) and my birth certificate. I had to do some legal wrangling and research and eventually legally changed my name to my assumed (and current) name just because it was easier. All my school, busines, credit, tax, marriage and other records were in this name so I might as well have made it legal. That was far easier than trying to track down every scrap of info on me and mailing a name-change letter to all of them. Besides, I have two kids with this name listed as their father - it's easier for them as well.
     
  10. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    First of all, the apostrophe in the GM sign was wrong, that's correct. The proper mark to make in front of a date is a single prime ("straight apostrophe") or closing single quote ("downward curly apostrophe") because it is presumed that the numbers are a contraction of the whole year, and like all contractions, a single prime or closing single quote is used.

    But enough pedantics.

    I think in many ways, for many reasons, this was a dissatisfying season. Conspiracy buffs will note that none of the main characters died, that Megan Calvet was not in fact Sharon Tate, and that our protagonist was kind of a jerk all season. So, I would say, is the nature of this show. The whole point is that Don Draper is an invention of, and permanent fixture in, the early '60s (note the single prime.) To put him in 1968 is to simply know that he will fail. And he does.

    I was disappointed by the rather blah ending to the story of Bob Benson; he still may face consequences for his part in murdering Pete's mom but probably not. Fairly telling that Pete and his brother simply decided to let bygones be bygones; they are just as happy their mother is out of their lives.

    So, a quick inventory of who probably won't be back for '69: Ted Chaough, Trudy Campbell, probably Stan Rizzo and Harry Crane, and very likely Megan Calvet. Megan was a drag on the season just as Betty Francis became more interesting. She certainly owes nothing to Don and Don owes nothing to her (except alimony perhaps.)

    Unlike my friend Phrelin, I'm sad to say goodbye to 1968. It was an awful year, a painful and desperate year, but also arguably one of the three most transformative years of the 20th century. (I'd add 1933 and 1942) It is a bit of a shame that there was not more room to really explore the environs, but the point is that Don doesn't really live in 1968, therefore we should not either.

    Next season we will probably see Don's final attempt at reinvention. Maybe he'll sign up for an encounter group, grow his hair and put on a dashiki. Probably not. More likely it's the last stop on the train, as it heads into the station we all knew it was headed for. I'd love to see Don's story resolved in the first episode of next season, as it is just getting too depressing. That would leave the rest of the season free to skip forward two years per episode as we see Peggy's rise to greatness and find out who, if anyone, she brings with her.
     
  11. Jaspear

    Jaspear Godfather

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    Not on the international feed of AMC. I've watched the last two seasons from a Canadian source; the closing credits always run in their entirety, before the promo for the next episode.

    Advertising time wins out south of the border. ;)
     
  12. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Not a good parallel between Freddy and Don. Freddy was a long time alcoholic with lots of gaffes, and was never as important as Don. Oddly, Don has just gone on the wagon when he lets go that maudlin and misplaced story of his youth. His earlier story underlines how clever he is at manipulation and spellbinding. Freddy never purposely pissed on a presentation (pun intended) as Don did with the Hershey folks.
     
  13. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    Frank Gleason

    The name, if I heard and recall right, of the man that Don threw out during the awkward meeting with Sunkist, saying it was his last idea. Went over well with the suits from the client, and Peggy and Ted were off the hook momentarily, though Don sure held Ted's feet to the fire in the meeting. He was a partner in Ted's firm and had cancer, presumably deceased at the time of the mention, though I don't recall anything re his death. The reason I bring this up is I worked, 35 years ago in Manhattan, with a man who was well connected politically, and just curious if he was the name or inspiration for that character. Does anyone know if any of the character's names are those of ad execs, or even based on real names?
     
  14. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    Some unrelated observations:

    • First time ever Betty became likeable.

    • Young Ms. Kiernan (Sally) can really act.

    • Why show the interview scenes and the dorm scenes at the boarding school? Does Weiner hate the elite aura?

    • I agree Megan may be gone for next season, or just scarce, as January Jones became. It occurs to me that these major shifts could be made to give more off-set time to the actors to pursue other interests, other acting gigs. Anyone know?

    • Harry Hamlin looks to me to be the very image of the adman of the late 60's. There's some image from that time lurking in my memory but I can't identify it. Could have been a book cover or an ad.
     
  15. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Laxguy: They did mention that Frank died, I believe that many of the old CGC staff went to the funeral. I agree with you about Miss Kiernan Shipka, she is definitely one to watch. She strikes me as an American Emma Watson.

    I had thought the dorm scenes were intended to show that Sally was turning into her mother, but after this week I'm not so sure.

    Phrelin mentioned the name of the episode, "In Care Of," which has many meanings. Certainly Don really focuses on the letter saying "SALLY ANNE DRAPER C/O DONALD DRAPER" -- it may have been the moment when Don finally realized that he was responsible for someone other than himself. Rather a shame that he didn't figure that out sometime in 1958.
     
  16. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    The possibilities for next year are endless! Sorta good news and bad news together.

    It'd be great to see the return of Sal, perhaps to out Bob and oust him as well. Bob creeps me out more than Don ever did, and not because he may be homosexual. I personally hope is arc is about over.

    Wouldn't it be funny if Pete's Mom isn't dead and she comes back, her dementia cured, then morphs into .... nah.

    I hope we see a lot more of Sally turning into a sophisticated and kind young lady. Or a sophisticated and manipulative and cruel one.

    Almost any character could take a very new direction next season.
     
  17. trainman

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    Yes, a full case of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce. Probably enough for Joan to serve for the holidays all the way through 1976.
     
  18. phrelin

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    Groan. From the LA Times story:
    Spring 2015? Really??? 18 months from now???
     

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