August 28, 1963: The March on Washington is, at the time, the largest civil rights demonstration ever. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech is its biggest pull quote, but its greatest legacy is the Civil Rights Act of 1994.
In the fictional September of 1963, that speech is all you hear on the radio. Everyone's talking about it. Miss Farrell feels it's a universal truth; something children know and adults forget. Betty thinks the time hasn't come for civil rights, because she's got a bad taste in her mouth from her recent political gamble.
Meanwhile, Kurt Smith, Sterling Cooper's publicly "out" homosexual, sits between a woman and a straight man and is berated by his peers and his boss. Sal, the company's closeted gay man, is literally propositioned while in a closet. His handling of the situation gets him unfairly fired. He's ashamed to tell his wife, and ends the episode in a rather dodgy-looking public park looking disheveled.
October 11, 2009: Mad Men airs "Wee Small Hours", with the above events taking place.
October 11, 2009: The National Equality March descends on Washington, DC, an echo of the 1963 March, and demands civil rights for homosexuals.
It's possible I'm giving too much credit to the writers and it's all coincidence.
Before I realized all of the above, I was prepared to write that "Encapsulated in the beginning of every thing is its eventual ending." I saw commonalities in Betty's failure at having an affair, Don's descent into yet another affair, Sal's eventual firing due to his indiscretion years earlier and I was even prepared to tie in Pete's (probable) first cigarette as a sign that he was willing to sacrifice himself to the customer. I felt that the seeds sown that day would become obvious in later episodes. I thought it inevitable that Conrad Hilton's high expectations would catch Don off guard sooner or later and that Roger and Don would have to spar one more time.
We all hoped both Don and Betty wouldn't go down "that road" but they both did. Betty came to her senses in a brilliantly shot scene. Just as I thought to myself, "Betty wouldn't do that, she'd consider it cheap" the character herself voiced the same thought. Sadly though, Don's affairs have now come home and it seems even an educated, independent woman isn't immune to his charms.
So what do you all think? Was last night's episode perfectly timed or was it one big coincidence? Is anything in Mad Men a coincidence?
Edited by Stuart Sweet, 12 October 2009 - 08:34 AM.