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Mad Men "The Color Blue" OAD 10/18/09 (SPOILERS)


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#1 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:34 AM

Blue Shift: A phenomenon where distant objects, coming toward the observer at great speed, will appear bluer than they actually are, due to their excessive speed shifting their spectral signature into higher wavelengths.

Last night we saw a mostly procedural episode, as the bow string was drawn back for the events we're all expecting around November 22, 1963.

Don's philosophy as he talks to Miss Farrell, is that it doesn't matter if what you see as blue and what I see as blue are the same, only that if everyone agrees to see the same thing, he can work with it. How fitting considering that he is holding on to a shared fantasy of his life. He sees himself as Don Draper, and so does everyone else, so all is well...

except Betty's found out about Dick Whitman and Anna Draper. She doesn't know what she's found and that makes things worse. She becomes increasingly more blue, submersing her misery in the bathtub (in the blue bathroom) and finally going to Don's crowning night in a lovely blue dress. Except I couldn't help noticing that the bathroom was turquoise and the dress was aqua; of course if we all agree it's blue, all the better.

In the meantime it looks like Sterling Cooper is for sale again, Bert Cooper's tired of it all, and Roger has to put on a smiling face as he crowns Don the upcoming prince of the new company. Pryce doesn't know what to do and in the meantime, Kinsey struggles because he had a great idea and lost it.

I didn't get a lot of deep meaning out of this one, I'll admit, because I think that a lot of plot points needed tending if they're to be ready for the season finale in three weeks. Don needs to figure out what he'll do with Miss Farrell, and there's the question of what will become of her brother.

He's got to talk to Betty about his past, and I hope he's just honest with her: He had a terrible youth and woke up to an opportunity to start life fresh with a dead man's name. The dead man was married and his wife understood, and was happy to grant a divorce so the new Don Draper could marry the woman he loves.

In the meantime, is Peggy still sleeping with Duck? Did Sal survive the night in the park? What will become of Joan? Will Pete ever be kind to his wife? Will Bert ever retire? Will Hilton stay with the agency? What will Roger's daughter do when her wedding is overshadowed by a nation's mourning?

The answers are racing toward us so quickly, they seem to have a blue shift.

Edited by Stuart Sweet, 19 October 2009 - 08:05 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 12:04 PM

Good review, Stuart. I never would have thought of the blue shift phenomenon. I tend to get bogged down in a couple of sentences within the dialogue.

What would Don say? "The truth is, people may see things differently. But they don't really want to."

Everything is about perception, kid.

"I am afflicted, OK? It's not a question of will. I can't change that."

And isn't everyone? It's just some can deny their afflictions.

Betty and "The Group."

Yes! A 1963 novel by Mary McCarthy about seven years of life for eight young Vassar graduates beginning in 1933. It's background - the Great Depression - forces them to explore options that many would not have otherwise considered. It forces them to become more independent, because it changes their perceptions about wealth and politics within a world in turmoil with violently competing philosophies of democracy vs totalitarianism, capitalism vs socialism, egalitarianism vs corporatism.

On a personal level the book's characters explore issues around love, contraception, extramarital affairs. And it touches psychological issues of child education and analysis. The one character at whose funeral the others gather in 1940 put aside her own goals in a marriage to a talented, egocentric and philandering husband. All one can say is Don/Dick better watch his back when it comes to Betty.

And so Betty sits at the Sterling Cooper 40th party listening to a description of her husband's life that is built on perception. Oh, it has substance. He's good at his job. He has a beautiful wife and family. Most in the room are involved in their own envy of the perceived Don Draper.

Except Betty who now knows she is part of the perception and Bert who just bought only the perception.

And except, of course, the afflicted Don/Dick who knows he is there because shared perception is the truth.

We get to see two smiles. We see Don smile when he gets that bonus check. We see Betty smile when she finds out the key opens the drawer. They smile in a moment that symbolizes the old adage - "Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it."

And then there's Kinsey discovering that his perception of Peggy is all wrong.

And the Americans will go to the highest bidder. I wonder who that will be?

NOTE: I finally got around to checking that TIME cover story on Hilton. Interesting.

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