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Mad Men: "The Phantom" OAD 6/10/12 ***SPOILERS***


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#1 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 03:12 PM

You only live twice or so it seems
One life for yourself and one for your dreams

You drift through the years and life seems tame
Till one dream appears and love is it's name

And love is a stranger who'll beckon you on
Don't think of the danger or the stranger is gone

This dream is for you, so pay the price
Make one dream come true, you only live twice

And love is a stranger who'll beckon you on
Don't think of the danger or the stranger is gone

This dream is for you, so pay the price
Make one dream come true, you only live twice


Posted Image

One of the most powerful scenes ever presented on the show. Don gives the goodbye kiss to his beloved fantasy wife Megan with a coveted job insuring her success and departure, then walks away back into the old James Bond babeslayer life. Yes, he is alone. And he's having an Old Fashioned. Stirred, not shaken. He's baaa-ack!!

Edited by Maruuk, 11 June 2012 - 03:35 PM.


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#2 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:21 PM

There's a lot of criticism about this whole season and how heavy-handed the symbolism was. At the end of it all, I actually liked the season, although I complained the whole time that it wasn't going fast enough.

I didn't think the symbolism was heavy-handed... I'll admit that I did until at the very last moment I saw the entire genius of the season in all its splendor.

You see, as we approach the summer of 1967, the spectacular thing about the SCDP crew is that there is a huge division between those who are changing and those who are staying the same.

In the growth column, count Sally Draper, Peggy, Ginsburg, and Megan. All of them are under 30 and all of them belong to the new reality. They see the future and are just chafing to be part of it.

In the static column, count Messrs. Sterling, Cooper, Campbell and Draper, and Mrs. Harris. They represent the old guard, those who eventually came full circle to pretty much where they all were in 1960. As we watch the five partners silhouetted against the skyline, or watch Don walk from his wife's new life into his old habits; as we see Pete Campbell not getting what he wants again... it's all so familiar. The symbols seem all too easy to read; the subtext is writ a bit too large.

Sure, Don's mouth is rotten, Pete exposits too much, and in the end (no pun intended) Roger is an (rear-end.) It seems so transparent and old; we've gone from seeing life through Don's eyes to seeing it through Sally's; the pivotal moment when Sally "becomes a woman" is the moment when the adults around her become irrelevant to the culture.

And of course the lynch pin around which all of it swings the dual image of Adam Whitman and Lane Pryce, the hanged men that serve as the tarot cards of change in Mad Men. Matthew Weiner has said that every character's name had a hidden meaning in the series, and only in death do we see that the transition (lane) of Don Draper from top seed to aging hack comes at so great a price (pryce.)

And you see? As enamored as we were with 1960, so we must be tense about the stagnant nature of the cocktail culture by 1967. The world is almost done with Don and his compatriots; though they don't know it, their time is almost over.

A couple of notes:

Don and Peggy are watching Casino Royale, the 1967 Bond satire starring, among other people, Peter Sellers and Woody Allen, both as James Bond. This is a perfect film for those who take the Bond series a little too seriously and is, in may ways, the progenitor of the Austin Powers films.

V5s4e7TaLhY

I also congratulate the lighting, makeup and cinematography used on Jessica Paré. Megan started out the season as a paragon of desire. While she never looked bad per se, as Don's love for her faded she took on a harried and angry look accentuated by her bold cheekbones and sharp teeth. Yet, in the last moments of the series she was Megan Calvet all over again, just as desirable to others but somehow less interesting now. The staff did an excellent job conveying this.

One more plug for the makeup people, and Mr. Hamm himself, for so convincingly portraying Don's toothache. It really looked like it hurt.

If that had been the series finale, I would have been ok with it; now I wonder how much further into the future next season will go. I've said it before, it would be a hoot to see "Mad Men '73," or as it might have been more accurately called, Network...

http://movies.netfli...2?trkid=2361637
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#3 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:35 PM

http://artsbeat.blog...es-the-phantom/

Weiner discusses The Phantom.

#4 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:49 PM

I got a bit confused when they made Emily look particularly hot while asking Megan for the gig, thought they were setting her up for Don. Then the blonde girl in the bar at the end LOOKED a lot like Emily and I was like, what th'...then it wasn't. They have to really watch for lookalikes that can throw the audience off.

BTW, was anybody else kind of appalled at how easily Megan threw her best friend under the bus for the gig? Guess actresses really will do anything for the part!

Edited by Maruuk, 11 June 2012 - 05:23 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:22 PM

The director did a fantastic job of wordlessly taking us to Don's final act of sacrifice within the confines of his monogamous marriage to following him directly into his next stage of life as Don Draper, Master C****man. Don instinctively knows his life with Megan is over at that point, and Hamm's walk and expression married with that perfect James Bond theme says it all. He's on his next dangerous mission. And there are always lovely ladies involved. Lucky us!

It's kind of like Little Dick has an equation: If you're not going to be my sexy mommy 24/7, I'm going outside and do bad things! Crazy Betty failed the mommy test in various ways, and now Megan. And of course, Faye would have been perfect for him, except he knew she knew the game, and players never want to get called on their own game.

Rachel Menken called him out so beautifully. "My god, you haven't thought this through at all, have you? GET OUT!" It's always assumed a very attractive person is so much more together than they really are. Don is still scared and unloved Little Dick in so many ways.

Faye knew that Don had to be Dick first before he could find himself. But he keeps running away from Dick. Right down one dead-end alley after another. I suspect next season's theme will be he's running out of alleys, and time.

Edited by Maruuk, 11 June 2012 - 07:27 PM.


#6 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:32 PM

Don't forget there's a season after that!

I am not convinced Don is going to pursue the same ole same ole as he ponders some strange at the bar..... but I wouldn't bet against it either.

Will Roger get with Megan next? And then Sally when she reaches adulthood? A sort of trifecta trumping Don (at least in Roger's mind)?


Tune in next year, same time, same channel! :lol:
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#7 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:47 PM

If Roger keeps dropping tabs, he's gonna end up with Glen!

#8 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:54 PM

If Roger keeps dropping tabs, he's gonna end up with Glen!


Oooooh, that'd not be so good.... Now, that raises some questions: Did Roger for sure drop more acid, and if so, which eps.? And is Glen gay? Speaking of which, any bets that Salvatore (Bryan Batt) will be back next season?
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#9 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:11 PM

I love Sal, I hope so! I had heard he was supposed to be back this season.

Glen is headed for some kind of weird end, that's for sure! Although see Don teach Glen to drive, being the dad that Glen never had. Where's THAT headed? By being a dad to lost Glen, Don finds he's part of correcting the paternal wrongs done to lost Dick. I would think Don/Dick would be very into that.

Roger definitely dropped more acid. He's going to have tuned in and dropped out by the start of next season.

#10 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:57 AM

By the way, I loved the little bit at the end with Peggy in the hotel room. She gets what she wants (power, travel, etc) and in the end she's still in the middle of vulgarity. And, it reminded me of that old joke where the Native American boy says to his dad,

"Father, is it true that we are named for the first thing our parents see when we are born?"

Forum rules prevent me from giving you the punch line, sorry.
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#11 ONLINE   David Ortiz

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:03 AM

Forum rules prevent me from giving you the punch line, sorry.


Aw heck.

#12 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:20 AM

"Why you ask, Two Dogs Barking........" ? Running? Scratching? Baying? Something like that....:hurah:
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#13 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:37 PM

"Why yes, Fishguts!"

#14 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:07 PM

"Why you ask, Two Dogs Barking........" ? Running? Scratching? Baying? Something like that....:hurah:


<Ding,ding> Coe-rect, sir.
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#15 OFFLINE   phrelin

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:23 PM

Posted Image
What an interesting discussion they'd could have had.


The song at the end of the episode "You Only Live Twice" from the movie with the same title contains the lyric:

You Only Live Twice or so it seems,
One life for yourself and one for your dreams.

If you saw the 1967 movie, you know it's good entertainment. But if you read the books first, you knew the movie was just a second life for the title, an entirely new story, not the story of the book, the last Ian Fleming novel published in his lifetime. About that 1964 novel which was the last of a villain specific trilogy....

Previously in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond married Contessa Teresa "Tracy" di Vicenzo who he sees as his perfect soulmate. Naturally on their honeymoon she is killed in an attack by the evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

The novel You Only Live Twice picks up eight months later where we see a drunken James Bond, gambling heavily, making mistakes on assignments. In the novel a depressed Bond is in mourning, but he transitions to a man of action, vengeance and more. Further, through this novel's characters Fleming presents the decline of the British Empire in the post-World War II period, comparing it to the United States.

In many respects, You Only Live Twice is about failures, phantoms, and how you discover that what you picture as "success," be it achieving vengeance or something more mundane, really doesn't fill a void, doesn't resolve your need for something more. It's a depressing truth that ran throughout this episode, presumably bracing us for the next season.

"You are chasing a phantom." Marie tells Megan.

Indeed, a phantom can be a ghost. Or it can be an illusion.

Indeed this episode titled "The Phantom" is full of ghosts and illusions.

And so our hero Don Draper has a nagging toothache that can only be cured by the extraction of a "hot tooth," presumably a metaphor. The suicide of Lane Pryce brings back another ache in the form of a phantom, Dick Whitman's half-brother Adam who also hung himself after experiencing Don/Dick's insistance on others meeting higher standards than he uses to judge himself.

"It’s not your tooth that’s rotten," Adam tells Don as he's coming out of his haze in the dentist chair.

But we know Don through SCDP has achieved success, even if an embittered Rebecca Pryce tells him "You had no right to fill a man like that with ambition." That is a concept so foreign to Don she might as well have been speaking in tongues.

In the partner's meeting, the newly minted partner Joan tells everyone that SCD P appears to be succeeding with payments and billings, and all that mundane stuff. But Joan is uneasy with this success saying "I’ve been trying so hard to be so responsible and careful and I don’t even know why because every day I open the mail and there’s more money."

She's also unsure about the office expansion but paints a big red "X" presumably where the stairs will be next season. But we learn she blames herself for not preventing Lane Pryce's suicide.

Pete Campbell in this episode is presented in an incredibly well written story arc (even for "Mad Men") regarding his affair with Beth. He angrily meets her in a hotel room. She explains she’s going to (again) get electroshock therapy for depression. She won’t remember him. "It’s like a gray cloud." Pete suggests they go to Los Angeles because "it’s filled with sunshine."

"It’s so dark, Peter."

He visits her in the hospital and she doesn’t recognize him. He explains he's in the wrong room, that he came to visit a friend who was carrying on with a married woman. When she asks for the friend’s motivations, we get: "He needed to feel like he knew something. He probably thought it would be like having a few tall drinks." In what is one of the sadder moments of his sad life, he tells Beth his home life is a "temporary bandage on a permanent wound." Wow.

Speaking of being in some kind of cloud, LSD has Roger hooked. After discussing death with Marie, we see him standing on a chair in front of the window in his room. Apparently he has found something in that experience.

We see Don, after watching alone Megan's screen test, give her what she told him she wanted - a part in a commercial. Except instead of asking him to intercede on behalf of her best friend as she promised, she goes after the part herself.

James Bond seems to have found its way into this episode in a second way. Peggy and Don accidentally show up at the same time at a showing of Casino Royale, the 1967 spoof film with the same name as Fleming's first Bond novel. We have seen Peggy at her new firm, frustrated with her subordinates. Her new boss essentially dumps the naming of a new cigarette targeted for women (Virginia Slims, we all suppose). Peggy says she doesn't smoke. But this is just too big an opportunity. And so we see her smoking in the theater before the show. And then we have the view from the Richmond, Virginia, motel room.

About that grey cloud, as the women - emphasized this season - start achieving success....

And so we end with a montage series of shots of our characters including a replay of Don Draper in a bar being approached by young women - the Don Draper who had one brief season out of character. He's asked: "Are you alone?"

And there was this hallow scene of emptiness:

Posted Image


Edited by phrelin, 12 June 2012 - 01:54 PM.
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#16 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 02:25 PM

Excellently written, sir.

Let me say:

"You had no right to fill a man like that with ambition." -- Rebecca Pryce
"I should have given him what he wanted." -- Joan Harris

What a contrast in the points of view in the two women who spent the most time with Lane Pryce. One blames others for setting Lane up to fail, while the other blames herself for not giving something Lane he had no right to ask for. More than a comment on Lane, it's a comment on how Matthew Weiner thinks of women.

In Weiner's view, the woman you have (Betty Draper, Marie Calvet, Rebecca Pryce, Trudy Campbell) tries to make you better but ultimately ruins your self-esteem by putting a ceiling on your hopes and dreams.

On the other hand, the woman you want (Joan Harris, Beth, pretty much anyone Don's slept with) raises your dreams to new heights, unattainable levels to which you can never climb.

Is there a woman in Mr. Weiner's world who falls somewhere in the middle? The ultimately disposable Megan Calvet Draper or Jane Siegel Sterling, perhaps? Peggy Olsen? Hard to know.
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#17 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 08:22 PM

Pete to Don: "I'm going to have the same view as you!"

You have no idea how right you are, young man.

#18 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:02 PM

To some extent, things look the same whether you're at the top of a cliff or the top of an elevator shaft, so yes he will.

Another old joke, a clean one this time. A man jumps out of a Manhattan skyscraper. Another man sees him falling and shouts, "are you ok?"
The first man says, "So far so goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo........"

Somewhat apropos for where the SCDP crew find themselves.
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#19 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 09:47 PM

MW said there'd be no elevator death! But do we trust what he says in an interview??
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#20 OFFLINE   lucky13

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:21 AM

You Only Live Twice.

Dick Whitman.
Don Draper.
No more chances.




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