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
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:
Edited by phrelin, 12 June 2012 - 01:54 PM.