So Mad Men is back. Yea. I have never actually seen the show on tv. Like Mr. Tony I have watched the first three seasons on DVD. Luckily with only three commercial breaks it wasn’t that different. Season 4 ep. 1
We open the season and episode with the question, who is Don Draper. He is no longer Dick Whitman. He is no longer the happy husband. He is free from Betty and free from constraints. The firm is his now. Sterling, Cooper, and Pryce may also be on the door but this firm is Don’s baby.
With power comes responsibility, so Don is being interviewed for Ad Age to reflect the fact that he is now the face of the firm. He blows it. He still is not able to open up. He is still afraid of revealing his true self. Most likely because he’s been playing a part for so long he doesn’t know who his true self is.
We get back to the new tiny offices without a conference table or second floor and see the fall out of the interview. Clients are leaving and nobody is happy. Lucky Strike is now 71% of their business. Sal most definitely is not coming back now.
Peggy has grown in stature at the firm and in her life. We learn later that she has a fiancée. Of course he is with her as she goes to Don’s so that he can bail her out of a jam. She would do it for him. Oh wait she already did. Of course this is different because it is work. A viral marketing scheme gone bad. This harkens back to the heineken is season two. When Don says he wouldn’t do something like Peggy and Pete do he’s lying. The best line of the show goes to Pete when describing how to pay for the scheme: “I can put it on my expense account if I say it’s for whores.”. Ah the wonders of an expense account in 1964.
We see Betty in her new family. How will she react to having in laws? Don had no people at their wedding. Of course Henry’s mother looks like Lulu Hogg. Right down to the hairstyle. Of course Lulu was sweet. The mother in law does not care for Betty. Which may not make her sour, just perceptive. Betty continues to treat Sally like a leper. Oh fun.
But this episode belonged to Don. He kicks out prudish swim suit makers. They don’t make a bikini, they make a two piece. Don has no patience for their lack of vision. He understands that it is his job to make people know what the product is for.
Don also had a disturbing visit with a lady of the night. It seems that now he doesn’t have to run away or keep his ladies secret he doesn’t want them. He does go on a blind date, set up by Jane of all people, but Mt. Holyoke gymnasts have seen his kind before. Of course, other than Joan the gymnast may be the most interesting female character ever on the show. I am sure we will see her again.
The show ends where it began, with Don being interviewed. This time by Cooper’s man at the WSJ. Draper is cocksure and confident. He now now knows that SCDP is his alone to succeed or fail. He can be the guy he has always wanted to be.
Let’s see if life will let him be that.