Tuesday, May 05, 2015

"Mad Men": "Lost Horizon"

Viewers including me have long speculated that Don will chuck his New York adman lifestyle and run away, maybe to California (he was happy in L.A. with his good friend Anna, the real Don Draper's widow). Become Dick Whitman again? Impossible unless the feds declare an amnesty or pardon him. It looked like he was moving there anyway with that last-minute plan to save Sterling Cooper during the McCann takeover (McCann's a real agency; they did the "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" and "It's the Real Thing" Coca-Cola campaigns; Draper's been assigned Coke) but that was a fake-out.

So far he hasn't Sixties'd out in his style. Good.

Don gets away with leaving work, unannounced (remember his interlude with the rich folks including Joy?), but McCann won't put up with that. Looks like his ad career is done.

So he just hits the road, like a Beat. Nice cameo by Bert Cooper's ghost. Don can think on his feet and is cool when confronted (intelligence/street smarts and alpha state control). Stalking Diana (the depressed femme fatale played by the alluring Elizabeth Reaser): both romantic (he's in love) and disturbing. Is he a sap? Is he dangerous? I liked the hick husband seeing right through him, telling him the truth about Diana's character, and offering him Jesus, a nice heartland Protestant.

Maybe the title's an allusion saying Don's on his way to his own Shangri-La or at least is looking for it.

Nice that he and Betty are friends. An endearing part of the man besides his machismo and his sex appeal to women is he loves his kids. Like lots of men who grew up poor and/or abused, he's worked to give them what he didn't have as a child. So he'd never leave them UNLESS he was sure they would be fine with Betty and Henry.

Peggy's so cute and cool here: roller skating (around the empty Sterling Cooper, with Roger playing an electric organ just like a rink) and then strutting into McCann with her shades (she's hung over from all that Cinzano) and, yes, cigarette. Shocking people with a dirty picture seems very Sixties but here she's not Sixties'd out. (The left's culture war has two stages, the invasion "shock and awe" one where they try to tear down our "bourgeois" morals, then once they're secure, a puritanical phase, political correctness.) She's the proto-feminist you're supposed to cheer for, and she's charming here. Elisabeth Moss is actually pretty; fashion's been kind to Peggy lately.

Joan's an Iron Lady; I like her here too. Not really a women's-libber but using that in her arsenal to try to get the money (half a mil!) she was promised. Her slightly criminal boyfriend has still more of his roguish charm, offering, with a Mafia-style threat, to take care of the problem for her. Anyway, like most women, she smartly concludes the rat race sucks and gets out, because she can, taking McCann's offer of 50¢ on the dollar. Of course you're supposed to hate the McCann guys such as the slimy Ferg. He makes a play for Joan much like the boyfriend did but the latter's got the right stuff; Ferg, even though he has power, doesn't.

Only two more episodes and the show's history.

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