Monday, October 19, 2009

'Mad Men' Monday: The Color of Blue

*Warning, spoilers ahead from the recent episode of Mad Men.*

So now she knows. Someone named “Don Draper,” whom she knows as her husband, was once married to a woman named “Anna Draper,” for whom Don has the deed for her California home. She knows that Don has a secret shoebox tucked away in a locked drawer, next to piles of cash, and contains two sets of dog tags for Donald Draper and Richard Whitman, as well as photos with a younger Don being referred to as "Dick."

Betty knows Don’s hiding from her. More than about being unfaithful and rerturning to his sneaky ways again, not coming home, being distant, just like he did when he was sleeping with Bobbie Barrett, and the other women whose names Betty doesn’t know. The question is: What’s she gonna do about it?

Is Betty going to call him on his box of secrets and his lies, or does she hold all of this in reserve, as a weapon to be wielded at just the right moment? If Don had come home the day she found the box when she waited up, it seemed as though she was going to blast him with both barrels, as I, for one, was desperately hoping. But, when he didn’t come home, she put her trump card away. Why, I wondered.

If Betty was smart, she’d do her research, look into Anna Draper, the California deed, etc. to learn the truth. Then she’d have some power over Don, something he clearly has over her, though, I’m hoping, that that’s about to change. Think about how much power Mona Sterling had when Roger left her for Jane and everybody knew it? The specter of the Sterling divorce and Mona taking Roger to the cleaners is what prompted the sale of Sterling Cooper, after all.

Another observation:

“Nobody feels as good about what they do as you do,” Don said to Suzanne Farrell as they were lying in bed and she was talking about something funny that happened with an 8-year-old student in her class.
This got me wondering, is Don only attracted to women who have passion in their lives, people who love what they do? Midge had her art and her bohemian life outside of Don, plus other lovers. Rachel had her department store and her money. Bobbie had her work in the entertainment industry managing her famous comedian husband. Suzanne has her idealism and her teaching (although I suspect the moment she becomes needy -- like she did on the train -- Don will find that unattractive).

Betty hates her life and has no interests. She’s bored and unenthusiastic about everything, her passion extinguished. Does this repel Don? Think about their trip to Rome. Betty was thrilled to be there. She used her Italian and her cosmopolitan ways. She flirted. She felt sexy. She was desired. And this made Don want her. But the moment they got home, he realized she was “stuck” in what she saw as boring suburban hell, she rebuffed Don’s sexual advances and was distinctly unenthusiastic about his gift of a charm from Italy, by telling him she hated their home, their friends and their life. Soon thereafter, Don was running into Miss Farrell’s arms.

I’m not blaming Betty for Don’s infidelity, just trying to understand it. Where Betty clearly longs to be desired, doted upon and pursued (she told Sally that every kiss after the first one is a pale imitation), Don wants a happy, confident woman. They seem to be at a crossroads. Plus they're a bad match, one that I now believe cannot survive in the long term, not happily anyway, not without one of them – Betty – feeling miserable for the rest of her life.

What did you think of “The Color of Blue?” Think Betty will call Don on his lies? Use it to her advantage?

Image credit: Carin Baer/AMC.


Cooley Horner said...

I think it's interesting to note that Don seeks passion, and perhaps that is to supplement the passion he does not have. He's good at his job, but he's not passionate about it. He loves his kids, but he's not passionate about them. When he first met Betty, he was inspired by her spark, telling Anna Draper, "I just like the way she laughs, and the way she looks at me." Now that that's gone, Don's had to go elsewhere for his passion-for-living buzz.

I want Joan and Pete back next week. More than that, I want Pete and Peggy to duke it out, emotion-wise.

Meredith said...

I miss Joan very much. She's a fantastic character. I'm rooting for her to find her way.

I'm also anxious to find out if Peggy and Duck was a one-time thing or something more. Are Sterling Cooper refugees (Sal, maybe Peggy) going to join Duck?

Who's going to buy Sterling Cooper? Hilton?