Hands and knees
Well, wasn't that fun. And the walls came tumbling down.
The only thing we know for certain is that Beatles must charge a lot more for the use of their tunes than the Rolling Stones do. Nothing else I can think of can explain the decision to use an instrumental version of "Do you want to know a secret" rather than the original single. It must have been beyond the budget.
Beyond that, who knows?
Personally, I'd rather not know secrets. I'd rather they just lay there unattended and that has been my personal bias all along. If you have a dark secret, you can count on me not to push it into the open. I don't think it ever does much good to force things out. That effects how I see the show of course.
Consider my servant Job
The oddest coincidence for me was to read today's readings before watching the episode. It was the start of Job today. You know how it starts. God's angels are hanging around with him and an unwelcome guest shows up. God turns to the unwelcome guest and says, "So what have you been up to Satan?" Satan says he has been roaming the earth. God says, "Well I hope you've noticed my good servant Job who is an all around first class guy." Satan sneers back, "That's only because he has it so good." And God says, "Okay, I'll take that bet, go ahead and do your worst and let's see how he deals with it."
And then three messengers come to Job and tell him that he has lost this that and the other thing and now he has nothing left and that brings him to his hands and knees.
And that is pretty much what happens this episode. Various people come to Don and Roger and tell them that the sky is about to fall in.
By the way, note again what no one else seems to notice, there is a remarkable tie between these two characters. It's like they were two sides of the same personality.
Pete and Betty grow up kinda, sorta
Pete and Betty, because they both know the truth, get pulled in to the lie and both end up having to lie for Don. That is a typical Weiner touch and it is handled with all the power and subtlety we should be able to expect from him.
First Betty lies to the government investigators doing the security clearance on Don. That part is easy. The tough part is when she lies to Henry. And she does. She tells him she doesn't want any secrets but she then promptly doesn't tell him her secret.
And Pete does the same thing with Trudy.
Everyone gets pulled into the web of lies, of course, but it is telling that neither Betty nor Pete can tell the one person they should be telling.
The web tightens
I end up in the tax office quite often because the Serpentine One and I run a business together. It's often a highly entertaining moment because I end up overhearing people who think they can talk their way out of anything trying to talk their way out of their tax debts. I don't mean to hear. It's that they make sure I do because they use embarrassment as one of their techniques. They think that by creating a publicly humiliating scene, they can get the tax officer to give in.
But the government never gives in. The courts might, as Faye helpfully suggests, but the government will not. And so Don is in trouble. He has to stop the security clearance. But that means losing a big contract. Normally, they might be able to swallow this but Roger also has a crisis in that Lucky Strike just got unlucky (the double meaning of that brand name in the context of the show never hit me before).
Anyway, you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots. Pete's $4 million deal that has to be flushed away to save Don might have saved the company even after the loss of Lucky Strike but both of them together well ... there is no avoiding it now, very bad things are about to happen.
And Lane will be away.
And there are only three more episodes left this season.
Blowing my own horn
Okay, bragging time. Every other commentator I read worried about whether Roger was good for Joan. To the best of my knowledge, I was the only one to worry about this:
And we do have to wonder what Joan will do if she conceives as a consequence of this encounter. We know she is no longer on the pill.That's me on the previous episode. Well, now we know, she decides to keep the baby. Roger misses it. When Joan tells him, "We avoided a tragedy," he misses the point entirely. I wonder if that isn't the real story. That's the real life decision that applies here for most of us. When a woman gets pregnant by someone who she really shouldn't have—whether it's her teenage boyfriend or, if she is older and married, by a man who is not her husband—the decision to have the child sets a bomb ticking. It may never explode. And we all know such situations. These things happen all the time. Desertion from active duty by assuming another man's identity, that doesn't happen so much.
By the way, do notice how no character on a popular television story or movie can have an abortion? It's okay if they have had abortions in the past but if they get pregnant while we are watching they have to carry that child to term. With a baby, though, you at least of that new soul to focus on. It becomes everything. What does Don have? he has a whole lot of nothing.
Odds and ends
I haven't said anything about Lane Pryce because I find the whole thing unbelievable.
In a sense, it is very believable. Lane is more open on race than his American colleagues. It is also true that the Playboy Club was more open on race issues. And Don's night out with Lane would explain his exploring this aspect of American life.
But this show never handles race issues credibly. Weiner should just suck it up and accept that he is dealing with a lily white world and stop trying. All the critics will pretend to like this new subplot just as they pretended to like other politically correct moments but it won't work dramatically and it will end up looking like just another token gesture later abandoned. (UPDATE from a few shows later: Yup, just as I predicted, the woman disappeared to the same land where Murphy Brown's baby ended up.)
I don't think it is an accident that the show ends with Don staring at Megan. Mark my words, that woman has a secret and I think it is her sexual orientation. (UPDATE: well, win some and lose some, I was wrong, wrong, wrong here.)
Finally, let me generously share a growing suspicion. There is book called The Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff. I'd bet dollars to donuts that Matt Weiner has read it and that it played a role in the creation of Don Draper.
Season 4 blogging begins here.
For anyone crazy enough to go even further :
Season three blogging begins here.
Season two, if you are interested, begins here.
Season one begins here.