First thoughtI kept thinking of the stupidest rock lyric in the history:
I shouted out, "Who Killed the Kennedys?"Actually, JFK was killed by a communist and Bobby Kennedy's death was an act of terrorism commited by, who else, a pro-Palestinian sympathizer named Sirhan Sirhan.
When after all it was you and me.
But the liberal mythology is that the Kennedys somehow died for America's sins. I mention this so you can see how the show plays into that. You have people living their sinful lives and then, suddenly, Kennedy is dead. You didn't hear a word about Israel and the 1967 war, or the growing terrorism problem. You just see these people in America behaving in dark, dark ways and suddenly the guy's dead and you connect the two things even though they had nothing whatsoever to do with one another.
Second thoughtWhat was Don's plan vis a vis Sylvia? Do you think it was to set her up in that hotel as his sex slave?
The show starts with him overhearing a big fight between Sylvia and Arnie. Dr. Arnie is going to Minnesota, presumably to make a pitch to the Mayo Clinic (which, if successful, will make him a colleague of my uncle who was a senior guy there at the time). Sylvia doesn't want Arnie to go. Why not? She doesn't have a job. Maybe she just loves New York. Not in 1968 she doesn't. On the other hand, she calls Don and tells him she needs him.
You can hate me for this if you want but I know what I'd feel in his place. Dread is what I'd feel. Here he has this perfectly good deal with a wife and a lover who is safely married to someone else and now she is going to be single and wanting who knows what. His first emotion is a need for containment. He he doesn't want her hoping for more from him. He can't dump her because who knows what she will do. She might run to Megan with the whole story. So he puts her in the role of sex slave.
As I say, you can hate me for this if you want, but he has nothing to lose. She'll either say "no" right away, in which case the problem is diffused. Or she'll say "yes" first, in which case he has a sex slave for a while. Special bonus: no matter whether she says "no" immediately or if she takes a while to come to her senses, it will feel like her decision to end the thing and that will sharply reduce the risk of bitter recriminations later.
It's pretty manipulative to be sure but it isn't stupid.
Third thoughtThe jousting between Don and Ted is different. Each is capable of standing up for himself. Ultimately, someone has to lose and someone else has to win.
From Don's perspective, the big problem is that Peggy is on Ted's side. (and we see this mirrored by Bob Benson who cleverly uses Joan to protect his job.) In that regard, I thought the most significant shot in the show was Don lying on his back in bed with all that chest hair visible. He's an old-fashioned man. Ted and Bob look like the sort of guys who sing effeminate tenor instead of manly baritone and who would consider having their hair waxed off. It's an increasingly feminized world and guys like Don are less at home in it.
In any case, notice how it is Don who tells Ted that he has won these second skirmish when he tells him that he has pulled a coup by being the guy who flew up to see Mohawk in his own plane. Again, he looks weak from the outside but it feels like he has managed to get exactly what he wants.
Final thoughtI don't see much future for the Draper marriage. In this show assassinations serve to separate grown ups from children and Megan is definitely one of the children. Again, I know how I'd feel if I'd heard all those brave plans the night before only to walk in and see Megan weeping in front of the TV like that. I wouldn't be seeing a woman who can share my life but a child who needs taking care of.
Okay, I hear you say, can't she be upset at the shock of it? Sure, but the problem is that she already cast herself in the role of spoiled princess last season. Her reaction to Bobby Kennedy's death reinforces that.
I can see Don serving her the divorce papers on the set of her show the way Sinatra did to Mia Farrow.
Other than that, I didn't like the episode much. Doing these commentaries used to be a pleasure but it has felt more and more like a task I dread as this season has gone on. I don't know how much longer I'll keep it up.