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August 1, 2014

Mad Men: The Jet Set

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 13th 2008 8:49AM
Hamm season 2(S02E11) Roger is starting anew and Jane is the nectar of life, his rebirth. Is Roger grasping for Jane because subconsciously he knows he blew it with Joan? He's ready to sacrifice everything for her, including a chunk of his fortune. "This is the life I was meant to have," he says. I love George the lawyer telling him the cost: "Think of all the good things in life, then cut them in half."

Don is in paradise. Sun, exotic music, a vision of a woman that looks like Betty, but she passes right by him. The devil appears in the form of Willy, the viscount. He's actually pimping out his daughter Joy, although we don't know he's her father till much later. Joy offers Don a way out, a beautiful life traveling to beautiful places, freedom at an epic scale, including the fact that she's not possessive. "You can have anyone you want," she tells him.

Compared to suburbia and Betty and the guilt, not to mention the responsibilities at Sterling Cooper, Joy is the devil with the apple and Don is Eve in the Garden of Eden. Will he bite?

Seeing the presentation about M.I.R.V.'s -- the specter of war -- gets to Don. It reminds him of Korea and facing death. He sees the vision of future/the total annihilation and flinches. Then comes salvation in the form of Joy. "Why would you deny yourself something you want?"

This is the Dick Whitman on the battlefield moment. A chance to Don to shed his skin and become something else, someone else. Back to the Garden of Eden, only now Don is the snake. Time for a new skin? Perhaps. He gets into Joy's car on a lark, but when asked if he wants to get his things, Don says, "No."

Duck sees the end of the line at Sterling Cooper after Roger advises him to "Go make rain. " Duck makes a play to save his skin. It's a power play and an act of heartless desperation. Remember how he got rid of his dog, here he attempts to sell out Sterling Cooper for the sake of his career. He gives Saint John the inside dope on Roger's divorce and an angle on how the British company could buy out SC. It might be a good business move, but before doing the dirty, Duck has to fall of the wagon. Again, just like turning out his dog. He cannot do it without the crutch of alcohol.

Kurt's declaration of his homosexuality said more about the others than it did about him. Cosgrove claims he doesn't want to work with queers, which is a dagger in Sal's heart. The pain is all over Sal's face. Kudos to Smitty for obliquely defending Kurt and walking out of the room when the others denigrated his business partner.

The last scene, Don awakened by the sound of children, prompts him making a calling as Dick Whitman. Who is he talking to? Who would he "love to see"? Whose address does he write down -- on the last page of The Sound and the Fury, Joy's book -- and then rip out.

In a perfect reversal of the Mad Men logo, Don is shot from behind the couch, only he's in a scene that's the antithesis of the New York office and black and white. He's half naked and in a paradise setting. The arm is going left, like the west coast. The soundtrack is Johnny Mathis singing, "What'll I Do?" We see Don's suitcase being delivered home to New York. What will Betty do when -- and if -- Don decides not to come home?

Other points of interest

-- Willy rejects Pete despite his dropping the "Newport" connection. The girls at the pool also reject Pete. Pete is not Don, that's really clear. Don's a winner.

-- Great smack down line from Don to Pete -- "You want to be on vacation, Pete? Because I can make that happen." Of course, then Don blows off the entire rocket fair.

-- The music really suggested the desert and Egypt or somewhere far, far away like the Arabian Nights. In Palm Springs, one sip of champagne and Don keels over. It turns out to be the sun, but it's reminiscent of the battlefield in Korea. Later Willy toasts Don saying, "To not being carried out in a box." Again, echoes of Korea.

-- Joy describes her "Jet Set" as "We're nomads together." Like hobos, nomads have no home. When Don asks if they're all well-off, the non-answer speaks volumes. Really rich people never talk about money.

-- Pete's reaction to JFK defending James Meredith going to Old Miss was completely non-committal. "Strange," he said. Typical Pete, he waits for others to form his opinion. By the way, this sets the time as October, 1962.

-- The appearance of Christian with the two kids, a boy and a girl, was a reminder that Don could be kissing more than Betty and SC goodbye; there's Sally and Bobby. Don made promises to Bobby; will he keep them?

-- Worst cliche of the show was Kurt being able to remake Peggy by cutting her hair. Excuse me, but just because Kurt is gay doesn't make him a hairdresser. Although, her flip was much more stylish and perfect for 1962.

-- The free boxes of donuts looked really familiar, but I can't remember them exactly. Anyone know what company that was?
Do you think Don will abandon Betty and the kids?
Yes, he's never going back41 (7.1%)
No, he's a mad man and needs advertising350 (61.0%)
I don't know, but I'm intrigued183 (31.9%)

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23 Comments

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jcy

right before don faints, joy pours him a glass of champagne, from which she doesn't drink. the old bitch toasts him and says "it's medicinal"

October 18 2008 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bob

Did Don tear out the last page of the book before Joy finished reading it? If so, that seems pretty typically selfish of him.

October 15 2008 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gin

Didn't Betty say a few weeks ago that she dreamt of a suitcase? There it was on the doorstep, concluding the episode and possibly her marriage.

October 15 2008 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

Am I the only one that thinks that the CA crew weren't just grifters or hippies, but a much more political/communist group? I thought their juxtaposition to the mutually assured destruction scene made that obvious. (?)

October 15 2008 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert

Very intriguing episode. In my view, many veiled references to James Bond. To wit:
1. The whole MIRV, world domination thing.
2. Willy as Count blah blah blah
3. Beautiful, available women
4. Lyford Cay, Bahamas
5. Can't wait for Don to order his Martini "shaken not stirred"

October 14 2008 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie

The California crew with whom Don was hanging out for the bulk episode was incredibly off-putting and, well, there just aren't enough words to describe how bizarre they were. A "doctor" with no pants about to inject something into Don. Joy's dad freely walking in on his 21 year old daughter in a morning post-coital position, then proceeding to call Don "beautiful." My best guess is that these people supposed to represent the coming free-love generation a few years over the horizon. Aside from that, they just freak me out, plain and simple.

Also:

Is Bob going to write the reviews again, or is Allison the permanent reviewer for Mad Men? We never did get a review of episode 9, did we?

October 13 2008 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dana

Regarding: "In a perfect reversal of the Mad Men logo, Don is shot from behind the couch" - I thought I was the only one that caught it. It was very, very good, part of an amazing episode.

October 13 2008 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Orren

The donuts were Dunkin'.

October 13 2008 at 3:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob

It was great to hear another Bob Dylan reference in this episode, I really would have loved another song though.

The inclusion of 'Don't think Twice' in the season 1 finale was such a perfect song selection for that scene.

I guess about one Dylan song a season is about all anyone can afford though, right?

October 13 2008 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Andrew

I thought one of the best lines of the episode was when Duck said "to old friends" as he stared down at the glass of vodka, then downed it.

October 13 2008 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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