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‘Mad’cap Recap 4:10

Don Draper is puking again.  He’s doing that a lot this season, and when he barfs, boy does he ever.  With the arrival of this week’s G-men and their sneaky questions, it seems like everything Don’s been stuffing all this time is finally being forced out for everyone to see.  And, surprisingly, it looks like he might be ready to let it happen.

In a dramatic reversal of the power dynamic present when Don’s identity came into question in season one, Don’s first response to the threat of exposure was to beg Pete Campbell to help him keep his secrets – at the cost of a $4 million deal.  Pete agreed after saying his piece, because the only thing he wants more than to be Don’s equal is to have Don’s good favor.

Yet by the end of the episode, and with almost no coercion, Don was vomiting the truth of his past all over Faye.  So why the switch?  Was it Faye’s kindly back patting?  Nope.  It was “Bets” (as Don returned to calling her this week) – the faith Betty put in Don when she covered for him with the FBI (sidenote: how priceless was Don’s “this phone is probably tapped” change of tone toward the end of their chat?).  I’m gonna go ahead and say it, Betty Francis may be the new Anna Draper.  As evidence, consider Don’s mad dash to set up a trust for Betty and the kids, should anything happen.  That smells more than a little bit like his support of his beloved Anna throughout the years.

And speaking of being covered just in case, I guess we know now why Lane always has the look of an abused puppy.  The personal favor that he asked of Don was not just referencing their shared experience a few weeks back; Don was at the Playboy club as insurance against the top of the elder Mr. Pryce’s cane.  Ouch!  Farewell to Lane’s “chocolate bunny.”  She was cute while she lasted.

I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the Joan pregnancy storyline, only because we saw it coming a mile away (granting that I didn’t expect – nor do I buy – that a Joan/Roger reunion would happen in a deserted alley).  At the abortion clinic, we’re reminded of Joan’s cavalier admission from a couple seasons ago that all the girls have had “procedures.”  When she tells the mother seated in the lobby with her, though, that her daughter “is fifteen” we’re left to wonder if her past may have a stronger effect on her than she’s let us believe before.  Later, when she tells Roger “Life goes on,” she’s definitely talking to herself, potentially regarding her other loss(es).  The real question is did she or didn’t she go through with it this time?

At the partners’ meeting at close of the episode, everyone around the table (except the usually out-of-it Bert) is in dire straits; they are all losing the things they want most: Joan is losing another baby; Roger is on the verge of losing Joan (again), Lucky Strike, and  – with all the begging he’s been resorting to lately- his dignity; Pete is losing the status he’s worked so hard for at SCDP, and Lane is losing his independence.

As for Don, Don is losing his secret identity – although, for once, it seems like he might be ready to explore the answer to the questions he avoided at the beginning of the season: Who is Don Draper?  Our first clues to that answer?  One, he’s tired of running.  Two, he is no longer the pot smoking Don of season one that was trying to fit in with Beatniks and his girlfriend’s young cohorts.  Now he knows himself a bit better: he’s planning to bring earplugs to the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium.


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