Things got downright confrontational on last night's episode, titled "The Hobo and the Gypsy."
First: A hobo is a worker who wanders. Wikipedia notes that in addition to "travelers," gypsies were often referred to as "Wise Women."
Don has certainly wandered; Betty is just now getting wise, so to speak. Right at the very beginning of the episode, she challenges Don: "You have no more money." A question phrased like a statement, because she knows the answer. She's seen the stacks of cash in his drawer. She's giving Don a chance to come clean, even though she knows he won't. Not that easily.
The other woman in Don Draper's life, Suzanne Farrell, was also wising up: "I see a man who is not happy," she says. "I'm happy now," Don replies. It's a lie. He's lying to himself. Or it's the truth; and he's happy with things the way they are: Cheating on his wife, sneaking into Miss Farrell's apartment for secret sex and pasta. Either way: Not what Suzanne Farrell believes, or wants to hear.
Meanwhile, Joan was coaching her husband's interview skills. Another example of the "Wise Woman." As usual, Joan is on the money. (Anyone else think she would make a good shrink?) Her intuitive way of dealing with her husband; explaining: "This is a talking profession," came off as experienced and savvy. She knows how to work with people; she's a gifted communicator. In addition, when describing the qualities her husband should project: "You're smart, you're funny, you're great to be around…" was Joan just projecting her own qualities on to him?
Also, since this episode was about secrets coming out of the drawer and into the light, his "I can't believe I never told you that" fit right in.
In bed, Suzanne said to Don: I just wanted more than I thought I would want. But it will pass." This reminded me of "This too shall pass," the phrase Solomon (the famous Biblical wise man) saw on a ring. The ring was supposed to have power: "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Happiness fades, but so does sadness. Don thinks he's happy — it'll pass. Suzanne is sad they can't be more to each other — it'll pass. Perhaps she's been in this situation before?
In her father's house, Betty spills what she knows about Don to her lawyer: "He's been married before… It's a lie so big." Her lawyer, acting as a stand-in father figure, recommends: "Go home, give it a try." Adding: "That's what I'd tell my own daughter."
Another thing fascinating about this scene is how the lawyer calls Betty "Betsy." It's been interesting how she has so many different names; with her dad, she would say, "It's me, Elizabeth." Don calls her Betty, Betts or Birdie. What does she want to be called?
Roger Sterling and his old flame, Annabelle Mathis, had a boozy night in which they referenced the war, Casablanca and a love affair gone wrong. The sexual chemistry was palpable, but when she said "you still want me," he replied: "So what." And: "It's different with this girl. I'm sorry."
Roger also dealt with his other old flame — when Joan called, asking for help with work. There was something close to pride in his voice when he recommended her for a job, saying, "She's expensive."
Joan's husband Greg screwed up his interview then took his anger out on her: "Stop acting like you know everything." Rational Joan: "We need money." Greg ranted: "You don't know what it's like to want something your whole like, and to plan for it, and count on it, and not get it." Fool! Joan knows all too well what that's like. She thought she'd be the wife of a surgeon, not supporting a whiner/failure. When Joan hits Greg on the head, not only is she pissed: She is trying to knock some sense into him, and rejecting his notion that she doesn't know what it's like to work towards something all your life.
The sole comic relief in last night's episode occurred during the dog food focus group, in which the pup owners projected their own personalities on to their pooches, who were eating horse meat. Peggy's line, "I can't turn it off; It's happening" basically describes everything about this show: Life is not a well-produced commercial. It's messy business not even Don Draper can control.
We found out that Roger Sterling's old flame broke his heart. She said: "You were the one." It's like she's emptying out her own desk drawer of secrets. Unfortunately, Roger Sterling wasn't moved by her revelations.
Don and Betty's showcase showdown over the desk drawer was chilling. She exhibited a steely resolve hinted at (remember when she shot the birds?) but never explored. It was both shocking and a relief to see Betty becoming a font of strength. Don's comebacks — "you changed your name" — were so weak, he was basically destroyed. So much came tumbling out of Betty — "I respected your privacy too long"; "You're a very very gifted storyteller" — it was almost horrifying. So raw, so stripped down of the usual gloss. So out of the comfort zone. Don Draper shaky? Don Draper unsettled? Don Draper fumbling with his cigarettes? Unprecedented. Betty eventually showed signs of concern — not pity — and offered to get him a drink. But that didn't stop what happened next:
Don Draper cried.
He spilled everything about his mother the 22-year-old prostitute, his Uncle Mac, his half-brother Adam and how they're all dead. We witnessed the Death Of Don Draper As We Know Him, and it was hard to witness.
By the by: Nothing good can come of Greg joining the army. Him saying "Vietnam… If that's still going on…" is most likely foreshadowing. We have the burden of knowing of course it's "still going on." And lots of people die. Good luck with that, Greg.
It was kind of insane that while Betty and Don's confrontation was taking place, Suzanne Farrell was waiting in Don's car. "What happened? Did you get caught?" she asked, which we knew was a double entendre: Never mind the affair. He got caught in the biggest ruse of all: His life.
At the very end of the episode, we see the Hobo and the Gypsy for whom the script was named. It was Halloween, after all: The day which celebrates pretending to be someone you're not. Don Draper's spent years faking it; ironic that he's suddenly been forced to take off his mask. But when Betty watched him kiss the kids goodbye as he went to work, it was as though she was watching a stranger.
So. When Don and Betty took the kids trick-or-treating, and the neighbor said, "Who are you supposed to be," it was an excellent question. Don Draper is his unflappable, hardened exterior. Now that it's cracked, who the hell is he? Is he Dick? Is he Don?
The end titles were set to "Where Is Love," from the musical Oliver!. Though the film was released in 1968, the show premiered in London's West End in 1960 and hit Broadway in 1963.
Oliver!, as you may know, is loosely based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. In the show, Oliver is an orphan who has the courage to ask for more, ends up hanging with pick-pockets (what is advertising but sleight of hand?), but is actually an innocent, though crime is all around him — what he wants more than anything is a sense of belonging. A family.
Earlier: Mad Men: "Enjoy The World As It Is. They'll Change It, And Never Give You A Reason"
Mad Men: Everyone Is Disappointed
On Mad Men, When Is It Rape?
Mad Men: Sex, Lies, & The Recline Of The Roman Empire
Mad Men's Appeal Is All About Joan
Mad Men: Drinking, Dancing, & Screwing
Mad Women Experience Frequent Aftershocks
Mad Men: It's All Fun & Games Until Someone Loses A…
Mad Men: Blood, Sweat, And Tears
Mad Men: "It's A Dead Man's Hat. Take It Off."
Mad Men: "I'm Peggy Olson, And I Want To Smoke Some Marijuana"
Mad Men: "Just Don't Get Pregnant."
Mad Men: Ann-Margret Gives Master Class In Womanly Arts
"His Name Is Dick - After A Wish His Mother Should Have Lived To See"