Sunday’s episode of Mad Men, entitled The Good News left me a little sad and more than a little confused. Don Draper continued his downward descent, to the point of being pathetic and somewhat sad.
It is the holiday season and Don is alone. He is broken hearted about losing Betty and not spending the holidays with his children.He plans a vacation to Acapulco, where no doubt he would continue his drinking and womanizing. On the way, he make a stop in California to visit Anna Draper.
I Know Everything About You and I Still Love You
Don arrives at Anna’s bright and sunny house in California, a sharp contrast to Don’s dark and gloomy New York apartment. With Anna, we see the return of Dick Whitman. Don (Dick) is free to be himself with Anna and he shows her his kind, vulnerable side. Anna knows Dick Whitman, who is he and where he came from and she loves him. Dick is happy and relaxed with Anna. Not the drunken, out of control skirt-chasing Don Draper, we know and love.Which makes me wonder why he didn’t marry her instead of Betty. I think there is a back story there, that Matt Weiner has not revealed to us.
Even so, he crosses yet another boundary and makes a pass at Anna’s teenage niece, Stephanie. Before things go to far, Stephanie tells Don that Anna has terminal cancer. This news knocks him off-balance. As Don Draper, he is the man with all the answers, who can fix anything. At least, that is the image he has created for Don. Anna doesn’t know she has cancer and her sister wants to keep it that way, so she insists that Don leave before he tells Anna’s the true nature of her broken leg.
Not in the mood for Acapulco, Don head back to New York where he find a lonely, Laine Pryce. Don can’t help Anna, but he knows how to ease Lane’s loneliness. Movie..comedy club…’a lady friend’ of the evening.
Elsewhere at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce
Joan is not getting any younger and wants to start a family with Dr. Harris. Fearing that he might be sent to Viet Nam, Joan feels uncertain about the future and there is an urgency in her wanting to get pregnant before Greg is called up for duty. When she asks for a few extra days off so she and Greg can start working on a baby, Laine gives her a very curt-NO. To make matters worse, he tells her “not to go and cry about it“. Thus begins the battle between Joan and Lane.
If this was the first time you have watched Mad Men, don’t think this is a typical episode. Even for Mad Men fans, The Good News was a slow, relatively uneventful episode that is a set up for bigger things to come. After all, it is 1965 and all kinds of things are about to happen, historically. The Beatles, Viet Nam, Civil Rights, the ban of cigarette advertising on TV (bye-bye, Mr. Lucky Strikes).
You may have missed my previous posts about Mad Men:
Mad Men Fodder: Christmas Comes But Once a Year [A guest post — more like half of a post, but check it out]
What Other Mad Men Fans Are Saying
Basket of Kisses: The Good News