Monday, November 09, 2009

It's Choice- Not Chance-

that determines your destiny.
-Jean Nidetch

The weather is getting to me, one day in the mid 70's the next in the low 50's. That kind of temperature roller coaster always makes me tired and sleepy. So tired, I went to bed early last night and woke up to an e-mail from my sister that read, "THE BEST EPISODE EVER???" My mind was blank, what was the best episode ever? Then it hit me, my brain has been in such a fog the last few days I forgot yesterday was Sunday. Which means I forgot to watch Mad Men Men last night! Luckily I had it set up to recorded so I watched it this morning.

(Warning- If you watch Mad Men and have not seen this episode stop reading, there are spoilers ahead.)

It was a very satisfying episode and a great end to the third season. My favorite scene was Peggy's Joan moment. Roger and Peggy are working at a table together and he asks her, no, he tells her to get him a cup of coffee. Without missing a beat Peggy says no and keeps on working. Roger looks at her in surprise. Peggy is not Roger's "girl" and she is letting him know it.

If you asked me what the theme of this episode was I would tell you it was about taking a leap of faith. Sterling-Cooper is being sold and Don Draper decides to start another agency. After Conrad Hilton tells Don he is disappointed in him for not being a man made in his (Conrad's) image, someone who does it all alone, Don flashes back to the outcome of his father's fatal decision to go his own way without the help of anyone else. He realizes that if he continues following in the footsteps of his father and of Hilton he will not be able to get back the one thing that is important to him in business-the freedom to do quality work and be his own man.

The man who kept his thoughts and feelings on a "need to know" basis with others takes his leap by being more open with the people he works with and needs to make his plan work. All the people he goes to, Burt Cooper, Roger Sterling, Pete Campbell, Peggy Olson, Harry Crane, and Lane Pryce, are hesitate at first but then take their own leap of faith and join him. Why do they all decide to do so?

As Don points our to Peggy, since the Kennedy assassination "the way people saw themselves is gone but nobody understands that." Well, except for her and all of the other people who take the leap. Until this episode everything had been moving at a glacial pace in some ways. People were just going though the motions and seemed to be trapped in their lives at work and at home but last night people were moving with more energy. The Kennedy assassination was a spiritual kick in the head for everyone. The ones who felt the kick the strongest were the ones willing to take charge of their own destiny and make that leap of faith.

One other person, Betty, took charge of her destiny and made the leap in this episode but I think she is the only one who did it with her eyes closed. In a dream Betty had in an earlier episode her father refers to her as "a house cat, very important. Little to do," and I don't think Betty is happy in the role. Since she is too busy blaming Don for all her problems she doesn't see that by going with Francis she is still going to be a house cat only in a different house. Poor Betty, poorer kids.

One last thing, when I first started watching the show I thought Peggy was based on Shirley Polykoff who at one time was the only female copywiter at Foote, Cone & Belding. Now, I'm so sure. Joan is more the Shirley Polykoff type since Polykoff once said that she was "a girl first and an advertising woman second."

One last, last thing. I am glad Joan is back, I missed her.

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