Posted by: ckckred | April 28, 2012

The Mad Men Watch: Far Away Places

Jane and Roger, whose marriage ends this episode.

So far this season, we’ve seen Don transform into a different man.  The old Don we knew was the one who cheated on his wife and was an anti-hero.  This season, creator Matt Weiner has transformed Don into a kinder character.  He’s been faithful to his new wife Megan and is more sympathetic than before.

But Mad Men‘s no bed of roses, and I doubt that Don and Megan’s marriage is going to last.  “Far Away Places” shows that, and so far is my favorite episode of the season.

The episode had three subplots that all occurred at the same time (Weiner said he was inspired by a series of short French films).  There was one for Peggy, Roger, and Don.

Let’s start with Peggy.  We’ve seen her become the leader of the copywriters, and in this episode Peggy screws up the Heinz account.  She runs off from work, and watches a movie and flirts with some guy she doesn’t even know.

But the strongest part of her subplot revolved around the new character this season Ginsberg.  He’s one of the most interesting characters on Mad Men right now.  We’ve seen the characters make anti-Semmetic remarks before, and kind of like Dawn, the new African-American secretary.

Ginsberg remarks on how he was adopted, and that he was born at a concentration camp, but then remarks “But you know that’s impossible.”  Is it?  It certainly makes sense.  Time Magazine writer Nate Rawlings said Ginsberg’s in his 20s, so it’s entirely possible.

The second subplot, and perhaps the most significant of all, was Roger’s.  Roger’s character is a lot like Don’s, or rather the old Don.  We know Roger doesn’t like being with Jane, his wife, and is reluctant to go to her friend’s party, where the guests are given LSD.  And during that time, Roger realizes it’s time to leave his wife, who reveals to him that she was suggested to divorce him.

But what is most significant is that Roger doesn’t really care.  I initially expected him to end like Don after Betty left him, but he ended up happier.  Maybe Roger expects his life to end up like Don’s now.

And this brings us to Don and Megan.  Don wants to do something nice, and takes Megan away from work and brings her to upstate New York, where Megan reveals she wants to work.  One thing I’ve noticed is that Don doesn’t take Megan working very seriously, and he’s actually hurting her, though intending to do something nice.

So when Megan leaves, Do believes he’s lost her.  If there’s one thing that stands out for Don, it’s his commitment.  Don really does seem to care for Megan, more than Betty at least.  And the episode doesn’t turn out right for Don.  Megan’s angry at him, and Cooper thinks he should focus on his work.

Will thinks turn out right for Don and Megan?  Or will Don fall apart again?  One of my theories on how Mad Men will end is that the title sequence actually depicts Don committing suicide.  Weiner said he might show Don in modern day.  But whatever the case, Don’s still in the 60s.  And I doubt, as Roger said at the end of the episode, it’ll be a beautiful day.

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