Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke, Free for CAPC Members
Reinke wants to help readers not be manipulated and enthralled by the spectacles of our media age. Instead, he shows that we see the greatest spectacle of all in the Cross.
Spoilers, of course. If you haven’t already, make sure to read our full episode recap, For the Love of Work.
There’s a great deal about racial and gender politics in this episode worth noting. Perhaps the funniest and most revealing exchange in the episode is between Shirley and Dawn, who jokingly greet each other by their own names because, we assume, everyone in the office gets them mixed up.
Speaking of death, either Mad Men really is a show about death or mortality (which all shows are, to some point), or some of the fan conspiracy theories have had at least some grounding. Pete’s talking enough about his own death in this episode that I wouldn’t be terribly surprised, though a bit disappointed in the writers. And a sutler omen is buried in this episode, too: Sally tells her schoolmates that she’d stay in school for six more years if she could put Betty six feet under (yikes), and then later, one of the roommates comments that half the senior class thinks that Sarah’s name is Sally. Sarah’s the roommate whose mother just died. (And if we’re playing mortality bingo, Peggy also comments that the roses make her office smell “like an Italian funeral.”
I don’t know about you, but I really like Bonnie, who is plucky and practical and stands up to Pete when he gets whiny. Their exchange in the house Bonnie’s selling strikes me as important, if only because—like theater—on this show, whenever a minor character gives a speech, it’s probably important. And this time, it’s (a) about random chance, and the thrill of living in a world where random chance exists, and (b) also about fire, which Megan mentioned last episode. Hmm.
I believe Don and Sally’s car conversation might be the first time that Don realizes Sally is, in some sense, an adult, or at least a fully self-aware human being with her own mind. You can see it on his face when she tells him how hard it was to go to his apartment, knowing she might run into Sylvia, “and I’d have to stand there, smiling, wanting to vomit while I smell her hairspray.” But if you watch Sally closely, you’ll notice that Don is right: she is the spitting image of her mother, right down to the moment when she’s on the payphone and says to her friend, “You know what, Carol? I should go.” Classic Betty.
Watch Sally and Don’s conversation about why he got fired, and Megan, and California again: he’s not just talking about SC&P.
For what it’s worth, Sally’s “I’m so many people” line—which is somewhat obviously appropriate for this whole show—is often attributed to Marilyn Monroe, who died in 1962 and is supposed to have said, “I’m so many people. They shock me sometimes. I wish it was just me.”
Don must have missed Megan’s Valentine’s Day call. Uh-oh.
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