Mad Men: 5G   Rewatch 
June 15, 2014 7:20 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Don must deal with the fallout as a photo brings back a past he isn't ready to confront. Ken incites jealousy among his colleagues and drives Pete to make an unorthodox request of his wife. Peggy overhears a startling conversation in the office and shares the secret with Joan.
posted by tracicle (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Favorite line of the episode:

"I just think it's odd that the bear is talking."
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:27 AM on June 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

Second appearance of Pete the Pimp.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:53 AM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

I was surprised to find myself really relating to Don in this episode. Not that I've ever literally taken on a new identity, but on a somewhat smaller level, I do know what it's like when you're trying to live in one world but another part of your life that you're trying to escape keeps dragging you back.

My father was an alcoholic/drug addict. I concealed that fact from everyone outside of my immediate family until I moved far away from my hometown, and even then I only shared that information with a select few people. Still, despite my best efforts, I could never truly get away from that part of my life.

The haunted look on Don's face during some of these scenes really resonated with me and reminded me of that sinking, beaten-down feeling I would get whenever I was with my friends, trying to forget about the mess back home, and something would happen that would pull me back into that black hole of dysfunction. It's the kind of thing that can make you feel like you're a prisoner in your own life.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:22 AM on June 15, 2014 [10 favorites]

I particularly love the look on Dons face during the meeting with the clients from the bank to discuss his "Executive Account" concept. Like, he thought it was going to be a common thing to have things you want to hide from your family, and no one else saw it his way?

Also the fact that the advertising focus was on keeping private life separate from home life, and his various "lives" are constantly intruding on his work life in this episode.
posted by tracicle at 10:10 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done many Mad Men rewatches, but hadn't gone all the way back to Season 1 since before Season 5. Particularly after the end of Season 6, Adam's first appearance was a total gut punch. I welled up the first time Peggy said his name, even. And wow, just so interesting to think about the changes in Don between that episode and, say, this season's episode with Sally.

(I still think the actor playing Adam was miscast - agewise - given the timeline they [later?] came up with, though)
posted by kickingthecrap at 11:57 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also what a Pete-y episode. From "a thing like that" (its first appearance?) to his disgusting behavior with Trudy.
posted by kickingthecrap at 11:58 AM on June 15, 2014

This episode's full of good lines - the bear one, "a thing like that," and also, all of the Kinsey professional jealousy stuff. Man, do I miss that guy! "Those don't even sound stupid."
posted by kickingthecrap at 11:59 AM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Watching the commentary now... apparently this episode was written/filmed later on and inserted here to help flesh out some of the characters.

Charlie Fidditch! Oh Pete, you little pimp.

It's hard not to liveblog! Over and out until I finish this epi.
posted by mochapickle at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

God, this episode is heart-wrenching, especially knowing what comes later for Adam. Poor kid. And that scene where Don is going to his room - it was filmed to make you wonder if he was going to shoot Adam, and I still get nervous watching it now, even though I know what's actually going to happen.

Also, this is the episode that made me fall in love with Trudy as a character. I've been thinking lately about why Pete is so alone now in the last season, and it's because he wants a woman who is his social and intellectual equal, but who will treat him like a king. He had that for the most part in Trudy, because that's how she was raised, but he blew it. And the dissolution of his relationship with what's-her-name, the libertarian real estate agent, shows that as they get more and more into the 70s, it'll be harder and harder for him to find that.
posted by lunasol at 12:02 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Some nice subtle moments in this, too. Just before Don leaves the diner and Adam, he stubs out his cigarette like 20 times when three would have more than sufficed. It's neurotic. I have no idea if it's intentional, but I suspect it is -- it shows that he'll do more than he needs to close up this hole to his past. On first watch, I was positive Don was going to murder Adam. On this watch, I was still a little stunned he didn't, especially after burning the photo. In a way, he was killing Adam by destroying his likeness.

I loved how Don and Betty fell asleep in all their party clothes. It reminded me of being little, dressing up dolls and putting them into their beds in whatever you'd dressed them in. I still covet that blue velvet headboard.

From the commentary with the director, Lesli Link Glatter, this episode marks a huge change in Peggy and Don's relationship. After she overhears Don speaking with Midge, Peggy is suspicious. I love how worldly Joan is about it.

Also from the commentary: Adam's resurfacing forced Don to remember his past, but it also showed how different Don's life could have been. If Dick hadn't turned into Don, Dick might also have ended up working as a simple janitor and living in a grotty little hotel. From the director: "Somehow this image of Don walking in this sleazy hallway hurt my heart."
posted by mochapickle at 12:32 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

After she overhears Don speaking with Midge, Peggy is suspicious. I love how worldly Joan is about it.

Not only worldly, but putting it in the context of "That's why he never wanted *me* like all the other men do." Oh, Joanie.

From my first watch I remembered Don and Betty waking up the next morning and coughing and hacking their way out of bed, so in contrast to their elegance the night before. There seemed to be a lot of that in the first season, and I thought for a long time that one of the main cast members would get emphysema or lung cancer.
posted by tracicle at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Was just checking our Lesli Linka Glatter's imdb. She also directed several others, including:

Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency (the John Deere one!)
The Crysanthemum and the Sword (the one where Peggy rides in circles on a tiny motorbike!)
The Benefactor (the one where Jimmy Barrett films the disastrous Utz spot).
posted by mochapickle at 12:48 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Don getting a gun out would've be slightly less heartbreaking, somehow. Like, that would've been easier for Adam.

I love Peggy realizing she shouldn't have told Joan a damned thing, and that Joan was right: she just had to tell what she did know of the truth.

And I love Trudy trying to balance her husband's desires with her own. Poor thing. Has no idea who she married.
posted by RainyJay at 3:22 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

This episode is really interesting to me. I've watched it twice in the last few weeks, and even the second it still feels (as mentioned above) like Don is about to pull a gun on Adam.

Someone in one of the previous episode threads mentioned that Don and his family are like the people pictured in those "perfect family ads" in magazine, and that's true. Of course, under the surface we the viewer know it's a facade, but it's a facade that Don is actively trying to create.

He has created a story of himself and his family in his mind, and he can't let anything get in the way of that. That's why his greatest concern with Adam wasn't Adam's existence, but the fact that Adam might reveal how dark Don's beginnings were. Don wants people to think of him as a self made man (just like Nixon!), but he doesn't want people to know what his actual roots are.

Notice, in the scene in the diner, Don was going to pay for the meal until Adam implied that this was more than a one time thing.

There's also a view that Don has of the world that he doesn't realize Adam doesn't share with him. Don sees the possibility of re-invention, because he's done it once already. So, he offers Adam the money and a chance to change his life. Adam isn't interested in that, and it might not even be a possibility for him (much like the teacher's brother in season three). He just wanted family, something Don wouldn't give him, and the difference between the two of them ends in tragedy.
posted by drezdn at 3:23 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

One thing I do wonder with the Trudy scenes. Are we supposed to think she slept with Charlie Fiddich to get the story published? Is it also possible that she had an affair with him or someone else during her marriage to Pete?
posted by drezdn at 3:25 PM on June 15, 2014

Are we supposed to think she slept with Charlie Fiddich to get the story published?

I don't think she did. Trudy makes a comment about how she could have gotten Pete published in the New Yorker or the Atlantic, which to me implies that she would have been able to get Pete published there if she had slept with Charlie Fidditch, but since she didn't, "Boy's Life" or (whatever it was called) is the best that she could do.

Also, based on what we've seen of Trudy so far and in later episodes, I don't believe that's something she would be willing to do. She seems to have a pretty solid sense of self and clear boundaries about she is and isn't willing to tolerate.
posted by litera scripta manet at 3:40 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree that I don't think Trudy slept with Charlie. Boy's Life was going to charge a submission fee.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:54 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Trudy doesn't sleep with Charlie. But the director, in the commentary, confirms they used to be lovers before Trudy married Pete. Which makes Pete's resurrection of Charlie's name all the way up in S7a make so much more sense. And which makes Trudy's prim responses in S1 and S7 even more prim.
posted by mochapickle at 4:01 PM on June 15, 2014

And doesn't Trudy say something to that effect? Like: I could have gotten you into The New Yorker if I'd wanted to?
posted by mochapickle at 4:02 PM on June 15, 2014

Don getting a gun out would've be slightly less heartbreaking, somehow. Like, that would've been easier for Adam.

Yes. He really did "murder" Adam in a way. Figuratively speaking. Don pulling 5 grand from the bag was worse for Adam. It was complete emotional rejection. I don't want to see or hear from you ever again. You can never be a part of my life. Adam, being so vulnerable, lost, and depressed, had his last hope crushed. Don gave no real explanation to Adam. Nothing to help Adam take the rejection easier. All Adam got from Don was "I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward." It was terribly heartbreaking.

Had Don pulled a gun, Adam, despite being such a simple young man, might have cottoned on to the fact just how desperate Don was feeling. All Adam could sense was his own feelings. In any event, it would have been less painful and quicker.
posted by cwest at 5:35 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

On a brighter note, Charlie Fiddich is a funny name. It just sounds funny.
posted by cwest at 5:37 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wonder what Adam's view of their childhood was? Becaue he was his mother's child, did he completely miss where poor Dick was shit-on-a-stick to everyone? He seems so oblivious to the pain that Don was running from, and of his desire to protect the life that he had built, away from his so humble beginnings.

I would like to think that I could understand my brother's desire to get as far away from that disaster as possible. And you can tell how angry Don is about it.

I hate to say it, but Adam is being pretty selfish here, Don has managed to cobble together a pretty great life, away from his horrible, abusive, loveless childhood, and Adam can't respect his desire not to connect with it in any way.

He's so naive to think that Don would want to see him. Or would even be pleased about it.

But that's tragedy isn't it? Because at the end of the day, it's all about 'me'.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:43 PM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

apparently this episode was written/filmed later on and inserted here to help flesh out some of the characters.

I've been thinking about this all week, because the Ken storyline reveals so much about the creative team: the jealousy and competition between the guys. And while I love who Ken has turned out to be, I remember being confused by him at first. Things seem to come easily to him, and he's so nonchalant about it. You can definitely understand how someone like Pete or Kinsey, who perceive themselves to be Sisyphus pushing that rock up the hill, is driven crazy by ease through which Ken seems to move through life.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:58 AM on June 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Things seem to come easily to him, and he's so nonchalant about it.

He is rubbing people's noses in it though. He's walking around with The Atlantic sticking out of his suit pocket, and he'll tell anyone who will listen about his two novels.

I'd be annoyed with him too.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:37 AM on June 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think Adam isn't as innocent as he seems. He's manipulating Don. He truly wants to be in his life, but the desperation behind his eyes need more than just memories or a friend. He wants to get the fuck out of the bottom too. And Don's fully not having that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:35 PM on June 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I agree, Adam is looking for a handout or a hand up or something, but he wants a hero's welcome, and Don isn't the guy.

I wouldn't feel very kindly about a half-brother who was loved when I wasn't, who missed out on Dad's abuse and who clearly didn't suffer as much as I did growing up. I mean, take the clue, I pretended I DIED to get the fuck out of this family.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd forgotten how much Francine was hanging around in these early episodes, egging Betty on.

Don's locked top desk drawer at home is his own personal executive/private bank account. No Liberty Bank needed. But we know why the idea came so easily to him for the account.
posted by ChrisTN at 1:31 PM on June 23, 2014

Is this the first ep that has scored instrumental music rather than a period (or not) vocal song over the closing credits?
posted by ChrisTN at 1:36 PM on June 23, 2014

Adam really broke my heart on this rewatch. I think the first time I thought he was cagey, someone who might just expose Don, but this time it seemed he was just looking for family and like someone said upthread it was instead a complete emotional rejection. He was so happy to see Dick. Adam's life growing up could not have been much better than Don's childhood. Adam probably also suffered severe physical and emotional abuse and probably sexual abuse. Just like he watched Dick go through. And then to have the one person left in your life who might understand that huge wound, to have that person reject you? Adam had no one at the end. He was done trying to find a reason to keep living. It just crushed me.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:19 AM on April 7, 2015

« Older Orphan Black: Things Which Hav...   |  Movie: How to Train Your Drago... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments