Mad Men: The Mountain King   Rewatch 
August 24, 2014 6:29 AM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Don meets with an old friend. An account hangs in the balance when Pete's personal life presents problems. Joan brings her boyfriend to the office.
posted by tracicle (18 comments total)
I love, love, love this episode. (Except for Dr. Rapey.)

Love Anna. Love Dick Whitman. He's so open, so (relatively) free in California. That conversation with the car guys. Those are his people. Why doesn't he just stay?

My favorite line, from Peggy when Pete questions how she got her new office: "I'm sleeping with Don. It's really working out."


Trivia: That's another of Matt Weiner's sons at the piano lesson.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:45 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is one of my favourite episodes. Love the introduction of Anna Draper.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 9:51 AM on August 24, 2014

My favorite line, from Peggy when Pete questions how she got her new office: "I'm sleeping with Don. It's really working out."

Somehow Pete and Peggy have become buddies. I'm not really sure when or why that happened.
posted by donajo at 4:02 PM on August 24, 2014

Don is so comfortable with Anna and it's so sweet to see. It's weird how he wants prosperity SO MUCH, but in reality he'd be happy living a simpler life and being himself. although I think he'd still want to be creative.

I kind of hope that 1970 finds Don in Malibu writing a novel.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:23 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Roger, talking to Alice Cooper, interrupts himself to say "--I'm sorry, I'm not sure who I should be looking at" in reference to her shrug with the two little fox faces. HA! Always gets me.
posted by lovableiago at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2014

Anna is probably one of my favorite Mad Men characters.
posted by drezdn at 5:35 PM on August 24, 2014

A "rocking" episode, indeed.

"Hells Bells, Trudy!" Also, the second time a fight is studded with defenestration (the first being the TV out the window by Midge). And Dr Rapist gives us our second rape, too. :(

We meet Alice Cooper.

The Mountain King is not just the title but the theme.
Grieg himself wrote, "For the Hall of the Mountain King I have written something that so reeks of cowpats, ultra-Norwegianism, and 'to-thyself-be-enough-ness' that I can't bear to hear it, though I hope that the irony will make itself felt."[2] The theme of "to thyself be... enough" – avoiding the commitment implicit in the phrase "To thine own self be true" and just doing enough – is central to Peer Gynt's satire, and the phrase is discussed by Peer and the mountain king in the scene which follows the piece.
To thyownself be ... enough. Something that Dick Whitman / Donald Draper certainly can't be.

There's a lot of Popsicle love in this episode. "Take it, break it, share it, and love it." Full of crap. More like "Take it, break it, fight over who gets the bigger half and who gets to wipe up the dribble off of the floor."

The discussion of Christian vs Catholic religion vs behavior reminds me of the episode a while back we are sung out by Father Gil. He's really caught in a tight spot. He wants to modernize but he is restricted by the strictures of the Church. Trying to reach people and the community, reach out in his sermons, and judging by that guitar playing, an attempt to modernize somewhat post-Vatican II.

Boy Betty loves fucking with people's lives. A few episodes back she was happy to have dinner with the Barretts and the Utzes, then Jimmy drops an affair bombshell. Then she's throwing a dinner (she'd stated that she and Don make a good team and she wanted to do more things like this).

She set up her friend to sleep with the kid (put her in the temptation zone, of course free will and all); she was pissed that Don set her up with the beer display and laughed at her. Is she trying to change the world, amuse herself, confirm what she learned in college about studying people? Sometimes I can't tell if she's got a big ass blind spot on her own behavior or if she simply doesn't care what she's wrecking/doing?
posted by tilde at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tidbit: Betty Draper is left-handed and does a fine job signing Don's name to his paychecks.

God bless Hildy--the one thing that makes her warm up to Pete is the prospect of adoption, which is the primary thing Pete doesn't want in his life now.
posted by ChrisTN at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

So when the Popsicle guys say that the mom reminds them of something and Peggy insists it's there some specific reference I'm missing? Other than the haloed mother looking like Mary and/or Jesus handing out communion elements...I just wondered if there was some icon they'd used before in the show that I just glossed over or something.
posted by ChrisTN at 8:05 PM on August 24, 2014

I really want to watch this episode, I do. So many great elements!

...but I think I need to watch some, I don't know, [spoiler] of [Other Netflix Show] to get the sight of Dr. Rapey McNoBrainsInhisFingers out of my eyes.
posted by RainyJay at 9:35 PM on August 24, 2014 there some specific reference I'm missing?

Nope, that's it. The image is imprinted on our brains.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:47 PM on August 25, 2014

Don repairs Anna's chair, but he wouldn't take the time to fix a dining room chair for Betty. The chair she smashed in the ep. "A Night To Remember." A small detail, but it says a lot.

I had to fast forward through the rape scene. I've watched it twice before and that's enough. Besides the actual rape, the most disturbing thing about it is Joan's acceptance of the rape and all her husband-to-be's faults and limitations. Watching her sacrifice so much of herself, actually part of her soul it seems like, just to fulfill her ideal of what her life is supposed to be is incredibly disheartening. The contrast between Joan and Peggy in this ep. couldn't be more stark.

Peggy asking Roger for Freddy's office is another of my favorite scenes. I always cheer.
posted by cwest at 7:06 PM on August 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

And also, Alice Cooper's comment "Let Roger Sterling have what he always wanted - to die in the arms of a twenty-year-old", may be prophetic considering his behavior in the last season and a half.
posted by cwest at 7:12 PM on August 25, 2014

Don and Anna...or rather, it should be Dick and Anna I guess? It's just so fascinating to see Don Draper/Dick Whitman comfortable in his own skin, at ease with himself and the world.

I compare it to his trip out to California in season six, where nothing goes right and he winds up smoking hash and face down in the pool; with Anna gone, nothing in California is right for Don anymore - there's nowhere left where he can be himself. Where he can just be...enough.
posted by nubs at 8:19 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Guess we should note for the record, in this episode with plenty of overt religious symbolism, the rather on-the-nose baptismal images of Don in the ocean at the end of the episode, as a gospel number rolls over the end credits.
posted by ChrisTN at 8:27 AM on August 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Bert has a cattle ranch in Montana! Also Bert understands that it's a sale, not a merger. And he's right about his status at the end.

Disk really is a whole person with Anna, no facade.
Betty really revels in her scheme, with that smile at the end.

The mom in the ad looks like Christ on the cross.
C'mon Kinsey, the adventure of a lifetime?


but in reality he'd be happy living a simpler life and being himself. although I think he'd still want to be creative.

With the hot rods, I think he's considering a change of vocation.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:17 PM on September 1, 2014

I love all the backstory we get of the history of Dick and Anna, but the scene that impressed me most was Peggy absolutely nailing the Popsicle pitch.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:58 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

So when the Popsicle guys say that the mom reminds them of something and Peggy insists it's there some specific reference I'm missing
I had wondered if the mom in the art work, which must have been knocked up at Peggy’s request, might have borne a resemblance to Peggy herself.
posted by rongorongo at 3:28 PM on August 24, 2019

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