Mad Men: “The Suitcase”

This episode begins with Harry handing out tickets to a screening of the rematch between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston. He gives the tickets to Pete and Ken, but makes the newer SCDP employees pay for theirs. Harry laughs at Danny and calls him a Jew, to which Danny asks if Harry’s Hollywood friends know that he talks like that. The gang then argue over who’s going to win the fight. Don walks in, gets his ticket, and puts $100 on Liston. Harry invites him to dinner and drinks at The Palm before the match. Don says he will be there, then orders people working on Samsonite to follow him.

After Don walks in his office and asks Ms. Blankenship to get him and Roger dinner reservations at any restaurant except the Palm, Peggy, Stan, Joey and Danny walk in to give their pitch for the luggage company: a commercial with Joe Namath. Don calls celebrity endorsements “lazy” and says that he doesn’t care for their execution of the ad. When Peggy insists that Dr. Miller says that women buy suitcases, Don asks everyone else to leave the room. Once alone, Don tears into Peggy, who stands there and takes it, and then leaves.

mad_men_s04_e07_01

In her office, she finds flowers and a “gift” from Duck: business cards for “Philips-Olson Advertising” in which she is listed as “Creative Director”. She calls to thank him, and he begs her to join him at his female-centered agency. Happy at first, Peggy soon figures out that Duck is drinking… and has been fired from Grey. She tries to console him, but Duck says that he’s falling apart.

Don, returning to his office from the restroom, is given an urgent message by Ms. Blankenship. It seems that Stephanie has called his private line. Don goes into his office and picks up the phone… but after a few moments, he puts the receiver back down on the cradle. He gets up and pours himself a drink. Roger walks in and says that their night is ruined: recovering alcoholics Freddy Rumsen and Cal Rutledge (of Pond’s) plan to join them for dinner and the fight.

“We’ll have to drink before dinner if we want to drink at all… and then there’s all the talk about drinking, where they start with the funny stories and end up crying.” – Roger, about going out with Freddy and Cal

Don begs off to work on Samsonite. He sits in a chair in his office with the drink. When he goes to get a cigarette out of his pocket, Stephanie’s message hits the floor. Don stares at it, then looks at the ceiling.

Later on, Peggy tells her team to call it a day. When she walks off to get ready for her “birthday date” that night, Joan walks in to the office and orders Joey, Stan and Danny to clean up their mess. Joey defiantly tells her he’s not a janitor and walks away.. but Joan’s stern look guilts Stan and Danny into picking up empty beer bottles and scraps of paper.

In the bathroom, we see Peggy putting make up on when an obviously-pregnant Trudy walks in. Peggy makes a joke about how having a baby and having Pete aren’t much different, and Trudy calls her “witty”. When Peggy asks if she’s going to watch the fight, Trudy enthusiastically says that she is, and that she’s been watching boxing since she was a little girl. The two ladies walks out of the bathroom together. Peggy wishes them all well, and Trudy says that she wants a rare steak and to see two men pound each other.

Peggy stops by Don’s office on the way out. He wants to see what she’s done with Samsonite, so she goes back to her office and gets a large folder. She shows Don several ideas, none of which impress him. In fact, Don is so mad with her that he insists on working on it now. Peggy snaps at him as she leaves Don’s office to change out of her coat and hat. Don gives it right back to her.

Peggy calls Mark at the restaurant, apologizes for being late, and says that she’ll be there as soon as she can. Mark hangs up the phone and updates his surprise dinner guests: Peggy’s mother, sister, brother-in-law and roommate.

Back at the office, Peggy and Don toss ideas back and forth. Don seems to go off topic, talking about how much he dislikes Cassius Clay. He seems to want to bring boxing into the Samsonite ads, but Peggy can’t figure out how to capture his idea on film. She quickly says that she thinks the idea is “great”, obviously wanting to leave as soon as possible. But Don’s phone starts ringing. Peggy answers. It’s Roger, begging Don to come out and join him as Freddy and Cal are “boring”. Don declines and hangs up the phone.

Just then, Peggy’s phone starts ringing. It’s Mark again, asking where she is. Peggy tells him she doesn’t know how long she will be, which causes Mark to spoil the surprise and tell her that he has her whole family there. Peggy apologizes and says that she will come right over.

She walks back to Don’s office to tell him that she’s leaving. Don’s still thinking about the Samsonite campaign, and sarcastically asks if she has somewhere to be. Peggy tells him that it’s her birthday and that she was supposed to be at the restaurant an hour ago. Don initially appears to be sorry about it, but when Peggy complains about how long she’s stayed, he tells her to “get over” birthdays. Peggy leaves his office in a huff, but we can tell that she’ll be coming back to Don by the way she fidgets while waiting for the elevator.

She calls Mark at the restaurant and says that she simply won’t be able to make it. Peggy’s mom takes the phone from Mark and scolds her as if Peggy was still a child. She hands the phone back to Mark, who says that he agrees with most of her mom’s criticisms. Peggy tells Mark that she’s mad at him because he’s using her birthday “score points” with relatives who drive her crazy. Mark (jealously) says that Peggy never stands up Don, then childishly tells her that he’s already spent $40 there. The two argue a bit more, and Mark breaks up with her… over the phone… in front of her family.

Peggy marches into Don’s office and, as she pours herself a drink, announces that she’s broken up with Mark. Don tells her to go home, but she says that she’s ready to work, and that Don has “won again”. They then get into a heated discussion, with Peggy insisting that should couldn’t have left without repercussions from Don and that it’s not her fault that Don has no family or friends to go home to. Don tells her to go to Mark. Peggy says that she’s stuck there because of Danny’s stupid idea, who Don had to hire because he was drunk and stole Danny’s other stupid idea. Don tells her to relax, but she refuses to back down. She berates him for not giving him any credit for the Glo-Coat commercial. Don says that he gave her 20 small ideas and he fleshed it out into an ad. Peggy soon gets teary-eyed and says that Don never gives her credit, and Don angrily says that’s what her salary is for. He realizes that he’s gone a bit too far, and apologizes as Peggy leaves to go cry in the bathroom.

Some time passes, and we see Don recording some Samsonite ideas with a tape recorder.  He gets up to pour himself a drink and sees a mouse walking across the floor of his office. He then sits back down and rewinds the tape to start again.

A few minutes later, Don starts pounding on the wall of his office and begs Peggy to come see him. She refuses at first, but when she does she’s rewarded with a tape recording of a part of Roger’s memoirs. On the tape, Roger says that Bert hated him, partly because of his youthfulness, but mostly because of his sleeping with the “Queen of Perversions”… Ida Blankenship! Roger then states that he feels that Bert’s hate for him comes, in part, from the fact that a “Doctor Lyle Evans” performed an unnecessary orchiectomy on Bert. Don starts laughing, and Peggy asks him how he can laugh at such personal information. Don talks about Ms. Blankenship being a hellcat in bed, Bert losing his balls, and the humor of Roger writing a book in general. Peggy has to laugh at it all.

Peggy says that she should go. Don asks her to stay. Peggy insists on leaving, but then complains that, instead of a romantic dinner, Mark brought her mother along. He apparently doesn’t know her at all. Don makes Peggy laugh with a stupid Danny saying, but then Peggy jumps out of her seat at the sight of the mouse, who is back. Peggy insists that it’s a rat, but Don is sure that it’s a mouse, and he reminds her that he grew up on a farm. The tension between the two now broken, Don invites her to dinner.

The two end up at a diner, where Don asks what the most exciting thing is about a suitcase. Peggy says “going somewhere”, and points out the picture of the Parthenon above the table (Don says he’d like to go to Greece because he’s heard that “all the good cooks stayed there”). Peggy says she wants to go somewhere on an airplane, as she’s never flown before. Don, surprised, tells her about his flight to Korea in the army. He then tells her a story about his Uncle Max, who always had a suitcase ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Don ponders the meaning of it, and Peggy says that she can’t tell anymore if an idea is great or awful. Don says they’re awfully close. Peggy compares the “order” of the office with the chaos of her personal life, and that nothing ever feels right or is as important to her as what goes on a SCDP. Peggy then says that she didn’t know Don was in Korea, and asks if he shot anyone. He says no, but that he saw several people get killed, and that it was memorable. Peggy says that she saw her father die of a heart attack right in front of her, and that it was pretty violent. Don says that he saw his own father die by being kicked by a horse. Peggy lets out a nervous laugh, but Don says that he’s serious. Peggy asks him about his mother, but Don says that he never knew her.

The two then go to a bar to listen to the fight on the radio. Peggy says that she hates dating, but Don assures her that she’ll find someone. He says that she’s “cute as hell”. Peggy then says that everyone at the office thinks that she slept with him to get her promotion, but then says that they joke about it because it seems like such a remote possibility. Don says that’s not because she’s not attractive, it’s that he has rules he has to follow at work. Peggy alludes to Allison, but Don cuts her off by asking if she wants to give morality lessons. She starts talking about her baby, and says that her mother thinks Don’s the father because he was the only one who visited her in the hospital. Don, rather thoughtlessly, asks if she knows who the father was. She says that she does. He asks if she ever thinks about it, and she says that she tries not to, but it often comes out of nowhere, like when she walks past a playground. Don looks at her as if he might cry, but the mood is broken by the patrons at the bar, who start screaming at the radio for Liston to get up.

Back at the office, Don looks a bit queasy after the elevator ride. Peggy escorts him to the bathroom, where he begins throwing up. Peggy first asks if he wants some water, and when Don doesn’t respond she offers him a toothbrush and toothpaste. Just as she says this, she hears someone calling out her name in the office.

She walks out of the bathroom and sees Duck walking in to Roger’s office. We then see him bent over with his pants around his ankles, trying to leave Don a little “present”. Peggy orders him to stop, especially as it’s not even Don’s office. He drunkenly says that he tried to call her but she didn’t answer. She walks him through the office, but Don sees the two of them and wants to know what’s going on. When Duck sees Don – with his clothes all askew and a vomit stain on his shirt – he (Duck) thinks that Peggy’s sleeping with Don, and he calls her a whore. Don, trying to defend her honor, takes a swing at Duck… and misses badly. Duck wrestles him to the floor and asks if Don if he still thinks he’s better than him.

Peggy makes sure that Duck leaves, then goes back to Don’s office. He tells her that she doesn’t have to explain about her affair with Duck. He then asks her to make him a drink. She asks how long he can go on like this, but Don says that he has to make a phone call and he knows that it’s going to be bad. She makes him a drink, but instead of drinking it, Don falls into her lap and goes to sleep. Peggy, seeing that Don has passed out, drinks the whiskey herself.

Some time during the night, the sound of footsteps is heard. Don, still in Peggy’s lap (she’s now asleep, too) wakes up and sees the ghostly figure of Anna carrying a suitcase. She smiles at Don, turns to walk out of his office, then fades away:

mad_men_s04_e07_02

At dawn, Don calls Stephanie and finds out that Anna has died. He offers to fly out and make the arrangements, but Stephanie refuses, saying that Anna gave her body to science so that she could “go to UCLA medical school tuition free”. She also says that she wants to live in Anna’s house for a while. Don agrees. Stephanie says that Anna’s in a better place. Don, choking up, says “that’s what they say”. He hangs up the phone and looks up to see that Peggy has heard the entire conversation. As soon as their eyes meet, Don starts crying. Peggy asks what happened, and Don says that “the only person in the world who really knew me” has died. Peggy comes over to comfort him, and says that that’s not true. He tells her to go home, and that he’ll be fine, and that she can come in late.

We then see Peggy waiting for the elevator (again!) but instead she decides to sleep in her office. She’s woken up at 10:30 by Stan, who obnoxiously blows a whistle in her face and tells her to drop and give him 20 push-ups. She walks to Don’s office to check on him and finds him utterly transformed. His stained shirt and five o’clock shadow have gone, and he looks as if he just stepped out of a fashion magazine.

He invites her over to his desk and excitedly shows her an ad idea based on the iconic photograph of last night’s fight (see below). She asks a few questions about the nuts and bolts of the ad, then says that it’s good.

Don takes her hand and squeezes it, and the two share a glance. He gathers his sketches up, tells her to give them to Stan, then “go home, shower and come back with ten taglines”. She agrees, then walks towards the door. She stares at Don for a few moments then asks if he wants the door open or closed. He says “open”. She walks about of the office, and the camera pulls back to show Don sitting at his desk.

OTHER STUFF

– The screening of the boxing match took place at the Loew’s Capitol Theatre, which was located at 1645 Broadway in Manhattan. The theatre opened in 1919 and was taken over by Loew’s in 1924. The theatre originally had movies and stage shows, but the shows were canceled during the Great Depression due to their cost. They were brought back in 1943 but ended permanently in 1953. In 1959, the theatre was upgraded and re-branded to include the Loew’s name. The theatre was famous for its world premieres of 70mm films, such as Cheyenne Autumn, Doctor Zhivago, The Dirty Dozen, and Far From the Madding Crowd, all of which took place throughout the early 1960s. The theatre closed after running 2001:A Space Odyssey in 1968 and was demolished some time thereafter.

– Harry’s tickets to the screening were $4, or almost $27 in 2009 dollars.

– GOOF: Tickets were actually $10, or around $67.29 in 2009 dollars (see below).

– The fight between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston was actually a rematch. Their first fight took place in Miami on February 25, 1964. Liston, the older, stronger, meaner fighter was heavily favored over the young and brash Clay. Clay would use his mobility against Liston, eventually winning a technical knock out (TKO) when Liston claimed he could not continue due to a shoulder injury. Clay stood in the ring and triumphantly announced that he was the greatest.

Immediately after the fight, Clay announced that he was changing his name to “Cassius X”. Within a week, he’d changed it to Muhammad Ali.

Thanks to the controversial ending of the first match, the World Boxing Council ordered a rematch. The World Boxing Association had a rule against rematches, so they disagreed with the WBC; however, the WBA nevertheless stripped Ali of his title.

Clay’s blatant braggadocio didn’t win him many friends with a certain set of boxing fans, in much the same way that old-school NASCAR fans dislike(d) Jeff Gordon. Most looked forward to the rematch, which was originally scheduled for November 1964. However, Ali had to have emergency hernia surgery, which delayed the match by six months. The match was supposed to be in Boston, but for some reason the organizers didn’t get a license in time, so the match was held in the small town of Lewiston, Maine, 140 miles to the north. Due to the bizarre location, only 2,434 fans attended the match on May 28, 1965, which is still a record for lowest attendance for a heavyweight championship fight.

The ending of the rematch was highly controversial. Halfway through the first round, Liston fell to the mat in a move that became known as the “phantom punch”, because Ali seemed to have barely hit Liston, if at all. Ali was even seen looking over at his corner and mouthing “did I hit him?” to his trainers. Ali then stood over Liston taunting him, resulting in one of the most famous images in sports history:

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(click to enlarge)

The referee, “Jersey Joe” Walcott, tried to push Ali back towards a corner so that he could attend to Liston, but Ali refused to move. Twenty seconds passed while Walcott tried to get Ali under control, which gave Liston time to get back up. At that point, Nat Fleischer, a respected boxing writer and publisher of a magazine called The Ring, stepped into the ring and told Walcott that, because Liston was down for more than ten seconds, the fight was over. Walcott then stopped the fight, even though Fleischer had misinterpreted the rule. Had Ali gone to a neutral corner when asked, the fight would have been over according to the boxing rules of the day, but since Ali argued with Walcott over it, that time did not count against Liston.

There were allegations about Liston throwing the fight from the second it ended. Many say that Liston owed money to the Mafia, and bet against himself to pay them off. Others say that Liston feared reprisals from the Nation of Islam if Ali didn’t win, so he threw the fight for his own safety. Many years later, Liston would cite fear of “black Muslims” as the reason he threw the fight in an interview for a book called Ghosts of Manila, although no independent verification of this has come to light.

Liston’s death in Las Vegas on or around December 30, 1970 was mysterious enough to end up on the 80s television show Unsolved Mysteries. His wife found him in their home on January 5, 1970 slumped against their bed. Police found a puncture wound on his arm, a syringe nearby, and several bags of heroin in the kitchen. They immediately declared Liston a victim of an overdose. But a later autopsy found only minute traces of morphine and codeine (which heroin breaks down into) in his system. Also, police did not find any other drug paraphernalia in the house, such as a spoon (to “cook” the heroin) or a belt or strap (to tie to the arm to expose a vein). It was also no secret that Liston hated needles, and had, in fact, turned down a large sum of money to tour Europe as the world champ when he found out that it would require shots. He had been in a car accident a few weeks prior to his death, and friends insisted that the puncture wound was from an IV he was given at a hospital to treat his injuries. Lastly, to this very day, not a single person has come forward to say that Liston ever used any illegal drugs. Liston was a heavy drinker, but aside from perhaps some teenage pot smoking and prescribed pain medication after fights, Liston was never known to take drugs.

Some friends of the fighter think he might have owed money to the wrong people, and that the Las Vegas Police covered it up for their Mafia friends, who ran the casinos at the time. Liston’s headstone only says “A Man”.

– Liston became world champ by defeating Floyd Patterson on July 22, 1963. Don and Roger ran into Patterson at an illegal casino in “Six Month Leave”.

– Some have wondered if closed-circuit telecasting was possible in 1965. It was. A company called SportsVision broadcast the fight to over 257 locations in the US and Canada, including 30 theatres in New York City. In NYC alone, over 85,000 people showed up to watch the fight, which was also broadcast on WHN radio. The match was also beamed via satellite to the UK and Mexico, where it was shown on free television. Click here to view a PDF of a New York Times article from the following day about the showings at NYC movie theatres.

The Palm is a steakhouse located at 837 Second Avenue in NYC. It was opened in 1926 by Italian immigrants Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi, who originally wanted to call the restaurant La Parma. However, the city licensing clerk misheard them and issued the license as “Palm” instead. Since it was too expensive and time-consuming to correct the mistake, the owners decided to simply keep the name. The Palm was originally a red sauce restaurant serving traditional Italian-American dishes; however, early on a diner requested steak, so one of the owners went to a nearby butcher and got some steaks, and the orders flowed in. The restaurant, which now has 25 locations in the US, Puerto Rico and Mexico, is still privately-owned by the grandsons of the founders.

Loved Joey’s impersonation of Namath.

– Joe Namath played college football under Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama from 1962 to 1964. In his final year, Namath won the national championship, despite severely injuring his knee. He was drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and the AFL’s New York Jets on the same day, November 28, 1964. Namath chose to go with the Jets, mostly due to their record offer of $427,000/year (around $2.9 million in 2009 dollars, good money for a professional quarterback, even today). I’m not sure how big of a national name Namath was at the time of this episode. Certainly he was known for winning the national collegiate championship and for getting a huge contract… but, as Don points out, he hadn’t even played a professional game yet.

– Namath is, however, a perfect example of the continuing theme of “young vs. old” on Mad Men. Playing football is, in many ways, like being in the military. And although Namath was hardly a “hippie”, his laid-back, easygoing spirit and “long” hair turned off a lot of older football fans… in much the same way that Ali’s antics turned off many older boxing fans.

– Peggy’s birthday is May 25, and she turned 26 in 1965, making her birthdate May 25, 1939.

– NITPICK: Why would Duck get an entire box of business cards with “XXX Madison Avenue” on them? Wouldn’t a single card do?

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– Here’s a screen cap of Stephanie’s message. She called at 2:15 NYC time, and her phone number appears to be 213-KL5-8115:

mad_men_s04_e07_0zThe Forum of the Twelve Caesars was an absolutely over-the-top restaurant located at Rockefeller Center in the United States Rubber Building at 57 W. 48th Street. It was founded in 1957 by Joseph Baum and Jerome Brody, the duo who also created La Fonda Del Sol, The Hawaiian Room, Tavern on the Green, The Rainbow Room, and The Four Seasons (Baum also developed Windows on the World in the World Trade Center in 1976). The Forum is alleged to have cost a staggering $600,000 at the time (over $4.6 million in modern dollars). No expense was spared with the eatery. Staff walked around in purple velvet togas or “authentically cut” leather jerkins. There were sterling silver wine buckets shaped like centurion helmets and dinner knives custom made in Italy. The menu was even more outrageous and gluttonous than the surroundings, if you can imagine it. The restaurant closed in 1975, and in 1995 the restaurant’s famed mosaic was rediscovered when it was being renovated into AJ Maxwell’s Steakhouse. Read more about the restaurant here or this article here (trust me, it’s really worth it!)

– Did you catch the priceless expression on Pete’s face when Peggy and Trudy walked out of the bathroom together?

Loved the conversation with and about Ms. Blankenship:

Ms. Blankenship: “Did you get California? Do you want me to try before I depart? There’s a time difference, you know…”
Don: “I do… but it goes the other way.”
Ms. Blankenship: “Good night, Mr Draper.”
Peggy: “Why don’t you talk to Joan and get rid of her?”
Don: “No, Joan knew exactly what I needed and made sure I got it.”

– Refresh my memory: whatever happened to Peggy’s first roommate, Karen Ericson (Carla Gallo)? I get that in real life, Gallo might have been busy, or wanted too much money, or wanted a regular role or whatever… but have any of the characters on the show talked about her fate?

– At the office, Peggy suggests having an elephant sit on a Samsonite bag to show how strong it is. Rival luggage brand American Tourister had a famous (and similar) ad campaign in the 1970s where a bag was placed in a cage with a gorilla:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2ZeIoLz8FE

The ads were created by Roy Grace at DDB. Check out this link (scroll past the Japanese text, the article is in English) if you’re interested in how the commercials were made (teaser: they had to go to Mexico City to find an ape violent enough for the ad).

– When Roger calls Don, he says he’s “at a bar next to Keens”. This is Keens Steakhouse, which was also mentioned in “The Arrangements”. Check out the “Other Stuff” section of that recap for more information about the restaurant.

– I thought it was childish (and tacky) of Mark to tell Peggy that he’d already paid $40 for drinks and appetizers at the restaurant… but then I ran it through the inflation calculator and found out that he’d already spent the equivalent of $269.15 in current dollars… and hadn’t even ordered dinner yet! So I guess I’d be mad too… although I probably wouldn’t make a deal out of it.

– Don’s reel-to-reel tape recorder was sold under the “Penncrest” name, a house brand of JC Penney. It was probably made by Panasonic in Japan. I can’t find an exact model number, but it looks fairly similar to the model 6313, as seen in this YouTube video:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IEEX5qcygw

-Peggy’s reaction to hearing who the “Queen of Perversions” is:

mad_men_s04_e07_0a

– An orchiectomy is when a testicle is surgically removed, generally for fear of cancer. Bert apparently had a bilateral orchiectomy, in which both testicles were removed. Read this (if you can stomach it) for more information. Also, note that this surgery is not at all like a vasectomy, in which the tubes leading from the testicles are cut, tied into a knot, or closed off by a clip, to prevent pregnancy.

– I guess when know who Lyle Evans is now, huh? Roger’s comment now seems unnecessarily cruel in retrospect.

– The closing credits song for this episode is “Bleeker Street” by Simon and Garfunkel. The lyrics seem fairly appropriate:

Fog’s rollin’ in off the East River bank
Like a shroud it covers Bleeker Street
Fills the alleys where men sleep
Hides the shepherd from the sheep

Voices leaking from a sad cafe
Smiling faces try to understand
I saw a shadow touch a shadow’s hand
On Bleeker Street

A poet reads his crooked rhyme
Holy, holy is his sacrament
Thirty dollars pays your rent
On Bleeker Street

I head a church bell softly chime
In a melody sustainin’
It’s a long road to Caanan
On Bleeker Street
Bleeker Street

MY THOUGHTS

THIS EPISODE is why Mad Men keeps winning Emmy Awards! It was so amazing on so many levels I just don’t even know where to start.

I guess it’s official now: Dick Whitman is dead. So what does it mean that Don was so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning? Has he finally realized that he can’t ever go back to being Dick, so he’s now gotta make do with his Don Draper self? Has he finally hit rock bottom, and if so, will this episode be the turning point? I’d hate for Weiner to use this episode as a “light switch” to get the old Don Draper back (and personally, I think he’s too smart and respects the viewers too much for that), but you have to wonder if this episode represents Don finally getting out of the trough that is his recent life. I also have to wonder if Don, when screaming “GET UP! GET UP!” at the bar, wasn’t consciously or subconsciously demanding that Anna (and\or Dick Whitman, via proxy) to do the same.

Oh hey… Is there any significance to Peggy attempting to use the elevator three times and it not happening? Or am I just reading too much into it?

And please God, let this episode be the last time we ever see both Duck and Mark, OK? I’ve hated Mark since the first time I saw him, and hated Duck since he let Chauncey loose on the streets of New York. Good riddance to them both!

On a more mundane note, we got to see more of the “young vs. old” culture war this week. A lot of it, in fact. Peggy and the kids seemed to like Ali generally, while the older characters liked Liston. Peggy and the kids liked Joe Namath (and, by extension, the youthful AFL), but Don wasn’t impressed. Peggy also mentioned that she found Ali handsome, and Don didn’t really say much, which is a huge contrast to when her mother said she found Nat King Cole attractive and her father took all his records and burned them in the yard, lest his white wife get the wrong idea about black men. Also, note that Peggy keeps mentioning TV ads; while Don seems to “get” that TV is the future of advertising, he just doesn’t seem as “with it” as Peggy is.

But damn… Hamm and Moss are good together, aren’t they? As actors, I mean. God, the last thing the show needs is Don and Peggy getting together. But do you think they might become more “intimate” as the show goes on? Will Peggy become something like a “substitute Anna” for Don?

Speaking of, isn’t Peggy just so damn adorable? I mean, sure… Elisabeth Moss isn’t very “celebrity attractive”… but Peggy is just so animated. I always want to listen to what she has to say. She’s smart, she’s ambitious, she’s hard working… why the poor girl can’t find a man is beyond me (except for perhaps her long work hours, that is). It was nice that she ended up kicking Duck out on the street, just as Duck had kicked Chauncey out on the street, too. Justice!

So… what about the ending? Don had hated Ali, like most white boxing fans of the time. Yet, by the end of the episode he’d figured out that the picture of Ali would one day become iconic. Has he turned the corner? Or is he the same old guy?

We’ll just have to find out on Sunday!

4 Replies to “Mad Men: “The Suitcase””

  1. Hey Jim,

    Love your site. I found it interesting, that you have no mention about the end of Don and Duck’s fight, where Don said ‘uncle’ which halted Duck.

    I vaguely remember that back in season2 Duck told Don about his war years, where he didn’t do anything at all. However, I haven’t been able to find the particular scene yet.

    Any ideas?

  2. @Nick Horvath: Well, except for how Duck might have stood over a prostrate Don like Ali did over Liston, I just didn’t think that was all that remarkable.

    I remember Duck talking about World War II, but don’t remember which episode it was. Was it Duck who sat with Roger and Don in a restaurant, and the two of them talked about how they WON their war? (thus dissing Don, who’s generation didn’t win “their” war?

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