The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Sterling’s Gold

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Dear Kathryn,

I guess the buzz this week is about Roger’s betrayal.  But I have to say, I’m not really surprised by the course of events.  More so than villain, I see Roger being hollowed out as pathetic.  Cooper’s critique was dead on – Lee Garner Jr. never took Roger seriously because he never took himself seriously.  And so Roger’s every action in this episode was performed out of fear and desperate self-preservation – revelations of the fact that he’s lost his game and he’s quickly becoming worthless.  Indeed, this worthlessness was heightened by the repeated reminders that while Cooper is old-school (I loved the formal introduction of Don to the staff!), he’s still helpful (why not go to a funeral to drum up business?).

I have to wonder what will happen to Roger now that he’s lost the only thing that made him worth keeping around (Lucky Strike) and, quite possibly the only thing he was sticking around for (Joan).  For now at least it seems he’ll be be going home to cuddle up his boring, mistake of a wife and hold on tight – quite literally – to his memories of the good days.

Amidst all the buzz of Roger’s betrayal, I’ve heard little regarding Don’s.  I found myself surprised that I was surprised he would cheat on Faye – of course he would!  When Faye cuddled into Don just like how Jane had cuddled into Roger, I had to know it was over…and then wonder how long this dead relationship would keep going.  The question for me is what moment in the episode it died – it seems obvious to say when Don and Meghan knocked boots, or even when Don asked Faye to compromise her ethics, but I think it was probably when she actually did compromise them.  I can’t imagine her being able to live with that decision in the long-run.  And I can’t imagine Don being able to resist asking her to do it again.

I have to say something about families in this episode – of course we all gasped when Pete got the announcement that his daughter had been born and then dashed off to another work function.  But for me, the truly poignant moment happened at David Montgomery’s funeral.  With wife and daughter silent on the sidelines, it seemed the men at the ad agency got to have the memories of their patriarch, while they were made to be content with pendants and thimbles.  “He loved you so much we went on this adventure together to find this for you” was the refrain of each story, predicting a future in which Trudy and new baby girl would be seated similarly.  But it was their blank staring faces that got me – as if they didn’t know the man described, but only knew his trinkets.  No tears, just hopelessness or nothingness marked their expressions.  There was a sense that they knew this set-up wasn’t right, but they didn’t know how to fix it.  It was for me, the saddest moment in the whole episode.   And it reminded me of a comment from one of our readers last week (Josh B), that these stories aren’t just telling types – like the ‘ascendancy of woman’ – but that they have a gritty realness, a rich pathos in each one that makes the type come alive (or he said something like that).  That was certainly the case with the Montgomery family.  Sure, they represent so many wives and daughters of the ’60s, but it’s that pathos that makes their story true.

On the ongoing ‘is Joan pregnant?’ front – we have to note three things: her declaration of exhaustion (after what seemed to be a pretty normal work-day) and her statement, lost on Roger, that she’s not the solution, but one of his problems…and that she pulls out a cigarette but doesn’t light it – not that they seemed to have a problem with smoking during pregnancy back then, but it’s a nice signal to us!  I like the subtlety – having her heaving in the bathroom would be too much, but this is nice, keeping us hanging on guessing without being too obvious about it!

Can’t wait to hear what you thought!

Oh, and I’m certainly checking my teeth for lipstick before I leave the house!

Written by themothchase

October 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

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