Did Don Draper Bite the Hand That Feeds Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
May 1 2012 10:45 AM

Don Draper Bites the Hand

John Swansburg chats to readers about an ominous episode of Mad Men.

(Continued from Page 1)

John Swansburg: Yeah, that part gave me prep school flashbacks as well. "I said me too, Mom."

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Maxine Pitter Lunn: I'm really starting to appreciate Roger for his fabulous asides—corning, and the bow tie, for example. And didn't he also say "My money was on Lane?"

John Swansburg: Roger's always been a font of terrific asides, but he's been on a roll lately. The "napalm" line was great. He was also just very sweet with Sally in this episode, in a way I found very charming. Of course, it made what she witnessed that much more jarring.

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John Swansburg: Were other folks as excited as I was to see Mona Sterling return last night? I liked her line about how she first assumed Roger left her because she was getting old, but then she realized it was because he was getting old. I miss Mona! Talia Balsam and John Slattery are married in real life, and it's always fun to see them together on screen.

Annette Christy: Mona looked awesome—great to see that last night.

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Julie Schadler Chun: I was glad to see Don finally back to doing the actual work of creative ideas, even though it had to be sparked by Megan. I don't care how whipped he is, I don't buy that his whole ego wrapped up in the Myth of Don's otherworldly genius suddenly takes a back seat to a relationship with Megan and putting his complete trust and faith in Pete Campbell to make the business a success.

John Swansburg: I agree. It was good to see him sell an idea, even if it wasn't his, and I suspect that the revelation that his tobacco letter backfired will spur him into action in upcoming episodes—he's got something to prove again.

Natalie Brender: How big a blow to Don's career prospects was the revelation at the end (“you bit the hand”) supposed to be? Is that meant to be a death knell to the firm's prospects re: all big corporate clients? And shouldn't Don (and Roger) have seen this coming?

John Swansburg: ‎Great question—I really don't know. It seems like a big blow, but who knows. Maybe the firm can get by with the smaller clients who don't seem to have been offended. Or maybe a big fish will come along who does appreciate Don's gesture. But it seemed ominous, for sure.

Maryrose Larkin: The "you bit the hand" remark really points to how profoundly Draper misjudges his relationship to the larger, corporate world.

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John Swansburg: Been meaning to look: What Albee play was on Broadway in late summer '66? Anyone look it up?

Lisa Merryman Hamilton: I hope the play was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because the Calvets are headed that way.

Miriam Isserow: I assumed the play was Virginia Woolf (all those fighting couples!) but online I found out it was Malcolm, an adaptation of a James Purdy novel. And here's a synopsis for whatever it's worth.

John Swansburg: OK, all, thanks as always for joining in. As Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat beans!”

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