Mad Men, Season 3

Week 11: Enter JFK?
Talking television.
Oct. 26 2009 4:31 PM

Mad Men, Season 3

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Week 11: Enter JFK?

John, I'm sorry to hear you found Joan's vase-smack over-the-top. New York magazine has posted this amazing animated gif that allows you to watch the crucial moment over and over and over. Try looking at it for a minute straight and tell me it doesn't grow on you.

Patrick, I think the question you pose—Where does the series go from here?—is critical. The stakes for Don will never again be as high as they were last night. But I'm looking forward to the change, because I think it will give us a chance to see both Don and Betty in new modes. We've talked a lot this season about how Don is a competent grownup and Betty a cosseted child. This week, the roles were reversed: Don was incapacitated, and Betty had to take care of him, directing him as he told his story, patting his back and pouring his drink. This take-chargeness does not come naturally for her, but she executes it brilliantly, and I wonder whether part of what keeps her present and tender at the end of the episode is a new sense of pride about what she's pulled off. (Like you, John, I thought January Jones was incredible as usual in this sequence; I think Benjamin Schwarz's critique of her acting is utterly wrong-headed.) Betty has liked being Don's dependent because she's never had the chance to be his equal. Now that she's asserted herself, I'm eager to see how their marriage changes.

Advertisement

As for Dick Whitman, Betty's not the only one who must decide whether she likes having him around: Don, too, must figure out how much of his old self to incorporate into his life. Will he continue to keep his secret from his friends and colleagues? Will he start making more references to eating dog food at meetings? I'm eager to see how easily Don slips back into his old Draperian persona now that he's laid himself bare.

Finally, I think it's time to revisit the terms of a wager I offered at the very beginning of our TV Club: I bet you both an old-fashioned that the season would close with the assassination of JFK. John, you let me wriggle out of the offer, citing an interview in which Weiner pledged not to dramatize the event. But come on. Weiner is notoriously cagey. He's planted references to Dallas throughout this season, and last week—as astute Frayster MayanSwimsuitCalendar observed—the Aquanet pitch showed four people seated in a convertible as the guy in the rear right had trouble keeping his hairdo intact. I missed these echoes of the Kennedy motorcade, but they must have been deliberate. Given these cues and the way the season has unfurled, there's no way the assassination doesn't happen—off-screen, perhaps, but still happen—sometime in the next two episodes. Any takers? I'll even raise the stakes to two old-fashioneds and bet you it happens this week.

Sportingly,
Julia

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Science

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 18 2014 10:42 AM Scalia’s Liberal Streak The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Education
Sept. 18 2014 12:30 PM “Alt-Ac” to the Rescue? Humanities Ph.D.s are daring to enjoy their “regular” jobs, and the definition of academic success is changing. Sort of.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 18 2014 12:37 PM The Movies May Have Forgotten About Them, but Black Cowboys Are Thriving
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 10:07 AM “The Day It All Ended” A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.