[This! Is! Mad Men! recaps the newest developments of Don Draper and his ragtag group of cohorts. In the spirit of the show, it will often be sexist and drunk. Apologies ahead of time.]
Don Draper, I want to believe in you.
You know that I love you, Don. How could I not? You’re charming and handsome. And good at your job. And well-dressed. And a loving father. Hell, you’re even a solid ball player.
But I’m not sure if that’s enough anymore. When we first met, I thought you might be a good person who had made a few mistakes. Then you kept making mistakes. Over and over again. Fugg – even when you clearly knew what the right decision was, you chose the easier, more selfish path.
And yet, I still find myself wanting to believe that you’ll prove to be a decent human being.
Did you use the third episode of season four, The Good News, to right your wrongs?
No. In fact, you’ve just reaffirmed the fact that you can’t handle difficult emotions. When the going gets tough, you get going. Or drunk. Usually, both.
As part of your New Year’s vacation, you decided to hit up LA and visit Anna Draper. Ah yes, Anna Draper — the woman who was so kind and generous as to give you a second chance at life by assuming the identity of her dead husband. She’s also the only person who knows the whole truth about Dick Whitman and still loves you. Hell, other than your kids, she might be the only person you truly love.
So what did you do when you drove home Anna’s niece? You made a pass at her! You pig! But alas, the plot thickens even further! What did you do when the niece told you that Anna is dying, stricken with a cancer that has (unbeknownst to Anna) spread throughout her body? Well, you contemplated telling Anna the truth and staying with her.
But then you didn’t. You bailed, man.
Donnie, I don’t blame you for not telling Anna about her cancer. Although I think it probably would’ve been the right thing to do, I understand the whole ignorance is bliss argument. What I can’t agree with is the fact that you left Anna to be alone on New Year’s Eve; perhaps her last one ever. You realized that there was a situation out of your immediate control and you fled.
Fuggin-A! Dude! You didn’t even end up going to Acapulco, as you originally planned! Instead, you went back to New York City to be miserable. To sulk. To revel in your loneliness and inability to effectively deal with uncomfortable emotions.
Upon your return to the Big Apple, you headed into the agency so that you could bury your feelings. However, Lane Pryce had a similar plan and had holed himself up in his office. Recognizing Lane’s marital problems as a common interest of sorts, you invited the affable Brit out for an evening of entertainment.
Getting drunk at the movies? Word. Going out for an expensive dinner? Sick. Seeing a comedian at a nightclub? Right on. Inviting Pryce back to your apartment and ordering him a prostitute?
Dagnabbit, Don! Lane Pryce isn’t the type of guy to solve his family problems with a filthy $25 whore! He’s an Englishman, for Thor’s sake! You know how they are — they’re either damn regal or damn goofy. Sure, you didn’t force him to screw around on his wife — but you certainly set up the perfect situation for him.
You’re living an empty life, dude. And I know you know it. So step up your game and find something more fulfilling. Maybe you could look a difficult emotional predicament in the face and find a solution. Maybe you could try not fugging every nice-looking gal that walks in front of you. Maybe you could take your professional success and try to parlay that into your personal life.
Maybe, but probably not. And that’s what’s so frustrating about you, Draper. You have such potential. Underneath all of your despair, there is undoubtedly a flicker of positive sentiment. At your best, you’re the best.
I still believe in you, Don Draper.