I wasn’t going to write anything about Saint John the Baptist Day, but inspiration—if that’s the right word—sometimes comes unexpectedly, and the Mad Men episode broadcast tonight, the finale of season six that ended just minutes ago, got me thinking.
It’s not the plot or the characters, but only the wardrobe that got me started. The suit and tie Don Draper wears while exiting (for the last time) Sterling Cooper & Partners reminded me of the promotional art that appeared on the web in the weeks before the start of the season three months ago. To wit:
As advertising goes, this is an enigmatic message that, of course, suits the complexity of the program’s dramatics. Duality. Coming and going. Past versus future. Draper, briefcase in hand, walking away but to work; and Don walking toward the viewer, holding a woman’s hand. The two Dons are aware of each other, metaphysically interdependent even, but they cannot interact as though they occupy extremes in a cyclical motion.
In a darkly humorous scene in this episode that appears to draw from John 3, a minister accosts Don, absent from the office and drinking in a bar again, to deliver some helpful ministry, promising that Jesus can give not only eternal life, but relief from pain in this earthly existence. “I’m doing fine,” says Draper in dismissive retort. “Nixon is president. Everything is back where Jesus wants it.” The minister goads Don, provoking one of his kid-in-the-whorehouse flashbacks; he slugs the minster, and winds up in the Tombs to sleep it off. In the morning, he goes home to Megan and tells her he needs to get out of New York. He wants to go from East to West. To Los Angeles.
|Courtesy Trevor Stewart|