(2008) Matthew Weiner.
A melodrama about ad execs will evoke true emptiness where true forms are yet seen. This is a pattern which insinuates much of Mad Men. But instead of beating the old typical rug of how shallow and manipulative the industry is, the truths of Mad Men creep as furtively upon the viewer as they do the characters. "Nobody has what you have," sneers Don Draper's father-in-law, Gene Driscoll (himself a certain void of his old self), "He has no people!" At first the old man would seem to contradict himself, deranged as he is, though his words in fact do ring with ratiocination, that since Draper has "no people," he is, at least to old Gene, "Nobody." A deeper inspection of this confrontation finds the perverse competition of virility, as the old man's ischemic events have caused the apprehension of his own daughter as his own dead wife, and so Draper, strapping and glamorous, becomes a gross sex rival (to whom Betty later retreats for a long-missed vigorous midnight rogering, tho she has banished Don to slumber on the floor).
Betty's disavowal of Don bounds back furiously upon her in the course of the episode. She bears the brunt of some gruesome psychosexual victimization, as if guest-directed by Roman Polanski. She knows she is right about Don's faithlessness, but is helpless to prove it, and helpless to articulate the surfacing personal dysfunctions of her life, and so, throughout the previous two episodes, "Bertie" mopes haughtily through the sunlit rooms of her house, drunk and chain-smoking. Then, suddenly, a neighbor's infatuated adolescent child, hiding in Betty's yard at night, offers to rescue her, to run away ("I have money," the boy reassures), like disturbed lovers in a 40s pulp novel. And so is it only perfect that 'The Inheritance' ends with Don & Pete en route to the most exultant of hollow and pulp livelihoods, Los Angeles.
And the Campbell brothers signing off on their father's crippled Estate, the ghost of the unknown patriarch looming among those high cold oak chambers where Mother Campbell shows snide contempt for Pete's rift in the family's devolved issue. . .
Freddy Rumsen, too, before his final send-off from Sterling Cooper, suggests the quandary of inner and outer realities. Prior to his fit of incontinence, he rehearses a script for Samsonite luggage. "I hate my Silhouette," Freddy recites lucidly, "cause it's empty." He then conks out.
Anchoring all this tension, at least at the office, is shapely, comely, rosy Joan, whose sultry, knowing tones and prodigious curves propose supremely the "ineluctable modality of the visible." Like Warren says, "She's so much woman."