Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 1: Out of Town.

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Don Draper has turned lying into high art, flitting between falsehood and sincerity so quickly that it’s hard to tell it’s happening, or even if he knows he’s doing it.

Peep the scene where he’s in the hallway with the stewardess on the way back to his hotel room. “I’m engaged,” she says. “On the other hand, you might be my last chance.”

His response is classic Don, sage and slimy all at once. “I’ve been married for a long time. You’ll have plenty of chances.” He then tells her it’s his birthday, which it is. She asks to see his I.D., and again, he obfuscates with no real tells. “That won’t help you.” He’s right. He’s not Bill Hoffstadt, as he she thinks he is. And his I.D. says Don Draper — and he’s not really Don Draper, either.

Another great moment. Don to Sal on the airplane, in his typical coded language: ‘Limit your exposure.” If the life you’re gonna live is a lie, best to learn from the master.

Latoya hates Pete Campbell, and nothing that happened in the first episode is likely to change that. Also, peep how Harry was stationed in Sterling Cooper’s tiny television division last season, which was clearly an afterthought at the company. But it’s the 60′s now, and he’s pulling rank.

Alright, y’all. Go for it.

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Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs about race and ethnicity for National Public Radio. He is a native of South Philly and reads and writes and runs and rants. You can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to him on Facebook.

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22 comments to Mad Men, Season 3, Episode 1: Out of Town.

  • slb

    i just have to say that the opening didn’t work for me. don wouldn’t have remembered any of the events of that flashback and it’s unlikely anyone told him his mother’s last words (who in his childhood would’ve known them? the woman who dropped him off at his father’s?). in order for flashbacks to be plausible, the person recalling the event has to have been present and cognizant and newborns aren’t the latter.

    there were a lot of tonally odd moments in this premiere, but as in second season, i expect that personality changes (peggy’s), abrupt character introductions (moneypenny), and unresolved cliffhanger arcs (pete/peggy, betty’s affair) will be fleshed out in later eps.

  • i generally think that flashbacks are a horrid dramatic device, and always, always overexplain.

  • slb

    also: i’m Team Cosgrove for Head of Accounts, obviously. but were i betting woman, my money’d be on Pete, obviously.

  • lemu

    It was an interesting first episode am I’m satisfied, but definitely need more.

    Questions:

    1) During the season 2 finale, there was some conflict between Duck and Don, but it was never implied that Duck was fired and Don stayed on. I was hoping that Don would roll out to a new agency (since he had no contract) and bring half of Sterling Cooper with him. Duck was good at his job, but his vision of the company wasn’t inline with Don’s.

    2)How did they fire a guy (The new head of accounts) we knew nothing about only to put in Pete who should have had the position in the first place (if Duck’s appointments stood)?

    3)Can we get some further clarification on whats going on with Pete and Peggys Lovechild? My prediction is that Pete will end up adopting his own son back.

    4)Salvatore oh Salvatore. This one just deserves a LOL.

    5)I always thought Cosgrove was creative.

    6)I really don’t like Sterling. Last season I was pissed at Pete, but Pete has an Iota of a reason for being fucked up, Sterling is just a walking hard on.

    7)Random find of the morning – http://ow.ly/kgqC by @adrianhopkins

    8)I want to see more scenes with the real Mrs. Draper. Its the only time Don is open about who he really is and we get great flashbacks.

    ok. i’m done.

  • you’d almost have to be. how could anyone root for Pete? Even dramatically, Pete is only as interesting as his thwarted ambitions.

  • i’mma holler at all this after the gym. but good look on the painting!

  • belleisa

    I noticed how the BelleJolie account went to Cosgrove. I wonder if that’s going to become a factor in the Peggy/Pete saga.

    Also, did anyone catch the name of the painting Cooper was talking about in the opening office scene?

    And Pete Campbell is a dick. I especially hate the way he interacts with his wife….the way they intereact with each other. It’s a testament to their acting that I despise them so much. Yet, I understand that they are performing the rules of society they’ve been taught to live by.

    I don’t mind the flashbacks. Although Initially I didn’t make the connection that Don couldn’t pissobly have known about his origins. The writers will probably explain how he knows in another flashback. While they were on, I kept thinking the audience knows all that they need to know about Don’s past, perhaps the continuous flashbacks are to indicate how he is haunted by them. It’s meant to shape Don as more of the tragic hero.

  • belleisa

    Thanks for the photo. I was wondering how it was going to fit in with the episode’s theme. Perhaps the sexualized advertisements Draper was discussing with Salvatore.

  • i must say i agree with the slb about the flashbacks. ones where he was not present do not work. Did anyone else notice how big Bobby is now? I think they may be using a different actor. I’m happy that Sal almost finally got some, though the damn fire ruined it for him. And the ending didn’t sit with me very well, I just wasn’t seeing the Wow factor in this episode. Hopefully the rest of the season will live up to the Mad Men name!

  • ladyfresh

    i love to hate him
    and love to see him fail and react

  • ladyfresh

    Mad Men is back on track.

    The flashbacks worked for me. They weren’t flashbacks in the way they have had flashbacks previously. I almost thought Don was watching a play. Reflecting on it it seems to have been an amalgamation of Don’s (vivid) imagination and part of the truth he was probably told (maybe the midwife, maybe his mother. I think the ‘flashback’ is more about Don’s talent for storytelling. So we start with a story he couldn’t possibly have recollection of and end with his failure at telling a story…he was supposed to be a part of.

    Oh Sal, i was so happy for you…which is perverse considering your are married you bastid!

    i love the new brits. The pecking order getting establish of the brit assistant to his new office starting with peggy with her horrible secretary (get it straight babe shes no longer one of you) then with Joan feeling around for where he belonged in the pecking order…or feeling for where he thought he belonged…the finally the interaction between the two brits…’unseemly don’t you thnk…i think you should sit outside the office’ like WOW. did joan do it purposefully she acted like she didn’t believe him… or more he was about to find out the reality of the position in case he didn’t know…

  • ladyfresh

    Katsushika piece took on SO many meanings on this show, it was a fantastic device. First i thought of Don’s proclivities, then coopers remark about the goings ons at sterling/cooper then of course the firings happened so it could have represented the new company/old company relationship then i started thinking of american capitalism in general and it’s such a tongue in cheek piece to begin with man oh man was i delighted by it.

  • So, I just wrote a brief little diddy on this, and I actually think it’s a brilliant, and common, move to make them dual-heads of Accounts. It’s an organizational restructuring that pits them against each other, rather than against the bosses of Sterling-Cooper. It will suppress their wages and diminish their bargaining power by putting them in direct competition with each other. It’s kind of like a prisoner’s dilemma that removes all power from Pete and Cosgrove and firmly situates it with the CFO that can fire either of them at any time: http://madmenshrugged.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/the-capitalist-wins-again/

  • that said, it’s an interesting piece of information (if done in a theatrically cheesy way) to learn more about Don’s relationship to women and sex.

  • I was cheering for Salvatore!

    I don’t have such deep, good thoughts like others about this show (but am SO happy there will be weekly threads – WHEEEEEE!!!!!) but I was mui disappointed in Don fooling around so soon again. Clearly, I’m naive. I thought he might have been reformed for at least a few eps.

    I loved how Ken refused to fight w/Pete – I thought to myself, argh that makes me so furious when pp won’t engage w/my angry b.s.!! Ha ha Pete!

    And I love Joan, but I think I’m just partial to a big old redhead, being one myself (minus about half those damn curves!).

  • It’s weird – I don’t like Pete but I at least find him interesting, which is more than I can say for Ken.

  • Don’t get it twisted – Joan know EXACTLY what she was doing.
    He had airs about his position, and was trying to distinguish himself as “not a secretary”. Joan just put him in the position to let him see exactly how his boss views him.
    What’s may be interesting is why he is pushing so hard with this “I am an executive assistant” schtick. I’m pretty sure there’s a gender angle there. He’s a man and only women should be mere secretaries.

  • Cydney

    On the flashbacks:

    How does anyone know the story of his or her birth? How did Dick know that he was a “whore child?” I imagine he knew because someone told him. I bet *everyone* told him. In the same way, Dick knows the story of his birth. The story may or may not be accurate, but this is how Dick was *told* of his mother and his birth.

    And the only way to even tell Dick’s back story is through flashback. Only one woman knbows his secret and she’s in California, so he can’t relate these expository details through conversation.

    I loved the ep, and I love Pete Campbell. I get that he’s neurotic and immature. He only sees the downside and has no real sense of self, but in his way, Pete is trapped like Betty and Sal. He had advantages, which makes it hard to feel for him, but his name is also a disadvantage. Like Don, Pete wants to be *seen* for who is, but like Don, he has no idea who he really is. And Pete is no crueler to his family than Don is to his. Is Don better because he’s nicer on the surface? Bullshit. I remember what Don did to Rachel Mencken, his little brother, and how he continues to mistreat Betty.

  • ladyfresh

    i suspected this and she deliberately put him in that position for a reality check which is a wow on the scheme and maneuver scale.

    i’m absolutely with you on the gender angle

  • quadmoniker

    Count me among the confused. I finally got to watch it, and I also thought we’d find Don out of the agency, Duck being drunk and screwing things up, etc. Cosgrove WAS creative. What did we miss? Have there been webisodes all this while?

  • ladyfresh

    oh now we have something. with regards to the pete vs don characters. I’ll have to think on this a bit and get back to you, thanks!

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