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episode 5: the chrysanthemum and the sword

Much to discuss. Much to discuss.


Episode 5: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword
Don and Pete go against Roger in efforts to win a new account.


Comments

marymary
Aug. 24th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
We learn that over the course of the episode, that Roger is sincere. But then Roger only shows that to Joan.

I think Roger shows only Joan the softer side of his feelings -- that it's about loyalty to the guys who fought and died. But he gives no indication, ever, that his anger is about anything other than the war. He gives no indication that his emotions are directed at Pete or a desire to be the big man by retaining Lucky Strike's share of the pie. I felt that Pete was the only person who misunderstood Roger's motives. When Don said "He's right," I thought Don was saying, "He's right that we need Honda and you have to stay out of it."

I was certainly sympathetic to Roger, eventually, when he opened up to Joan. But I was mostly APPALLED at him! :) Having been in many, many meetings with clients, I truly died a little when I watched that scene with the Japanese.

It occurs to me that, even in this moment with Henry and Don, that Betty has always defined her world according to the man in her life. Is that accurate? I know it's a reflection of the times, and the character relative to the times in which she lives. But we look at her in comparison to Joan and Peggy, who are defining their world for themselves, albeit to differing degrees.

Yeah, I think Betty has taken the traditional route (from being cared for by her father to being cared for by Don, then Henry). Peggy is ambitious AND as yet unmarried. Joan is ambitious in a different way -- I think there was some sensitivity on her part to being 30 and unmarried at one point, right? So they've either chosen or just walked into a life that's not about a man. I think it's absolutely a reflection of the times (though I know plenty of women who do the 2010 version of Betty :D).

Speaking of Betty and the times, I think the show does a great job of showing the roots of Betty's various issues. The stories of her father coming home from work and spanking the kids, the story of her mother nailing the nudist magazine to her brother's door. It's all shame and violence and control; Betty's perpetrating that on her kids, just to a lesser degree. As she talks to Dr. Edna, she recognizes that what her mother did to her brother was wrong. The slap aside, Betty's main response is to send Sally to therapy. I'd say it's a degree better. And Sally's kids will probably be a bit better off than she was.