Joan is just 40 years too early. Maybe that’s the whole point of “Mad Men.” Think about it–she’d be almost 80 if she were a real person. And she sees the whole thing right there before her in 1970. Talented, smart, beautiful, she’s earned her way to a significant moment in business. And now reality sets in. She is a woman. Sunday night Joan Holloway left the world of TV and faced the harsh facts of life. Whoops!
“Lost Horizon” references Freud and Kerouac not to mention Betty Friedan and David Bowie. The Sterling Cooper gang is now lodged at McCann Erickson, but you know it’s not going to work out. It’s 1970, not 2015. For a minute Joan almost time travels. Her back and forth with the agency’s CEO, Hobart, is brilliant. You think she’s going to win. In 2015, she would have taken him down. In 1970, Joan is doomed. Luckily, she has rich boyfriend whom she’ll probably marry. But Joan is a hero. Maybe she goes to work for Gloria Steinem.
Betty Draper Francis is reading Freud, the Dora cases. Did you know Dora’s real name was Ida Bauer? So it’s a riff on Diana Bauer, whom Don is chasing across the country. This is Don, who before he just walks out of his future, presses against the glass window pane of his office. He could fall through, and plummet to the ground like the character in the show’s opening. Later he takes on a hitchhiker who looks like Charles Manson. Matt Weiner is having fun with us.
Peggy and Roger have a surreal moment in the office. He’s playing the piano, she’s skating around the room. When we see her the next day, something’s happened. There’s been a jolt in time. Peggy has a new bravado. She’s wearing sunglasses, and dragging on a cigarette. How long will she last in the corporate set up? Not long, I’d say. Roger gives her a valuable painting– The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife– or as he puts it, an octopus pleasuring a woman. It belonged to Bert Cooper, who shows up for the second time a hallucination– to Don.
In the car, Don and Bert discuss “On the Road.” Here’s a line that could apply to Don from that novel: “I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
Was “Lost Horizon” the last meeting of Betty and Don? Maybe. Where is he going once he establishes that Diana is unattainable? Back to Megan? “Space Oddity,” not really a hit for two more years, suggests that he has detached from the world he knew, for good.
Two more episodes. Just two more. So unfair.
PS I did like Joan’s boyfriend’s suggestion that they just hire a hit man to take out Hobart. Matt Weiner’s “Sopranos” days linger on !