“When your dream dies and your heart cries, Shahdaroba”
As a subtext, I find camp to be underrated. S3E13 is the only episode of Mad Men that I would define as camp, but in reality it might be just a bit more theatrical than normal. I can’t tell if not having these kinds of episodes more often is a mistake or if it’s better to linger in a good place until you find the right time to ‘camp out’ (season finales are a good place). In spite of the playful nature of the episode, it has no trouble bolding and underlining its fantastic soul.
The gathering of Pete and Peggy by Don revealed an important thread of humanity: if you believe in someone you love (even a little), saying no them is nearly impossible. Peggy knows she is not treated the way she deserves to be by Don, and the things Pete want from Don are usually dumb, but to keep them all Don really needs to do is say he values them, and how that value is worth something real. Don is definitely telling the truth when he speaks to Peggy and Pete, but I can’t tell if he is being genuine or if it matters. Being on the receiving end of this conversation is terrifying (for Peggy and Pete) because it requires faith despite past letdown.* Nonetheless, his actions were set up earlier when Roger straight up told Don that he’s not good at relationships because he doesn’t value them and when Cooper questioned Don’s “stomach for the realities”. They reminded him to pursue Peggy and Pete for the new agency and helped him realize he could let Betty leave (but only after calling her a whore).
*I’ve never had faith like that, never taken a chance on something I can’t prove, but I have tried to press the faith of someone else in me despite past humiliation/cruelty/letdown. Also, being “not that smart and not that attractive” makes it more difficult for me to prove and easier for them to ignore. Does the truth matter if you can’t prove it is genuine? ‘Proof’ is nothing attainable—it can be approached through supporting evidence, but you need faith to believe in anything.
This exchange hit it out of the park:
Don: “With you or without you I’m moving on, and I don’t know if I can do it alone. Will you help me?”
Peggy: “What if I say no? You’ll never speak to me again.”
Don: “No. I will spend the rest of my life trying to hire you.”
Truth, evidence, and faith. For example, there is a person who is in love. It’s the truth. They have provided little supporting evidence, however, and have multiple failed attempts and a even few attempts that backfired in frustration and minimized/erased anything good that came before. But the truth does more than linger, and the desire to prove remains. Does the person still deserve to present genuine displays of love? How can they be considered genuine without faith? Why is so much responsibility placed on the person who stands to lose the most? I want to listen, but I also want to prove—the struggle is in the how. I feel lost at sea and the person I want to help me does not believe in me and does not believe for a good reason. I would spend forever trying to restore that faith, but I can’t ask them to believe without evidence.