Mad Men

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Jacob Clifton: A | 1 USERS: B-
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Laika Was An Astronaut

Don enters Roger's room and nearly loses it; he looks very tiny. It's one thing when he's being bombastic Roger, annoying and insulting by turns, barfing in front of clients; that's funny. This isn't, because it's real and because it's undeserved. "All these years I thought it would be the ulcer," Roger says. He did it all, drank cream and ate his butter, and now he's having a heart attack. Slattery rocks; Roger says this with this complete bitterness at having been cheated. Don makes small talk but Roger's not having it: "Don. Do you believe in...energy?" Don asks if he means "the thing that gives you get up and go," which made me laugh so hard, because it's like an ad: "Yes! That thing!" And then Don could be like, "That's cocaine, now available in Coca-Cola! Gives you real get up and go!" But Roger, for once, isn't talking about drugs: he's talking about a soul. Don's so checked out and weirded out by this abrupt turn that he's like, "Um, tell me what you want to hear." Roger wows about how he's totally been living the last twenty years like he's on shore leave. "What the hell is that about?" Do the math. It's 1960. He has been on shore leave for twenty years.

My mom would be around Margaret's age, so like, when you say "the Greatest Generation," it's Roger or somebody like him that I'm thinking of: somebody who was too young to know what death was, until the War, and then when that proved he was invincible, he was incapable of changing or growing at all. He stayed the age he was when he was drafted, and all of this is like a horrible, wonderful surprise. The ones who came back, the survivors, had the world at their feet. The worst thing I can think of. Don assures him he was just "living," that it was just normal behavior, and Roger says, "God. I wish I was going somewhere." He closes his eyes, and Don's inability to handle this in any way is interrupted by wife Mona's arrival. Don swears Roger's doing great, and she leans in. Roger begins to cry, more honest than we've ever seen him. It's hard to watch. He says her name, over and over, swearing that he loves her. He cries, and she kisses his forehead and his cheek, and as she shushes him he begins to pull it together. "Listen to me, darling. Margaret is outside, and she needs to see you..." He falls apart again, begging her not to let their daughter see him so small and weak, but Mona refuses. Don ushers her into the room, and she smiles and cries and hugs him, but she doesn't say a word. Don watches from outside the glass at the three of them, hugging and crying, loving each other; a family. He takes off without saying goodbye. Don seems so much older than Roger, so much of the time, that it's hard to remember Mirabelle was only partially correct: girls love their fathers, but so do boys.

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Mad Men

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