Mad Men: There Will Be Slaps

Posted by Jon Wiener on July 26, 2010

Don Draper

It’s one year since we last saw Don Draper and the world that revolves around him.  When we last met, Don (Jon Hamm) was entering a messy divorce from Betty (January Jones), who is now married (?) to Henry (Christopher Stanley).  The kids are a mess.  Their daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) is a mega-mess.  Don is living in a small 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan with a grumpy maid and various female callers.  In the most memorable moment of the episode, Don is entertaining one of his guests and we finally learn what Don Draper wants from the world: a serious slap-fest.  He repeatedly asks for this woman to slap him.  Does he just want to feel something real for the first time since becoming Don Draper?  Perhaps.  Whatever the reason, it’s amazing.  It’s what Don wants.  It was a pure, immodest request.

That’s what this episode is all about – modesty.  At the very beginning of the episode, we witness a Don Draper interview in progress with “Advertising Age” magazine.  Due to Don’s modesty, the interview is a failure and causes his new company, Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Price, a valuable client.  Had he answered the questions honestly, he would boast all of the amazing accounts, which is basically free advertising for the clients.  No mention in Ad Age = unhappy clients.

Meanwhile, Don has to deal with an ad campaign for 2-piece swimsuits.  Don’s concept is risque and exciting, but the clients want modest.  What does Don do?  He tells them off and explains that modest isn’t what sells bikinis.  That’s basically it – modesty gets you nowhere, and Don learns this the hard way.  He was humiliated by his wife and the only way he can save face is by admitting that he is the shit, plain and simple.  Otherwise, he’s just going to keep getting slapped around.  Hard.

There are a few other important factors of this episode.  Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and some other dude resort to a publicity stunt in order to kick-start a new campaign with a ham company, resulting in bail money and sneaky business.  Also, Betty, Henry and the kids are a month past their agreed-upon move-out date from Don’s house.  What else…oh – Don got set up on a date with one of Jane’s (Sterling’s wife) 25 year-old friends, Bethany (True Blood’s Anna Camp).  Seems like this isn’t the last we’ll see of her.

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