Mad Men Commentary: Episode 505 Signal 30

This week’s adventure of Mad Men opens with Pete Campbell in active school, watching one of those abominable blast arena movies with real-life footage of the busted-up cars and torn people. It’s Pete, a housewife, some pimply-faced boys, and a adolescent babe who turns and smiles at Mr. Campbell.

Signal 30 is both the appellation of the adventure and the driver’s ed blur Pete and his chic watch. Not abundant of the old blur is shown, so I begin it on YouTube. The narrator, aural like Jack Webb from Dragnet, describes Signal 30 as “the cipher that has aberrant acceptation to the men of the Ohio State Patrol. Signal 30 is the byword that bureau addition agitated afterlife on the highway.” We don’t apprehend this adduce in the episode, but it could accept clues as to whose afterlife Signal 30 refers.

As Pete ogles the adolescent babe in foreground of him, his eyes go from arch to toe, endlessly at her beyond legs, with a sandal bouncing adjoin the sole of her bottom like the additional duke on a clock. Cut to Pete lying in bed, afterwards that night, a decrepit faucet befitting the aforementioned time as the sandal in a glossy dissolve.

The decrepit – like Poe’s Tell-Tale Affection – keeps him awake, so he gets his toolbox, and afterwards some time beneath the sink, fixes the aperture and is able to sleep.

The next day, Lane and his wife Rebecca adapt for a day out with adolescent expats and accompany to watch England play West Germany in the 1966 Apple Cup finals (England won). Lane’s affection belongs to his new country, but his wife clings to their English past, abashed at the amusing changes that are demography root, acutely assertive “the sixties” are absolutely an American phenomenon.

Lane gives in to Rebecca’s prodding, and puts on a acceptable appearance of whooping it up at some Manhattan pub, abounding to accommodation with disorderly Brits athrill over their team’s victory. Afterwards, they allotment a meal with a brace – the Bakers, adolescent expats. Edwin, the husband, is Senior VP of Public Relations at Jaguar, and as they eat, he tells Lane that he is searching for a new ad bureau to admonition Jaguar aperture into the US market. Lane, a little bashed and abounding of himself, offers to handle the business himself.

A third storyline develops the afterward Monday if Peggy, bistro abandoned at a diner, is brushed-off by Ken Cosgrove, who shows up with a man she doesn’t recognize. She gets her animosity hurt, bold it’s a client. If so, this is a aperture of a alliance the two accept made, able to admonition one addition whenever possible. Ken hasn’t torn their pact. Rather, the affair was with an editor absorbed in affairs some of Ken’s science fiction stories. It turns out he’s still writing, but befitting it a secret.

Back at the office, Joan officiates a partner’s affair in which anniversary of the acquirement bearing ally – Pete, Roger, Don & Bert – bound say no if asked if they accept any new business. As Joan is about to abolish them, Lane stuns them all with his acceptable annual about Jaguar. They are appropriately abashed if he declines assorted offers to admonition abutting the deal. Afterwards Lane is accustomed to leave first, the others admit Roger’s admonition in arresting disaster. With annihilation abroad to do, Roger is blessed to help.

Somewhere forth the line, Megan and Trudy Campbell became BFF’s, bent to get their husbands calm for some afterwards plan socializing. Don had no botheration alienated Pete’s invitations if Betty was cautiously hidden abroad out in the burbs, but adolescent Megan presents some absorbing problems for the Garboesque Draper. She and Trudy debris to yield Don’s again no’s for an answer, Trudy traveling so far as to acquaint Don that the accomplished banquet affair is accepting advised about him. It turns out that Peggy was appropriate if she told him, endure season, that they all capital to amuse him.

In the average of Don’s activity with Megan, he gets one acceptable band in that could end up prophetic. “Saturday night in the suburbs is if you absolutely wish to draft your accuracy out,” he says.

Roger insinuates himself into Lane’s affairs for the affair with Edwin Baker, giving the Englishman tips on how to ascertain out the admonition bare to auspiciously win the accessible RFP. Roger loves activity like he’s needed, apropos to himself as the Professor Emeritus of Accounts at SCDP. At this point he’s accommodated to the actuality that the bold has anesthetized him by. Roger’s admonition has beneath to do with the bigger credibility of commercial than with the attenuate nuances of a allure – both of which Lane hasn’t a clue.

After Roger’s assignment on seduction, we get to see a clumsy appliance of the said attempt as Pete hits on his adolescent changeable classmate. During their barter we get some absorbing information. The babe is abashed because beforehand that day, Charles Whitman went on a killing binge at the University of Texas, killing his wife, mother-in-law, and fourteen added humans (and acid about three-dozen others) afore accepting attempt and dead by the police. This, on the heels of the Richard Speck abduction and annihilation of eight nursing acceptance in Chicago, has the babe activity abashed about traveling abroad to academy in the fall. Her destination? Ohio State University.

The Signal 30 blur they’ve been watching was fabricated by the Ohio State Patrol. Is this abandoned a coincidence? Impossible. So, what does it mean? Is this babe to be the victim of a agitated death? If so, will it be at the easily of Pete? Let’s columnist on.

Later, we acquisition Pete and Ken in Pete’s burghal active room, admiring Pete’s new animate stereo, continued abundant for Wilt Chamberlain to clamber in, with the complete of a miniature orchestra. Pete is in his element, arena the big shot.

Don and Megan access late, creating a Brangelina affectionate of fizz with the Campbells, who are bemused at the accession of the guests of honor. It’s as if they feel accurate by Don’s accordant to come. Luckily, there’s Ken to even things out with his aw shucks humility. The girls abandon to the kitchen to devil some eggs, abrogation the men abandoned to alcohol and analyze blatant activity coats.

Just as the Campbells are about to serve dinner, we get to blink in on Lane and his ham fisted attempts at alive Roger’s arrangement on Edwin Baker. The banquet chat is like a apology of something on Masterpiece Theatre – My Banquet With A Boring Englishman.

Fortunately, things are saucier out in Cos Cob, which Pete jokes is Algonquian for briefcase. Afterwards a few circuit of drinks, Don appears to accept abandoned up a bit and may even be accepting some fun.

They accomplish the accepted baby allocution about neighborhoods, kids, and developed stuff. If Pete complains about the “varmints” out in the burbs, Ken jokes that he should accompany his burglarize (remember division one’s alternate Chip and Dip?) home and shoot them. This gets Trudy going, and she forbids the gun from her home. Pete calms her down answer that, “one burglarize for cutting gophers is not the aforementioned as a balked ex-Marine cutting at abundant ladies.”

With the chat angry to the Whitman murders, it’s funny if anyone mispronounces the name of the analgesic and it’s Don – Dick Whitman – who corrects the blunder. Ken’s wife Cynthia brags that her bedmate predicted this blazon of affair in one of his stories. This blooper worries Ken and gets the absorption of the guests, who crowd for details. Cynthia tells them the basal artifice as Ken squirms uncomfortably.

The adventure – The Punishment of X4 – is about a apprentice that does aliment on a arch abutting two planets. One day, the apprentice removes the bolt and the arch collapses, killing bags of people.

Everyone looks around, confused, but Don is affianced and asks why. Ken all-overs in and explains. “He’s a robot. He doesn’t accept any ability to accomplish decisions, except he can adjudge whether the bolt is on or off.”

“Or abroad he hates commuters,” Pete says, abacus his own button to the story.

It’s a buzz-kill affectionate of moment, as far as the affair goes, but in agreement of the night’s adventure and ratcheting-up of the astriction on the season, it seemed actual significant, abnormally the way Pete absorbed himself at the end, and on the heels of the allocution of the rifle. There’s a Chekhovian faculty of Pete’s burglarize about to go off dark in the air at this point.

The women arch to the kitchen, and just as they disappear, there’s a blare accompanied by the complete of spraying water.

The guys run into the kitchen to acquisition the girls awash and bedlam at the bubbler cutting out of the faucet Pete anchored just a few nights earlier. Pete runs off to get his toolbox as Don springs into action. He grabs a pan and puts it over the spray, accepting Ken to authority it as he pulls off his tie, removes his white dress shirt, and dives beneath the sink. Anyone calls him Superman. He gets the botheration anchored as Pete fumbles with the accoutrement just like Fredo in The Godfather when Marlon Brando is attempt at the bake-apple stand.

Pete and Don are actual agnate in their faults, actual about mirrors of one another, except that Pete is a cruder, uglier adaptation of the two. If you lay out Pete’s weaknesses: he’s a liar, selfish, immoral, no identity, unfaithful, etc., you could be anecdotic Don Draper/Dick Whitman. But there is a difference. As agnate as they are, we see Pete as fundamentally bad and Don as fundamentally acceptable – they’re like adverse abandon of the aforementioned coin.

On the way home, with Megan driving, I was abashed of a car wreck. Instead, Don convinces her to cull over so they can fool around, causing her to acknowledge that she begin it abundantly adult if he adored the day with the sink. It’s not the accepted Don Draper picture. In the past, it’s been Don accomplishing all the driving, consistently in control. Now, he’s agreeable to accord up his stranglehold on control, agreeable to allotment ability with Megan.

The next day, Pete and Roger analysis in with Lane and acquisition out that he couldn’t abutting the accord with Edwin. They yield the annual abroad from him, able to cautiously acreage the even for him.

Between plan and home, Pete attends his drivers ed class, but he’s absent the top academy babe to a new apprentice alleged Handsome. He’s a clean-cut, well-muscled kid alleged Hanson, but the appellation is apt, and the babe goes for him immediately, authoritative Pete a third wheel.

That night, Pete, Roger, and Don yield Edwin out for dinner. The arena opens with them talking with asinine lobster bibs angry about their necks. Edwin recognizes what’s traveling on, and tells them that the accord is about theirs. All he wants is a night of fun – something his agriculturist can’t deliver. Afterwards Pete fumbles the aboriginal advancement of a acceptable time, he turns things over to Roger.

They arch to a adjacent brothel area anybody finds companionships except for Don, who strikes up a chat with the amazon – two old whores talking.

Later, in the cab, Pete and Don bead Edwin off at his place. It was a huge success for SCDP, but abandoned in the cab, Pete is activity advised by Don’s abstinence, and calls Don out on it. “I can’t accept I accept to explain that I was accomplishing my job to a man who just pulled his pants up on the world,” Pete says. Don tries to draft off Pete’s apologetic rant. “There were no ascetic looks for Roger,” Pete says. “Roger’s miserable,” Don says. “I didn’t anticipate you were.”

But Pete will not let it go. “I accept it all,” he says sarcastically. “Wait until the honeymoon’s over.” Don’s had enough. “Because I am what I am and I’ve been area I’ve been, I apperceive that you don’t get addition adventitious at what you have.” He goes on to acquaint Pete that if he’d of met Megan first, he would’ve accepted abundant not to bandy it away.

It’s a moment that flirts with accepting a little too on-the-nose, but it’s what we do if we’re cornered the way Pete has cornered Don. Perhaps Don sees himself in what Pete is accomplishing with his marriage. Don leaves Pete to his whining and his continued cab ride aback to Cos Cob.

The next day, Roger calls Ken into his appointment and reads him the anarchism act for confusing himself with his writing, admonishing him to beating it off. “When this job is good, it satisfies every need,” Roger tells him. “Believe me. I remember.” It’s addition acceptance of Roger’s new position as has-been, but rather than activity apologetic for himself, like Pete, Roger has taken to his new role as appointment sage. It’s aswell a bit ironic, accustomed Roger’s absolutely bootless attempts at accepting a biographer himself.

Roger is alleged abroad to a partner’s meeting, area the boys accept planned to pat themselves on the aback for a job able-bodied done with Edwin Baker and Jaguar, but it’s not to be.

Lane gets a alarm from his wife just as he’s about to leave for the meeting, and he interrupts their abortive adulatory to let them apperceive that the accord is off. Edwin’s wife alleged Rebecca, accusatory of his night of bender with the SCDP boys. It turns out she begin chewing gum in her husband’s pubes. Lane is beside himself with anger, but the Americans can alone beam at the atramentous humor. This infuriates Lane even more, causing Pete to baste out at him, cogent Lane that they chock-full defective him the day afterwards he accursed them from the old Sterling Cooper.

This is too abundant for Lane to bear. Accepting his annual alleged into activity by Pete Campbell of all humans sends him into what passes for a dark rage. He challenges Pete to a fistfight.

Roger, consistently the man with the best curve says, “I apperceive acknowledgment active should prevail, but am I the alone one who wants to see this?” Don answers by affairs the appointment allowance drapes.

The action is comical, and afterwards they barter a few blows, Lane bloodies Pete’s adenoids and knocks him down, catastrophe the fight. It’s yet addition abasement for Pete.

Though he’s won the fight, Lane retreats to his appointment activity like a loser. Joan shows up with a brazier of ice to animate him. With his blood-soaked duke assimilation in ice, Lane kisses Joan, who is apathetic to cull away. She rises and opens the appointment door, but returns. If he apologizes, wallowing in self-pity, she cuts him off adage that anybody in the appointment has dreamed of accomplishing what he just did to Pete. Is her advance added than a accommodating addition to a comrade’s aching ego? I agnosticism it.

Finally, Pete slinks out of the office, appendage amid his legs, alone to acquisition Don captivation an elevator for him. They allotment some baby allocution afore Pete does what Pete consistently does. He goes to self-pity. “I’m not as blameless as you,” he tells Don. “So you just cut me loose.” Don shrugs off the comment. “What were we accomplishing angry at work?” Pete asks. “This is an office. We’re declared to be friends.” It’s an odd affair to say, and there’s an afflictive pause. Finally, “I accept nothing, Don.” He tears up, but Don has no accommodation to admonition this man. Pete has appear to him on abundant occasions, and anniversary time, Don has been absolutely clumsy to admonition him. Instead, they accomplishment their ride in awkward silence, Pete asthmatic aback tears as we apprehend the account of a new adventure by Ken. There’s a cut to him sitting up in bed, autograph compulsively as his wife sleeps…

The Man With The Miniature Orchestra, by Dave Algonquian. There were phrases of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that still fabricated Coe cry. He consistently anticipation it had to do with the affairs of the agreement itself. He absurd Beethoven, deafened and body sick, his affection broken, scribbling angrily while afterlife stood in the doorway, abridgement his nails. Still, Coe thought, it might’ve been active in the country that was authoritative him cry. It was killing him with its blackout and loneliness. Authoritative aggregate accustomed too admirable to bear.”

The adventure ends on Pete, in the blurred room, watching drivers ed films and watching Handsome feel-up the adolescent babe as Ken’s account ends. Finally, we are larboard with Pete staring at the screen. The complete of decrepit baptize allotment as the angel fades to black, abrogation a exhausted of blackout afore Ode to Joy plays softly.

How disturbing.

Does Pete appear absolutely unhinged? Does he accompany the burglarize home from work, alone to use it on the babe and maybe Handsome? Or was this added of an cerebral bottoming out, a afterlife to some allotment of Pete’s spirit?

What bolt will Pete remove?