Headscratchers: Mad Men

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     Sharpshooting Betty 
  • Betty Draper's sniping of the pigeons at the end of "Shoot". Crowning Moment of Awesome to some, a touch of Disproportionate Retribution to me. The Draper's neighbor is raising the birds, and their dog Polly grabs one in her mouth, injuring but not killing it. The neighbor snaps at Sally that if the dog comes into his yard, he'll shoot it. Now granted, that's a pretty dickish thing to say, particularly to a kid, and Betty mentions that she'll talk to him to see what happened (she never does). Cut to the end of the episode where, after being dumped from the modeling shoot, she grabs an air rifle and starts taking potshots at the birds as they fly by. Look, the guy was a jerk to your daughter, but I'd be annoyed too if a dog had randomly grabbed one of my trained birds. He didn't threaten Sally herself, and you have no way of knowing if he even meant what he said. So without checking in to get this guy's side of the story and without any other provocation, Betty decides to do what the neighbor had previously only threatened. Bad form.
    • Betty is well-established to have mental issues.
    • Or you could look at it from a completely different standpoint. Much of the episode drew significant parallels between Betty and those pigeons - pretty little housepets, beloved but trapped in their gilded cages (there's a good reason why Don's nickname for her was Birdy). It's very plausible that she didn't intend to kill the pigeons with that gun, but to scare them away, in hopes that they might fly away and live the life of freedom that she herself couldn't obtain. You'll note that she didn't seem to actually hit any of them. Maybe Betty's just a poor shot (which several of her family members should probably be grateful for), but I'd imagine it was intentional. Of course, as season 3 developments would indicate, she probably didn't know that domestic animals tend not to do so well in the wild...
    • I like the explanation about not actually killing them, but I have to disagree. She's hitting them and killing them (an air rifle will do that to a bird), but they don't show it on screen. I think Betty's actions are justified to the point that she gets back at the man for saying what he said to Sally, but the way she does it (killing the birds) is cruel to the birds.
      • I'm pretty sure by this point we can safely say that Betty has a lot of anger and violent tendencies that she had bottled up inside her. Her treatment of Sally is proof of that.
     Doesn't anyone love Don? 
  • No one ever seems to have looked for the Real Don Draper besides Anna. Was he an orphan with no siblings or friends? It's possible that whoever was looking went to Anna and was told they'd been divorced and she didn't know where he was. But it's still odd that this man who supposedly returned alive from Korea just vanished.
    • Real Don seemed like something of a jerk. He didn't really care about Anna, only marrying her as a consolation prize because her sister wasn't available. She didn't appear to be all that upset when she found out he died. Maybe no one liked him enough to care that he was missing.
    • Perhaps it just wasn't out of character for him to come back to the states, abandon his wife, and start selling cars in Jersey.
    • The 60s were a lot different than today. How exactly would someone (presumably in the Western US based on Anna living in California) look for him? First of all after the Korean war would you really think twice if an acquaintance or friend failed to return home? It would take an extremely dedicated friend to go beyond asking his wife about it...They didn't have Facebook or the internet to look names up, where would they even start? The one person who realistically would look for him, his wife, did so. Who else would even know he didn't die, and would go cross country to track down someone who most likely never came back from the battlefield? It would be jarring and completely unbelievable for someone other than his wife to guess he might be alive at all, let alone somehow track him down.
     Lane to Ignominy, or Pryce of doing business? 
  • Lane Pryce is panicking in "Christmas Waltz" because he owes the British government a lot of money in back taxes. He is apparently being double taxed in the US and UK since there are no tax treaties in effect yet. However, he lives and works in the US at this point so why is he so desperate? He could have his lawyer try stalling for a few months until he can raise the money and avoid going back to Britain for a while.
    • Judging by the tone of his lawyer, the offer was either a time limited settlement offer or one that already had been stalled for quite some time.
    • He would almost certainly lose his visa and be extradited for trial if he is convicted.
    • Business partnerships are complex, and require very firm rules, as any individual failing can create a domino effect. If Lane (who is in charge of the books) starts asking for cash advances, not only does it prompt others to ask for them in times of need, it also puts his handling of the books in doubt, as he would be presumed to be more likely to dip in, and may reveal a major problem, as he would have to be in some financial difficulty he hasn't disclosed to the partnership previously that he was required to.
    • English businessmen of the 1960s put honor and reputation before everything else. It was essential to what little self-worth Lane had that he maintain the image of a steadfast earner and provider. It's why he couldn't ask for a loan even though Don and Roger would certainly have fronted the money: he would have to live in the shadow of appearing even weaker, on top of stirring up questions about his competence as the finance director.
     Don's Rides 
  • In the pilot, Don arrives at his house in a 1959 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88, yet in late season one and early season two he'd driving a 1961 Dodge Polara. What happened to the Oldsmobile? Don doesn't seem like he would replace a late model, upper mid range car with an only slightly newer, lower end, entry level car.
    • I don't remember, but was one of them his wife's car or was that a different car or maybe just an inconsistency?
      • Betty (Don's wife) drives a 1957 Ford Country Sedan station wagon in the pilot till season three, when she inheirits her father's Continental. I'm thinking inconsistency, since he also drives a 1960 Buick Invicta convertible from episode 3 to the end of season one, then drives the Dodge for the first half of season two (then crashes it and buys the Cadillac).
    • At the time a Dodge Polara was a medium-price car (Chrysler's entry level car was the Plymouth) and most better-off people changed cars every three years with lots of people doing so annually.
    • That he'd replace a series of X-framed GM hardtops and convertibles with a Dodge post sedan (a make known for its ruggedness in its day) fits the WMG that Don had destroyed more than one car via drunk driving.