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What happens to a dream blown to pieces?
on October 13, 2010
When I think about Season 4, one word comes to mind -- "dark". This is the season of Don's discontent -- indeed, his comeuppance, if you will -- and as the season opens we find him living in a seedy Greenwich Village apartment, where his rendevous with the ladies end all too often in rebuffs rather than ravishings. On the work front, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has all the trappings of success. They have nice offices, a corral of secretaries, and a big client list. Don is being interviewed by a magazine asking the question "Who is Don Draper?" and further on into the season, we see him accepting a Cleo for his talents. The only problem is, he's drunk when he's accepting it. In fact, he's drunk most of the time. Dead drunk, and his decisions and fine-honed genius with words suffer for it.
Of course, being Don, he looks good. Hard to believe a man can drink that much and still not show the wages of sin. But as the season progresses, we see him losing his grip more and more, on the business as well as the personal front. He blows up at clients, neglects his children, and uses his women to get what he thinks he wants. At the same time, he is watching himself, from a distance, deconstruct. He starts keeping a journal and swims every day to clear his mind. You keep thinking he's going to get a grip on it. He has to. He's Don Draper.
The supporting staff is suffering too, all the with exception of Peggy, who seems to have really come into her own this season. She is confident, perky, and looks great. She's even dressing the part. Joan Holloway is given more to do this season, thankfully, and her character only gets more intriguing. There's really no telling what Joan can pull off, because no matter what happens to her, she keeps on going. As for Betty Draper, she isn't present too often, but when she is, she is still very much the Mom you love to hate, and she doesn't seem to have learned a thing.
I can't reveal too much more without spoiling the season. In fact, I probably should have put spoiler alerts in the beginning of this, but I don't think I've ruined anything for anybody. This is great stuff, amazing stuff for television, and no matter how painful the journey, you've just got to watch Season Four. All of it.