Don Draper (Jon Hamm) literally got caught with his pants down — and not by his wife Megan (Jessica Paré), who might expect it, but by his daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka), who never would have dreamed of it in a million years.
Don was catching a little “Afternoon Delight” with his neighbor Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) on Sunday night’s episode of “Mad Men” when Sally snuck into Sylvia’s apartment — and then spied her father in an act she calls “disgusting” and runs off.
It’s enough to make anyone drink, which is exactly what Don does as, for once, he actually worries about the consequences of his actions as he ponders whether or not Sally will reveal his dirty secret. Don is in bad shape from his bender when he gets home, and is shocked when everything seems normal, except for the fact that Sally refuses to speak with him.
“I think she is so lost and I think [what she saw] adds a lot of shame to her,” Shipka said at a “Mad Men” panel at the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences on Sunday night, following a screening of the episode. “I think she is convinced now that marriage is a sham. She doesn’t have any trust in anyone any more. Everyone lies to her. I don’t think she has a great image of adults.”
Sally is old enough to understand that if she tells Megan, it will end her father’s marriage, but she also can’t turn to her mother Betty (January Jones) because their relationship has never been the best.
“I don’t know what is going to happen but I think she is going to keep it to herself,” Shipka adds. “This is such a shameful piece of information and she really can’t tell anyone. I don’t think her relationship with her mother is going to help the situation. She has to live with it.”
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As we know from Season 1, Don is not the bravest of men. He switched identities with a dead man in Korea, so he could walk away from the war and start a new life. He has been extremely successful, so he got away with it, and now it seems he thinks he can get away with just about anything.
“You never know when you meet someone if they have just come from an argument, or a murder, or their job in a tollbooth,” says “Mad Men” creator/executive producer Matthew Weiner. “If they look like Don Draper, they might get away with a lot.”
Viewers have speculated a lot on the character of Bob Benson (James Wolk) this season. Is he a spy? An undercover journalist? And after Sunday’s episode, it looked as if he might be gay, after the intimate conversation he had with Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) in which they touched knees!
“I don’t know that Bob is gay necessarily,” Weiner says. “I think that Bob has fixated on Pete as the person who has everything that he wants. He admires him. What you get there is exactly what he said. He cares about him. I think it is really the whole package…So much of the show is how you are seen from the outside and that is what Pete looks like from the outside. I think he a person who is trying to do his best and comes across quite a bit of conflict in his life that he didn’t expect. He has moments of weakness. There is really very little that he has done different than Don Draper, but for some reason or the other everyone thinks he is a weasel.”
As for the other rumors swirling around about the show’s storyline, such as Megan is going to die in a manner similar to Sharon Tate, Weiner considers it a compliment to “Mad Men.”
“There is so much secrecy about the show and that is a commercial decision on some level, because I want there to be something that people don’t know is going to happen,” he says. “There aren’t that many things out there like that. As soon as it happens, there is a conversation and imaginations run wild. People will watch this episode and say, ‘I knew it!’ It is not my job to zag when you think I am going to zig. It is not any of that. We are just telling the story that was outlined at the beginning of the season. That involvement with the audience is a blessing. It is the ultimate compliment.”
“Mad Men” will air its final two episodes of the season the following two Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.