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  1. I felt like that was one of the main points of Don's story. Not that he shouldn't have his kids or anything like that, but that he needed to see who he was in relationships and stop imagining that he could just become another person, in this case the reliable single parent who's not going to follow any urges to disappear like he's done every other time. Especially once he starts to feel like it's not working out the way he imagined.
  2. Now I want a Legally Blonde-style study montage with Perry and Della et al. That wouldn't end well in this universe! I think the sentimentality about the farm has been there from the beginning--it's always been obvious he's killing himself holding onto the place just because his father built it etc. I think the throughline is meant to be his compassion and wanting justice for others--he killed his soldiers to keep them from being tortured even if it brought guilt on himself, his brother ran away/disappeared so he thinks it's his duty to be there for his parents/wait for him to come home. That said, it doesn't hang together since if he's that responsible why is he letting his son grow up without him? He's running around feeling for all these other people while ignoring the person who actually needs him. Obviously that's on purpose but it's not gelling for me intellectually, even if I believe every minute thanks to Matthew Rhys. Maybe something's still missing that we'll get.
  3. I hope so. I would guess that Della probably became more and more responsible at work as EB got older and with him dead or almost dead I feel like it's got to be a personal story for Della as well as professional. Perry talked about his motivations for keeping the farm and we've seen his war story, I feel like Della has to say something about her own past and how she got where she is now. Maybe they made sure to introduce the girlfriend now so that she'll be there for Della to talk to about this. Plus I'll bet the girlfriend will be there to cheer her on as she and Perry take on the case, with Della having to once again be the power behind the throne. But hopefully Perry would have a more equal relationship with her.
  4. He testified in court earlier and it wasn't his first time. He even poked one of the lawyers when he wasn't objecting when he should have been. So yeah, I'm sure he has plenty of knowledge of court proceedings and for all we know he might already be ready or almost ready to go to court. Plus there's Della who will presumably be shown to be basically a lawyer herself but unable to practice because she's a woman. I liked her girlfriend. Perry's story about his farm made sense for how illogical Perry is in general outside his work. When he said if he sold the farm nobody would know the Masons existed I expected Lupe to ask how anybody knew the existed now. The dairy farm isn't exactly advertising them. He's hanging onto nothing there. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't finally sell the farm in order to help Emily like EB couldn't. Loved the little man in the lady's purse porn idea. I don't mind the pacing at all. I love just sitting in a room with these people. I hope they keep Lupe as a friend with benefits rather than trying to make a big romance about it. I feel like the way she never spends the night might be leading up to some big happy ending where she actually does, and that just seems unnecessary. Already knew Perry's son was no longer into trucks. They haven't done anything about exactly what happened with his marriage. I can see why his wife wouldn't want to be living there but in 1932 I might have expected her to have to stick it out. She has to show up since she's Gretchen Moll. I hope Perry and Della have some good scenes bonding over EB, dead or just permanently retired.
  5. One thing I've always considered canon is that Joan's producing company becomes incredibly successful in some part because Pete sends all lots of corporate connections he makes through Lir Jet to Joan, telling them she's the best person they've never heard of until she earns a reputation that gets her clients on her own. Maybe one or more of her most fun love affairs come via that too.
  6. It was Lakshmi talking about how Paul was really good at getting people into the cult. He was a great recruiter.
  7. Yeah, that's how I saw it. Harry didn't promise him anything in California, he just told him to get out there and try it. It's not like his only hope would be as a writer. He could work in some other aspect of TV. The main thing is that what he gave Paul was better than he had in NY, even if it would be better in the long run to level with him about his script. In New York he had no job, no place to live and he was in a cult. In California he had no job, no place to live and five hundred dollars. He got a lot more than he was expecting to get out of the meeting with Harry--all he expected was Harry to pass the script along, which would have left him in exactly the same place he was in in California, but without the money and with the cult. The main thing that Harry saw was that he needed to get away from Mother Lakshmi, who was just as much of a pipe dream as his career as a writer. She was just trying to keep him in the cult and wasn't in love with him at all. Harry cared about him enough to try to give him something at least and didn't want anything from him.
  8. But isn't that more than enough? Harry wasn't adopting Paul, he was just giving him a little money to start in California. Paul would get a job when he got there. He did, of course, manipulate his character since he was the writer, but I honestly didn't see anything unnatural about it. He wasn't trading his talent for the rat race--he could have continued writing while still working, like he'd been doing since the beginning. He'd already stopped writing when that came up. He always loved winning, that was part of his character from the beginning. He just did it so much that he could be blase about it. I know a lot of people think Weiner didn't like the counter culture but the show never came across that way to me. He made fun of the excesses of it, sure, but it seems like in general he saw the changes in society as a good thing. All the main characters benefit from it. I wouldn't even connect Midge to the counterculture that much since it's not like she's a hippie or was even a super-beatnik before that. Any of those other possibilities would have also been realistic, but I thought she became an addict because of how it worked in that episode--it was seeing her again that gave Don the idea for his quitting tobacco letter, since Don's no stranger to addiction himself. She's a character that's mostly there to reflect Don, and Don simply wouldn't care if Midge was still a free spirit working artist or married and raising a family.
  9. Yeah, it's fine with me if he wants to fight but he didn't exactly have a point to make. He didn't say they shouldn't be happy with themselves when the look in the mirror, he just...asked suggested they look in a mirror and pointedly asked them if they were happy with themselves. Totally not the same thing. It's still funny that they get into it with this guy without anybody bringing up that as nice as he is with his stepchildren, he's a delusional fool who claims he knows so much about cancer that Big Pharma follow him in his car (but continue to let him live for...probably scary reasons!).
  10. Right, I do think he was supposed to be a genuinely valuable member of the team. There's never any hint that he does his job anything but excellently. I just don't think his value is supposed to be like Don's where he's seen as having this special artistry or vision. Which doesn't make Harry's work any less valuable, it's just showing Harry as being up to date rather than ahead of his time. Don isn't the ideal everybody should be modeling themselves on--that would be a nightmare.
  11. I felt like the excesses were important to the show, because it was showing how as the 60s went on the greater freedom naturally was just too much for some people, everything got more exaggerated. Dabbling with drugs can (but doesn't always) lead to serious drug use, for instance. Paul, to me, was always set up to be a candidate for this sort of thing because he wasn't as good as he wanted to be at things and always felt like an outsider. It's true Harry didn't do that much to help him, but then again, he wasn't really that off the rails. He was still Paul, still basically a normal person. He wasn't even that in thrall to the cult. But he seemed like a good person to show how a lot of people who felt lost in the 60s were drawn to new things like this. It seemed like that was one of the marks of the decade, that everybody was pretty straight in 1960s but some of them were knocked off balance when things started changing. Though it was a bit much to have Harry actually hit on Megan. How did he think that would ever play with Don? That scene might have really worked better if Harry had just set her up with another guy to meet with and *that* guy made it clear she'd have to sleep with him. In Ken's case, though, I thought it was more of a personal character thing. He was on top of things because things usually went well for him. He was talented and above the fray. But that's why he didn't respond well to adversity. When that happened it turned out he was even more susceptible to the sort of competitiveness he'd scorned in the past because he just hadn't really felt it before. (Plus he had genuine trauma.) Also agree on Harry, though, that he was never presented as a media whiz. If there was a business visionary, it was Pete. Harry was always looking at what other people were doing and suggesting that, which was still important and made the place successful, but was the reason that nobody was ever trying to poach him like they did Don, Pete and Peggy.
  12. Just watched Salang Pass, which has always been a favorite of mine because it’s Philip-centric. But Philip-centric things are never straightforward. With Elizabeth you get her thinking about or saying or experiencing something where it’s pretty clear what’s going on, because that’s the type of person she is. But with Philip it’s usually buried pretty deep or you come at it from a different angle, and that’s especially true in this ep where we see Philip in practically all his current incarnations: Clark – Scott – husband – Jim – Dad – friend – quasi son to Gabriel – Mischa. STAN There’s so few times where you can really see how much Stan relies on Philip as a friend instead of just hearing him announce he does so, and the scene in this ep does it really well. Stan seems genuinely open and vulnerable when he admits he doesn’t understand Matthew and expected him to be happier to see him after his time away. Hearing it now you know that Philip is going to be leaving his son too, though we can be pretty sure that if Philip ever reunited with Henry he wouldn’t be so clueless as to think Henry would be simply happy to see him when they reconnected. It shows how he’s so stunted Stan sometimes is--and again, how hard it is to imagine him able to do undercover work. We also know now that Stan’s never going to put in the effort he needs to in order to really fix thing with Matthew, he’ll just distract himself with Henry instead. There’s a lot of nostalgia for early childhood in this ep. Philip and Elizabeth remember tiny Henry and Paige, Stan reminisces about little Matthew, Martha tempts Clark with a fantasy of having a little kid and Kimmy remembers gardening with her father with her little rake. These kinds of memories are powerful, and yet another reason why no, Stan does not become Henry's "real father" by playing with him. Philip’s reaction to Stan is perfect. He doesn’t make Stan feel stupid or get uncomfortably sympathetic, but offers to come along with Stan on his date (by opening his house for dinner) to make it easier for him. This is the first scene where I can really see why Stan would love Philip as a friend even over Adderholt that he works with all the time. Too bad there’s not more scenes like this. If there was I would buy Stan’s decision more, even if they want it to be about the whole family instead of just Philip. KIMMY I couldn’t help but wonder exactly why Kimmy asks Jim to meet her at the teen hang-out. She’s been claiming she’s a Georgetown student—did she not realize how obvious it would be here that she was in high school? Was it a passive way of revealing that to Jim. If so, why? Did she want to be liked as herself? Was she conflicted about whether she really wanted to go forward? Maybe she just didn’t think it through, because she’s not actually duplicitous and she really is very young and naive. There's a great moment for her in that vein when she starts talking about her stepmother and dad never being home that she obviously relishes getting to vent about it, then catches herself and playfully accuses Jim of bogarting the joint she's not all that interested in. Some found her sexual aggressiveness reminiscent of someone who was sexually abused, but to me it seems like the opposite—it’s aggressive and innocent at the same time. Jim, of course, plays this all perfectly, walking away from Kimmy when he “discovers” that she’s only 15, but then playing like she’s so charming he can’t do it! Kimmy laughs at the cowboy boots Jim/Philip for some reason chooses to wear, just like Paige did in the pilot. On one hand it links the two girls yet again, but it also kind of shows Philip bringing a bit of himself to this character, with whom he’ll come to have a relationship in S6 that's more like the one he has Henry than Paige. That is, she’ll be a kid who seems to have matured in such a way that she interacts with him like an adult with an adult relative. Kimmy’s also the main connection to regular teenage life we have for most of the show, and it’s Philip who hangs out with her not any of the kid characters. It’s not uncommon for victims of abuse to only begin to understand how they were manipulated when looking at young people and seeing how vulnerable they are. ELIZABETH It occurred to me in this ep that Elizabeth just destroys families throughout the show (while Philip manages to bring a few together). Here she’s working on getting Lisa and her kids set up in a nice new place but we know Elizabeth isn’t going to think much about Lisa’s kids when she murders her. Also here you can see the pattern of Elizabeth being the go-to for shorter assignments—she’s moving Lisa into position really fast but she’ll burn her out fast too. I wonder if she killed the dog she used after dropping the car on the guy. Can’t have any witnesses! But Elizabeth is vulnerable in this ep too. She’s not happy with how not unhappy Philip is thinking about having a kid with Martha. In the last scene she’s dressed in uncharacteristic pale pink and sitting in the same chair where Philip was earlier brooding, her legs drawn up like a little kid. This is where Philip talks about learning to “make it real” with people in sex training. Elizabeth says the sex work must be different for a man, and certainly Philip’s approach is very different from hers. Elizabeth usually has contempt for the men she sleeps with to give herself power. When she has an unwanted physical reaction to a man, she gets very upset. She will eventually tell Philip she can’t like the people she works with that way. That’s why she goes to the opposite of extreme of Philip in S6 when she’s cracking. Elizabeth more often strangles her softer feelings, so no wonder she gets insecure about the idea that Philip does the opposite, opening himself to people he doesn’t love. Another thing that seems more important now is Elizabeth’s reaction to the idea of Martha having a kid. It’s a big part of Elizabeth’s story that she didn't want children and she’s already starting to be aggressively haunted by that fact on the way back to Russia in START. I think she always has been since the kids were born. So Martha wanting children is already a threat, whether or not she has them. PHILIP But really, it’s Philip’s ep and there’s a lot going on with him. Again, he’s got children coming and going. His face visibly softens when Martha describes coming home to a young child the way he used to come home to his kids and softens again in response to Kimmy's story about the two rakes with her dad. He wistfully brings up the kids’ childhoods to Elizabeth. Btw, I think one reason he might remember Paige as graceful when she was a klutz is that he associates her so much with Elizabeth, just as Elizabeth sees Philip reflected in Henry and herself in Paige. On first airing there was some discussion about why the ep is named after the recent but not current Salang Pass explosion in Afghanistan, but on re-watch it’s more clear. With all the kids dancing around in this ep, it’s the kid never mentioned who’s at the center: Mischa Jr. Philip actually listens to what Yousef is saying about Pakistan and Afghanistan, which Elizabeth really wouldn’t. That’s what sends him home to listen to the radio. The volcano documentary he watches with Kimmy also subtly reminds us of it—it’s the thing motivating Philip to be here. He just can’t say it. He hasn’t spoken of his maybe son since he saw Irina, but he's thought about him. (Another reflection of Stan.) We see Philip dealing with one person after another: Martha, Yousef, Elizabeth, Paige, Stan, Gabriel, Kimmy, and with most of them—Elizabeth mostly excluded—he’s doing some form of caretaking and being the person somebody else needs him to be. He’s dragged to the foster care place by Martha, gets guilted by Gabriel, buys a dress to support Paige, helps Stan with his love life and befriends Kimmy. The only time he’s really being just himself is with Elizabeth. Then there’s the last scene, memorable for Philip’s flashbacks to sex training. As Elizabeth says, it’s a different job for him. Where she can feel some control with sex work, Philip has to “find it in his mind somewhere” and “make it real,” training himself into be open to everyone. (He even comes home high, having needed to smoke with Kimmy.) His flashbacks even emphasize this in that the camera is over young Mischa/Philip’s shoulder, making him a faceless placeholder. What we see are the parade of people he’s with, starting with the first sex worker waiting inside the door and ending with the guy coming through a similar door where Mischa/Philip (or just Mischa at this point) is waiting, having switched places. Even in his flashbacks the audience gets only the impression of *their* faces and bodies, needs and reactions. When Baklanov told Philip that whoever he once was they trained out of him in The Deal, he meant he was a monster, but this is even more directly training the person he actually is out of him. The ep ends with Philip ending his long day by confirming that there with Elizabeth he’s not making it real, he doesn’t have to. I’ve always associated this ep with S2’s The Deal, not just because they’re both so Philip-centric but because being so, they emphasize similar things. Where The Deal showed that Philip had disassociated himself from his real memories, home and identity, Salang Pass shows how he lives instead through different characters created for other people. It’s going to take him a while to reconstruct who he actually is, but there’s a real logic to him needing to reach back to the past to do it. Elizabeth is, I think, a catalyst for his changing and remains a touchstone, but she’s not the center of his identity. In fact, she’s going to be learning on him when the foundations of her own identity start to crumble.
  13. Ah, that part I remembered. I thought maybe there was something else about him that linked him to the time travel, but no, his origin was just a straightforward human secret. Only on this show would this be a side issue! I think they realized their lives weren't really true lives since they were just doomed to continue the same cycle over and over. It's like what Hannah says at the end--their lives are ending, but there's a relief to letting go and getting off the hamster wheel. They accepted that everybody was going to die and they couldn't change even the most tragic deaths. Yeah, it's like when she focuses on the yellow raincoat when thinking about her dream. Jonas lived on as a half-remembered dream and she retained a liking for the name.
  14. It seems like in a way Harry made a real name for himself on the show. That is, it seems like he's a character that people really remember because he played his supporting role so well--I agree, he was part of the sub-core group. He pops up in a party scene in that movie about National Lampoon and he's in the credits as Harry Crane. The director said he figured this was a party Harry would actually have been able to be at so liked sticking him in there.
  15. Did they? I think I missed it! Where did he come from? Besides stumbling into the woods shot with a fake passport? ETA: I think that must be what's being referred to, that he was just a guy who stumbled into town and not anybody's great grandfather? I loved the ending. There's a lot didn't understand but the basic underlying emotional premise held true (unlike on Lost!). The world was created by a man who couldn't let his family die, and that was mirrored in a lot of character stories in those worlds where people were always desperately trying to get back to people or hold on to people. It sort of fit that Hannah, who was just always terrible--ended the series figuring out it was okay to just let go, something she certainly never learned in the loop. It's hard for me to imagine how The Origin/Unknown could have fathered anybody. He doesn't seem that human but I guess Ulrich's mother seemed to suggest that. Also liked that final joke of, "So what the hell happened to your eye, anyway?" I might watch it all again. I liked the little hints of things hanging around the edges. It felt completely right that some of the people who were actually in the origin world weren't the focus, like Bernadette and the clock maker (though he was always the creator of the machine and his picture of his family was pretty obviously Very Very Important). I liked seeing that scene between the family before the accident. It held up as the reason all this happened for me. Also love the whole 70s look to the whole thing. Though really, the show could have been subtitled "Why didn't you just tell me that?" Enough with the riddles, people. Once Claudia spit it out there was actual logic to it! One question I was trying to work out...so I guess Jonas didn't exist in the alt-world because Mikkel didn't travel back in time, but that wasn't strictly significant? Like to me it seemed like Jonas not existing at all was too big of change. But I guess that was the show playing fair about where it was going, because where Martha and the others were born of the loop, Jonas was a double loop. Not only was he a fourth generation time-travel baby, his already time-created father traveled around in time again, like a loop within a loop, like Charlotte and Elisabeth. But wait, then why did Charlotte and Elisabeth exist in the alt-world? Was it because Jonas's existence was actually down to his own actions? He brought Mikkel to the cave to create himself? But in the alt-verse Noah could have been motivated some other way? Whoa. I just confused myself. Thanks so much for that link to the video. Maybe that will help.
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