Mad Men Is Back. So What Was Up With That Lighter And An Interesting Tie-in With JFK.

Joan_Mad Men_Season SixSince last Sunday night’s two hour episode of Mad Men, the web is overflowing with analyses and commentary on the first show of season six.

I was not at all surprised that Don is back to his womanizing ways.  The more Megan defines and expands her independence with her burgeoning acting career, the more distance will be created in her marriage.  I don’t think this marriage will last despite everyone’s best intentions.  Don just can’t help himself and Megan will not sabotage acting opportunities that come her way.  More importantly, no matter how many times Don reinvents himself, he comes up empty and depressed.  Will he go for more?  It feels like he is running out of steam.

I loved how Peggy is turning into a maniacal boss who forced her all male employees to work New Year’s Eve.  I was also left wanting more of Joan but I guess that will come later.  Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed her purple career attire.  According to Mad Men’s Emmy-winning costume designer, Janie Bryant: “I designed the purple blouse, skirt, and vest for her.  I think it spoke to the masculinity of the office but the femininity as well.  Instead of designing a suit, it was a vest and a skirt, with an A- line, so it has a little bit more of a modern feel.”

Can someone please explain Sandy and who the heck she was?  We see that she is Sally’s friend and her mother died.  But did she have a father, or someone else looking after her?   Why was Betty so involved with Sandy?

Back to the lighter.  There is a mystery around that lighter and seems to represent the premise of season six.  Writer Jen Chaney provides an excellent analysis in her post on Esquire’s Culture blog:

“Astute fans immediately picked up on the significance of the object itself.  As we learned back in season one, the man formerly known as Dick Whitman became Don Draper when he and the real Draper were fighting in the Korean War.  The two dodged some bullets together, then flicked their lighters to ignite a couple of cigarettes, not realizing gasoline had leaked into their trench and turned them into fire hazards wearing Army helmets.  An explosion occurred; Dick Whitman lived and then snagged the dog tags of the deceased Draper, becoming a new man in every possible way.  Dinkins’s lighter Sunday night was a reminder of all that: Don’s own unshakeable Army mistake and his willingness to take on another identity.”

And even more interesting, Chaney explores a tie-in with the demise of JFK:

“Pfc. Eugene B. Dinkin, a man well-known to serious JFK conspiracy theorists.  As noted by the Mary Ferrell Foundation, which maintains an archive of historical documents related to President Kennedy’s assassination, Pfc. Dinkin was an Army cryptographic code operator stationed in France who went AWOL in early November of 1963, then entered Switzerland using a false ID. (False IDs. Man, that sounds really familiar.)

While in Switzerland, Dinkin visited the press office of the United Nations and declared that officials in the U.S. government were planning to assassinate President Kennedy, adding that “something” might happen to the Commander in Chief in Texas. Dinkin was arrested nine days before Kennedy was killed, placed in psychiatric care (deemed a mad man?), and released shortly thereafter.  His allegations eventually made their way to the Warren Commission, but, according to the Ferrell Foundation account, the Commission “took no interest in the matter, and indeed omitted any mention of Dinkin from its purportedly encyclopedic 26 volumes of evidence.”

I mention this not to start another round of conspiratorial debate about the death of JFK, but because of its connection to that same Man Men episode in which flashbacks explained how Dick Whitman became Don Draper.  That 12th season-one installment was called “Nixon vs. Kennedy”; it unfolded as the returns from that very tight presidential election were being reported, and while Pete Campbell was threatening to reveal Don’s real identity to the world.”

Cool stuff.

I look forward to more unexpected twists in this next-to-last season of Mad Men.  I am loving this trip down memory lane in terms of history, New York life style and of course, those clothes!

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