The Weblog

Home for the heteronomous

Spoiler Alert Thursday: A token gesture

I’m too overwhelmed with getting ready to start class and putting together job applications to put the necessary effort into this feature right now — in a couple weeks, it might get better, and more shows will have started by then anyway. In the meantime, I have one particularly nagging question about the most recent episode of Mad Men: why was the prison guard so cold toward Don when they met in the hallway?


September 17, 2009 - Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays


  1. I wondered about that too. Maybe because he regretted having revealed so much to another man?

    Comment by jms | September 17, 2009

  2. really glad you asked this, as I thought I just missed something. but i think it may be something like that; he got drunk, opened up to Don, gave him that awkward pep talk at the end, and later had to return to being the hyper-masculine prison guard. maybe?

    Comment by michael | September 17, 2009

  3. Or perhaps we missed Betty’s day trip to Sing-Sing and the prison guard is baby Eugene’s true father- certainly that would justify the icy glare.

    Oh wait, that must be my overactive imagination compensating for the total failure of anything remotely interesting happening on True Blood. Total disappointment. I’m never watching that show again. I’ll get my Eric-fix from Generation Kill.

    Comment by ebolden | September 17, 2009

  4. This is discussed in the comments to the post on Mad Men in your sidebar, actually.

    Comment by ben | September 17, 2009

  5. I didn’t find that discussion very satisfying.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 17, 2009

  6. Well.

    Comment by ben | September 17, 2009

  7. Well, how about the theory proposed over at Slate that Dennis “turned away because he made a vow he knows he won’t keep.”

    Comment by oudemia | September 17, 2009

  8. Here’s the whole entry. Basically lots of manly bonding over booze and shared experience, but across class lines that become harder to bridge once the booze and shared experience go away.

    Comment by oudemia | September 17, 2009

  9. I wonder if another level of it is the analogy among prisons, hospitals, and schools that the episode is working with (according to the Footnotes post) — thus Don becomes one of the prisoners in the guard’s mind and can’t be fraternized with.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 17, 2009

  10. The Repressive State Apparatus vs. The Ideological State Apparatus?(The ISA (aka Don) is always much tougher to beat.)

    But yeah, to 9, I’d say it’s not so much that Don became a prisoner, but rather that Dennis thinks he and Don were both prisoners (were made so by the hospital), but now Dennis has recovered his place.

    Comment by oudemia | September 17, 2009

  11. Weird. I thought I noticed that his wife didn’t have the baby with her when he was wheeling her out of the hospital. My assumption was that the child died.

    Comment by Grant | September 17, 2009

  12. REWATCH!

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | September 17, 2009

  13. 11: I don’t think so. He is smiling and looks pretty happy until he sees Don, whereupon his smile disappears.

    Comment by jms | September 17, 2009

  14. It might just be that it’s hard to treat somebody as a human once you’ve used them as a placeholder for God.

    Comment by Brad Johnson | September 17, 2009

  15. I’m not sure I understand the complaint about “True Blood”: Maryann was quickly dispatched, Andy is finally a hero after taking credit for killing Eggs, Jason got to use his paramilitary training by actually killing Eggs only to determine that killing people really isn’t all that great, and the season ends leaving the impression that Eric abducted Bill, but clearly it was someone else. Plus, there was a wonderful discussion about Yahtzee. What’s not to like?

    While I am looking forward to tonight’s episode of “Supernatural,” I am really looking forward to next week’s episode. The promos suggest Castiel has replaced Sam as Dean’s sidekick and Castiel is now carrying fake FBI identification. Apparently they are in search of the Archangel Raphael, who may know how to get in touch with God. Sad-sack Sam is always better than normal-Sam. Consider, for instance, the episode with the un-lucky rabbits foot.

    Comment by Craig | September 17, 2009

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: