Episode Reviews (3)
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a doorway signifying change
The title of the season 6 premiere of Mad Men was significantly titled 'The doorway'. This season, the show takes place in 1967, depicting the characters in positions and places very different from when the show started.
A door can represent many things; change, birth, death, comings & goings, rites of passages, new beginnings and also endings. I've come to realise that all the episodes are very significantly and symbolically titled. In this episode of Mad Men the opening scene is shown from someone's point of view who seems to be lying on the ground, with the sounds of a woman screaming in the background. In this way, the metaphor of a door may represent the passage from life to death.
Later on, we see Roger in a psychiatrist's office. He is begins by talking about a woman who may or may not remind him of Jane, but he soon starts talking about doors, windows, and bridges using these examples as metaphors for women. These objects can all be interpreted as representations of things that can transport you to another place, so in this way, Roger may see a new woman as an object that can change his life, or make him better and happier. However in the past we have seen that this is never the case, and he seems to have finally realised this and is attempting to work through his issues.
I think it's also telling that in many scenes in this episode we see various characters leaving and entering through doors. Peggy is seen to be entering the door of her new workplace, only to see her new ad campaign getting rejected, while Betty is pictured exiting the doorway of a dilapidated building, having failed in her search for Sally's friend. When she walks out of the door, her coat catches on a nail and rips the material, perhaps signifying her failed attempt, or the sullying of innocence. As Sally's friend has run away, it may represent rebellion or growing up and leaving childhood behind. One of the men in the building refers to her as a bottled blonde so at the end of the episode Betty dyes her hair dark, representing many changes for her. Again we are reminded of characters in this episode entering new phases of their lives and abandoning old ones.
Roger's mother passes away in this episode, once again reinforcing the idea of a doorway between life and death. At his mother's funeral he is pictured with three elderly women, and when Jane arrives he leads her away from them, much to his relief. This action seems to show Roger's feelings of discontent at getting older and seeks escape with younger women and people in order to ignore his age. He erroneously shouts 'This is my funeral' during the event, conveying that he feels like the one who is dying, or that he feels his youth is long gone.
Don gets drunk at the funeral and is escorted home by Ken & Pete. Once he gets to his building he asks his doorman who previously collapsed, what he saw when he was unconscious. It may be that Don is also having an existential crisis, in the face of Megan's new success. It is a stark contrast to his relationship with Betty, where he was the breadwinner.
Megan is shown as a successful television actress, and is even recognised while they are on holiday in Hawaii. Her new career seems to bewilder Don, as he stays up drinking in the bar at night.
The premiere seems to create a sense of foreshadowing for the rest of the season, as we see issues and problems close to many of characters' hearts that they will no doubt continue to grapple with.