You Are Far Away And I Am Blue

The Jet Set

“What’ll I Do”, Johnny Mathis

The Jet Set, Season 2 Episode 11

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            The climax of The Jet Set exemplifies the classic TV trick of using an old-fashioned song full of superficial splendor and overdone pathos to underscore melancholy or sordid scenarios. Obviously, the lyrics of this crooner chestnut reflect Don’s distance from his family and everyone else, in a physical and emotional sense, but the real kicker is the fact that it’s from the perspective of the jilted lover, not the fleeing party. Poor Betty is beside herself after suspecting his infidelity and kicking him out of the house. She literally has to deal with his baggage (in an editing choice that would be corny if it weren’t so short and stark). There’s also intrigue: Don calls an unknown person and identifies himself as Dick Whitman, striking exactly the mirror image of the iconic opening credits pose.

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“Every Day”, The Milk and Honey Route

            Another throwback song, after Don addresses the problem of his dual identity and finally reconciles that he can still be a good person with the demons in his past. At the end of his deconstructive hero’s journey, he gives up his last possessions to another damaged young man who wants a better life. “Every Day”, by early rock and roll hero Buddy Holly, recalls an era before the show started, beginning to wrap up the series by addressing problems and dysfunction that were wrought before the first episode in the setting of a veterans’ fundraiser. With Betty’s cancer diagnosis, its lyrics also have a menacing undercurrent to them. The inevitability of death haunts Mad Men to the very end.

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