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Bert Cooper picks up on Joan’s vulnerability.

“Long Weekend”


It’s Labor Day weekend, and the staff at Sterling Cooper are figuring out what to do with themselves. Roger does what Roger always does — try to get into the pants of some woman who’s not his wife. He first tries with Joan, but she demurs. Then he comes across the casting call for a commercial, where young female twins are auditioning. He plucks a pair, says they have the job, and he takes them up to his office with Don. Roger is all about scoring, but here Don demurs. He’s thinking of Rachel.

In the office, Roger has a heart attack and Don arranges to get the twins out and get Roger to a hospital. There, Roger’s wife and daughter arrive and Roger seems truly sad and full of regret at the way he’s behaved, not only that night but in the past. When the going gets tough, he wants Mona (his wife) by his side, not some trollop.

Don disintegrates at the end of the episode. Perhaps he’s seen another glimpse of mortality. He rushes into the arms of Rachel, and he’s completely and totally vulnerable. We get a sense that this is the real Don. He lets a relative stranger peek into his soul.

As pointed out in the A.V. Club summary of this episode, a recurring theme is seeing through people. Everyone seems to be hiding something — who at last will be able to glimpse the inner secrets? For Roger, it’s his wife. For Don, it’s Rachel. For Joan in this episode, it’s Bert. He sees a tear slip down her cheek when she writes the memo after Roger’s heart attack, and he tells her to not waste her time on him (in so many words — “don’t waste your youth on age” — great line).


Writing prompt:

Write a scene in which your character reveals a vulnerability or a truth to someone else. What does that vulnerability look like? Can they reveal it to someone who isn’t close to them? Why are they choosing to release their emotions to this person rather than someone they know well?