Season Six Premiere "The Doorway"
"What's the difference between a husband knocking on the door and a soldier getting off a ship? 10,000 volts." -- Don Draper
Guess who's got his finger in the socket again. While Draper can see the "Eros" of his ways, the thrill of knocking on the door of his neighbor Sylvia appears to be a shock he can't resist. Yet Don insists, "I want to stop doing THIS." It seems that Sylvia's door is the same old trap door that leads to nowhere. As Roger despairs in his psychoanalysis, "...that's all there are: doors!....Look, life is supposed to be a path, and you go along, and these things happen to you, and they're supposed to change your direction, but it turns out that's not true. Turns out the experiences are nothing. They're just pennies you pick up off the floor, stick in your pocket..."
To Roger who has just lost his mother, experience is just change, as in pocket change--not real life change. While life can change on a dime, it doesn't add up to much. The emotionally impoverished, narcissistically challenged, Roger is defending against any shred of feeling that arguably could be valuable to him. (We can empathize with his shrink who is trying to get Roger to feel anything...only to be shut down in spades.) Interestingly, Roger's catharsis comes upon learning of the sudden death of his shoeshine guy whose shoe repair kit has been bequethed to Roger as he was the only one who called that day. (Ironically, his analyst can't repair his soul, but the man who fixed his soles can move him deeply.) There seems to be some identification with the anonymity of this man's life and death that speaks to Roger's growing sense of isolation.
Yet, Don attempts to turn his dissociated despair into a winning ad campaign. His creative for The Royal at Waikiki showed a man's clothes strewn on the beach with footprints leading to the ocean. (The man is nowhere in sight.) The tagline: Hawaii. The jumping off point. His clients could not miss suicidal implications of the ad. Hawaii was looking way too close to heaven....
In defending this ethereal ad, Draper said, "No man is there...just his footprints." Don was rhapsodic about this state of paradise: "...You don't miss anything. You're not homesick...you're different." (Possible Draper Translation: Places can change you, you can become them. You can shed your skin. You can die and be reborn...somehow.)
While Roger's world of doors leading to nowhere casts a dark shadow, Don's has a tropical glimmer, a come-hither wink which only make his hell a lot more inviting. Aloha, let's see where the season takes us.