I have to give mad props to MAD MEN’s Jon Hamm for his moving confession scene in this week’s episode. Confronted with evidence of his past as “Dick Whitman,” a haggard Don fingered the fading photographs and finally talked about his childhood. Hamm was sedate, and there was a bitter tang of defeat in his voice, as if all his years of careful subterfuge were now wasted. (And maybe they were.) Viewers could see that dredging up the past was tearing Don up. But when Don recounted the story of his younger brother’s suicide, Hamm was simply brilliant. For years, Don has been haunted with guilt that he “failed” his sibling by not recognizing his cries for help, and Hamm showed every minute of that torment in his posture, gestures and weary tone. Hamm’s voice was choked with long-suppressed emotion as he admitted that he valued his new life as Betty’s husband more than his old identity, and could not risk his current family by reaching out to his troubled old one. (Yet he constantly risks that marriage with his philandering!) Hunched over and sobbing, Hamm never lost Don’s sense masculinity, even as he gave viewers a glimpse at the shattered man behind the cool facade. Don Draper, the man who can talk clients (and women) into anything, could not finagle his way out of this one, and in the process, left me practically speechless.
Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com