Mad Men: "The Hobo Code" [beware: spoilers]

OK, so I’m catching up on Mad Men, and it has really gotten a lot more complicated. But I’m a bit confused about what went on in “The Hobo Code”.

The little boy, of course, is Dan Draper as a child. He’s a “whore child”, which I assume means he was adopted by that family. The Hobo was, I think, a sort of a con man, although not too dangerous. Are we to assume that that event was pivotal in Dan’s life to lure him to NYC?

And about the Hobo code-- what was the meaning of the symbol he etched into the fence post? In the part where he explained to code, that sickle shaped symbol, with a line thru it meant “a dishonest man lives here”. But the symbol on the post did not have a line thru it-- are we to assume that it means “an honest man lives here”? In that case, it must be referring to Dan, since his foster father went back on his promise to pay the Hobo after he worked the next day (presumably). Is that right?

I loved the line at the end where bearded-hippy guys says:

BHG: *You can’t go out there, because of the cops. *

Dan: *No. You can’t go out there. *

It’s been awhile since I saw that episode, but here’s what I remember…

Don’s dad in that flashback is really his father. The mom is not his though, and he has a lot of resentment towards her as told to us in other episodes. I believe the inferrence is that his dad knocked up some other chick, and they’re raising him - and Don must have heard himself called a “whore child” once or twice.

The hobo wasn’t a con-man of any sorts that I could tell. Just wanted to do an honest days work for some pay or food. The man had originally agreed to work for food and shelter for the night, but the wife had offered him a coin. The dad took the coin and said that the hobo could have it after he was done working the next day.

After the work was all done, the dad shafted the hobo and didn’t pay him. Didn’t even acknowledge that the offer had ever been made.

Not sure about the marking on the post. I didn’t realize that the symbol was missing the line through it, though it was weather worn and may have been hard to tell. I took it to mean that his Dad was considered a “dishonest man,” and this had a lot to do with Don leaving his family, changing his name, and trying to distance himself as much as possible from his upbringing.

Well, he didn’t represent himself to the parents as someone who chose that life-- who abandoned his wife and children. The “mom” said something like “no one chooses a life of poverty”, and he said nothing when in fact he did choose it.

I rewound it watch the symbol part twice, and there was no weathering hiding anything-- the symbol did not have a line thru it. I notice that AMC’s web site (which it just occurred to me to check) says:

So, I guess that answers my question.

I just looked at my copy downloaded from iTunes. I definitely see a line through the knife handle. However, its much shorter than the line that the hobo drew earlier. It’s also vertical, rather than diagonal.

I’ll see if I can figure out how to upload a screen shot.

I’ve never tried to post a photo online before, so I don’t know if this will work, but here goes:

You’re right. Man, I didn’t see that after 2 viewings on my HD TV. Did you circle the line, is that part of the picture?

I circled the line. Guess I should have mentioned that.

Slight hijack - I can remember as a little kid the day my grandfather showed me a chalk mark by their back fence. He told me one of the hobo’s had written it there and it meant don’t bother asking the people inside for anything.

Knowing my grandfather, he probably paid one of the hobos to write it for him.

Back to the episode - it certainly did seem like the boy wanted to just up and run away with that hobo to get away from his home. It is little moments like that that actually do influence people to make changes later in life - and it is little moments like that that make me really like this show.

Wow. I just watched the episode where Dan gets another job offer and his wife does some modeling. Man, did they crank up the volume on the writing!! This show is turning out to be a real gem. I’m glad I stuck with it, as the second episode was a little weak. The closing scene with Betty (I think that’s her name) shooting the pigeons was priceless. As was Dan and his boss just ignoring the brawl going on in the office as they head home.

Oh yes, Betty’s taking out the pidgeons was a hoot!

In this week’s episode, “The Long Weekend,” Don talks about his past in a lot of detail.

Apparantly, his mother was a prostitute that his Dad knocked up. The woman died during childbirth so Don was dropped off with his Father and his wife.

Don’s Dad died when Don was ten, and Don ended up being raised by the wife and her new husband.

BTW, this last episode was incredible. I think my favorite so far. There was a great chat between Joan and Sterling about the movie “The Apartment.” About the elevator girl sleeping with the boss of the office and she related it a bit to their situation. The epside ends with her and the other partner, Cooper, getting in an elevator and him asking her to press the Lobby button. Subtley brilliant writing there.

Who was that other guy, the brother than Don paid off like 5,000 dollars to go away? My girlfriend and I saw that episode, and we thought he must’ve gotten molested or something, there was some dirty secret we were DYING to know.

I love the scene where he reaches in his bag, and the other guy makes an ‘oh shit’ face. Both of us also thought he was going to pull out a revolver or something. :stuck_out_tongue: