Astrology: Television: ‘Mad Men’: Don Plays Pluto and Takes Sylvia to Hades


Could Don Draper’s hostage-taking of Sylvia, his mistress, have been an unconscious plan to get her to end their affair? Given his warped sexual appetite and taste for Pluto control, yes, it was.

At the beginning of the episode, “Man with a Plan,” Don (Jon Hamm), in his apartment building’s elevator, has overheard Sylvia (Linda Cardellini) loudly calling her heart-surgeon husband out for his selfishness. Knowing her vulnerability, Don sees an opportunity when she calls him at work, insisting on a rendezvous: “I need you and nothing else will do.”

Sylvia’s Plutonic all-or-nothing demand is the sort of ultimatum Don knows well, given that he shares the same M.O. He pounces and, in having Sylvia meet him at a hotel, basically abducts her to Hades. Although the two of them have been lovers with a history, albeit a brief one, they’ve each been free agents.

But, with Don keeping the hotel key and ordering her to stay put until he returns, Sylvia becomes the captive not-so-maiden in Hell. These scenes strongly evoke the mythical Pluto, king of the underworld, nabbing Persephone as she plucked flowers in the meadow and taking her to his lair. Six months later, the mythology says, she emerges. No longer just the generic “child,” she’s now defined. Essentially it’s the same outcome for Sylvia. She’s a woman who decides that she and Don are over. Like Persephone who returns to her mother Demeter, at least temporarily, Sylvia goes back to her primary relationship and, by extension, the human race.

So, why might have Don’s ploy been aiming for that endpoint all along?

It was a certain look in his face while listening to Sylvia’s rant in the elevator. Like Persephone, Sylvia has been ripe for seduction. But now Sylvia might now become too available and too needy. Don would have to meet her halfway, or perhaps more than halfway. What if her future shouting match targeted Don, thereby giving away his ever-waning control over Megan?

Pluto is about total control, no half-measures. And Sylvia’s disenchantment with her husband means her Pluto is primed to vie with Don’s. The logical move for master strategist Don is to sever ties with emotional and physical threats (just as he did with his birth identity). His plan works here: Sylvia is returned above ground. Don’s Pluto was both victorious and yet, in not being able to control her, defeated.

The Libra-like exit from the hotel room – two adults leaving as equals – must have stung badly.

Astrology Television Rating: ♇ (Pluto)

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