Of course Don is Roger’s spirit guide. Roger Sterling is wealthy, charming, attractive and clever, so much come to him so easily; yet he looks at Don in wide-eyed wonder. What does he see? He sees a man who is always in the place that he once was, never nipping at Roger’s heels, always immersed, in apparent bliss, in the space Roger once inhabited. Roger observed Don make himself a name and felt responsible, but not acknowledged. Roger watches Don and his new young wife and feels envy, even though Roger lived a similar reality not so long ago.
Roger, who has never had to bear the weight Don has, enjoys the world with a childlike joy – it’s what attracts Don to him; he lightens Don. Don, however, shadows Roger. He’s a statement friend, someone smart and attractive to wear on his arm, but he also challenges Roger, lives inside the part of Roger’s mind that doubts his carefree demeanour. Don is also, in the part of Roger’s mind that opened after that laced sugar cube melted on his experimenting tongue, the voice of reason. “Look at me. Everything’s ok. You are ok.” Don assures Roger in that assured Draper tone. And he is.
There is little struggle presented to Roger, little reason for him to be more than a spoiled child, which he is, but there’s depth. It’s why we’re drawn to Roger, why we chuckle at but support his book endeavour, why we want him to be happy, even though he often behaves like a greedy baby. Roger is quick and wise; he’s just not where he’s supposed to be. What’s a comfort to know is that Roger won’t allow his age or the changing times to deter him. Roger is in an eternal search for bliss, he won’t allow himself to live inside a negative world, and though sometimes he’ll feel very sad, he’ll fight his way out of the grey and into a sweet sunny place. And while Don is there to keep Roger grounded, Roger will be there for Don to proclaim with complete certainty: It’s going to be a beautiful day.