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Sylvia Rosen - Dante's Inferno?


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#1

MissStanwyck

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

Thought we needed a Sylvia thread, given the amount of discussion she has engendered in the episode thread...

So from the episode thread:

Sylvia is completely romanticizing Don; which people still do all the time.

If you had to choose between the poor, misunderstood bad boy/girl and the raging narcissistic asshole you’re of course choosing our poor woebegone soul.

What I find interesting is that you would presuppose that Sylvia is at an age where she realizes that behind 99.9% of your deep and tortured souls are, actually, your raging assholes.



In addition to which, he seems to be the polar opposite of her husband. Dr. Rosen (seems) the antithesis of brooding, tortured soul. It "doesn't bother him" - life and death, he's totally comfortable with it or got it all figured out. We don't really see him doing much questioning or ~soul-searching~.

Sylvia herself seems unhappy in her life or feeling misunderstood, there is some disconnect between her own beliefs and philosophy and her husband's. And then, the dark and handsome neighbor who is in all sorts of existential pain and looking for release (pardon the pun). He tells her he is growing apart from his wife, she has no idea of his history of lies and infidelity. He tells her he wants her all the time, and suddenly, unlike with her husband who seems to be gone all of the time - and very controlling about money - she feels desired and needed.

I don't see why age necessarily has anything to do with this...In fact, because she has been in this marriage for a long time, this may make Don even MORE appealing.

So I guess when I say she understands Don, I should clarify by saying that she understands that it's all an act with him - his air of having it all and being in total control. He's miserable. This is probably his appeal.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:12 AM.


#2

Cherith

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:19 AM

I really like Sylvia but I think the only person he slept with him who ever really understood him was Allison. He just isn't a very nice person. When all is said and done there isn't much more to it than that. I think Sylvia seems him as tragic and deeply sad. Trapped in his own circle of hell. And he needs peace. Maybe that is true but underneath the sadness is basically a bad person who will always be a bad person.

I think many people have seen that he is miserable under it all. Suzzanne, especially (whom I strongly disliked). Especially as time goes on and he can't hide it as he could in Season 1 or has become or has become more miserable.

Also from the epsisdoe thread:

(1) Don is telling himself a story in his head that he and Megan are 'drifting apart' so it's OK for him to have an affair. Of course, they might actually be drifting apart, but given what we have been shown it seems to be more on his part. He seems to believe this story, so it's not just a question of him lying to Sylvia to get her to sleep with him, though he's capable of doing that as well. (2) Sylvia is involved emotionally, not just physically--there was definitely jealousy there, and I'm not sure she'd be jealous if theirs was purely a physical affair. And we saw in this week's episode that she cares about Don enough to pray for him to find peace.


I do think that her scene of jealousy was mostly about showing that Sylvia is very invested in this and doesn't really understand the rules, as all of his other mistresses did. And I am curious where that will lead. I don't know that they can end and she can just see him everyday.

And, also, unlike with Don's mistresses he is feeding her lines about being unhappy in his marraige. He never did that with Betty. The idea that he didn't want to be with Betty and instead wanted to be with X just didn't come up (except when he was ready to flee with Rachel for other reasons).

Edited by Cherith, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:22 AM.


#3

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:29 AM

From the 6-4 episode thread re Sylvia:

I've said she's a Brenda but what I meant is she's acting like a higher rent Brenda.

Sorry, but what the heck is "a Brenda"?

He's miserable. This is probably his appeal.

Don as miserable, tortured soul has appealed to numerous women: Suzanne, Faye, to some extent Rachel, and even Anna (though platonically).

#4

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

I haven't made up my mind whether I like or dislike Sylvia. But I *am* fascinated by the character and I think LC is doing a phenomenal job in the part. So like/dislike Sylvia or Don, I am invested in wanting to know more about them. That alone puts it miles above Don's entire relationship with Megan.

Except for Midge, we have seen the beginning and end of all of Don's relationships. But we came in on the middle with Sylvia. I'm hoping for some backstory. When did the Drapers meet and become friendly with the Rosens? When did Sylvia and Don get it on for the first time? We know it was before the Hawaii trip because Don was reading Sylvia's book. So sometime between the smoking hot look he gave to the woman at the bar in Spring 1967 and the Hawaiian vacation in December 1967, Don and Sylvia became lovers.

Her marriage fascinates me too. Something is not quite right there.

#5

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:31 AM

I do think that her scene of jealousy was mostly about showing that Sylvia is very invested in this and doesn't really understand the rules, as all of his other mistresses did. And I am curious where that will lead. I don't know that they can end and she can just see him everyday.

And, also, unlike with Don's mistresses he is feeding her lines about being unhappy in his marraige. He never did that with Betty. The idea that he didn't want to be with Betty and instead wanted to be with X just didn't come up (except when he was ready to flee with Rachel for other reasons).


I think she's getting more and more invested against her better judgment and against what she really knows to be true...Part of her IS buying into the fantasy and getting her hopes up - "we can't fall in love" - but rationally she is trying her best NOT to, and to keep it light and fun and exciting.

Actually, I think she is probably doing this more to protect herself - she's Catherine Deneuve in a French film. But then of course she keeps coming up against the fact that it's NOT meaningless to her (restaurant scene) and that she cares deeply about Don (bedroom/praying scene).

I haven't made up my mind whether I like or dislike Sylvia. But I *am* fascinated by the character and I think LC is doing a phenomenal job in the part. So like/dislike Sylvia or Don, I am invested in wanting to know more about them. That alone puts it miles above Don's entire relationship with Megan.

Except for Midge, we have seen the beginning and end of all of Don's relationships. But we came in on the middle with Sylvia. I'm hoping for some backstory. When did the Drapers meet and become friendly with the Rosens? When did Sylvia and Don get it on for the first time? We know it was before the Hawaii trip because Don was reading Sylvia's book. So sometime between the smoking hot look he gave to the woman at the bar in Spring 1967 and the Hawaiian vacation in December 1967, Don and Sylvia became lovers.

Her marriage fascinates me too. Something is not quite right there.


THIS, THIS and THIS.

Can't help but think it is very significant that we did not see the beginning of this affair.

I've said she's a Brenda but what I meant is she's acting like a higher rent Brenda.

Sorry, but what the heck is "a Brenda"?


LMAO! I want to know too.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:34 AM.


#6

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:35 AM

post #3
Sorry, but what the heck is "a Brenda"?



Brenda is the blonde woman that went to Pete's apartment, and whose husband beat her up. The one that seems to be the last straw for Trudy.

#7

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:37 AM

post #3
Sorry, but what the heck is "a Brenda"?


Brenda is the blonde woman that went to Pete's apartment, and whose husband beat her up. The one that seems to be the last straw for Trudy.



Oh, I didn't mean literally, LOL...

#8

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:46 AM

I'm really hoping that Sylvia is the woman who gets even. Maybe when she realizes that she allowed herself to be played for a fool, she will stab Don or shoot him or rent a billboard or something. Anything that is very disruptive, but just this side of a mortal sin. hahahahaha!

Oh, I didn't mean literally, LOL...



Dam. For a minute there, I thought I might not be the only one who can't keep track of all the tryst's names without using a scorecard. lol

Edited by TC3200, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:46 AM.


#9

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:47 AM

I'm really hoping that Sylvia is the woman who gets even. Maybe when she realizes that she allowed herself to be played for a fool, she will stab Don or shoot him or rent a billboard or something. Anything that is very disruptive, but just this side of a mortal sin. hahahahaha!


OMG THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

Or I want her to push Megan down the stairs. Followed by Don.

Oh, I didn't mean literally, LOL...


Dam. For a minute there, I thought I might not be the only one who can't keep track of all the tryst's names without using a scorecard. lol


Oh, believe me, I can't either. It's just that the Brenda debacle was so recent.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:48 AM.


#10

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

I can only assume I misheard, because no one else has mentioned this. I thought Dr. Rosen told Don that Sylvia never had any money because she was giving it to her son. Not their son, but her son. Meaning Sylvia was an unwed mother, widow, or divorcée when she married Dr. Rosen.

#11

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 11:18 AM

This has been discussed elswhere, but he definitely said "our kid."

#12

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 1:51 PM

I've said she's a Brenda but what I meant is she's acting like a higher rent Brenda.


Sorry, but what the heck is "a Brenda"?


The first couple times WaltzinSpringTm wrote that, I thought she was comparing Sylvia to the Shannen Doherty character on the old 90210. I was trying to make a parallel fit. Then I was like, oh yeah, Pete's battered yet creepy neighbor with the Hair tickets. That's more likely.

#13

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 2:07 PM

The first couple times WaltzinSpringTm wrote that, I thought she was comparing Sylvia to the Shannen Doherty character on the old 90210. I was trying to make a parallel fit. Then I was like, oh yeah, Pete's battered yet creepy neighbor with the Hair tickets. That's more likely.


HAHAHAHA...

While MW was definitely trying to show parallels between Don's infidelity and Pete's, I don't see Sylvia as a "Brenda battered creepy neighbor". Pete chooses to sleep with women who are pretty unstable, and in comparison to Don, the affairs aren't an ongoing thing with him (I mean each is very short-lived). It's wham bam thank you ma'am, be gone. I don't think he seems to be seeking out the same things as Don when he cheats. Sylvia may be taken in by Don in some ways, but she's not confessing all to her husband so she can run away and "be with" Don. Even when she tells Don she hasn't seen him recently, we don't see her going to his door or seeking him out.

Unlike poor Brenda, Sylvia is no fool. She can tell Don's miserable, but I think she knows she isn't the one who can make Don happy or bring Don peace. If she did, she wouldn't be praying to a higher power for him.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 2:24 PM.


#14

WaltzinSpringTm

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:28 PM

I think Sylvia may be more sophisticated than Brenda, but with the same agenda/expectations that Don and she are working their way towards something.

#15

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:31 PM

Brunette Season's six alleged religous faith seems quite hollow, and appears largely limited to ritual.

She'll cross herself, hang a crucifix, and pray. Of course, she'll tell people she's praying. Otherwise, how else would they know how wonderful she is?

But when she actually has to live her faith, at least the parts that would require some self-denial, she'd rather play hide the crucifix with Don.

Edited by Constantinople, Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:38 PM.


#16

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:56 PM

Not overly intrigued by Sylvia. LC is a good actress, but I don't really think the character does anything that lights up the screen, or differentiates her from Don's many other mistresses. They're closer to each others home-lives than any of the others, but that's it.

I was struck by Tom and Lorenzo's take on her in her dressing gown and feathered mules, pouting for extra allowance from her husband. They thought she looked pampered and silly, and she pretty much did. When Don had Betty, he went after independent women. Now Megan is forging her own way, he wants them dependent again.

Brunette Season's six alleged religious faith seems quite hollow, and appears largely limited to ritual.

She'll cross herself, hang a crucifix, and pray. Of course, she'll tell people she's praying. Otherwise, how else would they know how wonderful she is?

But when she actually has to live her faith, at least the parts that would require some self-denial, she'd rather play hide the crucifix with Don.



Massively this. She's all lip service.

#17

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:57 PM

Brunette Season's six alleged religous faith seems quite hollow, and appears largely limited to ritual.


She is Catholic. Raised pre Vatican II. The religion is about the ritual.

And how is she putting it on for others? I haven't seen her mention it once. Megan asked her a question as a Catholic. Sylvia didn't raise it. Don asked her about her crucifix she didn't raise it. Don asked her if she prays after he leaves. She didn't say so unprompted. I don't recall her ever doing so.

Edited by Cherith, Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:58 PM.


#18

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:09 PM

She is Catholic. Raised pre-Vatican II. The religion is about the ritual.



I don't know. We saw that Peggy, also raised pre-Vatican II, felt unable to take communion with the truth about her baby resting on her conscience. Her priest tried to convince her to confess, but Peggy knew that simply carrying out the ritual would not truly address the situation. After she confessed to Pete (who deserved to know the truth), we saw Peggy praying at the end of the episode - finally able to be reconciled with God.

I don't know. For me, Peggy truly examined her conscience, and thought about her faith, and then acted - which seems more meaningful. Sylvia's espousal of ritual without actually living her faith is as empty as Don's family man act when he was married to Betty.

#19

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:10 PM

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sylvia goes to confession and means it. And adultery is hardly the worst sin out there in the minds of many Catholics. My grandfather cheated so did most of his peers. They were all very very Catholic.

And, again, I don't know how often she espouses her religion when she only talks about it when specifically asked.

Edited by Cherith, Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:13 PM.


#20

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:13 PM

How can any of us have absolutely no doubt that Sylvia goes to confession and means it when we see absolutely no attempt on her part to avoid the occasion of sin? You can't go to confession and be all "I wish I wasn't so hot for him. I wish I could stop. I feel really guilty and bad about it." The priest would decline absolution.

The Church - and the sacrament - doesn't give a shit. It's about what you do, not how you feel. She wouldn't be absolved unless the priest understood from her that she was going to make every effort to stop the adultery from the moment she exited the confessional. Priests do/did talk back and converse/reason/query the penitent. So to get absolution, Sylvia would have to not just confess the sin, but resolve to avoid it in the future. The priest would get that promise from her before he absolved her.

And we've seen absolutely no evidence that she's trying to avoid it - it's the opposite.

Furthermore, it doesn't matter how Catholics rank different sins. It matters how the Church sees mortal sin - if one is an observant Catholic.

The religion isn't limited to ritual - they're not synonymous. And they weren't synonymous pre-Vatican II either.

Among other things, Catholic church believes in mortal sin and the most famous of these are around sex. Sex outside of marriage - pre-marital or extra-marital - are mortal sins.

The Catholic "Act of Contrition" says "I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasion of sin."

Catholics and Christians have plenty in common - among the differences are that Catholics pray not so much TO saints but to ask saints to pray FOR them - non-Catholics think this is Christ's job.

They have different views of Mary, Jesus's mother.

They believe in the literal transfiguration of the bread and water and limit communion to Catholics in good standing.

The rituals simply observe, honor and pledge devotion to the laws and tenants of the faith. They're no end in themselves.

As to the basic laws of her faith, Sylvia couldn't be more of a hypocrite. She is actively engaging in adultery - pro-actively seeking it out. She is actively harming another person by doing so (Megan and her own husband - whatever one may believes socially, there isn't a priest on the planet pre or post Vatican II that wouldn't consider that sinful and her as responsible as Don - because marriage is a sacrament).

If Sylvia attends Mass and receives communion she is committing sacrilege by doing so in a state of mortal sin.

She's as bogus as it gets.

AS a pre-Vatican II reared Catholic, she knows the cross means absolutely nothing if she's fucking Don, lying to her husband, lying to Megan, seeking out occasions to fuck Don, and even more so if she's participating in the sacrament of communion. And if she goes to confession with no true intention of changing (just more wishing) - she's committing sacrilege there, too.

The church is very good at making sins accumulate once you tiptoe in. They accumulate because of the first sin and then all the sins committed around that sin. And there were a whole lot more - these are the LAWS - in pre-Vatican II than afterwards, especially about sex. She knows the cross is worthless due to her behavior. If she's hanging onto it it has nothing to do with being a true Catholic and she knows it. In fact, I think a priest might have something to say to her about praying for Don - such as the person you need to be praying for is yourself and your imperiled immortal soul.

In the pre-Vatican II spirit, I think Sylvia is even sinning by sinning - she's sinning by putting her immortal soul in peril by sinning. That type of circle. If she crosses the street and is hit by a bus with no time to murmer a "Forgive me" to God, or no priest gets to the scene in time to absolve her, she's going straight to hell with compound mortal sins on her soul.

She's married to a Jewish guy - I assume. Mixed marriages were possible then but not commonly sanctioned by the church. I'll have to look it up. I think the spouse had to convert (don't think Dr. Rosen did). Definitely any children had to be raised Catholic.

If she's not in a Catholic marriage - by a priest - then by pre-Vatican II I don't believe she's actually married in the eyes of the church and so therefore is fucking two guys out outside the sanctity of marriage, and she's participating in the violation of another marriage.

P.S. - I am responding to the mention that Sylvia is pre-Vatican II. And the issue is not what sin is worse in the minds of CATHOLICS, but in the eyes of the CHURCH to which Sylvia apparently pledges fidelity. The Church is very clear about mortal sins.

Edited by WaltzinSpringTm, Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:36 PM.


#21

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:13 PM

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sylvia goes to confession.



Nor do I. But if she heads off for a quickie with Don afterwards, then I don't think much of her. I don't think it's a coincidence that the character has been introduced in a season where hypocrisy is such a big theme.

#22

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:15 PM

Catholicsm allows for flawed human beings. All people on the show are flawed. I don't see why the fact that she happens to pray (she has never once suggested to anyone she was very religious) means she is this huge hypocrite. If God didn't allow sinners, active in sin, to pray to Him what would be the point?

She has never said she recieves communion, she has never said she feels pious, she has never said anything of the sort. In fact, she has never said anything about her religion. Megan asked her if, as Catholic, she could have an abortion and she said as a Catholic no. Don asked her if she prays. That is the limit of what we know about her religion.

It feels wrong to me to take the one person to task who happens to pray, and never claimed to be a saint or religious or pious, to taks for what everyone on the show does. You are hypocrite if you claim to be holy and cheat. She has made no such claims. She said she couldn't commit murder (in her POV) and admitted she prays. Other than that she seems to keep any and all religious beliefs to herself. And we don't even know she is all that religious. Unprompted she has never gone on about it and, in fact, was comfortable marrying a Jewish man in 1948ish.

And the technical teaching of the Church, aside, a great great many Catholics felt it was ritual based at that time. She isn't being held up as an expert on Church doctrine.

And anyone can pray to the Holy Mother no matter what their sins. Mary welcomes all and her praying likely includes the rosary. It isn't hypocritical it is the function.

It is true that the show is obviously trying to tie her closely with the Church. Probably as a not subtle way to play on the sinners and Mothers theme, as the Catholic Church tends to hold Mary in the highest regard. But she has done nothing to do so, herself, other than answer questions when asked.

Edited by Cherith, Apr 24, 2013 @ 5:51 PM.


#23

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:25 PM

I don't know. For me, Peggy truly examined her conscience, and thought about her faith, and then acted - which seems more meaningful.


Peggy did so in the finale of that season. Sylvia has to do it within the first two or three episodes we've known her?

#24

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 4:57 PM

Except for Midge, we have seen the beginning and end of all of Don's relationships. But we came in on the middle with Sylvia. I'm hoping for some backstory. When did the Drapers meet and become friendly with the Rosens? When did Sylvia and Don get it on for the first time?


I know what you mean, r2233. Well, guess you're not counting Betty, who only told her shrink years later how it had started, or Megan, of course. But yeah, where did Sylvia come from? Did he finish his Old Fashioned at that bar, and realize he was alone? So, next morning, finding Megan and Dr Rosen both away at work...

I'm still waiting for a flashback to the scene where Don tells Megan about Dick Whitman, but that's just me. Hope we get a flashback or two of Don and Sylvia.

#25

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 5:00 PM

Peggy did so in the finale of that season. Sylvia has to do it within the first two or three episodes we've known her?


We saw Peggy wrestle with her conscience throughout the entire season.

#26

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 5:36 PM

Fair enough, but we worked up to that, even. She didn't seem to be having a spiritual dark night of the soul in the first season, when she had sex with married Pete on his office couch. We knew the character was Catholic, but she did things that were at odds with her faith.

Another good thread title would have been "Sylvia Rosen: Prayer for Piece."

Edited by Birdhee, Apr 24, 2013 @ 5:41 PM.


#27

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 5:50 PM

Another good thread title would have been "Sylvia Rosen: Prayer for Piece."


Oh, let's change it to that!



Peggy did so in the finale of that season. Sylvia has to do it within the first two or three episodes we've known her?


Exactly.

We have not seen Sylvia discuss her beliefs with anyone except when directly asked. We know very little about her character at this point. When asked, she told Don that get cross means something to her. When asked, she told Megan she did not believe in abortion. That's the extent.

There is nothing to indicate that she thinks she gets a "pass" for anything.

The fact that she married a Jewish man gives some hint that perhaps she has struggled with the role of religion in her life, maybe went through a period of rejecting Catholicism's tenets, maybe has been trying for years to reconcile these things. We simply do not know at this point.

I find Her hypocrisy no greater than any other character on this show.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 6:06 PM.


#28

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 6:12 PM

Sylvia's Catholic, but she's an Italian-American, so that might be a given. Just as a Québécoise or a half-Irish might be.

Matt made his years writing Sopranos count. I'm sure most characters on that show were good Catholics, too.

#29

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:42 PM

On a purely superficial level, I LOVE Sylvia's outfits. Especially her jewelry. But her white furry hat and black jacket with the white fur trim in the last episode were my favorites.

I cannot wrap my head around the fact that she is the same person who played Lindsay Weir. LC has the ability to somehow completely transform her appearance.

Edited by MissStanwyck, Apr 24, 2013 @ 10:42 PM.


#30

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Posted Apr 25, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

I had read probably a dozen times prior to the season that Linda Cardellini was joining the cast, and I still didn't catch that Sylvia was Sam Taggart from ER until I saw the closing credits of the premiere. But this has happened to me before on Mad Men. I'm not great at Hey, It's That Guy/Gal!-spotting. I didn't spot Faye as the actress who played Kelli Moltisanti on The Sopranos at first either.