Oh, Peggy, Peggy, Peggy.
Since day one, Peggy is a female character to root for (her hard work and moving up the ladder at work), but her romantic choices are questionable at best. First there was Pete, who seduced her first at her apartment and then in his office. Then there was Duck, who wanted to woo away her copywriting skills to a new company, but whose alcoholism still plagued him. Now there’s Ted Chaough, Peggy’s superior who hired her.
After spending the last couple weeks winking at Chaough’s possible attraction to Peggy, it was unclear whether Peggy returned the sentiment. This week, there’s a late night kiss in his office, and it’s still unclear. But then Peggy imagines Chaough in place of her boyfriend Abe and it’s clear the feelings are mutual.
Peggy and her boyfriend Abe’s move to the still developing Upper West Side proved challenging for Peggy. She’s used to more creature comforts and isn’t as comfortable in the environment as Abe. “I don’t like change. I want everything to stay the way it was,” Peggy tells him. An interesting statement considering they are living in a time of change (1968) and Peggy chose to make a change in her career by moving to CGC.
It also explains her attitude towards the shift at work later. While in Detroit to pitch for Chevy, Don and Ted decide to join forces and combine their fledgling agencies, but only if the pitch for Chevy is successful. When Ted returns from Detroit, he invites Peggy to his office to hear the news, where she is surprised to find Don sitting on a couch in the corner of Ted’s office. Peggy tries to wrap her head around the idea of working for Don again, but she agrees to come aboard the new endeavor.
It makes sense the show wants to bring Don and Peggy back to the same room, since their dynamic was one of the best things about the show before. But like everything else, it’s changed. Don probably still holds a tiny bit of resentment about Peggy leaving SDCP, Peggy got in to pitch for Heinz without Don knowing, and now Don’s basically stolen Chevy from CGC. The rivalry is heating up!
Joan Harris (Holloway)
This episode contained storylines for the women which placed them directly in Don’s orbit. Don has a dinner with Herb, the sleazy Jaguar salesman whom Joan slept with at the end of last season in order to secure Jaguar’s business with SDCP (and to elevate her to partner), and rather than putting up with Herb’s bullshit because he’s a client, Don does what Don wants to do and fires him right then and there.
Of course, Don being a creative mind, doesn’t worry about how this will effect the firm monetarily. As Pete points out, he’s already rich, so Don doesn’t think about money. Don’s always had a very moral outlook in the advertising industry–about the only place where Don has morals–especially compared to his colleagues. In this case, it’s unclear if the dinner incident with Herb is what sets Don off.
To give Don the benefit of the doubt, he knows Joan’s attitude towards Herb, and then Herb comments on Megan’s appearance in front of Don. Maybe Don simply wasn’t turned off by Herb’s need to step on creative’s toes, but by Herb’s attitude towards women. From a feminist perspective, this seems an odd argument to carry, since Don is in his own way disrespectful of women, including Megan.
When Joan finds out Don dropped Jaguar without considering the detriment to the company, she’s personally offended. “Honestly, Don, if I could deal with him, you could deal with him. And what now? I went through all of that for nothing?”
Don tells her not to worry, he will win this. She turns back to him. “Just once I would like to hear you use the word ‘we.’ Because we are all rooting for you from the sidelines, hoping you’ll decide whatever you think is right for our lives.”
Joan felt Don was her only ally with Jaguar, because he was the only one of the SDCP partners who told her not to sleep with Herb, but it was already too late. Joan’s decision to sleep with Herb has irrevocably tangled her personal and professional lives together. While Joan is mad at Don, who she thought best understood her situation, she’s also mad at herself for her choice.
Since it’s Mother’s Day, Megan’s mother Marie is visiting and Megan confesses to her she doesn’t know what to do about Don. “He’s so far away that sometimes when we’re alone, I feel like I’m making conversation.” Her mother advises her that dressing sexily will fix the situation. And temporarily, it does.
But Marie also brings up the fact that Megan’s life has changed. She’s becoming recognized–two girls in the elevator ask for her autograph–and Don may claim he’s comfortable with it, but he may feel Megan belongs more to other people than to him.
Of course, it could be argued Marie’s view of Megan “belonging” to Don is rather old-fashioned. Especially considering Marie doesn’t seem to “belong” to anyone.
Although Megan’s acting career is burgeoning, it’s odd seeing her sit by Don’s side at a business dinner, polite and agreeable. In that situation, it’s hard not to compare her to Betty Draper, the dutiful wife by her husband’s side.
- A Girl on Mad Men: You Never Fail to Overheat, Do You? (“For Immediate Release,” Season 6, Episode 6) (vol1brooklyn.com)
- Mad Men Watch: How Much Damage Did You Do, Peaches? (entertainment.time.com)
- Mad Men, Season 6 (slate.com)
- Maureen Ryan: Best ‘Mad Men’ Episode In Two Years? (huffingtonpost.com)
- “Mad Men” recap: “Power plus design equals adventure!” (salon.com)
- Mad (Wo)Men 6×05: “You’re really good at everything.” (laurencbyrd.wordpress.com)