Even though this episode was mostly about Don controlling Sylvia, we’ll concentrate on the main female characters in the show first.
Honestly, the best thing about this episode was the Peggy and Joan reunion. As Joan shows Peggy to her new office (Harry’s old office), the two women catch up. “I’m glad you’re here,” Joan says.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” Peggy replies sincerely.
Olson and Holloway Agency has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
Joan, in typical Joan fashion, is organizing the newcomers in the office due to the SDCP and CGC merger. It’s a big undertaking, but Joan doesn’t seem harried at all. She’s been through a lot of changes at Sterling Cooper and now SDCP.
Ever committed to her work, when she starts having stomach pains, she’s hesitant to leave the office during such an important transition for the company. But Bob (James Wolk) finds her ill and convinces her she needs to leave to see a doctor. He accompanies her and even tricks the nurse into allowing Joan to see the doctor sooner.
When Bob drops by Joan’s apartment the next day, her mom drops hints about Bob’s attractiveness. Joan isn’t convinced he’s interested so much as he’s worried about his job. With all the new people from CGC, a new hire would be the first to go. In fact, in a later scene, the SDCP and CGC partners are in a meeting to discuss staffing cuts. Joan saves Bob’s job by saying he works on a lot of accounts with Ken Cosgrove, so he’s already familiar with big money clients.
Peggy, meanwhile, is getting used to being back in the offices of SDCP. When she comes in, she says hi to Stan and Ginsburg, her old creative team.
The first new account they tackle is Fleischman’s margarine. Since Don is missing, Ted starts the meeting without him. Don, when he returns, isn’t too pleased about it. Don makes a peace offering of booze, which then proceeds to get Ted drunk, because no one can drink like Don Draper. When Ted wanders out to the creative bullpen, clearly intoxicated, Peggy has to mediate the incident. Don proceeds to have a creative meeting of his own, which Ted is too drunk to attend.
Already, Peggy is feeling sidelined by Don’s behavior, which placed her in an awkward position during the creative meeting where her former boss (Don) got her current boss, Ted, drunk.
The next morning when Don comes in, Peggy is waiting for him on the couch in his office. She brings up the Ted situation. “I hoped he would rub off on you,” Peggy tells Don. “Not the other way around.”
“He’s getting everything he wants. And you’re obviously on his side,” Don replies.
“Why did you do it at all if there are sides? You could have just tried to hire me back. You never even asked me to lunch.”
What Don did to Ted was uncalled for, but Peggy seems to be leaping to conclusions about her importance to Don. She can’t admit she’s upset about the merger, just as Don was upset when she left. Don and Peggy have always been honest with each other, sometimes brutally so, and this is no exception. Don chides Peggy for thinking the merger was all about her, with a rather insulting comment: “…just so I could have you in this office complaining again.”
Although Don’s comment was unnecessary and Peggy’s advice for him to grow up and move forward is smart, Peggy might be a little in the wrong here. She needs to not referee Ted and Don from the sidelines. Let them get in their own pissing contests if they want to, because it will probably end in mutual self-destruction.