Mad Men Discussion: 'Something Beautiful You Can Truly Own'

(Ed. Note: Typically these posts run on Monday mid-afternoon, but since yesterday was a holiday and we’re having a Workaholics discussion today in the afternoon, we’re running this in the AM today. Carry on as you were.)

Um, WTF Mad Men?!

Wow. Just wow. I’m kind of glad Monday was a holiday so that I could have more time to process what went down Sunday night, and not only do I think it’s the best Mad Men episode ever, I think it’s one of the finest hours of television I’ve ever seen. The last 10-15 minutes of the show were nothing less than a kick to the nuts.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are a few notes I made during last night’s Mad Men about characters, scenes, etc. I found interesting for one reason or another.

– So this episode obviously centers around Peggy and Joan and the different paths they embark on to take their careers to the next level — paths to the top that couldn’t be more divergent. It’s striking really, especially if you go back and watch the scene from the Mad Men pilot where Joan is giving Peggy a tour of the office, passing on pointers on how to succeed in her new job at the firm on her first day. The key line from that bit of 411 dropping:  “Hopefully if you follow my lead you can avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made here.” When taking that into consideration — the mentor/mentee relationship the two shared in the beginning — that scene where Peggy has grabbed her things and is headed out the door, all the while being eyed by Joan and Joan alone, becomes all the more profound.

– Can Pete Campbell possibly be more of an awful human being? Lane Price was so right: Pete is indeed a grimy little pimp. How prophetic that insult turned out to be. I want things to end horribly for him soooo bad. Death by grease fire would not even be good enough for me at this point. He’s such a goddamn weasel.

– On Sunday night, because the following day was a holiday, I was out drinking with some friends. Naturally, I ignored Twitter completely to avoid spoilers, but at some point around 11 or so someone showed up to join our group who exclaimed, “Holy sh*t one of the main characters on Mad Men dies tonight.” I responded by yelling something along the lines of, “SHUTUP AS$HOLE!” and left shortly thereafter in a huff to go home to watch the episode before it was spoiled for me any further. Of course, we now know that no one died, but I went home to watch Mad Men that night truly believing that someone actually did.

Now flashback to a couple of weeks ago when the elevator doors opened outside the SCDP offices for Don with no elevator inside. When Peggy stood waiting for the elevator at the end of the episode, was I the only person absolutely convinced she was about to plummet to her death? How awful would that have been? UNSPEAKABLY AWFUL, right? Girl works her way to the top and then SPLAT! But because of what I’d heard earlier I watched that scene with my hand over my mouth anticipating a tragic end. So the fake spoiler actually sort of enhanced the emotional gravity of the scene for me. I guess you could call it a reverse spoiler. So thanks, fake spoiler person!

– So the big question following this episode has to be this: Is this the last of Peggy? It can’t be, right? They have to introduce a storyline involving Peggy at her new job, right? RIGHT? But here’s the thing: other SCDP employees who have left rarely are seen and heard from again. Duck. Paul. Freddy. Sal. They’re all just basically gone, aside from the occasional cameos like the time Duck showed up to try to drunkenly take a dump in Don’s office or when Paul came back as a Hare Krishna/aspiring TV writer. But then again, those people aren’t Peggy.

– It didn’t hit me until after the episode, but I suppose the thought of Joan — who we know Don adores and respects greatly — whoring herself to land the Jaguar account must have been especially crushing considering that Dick Whitman’s mother was a prostitute, something we know f*cks with Don’s head greatly. It’ll be interesting to see how this changes the dynamic of the Don/Joan relationship.

Also, how long before we see Megan in a “casting couch” situation? Seemed like she came pretty damn close to one Sunday night. I suppose we’ll see just how badly does she wants to succeed as an actress if that happens!

– I wonder how current executives at Jaguar feel about how they’re being portrayed on Mad Men, because it hasn’t been very flattering, has it?

– I was a little shocked by Roger’s lack of protest at the idea of Joan sleeping with Mr. Jaguar in the hopes of landing the account. That was the one part of the episode that confused me and sort of didn’t feel real. I’m not sure I would have expected him to be so indifferent to his beloved Joanie — who he knows is the mother of his child — boning some bloated cretin to land an account. Then again, ole Rog probably needs the money.

– Speaking of Roger, someone I follow on Twitter retweeted an observation someone else made (sadly I didn’t bookmark the tweet and I can’t remember where it came from) that went like this: when she went to me Mr. Jaguar, Joan appeared to be wearing the fir coat Roger gave her in an earlier season. I was able to find a still from that earlier episode and it appears as though the aforementioned person on Twitter was right.

– That scene between Don and Peggy in Don’s office at the end reduced me to a puddle. That was f*cking powerful.

“Don’t be a stranger.”

Tears. More tears. And more tears.

Your thoughts/feelings/observations are of course welcome in the comments.