November 9, 2009
In consideration of the people who haven’t yet seen this very awesome episode of Mad Men, I’ll warn you that the post below has a bunch of spoilers. Don’t click further if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to know what happens…
Okay, I liked that episode a lot. It was a little different than the previous ones, no? A little more upbeat, a little more hopeful, a little more energetic and cheerful. Of course…that’s after an episode where John F. Kennedy was assassinated…
Anyway! I thought it was great. Because I’m a Roger fan, I liked the character developments that happened to Roger in this episode. Him realizing that he’d been acting like he built the company instead of just kept it going after he inherited his partnership was, I thought, an important realization despite its obviousness. It looks like Roger is really done with this rather unsavory phase and going back to the people he actually cares about. That does not mean Mona, that means Joan and Don. Good for Roger. (By the way, who wasn’t happy to see Joan? I mean come on, Christina Hendricks is really key to this show).
Speaking of Don… well besides the obvious events in his life, what struck me was actually how Pete and Peggy made Don grovel. Look, Don’s not a good guy and is certainly horrible to a number of people (including Betty) but I don’t think Don ever stood on Pete and Peggy’s accomplishments or thought their careers should be limited. I think he did appreciate them and planned on giving them their dues when the time came. If you think about it, Don has repeatedly indicated that Peggy and Pete were appreciated and if they were just patient, they’d get what they wanted. For example, he didn’t exactly hinder Peggy’s career, and he did go so far as to say to Pete (who, mind you, tried to blackmail Don to get a job) that he knew what Pete wanted and that if he was patient he’d get what both Don and Pete both agree Pete deserves.
What also struck me most about the episode was yet another example of how Don is haunted by class division. I’m talking about when Betty and Don were fighting and the socioeconomic statuses that both Don and Betty started out with came out. I don’t think there’s much evidence to support the claim that Betty is haunted by the fact that she came from money and Don didn’t but this isn’t the first time Don mentioned his less than perfect comfort with being around the uber wealthy. It’s an ongoing problem for him. I guess we’ll have to wait for next season to see if it gets resolved.