So, who else is not looking forward to the season finale of Mad Men? That was one nerve-racking/confusing/exhausting/infuriating episode. This episode did not have us gasping (sans Ken getting shot), but instead caused grimacing with an audible oof, after the numerous lines of the emotional gut punch variety. This show has prompted a lot of different reactions in us, but seething anger is a new one. Don, dealing with a whole slew of separate issues with his wife, (ex?) mistress, and daughter, took out all of his negative energy on Ted and Peggy. After last week’s truce, it was especially difficult to watch Don maliciously manipulate Ted throughout the entire episode, and after his “help” during the St. Joseph pitch, we were completely ready to go all Duck Phillips on his ass.
The most upsetting aspect of the episode was not Don’s terrible treatment of Ted, but what Don did to Peggy and his complete objectification of her. Peggy and Don have always had a special relationship. His protégé has surprised, challenged, and supported him in a multitude of ways over the years. Don had a difficult time accepting Peggy’s need to strike out on her own (and seeing it as a product of his own success and inspirational creative abilities), and things just got messier when she was once again working with him after the merger. What started as Don needing validation that Peggy still cared for or respected him (specifically over Ted), ended in his abhorrent behavior towards her in this week’s episode, interesting titled “The Quality of Mercy.”
Was Peggy and Ted’s infatuation getting a bit out of hand? Sure. But anyone who thinks that Don’s motivation was “for the good of the company,” is a fucking moron. In the most embarrassing way possible, Don “called out” their workplace romance (because he’s never dipped into company pool, well, except for Dr. Miller, plucky Allison, and... Oh! That’s right, his current wife) hoping to finally squelch Ted’s desire for Don’s favorite toy, Peggy. She was spot on when she stormed into his office and confronted him, calling him “a monster.” Don’s fetal response tells us that he knows it’s true, but we know better than to expect any real or lasting change from him.
Pete, after failing to expose Don, decides that it might be more useful to have Bob Benson working with him (and owing him?)? We’re still completely puzzled by that scene, from start to finish. After Pete’s super weird Bob conversation, we turned to each other and said “what just happened?” Pete was burned by his failed attempt to take Don out, but his encounters with Bob have gone from strange to absolutely bizarre. It’s kind of scary to see Bob put his serious face on and stare Pete down. Poor Clara bears the brunt of it, of course.
Greet week. Onto the (less un)fun!
- PEGGY: Don’t, uh, let the name fool ya, they’re all delicious, my friend!
TED: They are our one dried and one fresh fruit, for a new generation!
(Oh these accents...)
- MEGAN (dramatically whispered): Oh my god!
- COOPER (on Pete’s “reluctance”): Crocodile tears? How quaint.
- BOB BENSON (en Español): This Pete Campbell is a son of a bitch! I don’t care how nice she is. He’s a snotty bastard and he’s screwing with my future!
- DON: What’s going on in there?
MOIRA: Someone’s having a good time.
- BETTY: I’d rather have you do it in front of me than behind my back.
- SALLY: My father’s never given me anything. (Especially rough on Father’s Day)
6. Sally’s Stay at Miss Porter’s
We finally get to see the place where Joanne learned to Tango (RENT, anybody? Just us?). We have to admit, we were worried for little Sally when Mandy and Millicent (honestly you’re asking for your child to become a witch naming her Millicent!) starting their hazing project. We knew she could take care of herself, but after some serious trauma last week, we were worried about what shape it would take. She’s still in school girl plaid this week, but of a shorter hem and bluer variety. She looks more modern, and fits in with the other girls at boarding school. We were happy to laugh at Mandy’s Britney Spears circa “Hit Me Baby One More Time” look, stapled hem and all. Pulling it all together by tying that knot in the front, but wearing a matching cami underneath? They’re all still babies, thank goodness.
Glen’s pin bedecked protest coat was another hilarious element to this tableau, made even better by his oh so original hippie lingo “Nice digs. I’m Glen, by the way.”. He was followed shortly by “I’m Rolo, by the way. Nice Digs.” in his douchey turtleneck and sexual predator sandals. We were so relieved to see Sally stand up for herself and put the kibosh on that hippie horror show. When Glen came out from his...entanglement with Millicent, to confront Rolo, we forgave him for most, if not all, of his past weirdness. Hooray for child hippies and preteen sluttish experimentation!
5. Peggy Rattled in a Recycled Dress
As depressing as the St. Joseph’s meeting was, Peggy looked pretty goddamn sharp. We’ve actually seen this outfit before, but were too distracted by her fantastic outerwear to comment on the suit. We love her in navy, and the turquoise accents are perfect. Anya would totally wear this to work, and not care that she looked a little too retro. It’s obvious that this is an important meeting for Peggy, and if you’re following the whole blue and green as signs of adultery theory, this look is extra significant. She and Ted had been strangely obvious in their flirtation the entire episode, and to wear those colors when we all watched Don basically out them? Another of our audible oofs.
We like Peggy in business wear, and we like the structure of her relatively new and grown up style. When she stormed into Don’s office and said “Oh, you get privacy?!”, she looked the part of a powerful and important part of the office. She is not under him anymore, in any way. Poor Peggy is just trying to get out of her dysfunctional relationship with a dysfunctional man, and in typical Don style, he can’t let her get away. He especially couldn’t lose her to a man that is in many ways the best version of himself. Ted is the “Don” of CGC, but with a moral compass that seems to function. People put up with Don’s bullshit because of his talent or charm, but Ted has it all. Peggy is the LAST person Don wants to hear that from, as probably the only woman besides Joan that Don likes and respects and hasn’t fucked. BUT HE JUST HAS TO RUIN HER DAY.
4. Betty’s Creamy Car Clothes
Betty makes a return to this list this week, in the classic Republican wife’s uniform. We noticed plaid when screencapping, and love it with the texture and the cut. Yes, it’s super boring and conservative, but skinny reblonde Betty is making it looks pretty damn good. Of COURSE this is her “my daughter’s boarding school interview” outfit. From top to bottom, Betty is showing us her campaign look, and it’s totally her. She is nothing if not a great mannequin for the total package. Seeing Betty have everything she ever wanted (on the surface, because what else has Betty ever wanted) is actually really satisfying for Anya, who loves this shallow bitch more than she should, and readily admits it. Not a hair out of place, and it’s actually nice to watch her sing Sally’s praises in front of her.
We don’t think it’s a leap to say that Betty knows something is going on with Sally, and is genuinely worried about her. We think it goes deeper than just being able to say her daughter went to Jackie Kennedy’s boarding school, she really does seem to want a connection with her daughter, and not just to get back at Megan. How did Betty (who gives Sally a cigarette, in case you had forgotten) become the good parent? As much as Sally wants to hate her mom, Don really nailed shut his own coffin last week, and if she wants any kind of relationship with either of them, she should start accepting Betty’s super weird motherhood advances. The poor woman doesn’t have the first clue how to parent, give her a break.
3. Megan’s Scarlet Letter
It’s been awhile since we last saw you around here, Megs! Luckily Megan managed to escape the terrible lighting that plagued her at the start of the episode (and the last three) and pulled it together with a great hairstyle and lovely red number. We turned to each other and said “that’s better!” as soon as we saw her pick up the phone. The skirt pattern is great, and matches the coat she wears to the movies (talk about money to burn!). She is accessorized well, wearing makeup THANK GOODNESS, and her hair is finally back to its old big and shiny ways. When we saw her wake up in the sad lacy beige number in the beginning of the episode, then stand looking at Don in the harsh morning light, we were not impressed. Another beige episode for the Draper women. Luckily, she pulled it together and reanimated herself for an early night out to watch Rosemary’s Baby.
Maybe we’re reading too much into it, but it was interesting to see Megan in such a bright red (a dramatic departure from the past few weeks) when she saw Peggy and Ted together (with her oh so subtle “oh my GOD!”), the same shade Sally was wearing last week when she saw Don and Sylvia together. Is red the adultery witness code color? Probably not, but it wasn’t a very subtle reminder. Megan’s barely repressed glee in the face of Ted and Peggy’s supposed affair reminds us how very detached she is from the reality of her own marriage. Ouch, girl.
2. Don’s Casual Cinema Clothes
In an unusual feat for the men of the show, Don is taking second place this week on our countdown, in a mock turtleneck that Paul loved from start to finish. We always seem to get a little more excited about the men’s casual clothes, perhaps having built up some kind of tolerance to caring about suits, after seeing so goddamn many of them over the course of the show. Monster he may be, but Don never finds himself stuck in bad lighting for long. This look was a much-welcomed change from the awful hangover (still drunk?) slept-in clothes the episode opened on. While we doubt that the comments and looks made by Megan, Joan, and Moira had any major effect on Don’s actions this episode, they certainly did not do anything to alleviate Don’s fucked up feelings on the situation.
1. Peggy’s Bewitching Beige
We have never enjoyed a beige look so much. Not natural fans of what is perhaps the most drab color the world has ever seen, we were as surprised as anyone that we not only loved this dress on Peggy, but we gave her the top slot this week. Ted’s hand on her waist doesn’t hurt either. Great accessorizing, girl! Honestly, it might be because Peggy was so happy until the end of this episode, but she looked like a million dollars. The cut was perfect for her, and we loved the pearly buttons, cute pocket flaps, and collar. We’ve seen that scarf before, and we like it when that sort of thing happens. It lends credibility to characters when they mix and match other pieces of “their” wardrobe.
Elizabeth Moss gets an Emmy for effort in our book, not least because she looks so goddamn happy in the screenshot Paul captured. It’s sad how jarring it is to see Peggy overjoyed. We almost feel like we missed something! Ted went home to his wife and boys at the end of the last episode...and now this? No matter how it happened, they were too happy to exist in the Mad Men world, and were riding for a fall. We hope Peggy was wrong when she told Don “you killed it.” but she probably isn’t. /sadface/ Just look at the screenshots for her beige outfit and those for her navy one. Poor Peggy’s face tightened right back up into cat lady.