The family dynamic is explored in depth on the latest episode of Mad Men.
Now that Don (Jon Hamm) has more time to focus on his work and relationships, will he drown in a sea of margarine, or stay afloat on his bourbon ice cube?
Who will Joan (Christina Hendricks) trust to be the father figure to Kevin?
It’s not that smiley Bob Benson (James Wolk) is it?
Roger (John Slattery) has difficulty connecting with the children in his life, but Don and Betty (January Jones) re-connect at Bobby Draper’s (Mason Vale Cotton) upstate summer camp.
We open on Don and Ted (Kevin Rahm) arguing over the price of margarine, or rather the strategy to woo the Fleishman’s Margarine account.
Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) , Harry (Rich Sommer) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) try to stay neutral, but Don’s insistent on Peggy’s input. She doesn’t relent, as she is loyal to both men and the company itself. In fact, her loyalty to Ted may be romantic. The two have feelings for each other, but Ted does not want to have an office romance (though his feelings for her are strong).
Harry recommends Pete see a headhunter, a familiar face, Duck (Mark Moses) from Season 2. The men are weigh their options on leaving the firm with no name but Pete’s not worth much to the market these days, he’s not a partner.
On the set of Megan’s (Jessica Paré) soap, we find Megan in a blonde wig, playing double duty as Collette, her character Marie’s twin. Megan opens up to Don about work drama over a drink, as we hear the din of sirens in the city as the ‘60s youth revolts and a crime wave hits Manhattan.
Don hits the road for the weekend to visit Bobby at summer camp. Along the way, he runs into a slim Betty at the gas station. The two make love at the Motel and talk about Don’s relationship to Megan and his disconnectedness to the act of sex. Betty has a line that steals the episode, “That poor girl, she doesn’t know that loving you…is the worst way to get to you”. Betty admits that she’s forgotten about how upset she was with Don over the events of the last episode, leaving his kids alone in the apartment as it was robbed.
Megan invites fellow actress Arlene (Joanna Going) over to talk about the acting craft, but Arlene is more interested in making more passes at Megan, which Megan denies. Arlene’s husband, also a swinger is Megan’s boss, so she fears recourse. In the end, there are no hard feelings as Arlene leaves to walk back home.
Uptown, Peggy and Abe (Charlie Hofheimer) are feeling unsafe. Abe has been stabbed and mugged, but refuses to tell the cops what the race of the perps were. Peggy feels uneasy in her new home, and Abe stays on the side of the oppressed.
Peggy sleeps with a homemade harpoon by her bed with a knife attached to a broomstick. A smash and grab outside startles her from bed, armed with the harpoon. Abe is there to ask what is up, and Peggy ends up stabbing her boyfriend…with a harpoon! This unexpected violent act was comic relief for many, I’m sure.
On the way to the hospital, Abe breaks up with Peggy. He does so not because his girlfriend stabbed her, but because he sees her as part of the establishment, and he is a cutting edge journalist. They simply cannot exist in the same world. Peggy is left alone at the end of this chapter, as Ted pushes her away when she confides in him of the breakup. Poor Peggy, but we’ve seen her on the prowl as of late, she will bounce back.
Hey, how about that Bob Benson? He’s swell and certainly has found himself at Joan’s apartment for a trip to the beach! As Joan (elegantly) is packing beach blankets for the trip with Bob and baby Kevin to the beach, Roger pops in with Lincoln Logs for the little tyke (Roger is Kevin’s biological Dad). Roger doesn’t recognize the brownnose Bob from the office, and feels awkward coming by unannounced. Joan flawlessly conducts Roger’s exit and makes Bob feel at home. Oh Joan, you are so independent and wonderful. And a supermom at that! Yay Joan!
Poor Roger, this is his second failing with kids this week. His daughter Margaret (Elizabeth Rice) wasn’t happy with Roger taking 4 year-old grandson to Planet of the Apes. Maybe 4 years old is a bit young for that movie, but that’s when I saw it…and I’m obviously perfectly fine!
When Don returns home to Megan, they talk about their relationship.
Don promises to be more present, though we will have to see if anything else distracts him. Let us not forget, the main motivation to having this talk with Megan was an affair he had with his ex-wife.
This episode explored how close we can get to people in our lives, and once again we see how being close to people makes it easier to hurt them. Quite literally in the case of Peggy and Abe! Pete searches for something, we don’t know what, but Bob Benson has come to Pete’s rescue with a nurse recommendation for Pete’s senile mother. Don and Megan have some issues to work out, and both seem willing.
On the next Mad Men puzzle game we hear Ted talking about “kissing the ring”, perhaps Don’s ego is pushing his business acumen from the subtle to the blunt. Ginsberg talks of body bags from the war and Roger calls a partner’s meeting. Let’s hope Peggy gives up her dream to be a whaler and concentrates on what she does best, writing copy and breaking hearts.
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