Mark called Peggy old-fashioned. He thinks she’s a virgin. She’s not. Peggy hasn’t just had one bad affair gone very, very wrong, but she’s had dirty sex with an older man in broad daylight. It stung her to be called old-fashioned. The lie she’s telling him stung her, maybe some sadness for the old-fashioned girl she used to be, and maybe anger at Mark for needing her to be something she just ain’t.
The next day, she lets it out all over Freddy Rumsen. Everything she said to him was correct, but it was cruel. You’re old-fashioned, (I paraphrase from memory) she says to him, disgusted.
Last week in Public Relations, we watched Don not say to Betty and Henry, You people get the hell out of my house. In the very next scene, Don told (soon-to-be former) clients to get the hell out of his office. The scenes between Peggy and Mark right into Peggy and Freddy felt like a similar thing. Only this time it was herself she was yelling at, herself she was disgusted with; her own dissatisfaction with the role she’s set herself up to play for this boy that she cannot stomach. (I’m saying she can’t stomach the role, not the boy.)
But what was clear in Christmas Comes But Once a Year was that Don Draper is the most old-fashioned of all, and it is really starting to show. And it is not his prettiest look.
I love the writing on Mad Men so, so much. One little comment from the side can reveal so much about a character. Henry’s mother referring to Betty as “a silly woman” (in PR) gave me so much insight–reminded me once again that this isn’t like other television. That the reasons I don’t much like Betty or respect her are valid–I’m not the only one who feels this way. She is starting to look like a ridiculous person to people who meet her. And last night, Joey called Don pathetic. ohh!… interesting. And then of course, the scene with Allison. Suddenly Don is a dinosaur. Drunken, pawing his secretary. This is who he’s become. He didn’t act on Phoebe’s advances. Phoebe, I gotta tell you, and despite her nurse’s uniform from way back when (oh right, way back then), feels like the future. And at this moment Don ain’t going for that.
Folks, it’s only episode 2. This is where we are. But this is Mad Men, and I have a lot of faith that this is not where we stay.