Recap: At the Codfish Ball

 Posted by on April 30, 2012 at 1:00 am  Season 5
Apr 302012

“It’s the future. It’s all I ever wanted.”

Mad Men At the Codfish Ball-Dinner tableau
After weeks of dense, intricate episodes of Mad Men that have challenged my skills as a writer, it’s something of a relief to experience the plain ol’ symbolic, interesting, well-written, enjoyable hour of At the Codfish Ball. I strongly suspect that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life analyzing this, and that I can derive all its meaning in two or three viewings.

Which is not a criticism! I loved this episode, and I love the more complex ones. I do, however, see the difference.

The lyrics of the song “At the Codfish Ball” are about dancing fish. Twice we see Sally confronted with eating fish. The first time, she’s served spaghetti—you know kids, they just won’t eat grown-up food. The second time, at the banquet, she tries it, and it seems like she might be learning to like it. But, while the kids in Megan’s commercial are having beans rather than spaghetti, in either case comfort food and comforting adults aren’t available to girls who eat fish and stumble upon illicit blow jobs.

At the Codfish Ball is about passing the torch, about generations, about growing up, and about the changes from one generation to the next. It’s especially apropos in 1966, which is approximately when the term “generation gap” was coined, but it’s true for all of us, from cave men to people who eat beans on the moon. Because this is Mad Men, it aims to take a more honest look at the generations than Megan’s commercial does, and it ends on a dark note (that tableau at the end of dinner is as striking as the elevator tableau at the end of The Beautiful Girls). Yet about three-quarters of the way through, I was wondering if I was watching the most optimistic episode of Mad Men ever made. As dark as some of it was, I still feel that way.

How is the torch passed? Let me count the ways. At work, Peggy is proud of Megan and explicitly states that she is seeing the torch passed. Joan is proud of Peggy, and happy for her. Perhaps for the first time she sees Peggy striking out on a path that isn’t the one Joan herself laid out for Peggy in the very first episode of the show. Joan serves as a surrogate mother for Peggy, since Peggy’s own mother refuses to approve of her, and even withdraws Peggy’s father’s approval from beyond the grave. That torch didn’t pass quite so successfully. Sally is praised as a mature young lady, and she heroically saves the older generation—but she’s still too young to wear makeup. Nonetheless, attending the banquet is a significant “graduation.” When she sees Roger, she asks if he’s her sitter, and in a way he is: He’s her “date,” and he passes a kind of torch to her, teaching her how to be an account person and a “wing man.”

We’ve already discussed the way that Sally’s journey into adulthood turns suddenly darker. Megan’s journey into maturity is also both joyful and dark. Those are some tough parents! They seem to have trained Megan well for marriage to Don, accustomed as she is to adultery and drunkenness. Another torch passed.

I loved Pete’s conversation with Emile Calvet. If you recall, way back in Season 1 (Episode 1.04: New Amsterdam), Pete’s own father said he didn’t understand what Pete did, and was disdainful. Now Pete has an answer for the question, and an elegant one. Pete’s been difficult to like this season, but hehas grown up!

One of the great things about this episode was the core character development. Every episode of Mad Men is structured around a theme, and almost everything happens because of that theme. What makes these writers extraordinary is that their characters still behave like themselves as their lives move forward. It would be hard enough to write these people authentically without making it all flow from one subplot to another! Yet, while we have to see Joan living with her decision, and Roger with his, and see how Don and Megan’s marriage is doing, and so on, we must do so within the thematic context.

“I for one am not going to let a bunch of dirty teenagers in the paper disrupt the order of things.”

Roger’s conversation with Mona was one of the highlights of the episode, not because it was thematically important (although the quote above is certainly about the generation gap), but because these two actors are great together, because Mona has always been a terrific and underused character, and because the interplay sparkles.

So much of this episode simply sparkled. Hey everybody, catch a deep breath, let go of interpretation, and just enjoy! Peggy looked so cute in pink, and Katherine Olson is a great character, every mean bit of her. Mona and Katherine are two people the fans always want back, Glen Bishop’s return is another treat, and as if that weren’t enough, we have the stellar Julia Ormond as Marie Calvet, and Ray Wise’s return as Ken’s father-in-law. A real Codfish Ball of a guest cast!

Another motif of At the Codfish Ball is seeing others as they are, and not simply as they relate to you. Roger has suddenly discovered he’s a member of the human race, and he thinks he’s the first person to ever notice, bless him. It’s funny, of course, and Don is bemused, but Don hasn’t previously seen his new wife entirely as her own, separate human being either. Last week he treated her as no more than an extension of his whims. This week, he discovered Megan is actually a person with talent and ability, and lo and behold, it turns him on! Peggy is discovering the same thing about herself; that she has her own desires and needs, and that she may not need to live under the thumb of expectation.

Peggy expected the worst news from Abe. Oh, honey. Then Joan woke her up, and she was so . . . so . . . girlish. With a pink dress with a pink bow on the front and an unshakable grin. She was living the childhood dream of a wedding, one she thought was only for prettier girls, but even though she didn’t get what she thought she wanted, she made an adult choice. She changed from little girl pink to a beautiful and womanly dress to talk to “Ma.”

In this case, Peggy is figuring out that she is a person.

Some additional thoughts:

  • Meta-generational fun: Creator Matt Weiner’s son Marten plays Glen Bishop. Ray Wise was on Twin Peaks as someone who killed his own daughter (thanks to my sister Roberta for pointing that out). Julia Ormond played Sabrina in the remake of the same name (a remake of a Hollywood classic is, after all, a kind of “next generation”).
  • Sally should simply stop opening double doors. There’s always sex behind double doors.
  • Quote of the week usually goes to Roger, and he certainly had several runner-ups, but nothing beats Emile Calvet with: “Don, there’s nothing you can do. No matter what, one day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away.
  • The motif of wealth also played itself out in this episode. I haven’t the space to explore it properly, although I probably will on my blog as the week unfolds. Emile is a Marxist who disapproves of what unearned wealth does to Megan’s soul. Mona counsels Roger not to feel guilty for wealth . The wealthy “establishment” doesn’t trust Don, according to Ed Baxter (Ray Wise).

Originally published at Indiewire Press Play.


  367 Responses to “Recap: At the Codfish Ball”

  1. I thought the theme of this episode was revelation: revelation that Peggy would be willing to contravene her church’s teachings on marriage, revelation that Megan has talent as a copywriter, revelation that Don is persona non grata with major corporations because of “The Letter”, revelation that Sally was NOT as grown up as she may have led us to believe, and revelation that Roger is beginning to find his groove again in business as well as his personal life.

    • That could apply almost every week, since there’s always something that is revealed.

      • In TV there is two types of revelation: the first kind where the audience knows what is going on but the characters themselves are kept in the dark (eg Dick Whitman) and the second kind is where both the characters and the audience are taken by surprise by the information disclosed.

        Did anyone know that Peggy would agree to live with Abe, that Megan would save the Heinz account (that came out of left field), that major corporations now refused to do business with him because of “the letter”?

        Yes, I suppose you can make the argument that the audience knew Sally was NOT as grown up as she made herself out to be, but wasn’t it interesting how she played along with Roger and said “Go get ’em tiger.” And as for Roger hooking up with Marie Calvet, weren’t you a bit surprised that Roger would do that after talking to Mona earlier in the episode?

        • We already know that Peggy doesn’t follow church law, e.g. the abortion. Finding out that Don Draper was really Dick Whitman is a revelation; Peggy “shacking up” is plot development.

  2. Matt Weiner in this week’s Inside Mad Men made the point that the theme of this episode was disappointment. So whatever I wrote above is my interpretation of what I saw but as always I bow to the creative genius of Mad Men.

    And on that theme of disappointment, I believe timing is everything. Would the disappointment in Roger and Marie getting together be as great if Roger was still with Jane, would the disappointment of Sally seeing Roger and Marie together not be perhaps as serious given how Sally was treated by Don and Megan since she arrived at the apartment, would Peggy’s disappointment be couched in the fact that she would wake up with Abe and not be alone any longer, and would Don’s disappointment in hearing the news about how he was now considered advertising leper now be cushioned by the revelation of Megan’s talent and that as a team they could surmount any obstacle in their way?

    Imagine if that revelation had been told Don in episode 6 Far Away Places where he was desperate to find Megan. His whole world might have collapsed. Instead Don will imho take this news as water off a duck’s back and delight in the Heinz news and move forward as he always says he will. And more than ever Don knows he has to take Megan into his full confidence from a business point of view and allow her to do her thing. In other words Don’s disappointment would have been much more acute if Megan had not remained in his corner and rose to the occasion to help save the Heinz account for SCDP.

  3. I think Betty’s word in Season 5 episode 3 Tea Leaves are beginning to come true:

    “They’ll (the children) never hear a nice word about me again.”

    But the words have not come true in the way Betty suspected they would. Betty meant that she thought Don and Megan would bad-mouth Betty to the children but instead so far the love that both Don and Megan have extended to Sally and Bobby has caused them to almost forget about Betty (at least when they are in NYC) and Henry with Don and Megan purposely not mentioning Betty’s name at all when the children are with them. I don’t think Betty has much of an idea how well the children are being treated by Don and Megan but I suspect she will eventually find out (Megan bought Sally a dress) and that might cause her to lose her temper.

  4. What I’m most interested in is what Megan’s “passion” really is. Her father says there is something she’s always wanted to do, and she’s not doing it, and is hiding from it in her marriage to Don. (And that is the first real Megan POV scene we’ve had.) Her dad is kind of an asshole, but he obviously knew what button to push. It seems like she’s not all that excited by advertising, since even her smash hit success doesn’t thrill her (not just coming up with an idea Mr. Picky will fall in love with, but having the awesome innate social skills to deliver and time the pitch perfectly, which is something Peggy will never have). Not even with all the applause she gets from everyone, including Don and Peggy. Is it really acting that makes Megan’s heart race? Or something we don’t know about yet?

    And it’s rather stunning to see 1966 Joan’s response to Peggy’s un-proposal, compared to what Joan would have said even three years ago. She knows her own wedding ring didn’t mean shit to Greg when it came to planning their (i.e. his) future, which is something she didn’t know (or want to know) before she married him. So probably someone coming home to Peggy because he wants to, not because he has to, does sound romantic to Joan. Probably more so than it does to Peggy, because one thing I never heard out of her or Abe was, “I love you.” Maybe Peggy is JFP (Just For Practice) for Abe, but couldn’t the reverse be true also?

    • If this is so taboo in 1966, living together before marriage, is Abe just a dolt in thinking that Peggy would be stoked with a “let’s move in” proposal instead of a real one, and he knows how Catholic her family is, meaning guaranteed disapproval. Why didn’t he just wait until he was actually ready for marriage to propose something instead of putting Peggy in a somewhat awkward position? Not a great move Abe, not a great move.

      • Nope, not a great move at all. Abe is not thinking of Peggy’s best interest with this let’s move in together bit. And Peggy’s mother does have Peggy’s best interest at heart here even if the audience attack’s Mrs. Olson for it. There is a good chance Peggy will miss out on someone who is truly serious about her during the time she is wasting “shacking up”with Abe. And it is also true that when Abe wants to get married, he (especially in 1966) may not view the woman who agrees to live with him as wife material. Despite what anti-establishment stuff he spews out now. Add to that the religious differences. Time and again someone like Abe decides that when he gets married, he realizes he needs a wife of the same religiou as he, and Peggy is not that. I thought Peggy settled because she thought that was the best she could get from Abe. After all, at first Peggy thought Abe was breaking up with her at this dinner. After the talk with Joan, Peggy was beaming, genuinely excited, and was expecting a marriage proprosal. Poor Peggy. If only she knew her own worth. I cannot like Abe after this.

        • I wanted Abe to give a reason for wanting to move in together rather than marriage. Peggy was the one who brought up marraige just being a peice of paper to Jaon. But I am not sure that Peggy is Ok with not getting married.

        • I wish Peggy would have at least brought up marriage, rather than hinting at it – then she would at least know where Abe stands on that! Right now she is just guessing why he wants to live together rather than marry her. Even if she isn’t ready for marriage yet, she deserves to hear from him why he wants the one thing, but not the other.

          • I thought Peggy seemed some what ambivalent about a marriage proposal when she first talked to Joan. Sure she was scared that maybe Abe wanted to break up with her but she was also scared about a marriage proposal. I think she was actually a bit relieved when living together was the overture. It certainly seems better for her career plans. Although she is also ambivalent about those.

        • Mrs. Olson is a manipulative bitch who has done this to Peggy before. She doesn’t want Peggy to be happy, she wants her to OBEY. Remember her reaction to when Peggy announced moving to Manhattan?

          • I would prefer we talk about characters without gendered insults.

          • Mrs. Olson gets to me, a gut reaction. sorry that I’m not a saint.

          • Hmmm. Non-gendered insults are OK, though? We can call Mrs. Olson a manipulative ogre? I’m pretty sure that would be OK, yes, because it’s not vicious. A manipulative shithead? Not so nice. I’d just as soon have that one non-grata, personally, although it’s non-gendered. Are gendered insults against men OK? Calling Greg a manipulative dick? I don’t really see why the gendered part is what makes insults off-limits rather than the incivility. But it’s not my blog.

            • Insults against characters I tolerate, albeit grudgingly. Male-gendered insults are like white-racial insults, they don’t have a power differential or a history of oppression behind them. We have a comment policy against racist, sexist, and other bigoted language.

          • I would argue that male-gendered insults are just as bad; men are already vilified in mainstream liberal society, so continuing to operate under the assumption that “male insults are okay, because men used to be in power,” simply serves to escalate this vilification. Similarly, white-racial insults are absolutely as unacceptable as minority-racial insults, for the same reasons.

            • “Men used to be in power” is a laughable misreading of the current state of gender relations. But truly, read the insults for yourself. Does calling someone a “dick,” or a “prick” take power away? No, it says he is powerful and unpleasant. Does it un-man him? No. Compare that with a female-gendered insult. They either say you’re a woman and therefore no good (pussy) or you’re not behaving the way a woman out to behave (bitch) and therefore aren’t quite right as a woman. In other words, you insult a man and take away his masculinity by using a female insult, and you insult a woman and take away her masculinity by using…a female insult.

      • Abe is a nonconformist who doesn’t believe in many traditions including the institution of marriage. We know who he is. But until Peggy said yes to living together we weren’t quite sure of what she would do given her Catholic upbringing and what her mother would say.

      • You have picked THE best handle – “MyPeopleAreNordic!” I love it! One of Betty’s best lines ever! LOLOL

        • Agree +++++ .

          – You’re so profoundly sad.
          – No, it’s just my people are nordic.

          Succinct, so matter-of-fact, it was perfect. One of the very best lines.

          • But, Peggy is Nordic– and not profoundly sad.

            Also remember the setting and to whom Betty made that comment, as well as the confused boy who made that observation to her.

    • I saw Joan’s talk with Peggy as artful. She probably doesn’t really think the two moving in together is somehow better than marriage, but she was able to hide her surpirse and spare Peggy’s feelings by not judging and actually turning a disappointment into a positive. What she did so well is what we do when our friends are disappointed–and by accepting these changes in increments, society as a whole is changed. And of course change is a major theme of the series.

      • But Joan has never pulled any punches when talking to Peggy. Why would she start now? I think she meant it. Joan of all people knows that a ring doesn’t mean much of anything.

        • Total agreement. Season 1 Joan was utterly dismissive of Peggy, almost contemptuous. Season 2 Joan was angry at seeing Peggy rise when she didn’t follow The Rules. But Season 5 Joan has learned from her own experiences. She has genuinely changed.

          • I think Joan is happy for Peggy because she knows the formality of marriage isn’t needed for love; however, I think she’s a little scared for Peggy, too. This is uncharted territory. However, Joan knows Peggy is unconventional and I think she’s hoping this turns out as well as Peggy’s career appears to be going.

      • I agree…She did what a true friend would do and there is no one better at smoothing the waters than Joan.

      • I agree, I could not put my finger on how Joan felt. I took it as surprise at first but then as really happy for Peggy.
        Though, if not for Joans own trouble with marriage, I am not sure she would be so happy for Peggy.

    • Meowser,

      Terrific insights. I’m right there with you on Megan and the revelation of just exactly what her passion was supposed to be (in her own eyes and in Emile’s eyes as well).

      • I wondered if Megan wanted to be a singer.

      • I agree with Meowser and Mzemek–

        I think Megan’s father was hinting at some dream that we aren’t entirely aware of. I think whatever dream he was alluding to was something that he felt good about for her.

        He seems so suspicious of the wealth, the money, and the ad world–somehow it made me think he wouldn’t be that much more excited by an acting career. I could be wrong, though–he may have a passion for the performing arts.

        Also–I was very confused by Megan’s expressions when she went to go tell Peggy. Peggy was very, very gracious and encouraging. I was proud of Peggy for being able to support another young woman instead of being jealous or nasty.

        Megan didn’t seem entirely thrilled with her success, though. It seemed like Peggy was more excited about it than Megan in that scene. I wasn’t sure if the success in-and-of-itself was the actual let-down, or if it was something else.

        We haven’t seen a hidden nasty side of Megan emerge, yet. It seems less and less likely with each episode. Partly, I wondered if it was Megan’s idea to “go tell Peggy” because she wanted to gloat (and Peggy took all the fun out of it by alreay having heard about it and congratulating her so sincerely). But I guess there doesn’t seem to be enough of a reason for assuming Megan wanted to gloat. Peggy made a negative comment at Don’s party, but it really wasn’t THAT bad.

        The only other thing I can think of is that Megan may have heard from Allison or someone else that Peggy had a baby and Don is the suspected father. That may make her have strange feelings toward Peggy.

        Anyway, her reaction confused me enough to make me wonder about a lot of things, but there really is nothing to go on. It could just be Megan’s way of accepting Peggy’s praise–it may not mean anything.

        • I think Megan’s ambivalence came from the fact that even though she was fully responsible for the idea and its pitch-perfect execution, Alice had made it clear that she thought Don was the brains behind the duo — I don’t think “You’re so good for that man,” was how Megan wanted her talent summed up.

          Yes, the people at work know, but it’s not as satisfying as having the same KNOWN reputation enjoyed by other people with the same level of success in their ideas. I think Peggy’s declaration that “This is as good as this job gets,” unintentionally made Megan nervous. She wants more. And Emile served to let us know that she doesn’t just want more recognition within the advertising sphere — she wants More.

          • I disagree completely. Alice is telling Megan that Don wouldn’t have gotten this far without Megan’s input and support. There is no way this comment was a put-down of Megan. If anything it was a put-down of Don for falling short continually with Heinz.

            As for not getting recognition,let us not forget from season 4 that Megan is fairly modest. Remember the scene in The Rejected (episode 4) where Megan describes how her mother washes her face and then all of a sudden becomes bashful.

            This a dichotomy. On one hand Megan is ambitious and wants to get ahead and other hand doesn’t feel she needs a pat on the back when she succeeds.

            Megan said it best in season 4 episode 11 Chinese Wall to Don:

            “You judge people on their work; so do I. Everything else is sentimental.”

  5. I hate to say this, but given the time and all, Peggy’s mom is right. I don’t think Abe sees moving in with Peggy as ‘using’ or ‘practicing on’ her, but, nevertheless, he will wind up marrying someone else. Prediction: they’ll live together and be mostly happy for a while, but in the end he’ll leave her, partly because she’s not Jewish. He’ll tell her that he has to marry a Jew and Peggy will be floored by this –he eats ham!!!!! It’s his favorite!!!!! She’ll be devastated. I don’t want this to happen, but the ham thing just made it clear where we’re going.

    I think Joan was of two minds about the whole thing. I do think that she does partly believe what she said in congratulating Peggy -but mostly, she was just trying to be nice.

    • My thoughts exactly. I don’t know if “shiska” is a offensive term but back then I could see Abe’s mother using it on Peggy.

      I have nothing but bad feelings about this move.

      • Abe’s mother is probably a card-carrying Pinko, if not an outright Red. I think she would likely prefer a Jewish daughter in law but would accept someone else if her politics were right and she made her son happy.

        • I can see that politics can get inflammatory with the introduction of Emile, so I would prefer we not use “Red” and “Pinko” but instead go with more neutral terms. This applies to all ends of the spectrum.

    • My sense – and it’s only a sense, because Abe’s character hasn’t been that fully developed to this point – is that Abe represents the ’60s counterculture and would therefore not be the marrying type, certainly not someone who would feel or be beholden to strict Jewish religious traditions. That’s speculation, I concede.

      I feel more confident about saying the following two things: 1) Abe strikes me as very much a cultural Jew, nothing more. 2) Abe is the person who has been more emotionally invested in this relationship to this point, while Peggy’s mind and heart have been split between Abe and her work, and it’s instructive that Peggy feared the relationship was over when Abe invited her to that Thursday dinner. Why would she think that? Because she had not invested enough time in Abe (not the other way around), as “Far Away Places” showed.

      I’m quite ready to accept that this relationship won’t work out, but we have not yet seen something definitive which points to the notion that Abe doesn’t want the best for Peggy or bears most of the responsibility for the relationship’s weaker points. The way the series has been written up to now, it’s Peggy’s combination of uncertainties involving her values and professional aspirations that has been the main source of tension in her relationship with Abe. Peggy is the more uncertain person in the relationship… perhaps not to a huge extent, but certainly more so than Abe.

      • At a previous post I mentioned Abe’s whole existence is centered around the counterculture and radical causes. I don’t think the relationship will work if Peggy does not become radicalized as well.

        I see it in similar terms as Emile Calvet vs Megan Draper. Politically they will always be at odds. He will always accuse his daughter of selling out. And she will always defend Don and her job.

        But the key difference Megan doesn’t have to live under the same roof with her father; but Peggy has to do that with Abe.

      • I don’t know. It seems to me that Abe was really upset that Peggy’s response to tension in the relationship was to ask if he didn’t want to see her any more. So, by moving in together, that couldn’t be her automatic assumption. And when he said to her mother “I’ll take really good care of her” it seemed as if he was assuming moving in together was equivalent to marriage.

        In fact, I think at the time (I never lived in New York, so my experiences were more provincial) living together rather than marrying was seen as more respectful to women. Legal tradition still allowed men to treat their wives as property so the idea of their being together without marrying meant that they were together as equals. This, I think, turned out to be nonsense, but I remember that being the hope at the time.

        • That sounds about right – among the forward-looking crowd. It would be seen as more egalitarian, less hidebound. For a while.

        • Yes, it was supposed to break down those confining walls of civil law and society. Unfortunately it also ignored the reality that a big element of marriage is about money, and men used to have more if not most of that.

    • I agree. I was thinking I might be the only one sad for Peggy. It seems ’66 is rather early for a live-in proposal. And as “unconventional” as Peggy may be, she’s not co-ed aged and she’s not outright “counter-culture.” She’s employed in corporate America. Screams “Establishment.” An inter-faith married could occur in those days, but we don’t know if Abe, ham or no ham, would really marry a non-Jewish woman. And we really don’t know how much Peggy has moved from her Catholic upbringing. Sure, she’s having sex outside marriage. Does she go to Mass? Refrain from communion? Eat meat on Fridays? (Meat was prohibited every Friday before the 70s.)

      Although Peggy was apparently genuinely happy for Megan, it seems she’s now crowded out as a professional partner to Don. She can’t inject herself in that partnership. It seemed like a bad couple days for Peggy.

    • Of course Peggy’s Mom is right. There is nothing about this that is good for Peggy, personally or professionally. It will be fun for Abe and possibly fun for both of them, with Peggy bearing the brunt of society’s disapproval. Abe was not thinking of what this living together experiment would mean for Peggy. Abe is not stupid. He may not be a bad guy, but kindest spin on it is that he is thinking of what would be fun for him, or what fits in with his current views, or what would be convenient, and not at what such an arrangment could mean for this woman that he supposedly loves.

      • Well Peggy did have a choice; it’s not like Abe gave her an ultimatum. He seemed very nervous about asking her, and seemed like he may having been expecting a “no” from her. But I still feel like if marriage is what Peggy wants (even if not right now), then she owes it to herself to ask Abe why he didn’t propose. Agreeing to live with someone while having that unanswered question at the back of your mind is no good!

        • Peggy lacks confidence. She thought Abe was breaking up with her at this dinner. It took the conversation with Joan for Peggy to get hopeful about a marriage proposal or even consider that a marriage proposal is a possibility. Peggy does not have the confidence to tell Abe the his proposition is less than what Peggy deserves. She is too afraid of losing him. So she settles for this. Sadly, Mrs. Olson sees where this most likely leads, even though we will hear lots of folks screaming about how they lived with their boyfriends and it worked out great.

          • Does Peggy lack confidence because she is “shacking up” with Abe or would agree to live with a member of the opposite sex at all?

            Nowadays do famous people who live together lack confidence?

            Peggy is like a lot of people. They don’t want to live alone or be alone. And Peggy is confident in how she feels. And Peggy doesn’t see living with a cat as an option.

            And after Abe’s offer, Peggy may have reflected on it and perhaps decided to make the best of it and also became confident if things did not work out between them she could just walk away without any strings attached. I thought Peggy came off extremely confident and not nervous at all when she told Katherine that Abe and her were now living together.

    • I am afraid you might be right. I would hate for Peggy’s mother to be able to tell her “I told you so”.

      I had another thought. Peggy’s mom thinks the baby was Don’s. I hope Mrs Olson does not tell this to Abe who is already leary of Peggy’s work life.

      BTW…do you think Abe knows about the baby?

      • I was afraid Momma Olsen was going to bring up Peggy’s baby within earshot of Abe, and that thought made me wonder if Peggy has told him. Somehow, I doubt it.

    • Abe is stepping it up, albeit in his countercultural-yet-not-recognizing-feminism sort of way. Abe is the one who outwardly wants the relationship more. Abe is the one concerned that Peggy habitually goes to the nuclear option on their relationship. He might not be ready to marry — or he may fear Peggy would have rejected a proposal. But the move-in is how Abe is trying to stay in the relationship.

      • I agree, Karl. Perhaps the non-proposal is self-preservation on Abe’s part, seeing that Peggy rejected him once before they got together and reacts to stress by threatening to break up.

        There’s definitely issues, but I see potential for growth in both of them.

    • Actually I see Abe as a permanent radical who will never believe in marriage. Yes, I could see him dumping Peggy for someone more politically compatible.

      The question is will Peggy want to go down this road of becoming a permanent radical and if she does how will that impact her job at SCDP who is seen as a bastion of capitalist enterprise.

      • After 7 years it doesn’t matter how radical they are, they’re common law married.

        • New York State does not have Common Law Marriage. (I just checked.) Texas does, but there’s no magic 7 year rule.

          Abe is politically quite liberal but I he doesn’t seem to be all that radical. He dresses rather neatly & doesn’t appear to be a serious druggie. I think he truly cares about Peggy. Was she really intent on marriage or was she flattered by the idea he might propose–but perhaps not be ready? She’s not a little girl–she could have discussed the matter in greater depth. We’ll see how things develop.

          Her mother does have her best wishes at heart but her manner has often been abrupt. She can be difficult. Besides, would she really be happy if her daughter announced she was going to marry a jew? Or if they married, it didn’t work out, & Peggy divorced?

          However, she was solidly there for her when Peggy was hospitalized after having the baby. And she could have brought up that baby in front of Abe–she did not.

          I do wonder why Peggy told her mother. This was just about the time that “shacking up” was beginning to be anything but shocking. However, the parents were always the last to know!

          • Political radicals of the mid- and late-sixties were not the same as the hippie/love/drug crowd. In fact, they were often annoyed by the latter, who they felt were a distraction from the serious business of ending the war in Vietnam. Plus, the Summer of Love is a year away; he looks like any radical would have looked in ’66.

      • Just because Peggy chose to live with Abe doesn’t mean she’s choosing to be a radical. Maybe she wants to be an independent woman without having the restrictions of marriage.
        I say, “you go girl”. Joan is right. She’s brave.

        • That was exactly my initial response, but then I started reading all the posts about Peggy never quite getting what she wants…

  6. Character thoughts this week:

    Don – oh snap! Nobody like Don Draper either. yikes. But 1000+ extra bonus points for genuinely being happy about and for Megan and her success. I like Team Draper.

    Peggy – Oy my heart hurts. This is 1966 and Abe is schmuck in my book (and I liked him before). You deserve better Peggy. And if I thought you adored Abe and loved him totally, it might be different. You ARE settling. But x1000 bonus points for being genuinely happy for Megan.

    Pete – His comeback to Emile translated “I am a whore, I know I am a whore, and YOU bought what I’m selling.” Snap 2! And take that Daddy Campbell. You would have fallen for it too. I don’t know if this is Pete coming to accept what role he plays and therefore comfortable knowing what he’s selling or just a fun way of putting Professor Irritating in his place.

    Roger – You got a blow job from your only friend’s mother-in-law. Schmuck. I’m not happy that MW “sanctions” Roger’s actions by giving him the best lines. I loved seeing Mona again.

    Sally – I adore you except your ability to lie without thinking. I’m glad you have a bud in Glen.

    Joan – You were very sweet to Peggy. Your stock continues to rise.

    Megan – Good job with the beans and I do like you BUT I see your “unfulfilled” angst and am not sure I wanted to spend 70% of Mad Men on your story this year. I’ve bonded with her MW, but I’m still more interested in others. Please balance for S6?

    Trudy – we miss you Allison Brie.

    • I have to ask: What did Pete say to Emile? I missed it (was busy posting something here.)

      • Pete flattered Emile in a skillful way that had Emile both blushing and believing, then said “That’s what I do.”

      • I’ve stopped using my iPad during the episode (except the ad breaks) because of that issue.

      • SueB and Melville:

        The Pete Campbell-Emile scene – so exquisitely done (as expected) – brings me back to Don’s drug-induced imagining of his father in “Seven Twenty Three,” in what is one of the defining lines of the series alongside Faye’s “You only like the beginnings of things” and Rachel Menken’s “You don’t want to run away with me. You just want to run away.”

        Don’s father says, “You grow bullshit.” That line is such a constant theme/subtext/undercurrent in Mad Men, and it definitely coursed through Pete Campbell’s (Vincent Kartheiser’s) artful performance. Here was Emile, the Marxist, nevertheless being impressed and even a little bit charmed by uber-capitalist Pete’s skillful unpacking of what it was he did for a living. Such great television.

        • Emile enjoys head games. Peter played a good one. Emile totally got and then respected that. I wonder if it will make him appreciate the sophistication behind some advertising, and have a bit more respect for Don and Megan’s work. Maybe, but I won’t bet the farm on it.

    • Thank goodness SueB! I thought I was alone on an island regarding this season being “The Megan Show”. It’s as though MW has decided that Megan should be a character of the level of Don, Peggy, Joan, Pete, and Roger and as they had a four season advantage on her; we will use this season to “catch up” with Mrs. Draper. Honestly, I liked her last year…. but enough is enough. Through the first four seasons, each character except Don has had an episode or two in which they were the primary focus…thus the phrase a Joanie episode, a Pete episode…etc. I seems to me that every episode this season has been a Megan episode. I want to see more of Joan, Lane, and much more of Peggy/Don.

      Mabye MW, in his genius, wants Megan to be a character that part of the audience loves and part hates. If so… it is working on me. I know that it is realistic for Megan as the “new wife” to generate this type of feeling; but, like with everyone other than Don., can we have just one episode without seeing Megan.

      Regardless, I thought last night’s episode was the best of the new season.

      Finally, as someone who is about to turn 55 next month… I despise the saying “It is what it is”; and do not ever recall hearing it said the way Joan used it before the mid to late 80’s.

      • An insight who is now considered in the upper echelon of Mad Men in season five: characters who explain their roles on Inside Mad Men after each episode as shown on You Tube.

        Here are the people who have consistently appeared this season:

        a) Matthew Weiner

        b) Jon Hamm

        c) John Slattery

        d) Christina Hendricks

        e) Elisabeth Moss

        f) Vincent Kartheiser

        g) Jared Harris

        h) Jessica Pare

        In other words Jessica Pare is NOT considered a minor character on Mad Men as she was in season four. In baseball terms she has moved from the bench to the starting lineup.

        • yes indeed….

        • All well and good. However, that does not address the fact that she has had nearly as much time on screen this year as anyone… including Jon Hamm. All the others in the “starting lineup” have episodes where they have little if any screen time. SInce Megan and Don consumated their relationship in his office near the end of last season…… sorry, but I feel like a frustrated Jan Brady… it has been, Megan, Megan, Megan.

          Given MW, I have to believe that there is a reason (and a payoff) for this.

          • We all know why Betty is not in more episodes (January Jones-maternity leave in real life), so that leaves Lane, Pete and Joan.

            Frankly how many different directions can you take Lane unless you want to delve deeper into his personal life. And frankly how much more do you want to know about Lane and Rebecca’s marriage, their life in England and their friends back home.

            I’ll fully admit if Mad Men was created for an international audience primarily, Lane would get more air time, but simply most Americans now could give a rat’s ass of what life was like in England in 1966. Sorry, folks from England.

            And Lane being a financial guru rather than an accounts exec or creative person gives the writers fewer directions to go.

            As for Pete it was disappointing to see that his story line was basically dropped in episode 6 and 7. Seeing in the episode 8 preview we will get more of Pete next week. I would have liked to have seen the next day in the life of Pete Campbell to see what he was like at home and then how he conducted his work activities considering he was emasculated in episode 5 Signal 30. Nobody is perfect and I think the producers of MM dropped the ball here.

            As for Joan Harris, I would like to see how she sees the road ahead for her and her baby Kevin. I would love to see a story line of what it is like to be a single female parent in the 1960’s and the possible frustrations that might entail on a daily basis. And there is always a possibility she could hook up with Lane.

            But back to Megan. How could the MM writers have shown the character development of Don Draper without including Megan Draper? Yes, you can talk about it but there’s a point you have to show it unfolding in real time and let the audience see it play out.

            I believe Megan is a terrific character in MM because she brings a completely different pace and energy to SCDP and brings to the table elements which nobody else can deliver, even Don himself. In any endeavor you have to inject new blood to keep from growing stale.

          • Don is our main character. Whether we see him at work or at home, Megan has a place in the storyline. It’s hard to see how to have less of her unless the plot is about Don cheating or escaping his home life, and that’s not where he’s at.

          • Techno, I for one, would like to see more of Lane. I think he’s very interesting. For example where is that teenage boy of his? When are we going to see him? I think he’s in some boarding school in New York? What if he’s in the same school as Glenn? There can’t be that many private boarding prep schools in NYC. Also I hope Lane gets friendlier with Joan. We know he’s very attracted to her. Could she feel something for him? (She said with gleeful anticipation.)

            Also even though I hiss and boo at Pete, he’s a very intriguing character.
            His maliciousness is deliciousness. Finger-lick’in good. More Pete please!

          • Bringing Lane’s wife back to NY was unnecessary and stifled the development of Lane’s storyline which was progressing quite well in Season 4.

          • Yes, Mrs. Price was a big surprise – and not at all necessary.

            But, as one who was the motive for putting Lane in that bar with Mr. Jaguar, she served a purpose.

            And Joanne: I think Lane is interesting, too, even if we never see his son (who’s young enough to get a big Mickey Mouse only a year ago).

      • Finally, as someone who is about to turn 55 next month… I despise the saying “It is what it is”; and do not ever recall hearing it said the way Joan used it before the mid to late 80′s.

        Kurt used that expression in Season 2’s “The Gold Violin” too. I believe it was right after Smitty showed Don the letter from his friend from Michigan who was involved in Students for a Democratic Society. Don said, “Students for a Democratic Society–that’s a hell of a focus group.” Smitty said “That’s how our generation feels” and shortly after that (there may have been more conversation in between, I can’t remember) Kurt said, “It is what it is.”

        Matt Weiner even referenced it on the DVD commentary, saying something (amused) about how foreigners sometimes pick up the slang and don’t spend enough time truly learning the English language.

  7. Agent Megan is now interesting. To witness Don break into 2 pieces when he is deceived by her, will be the delicious twist. Liar being lied to.

    I wrote last night that Roger is the finest creation on TV. If Slatts doesn’t win that Emmy this year, then I don’t know what.

    • And I’ll be kind of mad if he does and he is the only one recognized. He’s quippyIMO, not deep. I see Hamm, Moss, and Kartheiser with massive dramatic moments that are ignored. Yes, Slattery does an excellent job with the best one-liners in the script but there’s more gifted to him in terms of dialog. I don’t think that makes him the best of the cast. JMO YMMV

      • Roger chooses to glide over whatever depth he might have. Too icky, this life and death stuff, ya know? Competition is determinant in the Emmy’s. Unfortunately, Jon Hamm is in the same category as Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad, which is a MONSTROUS show.

        So Hamm might not get the nod until MM finishes after S7 as a farewell token. Like the actor from Friday Night Lights.

      • Something we can agree on:

        The actors are all great in bringing the nuances of their characters to life; they merely do so in different ways because they are different kinds of flavors.

        (SueB, I agree with your basic assertion. I think the best acting of season five remains Kartheiser and Harris in “Signal 30,” and I’m not really even talking about the fight scene. Pete with the prostitute and in the car with Don, and Lane in the room with Joan, delivered phenomenal performances.)


        I think Slattery’s performance in “Far Away Places” represented his best work to date. His character had to go deeper than it had been asked to in quite some time, and Slattery pulled it off with typical skill and range.

  8. […] Need a recap? Check out NY Times, Time, Hit Fix, E! Online, WSJ, Basket of Kisses, and […]

  9. What I found most interesting about this episode is there was a lot of dirty moves being played by all the characters, and people were disappointed because they were discovered or upset (here, I mean literally turned over).

    Sally tells a lie about what happened to her grandmother-in-law and earns accolades and an unexpected trip to Manhattan; but then she discovers that adult life in Manhattan isn’t as glamorous or refined as she imagined.

    Megan attempts to hide her brilliant ideas behind Don (after all this fighting to be seen as an equal worker), is forced to rely on him to convey her idea after she learns they’re losing the account for which they’d worked so hard, and the victory comes with a bittersweet realization that if she weren’t his wife AND a copywriter, there’s no way that account would have been saved as swiftly as they’d acted at that moment. She and Sally are in similar boats about learning about the dirtiness of the worlds they thought they wanted to join.

    Don thought he was being snide about dismissing the whole of smoking (and took in a cigarette while bragging about it) and believed people bought the lie when he won the award. (He should have thought twice back then; even Megan saw through the ruse when it first happened.) But he wound up sounding the death knell for his firm with the move — something everyone warned him would happen when he published it. A king without a thing is nothing, and right now the thing Don will lack is business.

    The Calvets cast aspersions on Megan and Don’s marriage when theirs is a shambles that only persists by tradition. Two affairs in their introductory episode? A mother-in-law who blatantly hits on her son-in-law? Belief that they could hide their problems by retreating to French? Pfft.

    Peggy believed she could have everything — work and marriage — when she and Abe grew closer together. The prospect of a proposal and having it all elated her less because she wanted to be in love and more because she wanted to prove her mother wrong. No matter what Abe would have proposed, Peggy would have invited her mother over to share in her “success.” Her refusal to see through the ruse had no impact on her mother’s reaction to what was going on because Peggy knew what she would be greeted with as she accepted Abe’s “proposal” (did you see her face after she accepted?).

    Roger spent more time fooling himself than anyone else; he thought that after his trip he’d be more enlightened and empathetic. After all, he thought Mona bought his desire to change (rather than her simply protecting the life to which she’s accustomed). Next thing, he’s back to his old tricks as soon as anyone casts him a desirous glance and he’s back to caring only about what he wants, since it’s coming from the mouth of a woman who sees the youth in him. (There’s a clear tie between Mona’s comment about Roger worrying he’s getting older and Mrs. Calvet remarking about how he’s like a little boy.)

    And let’s not forget the dirty trick of that Heinz exec who expected to have dinner and skip town. His wife… Megan underestimated the power of a wife in the advertising business because the Heinz wife saved their asses too by making her husband look like an underhanded fool if he didn’t take the impromptu pitch he clearly liked.

    Anyway, this episode is chock full of dirtiness in the adult world; most of the younger generation is disgusted by the trickery, disloyalty, and cynicism of their world and would rather be open about their indiscretions than hide behind veneers.

    • Great reader recap!!! A king without a thing is nothing. That’s good. Did you borrow that from somewhere?

      • I put a twist on a line from Hamlet. The line is, “A king is a thing of nothing” which was a play on words that the king is a man who came from a woman (men have things and women have “no-things”). Though I don’t like using emasculating language, that’s kind of what happened to Don in this episode. Crowned like a king with an award, and it’s immediately turned into nothing because it won’t benefit him and he still lacks access to a world determined not to accept him regardless of his studied manners.

    • Ashe_Phoenix:

      High-quality observations! Thank you!

      A number of your points merit some follow-up questions for continued discussion:

      What does “enlightenment” mean for Roger Sterling?

      When Roger acts the way he does in this episode, is that how Roger acts when he’s feeling good about himself? For other characters (Pete, Don, Peggy), unwise flings emerge from darkness, but with Roger, it’s more of an open question, and it would be interesting to see what other readers think about this.

      Did Peggy have a work-and-marriage scenario planned for a long time, or did Joan’s words (accurate to a substantial extent, but not completely) refocus her mind and give her a very specific set of short-term expectations?

      Flowing from that previous question, just how much of a(n orthodox) Catholic is September 1966 Peggy Olson? I wonder what Father Gill thinks. At any rate, that’s a discussion question I’d like to hear more about from other readers.

      Finally, will this award – cloaked in a certain degree of falsity – affect Don differently from past advertising awards, and if so, in what manner/direction?

      Again, ashe_phoenix, thank you for offering such rich and layered commentary that advances the discussion of this show (and season 5) on many fronts! Much appreciated!

      • Roger’s enlightenment to me is that other people’s motivations and desires matter to him, even when they conveniently dovetail with his own wants.

        I like your perspective about Roger’s open question to commit infidelity. The little boy in him is what women seem to pick up, and his enlightenment heightens that childlike precociousness that’s entertaining about him. As old as he is (cover your ears, Roger), he can still be cowed by new experiences like a child. And he continues to treat every time he’s along with a woman as a new experience, including some of the women he’s known the longest.

        As for Peggy, there have been a couple of instances where she mentions her desire to marry. I think Joan steps in and offers her the validation that she can’t find in her home life — namely, that she doesn’t necessarily have to get married. I don’t think Peggy is as shocked by the lack of tradition in her life or is as wedded to Catholicism as she is wedded to wanting to be recognized for something outside of the office; she’s more weary at the fact others won’t keep up. Joan’s reaction is a slight change for her and something she wants to welcome. But it still hurts her that her mom doesn’t recognize the new directions she’s taking.

        I’m hoping that Don uses the award as a way to rally the team and coax new business for SCDP. This blockade may not last long once Heinz starts cashing in on its new pitch and the demands of the younger generation take more of the spotlight. He’ll need Megan, Peggy, Ken, and Pete more than ever.

    • One more thing I forgot to say: the pitch for Heinz belies the arc of the show. The future is not going to be the same people in different costumes eating the same foods. The future will not be that predictable, yet that’s the story that the Heinz executive wants to believe. It’s a narrative for people getting too comfortable and looking for anchors to the past that keep them from observing their ever-changing surroundings.

    • I loved the line by Raymond’s wife, Alice, when in the ladies’ room with Megan:

      “I was prepared NOT to like you, You’re so good for that man.”

      It was right after that fortuitous moment that Megan whispered in Don’s ear that Heinz was firing SCDP.

      Could Alice have revealed how she felt about Megan to give Megan (and Don) one last-ditch effort to save the account? And notice after the Draper mini-presentation to Raymond and his hesitancy to the idea Alice spoke up and told her husband that is exactly what he was looking for, pinning him in a corner. That you see rarely on screen–wives tag-teaming to get what they both want from their husbands.

      But never forget without Alice, SCDP would have lost the Heinz account.

      As for the line itself I interpret on two levels: Megan is NOT the typical corporate wife (French-Canadian background) and not in the same age bracket as most of the corporate wives so Alice had assumed they would not have much in common which she confessed she wrong about. But even more importantly, Alice, an outsider, realized how Don’s brash attitude at times could turn people off (also she would have known of The Letter which made Don persona non grata with many companies) and that Megan definitely took the edge off Don and made him appear more refined and diplomatic. And by claiming “your so good for that man” Alice was basically telling Megan that Don did not deserve her as his wife and basically confirmed for Megan as well how important she is or could become in determining Don’s success as an advertising executive. And great it came from a much older woman who understood the importance and impact a wife can have on her husband’s career.

  10. Amusingly, when I pictured Megan’s mother previously, Juliette Binoche was always in my head. And they chose Julia Ormond, who looks… very similar in this.

    I loved this episode. That is all.


    • THAT’S why I was so confused last night! I kept seeing that it was Julia Ormond, but kept expecting Juliette Binoche’s voice to come out of her.

      Now I wonder if I every really knew they were two separate people….

      LOL : )

      • There are a handful of actresses I do that with – though I usually KNOW they’re two different people, I sometimes insert their face in the memory of the other’s movie/show…

        Anna Paquin vs. Claire Danes
        Juliette Binoche vs. Julia Ormond
        Lena Olin vs. Diane Lane

        And all of them are AWESOME actresses in their own right.

        Oh, Tobey Maquire and Topher Grace as an example of two actors I do that to…

    • I didn’t even recognize Julia Ormond — but then again my last image of her was whining about loving Tristan —

  11. Nice recap!!!

    I slept better last night. Very enjoyable television. (It helped that we couldn’t get HBO last night so we missed Game of Thrones, which was OK by me).

    Roger and Marie Calvet — why would he turn that down just because Mona was in the episode? You think she’s sitting on the shelf, pining for Roger, getting a new cat every 15 years? Oh hell no.

    And where is the fallout from last week’s domestic anger incident? Yes, we now know that Megan doesn’t come from a home with a happy marriage. Is that sufficient information to accept that, “Oh OK, she actually thinks drinking ’til you pass out and cheating and rage are all “just part of a marriage”?. I suppose it will have to suffice, since we only get 40-something minutes/week and MW has, er, many other fish to fry. And I suppose Don did show signs of trying to “get it” about Megan and her career.

    I don’t see religion as the stumbling block for Peggy and Abe staying together, marrying or not marrying. I think a breakup will be about careers and life trajectories. Abe, if his left-of-center journalism career takes off as it well could in the coming era, will be traveling and busy. Peggy will be busy. There is not much time for “them.” Also, doesn’t Abe seem years away from being interested in a traditional setup? Peggy, we still don’t know what she wants, and [because] neither does she. I’m almost a bit offended by the “he’ll never marry a shiksa” stuff that’s going on here. Lots of Jewish men did and do. Abe is a very marginal Jew that way. Peggy isn’t defined by him and she’s not going to be.

    Poor Sally. She is receiving way too many strange transmissions from Planet Adult. There are reasons why you don’t take your 12 year old to an adult event. Alcohol is one of them.

    • I agree about the Peggy/Abe comments, even though I think Abe knew that Peggy would be expecting a proposal. I feel like he was partially testing her to see how serious she was about him, especially after last episode where every time they would have a fight she’d say, “Do you want to end this?”

      Maybe it is practice; but it seems like practice to ultimately marry Peggy — kind of like present-day arrangements to live together before getting hitched.

    • Actually, I think the first reason will be precisely what Ma Olson said — if he wanted to marry her he would. He’s not doing this premeditated IMO but eventually he WILL marry a woman and it won’t be Peggy is my guess.

      And my comment about Abe’s mother caling Peggy a shiksa is that while everything we’ve seen is Abe as a progressive, I’m thinking a classic Mad Men move would be for Abe to be living a counter culture life his parent don’t approve. I don’t think Abe cares at all about Peggy’s religion. I’m only suggesting it may be an issue for his parents (if we ever meet them). I think the relationship fails because Peggy doesn’t love Abe that much and Abe is not prepared to get married yet.

      • And my feeling is that Abe comes from a red-diaper kind of background and his parents are probably OK with unconventional behavior. They may well be unconventional themselves. Abe was grew up and came of age in the 40s and 50s, not the 60s. He’s closer to 30 than 20. Given his politics, he was probably brought up in a blue-collar, NY union-activist, progressive, secular, ethnically but not religiously Jewish, leftist household.

        Then again, maybe not, but given his career, he seems most likely to have been raised on progressive politics. Think Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were” for Abe’s mother figure. Maybe in the end Abe/Peggy will turn out like the two characters in TWWW, but with the genders reversed. Read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia and see if there aren’t some clear similarities in the tension between Abe/Peggy and the Streisand/Redford characters already…

        • Jzzy55, your comment about Abe made me think of a documentary called At Home In Utopia, that was featured on the PBS series, Independent Lens, in 2009.

          New York City cops in the Great Depression called it Little Moscow, but for the 2,000 Jewish immigrant residents of the United Workers Cooperative Colony, a.k.a. “the Coops,” it was their first taste of the American dream. AT HOME IN UTOPIA bears witness to an epic social experiment, following two generations of residents and their commitment to radical ideas of racial equality and rights for tenants and workers.

          • And there were many, many other people who didn’t go so far as to live this lifestyle, but shared similar values and admired what those folks tried to accomplish. Thanks for the link and info.

            Where I live we have several co-housing communities and many of the first and most committed members come from precisely this kind of progressive background. Or wish they had.

      • I think this is right on. Remember Katherine Olson said “when he wants children he’ll marry someone Jewish”. That may be correct, cliché though it is.

  12. I did noit like this episode and the Heinz business is one of them.

  13. It feels a bit like The Megan Show lately. Weirdly though, she still seems like such a blank slate to me, but I guess we’ll be finding more out about her when we get a look at her “passion.”

    I kind of miss our original female group, who seem to have fallen by the wayside.

    • Megan is like Keegan Bradley who won the PGA Championship last year with very few people knowing who he was.

      But if you closely examine Bradley’s biography up to the victory you would have seen evidence of his potential. And the same goes for for Megan Calvet, now Megan Draper.

      I disagree with you that Megan is a blank slate. She was introduced into Mad Men in Season 4 episode 2 with the one line, “Yes, Joan” and over the next 11 episodes she had more lines and was given more responsibility (in SCDP) and more airtime. And over that time we learned many things about Megan, that she was of French extraction, responsible, kind, good-natured, polite, obedient, kept to herself and not a chatterbox. You might call her slightly aloof.

      Megan really came to the forefront when she picked up Sally after she had slipped while running down the hallway in episode 9 and consoled her and calmed her down. Even Don who had never paid her much notice until then. The folks at SCDP were only one day removed from Ida’s sudden death so Megan had only been Don’s executive secretary since then.

      And then in episode 11 Megan told Don her background and what her dreams were in terms of SCDP or the advertising industry. And by taking the initiative to make love to Don in the office, Megan showed the audience that she was confident in her own sexuality. Of course at the time, some people might have thought entrapment.

      And then we come to Tomorrowland where Don asks Megan to accompany him to CA to look after the kids. As a reminder,.this was all precipitated by Betty firing Carla just before Don was to leave for the West Coast. Don was desperate and thus turned to Megan. You could tell beforehand he had no intention of taking Megan with him on the trip. But of course this is where fate stepped in.

      Now an argument could be made that Megan was a blank slate if she lied to Don after he asked her if she had thought about going to bed with him after he recruited her to go to CA but she said, “That was the first thing I thought of.” Again we have a woman who is upfront about how much she cares for Don. She never tried to hide it.

      And now we come to the proposal. Notice how surprised Megan was when Don asked her to marry him. She admitted she had phoned her mother from CA but you could tell she thought she was fantasizing. The way she accepted the proposal shows a young woman comfortable in her sexuality but not yet comfortable with living life as an adult. After all she was only 25. Think back to when you were 25. Did you know everything then?

      And now we come to season five one and two where we see a completely different side of Megan’s personality as she arranges the surprise party and sings Zou Bisou Bisou.

      And episode five Signal 30 re-establishes Megan’s intention to do what Don does one day or what Peggy does by her telling Ken and Pete and their wives of her ambitions.

      And episode 6 reveals to us how serious Megan treats her work and that she doesn’t like Don being dismissive of it.

      And finally episode 7 reveals that Megan has the potential to be brilliant and finally that Don realizes who he married. And now we find out about Megan’s parents as well.

      And you call her a blank slate. I don’t get it.

      • I agree with you. I think Megan is a complex, multifacted character with a bonus of charisma and has been a great addition to the show. I also think she is a fantastic actress, with a lot of nuance. I really don’t understand the Megan bashing. Betty is yesterday. We are moving on……..aren’t we? It is nice to see Don happy.

        • Statements that begin “I think” and “I really think” (from your post above) are ways of stating your opinion. Which is exactly what I am doing, and others who don’t like the Megan character are also doing.

          And what does Betty have to do with this? Are you saying that fans of MM have to not like Betty in order to like Megan? Or vice versa? Not sure what you meant.

          There are a lot of people who don’t believe that Don deserves happiness. I don’t personally see Don’s happiness as the main point of this show. It may be Matt’s main thesis, but it’s not everyone’s.

          This is no “right” response to the Megan character on this show, and there doesn’t have to be a team Megan or team anyone else. We like who we like, and we don’t like who we don’t like, based on a lot of things.

      • What is even more remarkable about the Megan ascent, especially recalling Don’s musing about all the things that had to happen that led to his proposal, is how Megan almost blew Don’s “cover” and very much was involved in SCDP having to abandon the big west coast missle account. It was one of the things that didn’t happen– Don not firing Megan, or not accepting her resignation offer. Given Don’s mentality and sensitivity about his identity, I was shocked that he didn’t fire her on the spot, even though he was equally responsible, if not more so, for her completing and sending the security clearence materials.

        • “Don’s musing about all the things that had to happen that led to his proposal”

          I regard that as a fuzzy sentiment that on its face is utterly trivial – the same statement can be made about the most mundane circumstances.

          I thought it was the self-involved statement of a man who is so in love that anything can seem marvelous.

          “shocked that he didn’t fire (Megan) on the spot”

          Yes, so was I, except that he was immediately refocused on survival. Such a focus would distract him. In any case firing Megan would not help him to survive.

    • It’s feeling a bit like the Megan show to me also. And we may be finding out more about her when we learn about her “passion,” but at this point I still don’t care enough about Megan to give a hoot about her “passion.” I don’t believe the writers have given us much reason to care about Megan yet.

      Maybe it’s because I lived and worked during those years, but I don’t find Megan in any way extraordinary. And she’s continually being sold to us as just that. She still doesn’t feel “real” to me. Every time I’ve read a post about finding out about Megan’s passion, my response is “who cares?” And yet obviously some people do. I don’t think Matt & Co. have sold this character as well as they have the others.

      Ah well, this is still the best TV show ever!

      • I too would like to see more of Joan and Pete. But unless Megan is sent out of town, how do you show day in the life of Don Draper without her, especially that she works at the office as well.

        Think of many folks at SCDP will be impacted by her creativity on the Heinz account. Megan has NOT arrived yet, but I don’t think you can claim she is a nonentity either.

        And finally regarding the passion of Megan Draper, have you noticed anytime in season 5 that Don Draper has seriously strayed (for real and not in a dream sequence as in Mystery Date) or contemplated straying from his marriage vows? Let me put it this way: Don loves her home cooking. And did you see the embrace in the cab after they closed the Heinz deal? In real life should every man’s wife be that passionate.

      • “Maybe it’s because I lived and worked during those years, but I don’t find Megan in any way extraordinary. And she’s continually being sold to us as just that.”

        I agree with this, she reminds me a lot of Karen on Smash–if you watch that show. But yeah, I just don’t feel that we’re getting a real 360 degree view of her…yet. She just exists and is fabulous, of course, but we know so little about her inner life. That being said, I don’t hate the character and I’m actually glad Don chose her over Faye because she adds a youthful component to the show.

        • Objectively Megan is not extraordinary. Sure there were women in the 1960’s more beautiful, more intelligent, a better hostess and wealthier than her. But Don Draper finds her extraordinary. And for the writers of Mad Men that is all that matters.

          • techno,

            As fans who obviously care a great deal about Mad Men and its characters, let’s agree to disagree about the amount of time spent this season on developing Megan. However, one constant aspect of this show and one thing I always tell people who are curious about it (but generally have never watched); is that all of the characters are shown to be human. No one, no matter how bad, is seen to be beyond redemption and no one is portrayed as a saint (Sally lies.. Anna smoked pot…etc.). I believe that if MW is true to the past of this wonderful show, Megan’s halo will evidence some major tarnish before too long.

  14. It is the Megan Show now. It is what it is.
    When the deception is revealed it still won’t justify all this Megan airtime, imho.

    • Tilden, what has you so unshakeably convinced that Megan is “deceiving” Don (and everyone else, including the audience)? It is just the “She’s a good actress” comment by her friend? I don’t think MW’s story lines are usually that simplistic. What’s your other evidence? Or are you just joking around? I can’t tell.

      You might enjoy reading the Louisa May Alcott potboiler story “Behind a Mask.” The main character there does what you suspect Megan of plotting — in very potboiling fashion!

      • I also thought about her friend saying that she was a good actress and about how Megan corrected Don at the Heinz dinner saying….if by trying to be an actress means working as one…

        So Megan is clearly talented and artistic. I want to know more about he passion.

      • I just feel like I’ve always felt about Megan, skittish. Can’t get this gnawing thought out of my head that she is Don’s cosmic comeuppance for his past. The universe is indifferent, I know. At times MW has stated that he has wanted his characters punished, for their behavior, that the universe is not always indifferent. Maybe it is as techno frequently writes, Don does not deserve happiness. As absurd as that sounds.

        Picture Don going through what Betty did. There would be enough pain t
        o last another 5 seasons. Then maybe guys like me, who talk a lot of crap about Betty, would have to take pause.

      • I’m going to order it on my kindle tonight Elizabeth, thanks. I grew up on the street, did some things I’m not proud of. Since money is not the most important thing you could lose in that ‘business’ (your freedom, your life are), you develop an almost animalistic sense of who people are in order to survive. Its eerie. If your inner antenna goes off about anyone, you ran fast in the other direction. I ‘knew’ who Rachel, Midge, Bobbie, Suzanne, Faye Miller all were when I saw them. Megan? Who is this chick I thought. The spidey senses went off. It is still there. Maybe I’m the only one, but why is Megan’s theme music so spooky. Is that making much ado?
        Odd. Its the only word I can use to describe how I feel about this character who has taken over the show.

        • Did your spidey senses offer a clue about the passion to which Megan’s father alluded?

          My own knee jerk reaction was (spoken aloud to my son who watches with me (with relish):

          “She’s a lefty radical”

          Alex is lot more attuned to emotional language in general – I’ll see what his take was.

          I’m going to watch again and see if the vibe plays differently.

          • Megan is aware of leftist points of view, obviously. But she has shown no signs whatsoever of a strong political consciousness or an interest in “politics.” Personal politics, yes, absolutely. but that’s not what “lefty radical” means (to me).

            Pete Campbell is more of a lefty radical than she is, if you go purely by what we have seen.

          • jzzy55: Yes, my reaction probably says more about me than about the character/situation – a feeling, nothing more.

        • I have a spidey sense about her, too, Tilden. I’m not sure what it’s telling me, but I feel odd about her. You know, some of this could just be a function of different writers writing different characters. I have never taken the time to look, but it might be enlightening to see whether Rachel’s episodes, for example, were all written by one writer. I felt that Rachel’s character just jumped of the screen — of perhaps everyone who’s ever been on Mad Men, she seemed the most real and realized to me. I felt similarly about Faye, though she was a little less completely developed. Bobbie Barrett was pretty fully developed, too. At the other end of the spectrum was Suzanne — she was completely two dimensional. I thought she was a very unsuccessful character study. So it would be interesting to see if those contrasts are a function of, simply, different writers writing the episodes centering around those characters.

          Megan — it’s odd. Last season I felt that she was a complete nothing. Nothing there at all — they hadn’t bothered to create a person. Now I am feeling with each episode that she becomes a little more three dimensional, as if she is literally growing more layers of flesh and blood as they write more of her. But why is it taking so long to make her real? Rachel was real within 30 seconds.

          I don’t know if this is deliberate stringing along of the audience to make the arc of the character last longer, or whether, simply, the writers writing Megan are not as good as the writers who wrote Rachel, Faye, and Bobbie.

          • Great comments. I agree that the writers are adding more layers to Megan in the past two episode,s and we now have more “information” about her. But that’s just it, what we have is “information,” a “story,” rather than a flesh and blood character such as Rachel and Faye, and to a lesser extent, Bobbie, were/are.

            I keep coming back to the feeling that Megan is not “true” to the time and place. Megan doesn’t feel like anyone I knew in the mid to late 60s working in the city. Now Peggy I recognized right off the bat, almost on a cellular level :), in the first scenes in episode 1, season 1. I “knew” many of the types of people we’ve come to know and love on MM. Megan though feels written in to take Don to certain places in his story arc. There have been only two scenes now where Megan, for me, has been flesh and blood. And that’s not much for all the air time she’s been given so far this season and the end of the last season.

            The first four seasons were much more true to life, the way I remember it, in the mid 1960s working and living in NYC than this season is, so far.

            BTW, a fun memory for me: I figured out the other day that it was probably mid 1966 when I applied for, and got, the job of executive secretary to the director of advertising for L&M on Fifth Ave & 51st St, across from St. Patty’s. I was looking to change jobs that spring and the employment agency I was working with sent me out on 3 interviews in one day and I got job offers on all 3. The second one was working for an account exec at a big ad agency. I wish I could remember which one! Stayed at my company instead though when they offered me a promotion and raise. I did work on Madison a couple of years later, but not at an ad agency. These MM people are sooo real to me. Each week it’s almost like traveling back in time.

            Is there anyone else posting here at BoK who worked in NYC during the mid 60’s?

    • I dont agree with any of the comments that she is manipulating or decieving Don. She was genuinely surprised to get the proposal and seems to care about being part of the team.

      • sr,

        I don’t think Megan is deceiving Don, either.

        I would point out — not to you, but to all readers — that manipulation and deception are often (though not always) very different things. To manipulate is to affect another’s reactions, emotions, etc. That can include deception – trickery – but is often far more innocent than that.

        Megan, in season four – when she first seduced Don in the office – was manipulating Don. She wasn’t deceiving him. Nevertheless, the reality of Megan’s manipulation back then is a powerful and important subtext for so much of what was shown and developed last night in “At the Codfish Ball.”

    • The Megan Show, right.

      • I do not watch the tease for the upcoming episode Chiara….however, your comment concerns me. Comparing Happy Days to Mad Men is like comparing People magazine to the New Yorker; however this is beginning to remind me of when HD became The Fonzie Show.

        • I’m sorry if I spoiled something (I see my comment has been edited by the moderators), I didn’t mean to do that.

    • Ha ha. She is who she is. Whoever that is.

  15. Wonderful recap. As always, thanks for your thoughtful summary.

    Just noticed one small aspect of the final scene at the table: the waiter approaching Sally and asking her if she is finished wth her drink–the Shirley Temple, surely a drink that symbolizes innocence and the wish to be like the grown-ups. In the scence, even though she barely touched it, she replies that she is done with it. It’s as if to say she no longer has these romantic, innocent illusions of the grown-up world.

    • Yeah I thought it seemed a bit heavy-handed, but it was a bit humorous as well. Poor Sally though!

    • Roger calling her a mean drunk was not as funny after Sally saw him with Mrs Clavet. I felt bad for her ruined innocence.

  16. Wonderful recap — I really like your thoughts on fish and comfort food.

    I was wondering if any of you noticed the painting at the beginning of the episode when Don and Emile are carrying luggage in the hallway outside Don and Megan’s apartment. It looked a lot like the painting Don bought from Midge in season 4’s “Blowing Smoke,” and made me wonder if he liked it enough to keep it, but Megan knew his past about Midge and wanted it out of the apartment…

  17. Emile says to Don, “My daughter pretends to find interesting what I find interesting because she loves me.”

    Boom — Megan only wants to be a copywriter because she loves Don? Megan is supposed to be the modern woman, but how traditional is it that she is part of the “team,” comes up with a great idea for a campaign, and basically prompts and telegraphs the pitch for Don to deliver at the perfect time? Does she do all this because she loves and wants to please Don?

    Instead of the question, “What does a woman want?” Matt Weiner is teasing us with, “What does Megan want?” Megan majored in literature and described herself as dabbling in art and acting. She took elocution lessons. She doesn’t seem to want to make babies, but she seems so good with Sally, Bobby, and Gene.

    I just hope she doesn’t turn into her mother, but I do think she will eventually do something that will be soul-crushing to Don.

    • BTW Polly Draper, I though Mona looked quite liked the actress Polly Draper last night…I had to do a double take. God I enjoyed that scene. Mona was content as a kitten and Roger was completely gracious, despite her fuzzy slings and arrows. He deserved every one of them and he knew it.

      • Yes, great scene between Roger and Mona — I do hope we get to see more of them together.

        BTW, who knew that the dog that Don brings home to Sally (instead of her cake) in Season 1 (Marriage of Figaro) would be the same name as an actress! 🙂

    • Megan’s dad is a writer. he visited a publisher. I wonder if megan wanted to be a copy writer to have something in common with her dad before she go together with Don.

      • Megan’s dad is a professor who publishes which is probably one of duties as a professor

        • Trust me, what Megan might write (at work or for pleasure) bears no resemblance to his academic writing. No more than Ken’s work resembles what Emile writes.

          I don’t even understand why he is visiting a NY publisher. If there was to be an American edition of a book, his Canadian publisher would forward a copy of his manuscript or book to an American publisher who wants to buy the rights. SOP for academic publishing, then and now.

          • Canadian publisher? There was, I believe, only one of those then of any distinction. Canadian publishers were mostly outposts of British or (a few) American publishers. The decisions were probably made in London and New York.

          • Academic publishing was a little different Esp if he published with a university press….I worked in that niche for a while…

  18. The interesting part for me was how the different characters sought out approval and their resulting behavior from either getting it or not. Sally lied about how Paulene tripped in order to get approval from the adults and then used the approval to reward her with an invite to the dinner. Contrastly, Peggy told the truth in hopes of getting approval from her mother (and father) but didnot get it and felt bad afterwards. Megan got approval from Don and her peers with the Heinz account but still did not seem happy (and her father later called her out on it). I believe Megan and Peggy were similar in that they both had a disapproving parent but those objections matched their own secret feelings. Both are lying to themselves – Megan is starting to realize it is not her passion and Peggy would rather have the proposal -so even if the parent approved, they would not feel good about it. Don got approval from the cancer society in the form of the award but then did not feel great about it when he realized the people bestowing the award did not like/trust him. Roger did not get approval in the form of business cards so he got it from Mrs Calvet instead. Meanwhile, Dr Calvet did not get approval from his publisher and sought comfort from someone other than his wife. So now the question is for those who got the approval but did not feel good about it, what is the next step?

    • In adding to the theme of approval/disapproval from my original post, I was wondering if Glen being at boarding school was another example. His family did not strike me as having alot of money to be sent to boarding school so I was wondering if his mother did not approve of his behavior and shipped him out.

      • Glen’s mother remarried though, didn’t she? I vaguely remember Glen and Sally talking about that, and he told her that Betty would probably have another baby, because his mother did after getting remarried…or something like that!

        • Makes sense in a way… new husband, new baby, oldest son gets shipped off to boarding school.

        • Yep, Helen Bishop remarried. What I forgot until I rewatched Sally’s birthday party in season one is that not only was Glen nine years old at the time, but that Helen had a very small child as well.

          I’m creeped out by 15-year-old Glen confiding in 12-year-old Sally, and by the reverse as well.

          • Glenn looked so much older in this episode, it must have been a while since he was on. Glenn and Sally have been friends for a couple of years now and it seems to be like they were neighbor kids (they were for a while) and they are buddies. I’m glad Sally still has him as a friend.

            • 17 months passed in real time. Between the ages of 12 and 13, my son grew 8 inches. I think Marten had that kind of year.

      • We never met the step-father. It could also be military school or another such “straighten out the troubled kid” residence.

        • One of the boys in the hall with Glenn is wearing a Hotchkiss sweatshirt. Hotchkiss is a boarding school in Connecticut–my husband went there a few years before Glenn’s time…

        • Did you get, from his two brief scenes, that Glen is troubled?

          He struck me as pretty together.

          • Glen has a troubled history: In the past he has run away for several days, felt utterly neglected, been through some harsh stuff, broken into and vandalized a home, sneaks smokes, sneaks around to see a girl he’s not supposed to see… he may be fine or not. His parents may perceive him as troubled regardless of whether he is. He’s at boarding school for some reason.

          • Well, I took another look at Glen’s two phone calls. He may not be “troubled” but he seems morose – a little blue – getting over a breakup.

            Sally’s a good friend – and I think Glen is too – and hope he will continue to be.

          • Glen does have a troubled history. As the son of a single Mom for a brief period of time, though, he has learned how to comfort females. It’s not about anything he says in particular, though. At least, I haven’t analyzed it. It’s more about being a good listener to women unaccustomed to being heard.

    • Pauline was more likely to trip because she was drunk. She also hid that. She is covering for adults more than she is covering for herself.

      • I thought that Pauline’s being drunk was part of the reason she tripped too. Bit I didn’t think Sally was covering for Pauline, just herself. Now I’m reconsidering! Interesting take.

      • I dont think she knew Paulene was drunk. She was in her room talking to Glen and would do anything to stay out of her way which is what Don told her to do in a previous episode. for her to know that Paulene was drunk she would have had to spend time with her which was not doing. I think she was just covering up for herself. She doesnt like Paulene to want to cover for her.

  19. For all the Megan air time that has been noted, this really seemed to be an episode about Don’s future. And it hinges on Ed Baxter’s comment about not liking or trusting Don. If that’s the case, then Don is going to really need other people to work out some sort of strategy to redeem Don and the firm from the consequences of the cigarette letter in the NYT.

    And the main players in working out that strategy would be Roger (newly awakened and ready to rock after the LSD experience) and Pete (who demonstrated his savoir faire in his off the cuff conversation with Emil).

    That said, I’m not sure Ed’s dad is really speaking for too many besides himself. After all, SCDP did land Heinz and the return of Mohawk; not all businesses are shunning the firm. Plus, Dow would having the same sort of vulnerabilities that Lucky Strike had (unpopular product, ie, napalm, which Roger mentioned) and maybe Ken’s dad can see Don doing the same thing to Dow. Dow WILL get slammed in 1967, when college students began to protest the presence of Dow Chemical recruiters on campuses, arguing that the use of napalm was immoral.

    • Don getting called out on his disloyalty and “biting the hand that feeds him” seems to apply to both his personal life and business (not that Ed would know that). Don’s just not good at relationships, period. He’s trying, but still hasn’t learned what loyalty is all about. Even in this episode, he doesn’t “get” why it might be a problem that Dr. Calvet is crying to his grad student, instead of his wife.

  20. Two questions:
    1. Was the restaurant where the award dinner was held the Rainbow Room? I cant think of any other restaurant at the time but I recall reading that it was quite fancy – murals and artwork. this room did not seem that way.
    2. Why did Mrs Calvet suddenly get up from the table and then fall asleep with a lit cigarette? Did she pass out from too much drinking? What was that?

    • No — it was a restaurant in the Time Life Building (Ken said they could take the elevator down 11 stories to their offices). The Rainbow Room is in Rockefeller Center.

    • I think Megan expected certain conditions, which is why she went to check on her mom (who was “Draping”, LOL), so that would lend credence to the drinking scenario.

  21. In the scene in the copywriters’ office when Abe was eating lunch with Peggy and the guys, he seemed very uncomfortable with their sexual comments and jokes involving Peggy. I had the sense that the proposal about moving in together was at least partly motivated by his desire to put his mark on Peggy as his. He seems to be insecure about where he stands with her in relation to the world of SCDP, and living with her would give him more security without the commitment of marriage, or so he hopes.

    The fighting between the Calvets reminded me of Megan’s remark to Don in the last episode, “Every time we fight it diminishes this.” She knows the corrosive effect of fighting on a marriage, and she doesn’t want to end up like her parents.

    • MJ,

      Abe flatly tells Peggy at one point that he simply can’t talk to her in the office anymore. He can’t be honest or open or fully expressive to/with her in that kind of environment

    • I agree completely that Abe’s “proposal” was directly related to that scene at work. He was clearly frustrated by the conversation and their lack of one-on-one time. Solution: live in the same apartment and they have to see more of each other. I don’t think that’s going to work out too well, though….

      • I totally agree miss kim. I also think that it’s a bit disconcerting for Abe to see Peggy eating meals and engaging in sexually charged banter with her male colleagues just like she’s one of the guys. Eating and sharing food with others can be an extremely intimate and bonding experience and many people reveal quite a lot about themselves and their home lives during these times. I feel that Abe is definitely aware of this fact and views their living together as a more meaningful way for him to fit into Peggy’s life.

  22. Posted originally at Indiewire….I wonder what will become of Meghan. I used to think of her as a pawn but seeing her with her parents makes me understand how self-sabotaging her life was created. A lifetime of trying to walk a tightrope between flawed people–maybe the reason why after the elation of a great Heinz logline an idea she withdraws credit to herself to elevate someone else she cares about (Don at the dinner table). Maybe Don seems like a relief since the one clear difference between him and her parents is that Don is definitely no miserable. Roger and Mona a were great…I secretly hoped that they’d get back together. I am liking Joan better but her and ROger scream No to me. Every person is so restrained by their societal pigeonholing. It really is a freer social AMerica now, except in some of my religious friends. [I hope Megan hasn’t replaced Betty–she has a struggling place in this World too]

    People are either making sacrifices or they are being sacrificed. thanks for listening Lippsister.

    • I think the reason she had Don pitch Heinz is that she read, correctly, that the customer only wanted to hear the pitch from a man. He rejected all of Peggy’s ideas, even though they were good, and what he asked for. (“Did Don sign off on this?”) If Megan had made the pitch, they would still have been fired. She’s good at reading people.

  23. A few short observations mixed with questions for readers to ponder:

    1) When Megan receives Peggy’s genuine congratulations with something less than fully effusive joy, is she reacting strictly to what Peggy said about “this is as good as this business will get,” or are her tensions with Emile foremost in her mind as well? I can’t help but think that Megan and Peggy are going to have a defining scene before season five ends, one that’s going to reveal and define much about these characters’ respective arcs and life journeys.

    2) The most under-discussed scene from Sunday’s episode: Peggy reacting in a puzzled way when Megan doesn’t receive her congratulations with the joy Peggy was probably expecting. The three questions that emerge here: A) Does Peggy see her relationship with Megan as something very much akin to what she went through with Joan, only with Peggy occupying Joan’s role? (I know all of us, as readers/viewers, can see this, but does PEGGY see it?) Question B) — Would Peggy have congratulated Megan so sincerely if Joan hadn’t given her that little bit of counsel earlier in the episode, which prepared Peggy for what Abe had to say? The most important question of all, though, is C) — Was Peggy’s sincere and warm manner with Megan a product of feeling good about herself now that she and Abe were going to live together, or was it more the product of a hard-earned wisdom flowing from past slights and disappointments in her career?

    I’d really like to get a wide range of opinions on that last question. Where Peggy was coming from (emotionally) when she congratulated Megan would, if ascertained, say so much about Peggy’s trajectory and, for that matter, the trajectory of season five.

    • I couldn’t quite suss out either Peggy or Megan’s true emotions in that scene. Megan seemed like she felt either guilty or sad — or both, and I’m not sure why yet.

      Peggy seemed like she genuinely was happy for Megan, but there was something about it that bothered me. My reaction, and I may be wrong, was that earlier in the season Peggy had quietly resented Megan being given a copywriter position based simply on marrying Don, and that she didn’t believe in Megan’s talent, and that after receiving Abe’s “proposal,” Peggy in a way internally gave up on her professional ambitions — that she kind of relinquished her professional position to Megan, and that in Peggy’s mind, she was substituting her personal success (receiving the “proposal”) for professional success. As if she concluded that she couldn’t have both, and that her professional moment in the sun has passed. I wonder if she is concluding that there can only be one successful woman in the firm at a time (kind of like “the Black position” on the Supreme Court), and that she’s being displaced from that position by Megan.

      Maybe I am reading too much into it. But somehow I was getting that from that scene (and the season that’s led up to it).

      • Imho, Peggy’s reaction is more or less what she says it is, in part because she’s just coming off some unusual validation from Joan.

        Megan’s reaction is probably related to what Emile says to her at the dinner. Peggy tells Megan this is as good as the job gets — and it’s not satisfying to her, which is why Emile’s lecture about pursuing art or acting hits her hard later.

      • I think Megan was the only one who remembered that Heinz had been Peggy’s baby; that Peggy had been fired from the work; that Peggy wasn’t in on the celebration. In last week’s episode, Megan felt bad that she (and Don, I guess) were not there for Peggy when she made the disastrous Heinz pitch. I think her going to find Peggy was just a natural extension of all that.

      • I think what Peggy was feeling for the first time was that of a mentor, in this case her as a mentor to Megan, like Don has been a mentor for Peggy. When your mentee catches fire the first time, it’s a happy, proud feeling, almost as much for yourself as for them.

      • I think Peggy is projecting a bit, SHE would be “jumping up and down” if she had won the account. The puzzled expression may come from a lack of understanding of Megan, who may be realizing that copy writing and the ad business in general isn’t as satisfying as she thought it would be. For someone into acting, singing etc. it probably doesn’t seem that “creative” and knowing her political upbringing may think it is too manipulative. I don’t know, I just think she is looking at it with a different view than everybody else.

      • I think Megan felt guilty and sad, yes. In this episode we see that her mother is highly competitive with her and sees her as a threat. That was apparent from the moment we see Marie’s interactions with Don. I thought she was going to do something wildly inappropriate with Don, not necessarily with Roger. Growing up in an environment in which YOUR success necessarily means that someone else loses out would entail having a very conflicted view about achievement. It would make it very hard to luxuriate in that moment, like Peggy is asking you to. Megan IS a threat. She is beautiful, she is talented, and she’s good at reading people. She provokes very strong reactions in people, some of them hostile. Imagine that hostility coming from your own mother and you’d see why, instead of enjoying her success, she’d want to just as quickly downplay it and make sure to touch base with the person most likely to feel threatened (ie, Peggy). Notice her emotional assumption is that a WOMAN will feel threatened. She doesn’t seem to worry about Don feeling threatened, and certainly in artistic couples, professional jealousy is not unknown. (And who knows? I wouldn’t be surprised if this reared its ugly head in future episodes.)

        Part of Megan’s ambivalence about herself, that infuriating confusion about who she is that so many people find suspicious, is rooted in her parents’ ambivalence about her gifts. They don’t view her talents as separate from themselves.

  24. I wasn’t surprised that Peggy took Abe up so quickly on his offer (rather than proposal). In the very first episode of the series, Peggy was the one going to the doctor for birth control pills, which was a bold move for an unmarried woman in those days. And she didn’t fake a “Mrs.” or the doctor wouldn’t have been lecturing her on not being a slut. Joan went the traditional route of abortions. Joan went the traditional route of marriage, and it isn’t a shock that Peggy would go bold on the relationship when Abe wanted it. The conversation they both had about “a piece of paper” pointed up the difference openly.

    I was also struck by Marie’s (in French) statement to Don when Sally asked to go to the banquet. She said something like, “Daughters should see their father’s success.” Emile exploded at that, which makes me think she’s needled him for being a failure before, and it was a hot button.

    However, the moment of Don’s “success” seems to have been turned into a recognition of failure. I’m saying “seems,” because I’m not sure I believe Ken’s father – though it’s clear that Don did. The top people in huge companies can be risk-takers, and Lucky Strike didn’t go out of business because of the perception that Don stabbed them in the back. In fact, Lucky Strike was probably doing very well. If Don believed in himself and what he could do, he could well convince some of those big guys that it’s worth it to take a chance on him, for he Glo-Coat rewards–a great campaign while the business relationship lasts. Remember, Glo-Coat was the last award Don got, and it turned sour immediately afterward; he probably sees this as the same kind of thing.

    The problem is that Don is self-destructive and does not really believe in himself; he doesn’t, deep down, believe that he deserves happiness. I saw one of the themes of this episode as dealing with partial successes. Sally was successful in getting to the banquet, but not in her makeup and boots. Peggy was successful in keeping the relationship with Abe, but not all the way to the proposal she had been hoping for. Roger was successful in getting all the information he needed about the bigwigs in the room, but not in turning them into potential clients. Megan was successful in almost every way, but sees it as only a partial success because it isn’t what she thought it would be (and we don’t really know yet where her dissatisfaction originated). Her father knows how to push her buttons the way her mother knew how to push his. It gave me an insight on how Megan fought last week in the HoJo: “Why don’t you call your mother” would push Don’s buttons about as viciously as Marie was pushing Emile’s. That’s a family that goes for the jugular.

    I can’t anticipate what Don’s reaction will be to “none of the big guys will do business with you.” (I mean, I can’t anticipate anything about this show–it always goes where I’m not expecting it to, and when I have guessed right, it does it in a way I hadn’t even thought of.) I do wonder if one of the messages of this episode is that all success is partial. Certainly, for me, a running theme of the entire series has been that all success is temporary. And has consequences which are detrimental to whoever is succeeding.

    • Pele,


      You have nailed so much of the essence of Mad Men. Since success is temporary, as you so accurately note, true happiness cannot be found from the successes, but from within; not from possessions, but from being comfortable in one’s own skin and possessing healthy self-knowledge; not from consuming one’s life (and others) with work, but by maintaining a healthy life-work balance. It is worth noting that Ken Cosgrove is not consumed by whether he succeeds or not in the workplace; his foremost grounding is in his own sense of self, his writing (which is his passion), and the marriage to a loving wife which knits the two together. Ken’s example stands apart from just about everyone else in the series.

      It’s fascinating to contemplate, since the whole of season five has already been filmed and produced, the work essentially done for all 13 episodes: Has Matt Weiner included a high-impact scene with Ken and Megan? I’d love to see it.

      Again, Pele, top-shelf insights! Thank you!

      • OMG– I agree! Brilliant, Pele, and very thought provoking.

      • As Anna Draper told Don, “the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.” It’s not the work, though that helps if you like it and do well. It’s having that one person who loves and believes in you whatever happens, and won’t take your bull. I think Don may discover that he has found that in Megan, not all at once but eventually. She knows of Dick Whitman and doesn’t care. She knows about women other than Betty (some of them anyway) and -given her experience with her father- will not stand for that in her husband and he knows it. He has largely stopped using booze as a crutch, and though he still falls back on his first impulse – to run when there’s trouble – he has gotten to thepoint where he catches himself early on and turns back. It’s a process, but Matt Weiner has said he envisions Don as a happy man by the end of the series. We’re in Season Five of seven so if it’s going to be anyone else she’d better make an appaerance soon (no, he won’t be returning to Betty – that ship sailed and she hasn’t moved forward.)

    • Fortunately Don now has an ace in the hole, his wife Megan who loves him and believes he is a creative genius.

      I know Don has NOT been smart in the past and for most of his life has considered himself alone. But here is what Anna told Don in season 3 episode 12 The Mountain King:

      “The only thing keeping you from being happy is your belief you are alone.”

      In episode 6 Far Away Places we see Don holding onto Megan’s waist for dear life.

      In episode 7 At the Codfish Ball we see Don receiving the glory of keeping Heinz on board long-term. And we see the disappointment in Don for now being considered a leper in the advertising community. But Don is NOT alone. Standing beside him in the boardroom while receiving the accolades from the staff was Megan and sitting beside him at the banquet table is Megan.

      I thought a great comment was offered by Sally Draper at the end of the episode when Don asked Sally if she would like to keep the award from the Cancer society and unselfishly she said, “You should keep it because it makes Megan happy.” What a profound statement from a child, especially that at 12 she can perceive how much Megan loves Don and how proud she is of him.

      So in episode 8 and forward, Don knows or should know he is no longer alone and I believe that will make a huge difference how he treats his disappointment and what happens in the future. But of course he could suffer a setback and revert to his old ways. That is what makes MM so fascinating.

  25. Why do I get a strong feeling that Megan is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, and will be “dealing” with the pregnancy behind Don’s back?

    I’ve also thought of Don and Megan as a “power couple” since the beginning of the season – the visuals of them beautifully coifed walking into the office together have been on every episode. And with their pitch to Heinz last night I see it even more.

    And with the comment to Don about nobody wanting to business with him anymore, his lack of involvement at the agency this season, and Megan’s obvious talent, will the Don’s advertising future be dependent on a Don/Megan duo?

    • I don’t know, why do you have this strong feeling? What has happened to make you think this? Not seeing it so if you have some evidence, bring it on!

    • I loved seeing Don & Megan working together as a power couple – what a fantastic moment for any relationship, but especially a married couple. What a dream come true it is to have a pivotal creative moment, and a successful one, built together with the one you love! Another rare super-positive MM moment. So far I count those on othe hand: the creation of SCDP; Don’s proposal to Megan; Roger & Jane’s LSD trip; and now, the Heinz tag-team deal. 🙂

  26. I hadn’t really thought about Joan being a sort of surrogate mother for Peggy, but I guess she could be looked at that way or as a substitute big sister. Last night, the second that Peggy’s mother Katherine showed up, I thought to myself, ‘Where’s Peggy’s sister Anita? She needs to be the buffer!’ I remember how kind and supportive Anita was of Peggy in Season 3 when Peggy announced her plans to move to Manhattan. When Katherine started making harsh comments, Anita told her, “Stop it, Ma–you’re being cruel!”

    As for Megan’s mom…at the risk of being too risque, I can’t help remembering that this is the woman who only washes her face with water. Hopefully the other night, she made an exception. 🙂

    • BRILLIANT catch about Megan’s mom’s facial care habits!

      I’m dying here!

    • OMG! yeah that’s a good one…

    • I know, I was constantly thinking about the “washing only with water” thing during Marie’s scenes. Hey, maybe Megan-the-actress was at work when she told that story…hmm! Makes for good focus-group fodder! 😛

  27. Did anyone catch the title of the James Bond Don was reading in bed? Ian Fleming died in 1964 and his last book, “The Man with the Golden Gun” came out the next year. That would make 1965, and this is the fall of 1966, so it could have been any of the series, but it was not a paperback. I suppose it really isn’t that big of a deal but little things always seem to be big deals in Mad Men.

    • It wasn’t a James Bond book, it was The Fixer by Bernard Malamud. Megan was joking that Don didn’t have to read something intellectual to impress her father, he could go back to reading James Bond books.

  28. Am I the only person who expected the episode to end with the theme music to “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with that “almost” closing shot of five dour people sitting at the dinner table? Loved Roger’s work with Sally in the episode.

  29. I thought this wonderful was an interesting companion to “Mystery Date,” what with the idea of Roger playfully acting as Sally’s “date” and then Sally opening the door–again, that theme of what lies behind doors–to see the disappointing truth about said date. She is at the point of her life when, after all, sex is the greatest mystery (“desire for what?”).

  30. Now that we have hit the halfway mark, does anyone have any insight regarding the events of the season in light of the Season 5 poster? Don looking in on the domestic tableau of a smoking-jacket and pajama clad male mannequin and his stripped female counterpart hasn’t seemed to find resonance yet this season. Weiner said the poster would be easily understood by the end of the season; I don’t see it yet…

    • That’s exactly what I was asking in my last comment in that thread

      Having seen that the main theme is change, old/young, old/new, maybe in the poster Don is looking at the past (both his personal past, where he used to cheat endlessly on his wife, and the past in general)? A past that now we’re about to leave behind?

      • Sorry I missed your prior post. I think the points you raise are interesting ones. It will be fascinating to see how the rest of the season plays out.

      • The theme is “every man for himself” (and woman for herself) according to MW.

        • The theme a creator puts into a work isn’t necessarily what viewers/readers take away from it. Or it isn’t necessarily the only thing viewers/readers take away. We all bring different experiences, different perceptions with us when we become the other half of the art, and I’ve honestly never known an author or artist who wasn’t surprised by what someone else got out of the work. MW names his half when he says what the theme is; we name our half (halves, really, because each of us provides something different) when we say what we saw or felt.

          To me, the genius of a show like Mad Men is that it lends itself so beautifully to a myriad of our halves.

          • Quite honestly I never saw the “love” of Don for Megan in episode 6 with his hands around her waist as Matt Weiner suggested after the episode ( saw it more of a sign of desperation) and I didn’t really dwell on the disappointment that he suggested that came out of episode 7.

            On balance I thought Don and Megan had a terrific episode. So Don is not thought of highly in the advertising community. Bert Cooper told us in the last episode that the firm was doing better than expected. And with Heinz now on board, what’s there really to complain about?

            I thought Peggy got what she wanted although not as packaged as she expected.

            As for Roger, getting oral sex at his age can’t be seen as a disappointment.

          • This is excellent analysis. Could it be that just as MW sees what he gives us one way and we see it differently; we, as the outsiders, see the window as it appears in the poster, but Don is seeing something else?

  31. How old is Sally now – 12? Quite a shocker for her, seeing her “date” being serviced behind those double doors.

    It may not be the first such, but Mad Men now has a parallel with Kubrick’s Lolita – wherein the Lolita actress was considered too young to see the movie she acted in.

    Young Kiernan’s parents are said to be quite strict about what parts of the show she is allowed to watch – the “double door scene” will not make the cut.

  32. I saw several comment regarding Bobbie Barrett’s advice to Peggy last week when discussing her failed Heinz pitch (not gonna quote it…hopefully you know what I’m referring to), and couldn’t help but notice that even though Megan has never met Bobbie Barrett, she certainly plays that advice to perfection – even though Peggy still struggles to.

    • Megan definitely does play it well. I think it’s worth mentioning though that her role at work has always been a little different. She started as the receptionist, then secretary, and then she did become copywriter but it coincided with her romance with Don. We didn’t get to see the moment that she got promoted to copywriter, but I assume it happened sometime between the engagement and the marriage. (Remember Joan and Peggy’s scene in the Season 4 finale–Joan said that Megan would probably become a copywriter, because “he’s not going to want her working as his secretary.”)

      When Megan attends the client dinners (like the last two dinners with the Heinz couple), she’s attending as Don’s wife, not as the copywriter. Peggy, Paul, and other copywriters never got to go to these types of dinners. Ken, as the account executive for Heinz, was there with his wife too.

      Megan did handle the Heinz-almost-firing-of-SCDP with remarkable aplomb. But again, if she was just a copywriter, she wouldn’t have even been at the table. Her role at these dinners is to function as the poised, beautiful, charming “better half” of the man. She does it well–Betty did it well, too.

      • Agreed, MadChick – Megan definitely has some major perks as Don’s wife that none of the other copywriters will ever have. But Peggy will always operate at a disadvantage with clients (especially the ones from the mid-60s) when she tries to pull off acting like Don in a man’s world. Peggy needs to be Peggy….not Don, not Bobbie, not Megan. When she figures out how to do that, she’ll be much more successful IMO.

      • All great points. My take on this, again, is that Megan is being given unearned advantages, over and over, that don’t occur in RL, at least this consistently and on this scale. Of course she’s succeeding with everything, that’s the way the part has been written. Not necessarily because she’s anything special.

        I would have loved to see Peggy mentoring a “second generation Peggy,” for example, who had earned her job, and her acclaim, not someone who had basically walked/slept/married into it all. As a young woman in the 60’s, I saw great women all around me, in offices all over the city, that were replicated in other places in other cities. And the treatment of the Megan role doesn’t do them/us justice, and that’s my biggest beef with the Megan role.

        • Peggy probably knew before Don did that Megan had ability. Being Peggy’s “junior” on the account, Peggy was seeing Megan’s actual work, not the nepotism that gave her the chance to do it.

          • That’s a big part of what I’m saying, Deborah. She would not have gotten the job if not for marrying Don, at least not at that juncture. Peggy wouldn’t have seen her work, because she wouldn’t have been doing anything other than secretarial work. Megan hadn’t done anything at all in her secretarial job, up until then, to make herself stand out.

          • But the fact still remains that Peggy needs to back off from trying to be Don and listening to Bobbie Barrett’s advice – and taking notes from Megan. Darn it, I just want to see Peggy succeed in this 1966 man’s world and that seems like the best way to manipulate it!

        • I agree, Magenta. Unfortunately this is something that many (of us) women will have a difficult time learning (or not learning) in the decades after the 60s.

          I don’t know if the answer is taking notes from Megan, though, since other than dressing nicely (on her husband’s money), she had done nothing up until last night’s episode to suggest or confirm that she was a success.

          • And, although she played it very well and it won them Heinz, she still was successful by pitching the idea as Don’s, not hers, and that her role had been more of cheerleader. It may have been the best way to go, but still really bugged me. I’ll have to rewatch the scene and see if she was more assertive, or if Don gave her more credit than I thought on first watching. To me, getting all the credit for knowing how to set up your man to look good isn’t really the same thing as being wildly successful at your job. But again, I will have to watch it again and make sure I wasn’t just having my typical knee-jerk to anything and everything I find slightly annoying about MegaDon. (I try to help it but I can’t.)

      • She could have had another job. Assistant account manager, something in production. It’s a biggish office. There are other jobs. Don gave her a job in creative because she must have asked for it.

        • Yes, she made a comment to Don near the end of season 4 that she “thought she would like to do what Peggy and you do”. I would say that was asking for it.

  33. Last week I expressed the hope that the producers and writers of Mad Men would not totally forget or ignore the episode 6 story lines in future episodes and instead use them to further advance the story. And based on what I saw in episode 7, that is exactly what they did.

    a) Roger Sterling

    Talk seriously to Mona about his LSD trip and leaving Jane. I found their conversation fascinating and it almost appeared they were seeing each other for the first time or seeing a person he or she had not seen for a long time.

    b) Peggy Olson

    Coming of her impromptu phone call to Abe in episode 6 because of what Ginsberg told her, we see that the writers want to take that “bonding” a step further and have Abe and Peggy living with each other. This appeared so natural in episode 7 but I frankly did NOT see it coming. That’s how good the writers of MM are.

    C) Don and Megan

    Although not as clearly developed as I would like at least the writers are showing Megan in Don’s office without Don feeling he has to rip her clothes off. And by calling him a pervert, that is a way the writers are telling Don he better get serious about taking Megan seriously at her work. And when Don asks Megan to come over to him she says, “I’d rather stay on the subject.” (Heinz beans). Don realizes Megan has misunderstood his intentions and tells Dawn to get Stan and Ginsberg to come to his office.

    Don showed respect for Megan for her work. He probably felt sexually attracted to Megan when she was in the office but he knows from now on he has to be a good boy and refrain until they get home.

    And for Megan she finally got through to Don why she was so upset at him in episode 6.

    I thought it was interesting after Don and Megan sewed up the Heinz deal that they told the cab driver to instead of taking them home to take them to the office to make love. Very subtle, but Don is getting the message. There is a right time and a wrong time to make love at the office and Megan also knows that as well.

    As for the writers ignoring the abandonment incident at HJ, you can’t get everything in life. After all it is only a 45 minute weekly episode. But clearly Don now respects Megan’s work and that is huge in the scheme of things.

  34. Season 5 for me has been an exercise in just trying to stay patient and not just get to the next episode. I feel like the writers will lay the real groundwork for how each character will go out and how the show will end starting with Season 6, and of course ending with Season 7. So in S5, I’m always thinking everything is a decoy and not permanent, because they can’t just place the characters in their final resting places, so to speak. Therefore, I just wait for Don and Megan to break up because I have a sense that this isn’t going to be Don’s storyline for another 2.5 seasons. I wait for Peggy and Abe to break up because I don’t see Peggy done with dating and settling down…just yet. I don’t believe Don and Peggy are “ambivalent” or “over” work for one second because then we’d have 2 more seasons of them looking bored or confused. I didn’t think this way in S1-4, maybe cause I was just in the groove, but now that we’re looking into the end, I can’t stop thinking about it!

    • I know I am far from the first to address this; but, do others share my feeling that Peggy and Don will wind up together at the end of Season 7.

      • In the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, Irene enters a loveless marriage with Soames Forsyte in Victorian England. No matter how Soames performs in bed or out of bed she is repulsed by him.

        And suggesting Don ends up with Peggy one has to suspend belief that somehow Don could be magically attracted to Peggy.

        Now one might argue that Don was attracted to Megan but didn’t realize where her latent talents lie. True enough. I have made that argument. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Recognizing someone’s abilities or intelligence publicly has little to do with how one sees them sexually and if you want to go to bed with him or her.

        And finally Don lied to Peggy in The Suitcase. He told her the reason he had not come onto her was because of the rules in the office. If that was so why did he have sex with Alison and why did he have frequent sexual encounters with Megan who was his secretary before they got married? Any guess!

        • techno,

          It is obvious from your comments that you are a Megan fan and seem to believe she is Don’s savior; however, I did not realize that there are hard and fast rules as to how human relationships MUST work.

          You may be 100% correct, but I would remind you of two things.

          1. MW has said that he sees Don happy at the end of the show’s run. If Don is truly to be happy, he, not others, has to make himself that way. That means a great deal of change from within during the next 2 1/2 seasons. If he changes that much, isn’t it possible he becomes attracted to Peggy.

          2. Practically speaking, Mad Men takes place in a world created by MW. Therefore, if he decides Peggy and Don end up together…. Peggy and Don end up together.

          • Yes, but all good writers know enough to lay the groundwork for an event or relationship to evolve in a certain direction. And what I hear Techno saying — and I concur– is that this has not been done satisfactorily. As crazy as it may sound, just because you’re the writer doesn’t mean that you get to manipulate the ending however you want without doing the hard work first. If you do, you lose your audience’s hard-earned trust. Certainly we’ve all watched movies or shows in which characters are shoe-horned into doing things that are completely out of left field. And at that point nearly all of us have turned away from the screen in disgust — and rightly so. People who do this are hacks. And MW is no hack.


            Yes, I am a Megan fan. I do NOT deny it. But I am also realistic about relationships, sexual attraction, marital preferences, common interests and so on.

            In several threads in the past few weeks I have offered the comments based on the past four seasons, with Don Draper having been a philanderer, stealing the name of Dick Whitman and his mother being a 22 year old prostitute, and being a divorced father of three young children, it would be unlikely that Don could ever have found anybody more suitable for him than Megan if he had searched high and low for the next ten years.

            And let me also state I believe in different strokes for different strokes. Not all men would find Megan their cup of tea.

            And also let me state I believe in personal redemption and Don is seeking it (season four) but if Don doesn’t seek it himself, Megan cannot ultimately him. In other words Don must have the desire to climb out of the abyss which he found himself in season four after his divorce from Betty. What Megan provides is an incentive to climb out and perhaps to speed the process up.

            Now what does Megan bring to the table for Don:

            a) She is willing to overlook Don’s philandering in the past and not hold that over his head. But she will not overlook it if Don cheats on her.

            b) Don has NOT cheated on Megan. In case you forget Don’s extra-marital affairs was a huge part of the content of Mad Men in the first three seasons. Let’s not be stupid here. Why hasn’t Don cheated on Megan so far? He had a golden opportunity in the NY whorehouse in episode 5 to do so. I wrote this earlier. He likes her home cooking.

            c) Megan is totally in Don’s corner when it comes to encouraging him to be the best he can be and being as successful as he can be as an advertising executive. Megan is a terrific sounding board to Don and vice versa.

            d) By working at SCDP, Megan not only shows loyalty to Don but also in her way physically helps him to be successful. It’s one thing to shout from the sidelines but it’s another thing to offer significant input (eg. saving the Heinz account)

            e) She is a very good stepmother and always accommodating to his kids when they visit.

            f) She loves Don deeply despite the fights.

            g) Don is smoking less and drinking less since he married Megan.

            h) Don is not as rigid and uptight as he used to be regarding Sally. (The old Don might have told Sally she was not going to the banquet but the new Don gave her a choice.) . This started with the milkshake scene in CA. Megan brings a calming influence. Don no longer loses his temper around the kids.

            i) Don and Megan could become the 1960’s version of a power couple, a term coined in the 1980’s.

            j) And what Megan brings to Don is hope, hope that he can be happy which Anna told him he could be if he did not think of himself as permanently alone.

            Alone Don might have been devastated by what Ken’s father-in-law told him at the banquet of being persona non grata to the Fortune 500, but he has Megan beside him to help him out of any temporary setback or frustration.

            Megan cannot save Don but perhaps she can help Don to the point where he does not destroy himself in the end.

      • No.

  35. There were so many funny lines last night. The best one I think was Emile” Girls like to spread their legs…”! Was he intentionally sarcastic?

    • One could give the old coot a pass and say that he mangled the metaphor unintentionally. But then, he sure seemed fluent in not only English but in American idioms (Canada – even Quebec being flooded by American radio, TV, music, literature…..).

      But I don’t give him a pass – he was trying to get Don’s goat – and succeeded.

      One of the few times that someone got a line that trumped any of Roger’s.

  36. I’d like to add that I think Grandma Pauline is amazing. When she is in a scene for a minute, that distinctive voice amps the energy up tenfold. Just her tripping over a cord made me perk up.

    Also, do you think it’s especially difficult for Peggy to get a second rate proposal after watching Megan just waltz in and get Don to propose to her in two weeks? I’m sure that is still very fresh in Peggy’s mind and it takes another hit to her waffling self-esteem to see that her boyfriend of almost a year can only get it up to move in with her, and not propose marriage.

    • Totally agree on Grandma Pauline. That actress is doing awesome stuff with an amazing character. Also, Kiernan Shipka’s chemistry with her and with John Slattery is astounding. Talk about actor synergy, man. Or whatever it’s called.

  37. Some side notes on my favorite show

    They gave the Heinz guy the moon — like Connie had wanted

    What was Mrs Heinze saying to him.. “thats exactly what you wanted?” What the moon, or a last minute rescue?

    If the titans dont want Don, doesnt that include all the SC clients too? Fahter in law wouldn’t tell Ken he’s at a doomed firm?

    Peggy is confident enough to celebrate Megan’s success. Meanwhile Megan clearly doesn’t see it as the best day of her life. What is her secret????

    Roger’s turn with Ms Calvet reminded me of the horsemeat girlfriend near dalliance.

    Corinne Calvet — French actress whose father was a professor (inventor of Pyrex). Supposedly, in real life, Corinne Calvet was a nymphomaniac. Zoobeezoo!!! Is that the source of the name?

    I was surpised to see Megan from an intelectual family. I imagined Frech Canadian lumberjacks. Explains her sophistaction a lot. I think it is a fascinating character who pulls the crew forward form 50s roots.

    Abe will have long hair and live on an ashram in 3 years. Will Peggy?

    “If you are lonely get a cat”. See how crushed Peggy was at that moment?

    The banter prior at the office — About Peggy’s bra (disturbing Abe) got him going. And how Abe is too handsome (got her going)

    • When we were introduced to Ken’s prospective father in law played by Ray Wise, he was Chief Financial Officer of Dow Chemical. Usually the CFO is not trying to keep up with gossip about the advertising industry.

      However, Ken’s FIL was mentioned as a big deal in the American Cancer Society, so it makes sence he attended the awards ceremony.

      In 1893 Otto Schott of Germany invented the first borosilicate low thermal expansion glass. One of his grad students, Eugene Sullivan, while research director of Corning Inc. made improvements to the Shott glass. Corning continued those improvements. In 1915 Corning used the trademark Pyrex for their borosilicate glass products.

      Nowhere in the history of Pyrex or borosilicate glass does the name “Calvet” come up. Otto Schott, who founded Schott AG is universally credited as the inventor of borosilcate glass. Eugene Sullivan is credited by Corning as the inventor of the improved glass they marketed as Pyrex.

    • I think what Mr. Heinz truly wanted was to be wooed by Don, and not some underling of his.

    • This was how I heard Mrs Heinz:

      “That’s exactly what you wanted (I want Megan for a friend)!”

      She played it well – choking off the sentence abruptly – basically handing the ball off to Mr. Heinz – while still sending her own (parenthetical) message.

    • “If the titans dont want Don, doesnt that include all the SC clients too?”

      Well, Mr. Dow/Corning does not speak for everyone. IMO, some of the BoK faithful have over-emphasized that particular “confession”.

      He may well be right about the *biggest* potential accounts – enough to ruin Don’s day – and his week/month/year/ even on futher reflection/rationalization. But for many potential clients, so long as their products are not freighted with a taint similar to Tobacco, they should have little to fear and much to gain be hiring Don.

      Say instead that Don/SCDP are in trouble with the “BATF” clients.

      (I’d be curious to see CCA weigh in on this)

  38. Consideration is due all the fish. Symbolic of transformation.

  39. Re: the comment made by Joan, “It is what it is.” I first noticed it used heavily during trashy reality TV a few years ago. If they start saying “That being said….” I will scream at the tv!! Both of those phrases seem anacronism-y (not a word…I know) to me.

  40. I am just rewatching last night’s episode and now realize how moments of sublime beauty have to be destroyed by “destroyers.”

    When Don saw his daughter dressed in a modern youthful female attire, Don was totally amazed. Megan had then and there given him his true birthday present.

    Then at the very moment of extreme satisfaction Megan’s father says, ” One day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away.” Dog in a manger syndrome.

    I’m surprised Don didn’t punch him out. Instead he took it out on Sally and told her to take off her make-up and boots.

    In Atlas Shrugged, the theme of human destruction of beauty and success runs throughout the novel. And the proponents of this kind of destruction are imho the most evil people on earth.

    Remember when Alison told Don in season four that he was not a nice man, that would apply fourfold in the case of Emile Calvet.

    I hate destroyers of all kinds.

  41. I just rewatched At the Codfish Ball for the 4th time and caught something that Professor Calvet brought up to his daughter in scolding her for selling out her passion for marriage to Don Draper and choosing wealth for herself rather than survival.

    It was the name Camus which he pronounced Ca-mus but I know a Ca-mu. He was the father of absurdism. Camus being a Frenchman who died in 1960 certainly would have been read by Professor Calvet, a Quebecer and Megan having gone to college would have been familiar with his works.

    I’m NOT going into detail about his philosophy but suffice it to say Professor Calvet was NOT indicating that Megan was a Communist spy but simply someone who perhaps in college expressed an affinity with Camus’ philosophy and which her father reminded her of at the banquet table.

    Simply put producing an ad for Heinz beans to perpetuate the capitalist system is NOT something a follower of Camus would do do.

    • In writing the above, I just realized I just stumbled on by serendipity to the main theme of season five which is every man for himself. Professor Calvet, in reproaching his daughter Megan, is essentially telling her that Megan should have chosen basic survival rather than getting to the “end” right away and as a result now is living what he considers a decadent lifestyle.

      Megan instead calls it a beginning. She has chosen to hitch her wagon to a star named Don Draper. And her father cannot accept that choice.

      In other words Professor Calvet is not happy with the choice Megan made to fend for herself. What parent would not want his or her daughter to do well? Obviously not Professor Calvet. It’s surprising that Megan is NOT screwed up more than she is.

      • It was more explicit than that. Emile said directly to Megan that she had skipped the “struggle” and gone straight to attaching herself to a rich man. That’s his ethos, and she broke it. To him, there are things more important than “doing well”, and that’s what he is accusing her of rejecting.

        • Doing well means something different to him than career success with money attached. Although I know for a fact, from personal experience, that professors like money as much as the next person and will fight tooth and nail to get it. Mr and Mrs Calvet were nicely dressed, seemed to appreciate the finer things.

          I assume he meant that she was supposed to make a difference in the world. She is, in a way, but not how he meant it. Feminism? Not on his horizon, most likely.

    • I haven’t caught the Camus reference but I don’t think there is much complexity to the father’s attitude. He certainly seems to think highly of himself and his ideas and perhaps he just cannot accept that his baby girl has chosen a different path. Struggle or no, you could easily say Don is more successful than papa and he sees the daughter getting more than papa can provide.

      Clearly, papa is not doing so well career wise and he could just be using political theory to make it seem like a conscious choice more than “struggle” forced on him because he is a failure in his field.

    • I apologize. I misheard the name. Emile actually said Karl Marx and not Camus.

  42. Oh, and I am panting for the day when Peggy will tell her shame-tripping jerk of a mother to FUCK OFF ALREADY. Like you said somewhere else, Deb, she didn’t tell Peggy, “You deserve to be really loved as much as you want to be,” it was all, “Nobody’s going to marry you, stupid, so become a cat lady.” (And incidentally, married people have cats, too. My XH and I had five at one point during our marriage.)

    What I don’t get is the show’s POV that Peggy is somehow getting rooked by not getting a proposal from Abe. We’ve seen one married female character after another on this show get the fuzzy end of the lollipop from her husband: Betty, Joan, Mona, Francine, Jane, Trudy, Megan, Megan’s mom, Anna, am I leaving anyone out? And I haven’t seen the word “love” come out of either Peggy’s or Abe’s mouth even once. It didn’t even occur to Peggy that Abe might want to do anything over a fancy dinner but dump her until Joan put the bug in her ear. It seems like Peggy more wants the ego boost that would have come with a proposal, the “yes, you’re pretty and nice enough,” a lot more than she wants to make a lifetime commitment to Abe specifically.

    • Next to the Professor Calvet types, I next detest the Katherine Olson types who consistently try to bleed all the joy out of their children’s lives and make them feel guilty for making adult decisions.

      What I find fascinating is that Matt Weiner and his team have explored in MM every possible relationship available except for incest and polygamy.

      And what have the writers determined? Earth-shattering news: A piece of paper does NOT guarantee that a relationship will last. But a lack of a piece of paper does not guarantee it will last either.

      But then that begs the question do some men and women enter relationships in the expectation that they are a short-term solution or with the knowledge it will eventually go by the wayside? Did Don Draper expect that the many relationships he had on the side would eventually break up? I think he did, and that was why he didn’t have as difficult time moving forward as some men do.

      My assessment of the Abe and Peggy match-up has nothing to do whether they have a piece of paper or not. It has all to do whether Abe can accept Peggy’s work and whether Peggy can become more radicalized in her political views living with Abe. In other words if Peggy continues to remain dedicated to her craft and does not play a bigger role with Abe in participating or promoting his causes then I see little hope that the relationship can survive, regardless if there is a piece of paper or not indicating they are living under the same roof.

      • What I find fascinating is that Matt Weiner and his team have explored in MM every possible relationship available except for incest and polygamy.

        Not true. We haven’t seen a single gay relationship. We’ve seen gay characters, gay flirtation, and an aborted gay hook-up, but we haven’t seen gay relationships. We haven’t seen swinging. We haven’t seen warm, long-term married contentment. We haven’t seen marriages of convenience. We haven’t seen people pointedly and clearly marrying for money (Jane said during the trip her feelings for Roger had been real). We haven’t seen platonic marriages. We’ve seen a “beard,” but not a conscious one. So, “every” is defined as…what?

        • “We haven’t seen swinging”

          I wonder how common that was, at least around NY, up to 1966? My suspicion is that it was less common than consumated gay relationship (but perhaps more visible?)

          “We haven’t seen warm, long-term married contentment.”

          Boy, you sure got that right. The least troubled, and hardly long term, is Ken’s and Cynthia’s.

          “marriages of convenience… platonic marriages” – Difference being that friends-with-benefits arrangement (with the marriage cert) are also convenient?

          “Beard” – Sal’s wife?

          • Sal’s wife is a beard but doesn’t know it. For some people, it’s a choice.

        • Wasn’t the hookup between Sal and the bellboy at the beginning of season three an example of a gay bonding although briefly because of the fire alarm at the hotel?

          But I see your point. There are a lot more types of relationships that are available to Weiner and co, explore in future episodes and seasons including the menage a trois. I was guilty of being too conventional in my thinking.

          • No, it was a hook-up, not bonding. A fling at an out-of-town hotel does not a relationship make. Was Don’s hook-up with the stewardess an example of straight bonding?

          • “too conventional in my thinking” – but perhaps more 60s-centric.

            Mad Men is a little before my time, so I have little personal confidence that speech, mannerisms, and the rest are authentic.

            Still, Weiner seems to mostly succeed in that sort of authenticity. Perhaps for this reason he insists on strict adherence to dialog-as-written.

            (as far set dressing, props, and the like – I’ve seen my mother’s drapes in Anna’s living room, her table in Peggy’s apartment – when her “date” cut her ponytail, and my dad’s tie on Don – selling cars)

            Anyway, I’ll rely on those more contemporary to the time who say that vouch for the former authenticity (and who decry the anachronisms).

        • It struck me while initially watching Season 3that possibly Gene Hofstadt (sp?) Had possibly molested Betty and then Sally while he briefly lived with them. It would explain Betty’s eating disorder. Also incident at Sally’s friend’s house occurred not too long afterwards. I could be way off and probably am….

      • For the period of the 1960’s living together without being married WAS earth-shattering, and had real societal consequences for the girls.

        Let’s cut mama Olson some slack, I may not agree with her reaction, but for the time period and the community this woman lived in her reaction was spot on.

    • It’s not “the show’s” point of view; it’s one point of view, which we heard expressed by her mother. It may be correct, wrong, or half and half (I vote for the latter). We’ll see, in due course. (Come back in season 7.)

    • The thing about Peggy’s mother is that she thinks that any form of change – in the world or in her life – is happening to her personally. It’s some sort of martyr complex. Back in S-2, Peggy’s sister was even making excuses for her mother, that she was just upset over the death of Pope John XXIII.

      Everything that Peggy does or doesn’t do, seems to be some kind of personal affront to Mrs Olson. She’s so ungracious. Peggy got her a brand new TV and Katherine managed to turn it into a guilt trip on Peggy, for wanting to move into Manhattan.

      Peggy needs someone in her life like Trudy is for Pete, to remind her that there’s no water at that well and to save herself a load of grief by not continually going back to it.

      • Agreed on all counts on Mrs. Olson. She is the one on this show who infuriates me the most. There’s not been a single time that I’ve not wanted to shout at her each time she’s on the screen. I dearly wish Peggy could and would tell her to stop speaking with Peggy until she can be a civil, kind person.

      • But everything Peggy does IS a personal affront to her mother. Her mother grew up a very religious good girl who married when she was supposed to become a good wife. She is now a good widow, involved in the Church and feeding the priest…. you get the idea.

        She has lived her life with the conviction that that’s what daughters should want, and get! To her, Peggy is throwing her whole life back to her face silently screaming “The way you lived your life was crap and I don’t want that for myself”

        – this is POW of Mrs. Olson, don’t attack the commenter who put it into words-

        I bet on her ride home Mrs. Olson was thinking to herself how this is yet another shameful thing about her daughter she will have to hide because she would not be able to stand the judgement of the community, and God forbid! Father Gill.

        Remember, the only way Father Gill found out about Peggy’s baby is because Anita said it in the confessional. It wasn’t public knowledge, it was a shameful family secret

        • I think some parents feel that anything a child does that is not in line with their expectations IS a personal affront. I don’t have kids, but it seems like seeing your child as a person in her own right and not just an extension of oneself is challenging for many people, particularly in that era, but even nowadays.

          • true enough!

          • I always remember that scene where Don is trying to get Sally to warm up to baby Gene. He says something like “he’s just a baby, and we don’t know who he is or who he’s going to be. And that’s a beautiful thing.”

            That’s such a wonderful outlook for a parent to have; obviously Don is inclined to let his children be who they want to be based upon his own childhood.

            I guess there will always be “Don” type parents and “Mrs. Olson” type parents.

        • Edit to add: Of course she was ungracious about the TV, when it was a powerful symbol of Peggy again doing what she’s not supposed to.

          I would have thought it would have been more hypocritical if she was happy about the TV bought with the money from the job she didn’t approve of.

        • Good points! You remind me that there are parents who, when their adult children do anything that’s unlike their own lives at the same age, simply cannot accept their children’s choices and circumstances.. Perhaps Mrs. O had a script for Peggy that she thought would guarantee Peggy’s happiness — a script to which, perhaps, Anita has more closely hewed.

          Peggy lives in a different world, though, than her mother’s (or maybe even her sister’s) world. Look at Mrs. O’s hat, her dress. Maybe even her harshness toward Peggy is a sign that she is Old School and will not adapt to her daughter’s mores.

    • What I hope for Peggy is that she learns to think what she wants for herself,,, not unlike Joan has done. I doubt Peggy had given any serious consideration to living with Abe. In fact, I got the impression she liked being free to say “I have to work tonight” or “come over here now”. Her choice, not necessarily his. In deciding to live with him she has given up calling the shots, which I think she likes to do. In fact I predict she will in many ways become the 1960’s wife and Abe will encourage this. He may be in the process of being evicted, who knows, but as likely, he is making a territorial assertion of Peggy, especially after seeing her in the office environment. I am not saying he is aware of this, but I think it is a lot like a dog with the bone story.

    • No one has yet to mention what Katherine Olson knew–That Peggy lost an opportunity of a proposal by working late and blowing off the surprise dinner party ( in the Suitcase episode ).

      The interesting speculative question with no answer is whether Peggy would have accepted.

      • I dont recall that Mark was going to propose. I believe that if he had, she would not have accepted. She never allowed him to know her true self and complained afterward to Don that Mark doesnt really know her. It bothered her that he knew her so little that he thought she would like to share her birthday dinner with her family. He had very good intentions but his intentions were not compatible with her needs/wants.

      • Mark was planning a proposal? I’ve seen The Suitcase about 20 times and I don’t recall that.

  43. A little perspective on Peggy and Abe living together. One of my favorite books as a teen was Marjorie Morningstar, by Herman Wouk. It was set in the 1930s, and several of the characters live together, in Greenwich Village and in Paris. That was seen as scandalous but since they were artists — composer, photographer, actress — it was excused as bohemian.

    But in the 1960s, many people were still virgins when they married, and those in conventional society who lived together were discreet about it. I’m actually kind of surprised that Peggy’s mother didn’t say, “Do you want to get pregnant again?” when Peggy confronted her. It seems right in character.

    • I remember Marjorie Morningstar!

      I agree, Brenda. In certain places and among certain groups, living together would have been more accepted. In Brooklyn in the 1960’s? Not a chance.

      Brookly in that time and place was very much like a series of small towns. Each neighborhood was like a village. Sex outside of marriage then and there was not something bragged about or even spoken much about, even to girlfriends. It was judged and you were talked about. BIG TIME. And living together pushed the idea of sex outside of marriage right in people’s faces — at least that was how many people would have reacted to this.

      Peggy knows who and what her mother is; she’s certainly given Peggy plenty of evidence in the past. I can’t imagine what Peggy was thinking here. I would have been shocked if her mother had reacted any differently. This was something you did NOT tell your mother. Ever.

      Many people may have still been virgins when they married. And I would bet that just as many were not, but lied about it. There was so much phoniness and subterfuge going on in those days about sex before marriage. And that was about to change, thank God! But even as it started changing, in Brooklyn, especially among the working and middle class, you did not tell your mother you were having sex.

      • Good Thing Pegs lives in The City.

        She moved right after buying Maah the TV. Her Sis said:

        “you gonna be one of those girls?”

        “I AM ‘one of those girls’ “

  44. So, we have Don reading “The Fixer,” which sounds familiar, and he was reading it to impress Megan’s father. Next, before Megan pitches her great idea, he is learning French. What’s Don up to? Is he trying to impress Megan’s father, or is he looking for a more intellectual approach to his work?

    “Sally, don’t you go, don’t you go downtown….” The girl who plays Sally is great. I can’t wait to see her in a teenager slasher flick. I like what someone said about her being a Lolita type. I hadn’t seen that. Perhaps because I had two daugthers..

    Has anyone else noticed that Don and Peggy smile and seem happy more often than not? I can’t remember this in any other episode.

    • I googled “The Fixer,” which Don found so engrossing and recommended it Megan. It’s about a famous Russian trial under the last Czar. Accused of murder, the protagonist ponders his fate in prison. He finally finds it in his heart to forgive his former wife, who left him. Hmmmmmm.

      • I1966 — “The Fixer”. Won Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1967

        Malamud is pure Brooklyn. Shades of Ginsburgs family and story, which could be Malamud creations.

        The novel is about a Jewish handyman or “fixer”. who leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. That’s Don in the fishbowl of the industialists who hire him for work. He’ll bever be one of them.

        in 1911.arrested on suspicion of murder when a Christian boy is killed . Jailed without being officially charged, treated poorly and interrogated repeatedly, he contemplates his sad life

        Malamud’s reliance upon myth, legend, and magic often helped convey life’s pathos and sadness as much as life’s joy and fulfillment.

        Malamud quote: ““All men are Jews, though few men know it’

        Malamud said at the time that he saw The Fixer as a story like that of the US Negro, rising up toward Black Power

    • Even as I know trouble is brewing for our Mad Men stalwarts, I still like to see them at least fleetingly happy. Our audience of two on Sunday really dug that Megan expertly steered Don into the Big Save at dinner.

      I think the Lolita comment was mine. But NOT to compare Sally to Lolita – but to compare actors Kiernan Shipka to Sue Lyon who was 14 during shooting. Both are (were) not permitted to see the show they acted in (according to Kiernan, her folks are strict about keeping her from the more adult moments of Mad Men).

      As who reads omnivorously, I recognize in Don one who has a genuine curiosity in ideas. Note his Ep 2.01 interest in Mediations in an Emergency. He asked a fellow diner at a counter about it and later got his own copy.

      OK, Don would never have read The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, if not for the Honda angle – BUT, he was interested enough to really get the honor angle. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him an “intellectual” but he’s aware enough about the world of ideas to banter with Midge’s Beat friends about their Establishment criticisms.

      Flash forward to 1966 – Berlitz in hand at the office – *maybe* he wants to impress, but perhaps he has a deeper motivation. In the same way that he got Cognac for Mrs. Calvet he wants to show both Calvet’s respect and a desire for inclusion – more than an appendage but part of an actual family.

      There’s a lot more than Ego going on here.

      • I forgot about Meditations in an Emergency.

        A common expression is you are what you eat. Could you also make a case that you are what you read at a given moment in time?

        And also something that most people may have overlooked was Don did NOT have either a cigarette or a glass of alcohol in his hand while reading the Berlitz book.

      • It’s nice to seen an audience who pays attention to all of the detail in these stories. I find myself addicted to everyone’s point of view.

        • This is the best blog I know of. Basketcases are not only civil but literary and perceptive. I imagine you will spend a lot of time here.

  45. MM is getting boring. Too much Megan.

  46. Shirley Temple + Buddy Ebsen = Kiernan Shipka + John Slattery

  47. I have to watch it again but I thought either Don or Roger referenced seeing Margaret Dumont at the awards dinner. I just checked and she died in 1965. So was this a joke that maybe the woman looked like her or something else?

    • Yes it was a joke that the woman looked like her…

    • It was a joke. The woman was dressed very much as Margaret Dumont dressed, with the lavalier and everything.

      • The uncredited extra or silent bit player described as “Margaret Dumont” looks very much like the real Mary Lasker did in 1966. She was the widow of Albert Lasker who owned pioneer mega ad agency Lort & Thomas from 1904 to circa 1941, at which point he gave it to his top three managers, Emerson Foote, Fairfield Cone and Don Belding.

        Although the largest client of Lord & Thomas was American Tobacco/Lucky Strike, Mary Lasker was a major benefactor of the ACS and was a President.

  48. Mad Men can be enjoyed on many levels and I believe one’s level of enjoyment one has for the program is neither superior or inferior to the next guy or gal.

    Many love MM for the variety of multi-dimensional characters, some love MM due to specific characters they have come to love, others are attracted to the program for the 60’s fashions and decor, a certain segment loves the nostalgia that the program invokes, and finally millions of viewers love the story lines created by Matthew Weiner and company.

    In turn as some football fans would like to see a certain player get more playing time or perform in a different position, a good number of MM viewers would like to see some of the characters get more air time and a story line developed which focuses more on their journey as part of the series, with Megan getting less air time and less prominence.

    When I read that Megan is getting too much air time or the story lines are giving her too much attention at present, here is how I interpret that criticism:

    a) Megan is NOT deserving of extra playing time. Last season she sat mostly on the bench. She is NOT good enough to be a starter. Proof that Megan is now considered first tier: In Inside Mad Men released on You Tube right after each episode airs in season five Jessica Pare who plays Megan is interviewed along with the other prominent cast members about her character and her motivations.

    b) Some viewers just love Don Draper as an incorrigible, irredeemable philanderer, who carries around with him the baggage of his childhood, who leads a double life, who is often self-destructive by smoking and drinking too much, who often makes awful decisions that hurt him, is toxic to those around him, and who psychiatrists would have a field day with trying to deal with all the psychological damage done to him over the years and to put him on the road to becoming psychologically healthy. But they also love the Don who is the creative advertising genius and on top of his game and as creative director controls the fate of the firm.

    And when you have watched Don for four seasons, as a viewer you think you really know him and many viewers by the end of the last episode in season four had convinced themselves that Don is Don and despite his efforts to climb out of the abyss in season four by keeping a daily journal to go through a process of self-evaluation that Don would never, never change in a fundamental way. And many viewers don’t take it well when story lines are developed that prove them wrong.

    c) And that leads me to the marriage proposal to Megan in which a vast number of viewers of Mad Men feel came out of left field, was totally unjustified and felt betrayed. In truth the criticism of the character Megan should be directed at Matt Weiner and the writers of MM and not her. But in real-life it is much easier to focus your criticism on a visible individual on screen rather than folks behind the scenes. Also notice how the characters on MM themselves reacted to the news. Many of them were also in shock.

    But having said that many viewers were pissed off that Don would think so much outside the box and do something completely out of character and marry someone he hardly knew and the audience hardly knew. To them it was NOT realistic in the light Don already had a steady girlfriend named Faye Miller who he was supposed to connect with once he returned from CA.

    Imho, in season four there were many signs that Don was thinking differently and considering different options but for consistent viewers of MM and Don Draper I can see why they would be so up in arms with this huge plot twist and were determined never to accept the scenario of Don proposing to Megan. And when season five debuted, many of these viewers hoped and prayed that Don would come to his senses and that the first few scenes of episode 1 devoted to the idea Megan and Don were not compatible and the engagement had been cancelled, with the result Megan would never return to the world of Mad Men. Instead we see Megan’s backside in bed and her getting dressed and joining Don and his three kids for breakfast. Oh my God!

    4) Instead with all the Zou bisou bisou splendor of episode 1 and 2 A Little Kiss, after 7 months we see Don settling into married life with Megan which was in itself unsettling on so many levels to many viewers, but also completely distracted by her and not focused on work as well to the point “the new Don” became almost unrecognizable. What happened to “the old Don?”

    And you could consider this adding insult to injury for viewers who never bought the Don-Megan hookup in the first place.

    5) And through the subsequent episodes in season five, these viewers did NOT agree with the story line of Don seeking personal redemption by way of his marriage to Megan. For some viewers of MM, the concept of personal redemption is abhorrent on so many levels including the basic one that consists of the belief that people never change or in the words of Henry Francis, “There is no such thing as a fresh start.” And following that main bone of contention is the idea that Don can be redeemed through the love of Megan and not through the input of a psychiatrist or trained professional. And then when you add in the fact that Don does not smoke or drink as much (at least on camera), that he is a better father to and more easygoing and patient around his kids, and that he appears to really loves Megan, is there any wonder viewers who never liked Megan in the first place would be simply aghast with the story lines and plot development in season 5.

    But ultimately what is really shocking to the nervous system is that Don has now turned monogamous and no longer apparently feels the need to venture elsewhere for his sexual pleasure. I believe for the greater majority of these “Megan haters”, this is simply a bridge too far. A man who seldom went more than two episodes in the first four seasons without casual sex turns over a completely new leaf. These folks simply are NOT buying “the New Don.” But many of them are not blaming Don but blaming Megan for these turn of events, that she has bewitched him or she is not who she says she is and rest assured Don will soon discover he has been duped and will then return to his old ways.

    6) But we now see in episode 7 the merging of Don and Megan’s work life together with their great sexual connection. For those who hate Megan, eat your heart out, it may even get worse. Don and Megan could become a 1960’s power couple, years before the term was even coined in the 1980’s.

    And she could even get more screen time in the future and not less.

  49. That beans idea megan came up with, was just bad. But that fellow would suck up everything as long as it was a man that said it. And that was what megan understood. That is why she was not that pleased with her self, and she saw thorugh Stan and the guys praising her idea, she knew they would not dare to say anything against Don when it came to his wife.

    • I didn’t think Megan’s beans idea was awful, but I also didn’t think it was much better than Peggy’s. And as others have already pointed out, perhaps if Don had been there doing his job and supporting Peggy, we might have seen Peggy (with Don’s backup) landing the Heinz account. Not to take away from Megan. I though it was a good idea.

    • When Stan went back into the office and Megan was not there, he said to Peggy that her idea was much better than what they had as he tore up the current campaign. I think all of them genuinely thought it was a good idea. And the Heinz guy had one foot out the door already so the idea would have to be very good to convince him to change his mind. Megan was not happy but it was not because she thought the idea was bad or that she was getting false praise. Perhaps she was not happy because the job truly is not her passion and even at its best (which is what Peggy said that moment was), it was not fulfilling for her.

    • As Rachel Menken told Don in the first episode ever on Mad Men:

      “I thought the customer was always right.” (in her desire to transform Menken’s to a department store catering to upscale clientele and not going along with the coupon program hatched by Don and his staff).

      In the same vein, Megan came up with a winning idea or formula that kept the Heinz account under the SCDP tent long-term. You forget that Don had pitched other ideas to Raymond of Heinz in previous episodes; it was not only Peggy’s ideas that Raymond had rejected. And Don fully admitted in the back seat of the cab to Megan that he was prepared to let Raymond have it in the face after Megan told him Heinz was going to fire SCDP, implying their relationship was not that good.

      In other words, Raymond did NOT imho decide to stay with Heinz because a male did the presentation and not a female. First Don fully acknowledged that part of the idea was Megan’s at the restaurant table and secondly Raymond told Don after the presentation that addressing the future in the advertising was of prime concern to him. And that had nothing to do with whether Don was male or female.

      Sure you can argue that Megan got lucky; Megan herself called it beginner’s luck but to suggest that what she came up with was bad is simply ludicrous. Why were Stan and Ken and Pete celebrating in the boardroom with Don and Megan and Ken raving how great a team they were in selling the idea to Raymond in the restaurant. Why does anybody celebrate? Answer: success.

      And Don did something he might not have done as “the old Don”. He gave Megan credit for the idea.

      Bottom line: Back to the Rachel Menken comment. SCDP finally came up with a way to satisfy its client. It’s not rocket science.

      • I just do not like this “trying to make Megan happen”-thing. I want to know what Dawn is up to.

        • You have to remember Megan was introduced in episode 2 of season four and it took several episodes after that for her to have meaningful lines of dialogue. I predict Dawn will eventually emerge if the producers of Mad Men decide to make her a leading minor character. And as you know that is an arbitrary decision.

          You must remember Harry has been a minor character since season 1 and it is only this season Ken Cosgrove is beginning to emerge.

          And Megan became Don’s wife. How do you keep his relationship buried in the closet? In theory, the producers of MM could have but in the interest of the plot and the role sex has to play in luring viewers to watch MM, this was a no-brainer.

          Would anyone really believe Don’s transformation in season five if they had not watched how Megan directly influenced that? I don’t think so. In other words Megan had to get her screen time to advance Don’s story line.

          Unfortunately, secretaries on MM come and go. Hopefully Dawn does NOT end up on the scrap heap as so many before her.

        • Dawn? You mean Don?

      • “Don had pitched other ideas to Raymond of Heinz in previous episodes”

        In S4 I recall that “Mr. Heinz” begged off to see if SCDP would still be around after six months.

        Was there a later allusion to these other pitches?

        “Raymond did NOT imho decide to stay with Heinz because a male did the presentation and not a female. First Don fully acknowledged that part of the idea was Megan’s at the restaurant table and secondly Raymond told Don after the presentation that addressing the future in the advertising was of prime concern to him. And that had nothing to do with whether Don was male or female.”

        I remember Megan artfully putting *most* of the idea in Don’s mouth – thereby relying on the presumption that clients wouldn’t know a good idea if it hit them in the face – but do respond (as so many do) to the messenger.

        I also remember Don’s flattery when Mr. Heinz suggested that the same actors portray mother and child:

        “We didn’t think of that, but…..”

        Yes, the client talked about addressing the future – a bit of luck. But I’m not sure – was that *after* he bent to his wife’s subtle pressure – which was yet another factor in his capitulation?

        • I thought Don presenting had alot to do with Heinze accepting Megan’s pitch. Mr. Heinz loved Peggy’s campfire pitch. He was visibly moved by it and Ken noted that during the meeting as did others. Mr. Heizne came across as a difficult wants to nay say kind of person and also didn’t think much of being pitched by Peggy and not have Don (the big cheese) there, Peggy being a “girl” and all. Both ideas evoked emotion and were to me kinda similar but having the idea coming from Don and perhaps the added encouragement of Mrs. Heinze liking Don and Megan as a couple put them over the finish line. At least that is how I saw it. Which made me happy for Megan but sad for Peggy, Peggy who seems to be having quite a down spell lately in all areas.

        • Oh, you are right. And wasn’t Mr. Heinz the guy who told don “I bet I could get a date with your mother right now” acknowledging how desperate Don was for the work. That was the client Fay gave the intro for.

          • And also from that episode and meeting, you also get the impression from Raymond that he respected Don’s talent and ability but I never got the sense they would ever become buddy-buddy, This is NOT a knock on Don but it is what it is. I don’t see Don and Raymond going beyond strictly a business relationship.

            But it is the bonding between Alice (Raymond’s wife) and Megan that will do even more to keep Heinz a long-term client of SCDP.

            So again I will concede a small part of Raymond’s decision to change his mind might have been due to Don being a male but at the point in the proceedings with him prepared to give SCDP the heave-ho, I really believe it was the content that swayed him the most; Alice got Raymond to admit that what he was looking for was a pipeline to the future.

            And if the content wasn’t there, it wouldn’t have mattered who presented Raymond, whether it was a male or a female.

          • Yep. I just checked IMDb, same actor, credited with the same name:

    • I think you may be on to something here. Regardless of whether or not it was a good idea (it wasn’t bad, IMHO), what Megan realized is that Mr Heinz just wanted to hear something from Don and she chose to put her own glory on hold to help Don (and the company). Whether or not it’s her passion, I think she enjoys having a career and wants to be a good team player. She may or may not have talent but she’s giving her best effort. I respect that.

  50. Have we seen at anytime Don reading books that were not related to his work?

    An interesting insight was provided by former wife Betty when she was interviewed by the two men from the Dept of Defense who asked her what Don read while she was married to him. She answered, “Mostly for work.”

    Another side of “the new Don” that is emerging.

    • Yes, he read “The Best of Everything.”

      • I hope it was better than the movie. Although the movie does feature an abortion, something that hasn’t been portrayed onscreen often.

        • I thought the movie was great. Saw it last year or maybe the year before. Very entertaining.

        • I just watched the movie this week. It doesn’t actually show the abortion, although one almost happens.

          • I remember I watched the movie but then didn’t realize until much later that Diane Baker was in it. I think she’s lovely and talented, but I had only seen her in things where she was older (before watching this movie), so I totally didn’t recognize her in TBoE.

            Did you like the movie, Deborah?

            • It was…interesting. Some of the acting was wonderful. It seemed on the surface to be a melodrama about independent women who get dicked over by rotten men, but the subtext was all, Hold onto your virtue, ladies! Sex is for sluts who will die!

          • A friend of mine in high school (a very brilliant girl who went to Harvard and is now in the book publishing industry) liked trashy fiction and became fascinated by the tropes and memes of lowbrow female fiction ( eg Valley of the Dolls, etc). In college she wrote an honors thesis on the theme of how women who break the rules are always punished, usually with death but if not that, with shame and ruin. Thelma and Louise being a perfect example.

            • Or Goodbar, sure. One of the things I love so much about James Bond: A woman can have sexual agency and win in the end.

          • I loved certain things about the filming. Certainly the way the office looked was wonderful and I can see how Sterling Cooper’s original offices were inspired by that.

            Also, I yearn for the good ol’ days where you could just look through the job ads in the newspapers and find out that you were “wanted.” Sure is different today! 🙁

            I read one of Rona Jaffe’s books–can’t remember the name–it’s much more recent than TBoE and not as well-known. I liked it. She has kind of a soapy style, but I don’t mind that sometimes.

    • Well, I think the point of him telling Bobby that being referred to as “doctor” if you have a high degree in any area of knowledge (which got a surprised response from Emile) was that Don has continued to read widely and that he remembers what he reads.

  51. I just read the Guardian’s recap and review of this episode with the author of the blog basically apologizing to the readers for his portrayal of Megan in earlier episodes and for not giving her credit for possessing skills and talents in advertising.

    What I would like to address is the concept that Don Draper would have previously known what skills and talents that Megan possessed being married to her for over 7 months and that the plot line where he expressed complete surprise at her advertising instincts and prowess after the Heinz deal was closed was not conceivable or believable. I disagree with that premise and here is why.

    How many people do you know of, heard of, read in books or seen in movies who have risen to the occasion, who have assumed roles that were thrust on them unexpectedly, were not thought prepared for, or due to unforeseen circumstances had to fulfill, that was not envisioned by themselves or family, friends, superiors, associates or the public beforehand? Is it then really out that inconceivable to believe that Megan Draper, a junior copywriter at SCDP working on Heinz coupons, could have come up with this novel idea to promote Heinz baked beans?

    And as part of getting her feet wet, is it conceivable that the partners (excluding Don), account execs. Peggy and the other copywriters would have kept Megan out of the loop on their proposed strategies to present to Raymond (Heinz exec), Megan being low in the food chain? Do captains consult with privates on war strategies?

    And then there is Don. Do you remember Jesus told his audience basically that a prophet is not accepted or recognized in his hometown.Extrapolating from those words of wisdom one can conclude that the closer one is related or friends with another person the likelihood is increased that they will not recognize the talents of that individual. And you can place parents and siblings in that category but I would argue your own spouse as well. Husbands find it hard to be objective about their wives and vice versa.

    In addition even though Megan had expressed her ambition to do what Don does or to be a senior copywriter like Peggy, Don discounted her desire. And by making Megan a junior copywriter, he was putting her basically in a position she could do no harm and would not be in a position to impact any of the presentations to potential or existing clients. And by doing that Don was basically pigeonholing Megan and her ability, at least for the time being.

    Ironically though it was Don who saw the potential of Peggy Olson and promoted her to junior copywriter. But of course Don was not married to Peggy and could be more objective about her talents.

    And there are many leaders, bosses and people in authority who are like Don who remain oblivious to the talents of their colleagues or employees, who because they are focused on what they do they either do not have the time, inclination or wisdom to think of these folks outside the box. In sports, you constantly hear this question asked of the head man: “Why didn’t you make this move before?”

    And wasn’t the main bone of contention between Don and Megan in episode 6 Far Away Places before Don abandoned Megan based on the idea that Don did not treat Megan’s work seriously and that because he thought he could whisk her away at any time that he did NOT consider her work important? In other words if Megan’s work was considered pivotal to the future of the firm would Don have decided on the spur of the moment to steal her away from the office and drive up to Plattsburg to visit a Howard Johnson? I don’t think so.

    And then Megan enters Don’s office with “the idea” and Don at first tells Megan that the marketing of spaghetti is not on the agenda and it is only when she substitutes beans for spaghetti that Don finally catches on to what Megan is suggesting. And Don appears sold on the idea when he calls Stan and Ginsberg into the office to work on Megan’s idea.

    But at the moment of truth when Don hears from Megan that Raymond is planning to fire SCDP that Don springs into action. But it is Megan who paves the way and subtly reminds Don what they had talked about in his office earlier in the day. Don turns to Megan and even then is reluctant to believe his wife has come up with a sound idea to save the account and only have nudging by Megan does Don present Raymond with Megan’s concept with Megan adding some words for good measure.

    And then in the back of the cab, we hear Don admitting to Megan that after she told him about what Raymond was planning to do, “he was prepared to let him have it in the face.” And then Don went on to compliment Megan how unbelievable she was during the presentation (he already had told her in the office it was a good idea) and how proud of her he felt at that very moment.

    How could Don have been so dense? Why didn’t he recognize Megan’s talents before this? Bottom line: Megan had never done anything like this before so why would anybody think she could do it? The proof is in the pudding. Don will never look at Megan the same way again. And he will feel very fortunate he married a woman who together with her sexual passion also brought a talent for advertising copywriting to the table as well. How did I get so lucky, Don would have thought at the back of the cab with Megan?

  52. Megan has become a saint. As a wife, she’s gorgeous and passionate, modest, deferential, and grown up in ways Betty never could be. She’s a rising star as an ad writer, poised to become the perfect half of a power couple. More: she’s a loving surrogate mother to Sally, kind and respectful to a pair of dreadful parents. She’s graceful and talented in so many ways. Finally, she is emerging as the perfect mate for Don, bringing out the best in him, personally and professionally. A one-time miracle in the life of a man whose life has been seemingly beyond repair.

    Um, does anyone besides me see a set-up here? She’s fabulous, and, yes, too good to be true. Folks, This. Cannot. Stand. Look for her to be killed off (by disease or accident) by the end of the series, if not this season. Only the good die young, and death of a major character – which Megan has become for precisely that purpose – is the one plot device not yet employed on this show. Then all the Megan naysayers on this thread and elsewhere can experience the guilt and remorse we all feel at the unexpected death of someone good, someone we weren’t able to appreciate when they were alive. Now, what was that about the weird theme music playing when she comes on screen?

    • You are spot on! However, as one who is not the biggest Megan fan, allow me to offer an alternative. Perhaps instead of dying (I keep thinking that someone is going through the penthouse glass windows/doors), could it be that Megan turns out not to be the little saint she appears. Maybe she has a very dark side which shows itself and results in serious hurt, physically or emotionally, to Don and/or others. If that occurs, then the Megan fan club would be the ones experiencing guilt and remorse. Just a possibilty for consideration.

      Regardless, I am convinced that MW is setting us up for something big and Megan is the catalyst.

      • Sorry, sometimes I just have the feeling that someone with a lot of influence on the arc of this show is infatuated with Jessica Pare, and that’s why it’s “Megan, Megan, Megan”.

        • ruthie,

          In all honesty, the same thought has crossed my mind. Goodness I hope that is not the case! This show means so much to me. As a child of the sixties who lived in front ot the TV; Mad Men is to me the one beacon is the wilderness of 21st century television programming. I would rather it end on a high note….than become predicable or mediocre.

          • Sorry… I meant “in” not “is” the wilderness.

          • Tom and Ruthie, I must say I agree with both of you. “Megan, Megan, Megan” would be fine if the actor playing her wasn’t so uneven. I thought in this episode she appeared wooden. Whereas in Signal 30 she was more natural and believable.

            This is such a great show but I get this feeling that gnaws away at me that she has been given more than she can handle. It tarnishes a work of art.

            In my opinion.

        • Perhaps the show windows the reality…

      • There is so much talk around here about people going over ledges and through windows that it finally occurred to me that most of us Basketcases probably don’t live in very tall, multi-unit buildings.

        I grew up on farms, and on my saddest days, it never occurred to me to step in the path of a hungry herd of cattle or to stick my hand into a spinning PTO.

        Count me as one who does not see a single character choosing to end their lives in a sad swan dive.

        • Hope you are right. So many have discussed it… it might even seem anticlimactic.

        • Count Matt Weiner as two, at least as far as Don Draper is concerned. He has been asked numerous times to confirm that’s it’s Don doing the swan dive down the side of the building at the opening credits (never mind the falling man ends up not in a splat but with arm draped leisurely.) And he has indicated that HE sees Don Draper as a happy man at the end of the series. Remember, Anna Draper’s line to Dick: “the only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone.” At that point Dick/Don was miserable, looking at his family from the outside in as he put it. Now? He still has work worries and anxieties but no where near the level he had earlier. He laughs, he hugs his kids, he has a wife he (mostly) enjoys. If he wanted to call it quits tomorrow and retire to a beach in sunny southern California, he could. As long as there’s a challenge to his work, he’s in. If it gets old, stale – he has the money to chuck it and go sell classic muscle cars.

          There will still be conflict with Betty, especially over Sally; there is still the spectre of his episode in Korea to raise its head again, but he does not feel as if he is held captive any more by that. At this point more people know than don’t really, and as Bert Cooper says, who cares? We’re almost 15 years beyond that and getting to the thick of Vietnam in the next few years, which will be keeping the military busy with current COs and deserters fleeing to Canada.

          • Honestly.. I’ve never considered Don as the one falling from the building to his demise. I’ve always thought that the figure falling in the opening credits (could be Don, could be any or all of the prime figures in the show, as the face is blank) as symbolic of how we often feel as though we are falling through life with litte or no control over matters. The main matter of these lives, advertising, is reflected in the slogans and product names on the buildings as the figure falls. Now I’ve become too analytical.

  53. I think you can make a case that the most important scene in the entire season happened in a matter of 30 seconds in episode 7 and like so many things at the time got little attention.

    The scene happened at the dinner with Don-Megan, Ken-Cynthia and Raymond-Alice. Alice asks to excuse herself and both Megan and Cynthia follow her to the ladies’ room. This is what Alice told Megan: “Raymond is just putting up a front. He didn’t want to come to this dinner. I was prepared not to like you. You’re so good for that man.”

    After that as they say in sports: The rest is history.

    That short exchange between Alice and Megan caused Megan to whisper in Don’s ear that SCDP was being fired by Raymond. Without that exchange with Alice, Megan would not have known of Raymond’s intentions. Not only did Megan save Heinz through her creative imagination, she also literally saved the account by being at the right place at the right time. Some might call it luck but it is what it is.

    The teamwork of Don and Megan in making the presentation to Raymond was exquisite but even more important long-term was how Ken Cosgrove enthusiasticallly described their interplay and how brilliant both Don and Megan were in playing off each other with perfect timing. No matter what Don had said about Megan in the future to prove that she was carrying her weight, that moment alone solidified Megan’s status as a rising star and someone who despite nepotism should be henceforth be taken very seriously apart from being Don’s wife.

    And Don giving Megan credit for the idea after what Ken said was evidence to Megan that Don had finally come around to seeing that Megan was very talented at what she does. Megan will now be left alone by Don to do her own thing.

    And in the wake of being told that he is persona non grata among the Fortune 500 for the letter, at least Don has Heinz to hang his hat on and that he has rediscovered his mojo. Without Heinz he would be really down in the dumps.

    And the Draper marriage will still have its up and downs but without Alice spilling the beans both Don and Megan would not been as happy as they are now.

    And finally SCDP keeps a big account and nothing succeeds like success. Everybody is happier and tends to be more productive. Imagine what the mood around the office would have been if Raymond had picked up his marbles and gone home.

    Alice of Heinz, a minor character on paper, but a major influence on the plot of Mad Men for the remainder of the season.

    • They may have played perfectly off each other, but they still aren’t Myrna Loy and William Powell. And Megan did not, ominously, get the thrill out of their perfect duet that she rightfully should have. That was important.

      • Too true. But I do think she was excited right afterwards when she and Don took the cab ride to ahem, celebrate, back at the office that night, even if she wasn’t so much later. I wonder why – she enjoyed Don’s approval and happiness and attraction in the moment, but later, with Peggy, seemed confused in her feelings. Maybe it’s because like some others have posted, it’s not her ultimate passion. We’ll see!

        • I see both Don and Megan as private people. They don’t celebrate their successes with others. They don’t need praise. But what they both seek is opportunity to perform again and again and again,

          • It was curious to me that Megan was excited in the taxi with Don but less so in the office the next day in front of the guys. I’m still not certain what that’s about but if her response to Emile’s criticism at the award dinner is to be believed, that she may not be doing what she truly wants, then it could explain why the moment of public triumph in the office may not have meant much to her.

            Interestingly, her triumph and her discontent is coming on the heels of a possible decline in Don’s career. If she wants something else, and he wants her to ‘save’ the office by bringing in accounts, that marriage is going to head south fast. And if Don’s enthusiasm for Megan’s talent is basically a self-reflection, which it could be, he’ll not respond well if she wants another type of career.

            I saw a bit of a preview of what could become a nightmare of a marriage in their future in two instances in this segment of MM. Don totally didn’t understand the emotion behind Marie Calvert’s anger at Emile – that Emile was crying to his grad school girlfriend. Don’s focus was on the book’s importance to Emile and the pain of the loss of success – why shouldn’t he cry? Megan had to explain that Emile should have been crying with his wife! And Don’s expression of disbelief over the lack of trust that other captains of industry now felt towards him over the betrayal in the Cancer Society campaign – I wondered why he never saw that coming, but again, he can’t make the emotional connection to behaviors. I bring all this up as a point that, for all the Drapers seeming go-team marriage, there are some indications that storms could be ahead for them if Megan decides to strike out in another direction.

          • Tammi, this is only a theory.

            Throughout season four when you saw Megan on screen and utter the few words she was given to say before her sexual interlude in Don’s office in episode 11 Chinese Wall here is my description of her: Obedient, caring, polite, self-deprecating, reserved, modest, aloof, honest.

            Megan neither stood out or was totally disregarded. But the two things you could certainly say about Megan is that she dressed well and looked good.

            Now bring that forward to Megan’s first sexual encounter with Don all the way through to this past episode is Megan less caring, less polite, less modest, less self-deprecating and any less aloof? I would say she is not.

            If there is one thing that has changed she is less obedient but that could have happened as a result of a change of status now being Don’s wife.

            I have known many people like Megan both men and women. They are super-ambitious but disdain fame, recognition or public acclaim and do not seek it. The work is more important than the celebration or glory. It is enough for Megan that Don recognizes her accomplishment. She doesn’t really care what the other people in the office think.

            As with Peggy, I’m surprised everyone has so short of memory, It was only in episode 6 Far Away Places that Don whisked Megan out of the office and by doing so caused Megan to abandon the team but even more important abandoned Peggy. Remember how Peggy bombed out with Raymond of Heinz. Megan appeared sheepish with Peggy not only because she does not seek recognition but also she may have stolen some of Peggy’s thunder which Megan perhaps feel some of the credit should have gone to her.

  54. I’ve been thinking…maybe the turn events, lack of business at SDCP, Megans political background/knowledge, the timing, the war, the political and social upheaval that is occuring may result in a transformation of the Don/Megan power duo into some kind of political public relations positioning, aka Mary Madeline/James Carville.
    Maybe Don becomes radicalized after the Ohio State shootings etc. (Petes driving school friend said she was going to Ohio State) Of course there are many other examples from the sixties that would change someones political viewpoint.
    Just a thought.

    • I meant Kent State shootings in Ohio.

    • Don doesn’t vote. He admitted that in the first season. In addition unlike Bert and Roger he was not that keen on working on the Nixon campaign, not because he didn’t like interest imho but he simply wasn’t interested in politics.

      And because of Don’s “secret” and his personality, Don is not focused on saving the world. He has a hard enough job saving himself, his marriage and his career at SCDP. Don would be happy if people would just leave Megan and him alone.

      • I don’t think political consultants or those that develop brand messaging or commercials for politicians are focused on saving the world. He can remain a nonvoter, it is just him doing the same job, but a different perspective. Its plausible.
        Besides, that was then, and this is now.

  55. I spend more time reading this blog than watching the show

  56. Roger may also have reminded Sally of Grandpa Gene. When Don brought the kids in Megan didn’t say anything to Bobby. She pays attention to Sally because of shopping.

  57. All right, I will be the one to broach the subject. Glen told Sally if she had bought the new Lovin’ Spoonful Album. Which one was it? I googled the discography and the three albums that came out in 1966 were “Daydream” (May 1966), “Woody Allen’s Tiger Lilly” *(a Japanese Spy movie told in humorous Woody Allen subtitles, September 1966)), and “Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful” (December 1966). I think we can eliminate the last one since from the clothing, I would say the episode takes place in the fall, not the winter. Any comments?

    • Sally says something like, “It’s on the radio all the time anyway.” The WUTS soundtrack contained no hits, so it’s probably Daydream, which had huge hits in the title song and “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice.”

    • I updated the Cultural References section last night. Kids that age frequently bought singles, so they may not be referring to an LP. “Summer in the City” hit #1 in August 1966 and Sally says ‘they play it on the radio all the time.’ The episode takes place the last week in September or the first week in October.

    • The dates don’t line up perfectly, but I submit that Roger’s choice would be “Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful”

  58. My final thought on this ep. was that commenter “Good Sally” totally called Megan winning the Heinz pitch here:

    I remember reading it and at once thinking it so unlikely that it just might happen 🙂

    Well played!

    (extra formatting of link to comment thread in case the one above doesn’t work:

  59. I find it interesting to compare the two Heinz dinners – one in Tea Leaves and the other in this ep. In the first one, Raymond’s wife declared talk about advertising boring and got Megan to begrudgingly agree. In the second one, Megan prompted Don to make the pitch which Raymond’s wife did not find boring and instead encouraged her husband to listen and discuss. In Tea Leaves, Don gave Megan a very disapproving look when she mentioned that Don was divorced but in this ep, Don freely mentioned his 12 year old daughter who, given Megan’s age, must have been from a different mother. So the first dinner was very light on business and personal information while the second one was an actual pitch that talked about Don’s home and family. The similarites are that the wives clearly directed the direction of the conversation in both dinners and the daughters played an important role. Raymond’s daughter’s love for music resulted in Don seeking out the Rolling Stones for a Heinz commercial and Sally was mentioned and clearly the inspiration for the new Heinz pitch which finally resulted in the sale.

    • I would compare what happened in the second dinner at the top of the Time-Life building to being behind by less than a touchdown with less than two minutes to go in a football game.

      The pressure mounts. It’s do or die. It’s either now or never.

      Alice did the Drapers a huge, huge favor in the ladies’ room by telling Megan what the lay of the land was at that very moment.

      But it was Megan who was able to quickly process the info and decided what it meant. After all, Alice did not come out and say categorically that Heinz was ending their relationship with SCDP.

      And by whispering in Don’s ear as soon as she got back to the table, Megan put Don on high alert. Even though Don was a bit slow on the uptake to figure out what he should say, Megan brilliantly nudged Don in the right direction and he basically carried the ball from there with some input from Megan during his mini-presentation to Raymond.

      As I wrote in another post I never see Don and Raymond being buddy-buddy but as long as Alice and Megan stay on good terms I can see Heinz staying with SCDP long-term.

  60. Did anyone else wonder why Glen asked Sally about changing Gene’s diapers? Gene would be about 4 by now.

    • I think he’s 3, actually. IIRC he was born in the early part of 1963 (Season 3) and now it’s 1966.

      Not sure about Glen’s comment, though. I wasn’t really paying much attention to that part.

    • A 15-year-old kid isn’t going to be as obessessed with dates as we Basketcases are. He was probably just trying to come up with something to say.

    • Gene is 3. DOB 6/21/63.

    • 3 is old to be in diapers

      • Not really. Boys toilet train later than girls. 4 is still the high end of perfectly normal.

      • Although my late wife Jean did not receive her PhD in Early Childhood Development until 1973, from 1964 until her death in 1989 Jean was a professor of childhood development.

        Needless to say she was far more fascinated with toilet training than I was. Our first son was born in August 1962. I remember that by May 1965 he was keeping his cloth training pants dry during the day, yet continued to wet at night until he was almost 4. Jean felt that was just his schedule. Our daughter was born in April 1964 and apparently toilet trained herself at about age 2. Jean also felt that was natural.

        At some point the term “Delayed Toilet Learning” was coined, and that is a scale which seems to move. The first time jean mentioned that to me circa 1972 for boys the worry would not start until age 4. The last time Jean talked about that in late 1988 the magic age was 5 for boys.

        Since those days women are training as urologists and the sub specialty of Juvenile/Adolescent Urology has been recognized. A cynic might say this is a result of disposable diapers being made in larger sizes. Or that parents were more concerned with early toilet training when they had to wash and dry cloth diapers.

        In the episode when Baby Gene was toddling about in just either training pants or a diaper without waterproof pants, unless Gene changed himself, he apparently was sleeping in trainers, so then he must have been nearly toilet trained.

        I took Glenn’s remark to mean that Sally had complained about changing diapers, which could have been months before. In 1966 I doubt anyone would find it odd that a boy not yet 3 was still diapered part of the time.

    • I don’t think Glen was being literal. Instead, he was teasing Sally about having to care for her baby brother. Therefore, “changing his diaper” is the adolescent equivalent of having to watch over Gene.

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