Do you remember what Don said to Peter in the pilot ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes? He told him what to expect if Pete continued to behave like an a-hole.
Don: “Campbell, advertising is a very small world. When you do something like malign the reputation of a girl from the steno pool on her first day, you make it smaller. Keep it up and even if you do get my job you’ll never run this place. You’ll die in that corner office a mid-level executive with a little bit of hair who women go home with out of pity. You wanna know why? ‘Cause no one will like you.”
In the past two seasons, I was beginning to think that Pete was becoming more human; refusing to attend Margaret’s wedding, showing maturity toward Peggy and joy at Trudy’s pregnancy. But in Signal 30, Middle executive Pete is slowly becoming this pitiful character. Leering after a teenage girl, whoring, and in A Little Kiss, his hair loss is questioned. Pete isn’t only a bit heavier and balding, but he’s becoming angrier, and meaner. This can’t be good. My only hope was his silent weep in the elevator with Don.
Yet lately Pete’s become even more reprehensible. The way he stalked Beth in The Lady Lazarus was very dark, and with the continued references to death and suicide this season, I am now more concerned about his mortality. There’s one line of Pete’s has been haunting me since we first heard it in Meditations in an Emergency, when he was facing the possibility of nuclear annihilation: “If I’m going to die I want to die in Manhattan!” I truly hope that Pete Campbell will live out the duration of Mad Men, to kill him off would be criminal.
Oh Pete, please don’t give up.