Continuing with my Mad Men Season 7 rewatch, last night I watched 7.02, A Day’s Work.
This is in some ways, a magnificent episode. It is elevated by everyone’s performance, of course, and most especially, by Jon Hamm’s stricken face in the final scene, when Sally tells her father “I love you.”
Nonetheless, the sitcom plot of Peggy and the flowers is a little much, a little cringey. Basketcases certainly called it out as a sitcom device in our original Open Thread, but Elisabeth Moss sold it with such intensity that the material was very nearly elevated to pure drama, at least on first viewing. Nonetheless, upon rewatch, I found myself dreading the whole flower embarrassment. I mean, even Peggy cringed in embarrassment, so how do we avoid cringing too?
The problem with the episode is that the shuffling around of “the girls” is also a little sitcom. There’s a lot of plot device to make sure that all that happens, and it’s all very written; you can see the writers’ hands in making all the dominos fall just so. The two sitcom plots (moving the secretaries and the Flowers Incident) interconnect. Combining them means that A Day’s Work, while it has great moments, will never be among the truly great Mad Men episodes.