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Sash!
Mar 16, 2001




I really enjoy it. Making any comparison to Mad Men is useless. It is a comedy, first and foremost, and that's going to make it a completely different animal.

It also really depends on if you could tolerate the "Lorelai/Rory are divine beings whose perfection everyone else basks in" Gilmore Girls energy. Maisel is the same with the lead. That said, it brings along a million supporting characters played by fantastic comedy actors. Alex Borstein and Tony Shaloub are hilarious.

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crimedog
Apr 1, 2008

Yo, dog.
You dead, dog.


The song and the ending with Megan by herself on the balcony is so good. I watched it twice.

Crespolini
Mar 9, 2014



Solkanar512 posted:

I would guess that the sort of college Betty went to was more of a finishing school rather than the more typical college experience we think of today that Megan likely got.

Anyway, despite being uncomfortable, Don is a gigantic horse's rear end in the way he treats Megan here. She put out everything she had to honor her husband and he just threw it in her face and treated her like poo poo for it. The mature thing would be to actually loving communicate and respect the fact she did a ton of work, even if he doesn't like big parties. I still remember watching this live and thinking, "Don, go gently caress yourself" and my mind clearly hasn't changed.

I'd consider it a bigger favor if someone considered what I wanted and then half-assed it, than if they put a huge effort into doing something for themselves

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



Season 5, Episode 2 - A Little Kiss
Written by Matthew Weiner, Directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Megan Draper posted:

What is wrong with you people?

The weekend over, Lane arrives outside the Time Life building by cab, but as he reaches for his own wallet he spots another tucked into the back seat. He points it out to the driver, who smiles and says it happens all the time, asking him to hand it over so he can give it in to Lost and Found. Lane, however, spots that there a significant amount of money inside the wallet and hesitates. Finally he says that he would prefer to hand it over himself, and the driver has to stifle his irritation AND offense: one of two things is happening here, as far as he can tell, either Lane is planning to keep it for himself or he suspects the driver would take the money for himself before (or if) returning the wallet.

Instead, the driver simply tells Lane that the passenger will call for it and this puts him in a jam if he says another passenger took it. Lane offers an unnecessary solution to a problem of his own making, handing over his business card so the passenger knows who to call if he comes looking. This is all a bunch of extra steps but the driver, who happens to be black, figures it's better not to argue and agrees, taking the card and passing back the change from Lane's fare. Lane "graciously" tells him to keep it, before leaving with the wallet stuffed with cash.

Don wakes to an empty bed. What happened on Sunday? How has the rest of the weekend gone for he and Megan? Or did he dream it all away in an exhausted drunken stupor like he's done before? In the bathroom, he applies shaving cream with the kids' birthday gift to him, pausing to look at himself in the mirror. What does he see? Is he considering his age? His attitude towards Megan? Blaming her? Blaming himself? Or just trying to think a way out of a bad situation that avoids actually truly confronting any of the deeply buried issues that helped to cause it?

At SCDP, Pete pops into Lane's office with a smile, joking about wanting to stick around so he can see the others slink in embarrassed from their actions at the party since he managed to not drink too much and avoid saying or doing anything embarrassing. Lane notes his (sadly unusual) good mood and his own brightens immensely when Pete says a large part of that is due to him getting a call from Mohawk Airlines this morning. Before Pete can fill him in though, they're interrupted by Lane's secretary letting him know his wife is on the line.

Pete quickly tells him he's called a Partners Meeting and slips out, chuckling to himself when Lane's secretary helpfully offers that Mrs. Pryce is on the "blinking" line and Lane snaps back at her that they're ALL blinking. Taking a seat, he greets his wife warmly - a far cry from the strained relationship we saw in season 3 - but while she's warm with him too, the subject of their conversation is not a pleasant one as she reveals that he left the house this morning upset.

It appears that Lane is suffering through the sadly not uncommon practice of trying to hide financial troubles from his wife, and becoming upset when casual behavior that threatens to reveal his desperation occurs. A letter from their son Nigel's school arrived and, of course, she opened it, to find a threatening letter warning that they still hadn't received his tuition fees for the year.

Lane tries to play this as a matter of conflicting interests: their son's position in the school is secure, the payment isn't due until September, and he doesn't want to pay now in June so they can collect interest for 3 months while the money sits in their account. Rebecca's counter to that is straightforward enough, couldn't he spare that interest in exchange for her peace of mind? Surely that outweighs any idea of the school getting one over on him by collecting a few dollars (if that!) in interest?

Of course the most likely reason for his hesitation is that he DOESN'T have the money to pay his son's school fees, and he's trying to keep that from her as best as he can. SCDP is "stable" but they're obviously still in lean times, and Lane didn't have the benefit of Don paying his share of the Partnership Investment like Pete did: perhaps despite his position as Partner he is only barely holding on right now? Is that why he kept the wallet? Even $100 extra dollars a welcome respite during lean times? He leafs through it now as Rebecca waits for an answer, his eye caught by a photo of a very beautiful woman and her loving message on the back naming her as Delores.

Rebecca brings him back to himself when he doesn't answer, and he admits he missed what she last said. Thinking better of pushing him (Rebecca too is wary of the marriage's fragility, despite their good time at the party, last year they were estranged and living in different countries after all). However her next question, designed to change the subject, just pains Lane further, as she asks him to get the name of Megan's real estate agent AND decorator, obviously enamored of the Drapers' apartment. Spending more money is NOT what Lane wants to hear, but he assures her that he will and hangs up, because pretending everything is just fine until the center can no longer hold and everything collapses into a bitter pile of recriminations and blame is surely better than talking to your life partner and sharing your problems, right!



Joan returns home to an unexpected and unwelcome sight. Apollo, the building's plumber, is seated at her table cradling baby Kevin while Gail giggles all over him and they share cookies and tea. Gail is surprised to see Joan back so quickly, who points out the post office was quieter than she expected before retrieving Kevin from Apollo who explains that he was just waiting for the sink he has unblocked to finish draining. Very sweetly but firmly she informs him that she appreciates his time but she and her mother are very busy, and he gets the message and quickly heads for the door.

Gail openly asks if he REALLY needs to leave now, but Apollo just shrugs and says if he's needed she just has to call before going. Even before the door closes though Gail is openly complaining to Joan, saying she WANTS him to overhear her pointing out that Joan was just very rude. Joan doesn't care if she offended him though, suspecting that Gail was more interested in flirting with the good looking, exotic handyman than getting a lemon peel out of the pipes. She doesn't appreciate Gail feeding him tea and cookies, or letting him hold her baby when he's had his hands in every toilet from here to the Bowery.

Poor Apollo, dude was just doing his job and being polite!

Pointing out that Apollo is married with four children as if that would stop her flirting with him, Gail claims that she was just doing her best to make sure the apartment was being serviced. She scoffs at Joan's smug reminder that she has never had any trouble getting him to come by before, pointing out that Joan isn't exactly at her "fighting weight" after having the baby.

The tension between them has been growing for some time, the inevitable result of two women with similar domineering personalities (Joan clearly got hers from Gail) sharing the same space, especially with the flip from the dynamic they shared when Joan was a child now that Joan feels like the higher authority since this is HER house and HER baby. She makes a crack about Gail not wanting to risk seeing how ready for a fight she is, and when Gail threatens to go home Joan pretends not just indifference but contempt, claiming that she's gotten her "money's worth" from her mother.

Offended, Gail announces that she wasn't going to show her what she saw in the paper, even though she is clearly relishing the chance to take her daughter down a peg or too. She hands over the paper, and a perplexed Joan stares down at an advertisement for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce: An Equal Opportunity Employer that proudly proclaims "Our windows are open. We are committed to proving that Madison Avenue isn't all wet."

Yes, the "joke" that Roger paid for and Don wrote just to get a rise out of Y&R, presented in a newspaper where divorced of context Gail assumes they're putting out a call for a woman to replace Joan. Because of course when she sees Equal Opportunity, she isn't thinking people of color, she's thinking women. And why would they be hiring a woman? Because they mean to get rid of another one! And who is currently on their books but not working for them? Why Joan Harris of course!

For Joan though, it makes no sense. Why is this ad not in the Want Section? They don't have money for new hires, hell they probably can't even spare money to place ads that aren't part of a client account. Gail though worms into her brain, claiming that it's obvious they're looking to get rid of her, that the Agency is done with her, that they probably meant it when they said she could return to work but have since changed their minds etc.

When a bewildered Joan points out she was invited to Don's birthday party just this weekend (so Roger's gratitude to Don wasn't just misplaced but completely wrong!), Gail leaps on the fact it came at the last minute, unaware that EVERYBODY got a last minute invitation and assuming it was a slight from a conniving Megan Draper out to replace her. Not wanting to deal with these troubling thoughts or her mother - whose claims that it hurts her to bring these "truths" to her attention belie a clear delight in being "right" - Joan retreats into her bedroom, saying she needs to lie down.

Speaking of awkward family relationships, Don and Megan arrive at SCDP. Don's eyes glance nervously around the mostly empty floor as they walk the corridor, clearly worried about how people will be looking at him, still embarrassed about the party even two days later. Megan is also uncomfortable, but not about what other people thinks. She breaks off from him as they get to Peggy and Stan's office and he calls out to her to have a good day, which simply gets an abrupt,"Okay," from her and nothing else.

Next is the awkwardness of Caroline, who presents him with a plant as a belated gift, explaining she didn't get him anything because she thought he didn't like his birthday but then he had a party so obviously he does so uhhh here it is and oh God this is another fresh hell for Don Draper, especially with a gleeful Roger watching and calling out,"Bonjour!" to him.

As Caroline collects his hat and coat, Don glares in disbelief at Roger singing Frère Jacques and doing a "sexy" dance as he approaches, really not appreciating the mockery (remember that he himself very carefully chose not to taunt Roger after being forced to wear a Santa outfit by Lee Garner Jr). Caroline lets him know she could get him coffee but they have a Partners meeting, and when he points out nobody is in the Conference Room she explains it is in Mr. Campbell's office.

Still Roger has a gift of his own, one more welcome than Caroline's plant: the "ad" they made to rub salt in Y&R's wound. They chuckle over it, fully unaware of the impact it has had on Joan Harris, because of course everything is an in-joke and they really never think about who it might hurt... which makes Don being upset at Roger's mockery a wee bit hypocritical.

Caroline's phone rings as she returns and she assumes that will be Mr. Campbell calling, and Roger and Don decide to actually attend this Partners meeting rather than put it off for hours and then run through it all informally in a few minutes. They'll just have to hold off on the important work of doing nothing at all till later in the day!

But as they leave, Don waits till they're just far enough away from Caroline before grabbing Roger's sleeve and tugging hard. "What?" complains Roger, who knows exactly what he's in trouble for, but Don spells it out regardless: they don't make fun of each other's wives here, understood?

Roger of course can never entirely accept blame, and assures Don that he wasn't making fun of Megan... he was making fun of him! He points out that Don is happy, which Don is a little too quick to agree to, and that this is what he wants for him... because somebody should be. Yes, the millionaire who doesn't actually have to do any work at the company with his name on the wall is feeling sorry for himself. He complains that Jane recently asked him,"Which one's Mussolini" before quickly correcting that Jane is great, that all girls are great.... until they want something.

Don is at least somewhat mollified at least, and he and Roger continue on to Pete's office as Caroline assures him over the phone that they're on their way over at last.



In his office, Pete is decidedly unimpressed at how long it is taking them, while Cooper and Lane wait uncomfortably on the small couch across from his desk. He continues to harangue Caroline to hurry them up when he's interrupted by Lane informing him that Don and Roger have arrived, but when he looks up they're nowhere to be seen.... because they're standing behind that stupid support column right by his door.

Hanging up, he asks them to join the others on the couch, belatedly remembering to pass on Trudy's thanks to Don and Megan for the party when Cooper exclaims it was a "marvelous fete". They squeeze uncomfortably into the couch, too narrow to really fit them all, Don uncomfortable after being reminded of the party, Roger uncomfortable after Pete asks (tells?) him not to smoke since he was "choking" on the train to work this morning.

All of it leads to the question, why are they meeting in this small little room that doesn't have enough space to fit them all... which of course is exactly the reason he brought them in. First he delivers the good news, he's landed Mohawk as a client. They're all delighted to hear that, of course, which is when he pounces, explaining that he'd like to bring them in and meet all of the Partners as a group... but how can he do that in THIS room? He points out the cement column, asking if it is the kind of thing that it is likely to encourage clients to think highly of SCDP and their ability to generate success for their company.

They're all amused, though not entirely taking it seriously. Don suggests the Conference Room would be adequate, but Pete stresses that this meeting would not be THAT meeting: he wants an informal introduction, an easing in before they get down to the proper business of their relationship. Roger, delighted by Pete's moxie, agrees and offers what he thinks is a good compromise: they can hold the meeting in his office.

That triggers a harsh response from Pete however, one that wipes the smile from Don's face. The Mohawk Account doesn't concern Roger. Nor does Vick, Playtex, Life cereal, Samsonite, Sugarberry Ham or Secor Laxative. His point is clear: HE is the guy who is bringing in the Accounts, HE is the guy who is keeping the company stable, HE is the guy who doesn't have an office commensurate with this work. It's a slap in the face to Roger, and probably one that Pete thinks is long overdue, but though he's not happy he still doesn't quite grasp what Pete is saying until Cooper - amused - verbalizes it for him: Pete wants Roger's office.

NOW Roger is taking things seriously, immediately declaring that's not going to happen. Because while he plays it off as him being a Full Partner and Pete only a Junior, the fact is that he's clearly been worried for some time about how Pete Campbell is overshadowing him. The massive security blanket that was Lucky Strike, guaranteed to keep Roger the king of the mountain, is gone. Pond's Cold Cream, made possible by an old relationship with Freddy Rumsen and his deep dislike (justified!) for Pete Campbell, is gone. All that is left is an aging partner with no accounts to his name, at a company that only just barely survived financial ruin, and the young, hungry and aggressive junior Partner who he once considered beneath his notice is quickly threatening to supplant him.



Pete suggests they put it to a vote, and Roger resorts to bullying tactics, standing and suggesting they "take it outside" to settle it. Pete treats them with the bewildered disdain it deserves, while Roger sneers,"I didn't think so," and leaves, as if he's somehow trumped all of Pete's arguments with this pathetic playground bully act. Lane, Cooper and Don are all still mostly amused by what seems like petty squabbling to them, but Pete is being serious and they can't deny when he stresses that they know he's right.

Because they do, and it's an awkward position, because Roger really isn't bringing anything to the table anymore. Cooper at least still has his reputation and his political and business connections, the air of an Elder Statesman of Advertising who gives SCDP some history and clout. But that doesn't mean they can just dump him, he IS a full Partner after all, SCDP would never have gotten off the ground without him, plus none of them know the full story of how Lucky Strike leaving went down so there remains some level of sympathy with him on the devastation of losing his oldest, biggest client.

Don offers that they could buy some more space, which perks up Cooper's interest since he's currently without an office as well. Lane immediately shuts that down, pointing out that the banks absolutely will not extend the company's credit lines any further than they already have. In the end, all of them are taking Pete's request (demand?) seriously now, but for the time being all they can offer is genuine congratulations on landing Mohawk and promises that they will come up with a solution somehow. It's not what Pete wanted, but it is at least a start.

Don passes the lunch room as he goes, irritated at being reminded of the party when Harry spots him and lets him know how great the party was. Stan calls out the same, not wanting to appear ungrateful (and ironically, just adding to Don's irritation), and once Don is gone they continue to express their admiration... but not in regards to the party. Instead they both leer over Megan's sexiness, openly talking about her tits and mouth, her little French behind, how Don being able to just sit there when she was doing that dance was either a sign of iron self-control or because he had a raging erection and COULDN'T stand.

But as they wax lyrical over how horny their boss' wife makes them, Megan herself comes walking into the room behind Harry, who is in the middle of energetically describing how he'd like to bang her. Stan, sipping his coffee, spots her and does the "right" thing (after being decidedly inappropriate), calling out a loud greeting to her so Harry knows she is there. Harry, of course, assumes that Stan is trying to frighten him, and having made an honest effort Stan gleefully decides to let Harry hang himself further and hands him a long coil of rope by asking him to go on and describe screwing Megan Draper.

So Harry does, putting on a faux French accent and imitating Megan as he talks about having her heels on his shoulder. Megan, furious, bumps past him with a strained,"Good morning" to drop his spoon off in the sink and then stride past Harry with a look of utter contempt on her face as he tries to pretend she didn't just catch him doing that, thanking her for the party and telling her Jennifer was very jealous that she couldn't go.

As soon as Megan is out of the room, Stan doubles over laughing, not even Harry angrily punching his shoulder enough to break his glee. Harry, horrified at potentially facing consequences for his actions, complains that Stan should have warned him, which makes Stan laugh even harder because of course he did! Harry slithers away, paranoid mind racing with what for once probably isn't paranoid delusion, while Stan continues to laugh, having himself just a great morning!



In his office, Lane is informed the owner of the wallet is on the line. He takes the call, but it is a woman on the other end, not Alex Polito. He asks who she is as he collects the wallet from his drawer, and perks up when she explains she is "his girl, Delores." Delighted, he does however say he should speak with Mr. Polito personally when he comes to the office, and Delores explains he's misunderstood. When she says she is his "girl" she doesn't mean secretary, she means she is "like his wife, but I can't call myself that."

Lane finds himself staring once again at the photo of Delores, a voice to attach to the face now. Delores herself is obviously enjoying herself, acting a little flirty as she chats with Lane, at first making him uncomfortably but quickly warming him up. When he tells her he is married she is amused at the thought that maybe Rebecca is lying in bed talking to a stranger as well, and a flustered Lane proclaims that he certainly hopes not.

But he becomes more and more into the talk, seeming to take a near sexual pleasure in listening to her rather breathless, sexy voice. He comments on her lying in bed in her "underthings" at 11am, and when she chuckles that she didn't tell him that part he relishes pointing out that she also hasn't corrected him. Coming back to the wallet, he points out he could mail it back but is worried about the cash inside, so perhaps he could deliver it... in person?

There is a long silence, and finally when Delores speaks she is muted, not as playful or flirty, realizing that Lane is getting more from this conversation than she was putting in. "I don't know if that would be proper," she suggests, and Lane's heart sinks as he realizes he went too far. He agrees, and suggests he give his business address so she can come and pick it up from him. He transfers to his secretary, Scarlet, but not before offering a,"Toodle-oo!" and telling her he looks forward to seeing her. With the call over, he stares again at her photograph, taking pleasure at seeing the line flashing as Scarlet gives her the building's details, knowing that this woman of his fantasies, this woman in the photo, is behind that light.

Harry sits in his office struggling to do any work, listlessly tapping a cannon paperweight on his desk with a pencil as he contemplates the danger he may be in after getting caught by Megan making lewd comments about her. His intercom buzzes and his secretary informs him that Mr. Sterling has requested to see him in his office. Terrified, he asks what for, and she replies nervously that he walked up to the desk, asked Harry to come see him, then returned to his own office, obviously finding that unusual.

She doesn't know why he didn't just go into Harry's office itself, and when he nervously asks if she saw him talking to Megan or Don, she excitedly asks what he's done. "NOTHING!" he blurts across the intercom, then like a man preparing for a march to the gallows, he stands, puts on his coat, and heads towards his doom.

He enters Roger's office nervously, trying to stay in the open doorway, declining the offer of a seat until Roger tells him calmly that he thinks it is best he sit for this conversation. His certainty of his upcoming termination growing, Harry accepts his fate, closes the door, and takes a seat on one of the ridiculous little white stools, heart sinking even further when Roger starts talking about how they all like to think of SCDP as a family, and there are certain ways a family behaves.... oh God, he's doomed, he's doomed, he's DOOMED!

In a desperate, fumbling effort to get ahead of things, Harry insists that he didn't mean anything, that he's sorry, but he wants Roger to hear HIS side of things. "Your side of what?" asks a confused Roger, and Harry finds himself dangling in the daunting danger zone of not knowing if Roger truly has no idea what he's talking about or is trying to see how long Harry will pretend nothing is wrong. "You're always up to something, aren't you, Crane?" Roger notes, and Harry tries to hedge his bets by simply saying he made an honest mistake and considers himself reprimanded, figuring that if Roger knows he'll think Harry has admitted the truth, and if Roger doesn't know then he'll think Harry has learned a lesson anyway.

But when Roger, who is playing an entirely different game, announces that he thinks Pete should have Harry's office, Harry takes it completely the wrong way, thinking he's been fired. Horrified, he insists that he will apologize face-to-face if necessary, but please don't let him go! Roger, detached from the goings-on in the office even more than normal, has to explain with some consternation that he's not firing Harry.... but now he DOES want to know what the gently caress Harry did that he thought he'd get fired for it.

Relieved, Harry explains in the most innocuous, innocent way possible, claiming he was making fun of Zou Bisou, which makes Roger chuckle as he admits he got in trouble for making fun of it too. Wistfully, he comments on how he tried to get Jane to speak in that accent but she refused because she doesn't speak French and she doesn't like him (gee, I wonder why your wife wasn't happy when you asked her to talk like your friend's wife!), and Harry - as always - swings too far in the other direction and starts excitedly talking about how he was all over Jennifer when he got home, Roger having to cut him off and complain that he really doesn't want to hear about Harry having sex.

With this bizarre detour out of the way, Roger can finally get back to what he wanted to do all along. Because he's no idiot, despite his posturing earlier he knows that Pete's argument holds water with the other Partners, and that it is becoming increasingly harder for him to justify his giant office while he produces nothing for the Agency and Pete keeps bringing in new clients. He's already demonstrated how desperate he is by sneaking peeks at Pete's calendar and trying to worm his way into Pete's meetings, now he's in danger of losing his office and whatever faint prestige he still has, and it is getting harder to argue why he shouldn't.

So he declares that it has been decided that Pete should have Harry's office, implying this is a decision of all the Partners... until Harry asks WHO decided and Roger freely admits that he did. No longer fearing for his job, Harry reverts to form and shifts from desperate to please to miserable complaints. He doesn't want to change offices and he doesn't think he has to. That last line is delivered with some defiance... until he immediately second-guesses himself, loses his spine and asks... does he?

Roger tries to play nice, saying that Pete's office isn't all that different from Harry's right now (then why suggest the switch!), and Harry is quick to disagree. So Roger tries to reason in terms of business, after all who is the most impressive client that Harry could bring into SCDP for a meeting? Harry thinks he's on to a winner there, pointing out he could bring in CBS Chief Executive [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_S._Paley]William Paley[/spoiler], but Roger explains that actually that would be the worst thing he could do: television and studio executives want to see Harry as a jet-setting guy who hob-knobs with stars and chorus girls, who is out there in the action. His meetings with these people should be on THEIR turf, not in some miserable little office (which, again, if it's so bad why is Roger trying to put Pete in there!).

All good points, except as a confused Harry notes... he DOES spend most of his days in his office, that is where he does most of his work! And Pete's office is a "shithole with a support beam!"

So Roger falls back on old reliable.... bribery! He suggests an appropriate "bonus", and when Harry reminds him the Agency doesn't have money for bonuses, Roger reaches literally into his own pocket. Harry notes that if there was a cash figure that would convince him, it's going to be more than Roger carries in his pockets.... at which point he's reminded of the vast difference between himself and Roger as the latter hauls out a giant folded stack of cash and starts looking through it.

It's $1100, a month's salary for Harry after taxes, close to 10k in 2021... and Roger just carries it around casually in his pocket as walking around money. Nervous, tempted in spite of himself, Harry hates himself for it but reaches out and takes the cash that Roger is offering, sealing the decision and costing him his expansive, well-lit office. "There's no window in there!" he despairs, and Roger shrugs and points out now he can afford to buy a lovely painting to look at instead!

Standing, Harry tries to muster some dignity by telling Roger that he owes him, and Roger is quick to put him back in his place: he owes him nothing, this is what the money is for (not even as a thanks, like Don treats it!). They've conducted a transaction and that transaction is now done.... and if he doesn't like that, then they can have the conversation Harry THOUGHT they were having when he first entered the room.

Harry stands, right back to being scared again... and then because he really can't help himself, he Harrys it up a little further by asking if he can expect the $1100 every month! "Get the hell out of my office!" snaps Roger, and Harry doesn't hesitate a second, knowing that was an idiotic question. He escapes with mixed feelings: he thought he was getting fired, he ended up with $1100 extra in his pocket but he's also lost his lovely office and pissed off Roger in the process.

For Roger? Well it cost him money he can afford to lose, and it wasn't a pleasant experience having to conduct "business" with Harry who he'd normally consider well beneath his notice... but he's holding onto his own precious office. For now.



Like Harry Crane, Joan Harris has been plagued by paranoid thoughts ever since her mother showed her the "ad" in the newspaper. Acting on those now, she arrived at SCDP with baby Kevin in a pram, dressed up to look like the Joan of old: attractive but formidable, poised and in control, certainly unchanged by motherhood even if she does have the baby with her, pushing an impossible image as much as possible to gain what she needs.

Except things go wrong from the start, the woman at Front Reception simply sits at her desk and offers no help as Joan struggles with the door and pram both, which simply aren't designed with baby-laden mothers in mind. Even worse, the receptionist is a stranger and doesn't recognize Joan, not by face and perhaps more galling not by name either. "I'm Joan," she explains, and the receptionist smiles and says her name is Meredith... can she help her!?

"Joan Harris," Joan explains, and that means nothing to her either. Joan has to explain she works here... then has to qualify that with WORKED here, explaining she's been on leave. Meredith clearly still has absolutely no idea who she is, and after a few agonizing seconds she finally either vaguely recalls hearing about a Joan or decides to just bullshit to be polite and declares,"Oh JOAAAAANN!!!!" before marveling over how good she looks for having had a baby.

She offers to introduce her but Joan says she will let herself in, commenting that nobody told her they were hiring a new girl (which in turn must be making her take the ad even more seriously), and Meredith's explanation for that alarms her even further: they hired Meredith to cover for Scarlet who is on Mr. Pryce's desk in order to help Clara "do the books".

THAT was Joan's job, covering the Agency's finances in conjunction with Lane, and now they've got Clara (and Scarlet) doing it and they've hired on somebody despite the supposed lack of money to sit on the front desk... oh God, her mother was right, they ARE looking to replace her, she's going to be cast aside without a second thought in spite of all she's sacrificed and done for them!

All that passes through Joan's mind in a moment, but she never loses her composure, simply smiles and observes with terrifying pleasantness that now she understands why she wasn't told. Meredith doesn't quite understand, but she assumes that she's spoken out of turn in some way and gasps out that she hopes she didn't do the wrong thing by telling her. Joan simply asks her to help with the much heavier door into the office proper, and Meredith seems to really register Kevin for the first time, gushing over how adorable he is before opening the door and apologizing again, explaining that she's more than happy to continue being a nobody here.

"I know a girl who had your job who ended up with everything," notes Joan with poisonous sweetness, referencing Megan, and then wheels Kevin in through the door. NOW she is back in her element, Meredith follows along asking where she would like to visit first and Joan declares HER office. First though she stops by Clara's desk, asking where Scarlet is, wanting to scout out the "competition". Caroline rushes over excited to see Joan and Kevin both, and Don strides down the corridor too turning on the old charm, "warning" that they're not hiring Kevin no matter how buxom his mother is.

Joan can't help but be pleased by the (inappropriate!) comment, accepting a kiss on the cheek. As she shows off Kevin, Megan enters the Creative Lounge and spots them all out in the corridor. She tries to make a quick retreat, but Harry happens to walk by the opposite corridor, pausing awkwardly when he sees her before moving on. Hesitant, not sure which way to go, she loses her chance to escape when Joan spots her and calls out a greeting (Joan herself probably doing it because she thinks it is expected of her), and now Megan has no choice but to join the others, including her husband.

She hugs Joan and asks if she is back, and Joan says she is, surprising Clara who immediately asks if she means today, satisfying Joan both that she's worried and also seemingly confirming her suspicions that Clara is after her job. Joan says she can safely assume the surprise can't be ruined now and asks how the party was, apologizing for not being able to make it. Don of course had no idea she was invited, while the party is the last thing Megan wants to talk about. Luckily Kevin is there as a more than acceptable distraction, and she takes him from Caroline and coos happily over him.

Don enjoys watching her with the baby, while Joan takes in the sight and teases him that it'll be just a matter of time till Megan wants a baby of her own. Don doesn't seem entirely upset at the notion, but Megan has done her duty now feels free to escape, explaining that she has to return to work and passing Kevin back to Caroline. Don decides to leave as well, albeit back to his office, charming Joan again with a another kiss and a cheerful admonition that as he told her before, having a baby isn't a good enough excuse not to be out of the office.

He leaves and Caroline asks when she plans to return, and Joan says she is thinking sometime in the next three weeks since her mother will be leaving and she can hire a nanny to watch Kevin during the day. Peggy pops out to see what all the commotion is about, delighted to see Joan. She approaches, barely paying any attention to Kevin (and indeed quickly using dirty hands as an excuse not to hold him when offered by Caroline), wanting to catch up with a woman who she has surprisingly come to like and respect as a friend and colleague.

Clara has to return to work as well, joking that she has more of it than ever thanks to Joan, and Joan takes some pleasure in noting,"Good," and staring down this woman who is daring (in Joan's imagination) to be after her job. There is no shortage of well-wishers, after all, Roger striding down declaring,"There's my baby!" which raises all kinds of alarm bells until he clarifies that he means Joan, joking to Caroline to get "that brat" out of his way so he can see her.

He gives Joan a kiss on the cheek and asks if "the little dud" got his present, and Joan sweetly explains to "Uncle Roger" that a bicycle isn't a useful gift just yet. "He's a loafer?" grunts Roger, asking Caroline to hand Kevin over, holding Kevin out in front of him and giving him a good look. It's all played for fun, Roger portraying a guy largely indifferent to the baby in favor of Joan, even asking if anybody even notices the baby when she's around.

But beneath that there is the awareness that Roger is holding HIS son, that he is the biological father of this child, a child she told him she had aborted. What drama was there when he found out she was still pregnant? Or was there none? Did he understand immediately? Was it a conversation they even had or just an open secret between the two of them they both agreed on some level to observe?

He told her himself when he first suggested she have the baby that he could not and would not be the father, that is couldn't be revealed to the public, so she's very much playing by the rules he established.... but forget that, how does HE feel about it? Does he see a missed opportunity? Does he ponder the fact that he has a son he can never acknowledge? Or does he count it as a dodged bullet? That he escaped responsibility and the fallout from a revealed affair and a bastard child and ANOTHER claimant to the inheritance he will (presumably) leave his daughter?

Lane's voice calls over the intercom looking for Scarlet, and Roger gleefully hands Kevin back to Caroline and puts on a falsetto on the intercom to declare Mrs Harris is here to see him. If Lane realizes this isn't Scarlet he gives no sign, instead asking for her to be sent in. Caroline offers to watch Kevin so Joan steps into Lane's office, only for Roger to instruct Caroline to make his dinner reservations immediately. Caroline promises to be back soon and dumps Kevin into a startled Peggy's hands, her and Roger leaving her completely alone in the corridor awkwardly holding a baby. Peggy has more than enough reasons to be uncomfortable with babies, given her past, but she was the one left holding the hot potato (that poops and pees and screams).

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



In his office, Lane is genuinely pleased to see Joan, saying what a pleasure it is to see her. But now that she's alone with the man she knows handles the money, she's feeling the tension that brought her in here today in the first place. Trying to keep a smile on her face, she asks him if there is anything she should know and, after a moment's hesitation, he agrees there is some pressing business and asks her to take a seat. Unlike Harry, Joan doesn't panic or blurt out something stupid, she keeps as tight a lid on her fear as she can and sits down to see what is coming and if it is as bad as she thinks it is.

In the Creative Lounge, Megan sits alone at the table when Peggy comes wheeling the pram in, openly asking what she's supposed to do with the baby. "Better than the steps of a Church, I guess," suggests Megan with a smile, of course completely unaware that Peggy gave up her own baby. Pete comes walking in looking grumpily for Clara and is taken aback by the sight of Peggy with a pram, which of course can't help but remind him that yes, he too has a child out there somewhere he will never know (both of them also unaware that Kevin is Roger's child he can never acknowledge!).

She explains the baby is Joan's, which leads to an awkward moment where the two of them stand look down at a baby that isn't theirs. "That's... darling," Pete offers, but when she asks him if he can watch him, he scoffs that he's not wearing a skirt, before fulfilling his promise to Trudy and telling Megan it was a spectacular party . Peggy, who wants no part of holding a baby any longer than she has to (she didn't want her own, let alone somebody else's!) tells him he should say hello to Joan anyway so it makes sense he take Kevin. She takes a seat at the table, leaving Pete in the uncomfortable position of either making a scene or just accepting he's been left almost literally holding the baby.

Just as an aside, Jane was right, Pete's hairline really REALLY is receding! It never really stood out to me until this particular scene, maybe due to the light and the angle.

He wheels the pram out of the Lounge, bellowing for Clara, and Peggy and Megan comment on how good Joan looks, Megan pointing out she still looked good at 9 months. Peggy smirks at that, chuckling that she doesn't know about that, and is surprised when Megan comments that she's surprised Peggy didn't just openly tell her that.... after all, she seems to say whatever's on her mind.

Ooooooh poo poo.

Surprised, Peggy asks what is wrong and Megan thinks better of scolding the woman who is technically her boss, instead handing her over a folder of the coupons she put together for Vick (presumably this is how she spent her Sunday). As Peggy takes them though, she can't resist getting in a dig, pointing out that she knows Peggy thinks she was the only one who worked this weekend.

Peggy is quick to insist she never said that, but Megan has gotten fired up now, pointing out that this is what she told Don. Perhaps hoping that everybody had forgotten that mortifying encounter, Peggy admits that she drank too much and she just blurted out the wrong thing. But that's not enough for Megan, why does it have to be an excuse? Why can't she just apologize for being wrong!?!

She's really mad at Don (and probably herself) for this of course, but Peggy is a convenient target. So when Peggy does apologize (after all, she might be the Senior, but Megan is married to HER boss) she sees it as insincere, almost despairingly asking what is wrong with "you people". By which she means, of course, everybody at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. They're aliens to her, cynical people who smirk rather than smile. Peggy doesn't do any favors in shifting that perception by immediately asking if Don is mad at HER, worried about herself.

"Who cares?" complains Megan, before blurting out what and who she is really mad about,"Who wouldn't want a surprise party!?!"

She fights off tears as the wall she's tried to keep up throughout the day begins to crumble. An alarmed Peggy watches her stand up and clasp her work to her chest, proclaiming she doesn't feel well. Not well suited to the kind of comforting role this calls for, Peggy makes an effort but Megan cuts her off by saying she really doesn't feel well. Then, pathetically, like a little girl asking permission, barely holding back tears and voice cracking she asks Peggy if she is allowed to go home.

Imagine yourself in Megan's shoes. In a whirlwind all your dreams came true, the handsome Prince you admired as a secretary and who hired you as a nanny suddenly proclaims his love for you. You marry, you get given a role under his protege to stretch your creative muscles, you move into a beautiful and stylish new home, his children adore you, everything is love and happiness..... and then you start to see the cracks.

You realize the people that surround you still don't think of you as much more than a pretty face, and that some resent you. They don't think the way you do, they don't have the same interests, they act in ways that seem cruel and callous and even sinister to you. Worst of all, your husband not only didn't appreciate a loving gesture you made for him but was humiliated by it and wants to take it out on you. Now here you are, a grown woman, married and successful in ways you never dreamed of, feeling like you have to ask for permission to go home: reduced to a weeping child among impossible to understand adults.

What can Peggy say here but,"Of course," and offer another, more sincere apology as she realizes for perhaps the first time that Megan is her own person with her own thoughts and feelings and maybe she's not to blame for coming in late and leaving early and not being held to the same standard of work and responsibility as the rest of them are. Megan leaves and Peggy is left considering Megan's plight, her part in making that worse, and... yes, cynically perhaps, how this may affect HER going forward.

In Lane's office, Joan has fallen back into work mode immediately, taking notes as Lane explains the pressing business: payments. Heinz won't sign off on the work they've done for them, which means they don't get another chance to wow them for 30 days, which means SCDP won't get paid till - at best - another 90 days. They're about to shoot ads for Sugarberry and Vick, but they won't run till Christmas which means SCDP doesn't get paid till Easter.

In other words, they've got plenty of work right now but they're not getting money for it until much later. Joan archly notes that this explains why he's asking her for free advice, and Lane chuckles that he's just trying to get things in order... only to be surprised when her face goes hard and she asks if he wants things in order so he can eliminate her job?

He's baffled, actually laughing he can't believe she'd say such a thing. Then why place an ad, she asks, which confuses him more, what ad? The one in this morning's Times, she throws at him, and at last he sees. With a sigh, he explains this wasn't an ad, it was some kind of private barb the others wanted to make at Y&R. There was of course no way for Joan to know that, but now that she's blurted out her accusation the rest comes spilling out: when he assures her the accounting books are barely holding together with spit in her absence, she can barely hold back tears as she demands to know why he is splitting her work between Clara and Scarlet?

The thought horrifies him, as he gasps that she has nothing to fear from them, they're barely capable of feeding a parking meter! They're imbeciles, in fact (poor Clara and Scarlet!), he's just making do with what he's got until she returns, and he has already made it very clear that he especially values her knowledge, common sense and financial acumen.

"....well.... that was a stupid thing to do!" she manages to sob at last, referencing the stupid ad. Lane quickly takes a seat beside her on the couch, offering her a handkerchief to dry her eyes, and she apologizes, explaining that she's been emotional like this since having the baby.... but not BECAUSE of the baby.

She admits, for perhaps the first time out loud, that what she really misses is being here. Every time before now she's spoken about returning to work or having to work as an obligation, a financial necessity, a promise fulfilled or a fact that cannot be changed. Now she admits that she misses the people, the work, being part of everything, of knowing the inside jokes, of being aware of the changes.

For so long she was part of the group, and knowing that the group appears to have moved on smoothly without her is upsetting. Lane does his best to offer comfort, and when she points out that nobody came to visit her in person, simply sent flowers with a message written by florist, she can't help but laugh when he says they would have done more but SHE wasn't there to arrange it all for them.

But it is when she talks about the absence of her husband and the fact that her mother and her son can't quite fill the void in her life that he truly understands her pain. She thinks as a man he won't understand, but the sad truth is that he does: "It's home, but it's not everything," he says, and it is clear that he is thinking of his own situation, where despite the return of his wife and child and a seemingly happier marriage he still feels like something is lacking in his life.

Doing his best to cheer her, he grins that he can't have everybody thinking he made her cry, and delights her with the gossip about the party, startling her with the revelation that Megan sang and danced for Don in front of everybody. He even mimics the dance somewhat himself, thrilling her with the shock of it all, especially when he says he felt like he could see Don's soul leaving his body as he had to sit and watch it all himself. Joan can't believe she missed it, but also muses about how handsome Don must be when he blushes, which hits Lane a little too hard: presumably he often judges himself against Don's seemingly easy charm and natural good looks and finds himself lacking.

A knock at the door gets their attention, and Meredith brings Kevin in admitting that she doesn't know how but she's somehow ended up with the baby! Joan collects him and Lane coos over him, taking him in his arms and making her laugh again when he's startled by what sounds like either a fart or poop coming out Kevin. Lane breaks into a gigantic smile as Joan giggles, and it's all so natural that I'd like to believe it was pure chance and this was Christina Hendricks and Jared Harris' natural reactions. It makes a charming, lovely ending to a rather emotional couple of scenes.



Pete, who dumped Kevin on Meredith and didn't bother to say hello to Joan, pops into Harry's office to see if ANYBODY has seen Clara. She finds him, walking up with a box of his things (including that loving rifle!) and congratulates him, they're finally going to be sitting next to each other!

For the first time Pete spots that Harry is packing up his own desk, and he demands to know what is going on, actually getting accusatory when Harry plaintively asks for Clara to leave them alone, growling that she obviously already knows (and HE doesn't, which is the problem). So Clara is left standing awkwardly in the doorway as Harry uncomfortably explains that for the good of the firm, they ALL decided that Pete should have this office and Harry would switch into Pete's old one (the shithole!).

Clara places down the box and says she'll be back, not wanting to be here for this obviously awkward interaction. And how does Pete react to this upgrade to his space? Why with suspicion, paranoia and anger of course! He growls that the point wasn't to get a bigger office, it was to get ROGER'S office, to get him the respect and prestige he thinks he deserves as Head of Accounts and the major source of clients for the Agency.

Irritated, Harry points out that if he doesn't want it them they can switch back, pondering if this is a loophole in his deal with Roger.... Roger never said he couldn't switch back! Because it's a good office... it has windows... oh God he's going to miss the windows!

But Pete is bitching and moaning about getting what he wants (so... he's being Pete!), angry that Harry is only giving him the office because Roger told him to. "And also because I respect you so much!" Harry snaps sarcastically, asking him if that is what he wants to hear? Because he'll tell him whatever, right now he just needs to place to hide from Megan!

??????

That's how Pete feels, his irritation at his strategy being countered by Roger lost for the moment by this utterly bewildering statement. When Harry ponders out loud if she's already told Don and then in dread asks Pete if he thinks she has, Pete has to admit that he hasn't got a goddamn clue what Harry is talking about.

In Don's office, rather than plotting the demise of Harry Crane, he's methodically tearing out an ad he likes in a magazine when Peggy pops in to see him. She admits she drank too much and said something stupid at the party, and she wants to apologize if she cause him to have a bad time. "I had a wonderful time," he remarks plainly, not interested in talking about his emotions with her (he's not blasted out of his mind on booze after taking a beating and knowing his closest friend is probably dead, so now he's not open to sharing with her).

She explains she only brought it up because Megan seemed upset, and when he asks what she said to her Peggy admits she didn't say anything... but she did go home early. That alarms Don, asking when she left, standing and grabbing his coat, and carefully she suggests that she thinks Megan wanted to be alone. "You don't know her at all," he grunts, the man who so badly misjudged his after-party reaction with her only two nights ago. He calls out to Caroline that he's done for the day and is out the door and off for home.

Lane is resting on his couch, having ordered his thoughts on the Agency's money issues with Joan which has only brought into sharper relief how vulnerable they - and he - are. I actually wonder just what the extent of his financial issues are: paying the 50k last season hit him hard but he clearly thought he could take that hit. What has changed in the meantime? Has the shift back to profitability taken longer than he thought? Has he cut his own pay in an effort to free up more cash? Heaven forbid has he sunk more of his own money into the Agency to keep it from sinking (which, if it did, would cost him his New York lifestyle and causing an unwelcome return to London?).

He's interrupted from his musing when he is buzzed to be told that a Mr. Polito has arrived in Reception to collect his wallet, should they send him in? Absolutely not, he replies, heart sinking as he realizes he won't get to see the glorious Delores in the flesh. He tells "Delores" he will come out soon, confusing his secretary and causing him to bumble over his words as he repeats simply that'll he'll be there soon. He grabs the wallet, but before he goes he collects something from it: not the money, but the photo of Delores. That little fantasy at least he will keep for himself.

Stepping into reception he meets Polito. Who is the man who enamors the beautiful Delores? One might expect somebody who looks like Apollo, tall and lean and perhaps a little dangerous looking. Instead, Lane finds himself looking at a short, overweight man in terrible cheap clothes who is happy to get his wallet back but insists Lane stick around while he rifles through the contents. What he's checking is the money, of course, but Lane's heart-rate skyrockets as his mind fixates on the photo he kept for himself. Surely this Polito will exclaim that his treasured possession is gone, revealing Lane's sad little pilfering.

There's nothing of the sort, obviously. Polito, charming in his own way, is surprised and pleased to see all the cash there, admitting that he felt worried because he won big on the horses only to lose his wallet. Lane, relieved, quips that his horse has come in again, and Polito happily agrees before pulling out a note to hand to him as a reward. Lane of course declines, Polito surprised again and commenting with some admiration that "my girl" said you were real polite. Obviously she didn't mention Lane's rather daring request to come and see her alone at their home, and all he can do is awkwardly smile while thinking about how this is all Delores will ever know of him: a polite voice on the other end of a telephone.

Polito notes from Lane's accent that he's not from around her, and makes a point of sliding the note into Lane's pocket anyway, assuring him that "this is the way we do things" before patting his chest and taking his leave. Lane watches him go, feeling simultaneously humiliated and like a fraud. He indulged in a fantasy of some passionate affair with this stranger's "girl", all based on nothing but a photo and a voice, only to discover her man is far from the handsome Don Draper type he assumes you must be to get girls like that, and to be "rewarded" with a bill from the stuffed wallet of a man who didn't even notice the photo was missing. It is far from his finest hour.



Don arrives home, calling for Megan. The apartment is still a mess from the weekend, and Megan emerges from the bedroom wearing a light robe, grunting,"Oh, you're home," when she sees him, far from the loving welcome he might have hoped for. He comments that she left work without him, and when she points out she was upset he says that's obvious, but why? "Because my apartment is filthy!" she snaps (MY apartment, not OUR), confusing Don further when he asks where "the girl" is and Megan says she sent her home.

At a loss for how to deal with this illogical behavior, he pours himself a drink, then is surprised to see she has removed her robe, standing now in matching black bra and panties. She's not striking a sexy pose or giving him a come hither look though, she glares at him in disgust as he stares, answering his question about what she's doing by saying she doesn't want to get her clothes sweaty while she cleans up.

"Don't you look at me!" she snarls as she begins to brush leftover snacks into the bin and he asks if she really means to clean like this. Confused but irritated, he snaps back at her that he's cleaning up.... and she turns and glares back at him before repeating what she said earlier,"I'm cleaning up!"

She goes back to roughly knocking things into the bin, causing more of a mess in the process. The entire time she does, she growls at him not to look at her, that he doesn't deserve it. Still at a loss, he asks,"Really?" over this bizarre display, and then slowly what is happening starts to dawn on him as she complains that he doesn't like presents and nice things.... and then drops to all fours and begins raking her hands over the crumbs on the carpet, simply spreading them further as she turns a head back over her shoulder to sneer at him.

"Besides, you're too old," she mocks him as she "cleans", declaring he probably wouldn't be able to manage to do anything anyway. He stomps up beside her, reaching for her arm, but she pulls away, insisting that he's too old and she doesn't want people to think he's "getting this". He tries to make her stand but she refuses, and when he smugly declares that she wants it bad, she yells that she doesn't want him and gestures with her head at the chair, telling him to go sit there because all he's allowed to do is watch.

Don isn't having that, of course, nor does she want him to. He grabs the back of her neck, pulls her head back and kisses her. Instantly she'll pulling him down with her, legs wrapping around his waist, kissing his with angry passion. It is that most deadly and intoxicating of things: angry make-up sex. Megan Draper is NOT Betty Draper. Cast adrift by perhaps the first major upset of their marriage, faced with an issue where both of them were in some way to blame, Megan decided on a solution that the likes of Betty would never have considered.

Demure, submissive and cognizant that the male of the family was the person in charge (for better or for worse, and far more often for worse), fights like these generally ended with either a slow acceptance that it was time to move on or some grand gesture from the husband to put things right. Not so for the more modern Megan Draper, who decided to have it out with Don not just to have an argument, but so they could turn their frustrated energy on each other and thrash it out in a physically stimulating way.

It's not the healthiest thing in the world, but it's far from the unhealthiest either: she's made her feelings clear, she laid out her problems with him... and now they're going to gently caress and burn out those bad feelings and move on. At least, so she hopes, and so Don seems all too willing to participate in. This'll work.... for now.

At SCDP, Pete Campbell finds satisfaction in a far different way. Sitting in his new, larger office, his secretary immediately opposite his door, a drink in his hand and the light from large windows shining through... Pete feels content at last. Ironically, at Sterling Cooper he used to look himself away in the dark, now he's reveling in the light. This'll work... for now.

Stan passes, spots Pete, and confused he asks where Harry is. "Who cares?" shrugs Pete (nice guy!), and then exults in Clara stepping up and getting in Stan's face, asking if he needs to see Mr. Campbell. He has a proper secretary again, one who actually performs all the requisite duties that Hildy once so expertly saw to for him. Please, Pete decides to take advantage of this, after all for now he can let Roger get away with this runaround.... but not ENTIRELY unscathed.

He asks Clara to pencil in a meeting with Coca Cola in his calendar for tomorrow morning at 6am in the coffee shop in the ferry building in Staten Island. Immediately getting what he's planning, she agrees, and he dismisses her before turning happily back to his view.



Their lovemaking complete, or perhaps more accurately their sex, Megan and Don lie on the floor together for a moment in comfortable quiet. Megan breaks it first, telling him she doesn't think the people at work like her, and when he says he's sure they do, she clarifies.... she doesn't think she likes them. Don, physically sated, is finally in a mood and feeling comfortable enough to express himself too, explaining that he didn't want the party because he didn't want those people in OUR home (not MY home, OUR home).

He explains gently that she's only been in the Creative side of things for 3 months, and as a secretary she wasn't privy to some of the other things going on there. He promises her that there is no problem that anybody, including Peggy, has that they didn't have BEFORE she came into the picture. "You think you're a splinter? You're not, the whole foot's been infected for year."

He grabs a chair cushion to making lying on the (filthy!) floor more comfortable, and Megan shares as well, taking advantage of him being open to it. She loves going to work with him because he loves work and he loves her... but maybe it's not a good idea for her to continue to do so.

"I don't really care about work," Don admits,"I want you at work, because I want you." She takes that in, it's a beautiful concept and one that touches her deeply. It's true as well... for now. Because Don goes through these things in phases. At the end of season 1 he realized he cared for and loved family far more than work and raced home only to realize it was too late. When the Cuban Missile Crisis was happening, he realized he wanted the family back together. When Betty wanted a divorce and he saw the chance to abandon Sterling Cooper and build an advertising firm like HE wanted, suddenly his life became all about the work... and it was wonderful and great until it wasn't. Then he wanted Megan and now he has her, and for now it is everything he wants and nothing else matters.... until it does.

Still, baby-steps though it might be, Don and Megan have actually talked about their feelings. The animalistic sex was a great way to purge their aggression, but the reason they're content lying together now is because they talked. She told him how she felt, he told her how he felt, this poo poo works! Now they get to have a moment of happiness, even sharing a laugh as Megan realizes the white carpet is a write-off after the party and Don admits he knew going white would be a disaster but he went with it because he wants her to have what she wants. She lays against his chest, two still technically newlyweds lying on the floor in a mess of crumbs, dirt and spilled alcohol, exhausted for happy... for now.

For some though, the newlywed flame has well and truly gone out. At 2:30 in the morning, a tired Roger Sterling gets dressed. Jane wakes, confused by what he's doing, even more confused when he says he has to go to Staten Island. "What time is it?" she asks, bleary-eyed. How does he respond to this reasonable question asked by the woman he once insisted was the light of his life and made him feel young and vital again? By sneering,"SHUT UP!" at her and otherwise ignoring her entirely as he adjusts his tie.

Even sadder? Jane simply puts her eye-mask back on and goes back to sleep. Roger snapping at her or treating her with obvious contempt doesn't even phase her anymore.



The next morning, Pete Campbell rides on the train into the city (and NOT Staten Island), playing cards with Howard and another man. He's engaged and pleasant today, explaining he's going to put in a ground pool, acknowledging the cost but saying he's hoping for a Christmas Bonus. Howard tells him not to rely on that, then cracks that he hopes to be dead by Christmas, and Pete joins the others in laughing, actually happy to enjoy Howard's black humor today.

As he stares out the window though, his face falls a little: the new office makes him feel like he's starting to be appreciated, and he has hopes for SCDP's continued lift back up from their near-disaster last year... but perhaps even now on some level he's convinced that another shoe has to drop eventually and things will go wrong. He wouldn't be Pete Campbell otherwise.

Lane leaves the house, escorted to the door by Rebecca who gives him a kiss but does ask for money for the "grocer" since he asked her not to write checks (oof!). With a smile he agrees and pulls out a note for her, and unseen by her in the midst of his cash is the edge of a photo: Delores, of course, he carries it with him now, which is surely the best idea in the world that can't possibly end up causing a problem!

As for Joan? Still not quite ready to return to work and with her mother still there to help out, they ride the building's elevator in their nightclothes, Joan clutching a sleeping baby Kevin to her chest. Another tenant enters the elevator and Gail whispers to him to please be quiet, and they continue to ride up and down, the vibrations of the elevator still the only thing that can calm him when he gets in a fussy mood and won't sleep.

Don and Megan arrive to work together, loving partners once again, but enter a reception filled to the brim with... black people? Moving quietly through, they pass through the main doors and find an alarmed Pete explaining to Cooper (with Lane watching) that they cannot call security on job applicants. Don asks what is going on, and a clearly upset Lane (though not for the same reasons as Cooper) explains they're here in response to his HILARIOUS advertisement.

"Oh," grins Don, and then Roger steps through the doors and with typical Roger subtlety asks,"Is it just me, or is the lobby full of Negroes?"

Cooper, not happy at all, declares the Y&R ad's humor was "lost" on these black people who for some reason didn't see an ad offering jobs for black people as a big joke and rather as a chance to actually get a job! Roger is delighted though, and still thinks the Y&R jab was great fun. Pete complains it was a childish prank, but can't help but smirk when Roger grumbles,"And you're above that, right?" - now he knows that Roger took the bait, and Roger of course knows that Pete got one over on him.

Don asks what they should do and Cooper gently asks Megan if she can leave, and she's happy not to be involved in this debacle. The first suggestion is that they say the position has been filled but Lane points out this might make THEM the subject of a protest just like Y&R were. They could interview them forever until they eventually all drop out, but Cooper complains they don't have time for that, and Pete warns they might have a reporter with them. Don figures... why not just hire one? Lane's objection has nothing to do with racial bias, the fact is they're not hiring ANYBODY right now. Pete suggests they could fire the receptionist (poor Meredith!) but Roger mocks the idea of having "one out there".

You know, maybe this loving Agency SHOULD be protested!

But then the choice is largely taken away from them, as Meredith enters from reception carrying a large African carved statue with a letter attached, saying it was delivered from Y&R. Roger can't help but be impressed, the letter is a resume listing a work history of "toted dat barge, lifted dat bale." Apart from Don, none of the others find this funny (thank God), Cooper asking if the people waiting in reception saw the carving being delivered? They did, of course, and with no way of knowing it's a prank gift from Y&R, it leaves SCDP facing the very unpleasant notion of turning away applicants THEY advertised for in addition to getting racist gifts delivered to them.

So it is that, motivated by fear, as "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" begins to play leading into the closing credits, Lane leads the other Partners into reception as where with a big smile he explains that they are only looking for secretaries so the gentlemen are free to leave... then instantly regrets his words and clarifies he mean they can go. He asks the remaining women to pass him their resumes, and they will call all those who meet the qualifications to schedule interviews.

It's not much, but for many of these women it's the best chance they've ever been offered to actually be recognized for the skills and talent they have regardless of their skin color. None of them have any idea that it is based on a backfired prank and fear of public exposure, and Lane is surely counting every dollar the Agency doesn't have that this will cost them.... but he keeps the smile on as collects the resumes, knowing that this is the best of a bad situation.

But hey, giving equal opportunities worked out with Peggy, maybe it'll work out with one of these women as well. After all, it's 1966 and SCDP has survived the loss of Lucky Strike... now they just have to survive the stupidity of their Partners while continuing to blunder their way into societal progress. Welcome to Season 5 of Mad Men, things have well and truly changed now.



Episode Index

Jerusalem fucked around with this message at 15:42 on Sep 18, 2021

New Yorp New Yorp
Jul 18, 2003

Only in Kenya.


Pillbug

Xealot posted:

It’s not trying to be Mad Men, for sure.

The tone is basically parodic of the setting it’s depicting, and lives or dies by how much you like or hate the protagonist’s quirks. A friend of mine (who’s himself Jewish) described it as a “Jewish minstrel show” and the accusation makes sense.

But verisimilitude is not a concern for it. MM cares about the reality of its characters and setting, where Maisel is basically a fast-talking cartoon in a magical stage play version of 1950’s New York.

My wife says the actors are in bagelface. I find the show mildly entertaining but obnoxious because I have enough neurotic Jewish relatives of my own without watching non jews act like over the top parodies of my irritating family.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Good idea to do 2 write ups. You're right. There's just too much for one go.

The make up sex scene is such a perfect microcosm of Don and Megan's relationship. It's hot and passionate and pretty loving reckless. Make up sex is fine, but at the start of it, Megan was pretending that Don was physically coercing her into it. There's no indication that they've done that kind of thing in the past. It worked out fine this time, but it's a really bad idea to do that kind of thing without talking about it first. But they both went along with it and loved every second of it. There's such a huge, looming sense of disaster from the second Don proposes to Megan, and this scene actually increases that sense of danger for me, but it also affirms that for now they are bringing each other a ton of pleasure, and their chemistry is electric.

The white carpet also seems to symbolize their relationship: beautiful, impractical, constantly in danger of being permanently stained. Also noteworthy is that Rebecca assumes a professional decorated the apartment, but apparently Megan did it. We can tell that she's smart and has a real creative spark, but how many people will see her as something more than a rich executive's "new and improved" young wife?

Forktoss
Feb 13, 2012

I'm OK, you're so-so

That scene between Joan and Lane is one of my favourites. "Mrs Draper put on a bit of a burlesque"

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


the good old days when you could sexually harass a co-worker and then laugh about it with your boss lol

Harry also straight up called Megan a "Canadian sex pot" to Don's face in the previous episode. This guy is a real piece of work

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



pete gets the brunt of most of it, not undeserved, but harry really is, in my opinion, the scummiest person of them all, second only to the douchebag that peggy fired

Xealot
Nov 25, 2002

Showdown in the Galaxy Era.



Yoshi Wins posted:

The white carpet also seems to symbolize their relationship: beautiful, impractical, constantly in danger of being permanently stained.

Purposefully, right? There’s the later episode in S7, after their marriage is essentially dead, where Don brings over some woman for sex. She spills red wine all over the carpet, and Don doesn’t care; he just throws a blanket over it and doesn’t bother cleaning it or replacing it later.

I interpret that as Don accepting his brokenness as unchangeable, refusing to try to be better anymore after yet another failure. The purity and corruption of the white carpet feels like efficient shorthand. S5 feels like Don genuinely trying, to be a good husband and to correct his mistakes from his first marriage. Which he ultimately fails to do, sinking further into alcoholism and distraction.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



ulvir posted:

pete gets the brunt of most of it, not undeserved, but harry really is, in my opinion, the scummiest person of them all, second only to the douchebag that peggy fired

He's really fallen a long way from the guy who was devastated that he cheated on his wife and had to rush from the room crying during Don's Kodak presentation after the full enormity of what he had done hit him.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


yeah where the hell is the guy bragging to Pete about married life? where's the guy Don asked for insight about the carousel??

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Would you be my new best friends?



I wonder if his increasingly lecherous behavior is built from frustration with his job and possibly discontent with the realities of married life, or if this was just the kind of guy he always was and fear/guilt kept him from indulging and that restraint has slowly been crumbling over time as the fright of the near-collapse of his marriage fades into the past. Exposure to the glamor of the film and television world probably didn't help, you can tell that Harry - for all that he's very neurotic and often bemoans his station - thinks of himself as a bigger deal than he is and is growing to see access to women as a bonus of his job rather than something to be avoided or that he needs to actively restrain himself from pursuing.

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






the harry megan scene is possibly the single most awkward thing in the entire series

also i love how roger challenges pete to fight for the office and everyone takes it as the farce it is, so that by the time signal 30 rolls around and we have an intensely disrespected lane challenging an emasculated pete desperate to assert his manhood to fisticuffs, there's this odd sense of precedent to what would have otherwise come almost entirely out of left field, and the events of the show and the setup of how lane is feeling more and more boxed in and desperate and the events of signal 30so far for pete make the choice to actually engage in the fight make perfect sense for the characters. all from this one offhand comment!!!

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



Xealot posted:

Purposefully, right? There’s the later episode in S7, after their marriage is essentially dead, where Don brings over some woman for sex. She spills red wine all over the carpet, and Don doesn’t care; he just throws a blanket over it and doesn’t bother cleaning it or replacing it later.

I interpret that as Don accepting his brokenness as unchangeable, refusing to try to be better anymore after yet another failure. The purity and corruption of the white carpet feels like efficient shorthand. S5 feels like Don genuinely trying, to be a good husband and to correct his mistakes from his first marriage. Which he ultimately fails to do, sinking further into alcoholism and distraction.


Yeah, definitely an intentional symbol. It comes up a lot.

I disagree with your interpretation about the wine stain. Don is a vastly better person in season 7 than he is in the previous 6 seasons. I think he is just willing to accept that he's not perfect. I think what happens in the Hershey pitch that changes Don's life and results in him finally being less of an rear end in a top hat is that he realizes he can accept things, even if he wants them to be different. Basically I agree that he's accepted that he's broken, but I don't see that he views himself as unchangeable or refuses to try to be better. He's repairing his relationships through humility and acceptance and although his visit to the family of the waitress is misguided, it is undertaken out of a desire to help a person in pain. I don't think these are the actions of a person who has given up on being better.

Don finally improving how he treats other people is actually really important to how I feel about the show overall. I would like it much less and it would mean much less to me if he didn't.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






Forktoss posted:

That scene between Joan and Lane is one of my favourites. "Mrs Draper put on a bit of a burlesque"

It really is such a sweet little scene, I never wanted it to end.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






Goddamn its hosed what happened to Lane.

Paraphrasing a line from Lane this ep, "I'm going to die in this office."

drat

Paper Lion
Dec 13, 2009






Yoshi Wins posted:

Yeah, definitely an intentional symbol. It comes up a lot.

I disagree with your interpretation about the wine stain. Don is a vastly better person in season 7 than he is in the previous 6 seasons. I think he is just willing to accept that he's not perfect. I think what happens in the Hershey pitch that changes Don's life and results in him finally being less of an rear end in a top hat is that he realizes he can accept things, even if he wants them to be different. Basically I agree that he's accepted that he's broken, but I don't see that he views himself as unchangeable or refuses to try to be better. He's repairing his relationships through humility and acceptance and although his visit to the family of the waitress is misguided, it is undertaken out of a desire to help a person in pain. I don't think these are the actions of a person who has given up on being better.

Don finally improving how he treats other people is actually really important to how I feel about the show overall. I would like it much less and it would mean much less to me if he didn't.


i agree entirely, and want to add w/r/t the ending, that his desire to help others and repair things, only to fall into his self destructive and near suicidal point only to rebound at the end, make it pretty clear imo that the final moments and the coke ad are entirely sincere and not cynical. he just wants to help people, to pay things forward, and exist in a way where he can look at himself in the mirror. he truly just wants to buy the world a coke

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Please spoiler anything past the current episode.

GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



Watching the make up sex scene live for the first time I was utterly bewildered about what was going on. Like, could not figure out how they went from A-B-Z, I thought it was Don dreaming or something.

And you would think Roger, who just got mugged last year, wouldn't carry around so much cash.

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


Hell yeah, finally to The Best Season.

Don's surprise party is just such a fun, dense scene loaded with great performances. I especially like Jared Harris' reaction to "He reminds me of Lane's brother," there's a look of terrific amusement on his face as he quickly tucks into his drink and avoid engaging the topic. It's very true to the character as we know him and immediately conveys the long, complicated history about Lane's relationship with somebody who we've never even heard mentioned to this point.

The whiplash around Don and Megan's marriage is fantastic. They seem happy, especially Don, then we get her pushing ahead with the party even after Peggy raises the red flag; we find out that he's told her about who he really is, yet she seems incapable of grasping that, Don or Dick, he really didn't appreciate her gesture; her dirty maid routine feels like some kind of performative act out, but we quickly find that she knows she's giving Don exactly what he wants. It's extremely effective in communicating that these two are putting up a very successful front to the world, but behind closed doors they're still feeling out this rushed relationship.

Jerusalem posted:

Stan passes, spots Pete, and confused he asks where Harry is. "Who cares?" shrugs Pete (nice guy!)

If they had been talking about anyone other than Harry Crane, I'd agree that Pete comes across as a bad person here.

But they are talking about Harry. Pete might be a bastard in this moment, but I excuse it because Harry is a true piece of poo poo.

Jerusalem posted:

Exposure to the glamor of the film and television world probably didn't help, you can tell that Harry - for all that he's very neurotic and often bemoans his station - thinks of himself as a bigger deal than he is and is growing to see access to women as a bonus of his job rather than something to be avoided or that he needs to actively restrain himself from pursuing.

I maintain that Harry's transformation can be chalked up to Matt Weiner needing an outlet to vent his frustrations with AMC executive meddling. The second he gets involved with television as a business in Season 2, the character begins to undergo a fundamental change that leads to him air-humping in the kitchenette.

(His scene with Roger is probably the best Harry scene, and might be one of Roger's top 5 as well. "I don't wanna hear that." "Of course you don't. Why would you." The way Harry tries to hit Roger with a "You owe me" and how quickly and forcefully Roger points out that he is holding $1100 of his money, that is the EXACT OPPOSITE of owing him.)

JethroMcB fucked around with this message at 18:27 on Sep 19, 2021

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


JethroMcB posted:

Hell yeah, finally to The Best Season.

I'll be honest, I really hate when people say this.

Hey Jerusalem, you might as well stop after the end of this season! It's all downhill from here buddy

JethroMcB
Jan 23, 2004

We're normal now.
We love your family.


The Klowner posted:

I'll be honest, I really hate when people say this.

Hey Jerusalem, you might as well stop after the end of this season! It's all downhill from here buddy

Apologies; "My Favorite Season"

But S6 and S7 don't have the one-two punch of "Signal 30" and "Far Away Places". They also don't have "Mystery Date," which is, objectively, kind of a bad episode.

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



-

eh gently caress it i don't actually care that much

Yoshi Wins fucked around with this message at 05:00 on Sep 19, 2021

Crespolini
Mar 9, 2014



The Klowner posted:

I'll be honest, I really hate when people say this.

Hey Jerusalem, you might as well stop after the end of this season! It's all downhill from here buddy

I really don't think that follows.

UNRULY_HOUSEGUEST
Jul 19, 2006

mea culpa


JethroMcB posted:

Apologies; "My Favorite Season"

But S6 and S7 don't have the one-two punch of "Signal 30" and "Far Away Places". They also don't have "Mystery Date," which is, objectively, kind of a bad episode.

I love Mystery Date and I genuinely don't get why it's talked about like this, past I guess people being pissed off about Don's fever dream murder. Not even like how the Columbus Day ep of the Sopranos is at least very funny (although it is, darkly), I love it because it's audacious and absolutely overloaded with sex and violence.

Mystery Date -> Lady Lazarus is a hugely strong run as far as I'm concerned. Objectively a bad episode doesn't apply to anything in Mad Men for me until like, 'New Business' in the last season

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






JethroMcB posted:


The whiplash around Don and Megan's marriage is fantastic. They seem happy, especially Don, then we get her pushing ahead with the party even after Peggy raises the red flag; we find out that he's told her about who he really is, yet she seems incapable of grasping that, Don or Dick, he really didn't appreciate her gesture; her dirty maid routine feels like some kind of performative act out, but we quickly find that she knows she's giving Don exactly what he wants. It's extremely effective in communicating that these two are putting up a very successful front to the world, but behind closed doors they're still feeling out this rushed relationship.

You know Don got a lot of flack for breaking up with someone more his age but Megan absolutely made a mistake not getting to know Don before saying yes to marrying him. Like all those things that she's complaining about? Don is the personification of. He's senior mgmt and if anyone is responsible for the culture at work it's him. Don trying to pawn it off as them is like someone trying to lie about themselves on a second date. In this case, it's like 8th month of marriage lol

quote:

I maintain that Harry's transformation can be chalked up to Matt Weiner needing an outlet to vent his frustrations with AMC executive meddling. The second he gets involved with television as a business in Season 2, the character begins to undergo a fundamental change that leads to him air-humping in the kitchenette.



White well off exec with sudden power in Hwood turning out to be a megadouche seems like a believable story to me. Him not really having any good points other than making money is hilarious, and if anything can be a target I'm glad it's him.

Can't think of another show with such pointed critiques of power. Tho...happy about Mad Men looking into race...but its still very much from a privileged position. Black lives are seen as outsider lives. Let's hope that changes

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


quote:

"I don't really care about work," Don admits,"I want you at work, because I want you." She takes that in, it's a beautiful concept and one that touches her deeply. It's true as well... for now. Because Don goes through these things in phases. At the end of season 1 he realized he cared for and loved family far more than work and raced home only to realize it was too late. When the Cuban Missile Crisis was happening, he realized he wanted the family back together. When Betty wanted a divorce and he saw the chance to abandon Sterling Cooper and build an advertising firm like HE wanted, suddenly his life became all about the work... and it was wonderful and great until it wasn't. Then he wanted Megan and now he has her, and for now it is everything he wants and nothing else matters.... until it does.

It kind of blew me away to hear Don say that the first time. Completely baffling to see the man we saw in season 4 claim that he doesn't care about work—it's his agency! But it does seem to be cyclical with him. Work, relationships, even keeping a journal; nothing seems to hold his interest for very long.

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS


Yoshi Wins posted:


I disagree with your interpretation about the wine stain. Don is a vastly better person in season 7 than he is in the previous 6 seasons. I think he is just willing to accept that he's not perfect.


The beauty of the last season is its ambiguity, especially regarding Don's emotional journey. Weiner claimed that there's multiple interpretations for the showing of the coke ad in the finale—either as a sign of hope or despair, you'll see what you want to see. I think it extends to the latter half of season 7 as a whole: there's very little in the way of definitive evidence that Don has actually changed in the second half of season 7. I mean yeah his changed relationship with Peggy in the first half is astounding but the second half begs the question, has he actually changed himself? Is abandoning his post and traveling half way across the country to track down a former lover really a sign of growth? He has a greater awareness of himself which his conversations with Ghost Bert and Peggy over the phone indicate, but does that mean he's capable of self-improvement? The series ends before these questions can be answered definitively, and that's the point. It's up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

stromboni
Dec 22, 2008


Shageletic posted:

Can't think of another show with such pointed critiques of power. Tho...happy about Mad Men looking into race...but its still very much from a privileged position. Black lives are seen as outsider lives. Let's hope that changes

Honestly this is maybe the one big sticking point for me on Mad Men rewatches. The more the show tries to actively address it, the more I can’t quite escape the feeling that the writing staff is all white and just Trying Their Best

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



UNRULY_HOUSEGUEST posted:

I love Mystery Date and I genuinely don't get why it's talked about like this, past I guess people being pissed off about Don's fever dream murder.

I like Mystery Date. I think it's just fine.

The Klowner posted:

It kind of blew me away to hear Don say that the first time. Completely baffling to see the man we saw in season 4 claim that he doesn't care about work—it's his agency! But it does seem to be cyclical with him. Work, relationships, even keeping a journal; nothing seems to hold his interest for very long.

Yeah, at this point Megan is "the answer". Being Don's "answer" is a really tough job with a high turnover rate.

The Klowner posted:

The beauty of the last season is its ambiguity, especially regarding Don's emotional journey. Weiner claimed that there's multiple interpretations for the showing of the coke ad in the finale—either as a sign of hope or despair, you'll see what you want to see. I think it extends to the latter half of season 7 as a whole: there's very little in the way of definitive evidence that Don has actually changed in the second half of season 7. I mean yeah his changed relationship with Peggy in the first half is astounding but the second half begs the question, has he actually changed himself? Is abandoning his post and traveling half way across the country to track down a former lover really a sign of growth? He has a greater awareness of himself which his conversations with Ghost Bert and Peggy over the phone indicate, but does that mean he's capable of self-improvement? The series ends before these questions can be answered definitively, and that's the point. It's up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions.

The Coke ad can definitely be interpreted in very different ways, but I think it's quite clear that Don has in many ways changed for the better during the course of the season, which is around a year of his life. There's no telling how long his improved behavior will last, but that is always the case about every character's (every person's) personality.

It's not just repairing his relationship with Peggy. He does many other good things that he would never have done in any previous season.

He accepts judgment of his sins from others, taking responsibility for the damage he's caused. From Joan, from Megan, even from Rachel's sister. Before he would almost always either get angry and try to turn the situation around on the person he harmed or he would withdraw from the situation. Throughout 7, he accepts responsibility for the times that he's hurt the people around him. Acceptance of responsibility for your actions is vitally important to self-improvement of any kind.

He no longer acts like he has the right to be cruel to people if he feels like it. Sometimes he gets mad and acts like a dick, but he stops bullying. I don't think there's a single instance of him being a bully in season 7, which is an absolutely radical departure from the first 6 seasons. The "no one will like you" scene in the pilot, the "I don't think about you at all" scene in season 5, and the throwing of money in Peggy's face near the end of season 5 are all acts of bullying driven by his need to demonstrate his superior position or importance. That behavior is gone in season 7. Try to imagine the Don from the previous 6 seasons working for Lou. He'd burst into flames.

These changes are sustained through the entire season. If these things aren't definitive evidence of improvement, what would be? Could he backslide? Of course! If that's the standard that must be met, then the only way the show could definitely answer whether he has improved himself would be to follow him until his death. A year of drastically improved behavior across a variety of circumstances is proof to me of positive change.


SlipkPIe posted:

Honestly this is maybe the one big sticking point for me on Mad Men rewatches. The more the show tries to actively address it, the more I can’t quite escape the feeling that the writing staff is all white and just Trying Their Best

It really kinda sucks. I think the show's 2 big flaws are its inadequate handling of race, and uh, I kind of hate most of season 6. It has some good stuff in it though. I guess I'm gonna spoiler this out of an abundance of caution.

Ungratek
Aug 2, 2005



SlipkPIe posted:

Honestly this is maybe the one big sticking point for me on Mad Men rewatches. The more the show tries to actively address it, the more I can’t quite escape the feeling that the writing staff is all white and just Trying Their Best

I’ve always thought this was kind of on purpose - what would the late 60s look like from the 45th floor of the Time Life Building? It’s going to be very different than the reality of the situation.

Blood Nightmaster
Sep 6, 2011

“また遊んであげるわ!”


re: the show's handling of race: there was also that article that came out semi recently about how the actress for Dawn literally never knew how long her stint on the show was going to be that kind of gives me pause. I think I've linked it earlier in the thread

The Klowner
Apr 20, 2019

by Jeffrey of YOSPOS



fair enough. also I kind of agree with you about season 6 having rewatched it recently. there's certainly a reason why S5 always gets ranked so high—not just because of its own merits, of which there are many, but because there is a noticable drop off into s6. "the doorway" and "for immediate release" are... less than fantastic. that said, "to have and to hold" and "the crash" are standouts

I'll be interested to see Jerusalem's unfiltered interpretation of the events of s6 and those episodes I mentioned in particular. maybe someone who has put so much thought and effort into writing about the series will have a more enlightened opinion—he definitely changed my mind on a few events/episodes so far

Mameluke
Aug 2, 2013
some dirty-sneaker-inbred-out of the woods-Pabst beer pussy methhead-junkie running all around town telling EVERYONE EVERYTHING ABOUT ELON MUSK


Personally I think every season of Mad Men is better than the last, with a quantum leap up in quality at season 4. Every layer of added knowledge and parasocial relation to the cast makes the show funnier and funnier each season. I even love Diane. I wouldn't change anything about the latter years.

Meredith has arrived!!! I love her

Yoshi Wins
Jul 14, 2013



The Klowner posted:

fair enough. also I kind of agree with you about season 6 having rewatched it recently. there's certainly a reason why S5 always gets ranked so high—not just because of its own merits, of which there are many, but because there is a noticable drop off into s6. "the doorway" and "for immediate release" are... less than fantastic. that said, "to have and to hold" and "the crash" are standouts

I'll be interested to see Jerusalem's unfiltered interpretation of the events of s6 and those episodes I mentioned in particular. maybe someone who has put so much thought and effort into writing about the series will have a more enlightened opinion—he definitely changed my mind on a few events/episodes so far


The Doorway is the worst ep imo. I like the MLK one and the finale. The Hershey pitch is one of my favorite scenes in the entire show. Poor Jon Hamm, having to compete with Bryan Cranston for Emmys. He could have had so many more.

I'm interested to see everyone opinions on S6 when it comes up. I know about 5 fans of Mad Men IRL, and all of us think S6 is a lot worse than the other seasons, but from participating in discussion online I think that a majority of fans think that it's good. Bird of a feather, I guess. So maybe I can gain a greater appreciation for it from this thread.


Mameluke posted:

I even love Diane. I wouldn't change anything about the latter years.

Matt Weiner was very salty that people didn't like Diane's story and felt like it was a waste of time. He believed her story was about basically every big issue in life. It's not one of my favorite storylines in the show, but I do like it.

Shageletic
Jul 25, 2007






Yoshi Wins posted:

Matt Weiner was very salty that people didn't like Diane's story and felt like it was a waste of time. He believed her story was about basically every big issue in life. It's not one of my favorite storylines in the show, but I do like it.

Let's be honest. Ppl we're mostly pissed because they were wondering who the hell this person. Ans why was another Don affair taking up creative real estate when so many characters that have stuck with the show for the entire thing were begging to have their storylines expanded.

What the hell happened to Dawn?!

WampaLord
Jan 14, 2010



The Klowner posted:

It kind of blew me away to hear Don say that the first time. Completely baffling to see the man we saw in season 4 claim that he doesn't care about work—it's his agency! But it does seem to be cyclical with him. Work, relationships, even keeping a journal; nothing seems to hold his interest for very long.

Faye nailed it when she said he only likes the beginning of things

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GoutPatrol
Oct 17, 2009

Coal Jobs for the Coal God



Blood Nightmaster posted:

re: the show's handling of race: there was also that article that came out semi recently about how the actress for Dawn literally never knew how long her stint on the show was going to be that kind of gives me pause. I think I've linked it earlier in the thread

I would not call this a Dawn specific thing: they didn't tell Jared Harris he's dying and off the show until I think the episode before.

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