Last time we checked in with the group from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce on “Mad Men,” Don helped Lane through a rough emotional patch after receiving what was probably one of the most devastating emotional blows he’s ever gotten. Also, Joan discovered her husband was competent, much to her (and our) surprise, but Vietnam looms ever larger. Here’s what happened this week…
- Director: John Slattery (aka Roger Sterling!)
- Writers: Keith Huff and Matthew Weiner
- Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Robert Morse, John Slattery, Alexa Alemanni, Alison Brie
Episode Title: “The Rejected”
Pete gets put in a bind, only for Trudy to bail him out of it. Peggy conducts an experiment. Don and Roger try to assuage Lee Garner, Jr. with limited success. Allison and Don have an argument.
- For Pete’s Sake: For a character who has an entire Tumblr dedicated entirely to his…ahem…”female dog” face, Pete’s shown a lot of growth over the intervening year. But apparently not enough to be completely free of his backstabbing, spoiled, demanding ways, as Trudy’s parents learn the hard way. Which is, we confess, a relief. We like Pete the way he is: an obnoxious douche. But kudos to him for bringing in Vicks, because as annoying as Pete may be, those in-laws are a whole lot worse.
- Meet the Parents: That said, it is kind of great that the adorable Trudy, who also showed a lot of growth, finally got her child. Now hopefully the kid will be carried to term.
- Focus Group Confessions: For something that seemed like just a temporary bad decision that both would move on from, they’re actually getting a lot of dramatic mileage out of the Don/Allison relationship. Watching the focus group have a complete meltdown over “giving him everything, and getting nothing,” while both Allison and Don squirm was painful, in a good way. While Allison claims to have quit, Don obviously feels bad about the circumstances, and we have a feeling that Allison might either be a suicide, or wind up being the new Mrs. Draper.
- Ken Doll: We have to admit, as much of a doofus as he can be, we kind of missed Ken and his return was everything we’d hoped and a lot of fun to boot. Also, watching Pete have his Don moment (i.e. realizing how his friend’s problem applied to himself) in relation to Ken was a riot.
- Peggy and Pete’s Bogus Journey: Pete coming in with a pregnant wife was of course, going to open up some old wounds. But the episode (not to mention, surprisingly, both the participants) handled it with grace. There was a genuine wistfulness in Peggy’s eyes, as if the road not traveled beckoned them both. It’s one of the more poetic and touching, moments of the season so far.
- Peggy The…Sexually Indecisive?: True, Peggy has experimented with the loco weed in the past and it turned out to be a fun time for her. So seeing her with some cheeb at a loft apartment party isn’t exactly a surprise. On the other hand, Joyce trying to get into her pants and actually making some headway is another matter entirely. And on that topic…
- Fear the Lesbian!: Was it us, or did Joyce just come off a little too strong as the stereotypical seductive lesbian? Granted, this is “Mad Men” so “a little too strong” is nothing like the rest of TV, where she’d be three hundred pounds of muscle with a buzzcut. Still it felt a little obvious right from the start and came off too much like one of those godawful films they showed kids in the ’60s about “spotting the homosexual.” We half expected her to offer Peggy candy or something…oh wait, she offered Peggy drugs. Much better.
- Dishonest Abe: And just because the entire plotline apparently needed to be underlined, now we’ve got Abe, who kind of reminds us of the beatniks Don so neatly slapped down in the first season. While the show has never really taken a positive view of beatniks, hippies, and the like, Abe’s got to be the most grating by a long shot. We’re still wondering why she kissed him, although we guess drugs are a decent excuse. Between the milquetoast she’s currently dating and this jackass, maybe Peggy possibly switching teams isn’t quite as out of left field as we first thought.
A strong episode that develops some of the characters, while giving real depth and feeling to Don’s plot as well.
Agree? Disagree? Think Peggy’s a swinger? Let us know in the comments!