Frank Ockenfels/AMC
April 06, 2015 at 03:19 AM EDT

Mad Men

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss

Clearly, no one at the agency is living the life he or she wanted, though it’s pretty exciting to see Peggy start to try. Her date, Stevie, is cute and sweet and, okay, not her intellectual equal, but who cares? The fact that she keeps her passport at the office means she desperately needs a romantic weekend in Paris, no matter who goes with her. And something about him feels right for her. Maybe it’s that he’s actually charmed by the idea of a “girl who doesn’t put up with things.” Or maybe it’s his response to getting a dish that he didn’t order: “What am I supposed to do? Send it back like a prima donna? So I can either be a jerk and send it back or eat it and look weak?” Pointing out that guys have to fight stereotypes, just like women do, seems like the perfect way to endear himself to Peggy. She has spent her whole career trying to prove that she doesn’t think, look, or dress like a typical “girl.”

Of course, that’s probably why Peggy isn’t exactly outraged when those sleazeballs make lewd comments about Joan, who has always used the fact that she’s a woman to her advantage. Though it still feels like a massive betrayal when Peggy accuses Joan of inviting dumb jokes by dressing provocatively. They’re the only two women in the upper ranks of the company. They should unite against their common enemies. Besides, no matter how Joan dresses—and she looks pretty professional to me—men are going to treat her differently. She never really had a choice. Her appearance might make her vulnerable to these men, but it’s also her only form of power, so it makes sense that her only comeback to Peggy is to basically call her ugly. (“So what you’re saying is, I don’t dress the way you do because I don’t look like you, and that’s very very true.”) And it’s doubly hurtful when Peggy suggests that Joan shouldn’t care because, “You’re filthy rich. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” Obviously, Joan is rich because she did the one thing she never wanted to do.

She slept with a client for money. Like the waitress did with Don. I’ve complained before about Mad Men‘s problem with fitting female characters a little too neatly onto the mother/whore spectrum, but I’ll forgive the waitress story line, because she has to be some kind of Freudian fantasy: She’s like Rachel and his mother combined into one person. Another waitress calls her “Die” (short for Diana), as if she just passed away herself. “When people die,” she tells Don, “everything gets mixed up.”

As he sits there in that final shot, like a figure from an Edward Hopper painting, Don is probably thinking about his own death. The rest of us probably are, too. So much has been made of the falling man in Mad Men‘s credits and the constant threats to Don’s health throughout the series that many people seem to believe the show will end with his death. But Peggy Lee’s line feels prophetic here: “I thought I’d die, but I didn’t,” she sings in the background. And somehow that’s way more dramatic: Don Draper keeps living, long after his moment has passed. Is that all there is? Well, let’s keep dancing.


  • I could swear that, in Don’s dream, it’s Ted who opens the door, but when he closes it, Ted suddenly turns into Pete. If I’m not mistaken, that’s interesting, since those characters are mirror images for each other, especially considering their relationships with Peggy.
  • Ken’s wife tells him, “You’re bored and angry because you know in your heart it’s not what you want to do!” She tells him to quit his job, “for all the people who don’t have the guts to live their dream.” That’s extra sad when you consider that those “people” might include her, as a woman in the 1960s who doesn’t exactly have all the options available to her that her husband does.
  • When Joan says, “I want to burn this place down,” it’s a nice callback to the house fire from “Is That All There Is?”
  • Ted says if Don can’t decide on a woman for the mink ad, he should use all three candidates: “There are three women in every man’s life.” Don has had two women in his life, Betty and Megan. Who’s the third? Rachel? Sally? Anna? Peggy?
  • Peggy’s face lit up when Stevie said John called her fearless. Did anyone else feel like she was excited that John called her that? She does have a history of going for married men.
  • Peggy: “Jonny Mathis. How many times has he showed up and people have been disappointed? You are not Johnny Mathis!” Stevie: “Haha, I’ve never thought of that.” Oh, Stevie. Someone please pat his little head.

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