Getting caught seems to be a running theme this week on Mad Men and our characters handle that pressure quite differently.
Don seems at quite the loss with his feelings this week as he is having trouble putting up his public persona against where his feelings truly lay. As we dive deeper into his ongoing affair with his friend and neighbor Sylvia Rosen, Don is reminded of his time living in a rooming house that happens to rent out one of its rooms to a lady of the night. A reminder of his real mother's past as a prostitute, his adoptive mother now has to sell her body to “Uncle Mack” so they have a place to stay. The displacement of family and home obviously has contributed to Don's behavior through the years, but while he tells Sylvia that it is easy for him to lie and cheat behind Megan's back it is clearly weighing on him. We saw him the most genuinely happy with Faye Miller, but he seems to be practically self-loathing as he goes back and forth between Megan and Sylvia. He not only sells Sylvia on his passion over their dinner, but we buy it too, and I can totally see why he is so damn lost slumping in that hallway at the end the episode. His affair with Sylvia always feels like they could get caught at any moment and part of me wonders if he wants to. He says he will do anything for Megan, but obviously that is a lie as well or he wouldn't be cheating on her. Maybe Don is truly lost and he is just beginning to realize that the older he gets that he will never be able to get away from this sorrow that fills him.
Pete, on the other hand, has been caught and it doesn't go over well at the Campbell household. Actually, Pete has been caught all along, Trudy just thought he would have the decency not to “open his fly” within fifty miles of his home. When he takes a neighbor wife “out to the show” in the city, she can't keep a secret and gets a smack in the face and a boot out the door right to the Campbell's door step. We're seeing Pete fail again, not just being the swinging bachelor he dreams of being, but he also can't quite get the leg up on Don in a Jaguar meeting. Pete's obsession with Don seems to have faded, but it's mostly because I think he had convinced himself that he had bested him both at work and in the bedroom. With Trudy, rightfully, taking him down a number of pegs in his bedroom prowess and Don subverting his yes man success on the Jaguar account, what kind of Pete is going to come out of this latest debacle for everyone's least favorite accounts man?
Peggy was the closest to a C-story this week, but she actually only gets a couple of scenes that let us into her new life at CGC. It's funny to see her try and be a little nicer to her underlings, but part of me wants her to just keep acting more like Don. Ted also shows, again, how he is a better boss than Don which makes it harder and harder to believe that Peggy will end up back at SCDP. The biggest offense that will keep her away from SCDP will be her leaking Stan's talking out of school information on Heinz to Ted and the repercussions that might have on her and Don's relationship if it ever gets back to him. These little details into Peggy's life at CGC are nice and all, but it is nice to see that next week's episode might be getting a bit more interesting plot wise around those offices; will she get caught stabbing her old firm in the back?
Some Short Notes:
-Harry Crane, you worthless fool. How much longer can they keep him around when he can contribute absolutely nothing to even a simple meeting? I feel like he is going to go at some point this season.
-Megan being broken up over her miscarriage, and her happiness that it made the decision on keeping it for her, was a bit too obvious of a turn for her. I feel like Don would have gotten far more upset in past seasons hearing about the loss of a child and sadly Megan's story this week seems to be more fuel for Don's disenchantment with their relationship than anything else.
-I hope this isn't the last we have seen of Allison Brie/Trudy, but if so she went out on a pretty strong note. The fact that women couldn't get divorced because they would be seen as, “a failure,” is so antiquated to today's way of thinking, but it will be interesting to see how Pete handles their new relationship with his kids and the workplace.
-Sylvia seems to be, potentially, a pretty big part of this season and I like that I can't really get a read on her. She doesn't believe in abortion, she gets off on feeling guilty and yet Don seems to make her happier than poor Dr. Rosen. I think she might spill the beans to Megan at some point this season as I think Don finally getting caught cheating is almost inevitable at this point.
-The dinner discussion between Don and Sylvia inter-cut with Don doing exactly what he said he would do was wonderfully executed and one of my favorite scenes on the show in some time. As soon as the music kicked in for that sequence I knew we were in for something special. -Still not a lot of Joan, but her one brief scene with the Jaguar douchebag had the best non-Roger line of the night. I will say this though, Joanie better be getting a big plot line next week!
A step down from the excellent premiere, I found myself wishing for a bit more from the other characters this week. Pete and Don's stories were needed to set up their season arcs most likely, but this early in the season I want to get in touch with everyone sooner, rather than later. Still, tensions are running high between Pete and Don again and that will only be good for the show, I just hope Peggy and Don don't end up butting heads as well over ketchup.
-Poor Dr. Rosen.
-Don really grew into his handsomeness.
-"They're both good company." Cold.
-"I really got to get back, can you move it along a little." Got to love Pete's charm.
-Ouch, Sylvia didn't like that kiss, can't be getting jealous.
-"I had no idea you'd be darkening my doorway."
-"And I know there is a part of you, you haven't seen in years."
-"Well, that was bound to happen."
-"I'll have your wigs ready m'am."
-"You want to feel shitty till the point I take your dress off."
-Don shook Jaguar's hand that time.
-"That was Churchill."
-Who is this Bob guy?