Envy and jealousy have always been a big theme of Mad Men but I don't think it's ever been more pervasive than this season. The aptly named episode "The Other Woman" followed people coveting over what they didn't have and comparing and contrasting what and how they were willing to do to achieve it.
Immediately in the first scene: nameless copywriter wants Don's break, Peggy wants the Jaguar crew's lobster (and work), and the scum bag from the auto dealership, Herb, wants Joan. Morally corrupt and nihilistic, Pete backhandedly proposes the arrangement to Joan and the partners. Joan's choice and its complications make up the rest of the episode.
In a behind the scenes video, Christina Hendricks makes the point that Joan has seen all the partners do worse in her time with them. Pete, for all his grossness, makes the compelling point that we constantly make mistakes for free, why not for the greater good? And I make the point that Joan's decision is her own grudging acceptance of what she has to do to get power at a company she's been with since the beginning. It's hard to look at Joan's choice as a victory, but she has, at last, gotten something worthwhile.
FUN FACT: Joan tries to shame Pete by asking what he would say if someone asked to Trudy, but he already came dangerously close to whoring out his new wife in Season 1 just to get a story published. I imagine he'd murder his family to sign a major account. Speaking of Pete, he's doing a better job self-destructing than Don ever did. Betty's father once accused Don of treating all his good fortune like nothing but Pete, who has had wealth and status handed to him since birth, really does consider it nothing. He's on the road to Rogerville.
Another very big event happened this week, and I'd like to take a moment to gloat and say I NAILED IT when I CALLED IT a few weeks ago: Peggy Olson has left the agency. Many, many questions about the future of the show hang in the balance here because, as Salvatore Romano fans know, when a character leaves the agency they generally disappear from the show. But Peggy is one of our principles. Will we join her with life at the new agency? Or will her absence from Don's life become an absence in ours? Or will AMC spring for the Mad Men spinoff, Peggy Olson, Copy Chief!
Seriously though the goodbye scene between her and Don made me feel things. He had taken her for granted for too long, and she had come as far as she could with him. Freddy had a great cameo, encouraging Peggy to go for it. Their friendship seems healthy and genuine. Peggy's meeting with Ted Chaough was a hoot. I'm sure he has some asshole secret to be revealed later. Drink your chocolate shake Pegs, you have earned it.
OTHER THOUGHTS: Lane is on thin ice, but very sly. He manages to push through the solution best for the company, Joan, and himself. That plot is set to blow up in his face anytime now.
Joan's mom is salty and flirty. Must be where she gets it.
Watch Jaguar become the new Lucky Strike, a high profile, meal ticket client with unreasonable demands.
There was more sexual tension in Joan touching Don's face than in their entire conversation last week.
Mad Men Unbuttoned has some great 70's Jaguar ads.
What about your thought, Blogtown?