For a show that is unapologetic in focusing on Don and the boys, the last two weeks of Mad Men have really been about the girls. I am talking about Betty, Joan, Peggy, Sally and to a lesser extent, Dr. Faye.
What the hell is up with Betty? She walks into a restaurant, sees Don on a date and has a meltdown? There are probably several things goin on. She still loves Don even though he hurt her badly. She is also very angry at him. Seeing for herself that he appears to have moved on is perhaps an occasion for a drink or five. Not to mention the strains between her and Henry (a relationship she started out of lonliness and spite) are now apparent to both of them.
Peggy fires dude who posted a highly sexual and very inappropriate cartoon of her and Lane, and she rips Peggy for making her feel powerless. Joan, for such a smart woman, you can be so dumb. It is the environment in which you work that has made you powerless, not Peggy. Moreover, the harassment would have escalated. Joan owes Peggy an apology.
I have already commented on how neglected I think Sally feels. Hence her desperation in seeking to get away from her mother who sees her as an inconvenience. Faye tries to talk to Sally, fails, and then feels inadequate when Sally rebuffs her. There is little Fay could have done at this point. With her hanger full of baggage, Sally is going to raise (more) hell.
I am really going to miss Ms. Blankenship. She made a joke called Don ‘Roger’ after putting on her glasses. Even Don had to smile. Then she admonished Peggy that ‘It’s a business of sadists and masochists and you know which one you are.’ Dropping pearls of wisdom like it’s nobody’s business, I thought, they are going to fill out her character. Then the writers kill her off! Bert Cooper, another old survivor, is also quite quotable and advises ‘She was born in 1898 in a barn, she died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She was an astronaut.’
That final scene in which Peggy, Faye and Joan are in the elevator is obviously meant to make us think about the ‘different’ archetypes that these women represent. I can’t help but wonder, all these decades after women’s lib (and civil rights!), how much more liberated/free are previously oppressed groups?
I plan to post a separate update on the True Blood finale.
- Mad Men, Season 4: Take your daughter to work day. (slate.com)
- William Bradley: Mad Men: “The Beautiful Girls” Revolve Around the Not So Beautiful Men and the Not So Beautiful Biz (huffingtonpost.com)