Mad Men Chat, Episode Nine: “My Mom made that!”

Mark: Nine episodes in to Mad Men: this is the final stretch, and fittingly, the series kicked into high gear last night. Personally, I found it felt raw at points. The stuff at the end was painful to watch (I’ll get there in a second).

I felt the whole episode was about doing the right thing, as it were. On one level, you had Fillmore Auto Parts, a company in trouble thanks to declining sales. SCDP’s solution is a rebranding of the company as a place where ‘everybody’ can shop, not just mechanics. But not everybody can: the store doesn’t hire black people. Hiring them is the really obvious solution, but of course it’s the one they’re not willing to take. The talk they had with Don, Ken and Peggy was really about race the entire time, wasn’t it?

Heather: It certainly seemed like it, didn’t it? Mark: Of course it’s a repugnant view and of course it’s what’s costing them, but it’s also the one they’re not willing to change. Is it right that SCDP isn’t going to work them on it? Heather: They don’t want to get involved with the politics. They were hired to do a job, and they’re going to do it. Will it damage their reputation? Maybe, but I think in the long run they’re going to make sure they cover their butts in that aspect as well. Don’s sneaky like that.

Jenn: I disagree, I think this one’ll come back to bite to them. Even though it’s not really being reflected on the show or in the lives of SCDP, the civil rights movement is waging on. Filmore will (hopefully) be receiving a lot of backlash and lost business, and that might come back around to SCDP. Peggy’s writer friend was certainly ready to set the wheels in motion. Either that, or our favourite activist Paul Kinsey will catch wind of it and start a protest.

Mark: The thing about race is that it would solve their problems! They’re not selling because of the boycott, so bite the bullet. I feel like it’s the bikini company all over again: times are changing and people don’t want to change with them.

Moving on, I liked how that little battle tied into Peggy’s personal life. The artist whose name escapes me tried to impress her by talking politics and called her out on not challenging that stance – then made some flippant remark about women not having their own civil rights marches.

It’s got me thinking of the disconnect between Peggy and the world around her. It’s almost like she’s the only one who realized just how ahead of the moment she actually is – the artist was willing to throw her career in the trash to make a larger point. Am I wrong in thinking this? Heather: I don’t think you’re wrong, but I don’t think Peggy is fully aware of how ahead she is. She knows she’s ahead, and it’s obviously gone to her head a little bit (as we’ve seen in her slacking episode), but she is continuously put back in a little box by Don in order to fight her way back out of it.

Sometimes she catches a glimpse of it (like when she almost left the firm for more money, was it last season?) and thinks she deserves more credit (her hissy fit earlier this season), but alas along comes Don who pulls her back down to his knees.

This will eventually change, but for now, it seems to be a vicious cycle.

Jenn: “Maybe they’ll do a civil rights march for women, hyuk hyuk EYEROLL.” Just wait for the 70s, asshole. Peggy certainly is ahead of her time, but I really don’t think she fully realizes it yet. She’s very much in her own little bubble. She sees the struggles she is going through as a woman, but I don’t think she’s yet connected it to what all women are experiencing at this time. As soon as she does, however, she’ll be burning bras so hard she’ll make Gloria Alred look like Rush Limbaugh.

Mark: Is it wrong that I laughed when Peggy found a dead Miss Blankenship? It was just too surreal, too crazy for that to happen with the whole Sally drama. It was like the total point of chaos,  Also, when Don said to get a man to help out, I’m sure he meant anybody other then Pete. Although seeing Pete struggle to move a dead body was awesome. Heather: I TOTALLY CALLED IT! I knew that lady was going to die when she was first introduced as Don’s new secretary, I just didn’t think it would be AT the office! Man, that was nuts. And it was kind of funny, in a totally ridiculous “holy crap, how odd and inconvenient” kind of way.

Jenn: WEEKEND AT BLANKENSHIP’S WAS THE BEST PART OF THE EPISODE! Scrawny delicate Pete struggling to move the body, Don trying his best not to watch through the window, Ken Cosgrove looking up and being all “wtf???” and finally Harry Crane’s “MY MOTHER MADE THAT!” in response to his afghan being used as a body bag. Classic Mad Men.

The over the top (and often morbid) moments like this or the lawnmower meets foot incident just make great television, in my opinion.

Mark: Meanwhile, the Joan/Roger thing is back on track. Roger goes out of his way to get on her good side, going as far as sending her a massage (who knew she wore glasses?) and admits the only times he was happy was with her, which is maybe laying it on a bit thick.

But he really steps up when they get mugged – which was totally Roger’s fault anyway – and they make out in an alley. Are they back on, or is he just exploiting her loneliness now that the Doc is off in the army?

Heather: Roger has been thinking about Joan for the past few episodes. When he says “all of the good times included you” or something along the lines thereof, he nailed it.
Every wild and cool memory he has usually includes her. He misses being a bad ass. I couldn’t believe it when he started macking on her immediately after they were mugged. Tacky, Roger. Really tacky.

But, Joan seemed to be in to it, which didn’t surprise me in the least. Her husband is a jerk. Inside, she is not the person she wants to be when she’s with him. I think she’s very confused.

Jenn: Roger’s intentions may not always be noble, but it’s obvious he truly cares for Joan. Remember after his heart attack, he said he had many regrets but she wasn’t one of them?
Of course he delivered in in true Roger fashion and made it all about the sex, but there’s some real weight to an admission like that. Despite the taboos (adultery, coworkers) he was glad they got together. He did the same thing last night with “all the good memories are with you”.

It’s easy to dismiss it as him trying to charm her, but there’s probably some truth to that statement. He’s had his problems with Jane and his first wife (what was her name again?), but everything was good with Joanie.

Mark: Personally, I think it’s a bit of both. He likes her, always has, and he’s not above exploiting her in a low moment to get what he wants from her, which is her. I think Joan said something like “I always knew you wouldn’t do something nice without expecting getting something back in return” and she’s right: he’s a slick guy who isn’t going to stop until he gets what he wants. Jenn: Yup, she’s nothing but boobs and bum to that man.

Mark: Okay, now to the big one: Sally Draper. She basically took advantage of something her therapist suggested and snuck off to hang out with her Dad, which came at a really bad time. She was there when a secretary died (while she didn’t know, it still meant everybody was really terse with her). She got treated like crap by Don and still was happy when he gave her a couple hours of his time.

And by the end of the episode I thought she was like a half moment from a complete breakdown; she ended up getting a hug and some nice words from a secretary, not her family, in a moment of crisis.

Heather: I feel so sorry for Sally. She’s going to be so f*cked up.

Mark: I keep hoping somebody will treat her like a person and not a pawn in some ongoing Don/Betty feud, and it’s not happening. My gut tells me Sally is headed somewhere dark, which I don’t like (although it’s cool the show gives me these kind of thoughts).

Jenn: I got frustrated with Don too, but for different reasons.

Sally staying with the Francis’ obviously isn’t working for her right now, but I don’t think living with Don would be the better solution. He obviously doesn’t know how to be a parent. When the Drapers were still together, he was neglectful and rarely around, and nothing’s changed now.

Twice Sally started to get unruly, and each time he just handed her to the nearest woman and said “deal with this.” You can’t even talk to your own daughter? You can’t discipline her? All you can do is order her pizza and take her to the zoo?

I was glad the doctor stood up to Don at the end for constantly pawning Sally off onto her. I mean really? You think she should just able to take care of your kid for you? Don needs to man up.
Betty’s not exactly mother of the year, but Don’s not much better.

Mark: Finally, the last scene, where Peggy, Dr. Faye and Joan all get in an elevator (and Joyce gets in another), had to have meant something, although I have no idea what. Any ideas? Heather: I think it was a glimpse into who we’re going to be seeing more of in the next few episodes.

Jenn: It was a really dramatic shot, but I’m not sure if I exactly get what it means. I’ve kicked around a few theories mentally: all the women in the one elevator are lost in thought about their messed up love lives? Joyce gets into a different one because she doesn’t have their hang ups? I don’t know. Perhaps it was just Weiner’s way of showing us all the different women at once.

Loose Thoughts:

Mark:  Rum on french toast sounds wicked Heather: I thought the same thing and then Don said “It’s not bad!”

Jenn: I loved his expression as he said that! Also, did her let Sally eat her rum and toast?

Mark: Another really great Hamm performance. I liked the part where he went from frazzled and stressed with his daughter and the death and into the meeting all smiles. Heather: I. Love. Jon. Hamm. Period


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