Mad Men

Episode Report Card
Couch Baron: A+ | 2 USERS: A+
Are You Gonna Drop The Bomb Or Not?

Don returns to his office, but Joan stands and urgently tells him that Betty called, and she'd like him to come home. Don tells her she should do the same, but Joan replies that she can't even think right now, as she's worried about Greg because his hospital is on alert. Oh, Joan. She hands Don his coat and hat, but in reference to his bag, he tells her, "I don't need it." Hmm -- does he think he's not coming back? Or is it merely that it's time to leave work aside in this crisis and focus on the important thing -- his family? In any case, he bids her a somber good night.

Peggy's on her way out when she runs into a half-in-the-bag Pete, who positively beams at her. It's unbelievably endearing, especially when he tells her he's doing so because she's still there. He invites her to have a drink with him, and she accepts, coming into this office and sitting on the couch. Meeeeemories! She asks why he's still there, as Trudy must be worried, but he's got his eyes on other things: "You never let me talk about what I want to talk about." She doesn't shut him down, inviting him to go on, so he tells her what she said about telling the truth got him thinking, and he wants to do so with her. After a little verbal dancing, he reveals that he's been thinking about the current dangerous situation, and he wondered who would care if he were gone. He adds that Trudy would care, but she doesn't know him -- but Peggy does, and he knows her. "And I think you're perfect." Just to say this up front, this is one of the best-acted scenes ever on this show, and it starts here, as all joy drains from Peggy's face before she tells Pete she's not perfect. He demurs, and tells her he loves her and wants to be with her.

He's staring at her intensely to give his words the maximum possible gravity, and she's just as deliberately intermittently looking away, but she finally makes up her mind what to do, smiling mirthlessly as she tells him she could have had him forever. "I could have shamed you into being with me. But I didn't want to." Pete's smile fades as he says he doesn't understand, so she closes her eyes and steels herself before telling him about having his baby, and giving it away. He's stunned, so she repeats herself, and tells him, with an almost dreamy recollection, that she wanted other things. He repeats that he doesn't understand, but the answer is sitting right before him -- Peggy's new haircut, the pearls she's wearing, the expensive suit -- they're all symbols of the independence and self-reliance she craved, which are things she could never have had with Pete, and certainly not with him and their child. (Now they might be able to make a relationship work, but that's a different story.) Peggy attempts to put it into words, though: "One day you're there, and then all of a sudden, there's less of you. And you wonder where that part went, if it's living somewhere outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you'll get it back. And then you realize it's just gone." I think she's talking about herself, not him, in attempting to explain that the part of her that could have been with him is gone, sacrificed on the altar of moving up in the world, but it could of course dually refer to his hot-and-cold behavior toward her back in Season One. (It also eerily applies to Don, and is almost a paraphrase of what he told Anna last episode, which again reflects how similar the two of them are.) Pete heartbreakingly asks why she would tell him this, and she looks regretful as she apologizes, putting a caring hand on his shoulder before leaving. Confession, absolution, and doing things you'd never otherwise do. It's a little long to be a mantra, but that's what's going on. I'm just surprised that Sal didn't try to jump Kurt's bones somewhere in here.

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Mad Men




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