Peggy's back, and so is the "Mad Men" we all love.
True, Peggy has appeared in the show for most of this season. And the overall themes (prostitution and adultery) are still present in "For Immediate Release."
But it’s as though the writers were just as excited as we are for the Peggy and Don reunion, no matter how fleeting. My how it shows.
Now that she and Don will be working together, Roger’s quips are that much sharper, Don’s glances are that much more seductive, and Pete’s comeuppance is that much more awkward (as it should be). This is the ‘Mad Men’ I’ve been waiting for all season.
But first, it’s a Mother’s Day special on ‘Mad Men.’ To honor Don’s mother, the writers revisit prostitution. With Sylvia nowhere in sight, let’s start of with Joan and Jaguar.
As much as Don plays up his moral outrage with Joan being whored out, his issue with Herb is much more personal. He closes the Jaguar account because he’s tired of being ignored.
Don’s pitch, though deserving to win Jaguar on its own merits, was inconsequential next to Herb’s tryst with Joan. His advice not to divert most of the Jaguar funds to radio advertising was undermined by Herb and Pete. His talent was compared to a flier boy at a local dealership (not too dissimilar to his own roots at a fur shop) by Herb, his own client. A low blow, indeed.
After finding out Don axed Jaguar, Pete is so outraged that he tumbles down the stairs. Joan handles her anger much more eloquently.
“And what now, I went through all that for nothing?” Her frustration is justified. Landing the Jaguar account, by selling herself out for one soul-crushing night, should be more appreciated and not capriciously ended, no matter how noble Don thought he was.
But does she really want to be reminded of that night of subjugation every time the revolting Herb walks through the door, or any time Jaguar is mentioned? And with Don, there’s always more to be said.
“Just once I would like you to use the word ‘we’ because we’re all rooting for you from the sidelines, hoping that you’ll decide what’s right for our lives.” Finally, someone close to Don stands up to him.
Does it sink in? Of course not. He and Roger just shrug it off. Their minds are too focused on winning Chevy. A deadline’s a deadline. But can’t he muster up any semblance of compassion or remorse? Not when his ego’s on the line.
Off to Detroit he and Roger go. When sitting at the bar late at night (because, of course, where else would Don Draper be?), in walks Ted Chaough.
“Dammit!” Ted yells, walking in to see Don. His hopes of landing Chevy, when pitted against one small agency and one large agency, are dashed.
Ted bemoans his loss of six weeks spent on his pipe dream. (Side note: As much as Peggy says she’s tired of being around pessimists, Ted doesn’t seem like that much of a step up from Don. True, he could be rueful that his partner spent a good chunk of his remaining time on an unfulfilling project, but when did you ever see Don admitting defeat in front of a competitor?)
Luckily, admitting defeat is what saves SDCP and CGC. Chevy wants quantity over quality, with the little agencies’ ideas. The solution, Don says, is for the two rag-tag teams to join forces. Ted buys it, their partners buy it, Chevy buys it, and now SCDP and CGC are one big happy advertising agency.
The only person who seems hesitant? A freshly powdered Peggy, ready to flirt with her boss after an awkward kiss. When walking into her boss’s office, who does she see but her old boss. In her mind, you know she’s shouting “Dammit,” just like Ted when he saw Don.
The merger might be a bit forced, as far as plotlines are concerned, but the Don-Peggy dynamic is essential for this show. After all, both Matt Weiner and Jon Hamm have pointed out that the series starts with Peggy’s first day for a reason.
From lowly secretary to Copy Chief at one of the top 25 agencies in the U.S. And before hitting 30, no less! We couldn’t be prouder, Pegs.
Before Pete stumbles into his prostitution scandal, he, Bert, and Joan are crunching numbers to go public with the company. Their goal is to keep Don out, so that he can’t naysay it. He has enough money, they figure.