Megan confronts Don, rather than seethe in resentment.
“I don’t know where you’ve gone, but I’m here,” she confides.
Again, we hear sirens going off in the background, alerting us of the couple’s continuing marriage troubles.
“I keep trying to make things the way they used to be, but I don’t know how. Maybe that’s stupid or young to think like that, but something has to change.”
“You’re right,” he admits. “I haven’t been here.” He kisses her and draws her near. And that is the closest thing she’ll get to a confession of adultery from Don Draper.
Peggy, meanwhile, is struggling with her relationship with Don, even though she’d rather be closer to Ted. To raise tensions higher, Ted and Don are duking it out over margarine. Yes, margarine. And both are competing for her approval, and thus, affection.
“You’re both demanding. You’re both the same person,” she points out. Yes, they are. Right down to their feelings for Peggy.
“What an old tune,” Ted sighs, “the boss is in love with his protégé.” Yes, it is. In fact, Don was there first. Peggy touching Ted’s hand during the presentation is a callback to when she touched Don’s hand on her first day at Sterling Cooper.
But the Don-Ted match-up isn’t the only time Peggy is forced to pick sides. The latest is when when Abe is stabbed by a local neighborhood kid. Rather than help the police find the suspect, he remains mum.
A true martyr, that Abe. Peggy, always the smart one, urges him to catch the criminal. “Why would you side with the cops?” Abe indignantly snaps.
From there, their relationship only continues to deteriorate. She becomes increasingly paranoid, carrying around a broom for protection. Then when she upgrades it to a makeshift broom-shiv, she accidentally stabs Abe in the stomach.
In the ambulance, he calls her the “enemy.” Yes, her, not the kid who intentionally stabbed him. It isn’t for stabbing him, but for working in advertising. On top of that, he’s going to include this in his tell-all story. And Abe has the audacity to call the cop a pig.
“Your activities are offensive to my every waking moment,” he professes. Ouch. I find his mustache offensive, but there’s not much I can do about that.
But even more repulsive is the fact that he manipulated his girlfriend into living in a dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhood, much to her repeated resistance, just so that he can tout himself as a pioneer.
I internally rejoiced when they broke up. Not necessarily under those circumstances (less stabbing, more Peggy doing the actual dumping), but Abe’s contempt for advertising was obvious from the beginning. It was clear that they wouldn’t last.
At least this means that she and Ted can finally be together, right? Not so fast.
When Peggy rushes to tell Ted the good news (that she’s single -- nothing's good about Abe getting stabbed), he assures her that she’ll find someone else. That someone else is not him.
This truly shows what a good guy he is. As agonizing as it is to see Peggy get turned down by her boss -- not once, but twice -- Ted and Don respect her enough not to toy with her emotions.
Three doors closed on her: two literal (Ted’s and Don’s office doors) and one figurative (Abe). As the cliché goes, she should look for an opened window for a new opportunity -- preferably hasn’t been smashed with a rock or boarded up.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS FROM ‘THE BETTER HALF’:
BEST STERLING ONE-LINER: Roger’s overwhelming immaturity dulled his charm -- odd, since it usually enhances it. But most of his lines sounded toddler childish, not teenage boy childish. So, this week’s honor goes to his daughter: “It’s my fault for letting you talk me into having a four-year-old watch another four-year-old.” Like father, like daughter.
MOST UNLIKELY DUO: Joan helping Pete. After all he put her through (what with the whole prostitution thing), it was rather surprising to see her give him career advice. She did make a good point that he never broke a promise to her.
CREEP OF THE WEEK: Arlene, guilt tripping Megan for not giving in to a Sapphic tryst. That’s pretty tame on the creep scale, as far as "Mad Men" goes, but pushy and manipulative seducers should never get off easy.
WORST EXCUSE FOR BEING A PARENT: When Stu is hitting on Betty, she tells him she has kids. We think that’s a way to ward him off, but no. It’s just another way to stroke her ego: “No, look at me, can you tell I’ve had three children?” Those poor, poor children.
BIGGEST (AND LEAST PC) EXAGGERATION: Abe forgives the mugger who stabbed him, since they were brought on slave ships against their will. Peggy compares that oppressiveness to being coerced to live that s---hole. Uh, might want to dial that comparison back a bit, Pegs.
MOST DERANGED WORKAHOLIC: Abe, ordering Peggy to get him his typewriter so that he can write an article with only one functioning arm.
BIGGEST SUCK-UP: Bobby Benson. I don’t care if he whisks Joan off her feet to the beach or moonlights as a shrink to the whole SCDP-CGC-Whatever (how do they still not have a name?!) staff, I don’t trust him. No one on ‘Mad Men’ is that nice. Is he a mole for Abe’s big story about the enemies on Madison Avenue? Not likely, but still more likely than his supposed genuine altruism. Either that or maybe he truly is the world’s most dedicated ass-kisser.