I am not yet sure whether or not this was a great episode tonight, but I'll tell you this: It made me care about Peggy like I haven't since season one. It also made me even ache a little for Don -- and that's saying something after the indifference I was feeling toward him and his self-pitying descent.
And in a story telling sense, you have to love the way the hour left us wondering about Peggy and Don. After hearing of the death of Anna Draper, he says that the only person in the world who "really knew" him just died, and Peggy says, "that's not true" -- presumably about no one else really knowing him. And then near the end of the episode, he places his hand over hers on the desk. Is this possible -- the two of them together?
OK, as I tired as I am, I don't have to sleep on it this week. I can make the call: It was a great episode. The different shades of masculinity that were explored in just one hour is mind boggling -- and we see almost all of it through Peggy's eyes.
Don on his knees retching in the stall of a men's room. Duck dropping his pants and trying to defecate in Don's office as an insult -- only he's drunk and in the wrong office. Don and Duck, both drunk, fighting with Duck pinning Don on the floor. Peggy's boyfriend sitting in that restaurant with her wretched family trying to order Peggy out of the office and into the surprise party he imagined for her. That crew of adolescent fools she works with waking her up with a coach's whistle and giving her a mock order to do push ups.
And I have to say the death of Anna even though it was totally off camera was somehow very moving. Yes, great episode, and there were a lot of great lines. Oh lord, the scene between Don and Peggy in which their real feelings come out about the Clio Award. Peggy's line about knwoing what she is "supposed to want," but none of it measuring up to her work.
I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed. More tomorrow. I hope I am going to wake to great comments from some of the regulars of our weekly Maddicts Club.
UPDATE 12:30 p.m. Monday: Here is the start of what Sturmy had to say. Read all of his terrific analysis in comments:
Yes Z, last night was a GREAT episode!! I find it interesting that even though Peggy gave up her opportunity at real motherhood, she seems to be the mother-figure central in so many of the characters lives? To the boys on her team, she's the one that tries to corral them and keep them focused and in line. With Duck she seemed to be the only one who could keep him sober and functioning, and then there is Don…..
Peggy can't leave Don, ever. The pull of the office and HIM kept her away from her birthday dinner, but let's be honest she didn't need very much to have that happen. She always sticks by Don no matter what and this makes me wonder why when he can treat her so badly at times? Is this loyalty? Love? His approval and companionship is like a drug for her. Think back to last season when Don had to tell her how much he needed her in order to get her to come with him to the new firm. I think the line was he would: "spend the rest of his career trying to hire her". Although she will test him at times, she is incapable of walking away from him.
That said, this is a good thing. Don now needs Peggy....