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Philly2Philly's Mad Men Recap: Season 4 Episode 7

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By Diane Cooney and Brian Lynch

 Diane CooneyBrian Lynch

During this season of Mad Men, our own Diane Cooney and Brian Lynch will offer their own commentary about the previous Sunday night episode. Feel free to argue, debate, or offer your own commentary regarding Don Draper  and co.- just keep it clean of course!

Episode 7: September 5th, 2010

B: It seems that, despite my hopes, Roger’s nephew is fitting in very nicely at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. He’s getting pretty chummy with the guys, which seems to bode poorly for Peg – they seem to have a mini Boy’s Club thing going.

D: How cute that you think only now that Peggy’s dealing with a boy’s club.

B: Yeah, but she’s their boss. They’re tossing around Liston-Clay tickets and snappy dialogue about the fight, which even Mrs. Blankenship gets in on… in, well, the most colorful way possible.

D: We may have to introduce the racist line of the week. Yeah – those tickets meant nothing to me. It took me a minute to realize Cassius Clay was Mohammed Ali!

B: You’re kidding, right?

D: And Blankenship leaves a note for Don, to call Stephanie in California. I’m dreading that call as much as he is!

B: This clearly has been on Don’s mind – since the picture is still on his desk.

D: The gang is eager to show off for Don, who arrived late again (but hey, isn’t that a fair priviledge when your name is on the door?

B: Ahh, Joey and Peg. They work so well together. They would have such wonderful, snarky babies. But Don kicks the Three Adverteers out, so as to chew Peg out thoroughly for working in an “environment where [she] feel[s] free to fail.” Rough treatment. And on her birthday, too.

D: I’m running out of patience with the tough love Don is bestowing her. I was delighted to see flowers on Peggy’s desk. There are pink carnations, so I thought they were from Mark – but….

B: Ruh-roh. The flowers are from Duck, who wants Peggy on the money train to Tampax-ville. Problem is, he’s not bringing any to the table (money, that is. Not tampons.)

D: So glad to see Peggy had the sense to turn him down. Kind of.

B: She tells him she’ll think about it, while The Boys come in with more ideas for lunch and none for how to turn the Samsonite pitch around.

D: Team Joey scored points since he was the one to invite Peggy to lunch – since it was her birthday.

B: Notice that, between Joey and the rest of The Boys, Joey is also the only one who stands up to Joanie and says, flat out, “Although I am paid less, I am still not a janitor”. The rest of them clean up their messes pretty quickly. I can’t decide whether to admire Joey for standing up to Joan, or shake my head. She’s Head Secretary, after all… and her wrath is to be feared.

D: I think he’s laying the groundwork for his shot at Joan. I think in a few years, he might pull it off. Everyone gets ready for the end of the day – Peggy’s happy to head off for her birthday dinner, the senior guys head off with their wives to the Palm for some pre-fight steaks. Bet they order them rare!

B: The ladies of Sterling Cooper head to powder their nose. Megan asks Peggy how old she is, and graciously says, “why, you’re doing all right”.

D: A little trivia – Jessica Pare, who plays Megan, the pretty secretary (who reminds me of the new Mrs. Sterling), used to play Matt Long (Joey)’s friend and neighbor back in the short-lived series Jack and Bobby.

B: And I have to say, I thought the Peg / Pete’s Wife in the bathroom scene was a fantastic dichotomy. Even if Pete’s Wife got a little catty at the end, there.

D: I already had so many reasons why I don’t like her. This just adds to the list.

B: By the way - what the hell, Don? Is the idea of spending time with Roger and the sober folk so repulsive that you HAVE to get the Samsonite thing done, pronto? Or is it your way of spreading misery and loathing, so everybody feels the way you do? I don’t get it.

D: Peggy sticks around because she’s expecting a to wrap this up quickly… not realizing Don is in full on avoidance mode. He needs to make that phone call.

B: Yeah, and Mark’s being a real dick about this, on top of Don’s less-than-cooperative behavior. It’s a birthday, Mark. Yes, it’s a touching gesture, but only when family’s important to somebody. In her case, Peg can’t freakin’ stand her family, so… you bombed it, Mark. Big time.

D: Agreed!

B: You should be particularly happy about this, since it opens things up for Joey and Peggy. It might actually happen now. Huzzah!

D: Don and Peggy have the most raw arguments – you only yell at people like that when you know them really well. I enjoy his clarity – even when his rein is throbbing in his forehead he’s articulate!

B: They’re almost equals. He’s been explaining to her the entire time that she’s got to pay her dues, but I think the scene with them at the bar pretty much says it all, along with my bits from last week. She’s the female Don… except she’s way more stable, because she’s not leading (as much of) a double life.

D: Back at the office, Don pulls a Roger Sterling – but manages to make it to the men’s room first. Peggy’s trying to be helpful – but then she has another drunk to worry about – Duck is wandering the hallways of SCDP.

B: This is the first time that a Mad Men episode has reminded me of a pop song, but seeing Duck try to use Roger’s chair for a toilet drew my mind almost directly to the unappreciated Like A Boss” – (which isn’t safe for work or the faint of heart)

D: Peggy says to Don what we’ve been thinking all season – how much longer is this going to go on? But he gives her a real answer. He’s avoiding that phone call because he knows it is bad news. Later, they’ve fallen asleep on the sofa – but Don wakes up, (MAJOR SPOILER) to see Anna dressed in a lovely yellow dress, with her suitcase. She surveys his office, looks at him lovingly and vanishes.

B: I have to be honest… I saw the Anna thing, and I started tearing up. Especially when Don was as straightforward and emotionally honest with Peg as he’ll get, short of spilling the beans on everything. As he said, he lost the only person who knows who he really is. That’s just tragic.

D: That scene breaks your heart. And I love that Mad Men dipped their toe in a little mysticism.

B: The next morning, he finally connects with Stephanie – and hears the news. Peggy wakes up in mid conversation, and knows something’s wrong.

D: He breaks down in front of Peggy - which clearly marks a permanent shift in their relationship.

B: Is there hope for our hero?

D: I think so.

To contact or argue with Diane, reach her at DC@dianecooney.com

To contact or argue with Brian, reach him at  brian.andrew.lynch@gmail.com