Friday, September 17, 2010
Mad Men: The Rejected
Well, we're back in full speed for Mad Men as work on advertising for Ponds cold cream goes well underway. This really leads to the majority of the events in this episode. Pete is told that he has to turn away an account he worked very hard to acquire from his father-in-law, and when he goes to break the bad news to him, his news is muted by the announcement that he's going to have a baby. The way Pete responds to this is somewhat unexpected, as a child is usually something an up and coming business man doesn't need distracting him. However, I'm glad to see that he's happy about it. It helps for the audience to actually care about the characters you put onscreen.
Meanwhile, a focus group of young women is brought together to test a hypothesis that may become the center of the Ponds cold cream advertisement. It unexpectedly forward the shattered relationship between Don and his secretary, Allison. We get from the start of the episode that Allison is fed up with Don, but it's done in an understated manner. When she starts to break down at the focus group, we suddenly get the idea that we may very well lose one of the familiar faces of the office. The climactic argument with Don ends with her revealing a widely held truth: "I don't say this easily, but you are not a good person."
It's harsh and unexpected, but it's also true. Don's out there living like there's no tomorrow, and at the pace that he's drinking, there may very well not be. Finally, adding some light flavor to the episode is Peggy making a new friend, Joyce. She's a lot more freewheeling than Peggy is, and from the beginning there's the idea that she may get Peggy into trouble, and she almost does. At a "don't-even-know-what-to-call-it", Peggy is almost an entirely different person, leaving behind the fact that she has a job and a boyfriend to just have a good time.
Then, as she's dropped head first back into the real world with Pete's news that he's going to be a father, it becomes clear that the two are going in different directions. Pete is becoming a responsible adult, creating a life for his wife and the child she's carrying. The final conversation between Pete and Trudy's father reveals a clever side to him that comes with age. He's starting to adopt Don's persuasive attitude, and not in a bad way. Meanwhile, Peggy is young, and enjoying it while it lasts. The last glimpse between the two is a nice ending to this episode, but it ultimately ends with Don closing the door, shutting away his problems rather than dealing with them.