Mad Men 6-10

I am this week’s episode of Mad Men. My title is “A Tale of Two Cities”, although I was less Charles Dickens and more John Charles Daly.

I am an advertising agency. I’m the brainchild of some of the most respected minds currently working in the industry, yet no one has thought to give me a true identity. From the inside, I appear to be a swirling tempest of creative confusion. From the outside, I look like a juggernaut preparing to run roughshod over my competition. If only I had a name.

I am Jim Cutler (Harry Hamlin). Through very little of my own doing, I’m finding myself becoming more of an afterthought in a company I believed to be my own. Dealing with the lackadaisical management style of this new partnership – and the lack of respect their employees show me – has left me frustrated. So what if we lose some of “their” clients as long as we can replace them with some of “ours”?

I am Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser). Despite what others in the building might think about my standing, I’ve worked hard to achieve within this company and this industry. So it peeves me to watch those who are less competent disregard protocol to take what should rightfully be mine. It’s hard enough to fight for the respect you think you deserve without having to constantly look over your shoulder to see who’s trying to steal food off of your plate.

I am Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss). It has been so hard making my own way as a woman in a man’s world. It’s frustrating enough having to deal with The Other, but there are the ever-present jealousies coming from some of the women who feel I’m reaching too much. Just when I felt like I had reached a level that would afford me respect and maybe even a measure of autonomy, I’ve been plunged back to being a cog in an egomaniacal machine.

I am Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks). From the beginning, it’s been a never-ending fight for respect. The climb has been slow and frustrating, but there have been days when it feels like I’m making progress. However, I’ve grown tired of waiting for others to give me my due and have decided to take what I want.

I am Don Draper (Jon Hamm). I’ve spent the majority of my life running from who I really am. In the past, I’ve dealt with bouts of honesty – usually brought about while I wrestle with a crisis of conscience. Currently, I’m in the midst of one such predicament, having been abandoned emotionally by nearly everyone from whom I once commanded respect. But I’m working on it. I’ve rededicated myself to Megan (Jessica Paré) and have turned my full focus back to my work.

Sure, I might not have walked the line on my recent trip to Los Angeles. Hashish can do that to a man, after all. But my psychedelic journey led me back to my wife (sort of) and that should count for something, right?

Mad Minutes

  • Last week’s episode was easily the most enjoyable of the season. Alas, the dirty work of creating more exposition in order to eventually crescendo at the end of the season begins again. That’s not to say this was a bad episode. It’s just that people who love sausage and great storylines sometimes find it awkward to watch either being made.
  • This week offered another installment of the always-tenuous relationship between Joan and Peggy. They’ve come to their respective positions by completely different paths and each has always had a hard time understanding the other. Yet they’ve always had each other’s back when it was absolutely necessary. I don’t imagine this alliance to last very long, but it’s good to see Joan rewarded for taking some initiative.
  • This was the first time Don seemed out of sorts on one of his trips to California. Maybe it’s because he treated it strictly as a business trip. Then again, he definitely loosened up after taking a hit off the hash hookah. He also ended up face down in a swimming pool. So there’s that.
  • Is Megan really pregnant? Or was that just part of Don’s trip?
  • Bob Benson is on the fast track to somewhere. It’s just that we’re trying to find out where that somewhere is. On some occasions, it seems as though he’s ingratiating himself to Pete. Now it seems that he’s worked himself into Cutler’s good graces. He certainly has everything it would take to play both sides of a growing conflict against the middle. It’s also making him pretty indispensable around the office.
  • Pete smoked weed! I don’t have any analysis on that. It just amused me. Maybe it’ll calm him down a little bit. Goodness knows he could use it.