Team, I’m going to ignore the fact that I find the Joan storyline to be incredulous for a second to focus on Peggy, who has been, for the length of this show, both a protege and a female mirror of Don. Last season’s “The Suitcase,” when Don really hit the bottom of the Plath Bell Jar and found himself sleeping on Peggy’s lap after losing Anna Draper is one of the best Mad Men episodes of all time, and it’s largely because of the strength of the bond between those two characters (and actors).
She told Don, in that heavy goodbye scene, that he’d probably do the same. Maybe. And he said he would ignore the fact that he’s responsible for everything good that’s happened to her. There’s an argument I don’t buy, and I’ll use Jay-Z to explain myself. In “Lost One”, a track off of 2006’s Kingdom Come, the HOVA opens with this:
“It’s not a diss song, it’s just a real song / Feel me? // I heard motherfuckers saying they made Hov / Made Hov say, “Okay so, make another Hov”
The HOVA explains it the lyric this way:
“I owe a lot of my success to a lot of people, but ultimately, no one made me. This is the kind of lie that people get told all the time, sometimes in romantic relationships, sometimes in their professional lives: that somehow who they are is a result of other people’s investment in them. It’s vital to resist that or you risk losing yourself; as I say in another song, Remind yourself / nobody built like you / you design yourself.”
It is without question that Don changed Peggy’s life (hiding her big Pete baby secret not withstanding) but they are different people, different sexes, on different tracks and she’s been a victim of bad timing with him one time too many. Why is it Peggy who always walks in to his office when he’s in the worst possible mood for a totally unrelated reason? Ugh.
Just as Jay says, Peggy is now reminding herself that she designs herself. And that look of excitement and relief as she prepared to step in the elevator was uplifting for me, because she’s been in a rut all season.
So it seems like Don’s losing grasp on all the women who matter to him most. Megan isn’t going to be controlled like a 1966 Jag. “She just comes and goes as she pleases,” Ginsberg observed about her, or no one in particular. And the out-of-chronology reveal of Don’s too-late plea to stop Joan broke my heart. I started tearing up at that scene, but by the time he was bidding adieu to Peggy, the tears were full-on running down my face.
So I’ve left a lot unsaid here. Mainly about Joan. But I want you men to weigh in first. Over to you, boys.
You’ll like it when you’re in it,