Is it just me, or has this season of “Mad Men” been so depressing? Well written and smart, as always, but just dire. Six seasons in, Don Draper is still the same unfaithful cad that he’s always been, seemingly incapable of evolving. I used to have so much empathy in my heart for Don, but after last night’s episode, I think he might just be among the most interesting but irredeemable characters on TV — which puts him in good company, alongside Tony Soprano, Walter White, and Dexter Morgan. There was plenty of firm biz in this episode (it’s Don vs. Peggy in the battle for Ketchup!), but let’s focus on the juicier stuff…
But first! As office manager, Joan was always on top of her shit and all business, but even though she’s now a full-on partner in the firm doesn’t mean she’s too busy to notice when the secretaries get out of line. When Harry’s secretary tries to pull a fast one on her timecard, Joan ain’t havin’ it — and neither is Harry. While I sympathize with Harry’s complaint that the higher-ups at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Campbell and Holloway haven’t given him a seat at the partners table despite his having earned it — dude, welcome to Corporate America — taking a public potshot at how Joan ended up at that table is a low blow.
Meanwhile, Megan Draper, who’s now a fairly successful soap opera star, has been offered her first love scene on the show and convinces Don to have dinner with the producer and his wife as a show of gratitude. Don — who’s been bonking the married lady a few floors down — is unenthused but goes along for the ride. And a ride it is, as Megan’s producer and his wife hope to have the couple for dessert after dinner, if you get my drift. Ahh, the swingin’ ’60s!
Later on in the episode, the day of Megan’s love scene arrives and who shows up on set for the first time ever but Don. Though his next stop is his mistress’s apartment, where he plans on having real extramarital sex, Don lashes out at Megan for “enjoying” her love scene, implying she’s as much a whore as the common prostitute. It’s a vicious scene. Megan may not have been everyone’s favorite next Mrs. Draper in the beginning, but she is clearly committed to her marriage, a good partner to Don and a loving stepparent to his children. His cheating on her is disgusting; that he’s intent on breaking down her confidence — out of jealousy and insecurity — in the process truly makes him a piece of shit.