It was a rough one for our Mr. Don Draper during this week's episode of Mad Men. Things just got moving along for the team at SCDP, and the season has only two episodes left! This is standard fare for creator Matthew Weiner. It feels as if he has an "oh, shoot, we need to wrap it up" moment every season about this time. Of course, he has led his audience in the direction he wants to go, but the last few episodes always feel rushed to me. Excellent, but rushed.
The guys are feverishly working on a pitch for Jaguar. This is their moment to shine, and they have come up with a lot of crap. Peggy, despite being the head copywriter, is not a part of the brain trust working on Jaguar. Don remarks that it is because she is in charge of everything else, but it still hurts. He adds insult to injury when Peggy saves one of the company's clients with a brilliant idea, and Don completely brushes it off. Don has slighted Peggy several times this season, and we've seen the rumblings of disgruntlement in her eyes. She wants out, and lo and behold, she is finally pushed over the edge.
There is more trouble in paradise for Don and Megan. Megan has a big audition, which she gets a callback for. When she nonchalantly tells Don that if she gets the part it will mean three months in Boston, he is outraged. Megan retorts that Don works day and night, why shouldn't she? There is a very big difference between being a workaholic in midtown Manhattan and spending several months in another state. "You'll do whatever you want anyway," Don says to Megan. He's right, and his lack of control over his second wife is rather emasculating.
Ken and Pete have dinner with the Jaguar guy to feel things out, and touchy-feely is all they get out of him. Jaguar man saw the sultry Joan in their office and wants a piece of her. He doesn't say that the guys won't get the account if they don't deliver Joan, but he alludes to it. A normal man, such as Ken, would ignore this piece of information and carry on, but an abnormal man, like Pete, would tell Joan that the partners want her to do this, then tell the partners that it was Joan's idea. Don is livid and walks out on the conversation. There is no way he's letting Joan sleep the company's way into a client, Jaguar or not.
There is obviously more to Don's disgust over the idea. We saw last week an intimate moment between Don and Joan, which ended with him sending her flowers. He goes to Joan's home that night and tells her not to go through with it.
Meanwhile, the partners discuss offering Joan some cold hard cash to do the deed, which would technically make her a prostitute. Lane tries to talk them out of it for Joan's sake, or maybe because he knows the company has no money because he stole it! He goes to Joan privately and tells her it would be in "her" best interest to ask to become a partner, rather than taking the cash up front. So she does.
Sadly, Joan goes through with it, thinking that everyone is on board. It's depressing and disturbing to see her give herself up in that manner. After selling herself, she is back home undressing when Don comes over to tell her not to do it. Doh! The scene we saw before happened too late. Had he told her sooner, maybe things would have been different.
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The guys get the account, of course, but on the other side of town, Peggy is wheeling and dealing with another agency. She accepts their offer.
To celebrate the Jaguar news, the office pops the champagne (they always seem to have a bottle on hand). Don, realizing what Joan had done, is not in a celebratory mood and asks Peggy to have a drink in his office with him. She has something to tell him anyway. Oh, yeah, she's quitting. Don attempts to get her to stay, more money, more respect, but the damage has been done. She needs to go elsewhere. In the most un-Don move of all time, he takes her hand and kisses it. It is a truly sad moment. Peggy happily exits the building, free at last from the shadow she has been walking in for four years.
So what was the slogan they came up with to sell Jaguar? "At last, something beautiful you can truly own." All of Don's beauties, Peggy, Joan and Megan, he cannot truly own. They have disappointed him, betrayed him and rejected him. Just like a woman to kick you when you are down!
There are two more episodes left to the season! Will Don ever "own" anything beautiful again?