This week’s Mad Men: Seven Twenty Three

don

Nice to see the kids at Mad Men shaking things up a bit with those dramatic future-forward clips at the beginning:  Peggy sleeping in a fancy hotel suite, Don face down on the floor of a motel room and Betty draped over a plush chaise lounge–and then the episode cuts backs to the present (or day before, however you want to look at it), with Don getting ready for work…And by the way, was it just me or did anyone else think for a split-second Peggy was in bed with Don?!

************************SPOILER ALERT, so for the love of not looking directly at a solar eclipse, please don’t read any further if you don’t want to know what happened in Episode 7*****************************

RECAP:

  • Don brings in the New York Hilton Hotels account, Sterling Cooper makes him sign a three-year contract.
  • Duck continues to woo Peggy and Pete, sending expensive gifts. Peggy visits him at his hotel suite to return her gift and they end up in bed together.
  • Betty, fresh from redecorating her living room, decides to get involved with the Junior League and local politics. Her first assignment, as secretary, is to attempt to halt the production of a large, unsightly water tower.  She reconnects with Henry Francis, the same handsome, distinguished-looking man she met at Roger’s garden party, who just happens to work in the Governor’s office.
  • Sally’s teacher continues to put herself out there for Don to pursue and he continues to avoid going there…but he will drive drunk and pick up young hitch-hikers, hang out with them in a road-side motel, take some drugs, and then get knocked out and robbed.

SUMMARY:

Let’s start with Peggy…and DUCK! Did anyone see that coming?? I sure as heck didn’t. Yet, now that it has happened, it totally makes sense. The two of them are using each other…

Duck wants to poach Don’s talent to get back at him. I have no doubt he thinks Peggy is talented and ideal for the female-geared clients at his agency, but he must still be angry over how things went down when PPL merged with Sterling Cooper…and Peggy…well, Peggy is going through all sorts of phases and trying to figure out who she is as a woman and how to conduct herself in a man’s world. Remember the advice Bobbie Barrett gave her: “You can’t be a man. Be a woman. It’s powerful business when done correctly”…prior to their afternoon delight Peggy told Duck she wants to be Copy Chief…and…well, I guess it could be said that she’s trying out the “sex gets you things” tactic. We will just have to wait and see how that works out for her.

Moving on to Betty…she’s really fighting for some independence isn’t she? She’s involved with the Junior League and dabbling in civic issues; she reached out to Henry Francis, so now she’s making her own connections. And although I think there is some chemistry between Betty and Henry, I also think she just appreciates having a man treat her like an adult, she wants to be respected and considered interesting and intelligent. Unlike Don who never speaks with her about things beyond the home, he doesn’t even discuss his contract with her.  Did you notice that after she spoke with Henry on the phone, in the study, she yanked at Don’s locked desk drawer? She must do that every time she’s in there.

…And then that antique fainting couch…she didn’t care if she “ruined” the modern scheme of her recently redecorated living room. She plopped that enormous chaise lounge right in front of the fireplace, because according to her interior decorator, “the hearth is the soul of your home. People gather around a fire even if there isn’t one.”

And finally, Don…and that damn contract.  Now we know the origin of the episode title: 7/23 is the day Don finally committed to Sterling Cooper. Roger’s tactic was to go through Betty, follow up with the lawyer; Bert’s was to bring up the past, that he knows Don isn’t really Don, “when it comes down to it, who’s really signing this contract anyway?”

But the night before he signed it, he had one of his “I have to get away drives” after his fight with Betty, which involved that whole motel-thing. And as scandalous as all that was, the most interesting thing was his hallucination of speaking with his father. The conversation touched on Don’s guilt for what he does, “you grow bullshit,” which gives some validity to Roger’s concern, “I don’t know if you don’t want to do this here or you don’t want to do this at all.” But alas, Don isn’t privileged like Roger, so he has to work and stay where he is, trapped once again. And as he signed the contract he told Bert he wanted no more contact with Roger. I guess Don feels he needs some power somewhere, and between the three men running his life right now–Roger, Bert and Connie–Roger is the only one who didn’t overtly exert dominance by helping himself to Don’s office and Don’s desk chair.

Next week we have Episode 8, “Souvenir”–Don takes Betty on a business trip…hmmmmm. Oh, one last thing: I’m getting anxious that we haven’t seen or heard from Joan…I really hope she pops up soon, I’m going through serious withdrawals.

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