Mad Men Season 6 Episode 3 recap

Let’s start with a nice easy situation – how do we feel about creepy upbeat Bob? I am myself somewhat upbeat, but I can’t stand people who are always trying to accentuate the positive when all you want to do is have a good drink and a pout. Bob thereby accomplishes the impossible at the end of the episode – he goes to buy toilet paper and simultaneously makes me empathize with Pete, something I had no hope of doing earlier.

But then, everything Pete’s doing seems strangely antiseptic. I mean, of course I hate him, that’s obvious. But my time watching him bed the blonde in his hideous New York apartment was mostly spent trying to figure out what I’ve seen the blonde in (It wasn’t Hot Tub Time Machine) and less about the decline of his marriage or a real betrayal on his part. How can you be offended by inhuman behavior from someone who never implied humanity in the first place?

Then again, even though the scene was supposed to – and did – make me go
"F-ck Yeah, Trudy", I thought it was too sudden. She gave him an apartment in New York, yes, so I kind of feel like we should have had more of Pete trying to be a family man, at least in the sticks, before going back to the city, more of  Trudy’s growing resentment and Pete’s trying to make up for it. But then, we saw that happen in Ossining, for all the good it did. Just one more way in which Pete is not like Don – will never be like Don.

Then again, Don wants not to be like Don anymore. He’s sloppy – both in his personal assignations and in his work. It’s like he wants to be. Yes, okay, so he hates the Jaguar guy, probably empirically and also in a misguided act of loyalty toward Joan. So why not tank himself and the firm in a meeting? To me, the fact that he was getting the heads of Jaguar to turn down the “local advertising” idea seemed smart, and indeed if he’d done it on his own, when he was being Regular Don, without the firm behind him, he might have even looked, if not smart, then like he was doing due diligence for the client.

As it is, he looks like a dick – which is fast becoming his permanent state of being.   He’s a dick to Megan, generally speaking, not just because he cheats on her but because he treats her like a child with no textures or layers to her personality. He takes the news of her miscarriage with a “Gosh, I want what you want”, as if it were so easy. He has no idea of the depths of her ambivalence, and it’s telling that she’d highlight them for a neighbour before her husband  - and when she was so incredibly judgy,

Speaking of said neighbour….ugh. Has there been a Don woman so unsympathetic since Bobbie Barrett? I don’t see anything in her – not sexuality or fragility or eagerness. I’m not Don, but what’s the attraction? (I also have trouble realizing Linda Cardellini is the woman I’m looking at.) I can’t help but think it’s partly about the money. Notice the two different apartment doors – they have to live by the electrical panels, not like the Drapers. I wonder if he loves cuckolding a hard- working man. I know he loves upping the danger factor. But how much more can there be for thrillseeking Don anyway? How many more ways can it happen? 

Then there’s Don’s other other half, Peggy. I kind of enjoy that her new team doesn’t respect her, because it highlights that she’s not pulling advertising rabbits out of hats enough for her to be a wunderkind. But also – shouldn’t she have learned this all already before? It feels like, instead of a boss/underling situation, they’re playing a woman/man one. And even though I really appreciated the interaction with the secretary – it’s going to be a bugaboo of Peggy’s all the way up, it seems – I just thought she was smarter than to start being hard and lecturey yet again. Didn’t Stan laugh at her before he became her office husband?

As for the betrayal – she will, and then she won’t, and then she’ll go back to SCDP to save Don. But can’t she get smarter along the way?

Yes, I saw Joannie drink off into the middle distance. Yes, I was incredibly upset that the office expansion doesn’t seem to have netted her a new office. Yes, I am waiting for something to actually happen on that front.