MAD MEN: 5.11 “The Other Woman”
Did that just happen? The firm gets Jaguar, Joan prostitutes herself, and Peggy quits?
This was an epic episode of Mad Men. In one episode, everything changed. For one thing, we see that Pete is more despicable than ever. When a potential client hints at a night with Joan, Cosgrove turns it off, but Pete actually picks up the opportunity.
It was disgusting. This is not some Saved by the Bell deal, where Screech gets his dog back if Jessie goes back with the head nerd, all ending in a slobbery puppy kiss that he thinks came from “Legs.” No, this is full on prostitution.
What’s worse is that Pete just can’t seem to hear the word “no.” Cosgrove tries to steer him in another direction, and he presses on. Joan tells him how insulted she is by the notion, in essence closing the conversation. Instead of dropping it, he goes to the partners. Even after Don adamantly tells him to stop it and leaves the room, he convinces the other partners to let the offer stand. In the end, Joan gets a partnership (with Pryce’s suggestion), and she leaves her morals on the bedside table.
It’s actually rather sad. Roger and Pryce both clearly care for Joan, but they also realize Joan’s her own woman. With Pete’s lie that she was considering it, they’ll hesitantly take her offer. Don cares, too, enough to actually go to Joan’s house to stop her. Unfortunately, we discover that he’s just too late, and the damage is done. Sure, the damage gets them Jaguar as a client, but was it worth it?
On the other side of the spectrum was Peggy, who has gotten rather fed up with her position in the company. After landing an account, Don drops her from it. When she presses him to keep her on, to get her to do the campaign in Paris, he throws money in her face, telling her to go. Strangely enough, when you look back at this scene after realizing what Joan has just done, you realize that much more how this world wasn’t made for women, how women can still be treated like crap.
Peggy’s better than that, and she knows it. So when she starts seeking other offers, she finds one that she can’t refuse. I knew Peggy was heading in a new direction this season, what with her failures in early episodes and the loss of her mentor, but I didn’t think she’d leave the company. Watching her and Don discuss her leaving was such a great scene — I think Don went through each of the stages of grief in five minutes — and the single tear from Peggy showed that even she was having a hard time with the choice.
But that moment at the elevator, she had a smile on her face. This is a step up for Peggy, and this could mean some interesting things for the company. Will Peggy now become their biggest competition?
I can’t wait to see what happens next.