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'Mad Men' recap: Love in the time of subway stabbings

By Kathleen Edgecomb and Marisa Nadolny

Publication: theday.com

Published May 27. 2013 1:00PM   Updated May 29. 2013 4:57PM

Dear Marisa,

Not loving last night's episode. Well, not loving the men in it.

Come on:

Don sleeps with his ex-wife, has an epiphany and goes home to tell his current wife he's going to make it all better?

Roger's daughter calls him a 4-year-old and bans him from seeing his 4-year-old grandson alone, and he has an epiphany and tries to make amends with mistress and his illegitimate child? (I hate that term. Why blame the kid?)

And Peggy's boyfriend gets stabbed, three times in this episode with the final time in the gut by Peggy, and he has an epiphany in the ambulance and breaks up with Peggy saying she's always afraid?

Excuse me men-folk. The women around you should be afraid. Everyone and everything is against them. But guess what, they march forward anyway. Know what that is? Bravery.

Ok, I feel better now.
ke

***

KE,

Preach on sister! Remember all those times I said I hated Abe? Yeah. Last night pretty much summed that up perfectly: he fancies himself this evolved social visionary but fails to see the true vision displayed by Peggy in putting up with him for so very long. PS. he had no trouble spending HER evil, tainted Madison Avenue money to buy that dump of a building. But Peggy was flexible. She tried new things. She stepped outside of the box so many times for him, her feet must hurt, and all he did was play the role of Angry Young Man, to which I say: Grow up Abe.

The ending with poor tired Peggy trudging into the office was something else. Ted shuts his door, and Don shuts his, and there's Peggy in the middle--hopefully ready to dig in, without guilt or distraction, and keep carving out her career.

As for Betty and Don? I didn't entirely hate it for two reasons: at the very least, Betty seemed to be a bit more present, or actualized as the shrinks say. Not so tormented as before. Number 2: Don got to experience what it feels like to be used by someone. He oozes away from Betty and Henry to go sit at his tiny table for two, with no second person to share it. See also: Don's future.

Print it.

-M.

***

Dear M,

I think Betty is an ice queen, incapable of loving anyone -- her kids, her current and ex-husbands, and alas, even herself. How about how she was flirty with Stu, whoever he is. She needs some serious therapy.

I still like Abe, though. I like how he wouldn't give the cop any information and called him a fascist pig. And how he was sticking up for the people in his neighborhood. Those kinds of conversations were taking place all over back then. Madison Avenue was the enemy of those who wanted to change the world. Think hippies vs establishment.

On another topic. How many times are we going to see Megan and her boss-actress-mentor put the moves on her? And there's no repercussions for Megan saying no? Can't believe that; something's going to happen there.

k

***

Lady K,

Yeah, it's nice that Abe wants to speak up for the down-trodden and all, but PEGGY ISN'T THE ENEMY! If he had a brain in his head he's think, "Gee, how can I leverage Peggy's position in the establishment to further my cause?" There's much to be said for knowing your alleged enemy and finding common ground to work together toward a solution. Maybe finagle some donations to a charitable cause that actually DOES SOMETHING to help the downtrodden.

But I digress. We are agreed that Betty is definitely a damaged person, but I thought she seemed just a tad more defrosted last night. How about her singing "Father Abraham" with Bobby? Surreal man. And I have that stupid song stuck in my head now.

I feel a little bad for Megan. You're damn right she's lonely, as she even said. Her husband is beyond checked out (she makes a lovely dinner and he elects to not talk and go lie down???); her apartment building "friend" Sylvia shagged her husband and withdrew; actress friend is acting like a frat guy; and she's too far away from SCDP to reap the benefits of a Peggy or Joan friendship. Maybe she'll leave Don, too, and that'll be one of the straws that breaks the philandering camel's back. Also, do you know what Megan was referring too when she mentioned shootings in the park?

Speaking of Joan and Roger, I have to confess I felt a little sad for him last night. I give anyone points for wanting to spend ANY time with kids, and he truly seemed to enjoy spiriting around Margaret's little guy. How many dismissive damaged men have we encountered on this show? I'll take any glimmer of authentic engagement with another human being. Besides, Margaret is absolutely dreadful (and yeah, I know, no thanks to Roger. I got a little scared when she exchanged a meaningful look with Joan, or, She Who Cuckolded Margaret's Mother). But, she was a depressive handful as a younger woman (remember her in the early seasons?), and now she's a depressive handful with the ultimate weapon of manipulation: a kid. OK, sure, maybe you shouldn't take a 4-year-old to "Planet of the Apes," but at least Roger WANTS to be in this kid's life. Doesn't anyone get to try and change around here?

Does anyone remember laughter? Heh.

-M.

***

M,

I remember laughter: Butter is better! Father Abraham. Bobby wanting to order his father a drink. Thin Betty! Bob Benson's bathing suit.

Still like Abe. He's writing a book about his experiences and evidently Peggy is the star. What's not to like about that?

I think Peggy and Joan are going to do OK. They've seen the madness around them and they don't want any part of it. They know there is something better out there. They're paving the way for us ... and you have to admire that.

And Roger, please. That scene of him answering the phone from his palatial bedroom -- which seemed fit for a king -- was hilarious. He is a kid playing in a grownup world and everyone has protected him. Roger wants to be in Joan's kid's life because he's feeling sorry for himself. Not for the kid. I can't imagine what needs to happen for him to grow up. Sad Roger? Not buying it.

Not sure about the shootings in the park, except maybe NY was getting more violent. Wasn't sure of the "'27 Yankees" reference either. Have to ask one of my sports enthusiasts about that one.

k

***

KE,

I think I might've found what happened in the park. Here's a helpful timeline of NYC "crimes and disasters."

OK, let's agree to disagree on Roger's true motives, but I think we CAN agree that his summation of the awkward meeting in Joan's apartment was priceless and perfect: "We're all a little bit out of context right now." And yeah, Bob's bathing suit would've been just darling on Kevin. The baby. Not a grown man. And are we buying Bob Benson's act yet? Social climbing suck-up or is he really that decent a guy?

And before I forget! How about the triumphant return of Duck Phillips? Love him! I want him to start that fantasy agency he proposed to Peggy all those seasons ago. Ideally, he'd propose it to her again with ANOTHER Hermes scarf. She's earned it.

Luv,
M

***

Dearest M,

One more thing: I think Bob Benson and Pete Campbell, slimy as they both seem in trying to get ahead, have consciences. I think they, more than any other man, will grow the most -- and in a good way.

If you have a chance check out Shouts & Murmers from The New Yorker titled "Don Draper wears out his welcome.'' It's hilarious.

Off to sizzling a hamburger on the grill. Happy Memorial Day.

k

We're on Twitter: @TheMDesk and @edgecombday.

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