'Mad Men' recap: The end of the innocence

Sally ponders just where she'll sock Julia in the arm on "Man Men" episode 11. Jaimie Trueblood/AMC

Dear Marisa,

So, Peggy has her cat. Pete has an empty box of raison bran cereal. Ted has a sleeping wife and two boys. Don has his booze. Stan has a sleep-over girlfriend. And Bob Benson can't have Pete?

That's all for now,

ke

***

Dearest K,

And see, this is why I love Peggy: got rats and no one around to take care of the mortally wounded? Get a cat. Problem solved. OK, so yeah, it's not great that her first strategy was to call her man-friend Stan, but listen, she reacted  in much the same way I do whenever one of our resident felines produces a mouse. (Read: shriek, run away, leave body for husband/someone else.) It's a dirty job, and apparently Stan's not going to be the one to do it — in more ways than one. Still, I'm fully confident that these two have a useful platonic friendship in front of them--gender-war progress?

One more bit of Peggy love and then we can move on to the rest of the poop-storm that was this last episode. How bizarre was it to watch Peggy and Pete chum it up at the post-Ocean Spray meeting like old war buddies? I mean, I guess they kinda are, but the lingering backstory — "Yeah, we made a baby together. Good times. Water under the bridge" — threw me for a pleasant loop. Peggy is really just too cool. Way to not hold a grudge, Pegs.

Luv,

M.

***

Dear Luv M,

Yes, the Peggy-sees-a-rat-and-gets-a-cat scenario was fun. And the Bob Benson knee-knock was uh, I didn't see it coming, and Sally's friend calling Megan "Mrs. Draper" just to piss her off was hysterical.

But the elephant in the Manhattan highrise, which could also be described as a rat, was Don "comforting" Sylvia. Sally caught her father with his pants down. Now he's disheveled, crying in the elevator, walking in a daze. What a mess. Do you feel sorry for him?

***

Ms. K,

Now, I've been a bit of a Don apologist in recent years, but this time I shan't make any justifications for him. He KNEW Sylvia wasn't comfortable with the affair; he TOLD Megan he wanted to be more present in their marriage; he only JUST made apologies to his kids for the Grandma Ida incident. He should've known what thin ice he's on and should've headed for firm ground — home, work, the movies, whatever. Anywhere NOT Sylvia's bedroom.

But no, he goes for more ill-gotten goodies. Typically I'd say he really doesn't know any better, given his upbringing, but this time I think he had some grasp of the implications of his actions — and he failed to do the right thing. The only silver lining I can think of is that maybe this incident will sort him out but good going forward. Unfortunately, it's at Sally's expense. Maybe Betty still has the phone number of Sally's old therapist...

Twitter came up with several scenarios for Sally's future last night; none of them were very good: we had Sally as future stripper; Sally as unable to forge a meaningful relationship with men; Sally as man-eater; and my own presumption: Studio 54, here comes Sally!

Sylvia's likely going to lose it; maybe she'll run away to a commune or something. Here's hoping. She's a fool.

***

Dear M,

Yes, Sylvia is a fool, but I think Sylvia was the mama bear looking out for her cub and she was showing gratitude to Don. No excuse, though.

How about Don advising the good doctor not to let his son go to Canada to escape the draft: "He doesn't want to spend the rest of his life on the run." Oh, ok Don, thanks for that gem.

I'm hopeful for Sally. She's seen a lot. Remember, she saw Megan's mother and Roger "comforting" each other. But she seems to be pretty level-headed to me. Maybe she goes away to college and never looks back. She could follow in dear old dad's footsteps and remake herself and become editor of, oh, I don't know, Vogue, or something. Can you say "The Devil Wears Prada"? It could be the sequel to "Mad Men" — "So-Long Sally."

I'll have to work on a better title...

k

***

Mdme. K,

And don't you love how Don makes far more effort to protect someone else's kid vs his own? PS. I hope this is the last we see of Mitchell AND Sally's dreadful friend. Mitchell's hair and wardrobe alone were enough to set my teeth on edge; then the 'tude? Pullease. Grow up, kiddo. As for Julia, Megan is hardly the enemy; that was typical Mean Girl antics to pick on a fragile gal like Megan with the whole "Mrs. Draper" thing. Were I Megan, I would've shut her down a lot less politely than, "It's Megan." Something more like, "Call me 'Mrs. Draper' again and I'll get Grandma Ida in here to teach you some humility."

This might be why I don't have kids...

Unlike Ted, who I seriously love to death. Yeah, I know the flirtation with Peggy isn't great, but I just love the way he does business, and his overall sunny perspective. His whole "lay down your weapons" talk with Don was inspired (Line of the night: "Don't be an a--hole, Don."). And Don went for it! If I weren't so annoyed with Don, I might've said that signals growth on his end, but I'm not feeling so charitable right now.

Prediction: Ted, Peggy and Joan start their own show. Print it. Maybe Bob Benson, too. And Pete. Note: No one on Twitter was super surprised about Bob's revelation. They were more annoyed that he seems to have taken a shine to Pete, to which I say: Whatever, haters. I remain on Team Pete, despite his homophobia. I think his "breeding" has taught him to say he's disgusted with certain lifestyles, but I truly believe he's more worldly than that. He'll come around and make us proud.

-M.

***

Dear M,

Have to disagree about the kids on the show. I love them. When you say Mitchell, who was doing his best Paul Revere and the Raiders impersonation, should grow up, that's exactly what those kids are doing, right before our eyes. It was a time of rebellion. Kids were questioning authority. Julia probably sees Megan as "the other woman." Mitchell has an attitude because he's about to drafted and sent to war, which by the way, gruesome battle scenes were being shown routinely on the nightly news. And Sally, well you know I love Sally. The things she's had to put up with over the years, its a wonder she isn't totally out there.

***

Wise K,

Have I told you lately that I love you? Your insight re: the kids being alright is excellent. Pretty sure I'd be cheesed if I were considered cannon fodder, too. (I still hate Julia, though. As we discussed, Sally was entirely in her rights when she punched her pal in the cab.) I'm so swept up in the foolishness the adults generate, I've become equally jaded. Hell, even Don said, "The war is wrong."

And it is; you'd think that's a no brainer, but the Chevy guys' reaction to Don's indirect mention of Mitch's predicament goes to show you that there were folks even more out of touch than Don et al. It's these glimmers of humanity in our antiheroes that make me so mental! I want to believe!

And then Don says something idiotic like, "I was...comforting Mrs. Rosen." Twitter lost its collective mind with Sally over that one. Talk about the emperor missing some clothes!

I'll leave you with this, my second favorite line of the night, also from Ted as he explains Don's inability to play corporate ball: "Imagine every time Ginger Rogers jumped in the air, and Fred Astaire just punched her in the face." (Note: a scenario that places Ted in the role of Ginger. Love it!)

Maybe I'll pick up some Ocean Spray and make some Cape Cods tonight.

Luv,

M.

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

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