Monday, September 28, 2009

"Mad Men" Ep. 3.7: "Seven Twenty-Three"

And the curveballs just keep on coming...

I called the Peggy-Duck hookup fairly early in the episode, but I most certainly did NOT see it coming before tonight. And while I'm in the very small minority of MM viewers that actually likes Duck (or at least is, or was, sympathetic to him), this turn made me feel really, really icky. It can't be just because he's so much older than Peggy, considering I found Betty's interaction with the silver-haired Henry what's-his-name in the same episode kind of hot. Maybe it's because Peggy seemed so vulnerable and Duck seemed so aware of it when he moved in for the kill. It doesn't help that I strongly suspect the main reason he did it was, again, to get revenge on Don; maybe he even thinks Peggy and Don were lovers. If so, I really don't like where the writers are taking his character, though I heart Mark Moses.

But who knows with Peggy...she may be the one who ends up using and screwing Duck (I don't just mean literally), esp. if she ultimately decides to stay at Sterling Cooper.

If she does, no thanks to Don Draper. I never cut Don any slack, but even for him, he was an unmitigated asshole in this episode. His smackdown of Peggy was a brutal response to circumstances that had nothing to do with her. His outburst to Betty was almost as ugly and even more unreasonable - kudos to Betty for standing up to him and not taking his crap. And even though he was mugged, blackmailed, and effectively emasculated at just about every turn (even his interaction with teacher-lady didn't go exactly as expected, though it's obvious she wants to bone him), I can't feel any real sympathy for him. He had it coming to him. So he doesn't get to set the terms of all his relationships anymore - boo fucking hoo.

Oh, and mixing alcohol, barbiturates, driving, and picking up hitchhikers? Phenomenally stupid, Don, even for 1963.

Finally, I'm glad to see Betty get a chance to peek out of the shell that is her home life. I thought belly-feeler Rockefeller man was more than a little inappropriate, not to mention borderline creepy, in "My Old Kentucky Home," but there was definitely a spark between them, as this episode confirmed. I still don't trust the guy - the comments of the other Junior League women suggest he's no less of a hound than Don (though at least he doesn't appear to be married anymore) - but there's a part of me that wishes Betty would have an affair with him anyway. Especially if Don insists on sleeping with teacher-lady.

Other random observations:

Ol' Bert Cooper is still a sly fox. And color me surprised to see Pete Campbell being the level-headed and clear-sighted one in this episode, esp. as compared with Peggy. (Though I did laugh at her line to him about not coming into her office and spreading his paranoia to her - I'm paraphrasing. And he is so going to flip his lid if he finds out about her and Duck.)

Still not enjoying the Dick Whitman pseudo-memories, though this one worked a little more for me than the others.

More Vietnam references - I wonder if they're setting the stage for a more direct impact on one of our characters.

I'm with the interior decorator - that sofa looked truly hideous on the Draper hearth. Though Betty looked like a dream lying on it.

What was the solar eclipse supposed to symbolize? Sepinwall has a pretty good theory on that, and I haven't come up with a better one.


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