Mad Men: Beginning of the End

Last night was, according to @DonDraper_NY, the “beginning of the end.” And, what a beginning it was.

Don remains on paid leave. He visits Megan in California and then returns home to NY.

In his absence from the workplace, much of the focus was on Peggy and Joan. Both worked incredibly hard on client retention and satisfaction but each was marginalized in ways that too many women still are today.

Joan fought hard to rescue a small but important account, Butler Footware. But instead of being thanked by the account executive, Ken Cosgrove, he told her only to stay out of his office.

It was not just what he said. It was how he did it.

Joan had left an earring in his office when trying, on the phone, to save the client. When he threw the earring at her, the boys’ club message could not have been clearer.

When Peggy tried to improve a pitch for Accutron, her ideas were dismissed by her new boss, Lou Avery. Rather than focusing on her content, he said: “I’m immune to your charms.” Hard to imagine him saying that to a man!

At the end of the episode, Peggy was so frustrated with work, and perhaps, life, that she broke down emotionally at home.

Don broke down emotionally at the end, too. But he did not emote. Instead, only partially clothed, he sat on the balcony of his NY apartment in the frigid cold.

How different their reactions. But equally intense I suspect were there inner feelings.

It is only a matter of time before Don returns to work. With his growing and painful self-awareness (“She [Megan] knows I am a terrible husband”), I don’t think we can anticipate a seamless return.

And Peggy, who broke through the glass ceiling initially at Sterling Cooper, is both smart and strong. Those who underestimate her do so at their peril.

Cannot wait until next Sunday!