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Mad Men S2E5: The New Girl


If anyone had any complaints that "nothing happens" in this show, last night's episode was a big ol' "Oh YEAH?" from the writers. This season has been a slow burn (although no more so than last season) but they cranked it up to a rolling boil last night. More was revealed about several characters in this one episode than any other in the show's short history. It's as if we accidentally dropped a book that we were skimming through and it flipped open to the one page with all the big revelations on it.

Of course, this being Mad Men, the revelations were both jaw-dropping and somewhat illusory. They didn't reveal all. In fact, we have more questions than ever before. THAT'S how you do serialized fiction correctly. Move forward, but keep adding things along the way.

So, Don let the tiger out of his pants and it doesn't look like he's even thinking about putting it back in at the moment. He's so disaffected and removed from his own emotions that he's allowing himself to be dragged along in the formerly execrable Bobbie Barrett's wake, even though he gives no indication whatsoever that he's interested in her. "I feel nothing," he says flatly to her, and we believe him.

He's apparently not feeling the alarm bells that should be going off whenever he's near her because these two are an explosively bad combination. Don doesn't know how to feel anything after all the years constructing a role for himself that he doesn't seem to enjoy anymore (if he ever really did) and Bobbie would literally go to any length to feel something after constructing a role for herself that she apparently loves. "This is America. Pick a job and become the person who does it," she says to Don and he sees...not so much a soul mate but a fox hole buddy. They're both complete constructs and dangerously detached from the rest of the world. That combination gets you stuck in a ditch at 2 o'clock in the morning with your tires spinning above your bloodied head.

And we say "formerly execrable" regarding Mrs. Barrett because never have we seen a character make such a violently rapid 180 and go from nails-on-a-chalkboard to someone we were actually ready to cheer and applaud - and make it completely, 100% believable. From her passing reference to how she learned how to cover up a bruise to her hard-earned advice to Peggy, she's apparently been there and done that and we tend to feel a lot more sympathy and admiration for her. She's doing what she thinks she has to and that's true of almost every character on the show. Suddenly, she fits in perfectly.

And it's Peggy who provided the biggest revelations of all. That scene earlier in the season where she and Don bounced ideas off each other over the Mohawk Airlines account ("What did you get me, Daddy?") suddenly makes a lot more sense. These two have a bond and a mutual respect for each other that no one else knows about or would understand if they did. Don's speech to Peggy when she was laid up in the psych ward post-surprise pregnancy was riveting. "This never happened," he bores into her, veins popping in his forehead. "It will shock you how much it never happened." Taking his advice, she apparently did as Dick Whitman once did and got herself out of that hospital bed by creating a fiction that became her escape from an unbearable reality.

It could be said that Peggy is trying to be the female Don Draper, but she seemed stunned to learn that the female Don Draper already existed and was standing in her living room giving her the advice of her life. "Be a woman," Bobbie says to her. "It's powerful business when done correctly." We'll see where this eye-opening advice takes her, but that moment when she looked her boss in the eye and called him "Don" was electric. The new girl of the episode wasn't just Don's new bouffant'd secretary, it was Peggy too.

There was some disagreement last night in our viewing circle regarding Peggy. Some thought that her character was hard to read and a little unbelievable; you can't be wide-eyed and shrewd at the same time and you can't walk away from a psychotic break by pretending it away. On the other hand, we think Peggy's shrewdness is born out of her experiences. She's learning as she's going and her quiet way of approaching the world allows her to take a lot in and retain it. When she tells Don that she won't have a problem forgetting the events of the night because she doesn't want him resenting her for knowing it, that's a shrewdness and incisiveness that came directly from the fact that he knows something about her she'd rather forget. She learns from her mistakes and applies what she's learned. That's what makes her so smart and so fascinating.

Of course we don't argue that Peggy is seriously damaged goods. As we said, you can't wish away psychotic breaks and she's as dangerously emotionally detached as Don is. And Bobbie, apparently. We really can't wait to see where the character's going, though. And we really want an explanation as to why Anita was very pregnant when Peggy was in the psych ward but there's only one baby in that household. Whose baby is that and what happened to the other one? The only explanation that makes sense is Peggy gave her baby up for adoption and the kid we've been assuming was hers is in fact Anita's own. If that's true, that makes Anita's confession of last week a lot bitchier than we thought at the time.

In other Sterling Cooper news, we got to see much more of the fabulous Joan Holloway, for which we are grateful. There can never be enough Joan, for our money. She got her engagement ring from her little-seen doctor boyfriend and she paraded that thing all over the office. Her scene with Roger (and his paddle) crackled with wit, brutally honest appraisements, and not a small amount of sexual energy. These two are on fire when they have a scene together. We don't know what this engagement means for the show. We can't imaging Joan leaving her job but Roger sure seemed to think she would.

Joan brought in a younger version of herself, Jane, to be Don's new secretary. It says something about Joan's wedding bell euphoria that she didn't seem remotely threatened by the younger girl. Even when she reprimanded her for exposing her "d├ęcolletage," she did it with a smile and a wink. She's fabulous and we want drag queens the world over to pay tribute to her.

Also, Pete and Trudy Campbell are still horrible people that we wouldn't want to be stuck in an elevator with. Pete has all the charm of a bratty 5-year-old and Trudy is a neurotic mess. We're not sure what the deal is with this fertility subplot, but we thought Pete's complete apathy regarding the situation tells us the Campbells won't be buying any bassinets any time soon.

Oh, and Rachel got married to a sweet guy that probably doesn't get her engine running nearly as well as Don did. She saw that situation with Bobbie for what it was instantly and the disgust washed over her face for just a split second.

And finally, Betty finds another way to exert control over the largely uncontrollable Don by taking the salt off the kitchen table. When Sally asks why, she says "Because we love him," and we can't tell what Don is feeling from the look on his face. Is he ashamed of his lies or his he realizing that the love from his family binds and restricts him more and more?

[Photos: Courtesy of]

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I love the recaps you boys write. They make me reevaluate the show every week and I really appreciate the historical commentary, just enough to give context but not enough to bore. Thank you!!

So is Pete's porn selection suppose to show his growing interest in BDSM? With his and Trudy's argument playing some of that out?

Great episode last night! The acting on this show is so good I can't believe that Don Draper (Jon Hamm, is that his name?) was the only one nominated for an Emmy. This is the best ensemble performance since Six Feet Under.

The car accident worried me a bit because the Sopranos had pretty much the same scene with Tony and Adrianna.

I'm thinking either Peggy's sister lost her baby and adopted Peggy's child, or that child they showed last week is the sister's and Peggy's was adopted by someone else. If the kid we saw is not Peggy's, that would still explain her discomfort around him because he is the same age as her child and would be a constant reminder of what happened.

Despite Peggy's (in my opinion) calculated detachment, I could see a shift in her expression when Bobbie explained things to her. And I could see her excitement when she called him "Don". I hope in some way, she will be able to figure out how to retain her honesty, which is what Don hasn't been able to do.

Holy shit, btw, though noticed the pregnancy (the only way to draw more attention to it would be to put arrows around it), I didn't make the connection that there was only one kid! You guys are the best.

That episode certainly was jam-packed, wasn't it? And, if you watched the extended preview on AMC's website, next week's looks like a doozy as well.

you can't be wide-eyed and shrewd at the same time and you can't walk away from a psychotic break by pretending it away. As to the first, they're not mutually exclusive. You can be wide-eyed about some things and shrewd about others, and the fix the first got you into can make you shrewder. And I don't think Peggy is pretending the psychotic break didn't happen. I think she is pretending the birth of her child didn't happen (or, rather, that she is stubbornly not thinking about it).

The only explanation that makes sense is Peggy gave her baby up for adoption and the kid we've been assuming was hers is in fact Anita's own.

Or Anita miscarried late in her pregnancy, or her child was stillborn or died shortly after birth, and she took in Peggy's. That'd be an even bigger whammy for Anita, and cause huge resentment!

The Rachel/Bobbie meeting certainly was fraught, wasn't it? If Rachel knew what was happening with Bobbie, it was also clear that Bobbie knew what had happened with Rachel, and underneath the civilized veneer, I sensed claws.

Yea! I love your recaps. To answer your question, I would answer the latter. He feels restricted by the blandness of his suburban family situation.

I'm curious to find out more about how Peggy extracated herself from that situation. We know that at some point her family found out how she became pregnant. Or do we? Because technically, Pete was only engaged when they had sex but Anita told the priest he was married. I have a feeling that kid is Anita's and not Peggy's. Otherwise, how could she keep going home and face that child?

Finally, Bobbie Barrett. Dame or diva?

I had a Lace flashback, when Peggy arrived with the bail money and they showed just her lower legs as she entered the police station and approached Don.

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I thought Anita's pregnancy was a front to explain away why the family suddenly had an extra addition. While Peggy was laid up, out of sight, the family made Anita wear pregnancy pads to create an illusion that she was pregnant...although she's not married my theory is full of holes. What else is new for this show? :)

The Rachel/Bobbie meeting certainly was fraught, wasn't it? If Rachel knew what was happening with Bobbie, it was also clear that Bobbie knew what had happened with Rachel, and underneath the civilized veneer, I sensed claws.

Damn, there was so much subtext going on in that scene the director could barely contain it in the frame. You could totally tell Don was shocked at the guy Rachel ended up with (talk about safety after the thrill of the forbidden), but Rachel was also repulsed by Bobbi. She's a poor replica of Rachel, I must say.

And Peggy, Peggy, Peggy, Peggy - fast becoming my favorite character (aside: I think the women are uniformly underated by the critics and fans), even though Joan is showing just great sparkle with her diamond ("it's so lively" - how perfect is that comment?). She's far more complex and interesting every episode. I think she showed both humility, gratitude and very shrewd career sense all in one episode. It's clear that Don was the reason she still had her job after she left the nuthouse, and now she's placed herself as an equal in covering up a big f*ck-up by Mr. Draper/Whitman. That moment she called him "Don" - that is great acting. There's just the sliest hint of the triumph she feels as she forces Don to regard her as an equal, which he hasn't completely up until now.

And the baby - if that little blond child is Anita's, and Peggy's was put up for adoption - damn! That would, though, make me less appalled by her attitude toward the kid - it seems more grotesque to let your sister raise your kid and pretend it's not yours than to just give yours away to a good, but totally foreign home. And Anita - if that child is not your sister's but you let the priest think it was - well, that is a far worse sin than anything you confessed to the man.

God I love this show!

Don't forget Pete showing no signs of guilt when answering the doctor that he'd never fathered a child before. I'm pretty certain he doesn't know at this point.
I wondered if Peggy's sister was maybe wearing a false belly to in some way spread the myth that Peggy's child was hers? That doesn't make much sense, though. I'm betting either Peggy had a miscarriage or was forced to give it up for adoption.
I need to go back and rewatch a couple episodes. I'm so glad you guys are blogging this.

DAMMIT, DAMMIT, DAMMIT! I have been avoiding watching this show just because I didn't want to get hooked. You boys are horrible and now it looks like I'm going to bow down to peer pressure. Your recaps have initiated an itch I must scratch. It's like high school all over again.

If I start watching this goddamn show, will I hear that click in my head when I am satisfied?
Do you all offer 12 step meetings?

Oh, TLo. I wish I knew how to quit you.

I'm buying Season 1 tonight.

Anita is married (her husband is the one laid up on the couch last week). I think the baby Anita is raising is Peggy's, and hers (A's) died. I can't take credit for this theory - saw it on another blog - but remember what Peggy tells Bobbie when she has a headache? About the little child who fell off the swingset, bumped his head, and died? What if the child that died was Anita's, not Peggy's. And talk about Peggy feeling resentful in her confession that she's the good girl who does everything right but never has good things happen for her... puts a whole new perspective on her (righteous, I think) anger about Peggy's freedom.

You guys could blog Sponge Bob and I'd still read you every day. I just started watching this show, mainly because you are blogging it. This was only my second episode, so I'm still not sure what is going on, but did anyone else feel like Peggy's flashback scenes were a fantasy? Especially since it showed her sister pregnant. And Don visiting didn't seem true to his character. But again, I only started watching last week.

aaahhhh...just figured out how to use my blog name. I think.

Please keep blogging this show!

I love Mad Men -- especially love your recaps, TLo... as well as all the comments from the posters. Kind of brings back memories of when I was a kid and was dragged--gladly, I might add, since there was no TV back then-- by my mother, aunt and grandma to the movie theatre in a neighboring town to see Claudette Colbert and Orson Welles or Gene Tierney and Cornell Wilde in some drama that was completely over my head. The part I liked best was when we got back home and the grownups started dissecting the plot, giving their takes and "theories" on what had happened, and making up wholly new and original back-stories to support their "theories", etc. --leaving me wondering if anyone in the room had seen the same movie. I loved listening to those conversations.

Don't get the idea that I'm comparing the general quality of the commentary here to what I experienced as a child...No one here seems to miss a trick and the comments are truly insightful. I just love to read what all the contributors have to say, and I'm always amazed, and more than a little embarrassed, that there was so much I hadn't picked up on. Here I am, in my late 60's, and so much is still "over my head".

Anyway...sincere thanks to all of you.

First LOVED this episode.

But did anyone else get distracted by the ads? First there's this car crash in the episode, and then there are these endless ads about people surviving crashes in BMWs. It's definitely deliberate, but I found it an odd choice on the part of the advertisers. Wish Don Draper would explain it to us.

THEN at the end, there's a notice saying drinking and driving is dangerous! If they're going to do that on Mad Men, the number of warnings will be endless:

"Smoking while pregnant isdangerous"

"Letting your kid wear a dry-cleaning bag is dangerous."

"Calling the black guy who runs the elevator 'boy' is dangerous."

And on and on and on.

I am still speechless.
That episode was amazing.
I watched the encore, and then again on demand.


Oh--one other thing. Bobbi's advice to Peggy to treat Don as an equal and then Peggy calling him 'Don.' Fabulous moment.

I was told the same thing as a 23 year-old in 1976. Boy was it true and boy did it work.

Oh--one other thing. Bobbi's advice to Peggy to treat Don as an equal and then Peggy calling him 'Don.' Fabulous moment.

I was told the same thing as a 23 year-old in 1976. Boy was it true and boy did it work.

My first thought on seeing Anita so very pregnant in the psych ward was that she will lose her baby and then raise Peggy's while the whole family conspires in pretending that the kid is Anita's. Actually such convoluted make-believe was not uncommon in those days when unwed motherhood was just not something anybody ever admitted to. Remember the Supreme's "Love Child"?
"I started my life in an old, cold run down tenement slum
My father left, he never even married mom
I shared the guilt my mama knew
So afraid that others knew I had no name"
And that was still six years in the future!

But I have a little trouble with the timing. If this theory is correct, that means that Peggy's baby was born while Anita was still pregnant. Where was Peggy's baby between birth and adoption by Anita? And how much of a time lapse are we talking about?

It's still the first thing that jumped to mind though.

In the last scene, Don seemed like a trapped tiger to me. One that had meat dangled in front of it and snatched away.

You could see the restlessness and power in him, and it looked like he was so close to smacking Betty around or flipping the table over. It's probably the knowledge that he dug that hole himself that kept him from losing it.

Heather, that was not Pete's porn collection. That was the collection in the "restroom" at the doctor's office when Pete was leaving his sperm sample. Way too early for VHS or DVD player in there to "give the man a hand."

Mad Men is my definite weekly drama fix. For my money, Peggy allowed her child to be adopted.But that does not really square with the constant urging of the Mom for Peggy to look in on the baby.

"...we can't tell what Don is feeling when from the look on his face" - or is it because he doesn't even know what he's feeling or if he's feeling anything? To be honest, I think the only person in the family Don connects with is his son. Bobby is the little boy Don still carries with him everywhere. The boy with everything, every opportunity still ahead of him. Don, for all his standoffishness, is a wounded child and he can't help but see Bobby as himself.

Don and Peggy's connection is so much more than we ever thought. Who would have thought Don would have visited her in the hospital? And that extended hospital stay for Peggy explains so much. Her flat affect is very typical of someone who has had a breakdown. Is she medicated now? Maybe. Or has she simply turned off all emotions to protect herself from disappointment? The struggle Peggy has with being all she can be and accepting her pregnancy/child is totally in line with the patients I've worked with. Like you said, a revealing episode that brings up more questions than it answers, or rather, brings new questions to the table.

With Bobbi and Peggy, I loved how Bobbi's crunchy outer shell cracked a bit and allowed Peggy to see there was more to the woman than some sexy predator. Her advice to Peggy was some weird hybrid of big sister/mother figure, something Peggy would never get from anyone to whom she's related. They wouldn't understand.

As to Anita's pregnancy, my guess is that her baby was stillborn and Peggy's baby was taken as a stand in.

Joan. I love her. She's teetering on the brink, though. Something's going to happen with mister doctor. Her disappointment is going to leave her more vulnerable than she's ever been. Or will it? Better yet, what's her real backstory? What's driven her to be the woman she is?

I had to watch this episode twice just because there was so much to take in. Next weekend, you can count on me watching all five episodes back to back. I need to drink it all in. Every delicious drop.

It is actually incredibly easy to walk away from a psychotic break, especially if it is dissociative, like in Peggy's case. When you aren't participating in reality, even for a short time, you won't bring that with you once you plug back in to the world.

Think of Peggy's episode like an alcoholic blackout. She knows what happened, from what her family has told her, but she doesn't remember it. And what you don't remember won't emotionally plague you going forward.

She's not "pretending" anything. Rational, normal Peggy never experienced her pregnancy. That all happened to dissociative Peggy.

Also, I think Don cringes nearly every time Betty talks about love, even in passing. I've had the impression from the very beginning that Don doesn't know how to love, and that it bothers him when others toss reminders of their love at him.

I fully agree that Peggy is both wide-eyed and shrewd because she is learning. We are getting the joy of seeing someone learn to be world-wise, from her very first incredibly naive day on the job.

Is Joan's doctor fiance the same man who she was making out with while Jackie Kennedy showed the White House interiors on television? If so, then I hope we see more. He was in the U.S. Cellular commercial with Joan Cusack as a random bystander/eligible bachelor (also a "doctor") whose cell number was displayed on screen.

Peggy really gave Don the old 'one-two' punch last night; first she asked for her $110 back, which shocked him and sent him mentally reeling, THEN called him Don. The gobsmacked look on his face was priceless, but I think she suddenly became his 'type' at that moment, as well. Both Rachel and Bobbi are emotionally unavailable, as was Don's first girlfriend we saw, the artist (her name escapes me at the moment). Even Betty is a mystery wrapped in an enigma most of the time. I predict that Peggy will start to dress and act the part of an Office Vixen, much like Joan, but also subtly manifest the shrewd advice of Bobbi in her relationships with the other copy writers and Don. Joan will be so threatened that she will call off her engagement to the Doctor to hold on to her power at the office. I have watched Mad Men since the very first epi of Season One and have seen each one at least a couple of's my video drug of choice (besides PR). Every Sunday, I Be Mainlining Me Some Mad Men!

I assumed the Anita pregnancy was just a front for the neighbors so that they wouldn't be suspicious when she brought home Peggy's kid. But then again, every time I assume something on this show I turn out to be completely wrong.

Peggy seems to have a dissociative disorder. I find it incredibly believable in light of the fact that she removed herself from the fact that she was pregnant that she could pretend the pregnancy and the child never happened. Don's advise just gave her the impetus to get back up after a coming face to face with a reality she was trying to will into non-existence. I would not be surprised if Peggy has sexual abuse in her backstory, as dissociating is an incredibly powerful coping mechanism for dealing with massive sahme, especially within a secretive and hypocritical Catholic family. BTW one can be incredibly bright and capable and be completely dissociated. The two are not mutually exclusive.

anonymous 9:05 said, I assumed the Anita pregnancy was just a front for the neighbors so that they wouldn't be suspicious when she brought home Peggy's kid.

I doubt that very much. It's quite clear that Peggy either really didn't know she was pregnant or blocked it out until she went into labor. If she didn't know, her family certainly didn't. So when did her family have the opportunity to invent Anita's phony pregnancy? You don't just suddenly appear to your neighbors nine months pregnant! They live in an environment where pregnancy is talked about, lauded, and there's no disguising those maternity clothes!

lola goetz said, I would not be surprised if Peggy has sexual abuse in her backstory

God, I hope not. That would be so friggin' trite and predictable, which this show has, thus far, managed to avoid being.

When I saw Anita's belly I thought, "oh come on, that's a little convenient isn't it?" I hope she's faking it.

Although, I love the poster above's idea that the kid who fell off the swingset and died was either Peggy's or Anita's kid. That would be amazing.

I LOL'd at the segue from Pete in the doc's office to Roger playing paddleball. This show is brilliant and highbrow, but not above going for the purely purile, if it fits.

Beautiful recap.

This episode was everything you pointed out plus all those many subtle details that make Mad Men worth the double-viewing.

The Peggy-Apartment scenes were great. I loved the way each established their positions, Peggy at first is almost childishly against Bobbie (a boy who hit on the head ended up dying...) but then it got interesting. When Peggy explained to Bobbie she's not her competition, matter-of-factly. She never felt unequal to Bobbie. And when she explains how lucky she was that Don gave her the chance - Bobbie replies it was Peggy showing she earned it, her sharp eyes noticed the books on writing copy.

On and on, this apartment of Peggy did everything, it allowed the flashbacks (GOD was Hamm so good at that scene) and the development between her and Bobbie... just beautiful.

On the other side, I am tired of Roger, so is Don who sees this tired guy no longer helping, it's time for Tony Soprano to enter.

I wasn't surprised by Anita's pregnancy reveal- I've been sceptical about the status of that little boy. Still, it does present more questions than answers...
As to prgnancy denial, my mother was telling me last night about someone in her town (back in those days) that refused to accept she was pregnant right up to (and past) delivery. The parents raised the child as their son and that's the way it was.

I really enjoyed the interactions between Peggy and Bobbi and watching the development of future Peggy. By the end of the series, I expect Peggy to be in charge of things.

As to Pete and Trudy- I'm reserving judgment on them. For all of his faults, he seems more to be a young guy in a transitional time trying to figure things out than a flat-out jerk. His cockiness is a front for his insecurities. I find it very interesting that they showed 2 instances (in one argument) when either one of them could have completely shut the other one out and both times they came back. Had this scene played out between Don and Betty, Don would not likely not have told Betty to come back as she ran into the bedroom and you KNOW Don would have continued out the door (and straight into someone elses bed). I'm curious what will happen with these two.

When I saw Anita's belly I thought, "oh come on, that's a little convenient isn't it?" I hope she's faking it.

Well, when we first saw the kid who may be Peggy's son or nephew, I thought that was a bit out of place for 1960 Catholic people. They certainly wouldn't admit the child was Peggy's if they did bring him home (I assumed they claimed an adoption) and if she had no interest in raising him, adoption outside the family is the easiest way to keep these things quiet. So I thought it was strange they'd opted to keep the child.

Assuming Anita's pregnancy is real, then the reason it is convenient, in narrative terms, is that it gives us a kid about the same age as Peggy's would be for her to react against. Peggy can't follow Don's advice perfectly, because her sister has a little reminder around every corner, and apparently likes to use the child to goad her sister. It certainly makes Anita and Peggy's relationship much more interesting. It would also explain why we didn't meet Peggy's family last season - to keep us in the dark about this pregnancy.

Peggy's dissociative disorder also gets more interesting if Anita were pregnant at the same time as she was in denial - she'd have to really work to pretend what was happening in her body was not real.

The Rachel - Bobbie meeting occurs by chance, and mostly unfunnily, as Rachel and new husband Mr. Katz were on the way to " A Funny Thing Happened on the Way ..."

Loved that Theme from a Summer Place was on the radio as Don and Bobbie headed out to the beach. Beautiful music (a chart topper at the time) from a movie about adultery, hypocrisy and social climbing and bad life decisions. Seems like every element of this show is carefully chosen.

Icing on the cake for me was that it's also my parents' wedding song.

For my money, Peggy allowed her child to be adopted.But that does not really square with the constant urging of the Mom for Peggy to look in on the baby.

Actually, it's Anita that asks Peggy to do that, not Mom, which plays into Anita's resentment. She's wanting to continually remind Peggy about her child, whereas Mom is just as content to pretend nothing ever happened and everything is a-ok.

The scenes in Pete and Trudy's apt. were like a Noel Coward play--hyper stagey, witty, and cold. Or maybe it was the prequel to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf...

And I hooted at the "there will be no spice at home for Don" bit with the salt. Awesome.

I am so glad you guys mentioned this show on the blog...I didn't know it existed!! Fabulous shou and fabulous commentary. Thanks

ditto above! I like PR but I like Mad Men more - it was the highlight of last summer and I couldn't wait for it to return. guess you guys have some work to do!

This show gets better every week!

When the priest came to the Olson's for dinner, the mother and sister (friend?) arrived from the cemetery. Could they have been visiting the Sister's buried baby?

As someone who was birthed by one sister and adopted by the other sister, I can tell you - it is lies every day as you grow up and look more and more like someone else in the family. Who is the daddy (revealed by maturing features) can bring a lot of pain too. This type of secret rips a family apart.

I can't think of Don's conversation with Peggy in the hospital without thinking of Roger's talk with Joan.
These past two days I have trying to figure that out.

On the surface, they seem so dissimilar.
On one hand, there is a mentor/boss trying to save someone he believes in.
On the other, a old womanizer planting seeds of doubt in the mind of a former lover.
After a lot of thought, I think these men are doing the same thing: persuading these women to share in their delusions about life; to embrace their brand of detachment.

And why?
I want to believe that their have these women's best interest in heart.
I want to believe that Don wants to save Peggy from being crushes under the weight of her situation.
I want to believe that Roger wants to save Joan from suffering the reality of marriage.

But I think deep down these men are afraid.
Afraid that these women, with whom they share a strong bond or in whom they see themselves,
could actually succeed in real life. If Peggy took responsibility and actually tried to work through her pain, or if Joan actually found love and was able to remain true to herself, then that would force Don and Roger to acknowledge
the little man behind both their curtains.
And in that knowledge, they would be truly alone.

okay-enough rambling.


Sidewalk Story, that was a neighbor woman who was coming to dinner at the Olsen home. She had just arrived after visiting *her* son at the cemetery.

As I have previously posted, love the show but never sure whether I'm "getting" much seems to go over my head.

Case in point: When Don ordered steak tartar for Bobbie, I thought at "first watch" that the writers were so clever in coming up with an entree that was so 60's -- one of my personal favorites back then, when you could eat steak tartar every night of the week and not have to be afraid of ecoli or mad cow, just like you could smoke and drink all you wanted without becoming a social pariah or giving one minute's thought to any potential health risk.

However, when I watched the last episode again, I wondered whether Don, in ordering the steak tartar for Bobbie, was implying that he considered her to be something of a man-eater, who liked her "meat" raw (especially the Draper brand).
Plausible?...or have I gone too far here?

All I know is that I've been craving steak tartar ala Draper all day.

ok, I have to go back and watch the epi before this last one. I could have SWORN I saw 2 kids in that dark bedroom (when Mom asks Peggy 'don't you want to look in on...')

Bluegoose, you haven't gone too far, I thought the same thing about the steak tartar. Don has no illusions about Bobbi and he let her know it.

I had a thought about Pete and Trudy's fertility problem. I may be really reaching here, but maybe Peggy's baby is in temporary foster care until she can "make decisions for herself" as her sister alluded to. What if Pete and Trudy adopted his actual baby down the road? How crazy would that be???

i'm not dorothy gale

We're in the twilight zone here in Oz. I started watching MM when the marathon was on and only caught two episodes. Then you two geniuses put it on your blog so I bought the season 1 DVD. Finally got my sweetie to watch an episode of season 2 and in between we're watching season 1. Somewhat disquieting but we are truly hooked, and you enhance the "fabulosity". Thanks!

Dang TLo, I was hoping for a review for Tabitha's new show. I thought since you both seemed so excited about it, that you you would add her show to your repertoire of snark.

I really wanted to find out "what the guys thought." Excuse the off-topic, I just wanted to register my disappointment. Love you guys anyway! =D

You know, after that scene between Don and Peggy at the hospital, I began to think that he sent the Frank O'Hara book to her. Who else might be "waiting for the catastophe of [her] personality to seem beautiful again"?

A later verse goes: "It may be the coldest day of the year, what does he think of that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,perhaps I am myself again.” That sounds like the sort of PTSD that Peggy seems to be going through and that Don would recognize.

Peggy, being a copywriter, is a word person, so would respond to poetry. Don, of course, would send the gift to her privately because this exchange concerns a matter that goes beyond private. Because he sent it by mail, neither has to address the fact of the gift, much as they do not address the fact of the secrets that they share.

P.S. Did anyone catch the little bit about Jane being a college graduate? I thought that was an interesting touch since the boys probably went right into the professional/executive (and more lucrative) positions straight from college. It also makes me wonder if that will become significant in regard to Peggy or Joan.

Your blog, your show. I just don't get it.

I assumed that when Peggy warned Don not to resent her for knowing about his compromising situation that she was actually thinking about the way Pete treated her after he slept with her once he was married, blaming her for his own guilt.

After all the talk about Peggy's baby, I just had to go back to watch that part of the episode on demand. About 29 minutes into episode 2 of this season, Peggy heads to the bedroom in her sister's apartment after her sister said to her, "aren't you going to say goodnight?" The look on Peggy's face is priceless, a mixture of I can't believe you said that to me and total anguish and guilt. She slowly opens the door to reveal an infant lying in a crib nearest the door. The shot then pulls back and reveals two other young children, about the same age, in twin beds, one of whom says to her "hi Aunt Peggy." She pulls the door shut without saying anything and quickly leaves the apartment.

So there are THREE children! In my mind, based on Peggy's reaction, one of them is definitely her own child. Remember this season takes place almost two years after the first season. So it might be the child that spoke up or the other one next to him. Peggy's sister could have been pregnant at around the same time as Peggy was, and subsequently had another baby. Remember they are 1960's Catholics. My grandson is 22 months old and has for some time been able to say "hi" to the people he knows.

Peggy's sister might have been able to pass the two children off as twins. She was very pregnant in the scene in the mental ward.

Thanks TLO for another excellent posting and analysis. What fun to be able to look forward to this blog every week along with PR.


I THOUGHT there were at least 2 children! Did anyone else miss that? I hadn't had a chance to re-watch Three Sundays but I was so confused when you said there was only one baby.....

There are two older boys but there's only one child young enough to be either Peggy's or Anita's.

I am so glad that you boys are recapping this show! I truley love you both. I have been watching it since season 1, episode 1 and I love how the whole show is a slow burn of plot and intrigue.

A thought-

Wouldn't it be interesting if Mad Men season one is the height of Don Draper's career/life and the following seasons show his slow demise? The Don Draper of season 1 is different than season 2; not as confident, not as sure of himself. Is it because the illusion is starting to fade? That Pete found out who he really is? Is Don Draper getting tired of being Don Draper? It's all an act- everything- and that would be exhausting. Season 1 Don Draper used to skip out of work for a sweaty encounter with that artist women (whose name escaped me too) and with Rachel. Season 2 has Don skipping work... for forgein films? And sex in the front seat of a car with a man-eater like Bobbie? He is detached, uninterested, and that could be his end. Yes, I think we are watching the slow demise and disillution of Don Draper. He was a man of the 50's, and the 60's are in full swing.

'You know, after that scene between Don and Peggy at the hospital, I began to think that he sent the Frank O'Hara book to her'....'Wouldn't it be interesting if Mad Men season one is the height of Don Draper's career/life and the following seasons show his slow demise?'

Interesting ideas you two. Don certainly is on the skids this season, something is eating at him big time, and it may not be just his marraige. maybe it's his whole constructed life. Sending the book to Peggy is an interesting angle, they have an intriguing connection.

I love this show so much. It has all the drama I've been looking for in a television series. Finally, a show that doesn't assume their audience is stupid!

Mad Men is the highlight of my Sunday nights. (Not pathetic, no, not pathetic - I just have a very stressful job and MM is a great way for me to unwind before facing it again on Monday!!) -

Dear boys, I wonder if you would ever give a thought to a Mad Men pre-show hangout a la the PR TLo Lounge?

I would love to see what awesome set design you dears would come up with -

love ya!

have a FABBO!! holiday weekend!


~ DB ~

p.s. Being in the animal welfare filed, I knew from the minute Chauncey was introduced, that Something Bad Would Happen To The Dog.

... sigh ...

Not to worry, it's just fiction, AHA was on the scene I'm sure and that beautiful purebred ran straight to his real-life handler off camera right after Dastardly Duck shooed him out the door. But the whole set-up reminds me once again of the Sporanos and Tony's most obviously humane characteristic, his love of animals (which indeed kickstarted the whole series - he told Dr. Malfi that his panic attacks started when the ducks flew away.)

I can't help it - I see too much of this in my real life - when the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercial started, I just lost it. Bawling so hard I scared the cats.

(deep breath)

the doggie's ok, the doggie's ok, the doggie's ok .....

Boys, I know it was the holiday weekend, but I'm really going through serious TLo MMS2 commentary withdrawal. Any hopes for discussion of the most recent episode? Especially regarding that little conversation between Joan and Peggy in the office when Joan very astutely remarks that Peggy has never listened to a word of her advice anyway?

So the Anita pregnancy thing has been bothering me, so I just have to add...

Anita's first confession to Father Gil was, "I took something that didn't belong to me." Yes, she followed that up with a story about coins at the laundry mat, but I think it's very telling about the family situation. I think she's now raising Peggy's child after having lost her's in childbirth. That were sure lead to some resentment, eh?

Love the review, but I have to say; it IS possible to pretend away a psychotic break. When it happens, you don't feel like yourself, and afterwards, you don't want to think about it. The people in your life don't want to either. Mental illness is a very easy thing to pretend away because other people are happily complicit.

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